Tagged: sexuality

“Attacked by an Evil Fish, Saved by a Yellow Dolphin.” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Q: It is summer, I am looking for my child, slightly panicked by the fact that I can’t find her. Then I find my child in the water, she had been attacked by an evil fish. A yellow dolphin kills the big fish and saves the child. Then, my child is lost again. When I find her, she walks out of the water towards me on the shore, accompanied by a huge lion. My instinct is that I want to protect her from the lion, but my little girl says that I don’t have to protect her cause the lion is peaceful. She says “you just don’t understand it!” 

A: Wow, this is a powerful dream, and one that holds some clear directions for your life. I’ve mentioned lions before in exploring the dreams of readers, one of which mirrors your dream rather closely: a lion walks out of the ocean towards the dreamer standing on the shore. I’d encourage you to read that interpretation about major life transitions, as well as the recent interpretation I wrote on a dream in which a bear chases the dreamer. I also mention lions there, a common correlate of bears in dreams. The gist there, important for you, is that what we cannot consciously accept as parts of ourselves appear as animal forces in dreams, trying to approach us in sometimes unexpected ways.

Your dream begins with your having lost your child. There are a couple of ways that we could approach an understanding of this image: we could understand it as representing your daughter literally or as representing your inner child and your childhood self. As we cannot explore this dream together, I am going to go ahead and assume the latter and explore your dream from that angle. Part of your childhood is lost in the unconscious, and it is a part of yourself that you are struggling to claim. Being in relationship with your daughter is probably eliciting memories of your own childhood, stimulating emotions and experiences long ago buried by aging and forgetting. You are diving into those waters now, beginning to swim around to resurrect feelings that have been lost for years.

In the first stage of the dream, your daughter has been attacked by what you call an evil fish. Again, my instinct here says that this is exclusively about your childhood (whereas the second stage is more about current times). In simple dream parlance, fish are emotions. When we dream of going fishing, for instance, it is an indication that we are beginning to pull emotions out of the unconscious and into our conscious awareness. With your dream of an evil fish, my guess is that you endured some very difficult things in childhood, perhaps actual attacks yourself, and are still attempting to reconcile those experiences. Perhaps it was big, difficult emotions that you didn’t know what to do with. Or perhaps it was a physical trauma of some kind. Either way, someone protected you, a savior of sorts. Thank goodness. This is the yellow dolphin, what might also be seen as a golden mammal, a more evolved, loving counter to the danger of the emotions and experiences that threatened to envelope you. Now, you are re-exploring some of this material again.

What I know of you is that you are a man, and that your daughter is six years old. I would ask you to explore what happened to you when you were six. How are you resisting the integration of those experiences into your life now? This is not something that can be intellectually understood, it is primal, emotional material that can only be faced, felt, wrestled with physically and emotionally, and reintegrated into your life and identity.

Your daughter is not scared of this lion, and my guess is that in waking life she is teaching you to accept the more primal layers of yourself. Somehow, being around a child, with her less intellectualized, jaded approach to life, is opening up your acceptance of your own deep existence. Listen to your daughter: Don’t be afraid of it!

I am going to take a huge leap here, based on some understanding of lions in dreams, and suggest that you are now wrestling with questions of sexuality and your sexual desires. Sexual feelings in childhood are extremely confusing and hard to understand. There is typically little support for children to sort through what is happening in their bodies and emotional lives around big feelings and desires. But as an adult, you have an opportunity to really engage those innate aspects of yourself and not be afraid of them. They do not have the same potential of devouring you as they did when you were younger. Even though it remains quite taboo to acknowledge it, sexual feelings start very early in human beings. Most people are not given proper tools for exploring, accepting, and safely expressing their own desires and sexuality.

Again, this is just a hunch. The lion could also represent long buried anger that is coming out of the unconscious and seeking to regain contact with you. Explore for yourself what it means. And remember to listen to your dream-daughter. She knows what’s good for you. Do not run and do not attack it. If anything, let yourself be attacked and devoured. These parts of yourself need not remain buried and drowned any longer. Once you accept them, as your daughter suggests, the lion energy and power latent within you will again be yours to use.

