Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Collecting Plums

This one (night before last) was a bit of a nightmare.

I found myself in a confusing location. There was, perhaps, some kind of festival going on, with people moving in different directions between performances. They may have been enjoying themselves, but to me it was just confusion.

There were strawberries and plums growing in the place. I wanted to pick some strawberries, but when I bent down to pick them, I found that each berry I went for was disgustingly half-eaten, no doubt by snails.

I turned my attention to the plums. First I went for the bright red plums, but every time somebody else got there before me. Then I noticed an abundance of darker plums, much less visible, dispersed in between the clumps of bright red plums. I felt a few dark plums and found they were nicely ripe for picking, with the right combination of firmness and softness.

I picked an armful of plums, but found it difficult to hold them without dropping them. If there were only a plastic bag. Yes, there's a store of small, green coloured, plastic bags, dispersed between bales of cotton pulp in a warehouse. I went into  the bales of cotton.

If I were been hunted by the Gestapo, I could bury myself in the bales, so as not to be visible. I went deeper in amid the cotton bales. Somebody was calling me. I bet they could not see me, but I wasn't sure, because, without turning round and looking back, I couldn't know whether I was fully hidden or not. Best thing was to keep still and wait. They passed on and I collected a bundle of plastic bags and returned to the plums.

There I found my wife standing beside my mother's grave. A woman was wanting to say prayers over the grave. I told her to push off, but my wife constrained me, telling me to be reasonable. The prayer-woman told me she wanted to consecrate the grave, but I told her it was consecrated already.

I needed to gather a lot of stuff from my father's grave. The prayer-woman said she would come too, and I followed her away from mother's grave. We must have gone astray, for now we were a long way from father's grave. She said, "Quick, we can get a lift on the truck," and she ran and jumped onto a truck as it was just moving off.

The truck was carrying large sheets of  corrugated iron. I ran after the truck and jumped onto a corrugated sheet, trying to climb up over it into the truck. I was having difficulty staying on and was in danger of falling off, so I grabbed hold of an iron cable with both hands. The iron cable hurt both of my hands as I clung on and the truck speeded off, but I had to cling on anyway or I would fall off. The driver of a truck-crane saw my plight, and, shouting to my truck driver, positioned his crane to catch my cable and hoist it and me so that I would be in position to drop into the truck.


I guess what sparked the dream was an email I received and read just before bed-time: I had submitted an idea  for an input device for  wrist-computers for confidential evaluation to Lambert & Lambert. Their reply was in accordance with my expectations.

They mark inventions out of 107. Ideas that score above 96, they offer to finance. My invention scored 78, a decent mark but short of the mark to receive their financial support. They said my device was feasible, with high profitability, high consumer appeal and moderate competition. However, the prospect of a successful patent was only moderate, with "risk of being rejected or issued with narrow or non-useful claims." Where do I go next with the invention? My horoscope for the following day (Evening Herald, Sarah Delamere) is interesting and pertinent: "Ask for assistance, if necessary. Now is not the time to be too proud, so don't be. You must believe in yourself; equally you must be aware of your limits. Life is currently a fine balancing act. You must spot when you need help and engage in dialogue."

The red plum of successful patent, financed and marketed by a partner, is not immediately available. I am now thinking of the darker plum of publication.

What's this about my mother's and father's graves? Firstly, both parents are actually in the same grave, so the graves in the dream must be symbolic for something else. Forty years ago, I dreamt of my dead father coming back from the grave and had to kill him to get rid of him. This was the Oedipus Complex expressing itself in a dream: my need to shake off the psychological baggage of paternal dominance and become my own man. Now, my new dream is telling me that I must go back to my childhood to recover essential stuff.

As to the half-eaten strawberries: this reflects my actual garden. I grow alpine strawberries in my rockery. These are tiny, but intensely flavoured and they ripen continuously from spring-time all through the summer into autumn. If you leave them too long, the snails will get there before you, so it is best to pick them when they are red but still firm.

The general weariness of the dream actually reflects muscular weariness from having mixed cement for a garden project - a task that left my old muscles weary.

The pain in the palms of my hands reflect stretch-pains from practicing the Yoga prayer-pose.

The prayer-woman represents, perhaps, those people we have to allow into our lives, doctors, dentists, taxmen and the like, and whose input becomes critical at times.


Monday, 1 June 2015

The German Conference

I dream I am at a conference in Germany. Delegations from many  countries sit around a vast conference table.

The Chairman calls the meeting to  order and invites the Secretary to give a report.

The Secretary says that at the previous meeting, the conference had been informed that the Cathedrals and Basilicas had become too expensive to maintain and there was a proposal to sell them off. "However," she said, "a member of the Irish Delegation, Mr Proinnsias O'Cillin (that's me) proposed, instead, that stakeholders should be found to make investments in cultural, artistic and economic aspects of the churches and their economic value exploited."

"How many Passions of Christ are there?" asked the Secretary. Nobody could answer that (I guess she was referring to musical compositions of that title). "Well," she said, with a nod towards me acknowledging that I had volunteered this information previously, although I did not recall that, "there are fifteen."

With this information, (as to the truth of which in reality I have no idea) the organisers had engaged stakeholders to hold fifteen Passion of Christ concerts, each by a different composer, this year alone before Easter, one of a series of series that had turned the fortunes of the Churches right around. Other engagements had been with Museum Trusts to exploit the economic value of the Sacred Vessels and Vestments of the Churches, Architectural Colleges to set up study courses in their architecture, Tourist Agencies to organise guided tours, Art Colleges to study the artefacts, and so on. Dormant assets had been brought back to life.

Besides reflecting on the beautiful churches I saw recently in Malta, I would say this dream is a reminder to myself of my participation in committees in the past and a tribute to (my understanding of) German correctness and efficiency, where my contribution to committee discussion would be acknowledged and considered, if the same could not be said of committees in the Irish Civil Service.

From my school days (with Ogra Eirann and, later, Dáil na nÓg, I had always taken the view that every meeting should have some purpose and objective. Whenever attending a committee, I have, therefore, always prepared something to contribute. Contrast that to many public-service committees, where people attend to fill seats and glorify themselves. An informant once told me of an interdepartmental committee that he attended as a young civil servant. His superior, whom he accompanied to the meeting, briefing him in advance said, "We are going to say nothing at this meeting, except to introduce ourselves and emphasise that it is important that our department be represented on this committee." In this briefing, two important rules were embodied:

1, Be there;
2, Say nothing.

To these a few extra rules could be added

3, Observe and learn what is behind this project;
4, Learn where the powers that be stand;
5, Align with the powers that be.

An empty vessel rises to the surface, while a laden vessel is easily sunk. Interdepartmental
Committees are established to take the wind out of the sail of over-enthusiastic Government Ministers. After such committees meet for a few years, the Minister is changed and the project is forgotten. Those who advocated the project are left in the lurch and the empty vessels progress to the high ranks.

Civil Servants remain faceless. They take no credit for their contributions. Liam O'Rinn, for example, who wrote the Irish words of the Irish National Anthem, received no royalties for this widely-utilised song: he did it in the course of his duty, and is never acknowledged as author, except when historians dig into the matter.

