Sunday, March 16, 2008


Dreams: Houses

I've done a lot of research into literary symbolism through the years. I've also researched dream symbolism. And while I don't believe symbols are a one size fits all proposition, I do believe in certain universal truths.

I have read that a woman often associates a "house" with her own "body." One literary example that comes to mind right away is Cisneros's The House on Mango Street.

I have also read that "houses" or "rooms" represent "possibility" in dreams. Indeed, I have recurring dreams of hidden rooms, often with richly decorated bathrooms.

So I thought it was interesting that in last night's dream, I was walking back to "my apartment" (I now live in a house) with my husband, two of my sons (younger than now), and my brother (now deceased). The apartment complex resembled the complex we moved into when we first came to Ohio so I could get my MFA in fiction writing.

We were going back to the apartment to get some food to take with us to a ball game we were going to watch.

When I stepped into my apartment, I was surprised to see it had been nearly gutted. Many things were missing or broken. The mirror above the bathroom sink had been smashed and had fallen to pieces on the floor. The carpet had been ripped up and the floor was scarred. Not one of us mentioned any of this to each other.

I gathered the food and we all set out on foot to the ball field. At first the ground was flat, but then it started to get hilly. I found myself having to struggle over big mounds of earth.

Many of the elements in this dream are recurring. The only new thing was the ball field.

If the "apartment" is my own "body," then I wonder what the dream means? Perhaps that elements of an "old" self must be sacrificed and wounds (the scarred floor) must be acknowledged, examined.


Cloudberry said...

I've had similar dreams with hidden or extra rooms and doorways. In one of those dreams the extra rooms were unfinished and dark, like a basement. Within the year, my art was accepted into a gallery. The location had previously been a restaurant...and there were unused rooms in the back that I felt I recognized from the dream. Teagrapple

Anonymous said...

Back in my mid '40's, I went thru a period of feeling very dis-satisfied. I also had a recurring dream of finding strange doors, opening them but it was always too dark to see inside. At that time my oldest daughter was having lots of problems & seeing a therapist. I asked for an appointment & we figured out there were parts of my self that were not being used (an-oversimplication) & needed to be opened & exposed to the light. 10 years later I had returned to college (BG) graduated cum laude & was writing (2 novels, unpublished)& publishing poetry & essays. My marriage was much happier & things were going better with the kids. I think our dreams, especially the recurring kind are trying to tell us something.

GreenishLady said...

Of the dreams that have stayed with me over the years as having been especially important or meaningful, there were three in which rooms and houses felt that they represented my self, and being new, unfamiliar spaces to explore, my potential self, or "becoming" self. I like that this fits with what you read about houses and rooms representing possibility. I don't associate them with the body (I mean my dreams - not that the association may not be valid for others' dreams), but with my inner life, my psyche.

ggw07 said...

Follow the feelings in dreams. In the one you mention, when you see the apartment, you are "surprised to see it had been nearly gutted." Then ponder your own keen analysis.
I was greatly affected by your dream and responded by having my own dream about two different hotel rooms. The first was expansive and overlooked a pool. The second was small and cramped. I adamantly insisted my preference for the first to my husband.



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