Monthly Archives: November 2010

Dream interpretation: Black ants

Pete dreamed of black ants streaming from his footPete dreamed of hundreds of black ants streaming out from a hole in his foot. What do you think it means? He posted his dream to last week’s one day dream forum, run by Brisbane Times. I thought you’d enjoy this one:

Pete’s dream:

I was sitting on a log and then out of the blue, my foot was bitten. I didn’t know by what at first but eventually realised that it was a black ant. This black ant turned into hundreds but the initial bite opened up a hole in the middle of my foot and all the ants then came out of the hole.

My reply:

What do you see as the personality of a black ant? Symbols are always personal, so your response aids accuracy. Your dream paints a picture of an ant as insidious: one little apparently harmless insignificant ant suddenly turns into a mass of ants capable of damage. We see a couple of ants in the kitchen one moment, and there’s a massive invasion the next. Your dream suggests that something came ‘out of the blue’ (in the day or two before your dream) and suddenly turned into a problem.

If you see ants as busy, then busyness may have been the root cause; if you see ants as working for the community, then it may have been a community issue that suddenly erupted.

The foot symbolises contact with the ground, or perhaps your standing in life, how you move forward.

The foot symbolises contact with the ground, or perhaps your standing in life, how you move forward.

The foot symbolises contact with the ground, or perhaps your standing in life, so you perceive this issue as affecting your standing. It’s as if you feel undermined, as if it’s painful to stand the old ground.

I like the fact that the ants were released from your foot, as this suggests that something has ‘opened up’ within you as a result. It’s an opportunity to release an energy you associate with black ants, an energy that has insidiously been growing within you. Now that it’s out in the open, you can heal and move forward.

Read the other dreams posted on the forum, and my replies here.

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Episode 84 The Dream Show: Seaweed tangle

Thank you for your help
Lee has a recurring dream about trying to escape three sharks. She gets tangled in the seaweed before finally getting to shore, but, oh no – those sharks simply grow legs and keep hunting her.

Although Lee had this dream for several years, it stopped when she made an important change in her waking life.

In today’s show we interpret the dream and explore the question of how Lee’s circumstances might have changed for the better much earlier if she had understood her dream and applied dream alchemy at the time.

Also in this episode, a review of the best dream interpretation tips for busy people! Enjoy.

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

You can listen here (Episode 84)

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Hot coffee, warm heart?

Can you distinguish a dream from reality? Test yourself on this one:

John is reading resumes, deciding which candidate to employ for a position. He takes one resume, a sheath of pages attached to a heavy clipboard. “Serious,” he concludes. He takes a second resume, the same number of pages but this time attached to a light clipboard. He dismisses the second candidate as being too light.

Dream or reality?

Does a heavy clipboard add weight to a resume?

Does a heavy clipboard add weight to a resume?

Dreams are generally metaphors, so surely this is a dream, the weighty resume symbolising a serious candidate, a heavyweight, and the lighter resume symbolising a lightweight candidate.

Add this fact to the picture:

The resumes are identical. The only difference between them is the weight of the clipboard to which they are attached. Dream or reality?

Robert Sapolsky, in a New York Times Opinionator article titled This is your brain on metaphors, reports a study where volunteers were “asked to evaluate the resumes of supposed job applicants where, as the critical variable, the resume was attached to a clipboard of one of two different weights. Subjects who evaluated the candidate while holding the heavier clipboard tended to judge candidates to be more serious, with the weight of the clipboard having no effect on how congenial the applicant was judged.”

Sapolsky cites a number of studies showing how the brain links the literal and the metaphorical, and points out that these are processed in the same region of the brain. We are wired to process some experiences as metaphors, Sapolsky explains, to which I add that it is the metaphor versions of our experiences that we frequently see reflected in our dreams. In analysing our personal metaphors, as seen in our dreams, we gain insight into how we are responding to waking life on a visceral level. Our visceral level (gut) response is also programmed by our past experiences, the beliefs we have built about life, and analysing our dreams provides insight into these.

Is this coffee hot or iced? And how is this related to assessing personality?