Nevertheless, we would all like some acknowledgment of our contribution. Instead our submissions go into a black hole, and we never know if they have ever influenced outcomes. So my dream conjures up a committee situation where I am given credit and my soul is elevated as a result.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The hijack

I dream I am driving home; but no, I am not driving, it is my daughter. At a corner on the way, I observe building in progress. There is a skip parked on one side of the way, and on the other a pile of concrete blocks. "Stop the car," I say to my daughter, "there is not enough space to get through," but a worker on the site signals my daughter to keep coming. There, indeed, was not enough space, and both sides of the car were scraped. Having passed through the gap, my daughter pulled up and we got out of the car to view the damage. I saw a shyster standing nearby and he was encouraging people to make a claim, and asking them to sign up and get a pile of money. My passengers all crowded round him, eager to sign up. (Passengers? where did they come from?) "Well, who would they be claiming against," I wondered. It was not their car. Who could they be claiming against but me, as owner of the car. This is an insurance fraud: none of them were injured, but I guess they will all be claiming to suffer from whiplash.  I must phone the police and insist that they come along and take details. I wake up.

This is a reflection of things happening in my life. My daughter, home from Australia, is about to buy a motor-car and will have to get insurance, of course. But more than that, it reflects a sort of a feeling that things are out of my control. Indeed, for the last week I and my wife have been duped by the family. All day Saturday is full of activities arranged for me and my wife by my daughter. When we arrived home on Saturday evening, the reason for this vague feeling of being out of control was revealed, when we faced a surprise birthday party for my wife! We had been manipulated out of the way, so that the party could get organised behind our backs. My dream was trying to express this out-of-my-hands feeling.

Monday, 11 May 2015

The story of Jamie McJamie

I dream I am in a hotel-lounge attending a literary event. To my surprise, I am invited to speak. I have nothing prepared and no topic in mind, I decide to make it up as I go along. The words in brackets in the following account are my thoughts, during the dream, as I pause to compose the next sentence.

"I will tell yo the story of (think of a memorable name, but one that will not lead them to make presumptions about the story) Jamie McJamie, (what about him?) who discovered a gold mine on his land, before he was twenty, (How could that happen? Yes, a sink-hole - caused by what? The mini sink hole in my own back garden when the extensive roots of a felled tree decayed leaving an.underground mini-cavern came to mind) where the great beech tree used to stand. (How could he have inherited land before he was twenty - family circumstances). Jamie's widowed father (give him a name), Brogan McJamie, was a hard-working farmer, like his forebears, ever struggling to make.a living out of the little holding and to pass it on intact to the next generation. Like his forefathers, he had primary education only, but had resolved to give his son, Jamie, secondary education. Unfortunately, young Jamie did not show much interest in the farm, whether that be due to some innate defect or to the secondary education he was receiving, and Brogan, dispirited since the death of his young wife was doubly-dispirited seeing his son's lack of skill and understanding of farm work. One night, Brogan lifted Jamie's exercise book from the table and flicked through the pages. An item caught his eye, titled 'My Father.' Brogan read the words: 'I look out the window and see my father digging in the potato plot. Skilled with the spade and hard-working like his father and his fore-fathers before him, struggling to make a living from his tiny farm and hoping to pass it on to the next generation of his breed. But I will never earn my living from farming: the pen will be my spade.'

On reading this, Brogan had an epiphany. He saw into the waste-land that had been his life. He had never had anything for himself, but had given everything to family and farm. He had despaired that his son would not have the competence to maintain what his fore-fathers had built up. He had despaired that Jamie would let his fine, pedigree, herd of cows decline, and the farm go to rack and ruin. Now, on reading Jamie's essay, Brogan had a flash of inspiration. He would stop living for his son's inheritance and live for himself instead. He would leave it to his son to do what he liked with his farm and his own life. Make a living with the pen if Jamie so wished, Brogan would forsake the farm now and live for himself as he had never done before. Soon he acquired a passport for the first time in his life: he had never been abroad, never been anywhere except on the farm. He sold his fine herd of cattle, worth more than the few acres of land on which they grazed, wrote a good-bye note to his son, and headed off to the Caribbean, where he could live in sunshine for the rest of his life on the proceeds of his cattle.

The son looked at the good-bye note in despair and looked out over his cattle-empty land. He saw the great Beech Tree: past its sell-bye date, old and mighty. The tie closest to the throat is the first to untie. He needed cash for his immediate needs. He would sell the Beech tree, and he knew where to get a good price. There was a wood-turning craft industry in town, always looking out for  good timber, such as beech. He went to the manager and got a good price for the beech tree. The employees of the craft industry came and cut it down, removing the lot except for the twigs."

This is as far as I got with the story.

Not clear if it has any meaning, except random memories. Perhaps having to make up a speech as I go along is saying: "You must take each day as it comes, you can't plan the future." The choice of name "Jamie McJamie," might be purely haphazard, or perhaps my unconscious is using an old habit of communicating through puns. "Jamie" derives from the name "James," common in Ireland, but sounds something like "Shame Me," asking the question if there is anything I am, should be or was ashamed of.  Struggling with the land and tied to family obligations is the common human load, whether in respect of an actual farm or the maintenance of a stable environment for family: sometimes fulfilling, but sometimes limiting and restricting. I suppose we all dream occasionally of breaking away from our humdrum lives - and that is what holidays and hobbies are for. The name "Brogan" may be random, or have a flavour of heroism, since some champion players of Dublin's Gaelic Football team are the Brogan family.  What Brogan read in Jamie's copybook is, of course, Seamus (Jamie!) Heaney's (in Irish sounding something like "McJamie") poem, whether the words of the poem or a paraphrase. What Heaney records as a tribute to his father and stock could also be cynically regarded as an educated person looking down on his peasant forebears. Cutting down the beech-tree derives from my cutting down of a mature elm tree in my back  garden. Yes, I sold it to a wood-turner, but, unfortunately, all the timber was worthless, decaying from the Dutch Elm disease, which caused me to have it cut down in the first instance. Where, however, is my gold-mine?

So, here's the Message, perhaps:
Firstly, Shame on Me for not respecting the heroic work of my forebears;
Secondly: keep seeking the goldmine, even though I may never reach it.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Nude Jog

On the night before setting out on my Gozo and Malta walking holiday, I dreamt I was running in the nude on the circuit of roads that encircles Glasnevin Cemetery and the National Botanic Gardens. I see a woman being knocked down by a car, and can't go to her assistance because of my naked state. Two pedestrians, however, do go to help her. Then I approach two policemen and am anxious that they won't have the wit to distinguish between an innocent naked jogger and a flasher. I pass by them without incident. In time I arrive home. My car is sitting in the driveway. Just to check that it is locked, I tug at the boot-handle. The boot-door opens and I see my shopping bags inside, with a note pinned on saying "You have missed the boat." At the same time I feel a stretch-pain in the palms of my hand.

The main purpose of this dream, I would say, is to set the biological alarm. We all have an internal clock which keeps precise time and can be called into active service. My airplane was quite early in the morning, so I had set my iPhone alarm and placed it by my bed. When I woke in the morning, I looked at the phone and discovered that my biological alarm had woken me up with five minutes to spare over my phone alarm.

