Mystery of the Dream

done on 13 Aug 2013 with left hand
done on 13 Aug 2013 with left hand

The dream like all mysteries takes time to demystify. Who is that who I see in the mirror – when I look?

The mud of it, thick, impenetrable, murky, mistaken. How can this possibly relate to me personally, and collectively.

The dream can serve as metaphor as we meander, faithfully holding the dream with care and reverence, until it yields its message. Autumn and winter precede spring and the dream oftentimes seems to follow a similar pattern, at least to me. It lies low, deep in the rich soil, germinating, and I am unsure it will ever flower.

For many the dream is a muse. Some well known ones:-

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of ‘Treasure Island & Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’, inter alia, wrote that he got many of his best stories from his dreams.

Guisppe Tartini wrote his masterpiece for the violin, The Devil’s Sonata, after hearing it performed in a dream.

19th century chemist Dimitri Mendelev fell asleep while chamber music was being played in the next room. He understood in a dream that the basic chemical elements are all related to each other in a manner similar to the themes and phrases in music.

Albert Einstein as a young man, dreamed that he was sledding down a steep mountainside, going faster and faster, approaching the speed of light, which caused the stars in his dream to change their appearance. Meditating upon that dream, Einstein eventually worked out his extraordinary scientific achievement, the principle of relativity.

Your dreams too can be such a provident source. It means exercising that inner muscle, tensing, flexing, releasing, tensing again to see what the mirror reveals. The metaphor of matrix comes to mind. Dreams can be re-membered no matter from how long ago. The more we work on our dreams the more our own myth becomes apparent.

own graphic

59 Comments on Mystery of the Dream

  1. I’m inspired by your dream series. Thank you.

    For me, it sometimes takes years for a big dream to unfold and there is always an element of uncertainty. The meaning is never nailed down, but opens and reveals.
    Before burying my husband’s ashes in our woods with my sons, I had a dream where I heard the song “Let It Be” sung by a large choir with beautiful harmonies. And a recurring theme in my dreams to trust the Feminine: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, Let it Be.” My sons and I sang the song over the cairn we created after burying the ashes. Many tears and much love and gratitude.

    • Thank you for emphasising the uncertainty of the dream Elaine and how it ‘… is never nailed down, but opens and reveals’.

      And what you say about the dream of the song ‘Let it Be’ and a recurring theme in your dreams to trust the Feminine; and this before burying your husband’s ashes in the woods .. well, I have goose bumps. … Thank you so much for sharing this .. it is so precious.

  2. Ah…creativity residing in a dream that inspired great works of art and scientific discoveries. Wow. We need to pay attention, we need to listen more to our dreams. My first (uncompleted novel) was inspired by a dream. Love that when it happens! Thanks Susan for opening our eyes once again.
    Inventions by Women A-Z

    • Thank you Sharon.. these are of course well known people, I could have given many more. Our dreams are important and many ordinary people discover unknown talents by paying attention to their dreams. This is wonderful to hear that your novel was so inspired!

  3. What an amazing work of art, Susan. It actually resembles a very powerful dream I had some years back.

    Re-membering — the key here. Also, in your particular case, using your left hand until your right hand, the other member, healed.

    Thank you. Great guidance and insight.

    • Wow Samantha re the other member, I truly hadn’t thought of that! Thank you! And I’m glad that painting brought back your dream. I liked it I must say. Simple but do-able .. and I’m glad I kept it. Found it in among art things when I wanted to do the ouroboros last year so these were placed outside on the table. You can see a little bit of the clay ouroborous.

      Thank you!

  4. This post is so delicious I think I can actually taste it. Nothing like a plateful of word-ish wonderfulness to make me wriggly with happiness. You have such a gift for subtle, evocative phrasing. I love the image of dreams lying “low, deep in the rich soil, germinating.” That’s exactly what it feels like when it finally flowers into meaning in our conscious minds.

    I love the examples of the real life insights and inspirations wrought by dreams. Yet more reasons to take the time to listen, reflect on, and listen some more to our dreams.

    • Thanks Kern for the compliment expressed in your inimitable way! Our own dreams can be inspiring in their own way – if we ‘… take the time to listen, reflect on, and listen some more to our dreams’ as you say.


  5. I love the way you highlight the words that begin with the daily letter in your posts. It somehow helps the flow of the reading. Dreams are a mystery and a mirror as you point out here and in other posts. They take time to process. I didn’t know that about Einstein. Wow! Amazing how dreams can open doors. Thanks Susan for your insights. Maria@Delight Directed Living

  6. A friend of mine says she wrote 2 scientific papers with material that came in her dreams. She received awards for these papers, but felt that she could never reveal the source of her writing or inspiration because it would be ridiculed in the scientific community.
    Maui Jungalow

    • Thanks for your comment Courtney. What matters is that she saw something in her dreams and in her case was able to formulate her theories.

  7. just come from another blog that was about violins- interesting to see that symbol appear again.
    I dreamt of a goose crashing against my window last night, followed by a scottie dog hovering outside same window- doubt it will reveal any scientific insight though

    • thanks for coming by zannierose. Animals and birds and windows are symbolic of something – within. You’ve got me on the violin symbol?

  8. Whenever I get stuck with my writing, I’ll sometimes lie down and think about it while drifting off to sleep. More often than not, I’ll figure out a way to resolve whatever was troubling me after doing so. I also got one of my best ideas in a dream. At the time, I thought it was just a neat little detail. But it turned out to form the entire basis of the sequel novel. I like to think of these dreams as me getting out of my own way, and letting a deeper part of my mind show me what I knew was there all along…

  9. Now I know I am not the reincarnation of Robert Lewis Stevenson. How wonderful it would be to have my dreams as a muse. As always you give this dreamer a lot to think about. I am mostly entertained by the stories that float through my subconscious mind. I do have prophetic dreams. I’m grateful. It would be interesting to pay more attention. Thank you again for your amazing knowledge and superb writing.

