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    Thread: metamorphosis of dream characters and places

    1. #1
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      metamorphosis of dream characters and places

      Hi, I am trying to work our what it means when a character changes into another person as sometimes the transformation can be into a character with similar traits and sometimes its complete opposite. I have had this happen quite often. in the dream it is as though i don't even notice but there is a contingency within the characters. I have even had it where i will talk to one character, they will go away and return in a different body but i will still know that it is them.

      I have also had this happen with places , in the past i have been in a shopping mall which transformed into a church. This contrast helped me understand the meaning to the shopping mall as the church of materialism. this change was from one extreme to its opposite. I have read that the unconscious doesn't think of things in opposition as the conscious mind does and this switch is a part of how the unconscious thinks as the opposites are different ends of the same thing. i have also found in successful dream interpretations that opposites will merge into a unity giving clarity and less inner confusion. however the metamorphosis with characters isn't always as extreme.

      I have had a dream where George Clooney turned into my dad. I know my dad represents tradition and i felt as though the transformation of George Clooney was emphasising an aspect of tradition instead of opposing to it. I have had my mother transform into a cat (both feminine symbols). a shy person turn into an equally shy person. but also a monk turn into a beautiful woman (possible a anima and also complemetary).

      Any ideas would be more than welcome,

      Many thanks,

      Yanavira
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    2. #2
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      It sounds like you've actually already got it pretty well worked out, to a large extent anyway. I had realized that usually when things change in a dream it's to help clarify the meaning (often), but you've taken it further than I did. I only recently learned about the importance of the opposites, but hadn't considered how they might show up in dreams - so thank you for that.

      In case more examples might help you to unravel it, I once had a dream where I saw Arnold Horshack (from the show Welcome Back Kotter - he was a really super-nerdy guy), and in the dream his face was covered with pimples piled on top of pimples. He was wearing a green army jacket, which he sometimes used to wear on the show. In fact he was sitting in front of me in a classroom in the dream - I didn't know who it was until he turned his head toward me and it went into closeup to emphasize who he was and all the pimples - so he represented really low-status and low self esteem. In fact it resembled a shot from a horror movie, it's like I saw him turn his head in slow motion and his expression was one of horror, as if he was horrified at all the pimples on his face.

      Then in the next scene of the dream I saw Robert Redford (I'll assume you know who that is) walking along beside a railroad track with a short woman with long blonde hair. He was wearing a green army jacket, so he was linked with Arnold Horshack. I believe they both represented me in different aspects - at my most self-loathing and at my most confident. I'll just tell the rest of the dream since it includes another transformation. At this point I was Robert Redford, and was having a conversation with the woman. I said something to her about her being the head of the pool committee, and it seemed like a very clever line for some reason. Just ahead of us was a long narrow puddle along the edge of the railroad track, and as I saw it it went into closeup (just like Horshack's face had done) and I saw it with no water in it. After waking I realized that was to show me exactly how deep it was - just deep enough to contain a body. Also just the right length and width. Then I lifted a big rock that was in my hand and hit her on the head - her body dropped right into the puddle and disappeared.

      Next scene I was standing on top of a dumpster. It was green (like the jacket was - and I forgot to mention, but the woman was also wearing a green army jacket). The lid of the dumpster was open, so I was standing with my feet on the edge of the metal walls of it, looking down into it. It was filled with water - I believe the puddle had become a dumpster for some reason I haven't figured out. But I could now see the woman's body lying in the water. I didn't like it because it wasn't deep enough - I either didn't want it to be visible, or more likely - I believe dumping it in the water represented pushing some aspect of my personality down into the unconscious - possibly an anima figure. So I picked the body up, stepped over to the next section of the dumpster (it was very long - like several dumpsters linked together like the cars of a train) and threw it into the water there, where it sank deeper but was still too visible.

      I also failed to mention, that immediately after seeing each of the 2 male characters I saw a quick glimpse looking down at my body, and I was now him. I mean first I saw Arnold Horshack when I was sitting behind him, and immediately after seeing the closeup of his face I switched to being him, and the dream showed me a point-of-view shot looking down at my body to show me that I was now him, wearing the green jacket. It did the same after I saw Robert Redford - next shot was a point-of-view shot looking down at myself - and I was now Robert Redford in the green jacket. So every character represented some aspect of myself.

      So - now I need to think about Horshack and Redford as opposites, and what the mean between them would be. I suppose it's me. Maybe the dream was telling me that I'm neither as bad or as good as I sometimes think I am? But that I'm actually midway between those extremes. And the dumpster with the compartments - maybe I compartmentalize things? That's good - I had never thought of that one before. And as for why the puddle became a dumpster - maybe I was trying to throw something away - whatever the woman represented? Dispose of it. Sounds likely.