As to naked jogging, this is not the first time the theme occurred in my dreams. Jogging in the nude would, of course, be a very pleasant experience, if it were not for the social taboo, and the dreams are replete with the embarrassment of meeting a disapproving audience. I recall the childhood days when I could jog in the nude without embarrassment. In those wonderful years between the age of eight and twelve, our family never missed a summer holiday in Lusmagh, beside the Shannon. The callows, fields beside the river, were flooded in winter. To help them dry out in Spring and Summer, the farmers had dug drains. My brothers and I, with our country friend, Johnny Searson, would often, on a sunny day, strip off for a swim (or, more truthfully, a splash around) in the drains (safer than the river, with its uncertain depth and currents). Then, to dry off, we would run naked around the meadow, and what a glorious feeling that was, with the air caressing my naked flesh! Years afterwards, I heard that the young girls of the village would often (or sometimes) congregate on the road overlooking the callows and have a good laugh at us careering around. We never heard a noise from them, because the acoustics of the place would carry our noises up over the fields, but not carry the road noises down.

Naked joggers were not the only entertaining spirits to be seen in the callows from  the road above. Fairies were often seen at night, with their lanterns lighting! Science now tells us that these were not fairy lanterns at all, but methane, rising up from the drains, spontaneously combusting!

The stretch-pains in my hands was another reminder from the sub-conscious. Thirty years ago, I noticed a thickening or lump in the palm of my hand and showed it to my doctor. He said it was the beginning of Dupuytren's Contracture, that it would develop until, eventually, I would not be able to extend my little finger and ring finger, and perhaps other fingers, and might need surgery to relieve the symptoms. Since then, I have frequently engaged the Prayer Pose in order to counteract the tendency for the condition to develop. We all learned the prayer pose as little children when we started school, but it was as part of religious practice rather than as a very useful exercise for our physical health. I also took to massaging the tendons in the palms of my hand to counteract their tendency to cluster and contract. My preconscious was now reminding not to neglect this exercise, even if it is becoming a little painful, but also, to think a bit about it. Since part of the disease is a tendency for the fingers to become tied together, I have now decided to add an additional routine to the exercise: hold three fingers while the remaining finger is stretched, bent and extended on its own. I notice that each finger activates a different sinew all the way up the arm to the elbow and beyond. If you don't use it, you will lose it, and typing on the keyboard, or playing the tin whistle, is not sufficient to maintain each finger's elasticity. Prayer Pose and separate exercise of each finger are both important.

Dupuytren's Contracture is very common in Irish people, and I see many men, and some women, as young as forty, who are not able to fully extend some or all of their fingers.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Heroic Legend

Last night's dream was, again, on the subject of music and problem-solving.

The tune that pervades the dream is a 16th century song that all of my generation of Irish people learned as a poem at school, Seán Ó Duibhir an Ghleanna, ("John O'Dwyer of the Glen") a dirge that mourned the decimation of the Irish oak  forests by Queen Elizabeth of England to build ships for her great fleets and left O'Dwyer "without game" and the emigrant ship beckoning him. The song turned out to be a parody on a much older song, a Sun Salutation that dated from the pre-Christian past.

My dream resolves the issue between the dirge and the joyful song of salutation. It presents a drama which commences with the tune playing joyfully while an ancient hero, in the midst of nature's Dawn Chorus, salutes the rising sun. Then there is the adventure in which the hero is overthrown by his enemies and slain. One of his faithful followers, who survives the final battle, retrieves his body from the battle field, washes it, embalms it and dresses it in magnificent (blue, of course) clothes, and lays him out on a stone table on a famous fairy hill. The people of Ireland file by his resplendent dead body, while the tune plays in its mournful version. The end.

Let's treat it, (shall we?) as being exactly what it appears to be, a creative result of juxta-positioning two polarities of one tune. Not to mention, at all, that the dressing of the hero in blue might refer back to my Blue and Yellow dream of a few night's ago, where it was I, myself, that was dressed resplendently in blue!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


I wake to find that I have been rehearsing in my dream some new tunes I am learning on the tin-whistle.

My subconscious is doing its job, reviewing and organising the experiences of the day.

For most of my life, I have played the tin-whistle rather aimlessly. My father bought me and my two brothers tin whistles one Christmas when I was about 10 years old. I never went to tin-whistle lessons, but played away to myself. Learning tunes from sheet music would be a chore, so I made up my own tunes and played them to myself. There were a few favourite tunes I liked to play, and it was lovely to break the connection between waking and sleeping with a few tunes in the evening before bed.

Forty years later, I met one of the boys next door at a funeral. He laughed and he said: "My mother used to say you always know when Frankie is at home, because you will hear the tin whistle."

I never considered myself a tin-whistle player, since I never learned any proper tunes, except those that came to  me by accident. At a party or music-session, I would recite an outlandish poem or sing a comic song..

Then, twenty years ago, some musicians of the Land Registry mentioned to me that they were forming a "sessions" group and I joined them. Now, I had to discipline myself to play in rhythm and learn the tunes the others wanted to play - tunes from the vast store of traditional Irish session music and ballads. We called ourselves "The Chancers," which was in line with other social groups in the Land Registry, situated on Chancery Street, Dublin, such as the Chancery Players, (with whom I went on stage in drama) and the Chancery Art Society, which I founded.

Soon afterwards, playing music for the old folks in the sheltered accommodation of Clareville Court Daycare Centre, I joined up with other "amateur" musicians to form The Invincibles.

I had to learn, in double-quick time, a selection of tunes from the vast repertoire of Pat O'Neill, our semi-professional accordionist.

So, a new experience for me, over the last 15 years, is the repeated learning of new tunes. This happens mostly when I have the house more or less to myself.

Yesterday evening my wife went out to a committee meeting. My media-editor son was out watching a movie and my artist son was up in his bedroom-studio painting, so I switched off the television and rehearsed a few new tunes. These are the tunes that continued to play in my brain when I was asleep.

I am not sure that rehearsing of tin-whistle tunes in my sleep is helpful. A professional golfer will tell you that it is not a good idea to rehearse the faulty swings you are trying to eliminate. I fear that in going over the tunes in my sleep, I am rehearsing the errors I make in trying to figure out the notes, rather than the perfected tune. The only rehearsal of value may be the actual playing of the tune, in which the fingers learn to automate the movements necessary to bring the tune into reality.

Waking from such a dream brings a reflective mood.

My wife, last evening, was out at a committee planning another commemoration in Glasnevin Cemetery. How many hours went into the last one I participated in, with the Invincibles, our commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce during the First World War.

The preparation was quite onerous. First, there was, of course, the collection of the material: a task that fell to the National Library and the Cemeteries Museum, who collected and organised a substantial volume of war memorabilia during the course of last year. Then there was the task of selecting material from the collection and other sources (letters from the front, snippets of historical fact, outpourings of poets in the front lines, songs and tunes of and relevant to the period), in consultation with the  museum staff, and combining them in a narrative; then the editing of the text to reduce it to a targeted performance time of one and a quarter hours, and obtaining permission to use copyright material. After that all the members of the band had to learn the tunes, then come together and rehearse them. Then a musical arrangement was generated. Keys were chosen to match the voices. As tin-whistle player, I had the privilege of leading into one of the songs, while a mouth-organ introduced another. Even though the whole band had learned all the tunes, it was discovered that best  effect was achieved sometimes by just the mouth-organ introduction and a female unaccompanied voice on the lyric. Poignant, touching!

