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    Thread: Tiny birds and fishes in a lost wallet

    1. #1
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      Tiny birds and fishes in a lost wallet

      I’m walking down the streets of a city I don’t know, but appears to be living in in the dream. I think it’s after some kind of party. It’s the end of the school year, in the evening, it’s night but there is lights and people outside. The air is warm. (I’m not of school age anymore but in the dream, it’s unclear if I’m me or a student). Close to a school or university, I find a pencil case on the pavement. It’s long and large, pink and shiny but in a classy, mature way, more like a mix between wallet/pencil case. I think it must belong to a girl who lost it on the last day of school. I open it carefully and go through her stuff to try and find who she is, so I can return it to her. I find a lot of small things that give me information about the kind of person she is, but I don’t remember that part clearly. It’s a bit like I’m searching through the personality of this unknown girl, who I feel in the dream is very different from me, kind of better than me in a way, but I can relate to her and feel empathy for her. I don’t know why, in the dream I feel that she must be sad to have lost this, that it’s a really serious loss that causes me anxiety.
      In her stuff, I must have found some kind of seeds, or little balls of seed-like creatures. At some point, I find myself holding theses balls above a bar cage, like the ones people put birds in. Each time I open my hand, a tiny curled up bird finds its way into the cage, through a hidden gap between 2 bars. Every time, I feel anxious that the birds are going to slip away and die or disappear (they’re like tiny half-eggs half-birds), but I’m amazed at how they each find their way onto the safety of the cage through the same exact gap, as if their instinct told them to. It’s like a tiny miracle beyond my control, that brings me a bit of strange relief. Finally, all the birds are in the cage. They’re beautiful, like tiny budgerigars or parrots with all sorts of beautiful colors. I feel relieved that they’re all alive and flying very lively. (I think that when I found them in the pencil case I feared it was too late and they would die).
      But it’s only for a short period of time: very quickly, they all turn into tiny colorful goldfishes and the cage into an aquarium. (In the dream, it’s not a transformation but more like a non-event: like these kinds of weird morphings you experience in dreams but are just normal at that time). One of the fishes looks really special, in a weird way: he looks like a small but inflated plastic character, similar to a kid’s bath toy. I look at him closely to observe what it does, and also because he looks like he’s drowning or suffocating. I panic at the thought he’s dying, so I fish him out of the aquarium in a rush to let it breathe. On the ground, he’s turned into a little cartoonish humanoid, and I press on his tiny chest with my fingers to reanimate him. He starts coughing and gasping and vomiting a disgusting white paste (yeah, that’s where it gets funky and weird). I don’t know or remember what happens next exactly. I turn back to the aquarium and look at the fishes with anguish. I’m checking on them but it feels like I’m just waiting for them to die and that there’s nothing I can do to prevent nor fix that. I know it’s messed up but could someone help me interpret some aspects of this dream?
      To give you a little context: I’ve been quite severely depressed for a few days. I think it was latent during the past months and built up during the last weeks. Now I’m constantly crying and feeling nauseous with anxiety, overwhelmed by sadness. I can’t get out of bed, feel too tired to shower or do any of my daily activities. (I’ve been unemployed for about 6 months but am usually actively searching, and doing all kinds of stuff to stay occupied, healthy and useful.) My mom is here and tries to give me moral support, she’s been very understanding these past days (she used to be very strict and not tolerating any signs of “weakness” or laziness), so I know I’m still lucky.
      Other than that, I’m confronted with a choice I can’t make in the state that I currently am. Either I go back to Canada, where I obtained a work visa and have friends and want to try and find a job and build my life again. (I had a job interview last week and have another one tomorrow, don’t know how I’m going to make it). But it would be with empty pockets, no certainty about job nor housing, and in this depressive, borderline suicidal state I’m in. Or either I go back to my home country with my parents for a while (maybe a few months until January, when hopefully I will be back on my feet and my visa still valid), which they just offered to me, seeing how I was. In addition to that, I have issues in my relationships with my 2 years boyfriend, and love him dearly but I don’t always feel like he treats me well, or at least as well as he “should” and as I’m treating him. We just had a fight with about his mother, who is very toxic and manipulative, and just did something hurtful to me (but he still thinks I’m being paranoid and she “means well”, “just has a bad temper” and “is just like a child”) (everyone except for him thinks she’s a flaming sociopath). Anyway, I’m feeling hurt by how he acted the past days, and wondering if I should break up. Too many important decisions to make, and I’m just here lying in bed, doing nothing but crying, feeling lonely af. Stressed that time is passing and that if I don’t take a decision within the next week, I’ll be stuck with nothing. Yesterday when I went to bed, like every night I silently asked “please send me beautiful dreams, please send me an answer.” And all I got was a strange-ass dream about a goldfish puking Anyway, sorry for the long rant, if anyone could help me make sense of it, that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
      Last edited by mahavel; 08-22-2017 at 09:14 AM. Reason: typos
      oneironautics and DreamVixen like this.

