“I dreamed that a two inch worm wriggled out of my nipple,” said Kerry, who called Brig and Lehmo’s breakfast show on Radio Mix101.1FM a couple of weeks ago to ask me about her dream.
Parasites seemed to be the order of the day, as I had just helped Brig understand her dream of picking lice from a sports star’s hair. Lice and worms, nice subject over breakfast.
Dream interpretation on breakfast radio has to be quick, punchy, entertaining and light hearted, while also delivering something insightful and meaningful about each dream and imparting – between the lines – a dream interpretation tip or two to the listeners. Callers don’t have the luxury of describing a whole dream, so it’s often down to the basics, like Kerry’s worm wriggling out from her nipple. Oh, but we did have a little more information: the worm was two inches long.
Every part of a dream is meaningful, and it is deeply rewarding to explore and interpret every detail, but for the time poor – and for radio – there’s a lot of magic to be gained by reducing a dream down to one or two basic sentences that give the gist and highlight the weirdest symbols.
Yes, I will share my insight on Kerry’s dream! There are no ad breaks or tunes to squeeze into this blog post, so I’m spinning my tale.
If you’re very busy, if the pace of your life is more breakfast show, more grazing bytes than navel gazing, jot down your dreams using the same words that you’d use if you were phoning a radio station and the producer told you to describe your dream in no more than a couple of sentences. At least you’ll have something written in your dream journal, some record of dreams that would otherwise disappear into the rush time ether. And you can get some good insights working with these basic bottom lines.
Interpreting dreams is not dream dictionary work. There’s no universal meaning for worm or nipple. It’s more meaningful to look at how the symbols in a dream interact than to look at them in isolation. Whenever someone describes a dream, I empty my mind and just listen. As the dreamer paints the picture of the dream, I keep an open mind, observing how the elements interact, how the drama unfolds, how the dreamer expresses the dream.
What do you see when you put nipple and worm in the same sentence? What does the interaction of these two symbols conjure up for you?
Many decades ago, when I lived in Glasgow, I enjoyed skipping the occasional lecture to relax and potter around my kitchen while listening to Radio BBC Scotland. I liked the afternoon play readings and the segments where they had experts in the studio answering callers’ questions. The experts always came in panels of three, and they would decide amongst themselves who would answer each caller’s question. “Over to you, Jack,” one expert would say, after giving a brief opinion of his own.
I imagined the panel of experts sitting there in the studio, reference books on the table in front of them, two rapidly thumbing pages checking facts and searching for answers while the third held fort with a wordy introduction. (Yes, these were pre-internet days.)
Did my imagining manifest my many years of being an ‘expert’ on radio? Probably! I was first interviewed on radio 34 years ago, and it’s been in my life, on and off, ever since. But there’s no sitting in the studio with a reference book, or even with a laptop. Mostly there’s no sitting in the studio. I’m usually at home, on the phone and I ask not to be told anything about the dreams before we go live to air. It keeps everything in the moment and allows me to just sit, with a totally clear mind, and listen as the caller (or the presenter) describes their dream. If I don’t analyse – if I simply sit and watch how symbols interact, how the dream drama develops, how the caller tells the dream, I have enough clues to respond.
Being a radio ‘expert’ has taught me the clarity of being in the moment. I use the same approach for working with long, detailed dreams, for clients where we spend an hour on one dream, and for The Dream Show where I chat luxuriously with guests about a single dream.
So here we are at the bottom line of today’s blog. What does Kerry’s dream about a worm wriggling out from her nipple mean?
There’s a tension at work here: a nipple is designed to deliver milk, to nourish and nurture. A worm that has been living inside the body is probably a parasite, feeding on the person’s energy, ultimately depriving the person of energy and nourishment. Kerry’s dream shows a tension around nurturing. Something’s been draining her of her energy. Something that should be nourishing and nurturing for Kerry has, in fact, been potentially draining her reserves.
The good news is that Kerry’s dream captures the moment where the worm leaves her body. Every dream reflects the 24-48 hours prior, so Kerry most probably ‘got something off her chest’ about what’s been draining her instead of nourishing and fulfilling her. And since that worm was two inches long, this draining has most likely been going on for two years.
Of course, we’d need to really look into the details of Kerry’s dream to be precise and gain deeper insight, but as a starting point for Kerry and the radio listeners, and as a starting point for busy people – like you perhaps – byte sized dream interpretation is good breakfast food for thought.