Next comes a full, timed, rehearsal, and an additional edit to ensure that the performance comes strictly within the allotted slot.

The material is sent to the printer, and the band rehearses again and again.

Then comes the actual performance in the little chapel in the graveyard on Christmas Eve. Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the First World War, so the chapel was full of people whose parents or close relations were touched by the war. For example, one neighbour told me his father had been on sentry duty on Christmas Day, 1914, during the unofficial truce. On both sides of no-man's-land, the soldiers were celebrating Christmas. High spirits on the German side caused one German to throw his comrade's helmet out onto no-man's-land. The boy jumped out to retrieve his helmet, and my neighbour's dad shot him. Of all the horrors of the war, this was the incident that haunted him to the end of his life.

 I had the privilege, at this gathering, not only of tin-whistle playing, but of reading letters and poems from the front.

It was a once-off performance, and we have not repeated those songs and tunes in any subsequent performance. Now the question has arisen, not only of reprinting the booklet, which is out of print, but of recording the aural performance. I have a doubt whether the quality of the live performance can be repeated in a studio. When I read in the chapel, for example, Thomas Kettle's sonnet from the front: "To my daughter Betty, a Gift from God," the emotion that filled my voice was a reflection of the emotions of my audience. I suppose, in the studio, I can imagine myself back in the chapel reciting to that very real audience.

The editor had suggested that the poem be cut back (as one measure to keep the performance within 1.25 hours) and only the most relevant lines read, but I felt that the whole poem was necessary, and I got my way:

"In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown
To beauty proud, as was your mother's prime,
In that desired, delayed, incredible time,
You'll ask why I  abandoned you, my own,

"And the dear heart that was your baby thrown
To die with death. And oh! They'll give you rhyme
And reason: some will call the thing sublime,
And some decry it with a knowing tone.

"So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,

"But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed,
And for the secret Scripture of the poor."

As I retype the poem, the emotion comes back, and I must cease.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Blue and Yellow

Just as I was falling asleep last night, my wife said, "Have you enough shirts and jumpers. etc., for the holiday?" I said yes, for my wardrobe is full of clothes. However, as I drifted off I supposed the real question was not had I enough, but had I suitable, fresh clothes and not just worn-out old stuff. Images of shirts and jumpers floated before my eyes in a slide show, all blue, whether striped, patterned or plain. I saw myself dressed in vibrant blues, as I pranced around like a professional model. Then the images changed to blue flowers; blue, blue blue. Suddenly the slides changed. Now it was yellow flowers. Yellow, yellow, yellow!



Blue and yellow flowers in my garden today!

Blue is the colour of the intellect, of thinking, of detachment from the passions. I obviously like to see myself as intellectual and cool. Maybe I do prefer blue clothes. Now that the daffodils have faded, blue is beginning to dominate my garden. Soon it will be utterly dominant with the arrival of the blue geraniums, in June. Yesterday, to fill the spaces pending the resurgence of the blue geraniums, (and after them the red geraniums), I planted some fresh blue and purple senetti in the garden, so blue was already on my mind. Yellow is the colour of spring, of resurgence and energy. So here there is a "get up and go" message, to add to my cool intellectual pretention!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Significant Dreams of Secret Rooms and Rivers in Spate

In this post, I recall some significant dreams of my past.

The Hidden Room

I dream there is a hidden room in my house (actually my chalet as I was living in a chalet at the time). The dream was so real that I actually examined the chalet from top to bottom next morning to make sure that there was no such room.


A mysterious extra room to a house often refers to an area of one's psyche that is undeveloped or neglected. Mine, at that time, was a sense of an area of government policy to which I could make a contribution.

I was working at the time in the Gaeltacht Department of the Government. Gaeltachts are areas where the Irish language is spoken, and we had programmes to try and improve their economics so that people could live and prosper at home. Working against these programmes were other government programmes, for example small farmers' dole, or, rather, the conditions attaching to small farmers' dole. Charlie Haughey, as Minister for Finance, had extended unemployment benefit to  farmers below a certain income. Our problem was that it was only payable to those engaged in traditional farming. We wanted to expand our farmers' activities into potentially profitable areas, such as pig or chicken farming, language and cultural tourism, agri-tourism, horticulture, craft work, cheese-making, and so on. But when a person had more than one pig, or acquired a glass house, for example, he was no longer a traditional farmer and his dole was in geopardy. When you lost your dole, you lost your "book," a collection of miscellaneous benefits, including health card and fuel allowance, so you were a lot poorer.

There was, in each county that had a Gaeltacht, a Gaeltacht sub-committee of the County Council, which was composed of delegates of the various government services working in the area as well as the County Manager. My boss, the Gaeltacht Department representative of this committee, showed me a draft document the committee was preparing to better integrate conflicting programmes to eliminate the negative motivations and produce a more positive outcome. One District Electoral Division was to be chosen as a pilot area, where the new policies would be implemented.

The idea was that a tally would be taken of all people, cattle, pigs, salaries and enterprises in the area, such that an estimate could be made of the annual economic contribution of the area to GDP. An estimate would also be made of the total annual subsidies going to the area. A programme would be put in place, in consultation with the local population, to specify targets for increasing the area's economic performance, and flexibility would be allowed in the application of doles, i.e., dole would not be cut off from self-employed people, including small farmers, within the pilot area, until a substantial improvement in income was achieved and sustained over a period of years. We hoped that the programme would show that forbearance in cutting dole would help improve economic performance and actually reduce the state's subsidies as a  proportion of the area's economy. If successful here, it could be expanded to other areas willing to set up similar local development structures. IN essence, enterprise was to be rewarded and people encouraged into profitable enterprise.

The document I was shown emanated from a committee. It had multiple good ideas, but lacked coherence and structure. I offered to do a redraft that would elaborate it, hopefully, into a coherent and persuasive whole. This was my extra room! Having been given the task, I drafted a comprehensive booklet, with chapters on Background,  Purpose, Outline,  a chapter for each proposal, Conclusions  and Executive Summary. The committee were happy with my draft and sent the document up for consideration.

Nothing ever came of it, regrettably. Since then, I have wondered whether the document would have fared better in its original rough, tentative format. Higher ups like to consider that good proposals emanate from themselves or under their control. It is better, perhaps, to ask them vague questions like "Do you think something could be done about X," so that they can come back and say, "Let me have your suggestions," which they can then take up and promote as their own, rather than give them a finished document, with everything worked out, which they routinely relegate to the shelf.

As to the dream: it told me I had an area of interest to elaborate, which resulted in my draft.

Another Lost Room

Years later I had another lost room dream. By this time I was back in Dublin, working in the Land Registry, and married with a family.

