Dear Dreamboat October 2013
with Dmetri Kakmi
I often have dreams about different staircases. I’m climbing the stairs and go to take a step and there is no stair or the direction of the stairs has suddenly reversed and it is very dangerous to get to the next step. I sense the extreme fear of falling from a great height. Often the stairs are rickety and old or extremely weird and going in all directions – Harry Potter style – and again I either can’t reach the next step or it’s going in a different direction.
The infinite, constantly shifting, bewildering labyrinthine staircase with asymmetrical planes and dead ends, designed to confuse and divert, is Escher’s contribution to our understanding of the human mind. His 1953 painting Relativity profoundly influenced popular culture, existentialist thought and modern psychology; and has a direct bearing on scenes in Harry Potter and The Name of the Rose.
The staircase is a liminal space. It exists between states; it takes us up or down and facilitates movement between alternating states of mind. Stairs represent the high and the low. The word ‘stairs’ comes from the Old English words ‘stigan’ (to climb) and ‘staeger’ (riser). The implication is that stairs symbolise different types of ascent in slow stages through difficult steps. But they can also go down, from the attic (high states of consciousness/life) to basement (the unconscious/death).
Your movements upward are subverted or threatened by the challenges that are placed in your path. They slow you down and threaten your well being. Fear of falling dominates your thoughts and guides your movements. Freud and Jung showed us that sometimes it’s advisable to descend to the deep cave of psyche — there is a lesson to be learned there as well.
Next time you dream of disappearing stairs, step into empty space and allow yourself to fall. You may be surprised by the transformative stages that await.
I was laying on an oriental rug. Standing above me was a man. He had long, dark hair. He was looking over me as we descending rapidly down a never-ending cement hill, on a street with no visible scenery. Everything was cold, smokey and dark. It was as if he was steering the carriage-like rug. As we went down the hill, he leaned over and brought his lips to mine. Smeared over his mouth was thick blood that I ingested. The vivid taste of blood is something I recall. I enjoyed it and needed the blood. I felt at ease, safe. I was not fearful, for the most part. The part that jarred me out of sleep, gasping for air, was when the man, bending down again to put his lips to mine, grabbed my face and said ‘Just a little bit’ or ‘Just once more.’ Instead of feeding me blood, he inserted his massive, thick, extremely long tongue into my mouth, down my throat, where it found my heart. I hadn’t seen his face clearly until this moment. Right before I awoke is when I saw the enormous, bulging, black eyes and felt the dark energy of this man/entity. I woke up, feeling like I had the wind knocked out of me.
Have you forged an alliance with a group or an individual or possibly an ideology? The dominant imagery in this dream and the accompanying feelings indicate high levels of distress with an exotic covenant or alliance you are thinking of entering. You want to dedicate yourself, but you are also afraid of losing your essential self. You feel that the blood brotherhood, let’s call it, will erase your independence. It will ask too much of you — more than you are willing to give? — and reduce you to a servant in a cause that provokes contradictory feelings.
The dream also has strong sexual connotations. Blood because of its colour is closely associated with red — both symbolise extreme passions, the medium of life, procreation. This fertility is of the mind as well as the physical body. The dark figure in the dream requires a form of intimate sacrifice before it shares that which you desire. The fear is generated by your unwillingness to open up, to make yourself vulnerable.
The outstanding body parts in the dream are all potent images: mouth, tongue, eyes, heart. The monstrous tongue’s phallic penetration of the mouth to reach the heart shows that you are afraid of being violated, of being broken into, in one way or another. The bulging eyes may see too deeply into a hidden self. Do you hide from others that which you cannot accept in yourself?
You are not ready to enter this covenant. Your body rejects the alien intrusion into deepest self — the lotus of the heart. Darkness and descent threaten. Think before you act. Act wisely.
Dmetri Kakmi learned to tell fortunes and interpret dreams by observing his grandmother when he was growing up in Turkey. Nowadays he combines that fledgling knowledge with Jungian, ancient and traditional symbolism.
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