      Actually I don't think the woman was an anima figure, this was at a time when I was really trying to transform myself - working out and trying to become more of a hard-ass in certain ways. So I think she represented the feminine aspects of my personality, which I was trying to dispose of. She never did disappear completely, which is doubtless a good thing, though in the dream it frustrated me.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 02-01-2018 at 03:08 AM.
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    3. #3
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      If you're asking about the meaning of the examples you posted - nothing occurs to me so far. But I think in order to get a decent interpretation you would need to post the dreams in detail, hopefully along with anything significant that might have been going on in your life at the time, if you record such things in your dream journal. Of course it would also be a good idea to engage in some association - what occurs to you in relation to the various characters? For instance, what does George Clooney make you think of? What does he have in common with your dad, and what is completely contrasting about them?

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      Hi Darkmatters, thanks for the reply. i had thought about the similarities between the transformations in characters but i hadn't considered the similarities so this helps alot. i wrote a long detailed account of the dream and my analyses of it (the one with George Clooney) but word did some auto save recovery which reverted my document back to the previous version. i can't bring my self to write it out again but i got alot out of it. In that dream i think my dad represented traditional conservative values but then George Clooney gave him a celebrity status (god like status) but also emphasized a vanity and pride. As in the dream my dad was blocking my way (on a train track) i was quite certain that it was suggesting that i would only move forward in humility and accepting new ideas.

      Reading your dream reminded me of a lecture i recently heard by Robert Bosnak who puts forward the idea of "embodied dream imagery". He suggest that every symbol in the dream has a different consciousness and the point of the dream is to reach so sort of resolution or understanding between the conflict. He says that before analyses you should enter the consciousness of each of the conflicting dream consciousnesses, anchor the states (stimulus response through touch, sound or vision) relating to each consciousness with a different anchor. When the two states are anchored sufficiently you set both the anchors off making the two states present in you at the same time. this causes the state to sort of unify. I have done this a few times , anchored the states with a sound board on my computer, and the results have been quite dramatic. when i have done it with contrasting characters it has collapsed my two dramatic perceptions into one much more stable one. In one instance i had a character representing traditional aspects (again my dad) and a character representing a liberal attitude and attraction to new ideas. when i set the two anchors off the tow ideas merged and i relied that in any traditional life path there is always the unexpected and in any new endevour there are always structures to guide you. i can't express it well enough here but it was like magic, highly recomended.

      Thanks for your imput and i didn't mean to ramble on a question that i started but you may find it interesting.

      Cheers , all the best.

      p.s. cool picture by the way , isn't it on the front of "beyond good and evil?"

    5. #5
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      It doesn't mean anything, it's only what Claud rifat called MHV jumps (or HPT :Homologuous Pattern Transformations) . That's the way our brain works while producing the dream.
      this is the reason why if you read something in a dream, turn the head away and look at it again it changes (most of the time).
      If you count your fingers, move your hand, and look again you will probably have a different number of fingers.
      things just slides to something else that is close in the memory pattern. A cat can become a tiger, a yellow umbrella can become a yellow cane, once I had a pair of handcuffs that became a nunchaku, you see: it's close, there is a metal chain that relies two things, the jump is easy.

      Some quotes from the dream and consciousness researcher Claude Rifat:

      "One important thing to do in conscious dreams, for scientists, is to analyse the oneiric reality first-hand, from inside, as this is the best way to study how a biological memory works. The first thing a scientist discovers in endoreality is that the oneiric environment is metastable. Every informational object of a dream is continuously in a metastable state and can change to another metastable state though a "MHV jump". Endoreal informational objects are often relatively stable as long as the dreamer maintains his attention focussed on them. Say if I have a watch on my wrist, this watch will tend to remain the same as long as I am looking at it. If I hide my oneiric arm with the oneiric watch for, say, 30 seconds of oneiric time and then look again at my wrist I will notice that a sudden MHV jump has occurred: my first watch would have transformed into another watch, different, but still a watch because in our memory all homologous informational objects are stored in a common place.

      All homologous objects colocalised in a same domain are called, collectively, a Motif Homologiquement Variant (MHV) or a homologously variable pattern. For example, in this example, all the watches I have seen in my life constitute a "single" MHV and a single watch extracted from this MHV is called a "slice" of the MHV. The memory area where an MHV is stored is called a MHV domain. Any MHV can contain a huge amount of informational objects which are extracted into consciousness with metabolic energy. To illustrate this with a simple familiar example just consider a game with soap which has been played, for generations, everywhere by children: in this game, children plunge an annular piece of plastic in liquid soap then blow inside and what happens? Lots of bubbles, with different sizes, sprout out! In the same way, when you inject energy in a MHV (you "heat" the MHV) this MHV starts to "bubble" its slices out into consciousness! A bubbling MHV is called a radiating MHV. The MHV are the shortcuts of dreams and, often, an oneiric scene will change to another oneiric scene through a MHV jump, that is a transformation obeying a law of homologous patterns. MHVs contain enormous quantities of informational objects which have a similar pattern in common. For example, a mushroom and and ashtray with a candle in its middle are very close in shape (pattern) and they are, thus, colocalised. This is why if I observe one visual thought (see drawing) consisting of an upside-down mushroom, for example, and if, all a sudden, this mushroom disappears and is replaced by an ashtray with a candle inside this is because their patterns are very similar and it needs only a small amount of metabolic energy to shift consciousness from the first informational object (the mushroom) to the second informational object (the ashtray with the candle).


