Fluid Dream Connections:
Pods of Whales and Children
Dreamed 2003-2007 by Jenny Badger Sultan
Fluid Dream Connections is a canvas made of small paintings stitched together. At least half of them are dream images.
Here are close-ups of a couple of the dreams:
"It's a Dirigible, No, a Whale, in the Sky"
March 14, 2007; the previous night, I'd had no sleep
Hank and I are at the beach with the kids, who are small again. The beach feels immense--big slopes sweep down to the water. It all feels extraordinary. Many people are on the beach. I think we go in the water, and then we're on the sand. I tell someone "This is the second time we've come to this stretch of beach; usually we go to an area further down." I mean to the left as we face the ocean--could be south. I add "I like this part, because there are little dogs who stand at the water's edge and make sure you don't get harmed by the waves." They look like small English bulldogs.
I look up in the sky and see a huge form. At first I think it is a whale, but that seems impossible, so I interpret it as a dirigible. I shout to people "Look up, look up, it's a dirigible!" As we all look up, more of these huge shapes appear--the way they move tells they are alive. It seems whales and other huge sea mammals are swimming in the sky as if it were the water and we are underwater looking up. It is amazing.
Then we're all given questionnaires. When we turn them in, they'll be looked at and if we got the answers right we'll get paid. Hank comes towards us saying happily "I took my questionnaire to the office and I got all the answers right. Look, they gave me $100!" This is great--now we just have to retrieve Leon's, which has been turned in, and take ours to the office and see if we have won too.
Hank and I are going around the city doing various things. In large open places where there are many people we see circles of children, sitting close, with their heads together. They wear little hats or hoods of a fuzzy material--all alike--kind of an ochre green, maybe a little bit peaked. They look like seed pods. It is remarkable and unusual. There may be different color configurations--maybe denoting boys or girls. I wonder if they're tour-groups of children from a foreign country and this is the formation they were instructed to use.
We see one of these groups of children in a large, crowded plaza. We look at them intently. I think we have another friend with us. We are speculating about the children. I say "I think they are from Central Asia."
A girl from the group sees our interest, and sends a pale pink piece of paper over to us that explains a bit about who these children are. However it's not very clear.
--Jenny Badger Sultan
1: These dreams have a parallel structure! First, you get a startling visual image--in a crowded place, a group of strange beings appear. No, not a group--in both cases, we can fairly call them a pod. Then in each dream you get a paper with a written explanation--though in one case the answers must be supplied by the dreamer, and in the other, though the dream figures try, they can't clearly explain themselves.
I wonder... are Jenny's dreams prompting her to guess more at interpretation, or to spell out her guesses more explicitly for others? The pod-children's self-explanation didn't help much. Maybe only her conscious mind CAN interpret the dreams. Mind you, I'm not claiming this as a general principle! For example, my own dreams often go to some trouble to interpret themselves, figuring my conscious will get it all wrong! But these dreams hint at the opposite--that the dreams want to be understood but just can't do it on their own--her waking mind must help.
The questionnaire scene suggests there's a substantial reward for morning-after dreamwork, too. (Wow, if only I had $100 for every well-interpreted dream!)
2: The image of the sky-whales echoes through Jenny's recent paintings. For example, to the left is a detail from a dream-painting called Born in a Cave. The pod-children appear in other paintings too. To right is a detail from one of Jenny's calendrical "grid" paintings, in which each panel represents one day and night in her life--though these panels may be any shape from bee-cells to spindles to bubbles to interlocking polygons.
3: Jenny's title for the stitched-together canvas is really Dreams and Fluid Connections, with no subtitle. But on a website with thousands of dreams, titling anything Dream or Dreams is likely to get lost; hence my rewording, and addition of a subtitle mentioning whales and kids, and links from
I mention all this because Fluid and its consituent dreams illustrate a problem that's formidable for any serious dreamworker or dream artist--over a lifetime, you may have 100,000 dreams! Even the fraction you write or paint will be thousands, tens of thousands... Jung himself griped "They enveloped me as the sand does the Sphinx." It's not easy, devising an indexing system and coining unique names you'll remember! Household hint: it's a lot easier to find dreams, and links between them, if you store them in one big blogfile on disk. Jungian dream-labyrinths and machine searches seem like spiritual opposites, but they synergize quite well. Complementary strengths!
But whether you record them in ink or electrons, take it from one who learned the hard way: don't be like Rousseau! Never title anything just... The Dream.
Whups! Jenny just found the text of one more of the dreams, the one in the lower right corner:
PLAYING SOCCER WITH A PLUM AND THE YOUNG HOODS
February 27, 2007
I am outdoors in a public place, like a beach or a plaza. There are many people walking around, doing things--I just watch and am amazed by the variety, the movement, the activity--it is dazzling.
I find a small hard plum and I start a game of kicking it around with 2 or 3 boys around 11 or 12. One or more of them is African American. We are fairly close together and pass the plum with our feet, scuffle to try to get it away, etc.--kind of a soccer-like game. The boys are dressed in baggy clothes, hooded sweatshirts.
Finally we don't see the plum anymore--has it gotten lost in the scuffle? One of the boys has picked it up and hands it to me.
I look at it in my hand and say "Isn't it amazing that after all of that, it is still whole!"
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