This time the circumstances were the introduction of computers to the Land Registry. What is a Land Register? It is essentially a database of information concerning the ownership of land. A paper system is complicated and cumbersome, and a computer system can be so much more efficient and effective and allow multiple avenues of access to the data. It is an ideal subject for computerisation, and I had advocated this for several years before it was commenced. But when it was brought in, it did not set out to achieve its potential. Instead, the plan was to automate the existing paper system - "to pave the cow-path" in effect! I mentioned to the architect of the system that data independence was essential, and he replied that data independence was not on the list of objectives at all. They were not about to computerise land information, they were about to computerise the documents of the paper system!  What a waste of money and effort! (Essentially, a Land Register would, instead, hold information on Parcels of Land, information on Persons, and Index linking the two. Simple, uncomplicated and capable of answering multiple questions).

My voice could not be heard on the matter, because I was an Examiner of Titles, not a manager or computer expert.

This is when I had my dream, and it galvanised my intention to study computers and get the expertise to design a system. So, I went back to college in my spare time, studying Information Technology in a correspondence course. Emerging with a first class B. Sc. in Information Technology, I then proceeded to M. Sc.,  producing a thesis on "A Model for Land Registration in the Information Age."

The thesis had some impact on the real Land Registry, but was never wholly taken on board. After my "early" retirement from the Land Registry (the subject of my next dream described below), I became s Land Registration Consultant and wrote a book (unpublished) on "Simplified Land Titling (Simple, low-cost protection of all land rights)."

The River in Spate

I dream I am, with my wife, on a bridge spanning a wide river in spate. My wife suddenly slips through the railings into the river and is carried away by the flood. I consider jumping in after her, but realise that I, too, would simply be swept away. I come off the bridge in distress, to find my son, to whom I say: "This is dreadful." But then I add, "But no! it is not. It's fine."

I mentioned this dream to a neighbour who is into dream-interpretation. He told me that the theme of my dream is quite common, but that the woman in the dream is usually the dreamer's mother, not his wife. The river in spate is the stream of life. The subject is about to depart from the shelter of his family to find his own way in life, and the stream of life sweeps his childhood world away from him.

This was not my position. I was not a young man about to set out on life's adventure, but an ageing person contemplating "early" retirement from a job I held for almost 40 years. My wife represented the job I was leaving. There is, of course, much to regret about leaving an environment you have enjoyed for many years, but, no, it is not regrettable. Do it, forget about the past and get on with your new adventure.

The Furnished Attic

After completing my thesis on "A Model for Land Registration in the Information Age," (mentioned above), it was open to me to proceed with the studies to the level of doctorate (Ph. D.). Then I had a dream that I was in my house and was thinking of converting my attic. I opened the attic door, pulled down the attic stairs, switched on the light and peered in. To my amazement, the attic was already fully converted and wonderfully furnished.

The dream told me that, in completing my thesis on "A Model for Land Registration in the Information Age," I had, in fact, completed the mission I had set out on and had no motivation  to proceed to Ph. D. in the matter. I pursued this supervised study no further.

Mountainside Car Park

I dream I am in my car in a sloped mountainside car park. With me in the car are my wife and another very self-opinionated lady. I back out of my car space, with my wife warning to watch the car on my right and watch the car behind me. As I emerge I turn the car sharply left to best avail of the limited space available. The opinionated lady volunteered that she would take a broader turn. This is quite normal, since I am aware that females have a different spatial view than men - in genera, they require more space in which to manipulate a car. We emerge from the car park, tightly squeezing between the other vehicles and emerge onto a mountain track. Now there is a sudden change, for we are no longer in the car but on foot. The knowledgeable lady has gone ahead and reached the top of the mountain. My wife is struggling up a cliff behind me. She gets stuck. My best course is to go on ahead and throw her a rope from the top, in order to pull her up. I know I have a rope in my garage at home. Now, I have the rope at the top and go to throw it down, but she has slipped back to the start of the track and the rope may not reach. I get preoccupied with making a noose in the rope, which she can fit under her arms, and wonder if the rope is too rough for the job, but it is the only rope available. I wake up.

Interpretation: I really don't know what to make of this dream, if anything. Certainly, I was driving before going to bed, and maybe this was the subconscious way of rehearsing the driving experience - parking in a car park and emerging. Coming out of a church car park, where I and my wife and sons had been at a memorial service, there was a long line of cars. Then I had observed two lanes marked on the ground and moved into the inner, left-wise lane, only to discover that the reason why all the cars were in the right-hand lane is because everybody, on emerging from the car park, were turning right, as were we, so I indicated and pressed my way back into the right lane, thus effectively skipping a number of cars. Wife and sons were embarrassed and amused, but I thought nothing of it. This could explain my experiencing criticism for my car-parking skills in my dream, but the rest is a mystery. Usually, characters in a dream are all part of the dreamer's own psyche, so the wife and the opinionated lady are, no doubt, aspects of myself, one hesitant, the other adventurous.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Dark Side of God

Several nights of dreams: The Dark Side of God; The Garden Slide Show; The Bladder Adventure; The Gumboil Oil Boiling. Dreams are forgotten very quickly, if not recorded, and I can't now recall one or two others that occurred since my last Dreams post.

The Dark Side of God
I see a lightning-bright triangle in the sky. After a while it flips over and I see its dark side, a black triangle, with illumination around its edges.

Interpretation: This may be a migraine aura rather than a true dream. Medieval nun, Hildegarde, famously described her migraine-auras as visions, so maybe I might as well. Ancient peoples adored the sun as God, and why would they not, as it appeared every day to give them life. The sun-bright triangle is a  symbol for God, the triangle representing the Blessed Trinity. When it flipped over, my subconscious was telling me that God has a dark side!

The Garden Slide Show
I had been in the garden during the day. In my dream, the internal picture-house projected a slide show of plants and flowers.

Interpretation: Prompted as a review and filing of my day's experience, it ranged far outside of the range of plants actually seen. It is a reminder of the many tasks still to be done to bring my garden up to scratch for the Summer months. Mental slide-shows are not unusual for me, with a wide range of paintings, mountain scenes, sunsets, architectural forms, etc., stored, and/or created, for internal projection in dreams or "oft when on a couch I lie" in wakeful reverie.

The Bladder Adventure
My companions and I are to attend a conference. I need to empty my bladder, and I have 3 minutes to do so. No bother! I will find a toilet in the building. I search and I search, but can't find one. No bother: I know where there is a public toilet just outside. I go out, but it is closed. I know where there is a public house, but the toilet is out of order. I know where there is a lonely alley, where I can, surely, unload; but, when I go there, I find the area has been re-developed and the alley eliminated. I wake up.

Interpretation: Just a call of nature waking me up, and one of a type often experienced before.

The Gumboil Oil Boiling
I wake up with the old childhood tongue-twister riddle in my head: "If a gumboil could boil oil, how much oil would the gumboil boil, if a gumboil could boil oil." I also have in my head the idea that the riddle would make sense if we changed "gumboil" to "gum-buyer" and "boil" to "buy."

Interpretation: This is a sample of how the subconscious mind keeps working on old riddles until it finds a solution, particularly if the solution is relevant to the present time, which, of course, this one is, and acutely so, as I exploit in my comments blog: Buy Oil Now.

