The Interpretation of Hippos

The other night a small hippo swam up to me and I found myself reaching into the wrinkly folds of its neck to clean it.  There was the usual dirt and even whole rocks I was able to pull out and discard.  When I was done, it swam away and a little while later transformed itself into a purple, gold, and red dinosaur that was running around all over the place. There was more to the dream, but those are the parts I vividly remember. 
Freud and his progeny would say that my hidden strengths were exploring my unconscious mind OR looking for emotional support and that I was removing obstacles/disappointments/stability from my hidden strengths which then became either my outdated attitude OR old issues coming back to me OR my feeling of no longer being useful.  Clearly!  

I would say that before I went to bed I was putting my son's wooden hippo puzzle away in the closet.  Earlier that evening I was bathing him and had to make a bid deal out of tricking him into leaning his head back so I could clean his neck, which tends to accumulate gunk.  And, the toy I pulled him away from to take that bath - a multi-colored plastic dinosaur.  Before that, we were out front, where he was loading rocks into a push toy and transporting them down the sidewalk. 

Interpreting dreams is fun, but the fact is that most of the time, I can sit and think about all of the key elements of a dream I had and identify which people, objects, events, and worries of my day have inspired them.  So the really fascinating thing is how our brains work at night processing all of the external and internal stimuli of our days and the fact that the brain seems to "need" to weave these stimuli into a narrative.  Dreams are the cool and freaky byproduct of filtering and filing away, destroying and creating neuronal connections and pathways.  

Okay, now for my nod to the dream interpreters.  Infrequently over the years I have dreamt of clutching my bleeding mouth, trying to prevent multiple teeth from dropping out, panicking and begging others for help.  Because I was never having any actual dental problems, I gave in and looked it up. Losing teeth symbolizes a feeling of loss of control and being overwhelmed. Bingo! Each time I have had this dream it has been when I had significant anxiety about a situation in life that I felt was getting seriously out of hand.  

So, I guess sometimes it IS your subconscious that your dreams reveal, but sometimes it's just the minutiae (and hippos) of your day.  

What's your interpretation of your dreams?  Have you had recurring dreams? 


KCB said...

Oh, the hippo dream is great. What would the Mock have said about that?

I used to have one frequent recurrent dream, from childhood on, about being in the path of a tornado. Oddly, those dreams ended after I dreamed (about a year after D died) that I found a storm shelter in a part of my house I'd never looked in before.

My mom had a dream as a kid about an old shoe on the ground. She kept having dreams about the shoe, but each time there was more and more junk piled up with it. She says now when she dreams about it, it's a mountain of junk.

Chelsea said...

It's wild that you and your mom's dreams altered themselves over time within the dream world. What do you think the tornado and the pile of junk are all about? Is there a deeper meaning there?

I had a recurring dream in childhood that is so faded now I can only recall snippets of the scenery in my mind. But I remember it was always the same dream landscape in which several different plots took place, an unreal world of my mind's creation. Very sci fi post-apocalyptic with open fires in the streets. I wish I could play back a "video" of it now and remember what it was all about.

KCB said...

What do you think the tornado and the pile of junk are all about? Is there a deeper meaning there?

Apart from having a healthy, well-developed fear of tornadoes as a child, I really can't guess. The junk pile in my mom's dream might be a natural outgrowth of raising kids, but who knows for sure?