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Dream 260: A 42-year-old man had some interesting dream images. He dreamed he was looking out over a field of devastation. Machines were extracting people buried in the rubble. The people found were almost invariably old. Each previously buried person was then “replaced” in the ground by a teenage rescuer who then was buried alive.
He also dreamt that a blackbird was sitting on his left pointer finger. The bird was gentle but assertive biting his finger so that it was just enough pain to know the bird was there. The bird then started to have baby caterpillars come out of it. He could see the new-born caterpillars crawling toward him.
Interpretation–His abusive mother had recently died and he felt intense conflicted emotions. He came to therapy to rid himself of his mother’s influence. She believed he was unlikely to succeed and warned him to stay away from women.
The setting of destruction reflected his intense feelings. Each character in the dream can represent a part of the dreamer’s psyche or mind. The buried people being replaced by adolescent rescuers shows his feelings that he had to deal with past “old” parts of himself. The teenagers replacing the buried old people signaled his feelings that he felt having to deal with old maternal conflicts were interfering with his developing relatively new parts of himself which in this case were his artistic pursuits. His feeling was why did he have to deal with old conflicts instead of new growth.
Birds often indicate freedom. Blackbirds in particular often are associated with death. He in many ways felt freedom from negativity with his abusive mother’s death. The bird is sitting on the left on his pointing finger because this bird is pointing to subconscious conflicts as the left often represents unconscious involvement.
He feels pain which is the dream’s way of showing that his subconscious pain can give birth to creativity. Caterpillars form a cocoon and are transformed into butterflies. The dream was saying he could use his pain to create beautiful things that would transform his life.