Monday, January 1, 2018

When dreams are color-coded

What are the colors of your dreams? Our dreams are typically many-colored, though some may be black-and-white, or the sepia of old photographs, or the gray of a wintry day. We may say that there is a dominant color when we look over a long period, even a lifetime, of dreaming.
    However, what I am thinking about now is how a certain color may be the stamp of an individual dream. It may pop up like the color red in "The Gift". It may not be a generic red or blue, but a specific shade for which we may have to seek an exact description. I might say that the dominant color of my dreams over much of my life is blue, but when I think about a specific dream from this weekend, in which a train brought me to an amazing series of grottos on the way to Transylvania, I would say that its color is that of old bricks - the bricks of a fireplace, slightly blackened, with moving patterns of light and shadow as if unseen flames are darting and flickering.
    Almost all of us dream in full color, sometimes across a greater spectrum and with greater vividness than in ordinary life. I have sepia dreams, and have learned to recognize that very often they are taking me into an earlier historical period and often into the dreams and situations of other people who lived in those times. When I dream in black and white, it's usually because I am in a night landscape or darkened space, or watching a black and white movie - or going through places of transition between scenes full of color in a personal bardo experience.
    Right now I am interested in developing the game of color-coding dreams. This won't work for many dreams, and may fail to do justice to complex reports. Still, I'm finding it fun and perhaps you will too. In another weekend dream, I watched boats coming and going in all directions from a circular ferry terminal. The dream was full of colors but they were muted because the scene was playing before dawn, under a cloudy sky. But I would say that its dominant color was deep sea green.|
    Sometimes a color from a dream stays with us because it is associated with a certain animal or striking element. You went through that green door, and everything changed. You were wearing a color you wouldn't normally wear in ordinary life. You met a blue sheep or a blue man. You rode a red horse, or cavorted with a red lion. Your rescuer got you out of a Land of the Dead, driving a yellow cab.
    Sometimes the importance of a certain color in a dream is right in your face, something you can’t miss unless you go amnesiac about the whole experince. I was instructed in one dream that I should eat more “orange foods”, which turned out to be good dietary advice. In a dream of a different kind, I learned that Zeus – yes, Zeus – is making a comeback. There was tremendous excitement. The ground itself was shaking. The friends of Zeus were putting on the color orange. They would keep their allegiance secret, wearing outer garments over their orange blouses and tee-shirts, until the old god arrived – at which point, they would show their true color, orange.
    On this New Year’s Day, there is no doubt about the color of the first dream I recorded. I woke at 4:30 a.m. and it was bitterly cold outside, -8F, which translates into precisely -22.2222C. However, my dream was warm and comforting. I was helping to make vast quantities of excellent oatmeal porridge, enough to feed hundreds or thousands of people. Better still, I was given the recipe. I loved the idea that I was given a way to nourish many people, while staying warm inside on a frigid winter day.
    So what do you do when a strong sense of color stays with you from a dream? Trust your feelings, for starters. If you feel good about the dream, maybe you want to stay close to that color - wear it, draw from it, write from it, eat corresponding foods (if available), get by the fire, or into the water. You can sing, compose, dance with that color, with a rhapsody in blue, a tango in crimson, a waltz in apricot, a sonata in teal. You can go about your day wearing invisible glasses tinted in that shade. You can journey, as a conscious dreamer into an azurite or fern-green or tiger's eye world where your traveling self may already be at home, and your magical child surely is.

Image: Michael Maggs via Wikipedia Commons


Lori Gayle said...

On New Years eve I had a dream I gave birth to a beautiful boy with very long brown hair. I let two male friends hold my baby that were nervous since they never held a newborn before. Contemplating what the color brown could mean for me.

Robert Moss said...

What a happy dream for the New Year. I would be thinking about what I am going to give birth to in my life and my world this year - if not a new baby in a literal sense, then in a symbolic way.