The Perfect Musical Genius
Dreamed before 1922 by "Agnes"
Source: The Dream World by Havelock Ellis (1922). Dream-title and dreamer's pseudonym are merely my names of convenience.
Erotic wishes frequently make themselves felt as dreams, both in the infantile and the symbolic form. It is sufficient to bring forward one illustration. It is furnished by a young lady of somewhat neurotic tendencies and heredity, aged twenty-three, musical and intelligent, who was in love with her music-master, the organist at her church. The dream was written down at the time.
I was at the school of my childhood, and I was told that I was St. Agnes Virgin and Martyr, and in five minutes' time I was to be beheaded with a large knife. The sheen of the blade frightened me so much that I asked if instead I might be strangled by the man I was in love with. Permission was given if I could induce him to come in time.
I ran to our church (saying to myself that I knew it was a dream, but that I must see what he would say) over huge stones that cut my bare feet, and wondered what age I was living in, longing to meet some women in order to find out. When I did, they all wore crinolines.
I rushed up the central aisle, which was full of people, thinking that, as I was going to be killed, nothing could matter. Mr. T. (the organist) was giving a choir practice in the vestry. I ran up to him and said: "Come at once, I am going to be killed."
He became very angry, and said: "Do go away; you are always interrupting my choir practice."
I said: "Don't you understand? I am going to be killed at once; there is a knife hanging over my head, but I would rather be strangled by you, and they said I could if I fetched you in time." As soon as he understood he came at once.
Then it seemed in the dream that we were married, and had a son, who was to be a musical composer. I said I must say goodbye to this son first, and told the nurse to bring him to me. When he came I said: "Good-bye, I am going to be killed."
He said "Mother, am I a boy or a girl? When I am with boys I don't seem like them, and they call me a girl, and yet I don't look like a girl."
I replied, "You are both in one, because you are going to be a perfect musical genius."
In this dream, which represents the fulfilment in sleep of an affection unsatisfied in life, we see side by side the infantile and the symbolic fulfilments of the erotic wish, culminating in a gifted musical child. The wish to be strangled is an undoubted erotic symbol and it is significant that in the course of the dream the accepted death by strangulation became fused with marriage, although the idea of death still inconsistently survives, doubtless because dream consciousness failed to realise that the accepted form of death was a subconsciously furnished symbol of the consummation of marriage.
Well slap me with a haddock! I'd take it all at face value myself. Time's run out, so with nothing to lose, our gal runs to the man she loves. Her impending death doesn't seem like an erotic symbol to me, but it's a great excuse to FINALLY get Mr Organist's attention. Wish fulfilment? Sure. They marry, they have a child, the Perfect Musical Genius. They can make beautiful music together, baby! ... so why drag in symbolism?
Well, okay. That androgynous child. Now that's intriguing. Is her dream saying...
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