Monday, 6 April 2015

A Balanced Psyche

I dream I am in a large room. There are four other men and one woman in the room with me. It seems to be both a dormitory and an office. Each of us sits at our own desk, working on some common project. The woman is bright, intelligent and attractive and seems to give invisible support and encouragement to all the men. I see a mat on the floor, and I wonder if there is un-swept dust under it. I turn it over to see all is nice and clean, but there are four round black spots on the back of the mat. I tip a spot with my finger to see if it will brush off, but I realise it is an insect (a big,  flat, black, round beetle?). It scampers off into the middle of the floor along with its three companions. I wonder if I should try to kill them and look at my four companions, who are detached and neutral. Then the woman says, "What harm are they doing?" so I get on  with my work and leave them be. Eventually, each of the four men get up to leave. I have to have a shower and go out as well, but the woman is still there. I start to take off my clothes anyway, because it is time to be going. She notices and says, "Oh, I should leave!" But I reply, "I don't mind if you stay, but I have to get ready."

The big room no doubt represents the whole of my psyche, where I myself am the ego, or conscious self. Since the room consists of both working space and sleeping space, it also represents the whole of life. The four other men are the "four corners" of my unconscious mind, four representing completeness or totality. So these are the totality of my unconscious mind. The woman is my anima. Since we are all working in harmony, there seem to be no unresolved conflicts in my psyche. The black beetles represent death, and since there are four, the totality of death. "What harm are they doing?" the anima advises me. Death is part of the cycle of life. It comes to us all. There is no point in living in terror of death. We should just accept that it will come at some time, sooner or later, and in the meantime, we all just get on with life. Leave it our of sight under the mat. The fact that I don't feel embarrassed stripping off in front of the woman, indicates a sort of acceptance between my conscious mind and my anima - my female side, soul and conscience.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Styx, the Spring, the Fix

Three dreams, one on each of the last three nights.

Dream 1: the Styx
Working in my garden and attempting to press a flower that was uprooted back into the earth, I accidentally pressed it through the floor of the ground into a sink hole and, deep down at the bottom of the sink hole, into a putrid stream that flowed, over a beach, into the sea.

The "stinks" stream was a pun (a form of wit beloved by the subconscious) for "Styx." I had pressed the flower of my youth into the death-stream by excessive reveries (symbolised by languishing in my garden). The sea is the sea of eternity into which the death-stream flows. The message is: to keep hold of my "youthful" energy, I must get up; get out, get active. Of course, dreaming of working in the garden was also a rehearsal of recent garden activity.

Dream 2: the Spring
I dream I am back in the Land Registry office where I worked for forty years, with two purposes. Firstly, I was back to work, and with constant obstruction. Secondly, I was to attend and contribute to a conference on the future of Land Registration, which turned out not to be a conference, but an outdoor banquet to celebrate a new organisational structure imposed on the office. I (again as in a previous dream involving eating) was not hungry, had difficulty attaching my adhesive identity-badge, and finding my seat, which was unsatisfactory and broken. After the banquet, I drove home. As I approached Glasnevin, where I live, the road passed through a parkland where all the trees had burst into a magnificent display of white May blossoms.

My subconscious is telling me to forget about my past occupations and move forward into a fresh new spring in my life.

Dream 3: the Fix
I am, in the dream, finishing a painting of a father having an innocent tender moment with his young daughter. The father is in the centre of the painting and the daughter is on the left. Behind the father's back is his young son, horribly perplexed and jealous of the scene. Behind the daughter is a glass door and in it we see dimly the reflection of the mother, also horrified. I (a younger version of me) go with my wife, daughter and son visiting another family. The daughter goes off with the girl of that household to mix with her friends; the son goes out playing with the boys, and I am left with the younger boy. I take up a child's book and attempt to interest him in it. He takes me by the hand into the playroom, and there I find a magnificent library of childrens' books, including one which turns out to be an annual of some newspaper, in which there are multiple photographs. I begin quizzing the boy about who is in the photos. I see what in a glance appears to be Bill Clinton, and ask the boy "who is that?" He immediately replies  with another name, and turns out to be right, the name of a well-known wealthy businessman. The book turns out to be a laptop computer. I try to get back to the home page, but fail miserably. The boy's father comes in and shows me how to swipe certain images to traverse through the files, and I realise how the thing works.

I am currently reading "A dangerous Method," and the painting in the dream is rehashing elements of the Oedipus and Electra complexes referred to in the book. I am also having difficulty with my Outlook email account since shifting from Windows Vista to Windows 8. The dream tells me obliquely, but clearly, that these difficulties arise from using Microsoft Mail, which affects Outlook in various ways, and herein lies the Fix.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Visitor

With some  companion, I go into a bar , which turns out to be a kitchen. I have no intention of being here, just being "dragged along" by my companion.

I suppose this scene is like the old family kitchen that often attached to a family-run public house, where guests were often brought who were family friends rather than pub customers.

I was a stranger in a position suitable for a family friend. I sat detached from the family scene, as the proprietor divided himself (I suppose) between the public bar and the family kitchen, while the mother busied herself with tea-making and household chores, and the teenage children sat playing and arguing.

I had a useless bag of gears with me, and feeling I ought to justify being here some way, I presented this to the family as a present. They were delighted to receive a gift and their eyes sparkled.

I came back again and again, still disinterested and detached. I ate food presented to me by the mother out of politeness, because I was never hungry when I came here.

One night, the family was discussing films. They turned to me. What did I think? Had I seen such and such a film? I was disinterested in films, but, yes, I had seen this one. What did I think of it? It was OK, but not as good as another film on the same theme, what was it called? I could not remember. Was it such and such? Well, maybe ... yes, I believe that's it.

Another night they put on a film. It was dreary and uneventful; pointless, continual dialogue. The teenagers crept off. The mother busied herself at the stove. I got up to go. The proprietor confronted me. "You can't just creep off now. This film was your choice. At least show the good grace of pretending to watch what you demanded." I was perplexed and frustrated at the idea of sitting there in a stranger's kitchen monopolising, unwillingly, their television.

"What's with you, anyway? said the proprietor. You come in here to our kitchen and make yourself at home. You bring in a useless bag of gears and pretend it's a magnificent present, but it is entirely rubbish we had to dump in a skip. You eat our food; you monopolise our television, and you make no contribution at all."

With that I woke up.

The proprietor was my social conscience, telling me to get off the fence and get involved. Everybody has two over-riding instincts, the instinct for self-preservation and the instinct for preservation of the species. The first (epitomised by self-interest) is often at conflict with the second (epitomised by dedication to family, community and humankind). In the dream the second drive is confronting me as being tied up in my own self-interest and neglecting to help others in need.

The dream awakens two distinct memories of my past.