Satya is a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com

“Sexuality and the Baby Elephant Upstairs.” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Q: I go upstairs into a room that I’m surprised I’ve never been to before. Then I realize I used to be up here all the time, but not for a while. There is a sweet baby elephant jumping and playing in the room, small and gray. I’m with another woman about my age and with my coloring. She’s there to spend time with the elephant. I ask her if she comes up here every day to visit, but she tells me that she’s only able to come up every other day for a few minutes. I think that the elephant needs more time than that. It’s otherwise alone up here. I worry for its loneliness and lack of companionship. Then there is a bear. The baby elephant gets distracted. The big brown bear is in a wooden trailer, heading towards the wall opposite us. The trailer is making noise like the low rumbles of an adult elephant, and the baby bounds after the trailer. Then, I’m shocked to see the bear go head first into what I know is a shredder, or meat grinder. I gasp. I watch the baby elephant jump in too. Both are immediately dead and bloody. I see their bodies deflate, as if all that is left of them is their skin. I am so sad, and I turn away.

A: Oh dear, what an image. This makes me sad too. What’s been happening in your life for these images to arise?

You noted that the elephant is getting only very sparse attention and you reflect, “I worry for its loneliness and lack of companionship.” As a dream’s elements are all elements of one’s own psyche, I wonder if you have been feeling only intermittently cared for yourself, lonely and without the relationships you’d like. What playful aspect of you has been relegated to a corner of your life, like a rarely visited room you once knew well?

I’ve noticed that dreams of elephants often arise with the beginnings or endings of intimate relationships, so I’m drawn in particular to this mention of companionship in the dream. I inquired with you about this aspect of your life. You told me that you had just spent the night with someone new when you had this dream, and that you were feeling uncertain about your emotions in the days following. I can only imagine, given the way the dream ends, that you were indeed experiencing some mixed feelings and perhaps hurt. The image of the bear and the elephant being deflated makes me wonder about your own sense of emotional deflation, like having the wind and momentum of life taken out of your sails.

The archetypal layers of this dream are very interesting. I was intrigued by the association of intimacy and elephants in dreams, so I did some research into the symbol and was further struck by the correlation. In Hindu philosophy and metaphysics, the elephant is associated with the root chakra Muladhara, located at the base of the spine. This chakra, one of seven points in the body thought of as centers of vital energy, is said to govern sexuality, mental stability, and sensuality. It is the base of Kundalini energy, the place from which that fire of life initially rises; it is for this reason that sexuality plays a major role in tantric traditions. Sexuality can create physical life in the form of new conception, but it also can kickstart new energetic life and awakening in each individual. In Buddhist mythology, it is said that an elephant calf is responsible for Buddha’s conception when it caressed Queen Maya’s body with its trunk while she slept. Conception and awakening in one.

The Muladhara chakra is also associated to the color red, a color that Jung described in his exploration of Kundalini philosophy as “the color of blood, of dark passion” (Kundalini Seminar, p. 17). This association provides a twist (a less upsetting one) on the appearance of the blood within the dream. The red is an inherent aspect of this chakra energy associated with the elephant, suggesting here more an emergence of passion and life energy than the destruction felt within the dream. (For more exploration into the image of blood in dreams, read this dream interpretation from March.)

Is it possible that while you were feeling a bit mixed-up after your recent evening, you might also be feeling a new energy for life these days? I found the information on the Muladhara chakra fascinating and hope you’ll continue to learn more about it on your own. There is a strong correlation here between the activity of your physical body and the reflections of your psyche, one which might be a gateway to greater insight. 

Exploring the symbolism and diving into the literature around the various images in your dream will almost certainly provide you with greater connections and kickstart some wonderful creativity too. Dreams can provide tremendous comfort when you discover an image that, by its very emergence, provides insight into your life. If you haven’t experienced that feeling yet, dive in and start exploring. Perhaps that too is the attention your baby elephant desires.

Have you had a dream like this? Leave a comment and share!

Satya is a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com