Thursday, May 29, 2014
When dogs became movie producers
Animals not only feature in our dreams; they may help to produce them.
I had a remarkable experience of this several years ago, staying with an older friend who owned a large rural property. He owned two German shepherds. He wanted them to be able to run on his land but he also wanted to make sure that they always came when called, especially since he had a hard time getting around. So he put electronic collars around their necks. When he wanted them back at the house, or anywhere else, he would zap them with a monitor that delivered an electric shock.
I found this barbarous, and told him so as gently as I could. He insisted that he loved his dogs, and they were content with their situation.
In the morning, at the breakfast table, my friend was troubled by a dream that lay heavy on him. I urged him to tell me.
"I was in a Nazi concentration camp," he began. "They fitted me with an electric collar. Whenever they wanted me to do something, they zapped me. They had me marching up and down like a robot."
The analogy to the situation of his dogs was screamingly obvious, at least to me. It was as if the dream had been crafted to help him understand what he was doing to his dogs. I could not fail to remember that German shepherds were favored guard dogs in the Nazi camps. "If it were my dream," I commented, "I would wonder whether my dogs asked for this dream to help me to understand their situation."
My friend did not want to hear this. I have since lost contact with him, and I wonder whether he has gone on zapping his dogs.
Dreams are infinitely various. A dream may be a visitation, an adventure in another reality, a rehearsal for the future, or the effect of the leftovers of the day before. Some dreams have the quality of productions, and it is always interesting to speculate on who and what, exactly, is involved in the making of a particular dream of this kind. I know that our dead are sometimes involved in dream production for the living.
I led a group journey to explore such things in a circle of active dreamers last night. I found myself arriving at a movie set where I had to put myself in a vintage convertible, behind shades, to be admitted by security. I was given a tour of current film projects and met directors with distinctive styles. I warmed to one "Arturo" who specialized in extravaganzas that meld Fellini and Alejandro Jodorowsky. I toured costume departments where the right outfits for dream characters are selected. I attended a design conference where a new fuzzy character - it looked like a hyperactive woodchuck - is being developed for dream movies.
I saw situations where requests for dream intervention are considered and acted upon. I learned that dreams are sometimes crafted for individuals because someone who has their best interests in mind has requested a production that will dramatize a certain issue. The request may come from a spiritual guide or another person connected to the dreamer. Among those putting in such requests are animals. There were talking animals all over the studios.
I don't doubt now that those German shepherds found a way to zap their owner back, as dream producers.
Drawing (c) Robert Moss