  • The first recalls an incident of my childhood, where my father took me to visit an old person. First we went to the local shop and bought bread, butter, sugar, milk, tea and eggs. Then, armed with this bag of goods, we knocked on the old lady's door, and in we went to chat for a while and give her the goodies. She was an elegant old lady, living alone in an old house. When we left, my father told me that she was a "relic of old decency," and had nothing to live on, but would not lower herself to asking for assistance from the social services or charity. After we got home, my mother asked me where we had been, and I told her. She said "Your father ought to realise that charity begins at home." She was a mother of five children (at that time, and ultimately eight) who had sacrificed her independent life to her family. My father had neglected to pursue his own career-advancement in favour of sticking by his principles, and my mother had to struggle to maintain the family with very limited resources.
  • The second was the example of Pól Ó Foighil (Paul Foyle) in the Connemara Gaeltacht. A blow-in teacher from Tipperary, he had galvanised the local community in South Connemara; built a college, founded a co-operative and a book-publishing company, personally provided micro-finance to up and coming entrepreneurs and launched joint ventures with some. I was a government inspector whose duties entailed visiting many houses. Here, I met people some of whom had never given a moment of time to helping the community. These were most critical of Pól. In pursuing all his good works, they said, he was "drawing water to his own mill." Amazingly, the people who most vigorously pursue the first instinct of self-preservation, are often unable to recognise the pre-eminence of the second instinct in those who give themselves selflessly to the community.
So, notwithstanding the admonition of the "community" instinct, I must keep a balance and remember that self-preservation is as important as the other.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Tropical Expedition

I dream I am with a group of Irish tourists about to  climb a forested mountain in Africa. I tell the others we have to strip and leave our clothes at this point and go forward naked. The party is reluctant and questioning. I say, "Look, it is positively too humid for clothes. The natives in this jungle go naked. We can keep on our underpants, or swimming togs, and our sandals."

There is a disturbance somewhere in the camp. Someone says "Boko Haram," and these intruders are ordering the trippers to line up, no doubt to be executed. I know one of our party has a gun. I whisper to him, "Shoot them," but he freezes and looks scared. I say, "Give the gun to me." His partner says to him, "Do what the policeman says." Obviously, I am regarded as a policeman, perhaps metaphorically or as a nickname. The leader of the intruders notices us and turns his attention to us. I say to my friend, "Just do as you are told," and Boko seems to approve, for he thinks I am advising my friend to line up as ordered by the intruders. My friend slips me the gun and I shoot the leader and then the other three intruders.


I guess the various characters in the dream represent aspects of my own personality, some adventurous and others conservative; some submissive and some authoritative. Even though I feel hot and humid in the dream, the idea of stripping down to our undies for a trek through the jungle appears a bit odd (as well as the fact that on a mountainside it would not be so warm or humid as in the valley we had just come from). Basically, my subconscious seems to be telling me to get rid of some of my obnoxious character traits, whatever they are, at all costs and to maintain equilibrium!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Total Personal Security

No dream last night, but I woke up with a new slogan and idea in my head: "Total Personal Security."

This comes down to an improvement on the "One card to rule all" idea.

One card to rule all:
Many people carry multiple cards in their wallet: several credit cards, one or more debit cards, health insurance, business i.d. card, travel card, social welfare card, store card, driving licence etc., as well as carrying a separate passport. The "one card to rule all" idea is that all of these can be replaced by a single card to carry out all those functions. Bring your collection of cards to the Single Card Company, and we can issue you a single card that will mimic all of these separate cards. A card contains data that enables you to communicate with data held on computer somewhere. The single card mimics each of the other cards in turn (you may have to "Select Card" when using it).

Total Personal Security:
The "Total Personal Security" device goes further. It links with the unique bio-identity of the owner, so that it will refuse to function for any person other than the genuine owner. So, if your TPS card is stolen, and you are fooled or forced into disclosing your PIN, it doesn't matter. When borne by someone else, the only message transmitted by the TPS card is "Warning: the present yielder of this card is a fraud." Besides existing card functions, it also monitors the carrier's heart-beat, temperature, blood pressure, blood-sugar, wakefulness and so on. It knows when it is being carried by a false claimant because of its ability to verify the carrier's bio-identity.

Of course, the TPS does not need to be a card. It operates by WIFI and Bluetooth. When you approach a card-reading device such as an ATM machine or border control point, the contact is made automatically. It can be a small device attached to a finger-nail (for example), or surgically inserted under the skin. Fancifully, it can be inserted under the skin in the centre of the forehead, where the "all-seeing eye" of yoga is situate. Then when you look at an ATM machine, it can take your introduction from your All Seeing Eye and confirm your identity by looking (via a camera) at your Irises.

This is not a next-generation device. There are a few steps first to be taken, including the Single Card, and it has to overcome the virulent opposition of Luddites.

Hypnogogic Phaze
Having woken up to this conundrum, I allowed my mind to wander over the subject in a hypnogogic dream - i.e., a half-awake dream. In this I saw a professional person approach a barman for a gin and tonic. The barman said: "Your TPS card tells me that you are diabetic and have not eaten for six hours. So, I must  offer you a meal before serving you alcohol. Would you like a hard-boiled egg with salad and guacamole, or would you like a protein bar?"

Saturday, 21 March 2015

18 Mar 2015 (Wednesday)
No dream.

Interpretation: when the internal Auditor of Dreams finds no message that needs to be passed to the Conscious Mind, we do not wake from our dreams, and the dreams carry out their normal function of filing away the information taken in during the day.

19 Mar 2015 (Thursday) The Wedding Invitation
I dream I receive a wedding invitation, but don't know the couple. I consult my wife; neither does she. I phone the number on the invitation: our conversion is nothing but baffling, I don't know what they are saying and they don't know what I am saying. I go into the restaurant of the hotel for my breakfast. I look around for my wife, who went down before me, but do not see her. There are three ladies, at separate tables, who look bemused by my looking at them. I say I am looking for my wife. They indicate a chair, covered by a cardigan, and say that there was a woman at that table. My wife returns to her chair. The three ladies say they are in the hotel for the wedding, and that the men have gone celebrating already. This means the men had gone to a local pub for a few pints, but I did not want to spend the day drinking; what I wanted most was a bowl of porridge for breakfast. The waiter is talking to my wife. He is saying "I am sorry about the breakfast." I wake up.

Interpretation: I had in real life received advance notice of the date of my niece's wedding, and had said to myself, "I must put the date in my diary," but I had neglected to do so. The Auditor of Dreams had found the information and sent my conscious self a reminder. Some thought also has to be given to the transport arrangements for the day; if I am driving I will not be drinking.

20 Mar 2015 (Friday) Playing Football for Dublin
I receive an invitation to play football for Dublin. This is astonishing, as I am not on any club team. Maybe its because I joined in a match for a team that was short a player, and got noticed by the scouts! I won't refuse the invitation, but I must get out, play some football, and get fit for the match. I take my boots and head for the park, where I hope to get a game. (When I was young, groups of youngsters in the park would often ask others to join in to make up two teams). It was a hurling match that was going on, not football. I caught a hurling ball that came through the air off the pitch. I wanted to toss it back to the players, but another ball had been brought into play and nobody was interested in taking the ball from me. Another ball came out and I tossed my ball to a player. He caught it, somewhat disgruntledly, and tossed it aside to take up the new ball. (Apparently, my ball had been deliberately discarded in favour of a newer ball). I passed on, but found no football players around. I met a man to whom I mentioned my purpose. He said "Perhaps my son would come out to play ball with you. We live beside the park." I go to his house, but his son is in bed. What a prospect, I thought, of having a vigorous game with a lazy lay-around. While they were rousing the son, I meet some young children of the household, who show me their art-work and with whom I am getting on fine. These people are Indians. They happen to mention that the son was attacked in the park, a racial attack. He was attacked three times. "Three times?" I gasp. "Well," said the mother, "Once physically and twice in his business." I am beginning to gather that they think the son can go back to the park to face his attackers, with me as his body-guard. I had myself (in reality) been the subject of a number of assaults in my young life, not racial, but purely of ruffians; once I was shot in the thumb while playing ball in the park, fortunately by a pellet gun, for there were no real fire-arms in those days. I had always followed my parents' advice to avoid trouble-makers. Now, in my dream situation, I realised I was being set up for a confrontation. Moreover, there was something shady about this Indian lad's business; his assault was more than a mere racial assault and had some connotations with his shady business. Then I woke up.