    2. #2
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      I’m sorry that your going through such a very difficult period of depression and anxiety, but actually your dream was trying in its own way, through a complex system of analogies and metaphors, to provide some advice on what’s going on to cause your depression, and to give you a few ideas on how to move forward.

      In addition, the various morphing of the seed-like creatures and the birds/eggs etc. shows that this dream came from the deepest layers of your psyche.

      It’s therefore what’s called an “archetypal” dream, one that appears at transitional or difficult points in the dreamer’s life in order to show what the dreamer’s overall objective situation is so that they can move ahead more effectively.

      Generally speaking, a city in dreams is usually somehow commenting on the way in which the dreamer is meshing her own personality with the outer world.

      In this case, you’re living in a kind of “unreal” city, i.e. one that’s not recognizable as a city you’ve seen in outer life.

      This might suggest how “alienated” you feel because of some incomplete adaptation to outer life. If so, this isn’t in any way your fault, but instead, it would be the result of the fate of your place of birth, upbringing, education and the zeitgeist of society in general etc.

      The dream appears to want you to step back in time a little (i.e. the school year has just ended and there’s been a party which you might or might not have attended as a student).

      The idea could be that it’s maybe necessary to kind of “start again” regarding your entry into the working world because, in effect, “the party is over” and you’ve been left mostly “in the dark” about what’s going on as shown by your unpleasant symptoms.

      You find a not-bad wallet/pencil case on the pavement and it’s clear it belongs to a girl.

      The wallet aspect might suggest the idea of a sense “identity” of which the girl (you) has lost too much.

      The dream places a lot of emphasis on this scene in the form of the emotions which you feel:

      “It’s a bit like I’m searching through the personality of this unknown girl, who I feel in the dream is very different from me, kind of better than me in a way, but I can relate to her and feel empathy for her. I don’t know why, in the dream I feel that she must be sad to have lost this, that it’s a really serious loss that causes me anxiety.”

      So it’s possible that the key reason for some of the worst depressive symptoms that you’re unfortunately feeling at this time relate to this “serious loss” of an important part of your identity as a person, causing you “anxiety”.

      If so, the dream then provides some ways out of this terrible situation.

      For example, you find the little balls of seed-like creatures. Of course, the presence of seeds points to the idea of spontaneous new and helpful ideas about what to do next etc.

      The seed-like balls then transform into tiny half-eggs, half-birds. Again, eggs are symbolic of new growth, the capacity of new life to develop. Birds are symbolic of “messengers” from the psyche who bring helpful intuitions, spontaneous thoughts, fantasies and ideas for projects etc. which all can provide instinctive guidance out of various situations etc.

      Apparently, in addition to getting out of the restricting wallet/pencil case, they want to be contained, “seen”, “heard” and cared for in some kind of organized way (the cage).

      Although it might sound like an unusual idea, paying attention to them could take the form of using a method called “Active Imagination” where conversations would take place with a bird, animal, person or other fantasy figure. A very good and reliable introduction to this technique, along with a trustworthy introduction to interpreting your dreams, can be found in analyst Robert Johnson’s “Inner Work”.

      Other books on this subject include Mary Watkins’s “Invisible Guests” and “Waking Dreams”. The technique is also described to some extent in “Man and his Symbols” edited by C. G. Jung.

      A recent book, “Imaginal Figures in Everyday Life: Stories from The World between Matter and Mind” by analyst Mary Harrell, is also very good.

      In the dream, you’re amazed at how they each find their way into the safety of the cage through the same exact gap, “as if their instinct told them to”. And “it’s like a tiny miracle beyond my control that brings me a bit of strange relief”.

      This suggests how trying to contain your anxiety and worry, although very hard to do, could allow these helpful messengers from the unconscious to provide you with some valuable help.

      The beautiful colors of the birds in the cage likely mean that your feelings could be lifted through this process.

      The dream then shows the cage being turned into an aquarium and the birds into colorful fish.

      Because fish also symbolize contents of the unconscious, this occurrence could be the dream’s way of emphasizing how varied the resources are for you to draw on from the psyche, but only if you “care for them” in a conscious way (e.g. the fish will die if you don’t actively provide them with “nourishment” and “oxygen” by paying regular attention to what they want to say to you).

      Part of this might involve allowing in a more childlike sense of fun and adventure as possibly symbolized by the inflated plastic character which similar to a child’s bath toy.

      In addition, this figure turns into a small, cartoonish humanoid after he’s removed from the aquarium (i.e. from the unconscious) because he looks like he’s suffocating.

      A humanoid figure means that something apparently has to be helped to take a further step towards becoming fully “human” (i.e. conscious) instead of allowing it to “die” (i.e. to become “totally unconscious”).

      The little figure was in danger of drowning or suffocating, and you apply some artificial respiration to save him.

      The clogged “air passages” and lungs refer symbolically to air, “spirit”, the intellect and clear thinking etc.

      So it’s possible that the tiny humanoid represents an undeveloped, personal ability to determine what’s best for you through reflection and thought. Instead, it could be that, through no fault of your own, a stream of fixed opinions and beliefs from society etc. about “what the correct thing to do is” has tended to narrow your viewpoints to the point where you’re suffering through serious career and relationship issues to a very high degree. If so, the end result could unfortunately be an essential loss of a sense of identity about the “real you”.