      "Memory is composed entirely of MHVs which are also all intertwined. This gives rise to the discontinuity of our thoughts. For instance, the vision of a mushroom is a simple visual continuous thought. As long as that mushroom remains the same my visual thought is continuous. When, suddenly, my consciousness drifts away through a MHV jump then it becomes discontinuousor through the help of cannabinoids which enhance the metabolic status of MHVs. The idea of an MHV is extraordinarily powerful, as it then permits the scientist to begin to understand how the oneiric or schizophrenic consciousnesses are structured. A schizophrenic thinks in the same way as a normal dreamer: his consciousness just follows the way memory is organised: into MHVs. The difference between a schizophrenic and a normal waking person is that the MHVs in a schizophrenic mind are more active metabolically and so MHVs start to "radiate" meaning that discontinuity of thought is enhanced. MHVs radiation is also found in those religious mystics claimimg to have reached a "complete understanding" of the "universe"..."


      From Claude Rifat stuffs
      Last edited by Kaan; 02-01-2018 at 10:16 AM.

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      Hi Kaan , thats really interesting, thanks. It makes a lot of sense. i will definitely check this guy out. But does that mean that you are saying it has no relavants to dream interpretation? Couldn't this be important to dream interpretation as it would indicate where a complex is and what it forms around?

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      One thing you'll find around here is that many people don't believe in dream interpretation, or that there's any meaning in dreams. Jung said that meaning becomes important in the second half of life - that the first half is about growth and exploration, and I suspect the dreams of the younger people are more like adventure video games. That seems to be largely the way it breaks down. Though there also seem to be other factors that block some mature people from seeing that dreams have meaning. Keep in mind - the unconscious is rife with defenses, and it protects itself with denial and projection. It seems among the general population only a very few people understand that dreams carry meaning, and admit that there's any validity to psychology. In here a lot more are aware of these things, but there's still a large contingent who see dreams as just adventure-land in your head. I'm not saying that's where Kaan is coming from - I don't know. But I have learned that there seem to be countless different attitudes toward dreams even on this website, and you sort of have to select which explanations make sense to you and discard the rest. Though it is strange to see people claiming no meaning to dreams in the dream interpretation forum. Personally I don't see all dreams having meaning, but there are definitely ones that do. I think some people just haven't had the experience yet, and so they refuse to accept it.

      And thanks for your suggestions regarding my dream - I don't see why we can't mutually help each other out, especially since this sort of think-tank approach helps us to gain a new understanding of how to approach dreams of this nature. It's often in dialogue that new ideas emerge.

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      I am not saying that you can't figure out a meaning from your dreams content, I say that the transformation from a thing to another is, in my opinion, due to mechanisms that Claude Rifat made clear, and thus, I think those transformations don't necessary mean anything. It's rather random which "bubbles" arise and which don't, to use the Rifat's image.

      Now, about dream interpretation, since dreams are made of thoughts (unless you're looking for funky but un unnecessary theories, which I used to believe in decades ago, but which I now see as only phantasms , I admit) you can read what are your unconscious thoughts, your repressed thoughts, your hidden issues, mixed up with the action movie you just looked at before going to bed, so in a way you can decode it.
      Thus, dreams have a meaning because it is influenced by a lot of things in your head, including your life.

      But there is no need for thinking that the dream is trying to say you something nor for personifying what we call the unconscious.
      Again, unless you want the unconscious to be "someone" who figures out a lot of things for you and who tries to protect you (but again, for me it sounds more like a phantasm, I rather see it as several mechanisms working in network for a lot of diferent purposes, including psychological protections)
      Last edited by Kaan; 02-01-2018 at 05:08 PM.
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      Ok, then we're largely in agreement. I do agree that often dreams have no meaning. But I would say that they represent, not only your thoughts, but also feelings. Maybe you didn't mean to exclude feelings, but you didn't mention them, so I wanted to add that. And as Jung said, dreams are often a correction of some wrong conscious attitude - so they will show you things you need to see to help fix your problems. And of course, the times when dreams take on meaning are the times when you're having problems - especially when the subconscious can help to solve them. That's when it will 'speak up'. For people who are engaged in a search for meaning in life, their dreams will start taking on more and more meaning, because they spend a lot of time thinking about what things mean, and looking deeper and deeper into their lives.

      I like the fact that you said "those transformations don't necessarily mean anything." I agree. But sometimes they do. I have experienced it several times, like in the dream I posted above. I think it would be pretty hard, after reading it, to say that the transformations didn't hold any meaning. In fact I think any kind of dream element can carry meaning, if it's a meaningful dream. Just because there's a scientific explanation of HOW something happens in a dream doesn't tell you WHY it happens. Just like life itself - sometimes it carries meaning and sometimes it's random.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Yanavira View Post
      p.s. cool picture by the way , isn't it on the front of "beyond good and evil?"
      It may be, I haven't seen it used on that book, but it is a pretty popular image.

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      Hey , Thanks guys. really good to hear both your views on it . this is the first time i have posted here and it has been really useful. Enthusiastic now. Thanks again.

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