Interpretation: I need to get out and get more physical exercise, and not be side-tracked by getting involved with socio-political problems, which are often more complex than appears on the surface.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Starting a Dream Diary

I have started a dream diary a few times before, but on paper. I soon forget to enter dreams and lose the paper diary. So this time, I decided to put my dream diary up on the Web, where it is not so easy to lose it.

I had two dreams last night (or rather woke up from two dreams, for we don't know how many dreams go unnoticed).

Dreams are quickly forgotten, unless rehearsed and then written down.

Both dreams had something to do with coming, or going, home. This is a common theme of dreams, but the meaning of the symbol depends on the individual's circumstance, of course.

In both dreams, it was not my present home I was returning to, but my parental home, where I was reared.

Dream 1: The Purple Car and Catching Balls
In the first, I was walking home, walking up the old familiar city street. Children were playing on the road, as they would have been when I was a child. I saw a sports car driving along the opposite foot-path, a smashing, scarlet-red, sports car, so low to the ground you might wonder was it a real car or a toy. There were two young women in the car. I could not put my finger immediately on who they were, but they remind me now of a couple of young women from my present environment, rather than from my childhood. On the side of the car, there was writing that said "Corcra of (a name I don't now recall)." Now, "corcra" is the Irish for purple; but it was clearly not a purple car, but a flaming red car. What significance has this colour statement? I don't know.

The teeming children on the street were playing many ball games, all with bright white, fluffily new, tennis balls. Some were playing hurling, some cricket and some just bouncing, rhyming, ball games. As I strolled along, I stretched out my right hand and caught a flying ball. Then I tossed it back to the youngsters, amazed by my dexterity. I repeated with my left hand, and repeated several times over. Some were amazed, some delighted and some a little annoyed. I amused a somewhat dim-witted girl by palming a ball I had caught to my other hand and showing her my empty hand, proving that I had magically made the ball disappear.

As I approached my own house, I saw two girls bouncing balls outside number 68 and knew that these were the Corcoran girls. Now, in my day it is McCormacks who lived in 68, so I guessed the Corcorans were there now. I did not know these girls or their family, so it was somewhat peculiar that I knew they were Corcorans.

Then I passed through my own gate approaching my house and woke up.

Dream 2: The Clipped Hedge
In the second dream, I looked out my window (of my parental home, but in the dream as if this were my own home). I saw that the six-foot high hedge that used to surround McCormack's had been cut down to waist-height, and the whole aspect of the street, accordingly, wonderfully opened up. I called my daughter's attention to the change. Then I noticed that my own hedge had been tightly trimmed back. Whereas my hedge used to have a rounded shape, now it was cut into a tight rectangular shape. The leafs and twigs were cut right back to the base. In addition, rectangular grooves had been cut into the hedge, like book-shelves cut into a wall. The whole atmosphere was a clipped-back feeling. That's all.

Why do both dreams represent me going home to my childhood home?

Dream 1
What is the significance of Purple in the first dream? (In the name "Corcra" on the sports-car and again in the name "Corcoran" of the girls playing ball).

What is the significance of catching balls?

Ah, this one might be easier to answer. Catching balls might signify grasping opportunities. My dream is telling me to be ready to grasp opportunities.

From where do the opportunities arise? It may have something to do with my childhood days. Some re-acquaintance with old forgotten friends?

Why have the Corcoran's replaced the McCormack's? I know no Corcorans in my present environment, nor were there any in my childhood street. There was a Corcoran in my class at secondary school (since deceased) and I knew two Corcoran sisters in my young adulthood. Perhaps the opportunities I am to grasp come from the years when I knew these two sisters. Perhaps they are there to remind me of things that we talked about or activities we enjoyed in those far off times.

But again, perhaps the pairing of girls, first the two in the sports-car and then the Corcoran Sisters, both associated with the colour Purple, are just to point out to me the Number Two and the colour Purple. But, for what purpose?

Well, catching balls reminds me of the National Lottery. Numbers and balls together, might simply suggest a go at the Lottery.

Dream 2
Dream 2 is all about cutting back, is it not?

Maybe it is about prediction. Neurotic dreams often have a predictive significance, like the time I dreamt of being caught in a flood between the Phoenix Park and  Cabra. Next morning, I woke up to the radio news (our wake-up alarm) that there had been a flood in Cabra, the first time I ever heard of such a thing. (It was, months later, reported that the flooding was due to fairly recent house-building that had disrupted an underground watercourse). But that dream was more predictive of my family circumstances than the actual  flood. Rivers and Floods are often symbols of the River of Life, that sweeps us along. The family had being playing in the Phoenix Park, and, when the flood suddenly came, we got separated. I took two of the children up the steps of the Wellington Monument and hoped the other two were with my wife, but it transpired that they were swept away. This was foreshadowing the loss of my daughter who emigrated soon afterwards to Australia, and my son, who became a Trinity Scholar and left home to take up residence in Trinity College.

What is this cutting back dream all about? Well this morning's radio news was all about clipping back. Arson Wenger got his wings clipped in the European Championship. Likud had a narrow victory in the Israeli elections. In Northern Ireland, the two Unionist parties agreed to share candidates in the coming UK General Election. More importantly, Janet Yellen is today to announce whether US interest rates will rise or stay the same. The markets are on tenterhooks, (yesterday's financial news said: "U.S. stocks: Futures on pins and needles as Fed waiting nears an end Crude prices sharply lower after unwelcome supply surprise Hours ahead of a statement from the Fed, stock futures were on the fence as investors wait to see if the Fed Chairwoman will get the balance right"). If the Fed raises Interest Rates, share prices will fall and the US Dollar rise. If not, share prices may rise and the US Dollar remain at its current level.

Recently, I predicted (see ) that the Euro will now halt its decline against the Dollar and set the ground for an upward trend beginning, perhaps, in May. If American interest rates rise now, the Euro will again plunge. If not now, but soon, a similar effect might happen. However, I expect no immediate rise in American interest rates, and believe that an imminent rise, in the next few months, is already built into the present exchange rate. However, it is possible that my dream, accessing so much more stuff in the unconscious mind than the conscious mind can carry, is telling me to clip my investments back until it becomes clear what effect the announcement will have.

OK, then, is this the message of Dream 2: clip back your bets, Krunchie? Then, what about Dream 1, which says: Catch the Balls; seize the moment?

All I can say is: I should think about it, and be alert to old acquaintance, perhaps, making a re-appearance.