    • Thank you Marsha. Will br brief as I’m using phone in the dark
      No electricity. Will respond better tomorrow when I’m connected.

  10. Suzy, Please accept my thoughts about “acting,” in reference to your comment a short while ago.

    A complete opera performance has several acts. Why not give oneself permission to hold thoughts to percolate a little longer until after the curtain calls?

    • That’s a lovely thought Joseph thank you. After the curtains are drawn after the final act we can spend time percolating. So too with dreams. They’re an ongoing drama. Like the theatre of ancient Greece where plays in the amphitheaters went on for months and months.

  11. Maybe the preciousness of each dream is exemplified because it is a mystery and never wholly known, and does not need to be…

  12. Dreams as the source for inspiration… I admit I’ve turned dreams into prose. Nothing like a dream for unexpected plot twists 😉 But I’ve found inspiration in dreams that goes beyond creative endeavors: insights into myself and my shortcomings, into my relationships with others, into the larger perspective of existence and what it means (to me). Beautiful, beautiful things, dreams.

    Thanks for stopping over at Quiet Laughter earlier. You asked about other ways to access my blog posts, and I’m not sure what you mean by that. I post links to Twitter and Facebook, and there’s a subscribe-by-email widget on the left-hand bar (under the social media buttons)… Is that what you meant? I hope this helps 🙂

    • Thank you Guilie, you’ve said exactly what dreams can help us do for ourselves, our relations with others and the wider world. They are beautiful gifts indeed. Thank you for emphasising this.

      I’ll check the email subscription widget.

  13. I tweeted this one. It’s fascinating how people can learn within their dreams, and take that into the waking hours to create, to solve, and to inspire.

  14. I love this one and especially the last two sentences. “Dreams can be remembered…”
    Yes they can be remembered and we find the reality of that forgotten dream in the present moment that we live.
    Excellent, Susan.

    • Thank you Patricia. We can re-member them and re-stitch them into the fabric of our lives in the present moment.
      Shalom to you,

  15. Mirror. Mimic. Monumental. Miniscule. Mime. Minutia.

    All of the above.



  16. I did not know that about Robert Louis Stevenson. Dreams can be a great source of inspiration for writing.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    M is for Movies

  17. Dreams can be so hard to decipher. I guess when we get some insights we should act on them but so often we doubt what comes through.

    • Thanks Suzy. Doubt is maybe the other side of certainty, 2 sides of the same coin. Sometimes I do NOT want to accept what my dreams seem to be portraying and I can only hope/trust that following dreams may bring some light.

  18. Hi Susan – fascinating to read the post with its examples … I’d like my memory to release its treasures that I feel are there .. I need to exercise my mind more … really interesting and you’re getting lots of interest – which is so good to see – opens all our minds to more thoughts and ideas .. cheers Hilary

    • Thank you so much Hilary. If a few of us can take our dreams more seriously then I consider my task worthwhile. A ray of consciousness will have been added to the collective consciousness. Yes intentional inner muscle exercising is what it’s about.

  19. Nice post. Ya, sometimes I read the first few words / lines from a dream journal and the whole dream comes back to me. Kiff.

  20. Wow Susan, I had no idea that dreams could be so beneficial to creating real life. So far my dreams relate to my unconsciousness… things I need to process. I must be a percolating coffee pot at heart. I wonder how I can encourage my dreams to be more creative? Thanks for an inspiring post.

    • Your dreams do relate to your unconsciousness Gwynn as did the people mentioned above. As do any of anyone’s dreams. Many of us are not musicians scientists aeronauts etc. Whatever is percolating away is from your unconscious. Thank you for coming by.

  21. Thank you, Susan, for your Masterful Medley of interesting historical facts!

    These days, it feels like I have signed myself up for 26 lectures. I don’t need to be forced to take a part in your classroom!

    Alongside my good fortune to be a student here, I am using a book, JUNG, by Anthony Stevens. On page 106, Stevens cites Jung’s penetrating idea::

    “The whole dream-work is essentially subjective, and a dream is the theatre in which the dreamer is himself the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public, and the critic.”

    I think dream-work can be a huge responsibility that one may proudly carry on one’s shoulder.

    • Thank you Genevive. I responded to your comment yesterday – it’s possible you didn’t receive it because I didn’t ‘stack’ it properly. Please go back to look.

  22. I find the interpretation of dreams fascinating – although I often have very vivid and disturbing dreams, so who knows they mean!

    I didn’t know about Einstein and his dream – that’s amazing that a dream led him to such a importance discovery!
    I’m amazed by the way that you did that image with your left hand… That’s amazing, you must be almost ambidextrous!

    • Thanks Celine, dreams are fascinating although I’m battling with one from this morning. It’ll have to cook for a while.
      No I’m not ambidextrous! My right hand was damaged, and this was paint and an image from something, I don’t actually think a dream.

  23. A marvelous mixture of “M”s! I enjoyed reading about Einstein and the others deciphering their dreams, and the importance of it. Another very interesting post, Susan, thank you. I love the image too! 🙂

    • Thank you Sharon! The image was after my car accident in June 2013 and I was unable to use my right hand for quite a few months. Hence the left hand, thank you for saying!

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