      Being someone looking in from the outside, it seems to me that the idea of taking a pause in all this would be a reasonable one in the circumstances, but it’s important that any decision you make instinctively clicks with you and really feels deep down like the right thing to do.

      Anyway, I hope that these ideas about your important dream can be helpful in some way.

      Please feel free to comment on, or to ask any questions about, this particular way of looking at your dream.
      mahavel likes this.

    3. #3
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      Ooh I like the interpretation above. What I want to add are some of my own thoughts. I think the dream is saying that since leaving education you have been a bit lost and are struggling with the transition from girlhood to adulthood - shown first by the fact it is a pencil case (representing the student) and a wallet (representing financial / adult responsibilities). Also it is pink representing the girl, but classy representin maturity. You are anxious because you feel you have lost a part of yourself.

      I think the egg things are representing new ideas, which you are scared to explore in case you fail but your dream is saying you will know instinctively what to do and you will fly, this success is further reflected in the beautiful colours.

      The birds turn to fish and I believe you are telling yourself that even if you did succeed for a short while you are scared of drowning. You could look at this and say to yourself of course fish dont drown! Perhaps you feel like a fake (just like the plastic fish / figure) and are again scared that all your dreams are going to die. The birds / fish were colourful and the stuff that came out of the little figure was white. Are you perhaps scared of losing creative inspiration? Or alternatively are you trying to bring back something to life (metaphorically) which is making you sick and / or disgusted.

      My general conclusion is that you are a very creative individual who should dare to follow her dreams! I think this dream was a gift to you, telling you to try and put your doubts aside and go for it, whatever "it" is! Good luck and hope you get yourself out of this bad patch soon.
      Last edited by cece23; 08-29-2017 at 12:04 PM.
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      Hi Athanor,

      Thank you so much for your incredible interpretation and for taking the time to share it and your advices (I took note of the books you recommended and will investigate this active imagination concept).

      I was deeply touched by your message, because it really struck a chord deep down and it echoed lots of aspects of my life I didn't even mentioned in the post. Also, I started to see a therapist because my depressive state comes with self-destructive thoughts, and she mentioned too that I was probably experiencing a struggle with my identity and a feeling of loss and disconnection.

      It's amazing how you both drew the same "conclusions" from very different information (I didn't share the dream with her!).

      Anyway, thank you again, and know that by kindly sharing your thoughts you really contributed to help and uplift a really lost stranger! I've taken the decision to "take a step back" to my roots for a few months and nurture my health and mind in my home country before going back to Canada in January. It's a difficult decision but feels like the right one.

      The night after, I dreamed about a very powerful but very gentle tiger that followed me everywhere to protect me, and was trying to teach me how to properly care for him so he didn't go thirsty or dangerous. Maybe it's another way for my unconscious to tell me I need to nurture and "tame" some aspects ?

      Hopefully with time I will figure which ones and how!

      Thank you again

      ps: English not being my 1st language, sorry if I phrase things weirdly sometimes

    5. #5
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      Hi cece23,

      I love the interpretation too, but what you added as well, thank you !

      The girlhood/adulthood thing you mention really spoke to me, I hadn't even considered this aspect before. And it's true that I'm scared that I will fail everything in my life, and that my eventual successes will only be short-lived frauds because I'm uncapable of taking care of anything.

      That is really helpful, and also your message cheers me up in those times where I feel so ashamed and disappointed about myself, and so blocked creatively (you guessed that aspect right too! )
      Will definitely pay closer attention to what my dreams are trying to tell me, and try to learn more on the subject.

      Thank you again for sharing your interpretation!

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      Glad to be of some help. And your follow-up dream is very positive too, I would agree with your own interpretation. Maybe before you go to sleep you should think about all the things you would like to pursue and ask for clarification then see what dream response you get!

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      Hi again,

      I’m glad that the interpretation helped you and that you also saw a therapist to help sort things out.

      In your other dream about the friendly and powerful tiger (which is one of the big cats along with the leopard, jaguar, and lion), your unconscious mind is trying to put you in touch with psychological energies which can be very transforming and valuable.

      So the tiger probably symbolizes that you can, for instance, find a strong sense of independence and security in the future if you work at it.

      For example, this feeling of control and confidence is described in general terms by Neil Russack in “Animal Guides in Life, Myth and Dreams”:

      “True to its nature, the animal lives in the moment. It teaches us to trust our instincts without calculation. It helps us to return to a more immediate, powerfully embodied way of acting in the world. We begin to listen to our emotions, trusting a true response. We wake up in the morning and suddenly know in our bones what we have to do. And, curiously, we are not afraid. We know what is right and we do it. We don’t have to prove anything or justify our response; we are like the animal, valued for its own sake. It no longer matters how we dress or whether we find the correct words for our intentions.

      The reality that comes from sharing in the power of the animal and the dream world makes our life feel natural. We become like an animal, experiencing reality directly, without premeditation.”

      I hope this helps, and please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you may have.
      cece23 likes this.

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