Is this coffee hot or iced? And how is this related to assessing personality?

You’ll love this one. In another study Sapolsky relates, people are invited to read a description of an individual and assess their personality. The experimenter met each person, his arms full of files and folders, trying to balance his coffee cup, and asked them to briefly hold his coffee while he put the papers down. In half the situations, the coffee was hot, in the other half it was iced. Those who had briefly held the hot coffee before reading the description tended to assess the individual as having a warmer personality, with no change in the ratings of the other attributes.

Interesting but scary stuff, the potential to use metaphor to manipulate outcomes, but nothing new – just think advertising, NLP, fairy tales, movies.

Sapolsky says, “This neural confusion about the literal versus the metaphorical gives symbols enormous power, including the power to make peace.” In the article, he illustrates this with examples of peacemaking in the Middle East and South Africa.

Dream alchemy transforms our personal metaphors of waking life as revealed in our dreams.

Dream alchemy transforms our personal metaphors of waking life as revealed in our dreams.

The power of manipulating (and changing) our personal dream symbols to resolve inner conflict, find inner peace, and create more meaningful perspectives of waking life is the process I call dream alchemy. It’s about taking those personal metaphors of waking life – as revealed in our dreams – that are not rewarding for us and transforming them into metaphors that deliver more positive life experiences and outcomes.

Since the literal and the metaphoric are linked in the brain, and warm coffee warms our assessment of personality, and heavy resumes influence our assessment of a candidate’s seriousness, is it any surprise that dream alchemy, carefully and professionally applied, changes our experience of waking life?

Read Sapolsky’s article.

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Time to dream?

Are you too busy to explore your dreams? In a leading article on dreams in today’s Brisbane Times, Katherine Feeney writes about “the importance of dreaming in a culture Anderson said was already over-worked, over-tired and disconnected from ‘potential of their dreams’.”

Visit brisbanetimes.com.au tomorrow to have your dreams interpreted.

Visit brisbanetimes.com.au tomorrow to have your dreams interpreted.

Katherine interviewed me last week, and reports all in today’s article. “[Anderson said] ‘But that’s the current crisis at the moment – not that we don’t have enough time [to dream] but that we’re encouraged to pay attention to outward things at the expense of our inward health.’”

Take a few minutes from your busy life and post a dream on the Brisbane Times site. I’ll be a live guest there tomorrow, interpreting a selection of dreams. Enjoy!

Read full article & post dreams here.

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Episode 91 The Dream Show For busy people

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Episode 83 The Dream Show: Chased by a lion

Thank you for your help
‘There must be 50 ways to leave a lover,’ according to Paul Simon’s lyrics, but how many ways are there to escape a hungry lion hot on your tail?

In today’s show we look at how to find creative solutions to waking life problems by applying a simple, fun technique to any dream.

Paul Simon’s lyrics continue, ‘”The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me,’ and isn’t that so true? A problem is only a problem if that’s the way you see it. Then again, every problem or question has a solution – many solutions – once you shift your perspective and look at it from a different angle.

The technique I share with you in this episode shows you how to take any dream, identify the problem or question it poses about your waking life, and find several solutions for you to choose from.

I wish I’d thought of the Paul Simon angle while I was recording this episode, but it didn’t come to me until I started to type this introduction. Hmm, well, bear it in mind while you listen to the story of the lion. For good measure, I’ve added a story about why grass is green. Have a think before listening: why is grass green? Enjoy.

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Gentle disguise: dreams of the departed

My grandfather died when I was thirteen. I didn’t really know him very well, and most memories I have of him are second hand, borrowed from stories told by others, a person and a life fabricated from tall tales, hearsay, and conjecture. He was well into his 60s when I, his first grandchild, was born. When he died, they found his heart pills tucked one-by-one under the mattress of his sick bed. He must have slipped them under his tongue then slipped them out again when no-one was looking.

I have three pictures of him.

My grandfather's wedding: a grand affair in Budapest, Hungary. My grandmother is sixteen.

My grandfather’s wedding: a grand affair in Budapest, Hungary. My grandmother is sixteen.

