Dream a Little Dream

If you know me well, or have been reading my blog long enough, you have probably realized by now that I’m a leeetle bit obsessed with dreams. Not in a “Oh, dreams are pretty cool I guess” way, but in a “Why can’t I eschew the real world and live perpetually in the nonsense realm of my sleeping brain” manner. You may think this is strange, and that’s okay. It is. I’m generally a fairly strange person.

Yeah, a Nazi AND a wizard. Trust me, it's scary.
Yeah, a Nazi AND a wizard. Trust me, it’s scary.

My dreams are nearly always vivid, but they run the gamut in terms of subject matter. Complex. Silly. Terrifying. Trippy. Occasionally, I’ll even have dreams with recurring themes. Anxiety dreams are the most common of these themes; it’s finals week and I’ve just realized I haven’t been to calculus all semester. Harrison Ford weirdly appears in many of my dreams; more often than not he’s a Nazi-wizard and he’s chasing me. But recently, I’ve started having a new recurring dream. Nearly once a week for the past two months, I’ve dreamed that there’s a tall black stallion, wild and untamed, and I’m the only one who can ride him.

Whatever could it mean?

Before I continue, I’d like to say that while I’m not sure what purpose dreams truly serve, I do think they have the capacity to be symbolic. Jung hypothesized that our dreams contained universal archetypes derived from a collective unconscious; I think this may be going a bit far. Our minds are, however, bombarded with culturally significant symbols and images from a very young age, and it seems entirely plausible that these patterns would find meaningful expression in our dreams. It also seems likely that our own individual experiences could lead our unconscious minds to assign meaning to otherwise meaningless minutiae.

For instance, if you open up a standard dream interpretation guide, it will tell you that to dream of a snake is to dream of evil, or an untrustworthy acquaintance. While I suppose it’s possible to have internalized the Judeo-Christian Genesis story to the extent that every snake symbolizes evil, it’s probably more worthwhile to examine your own feelings about snakes and extrapolate a meaning from there. So, I kept this in mind when I went online to look up what it meant to dream of a black horse.

Where's the pig and the telegraph wire?
Where’s the pig and the telegraph wire?

Many of the interpretations were hilariously specific. “If a woman is riding a horse, and afterwards sees a pig sliding gracefully down a telegraph wire, the dream signifies….” Wait, what? Where did the pig come from? Other interpretations assume that I am precognitive, which would be awesome, but frankly is not the case. So after a few chuckles, I shut the browser and started thinking about what a black horse might more uniquely signify to my unconscious mind.

When I was four, my dad promised that if he ever won the lottery, he’d buy me a pony. I spent most of my childhood taking horseback riding lessons, collecting Breyer model horses, reading Black Stallion novels, and dreaming of the day when I’d have a horse of my own. Eventually, for several reasons, the dream faded, and I moved on to other things; straight A’s and theater and soccer. But what if the dream never really faded, just burrowed deep into my unconscious mind, only to resurface years later?

I think that my recurring dream of the perfect black horse meant only for me symbolizes personal ambition and professional success. Now, years after my equestrian aspirations have fallen by the wayside, the image of riding an untamable stallion signifies all my current ambitions, from writing something worthwhile to seeing my words in print. That galloping horse is still the dream, just a slightly different dream.

My brain is a strange place.

Do you have any recurring dreams? Have you tried to unearth their meanings? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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