A shared dream about visiting over and over again a “Hippie” village, or commune where all the houses were fanciful conglomeration of cast off parts of other houses, brought up some interesting symbols related to excess and the rejection of shared values. In this dream the dreamer entered a darkened room and saw the shadowed silhouette of a hippie lying on a sofa, drunk, or stoned. The dreamer also climbed upon a wall on the hippie’s property to get a better view. All primary symbols suggest societal mores rejection and perhaps a form of addiction. Climbing upon the wall might suggest the need for a new perhaps even higher perspective on life or some specific issue.
One of the first questions I asked of the dreamer was, “What in your life are you obsessing about?”
I also asked, “Is there something missing, e.g. some void, in your life that you’re trying to fill and that might be an inappropriate way to do it?” And finally I questioned whether there was a shadow side to their life that they might not be confronting e.g. that they may be in denial of?”
This person may very well be suppressing the concept of addiction as it may be related to their particular behavior. For example, they may not be addicted to a substance, but an action (as in a habitual response pattern), or even a way of thinking (as in a habitual negative inner dialog, or a belief that persists despite evidence to the contrary, such as a prejudice). These can be subtle in nature, yet still be important enough for the unconscious mind to shine a light on them through the dream. There are, of course, less subtle addictions e.g. sexual, porn, food, smoking, risky behavior, and etcetera.
The morals rejection part of the dream is also interesting in that it begs the question, “What societal norms are you rejecting and why?” The village in this dream is put together by the cast offs from other people’s houses (persona’s) might suggest a depressing loss of personal identity and/or the person is creating a sense of self that further alienates them from the society they live in. But it also may reflect an attempt to cobble together an identity from what they admire in those around them.
Again, the dream can be very useful toward revealing inner material that may be affecting one’s mental health and even social health. Both learning to read the symbolism and asking questions can be equally important and can bring a light into the darkness.
A Dream of Shadows
I stepped into the night–a lonely, frigid blackness with glowing lanterns here and there. I sighed and my breath rose into the sky and a part of me became one with the stars.
Animals came out of the inky dark to greet me–raccoon, rat, and owl.
They whispered some ancient wisdom, sharing from a place that only they could bear, dancing to a rhythm that only they could hear.
I pulled the night around my shoulders like a robe to comfort me against its emptiness.
Owl, rat, raccoon, and I walking through the night, walking toward the light of home.
–RJ Cole (2014)