Monday, June 20, 2022

Recurring dream

I very rarely have recurring dreams, but I've had this one about a dozen times in the past year or so, most recently on the night of June 18-19.

I'm outside at night, looking up at the stars. Although I'm in the city, with considerable light pollution, I can clearly discern seven stars of the Pleiades, compared with the five or six I can usually make out under urban conditions. I mention this to my brother, who insists that he can see twelve.

I become aware of a huge wheel-like configuration of stars in the southwest, about 60 degrees of arc in diameter. Individual stars are continually winking in and out of visibility. At first I think the whole thing is rotating, but then I realize that there is a radial segment of greater visibility which is moving around the wheel clockwise like a radar display. When it passes the one o'clock region, it briefly lights up a group of stars that form the shape of a bull's head -- a bit like the Chicago Bulls logo, actually. I think, Oh, that's Taurus; I'm looking at the zodiac. Then I immediately correct myself: Of course you can't see the whole zodiac as a literal wheel in the sky.

As I continue looking at this wheel, what I had thought was a configuration of stars gradually resolves itself into a physical structure -- a gigantic ring, sort of like a "Stanford torus" spacecraft but with no hub or spokes; just a huge empty ring. (The "radar display" effect has ceased.) It appears to be a manmade structure but is impossibly huge, with the bottom nearly reaching the horizon and the top some 60 degrees up.

As I watch, a second craft sails through the center of the ring toward us. It looks exactly like the starship Enterprise except that the propulsion units are angled down rather than up, so that they look like the pontoons of a seaplane. My impression is that it has flown down to the ocean, bounced off its surface like a skipping stone, and then glided through the ring like Mr. J. Henderson through a hogshead of real fire.

"Something just came through that ring," I say to my brother. "I'm not sure if they're friends or enemies."

Not until I typed this up did I realize that a Freud-style pun likely played a role in the dream's sequence of events. Just after I think Taurus, the zodiac resolves itself into a torus.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - I have - indeed mostly - dreams with recurring *themes* (not specific events) relating to worries and fears; understandable on the Steiner-esque basis that the importance of dreams lies in their subjective effect on our feelings, rather than in their objective content.

These have varied through life - and probably in accordance with my major 'learning tasks'. At one time they were related to jump scares involving llamas (yes, really - a childhood trauma...). That, and being attacked by dogs (of which I am Not especially afraid IRL), is the nearest thing to recurrent content.

Later recurring themes were about serious structural faults in 'my house'; including problems of flooding - these seem clearly based on some real life experiences. Through life, there have been dreams about claustrophobic situations or 'fear of heights' combined with crumbling, slipperly or otherwise insecure footing - which is again a real life thing (albeit not pathologically).

In the first parts of my life I had frequent 'performance' dreams about being on stage acting/ singing/ playing music - and not knowing what to do. Since retirement, a common content has been relating to starting new jobs for which I was not competent.

But these 'performance' dreams feel as if they have the same 'function' - relating to the fact that life is more than we can master, and we are necessarily (existentially) in a position of not knowing how to cope with it.

In the dreams I usually try to 'fake' my ability to cope by improvisation, or dishonestly - but the lesson of such dreams (which I don't seem able *really* to learn) seems to be that it is best to acknowledge incompetence (especially to myself), but not to worry about this - because we cannot do Most things, Most of the time!

In sum - I think the themes of my dreams are often intended for me to learn to cope with, set aside, worries of a 'what if' nature - which can, if unchecked, expand to take a too-large and detrimental role in daily life and thinking.

Ben Pratt said...

A recurring theme in my dreams now and then is the discovery of a hidden room in 'my house' full of wonders and treasures.

My impression when I consider the emotional landscape of these is that I have talents or abilities that not even I know about yet, but which will prove valuable upon their discovery.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

At least your recurring dreams make sense! Mine are, as always, opaque to interpretation.

Mr. Andrew said...

It’s still a pretty awesome dream even if it doesn’t make sense.

As a child I had a reoccurring dream of a monster car chasing me (I think in the basement?). Unfortunately I don’t really recall my dreams anymore, but probably better than nightmares.

a_probst said...

The sort of cathode-tube television set built in the 1950s and early '60s looked, when deactivated, like a lidless, pupil-less staring eye. The creepy feeling that gave me resulted in a recurring incident in bad dreams. The setting would vary, as did the size of the TV, but I would enter a room and see that thing sitting there. And I knew that if I so much as said 'boo' it would charge at me. Of course I said it, "Boo!" and it charged at me, emitting a noise like the rapid, unintelligible speech one might hear from a TV set's speaker. I would wake up as, or just before, it hit me.

The last two times I dreamed this I was seven years old. The set charged as before but as it reached me I gave it a good kick. It yelled out "Woops!" and fled in the opposite direction.

If only I'd taken the hint and 'kicked' the TV habit.

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