One is the last photo taken of him, relaxing in a garden chair. My grandmother kept that photo in a frame by her armchair, until she died many years later. I have that picture in my mind’s eye, in my photographic memory, you might say.

One is his wedding photo, a grand affair in Budapest, Hungary. He is in his late 20s or early 30s, an English sailor; my grandmother is about 16, a Budapest child. Read their faces.

One is the picture I have of him sitting on his motorbike, a couple of nights after he died, when he surprised me in a dream. And that’s the picture that stays with me, though I don’t remember him having a motorbike in waking life, and I don’t remember anything he ever said to me when he was alive. At the tender age of thirteen, that dream was life-changing. And at the tender age of thirteen, of course, I believed that Philip Augustus Newton had actually visited me from the afterlife in a dream.

I’ve had vivid, colourful, full-on textural dream recall for almost as long as I can remember being alive. I have always been fascinated by my dreams, but this was perhaps the first one that got my serious attention.

The dream was short. I was standing outside my school waiting for my young brother to walk up from primary school so we could walk home together. While I was waiting, a motorbike came up the road and stopped in front of me. After exchanging a few words, the driver lifted his dark visor, slowly revealing his face. I was surprised to see it was my grandfather.

“But you’re dead!” I reminded him.

“I didn’t want to frighten you, so I came in a dream,” he said.

That made sense, and I was thankful. I was surprised, my breath was momentarily taken away, but I was not frightened.

“I’m here to answer any questions. Is there anything you’d like to know before I go?” he asked.

“I only had one question,” I said. “Is there life after death? But I don’t need to ask that now.”

He smiled, lowered his visor, and rode away.

If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve referred to this dream in another Dream Sight article, ‘Relativity’, which I wrote nine years ago, in October 2000. That article explores the question of communicating with the recently departed in dreams and looks at the symbolism of death dreams. Today, I am exploring a different theme.

“I didn’t want to frighten you, so I came in a dream,” he said, sitting astride a motorbike.

“I didn’t want to frighten you, so I came in a dream,” he said, sitting astride a motorbike.

What that dream did for me, as a teenager, was to assure me that dreaming was a safe space where I could face fears and find answers to questions as large as the meaning of life. I had no idea where to begin, and it would be many years before I would be able to interpret dreams, but I developed a profound respect for my dreams from that point forward.

Today, as a dream analyst and alchemist, my task, like my grandfather’s in my dream, is to help people safely face and understand the fears that limit and shape their lives, and to gently ask and answer questions that help them to clarify their vision and touch a deeper sense of meaning.

I’m often asked why dreams are so bizarre, so masked in symbolic language. I’m glad that they are. They allow us to gently prise them open, to give our eyes and hearts time to softly accustom to the light.

You may not know your deepest fears, but they show up, somewhat disguised, in your dreams.

“I didn’t want to frighten you,” a buried fear might say, “so I came in a dream. I’m here to answer any questions. Is there anything you’d like to know before I go?”

When you bury a fear, deep in your unconscious, it exerts a powerful influence on your life. It may be out of sight and out of your conscious mind, but that only gives it more power. Your unconscious fears limit and shape the way you respond in the world – and you have no idea that this is happening! You bury fears you do not want to face, yet the saving grace within gently reveals these to you in your dreams, asking, “Is there anything you’d like to know …?”

Knowledge is power. When you know about your fears – what they are, where they originated, why you have buried them, how they are influencing your life – you can set them, and yourself, free.

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, November 2009. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

More on dreams about death, dying and the departed.

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Recording dreams in middle of the night

Here’s an easy way to record your dreams in the middle of the night, in the dark.

Barbara, who hosted a dream group with me by Skype last week, shared this tip during the session when we were talking about how much more insight you can get into the meaning of a dream when you tell it aloud. We tend to use different words when we talk about a dream compared to when we write it down. The spoken version is raw, energised emotionally, and closer to the dream experience. When we tell a dream aloud, our unconscious mind tends to leap in and spill some helpful beans in the way we express ourselves too.

I invited Barbara to contribute her tip for today’s blog. Here it is:

 

How to record a dream in the dark of night: a tip.

