with Dmetri Kakmi
This is a recurring dream. It’s to do with losing my teeth. I’ve had variations of this dream over the years: knocking my front teeth out and viewing my toothless face in the mirror, in horror — lots of goo coming out. Sometimes the teeth fall out. The other night I lost my complete lower jaw and was trying to get it fixed. There’s no comic element to it when I dream about it. Most times I am in anguish, mostly because it feels like my face is ruined or there is blood or pus coming out of where the teeth were knocked out. Weirdly, there was no blood when my lower jaw was missing … unfortunately, I can’t remember much else.
Losing teeth is a common dream. Teeth are battlements, the fortified walls, to the inner being. To lose ones teeth is to lose ones defenses, to be vulnerable and open to attack.
While reading your dream, I thought of Jeff Goldblum’s horrific/comic disintegration in The Fly. He too watches himself fall apart in the mirror. Fingernails, teeth, ears etc. When there is nothing left of his old self, he is transformed into a monstrous other. In his case, the transformation brings forth a latent malevolence that lurks beneath the genial surface. And this is where the other symbolic nature of teeth comes in. Not surprisingly, teeth are also primordial weapons of ferocity and attack. Think of animals that bare their teeth to ward off a threat or to seize prey. Thus teeth in the human can signify latent aggression or withheld, often frustrated, assertiveness.
The turning point in the dream comes when you lose your jaw. The first thing that popped into mind on reading this is: ‘I can’t hold it together anymore’. The familiar face falling apart in the mirror could be you fearing the loss of control in your life and therefore losing public face. The mask you present to the world is wobbly and you are afraid of the consequences, the implications.
Are you in conflict with an aspect of your life? Do you need to integrate or reclaim something into a new way of being?
A young blonde girl in a transparent rain poncho runs across a rail crossing. The train narrowly misses her. She tells me she couldn’t believe the close call she had. Then she realises that it is pouring rain and she is bone-dry. Then her body is wheeled past, clear poncho covered in blood. Part of her, she remembers, hoped that the same thing hadn’t happened to Josie, the friend she came across the crossing with. But already she’s thinking it’s okay if it did. And already she’s forgetting who Josie is. The scene cuts to a view out the back of the ambulance as it rounds a corner, leaving a cobbled four-way intersection behind. The dead girl in the bloodied rain slicker, white-eyed, steps out of a mum-and-dad corner store and waves as I leave her behind.
Is this a dream about missed opportunity? Or is it a dream about successfully grabbing an opportunity? I’m not sure. There’s a wistful feeling about the images you describe, as though time, life, has passed and it’s too late for anything. There is sadness here. The golden-haired girl-child, waving from the porch of plenty, is your anima as you are carried away in a life-preserving conveyance. Is it too late to be saved? Or have you been saved in time? Again I’m not sure.
Notice the detachment the ghostly girl displays towards her possibly dead friend, Josie? Does her sense of disconnection from earthly concerns reflect your senses of disconnection? Do you feel that things have slipped through your fingers and it’s too late to do anything about it?
What makes me hesitate from being definitive in my interpretation is that events take place at an intersection. Symbolically speaking you stand at a crossroads. You are at a juncture in your life. You can go four different directions. The choice is yours.
The railroad and the imminent train represent a journey to be fulfilled. Despite the melancholy and the sense of loss in this dream, I cling to hope because the child is a symbol of the future. ′
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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