“Because I have a lot of dreams, I sometimes don’t have the energy to turn on the light and write them all down throughout the night, so recently, I decided to record them and transcribe them in the morning when I am less grumpy and more alert.  A friend of mine set up my phone (an ordinary Nokia) with the microphone icon as the 1st option, so all I have to do in the middle of the night is:

 

1. unlock phone

2. click microphone icon and

3. click record.

I have found that it’s much quicker, easier and less disruptive to my sleeping patterns (and I don’t need to turn on the light).  Also, talking the dream whilst still drowsy makes the relaying of the information much more accurate and closer to the original dream.”  – Barbara.

Thanks Barbara!

Try this tonight and post your comments on how you go.

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Episode 82 The Dream Show: Trapped birds

Thank you for your help
Ann, my guest this episode, had a dream about birds trapped in a room, unable to fly through the window, and a second dream about people doing a live modelling show in a shop window. So, two dreams about windows, and about an element of being trapped inside, as you will hear when you discover more about the models.

Listen to the podcast as we relate the dreams to Ann’s current situation, and delve into the dreams to find light and insight to guide Ann through.

As always, dreams don’t tell you what to do; they reflect how things are at a deep and unconscious level. As we come to know ourselves at this deep level, as we see our limitations and as we see all the possibilities we have yet to empower, we gain new understanding and see new ways forward.

My role, after interpreting, is to assist in clarity and guidance. Once the dreamer holds a new vision, we cement this using alchemy.

We have an additional guest on today’s show, a crow which landed on our studio windowsill and contributed in loud caws in significant places – remember, Ann’s first dream featured birds! Enjoy.

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Success is flowing: update from Renee, episode 67

Renee, my podcast guest in episode 67,  asked me to share her news since having her dream interpreted on the show:

“I want to give you an update on how things have been since you interpreted two of my dreams.

"I cannot begin to explain how that belief has shifted," Renee, episode 67.

“I cannot begin to explain how that belief has shifted,” Renee, episode 67.

I recently published a book called Perfect Feedback (Receiving the Answers From Within)! Yay!

After you interpreted my Reggie Bush (episode 67) and my Royal Blue dreams (private reading) I started to look inside more. There were some hidden and buried beliefs that I just did not want to face. I am a huge believer in inner beings, inner guidance, and spiritual guidance and I believe our dreams fall right into those categories. Because of your interpretations I have now acknowledged the real reason behind my work ethic. I tend to overwork myself and over do things because there was a buried belief that if money came easily then it had to be connected to evil, illegal, or ill-gotten ways. You pointed that out in one of my dreams.

I cannot begin to explain how that belief has shifted. Because of that, I have been able to ease up a lot and have started to let success flow to me (the easy way).

Also, you mentioned the tremendous value that I have inside of me. It has been a major struggle for me to open up, let my vulnerabilities show, and express myself. You showed me that our vulnerabilities are what make us special. I took that to heart. I then realized that I am so worthy of everything I have lined up for me.

I can’t believe it took a dream to show me that. But that’s what happens sometimes when we let others tell us that we are “less than” or “not worthy enough”.

I have made major steps towards changing the way I think. I can’t say I have it all figured out yet, but I can say at least I have started. My inner guidance had a message for me and you helped get it to me. I am so thankful. Keep doing what you do!”

Read or buy Renee’s book

Listen to Renee reading her book introduction.

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Sunrise clip: sexsomnia & sleepwalking

Sunrise invited me onto the breakfast show this morning to talk about sexsomnia and other forms of sleepwalking. Here’s the clip from the show:

What is sexsomnia? Channel 7 are screening a documentary tonight, Sleep Walkers: Secrets of the Night, focussing on sleepwalking in its many forms, including sexsomnia, a distressing condition where a person, usually male, tries to have sex with his partner while he (the sleepwalker) is asleep. The sex is usually rough and mechanical, and, of course, extremely distressing to the partner who is the only one of the pair to have any memory of the event in the morning. 100,000 people are believed to have sexsomnia in Britain.

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