Nightmare

I haven’t had a nightmare like this in a long time. It jolted me awake last night and left me unable to get back to sleep. I’m stiff and sore as if it really happened. :(

For a while now I’ve been wanting to get back into dream journalling. I used to do it a lot about ten years ago (I even still have my journal from back then!) but over the years life got busy, I got distracted, and it dropped off the bandwagon. This nightmare was particularly poignant so I figure now is as good a time as any to get back into it. I’m rusty though…

Certain terms are highlighted. These are things that stuck out particularly strongly. I’ll explore their meaning after describing the dream.

Here we go:

It’s dark and I’m in a vast, empty parking lot. A dark building suggestive of a “big box store” is off to my left. I’m riding a black horse through the parking lot. The horse is saddled but wears only a brown leather halter with grey nylon lead. The lead feels somewhat worn in my hands and it’s slightly dirty.

Alec is trailing behind me in a car (not the one he currently owns). It’s an older model sedan (maybe the Dodge Spirit?) and seems to be black or another dark color but I’m not sure. When I look over my shoulder the first time I can only catch a glimpse of the car in the darkness. When I look again it’s too dark to see the car, even though the moonlight shows me the parking lot’s painted lines, the dark building, and the lot’s cement dividers with trees planted in them. The trees are bare.

I ride down toward the end of one row and then guide the horse in a large curve into the next row, which is very wide. The curve brings us around about 270°. Now I am perpendicular to the row and riding straight forward. The moon is behind me and in front of me is a grey suburban, also an older model. It is parked backward, so I am facing the windshield. The interior is dark and the headlights are not on.

To the right of the suburban is a horse trailer, also grey. The trailer is parked sideways so it doesn’t block the row. Even though the trailer appears to be separate from the suburban I know they are actually hitched to one another.

My horse is walking now. As we move forward I hear voices off to the right shouting how they should shoot the horse. “Yeah, let’s bag that horse!” A brief vision of a hunter shooting a white-tail deer with a bow comes to mind. The scene is a deer in a sunny, leafy forest with a hunter chasing after it. I blink and the vision is gone.

I look to the right. The sedan is back. It’s black, but Alec is not driving it. It has several other men inside and they are racing to beat me to the trailer. I kick my horse into a gallop but we are moving very slowly.

Suddenly someone is behind me and I’m off my horse. I turn around to see a young man in pale white-blue denim and a puffy vest. The vest has strong blue edging along the inside but I can’t tell what color the vest itself is. He has straight brown hair that hangs over his eyes.

I grab him by the front of his vest and yank him close to my face. I’m furious and I scream at him: “You don’t get to treat horses like that! You don’t get to go around shooting horses for fun! IT’S NOT FUNNY!” I punch him, giving him a bloody nose. He goes down and suddenly the point of view shifts to my horse, who is rearing over the young man, threatening to trample him. I blink and I’m back in my body. The young man is on his stomach on the ground and lies still.

I turn back to the trailer. My horse is standing nearby. He still has his halter and lead but no saddle. His mane is blowing in the breeze and suddenly I’m reminded of a cover to one of The Black Stallion books (which I know I haven’t read since I was a child). I don’t see the sedan anymore but I know the other men who were in the car are around me somewhere.

I take the horse’s lead and start walking toward the trailer. I’m nervous. It’s dark and I can hear the sound of sneaker soles on the pavement. The back of the trailer is open and it’s very dark inside. I wonder if the men are hiding in there? For a moment I hesitate to go in but then I remember there is a chestnut mare in the trailer too. If strange men were in there she’d be restless and kicking the stall, but all is quiet.

I walk my horse into the trailer and secure him. I briefly entertain the thought of hiding on the other side of the stall wall next to the tack, and suddenly notice his saddle has appeared inside the trailer. But I imagine hiding in the trailer would only leave me trapped.

Now I’m outside and the trailer is locked up. I’m walking purposefully to the suburban and I have keys in my hand. Three men are standing shoulder to shoulder against the driver’s side of the suburban. They are also wearing white-blue denim. The man closest to the driver’s door is short, bald, and has tanned skin. He’s ugly: his face is creased and wrinkled up like an old man’s and he’s sneering unpleasantly. His denim jacket is cut off at the sleeves with scraggly strings of white denim hanging off.

The men shuffle aside as I come up to the door of the suburban. I say “Thank you,” pleasantly and pull the door open. It’s unlocked but that doesn’t really seem out of place to me as I step up into the cab. I pull the door shut and push down the lock, thinking to myself that I don’t want these men opening the door on me now that I’m inside.

I’m just about to put the key in the ignition while reaching for my seatbelt when I feel a hand pawing heavily down my right arm, smarmy like a sexual predator. My head jerks around and I’m panicking. The hand is a woman’s and the arm is covered in a tight sleeve with a red and white stripe pattern. I feel like I’ve been shoved down in the seat. Someone is in the backseat and has grabbed me. I want to scream but I can’t. I’m struggling to get my hand on the steering wheel so I can blare the horn. I try to sound out SOS but the woman is grabbing at me.

I’m suffocating. Suddenly a dagger flashes in the darkness and stabs me in my right shoulder from front to back, just below the collar bone. The knife has a black handle and is double-edged. It’s long enough that it goes right through my body into the seat and for some reason, I’m pinned! I can’t move. I’m still struggling to sound the horn but even though sound is coming out the pattern isn’t working. Where is Alec? I can hear the men outside the suburban laughing and banging on the side panels, bashing the door in so it won’t open.

The woman has a husky voice and she says something but I don’t understand the words. I recognize the voice though: it’s Kristen, Greg’s sister. Why is she doing this? I still have the keys in my hand and just as she’s trying to crawl into the front seat I thrust upward. She recoils because I’ve jammed the keys into her face, into her right eye.

The last thing I see is Kristen with her hand covering her eye, looking at me with a shocked expression on her face as I’m trying to pull away with my back against the door. This is a flash of an image because the motion of pulling away from her jerks me awake.

Dream Symbols

black horse

  • Horses emphasize a “wild” nature, while the color black stands for mystery or negativity. Black will also always accompany a premonition of death. The horse was a stallion, and stallions warn of uncontrolled strength and a need to contain and direct one’s energies.
  • In this dream I felt rather protective of my black horse and wanted to make sure it was safe. Other people were threatening him so I take this as a perception of an exterior force trying to kill or eliminate parts of my nature which are “wild”.
  • The horse was haltered but not bridled. A halter does not offer the same kind of control over a horse as a bridle would. In this context, I see it more of a gentle harness than an absolute hand. The stallion did not resist my control, and given the lead was worn from use, this suggests this level of control over my “wild” nature has been long-established.

brown leather halter

  • Brown is a recurring color throughout the dream. Brown symbolizes one’s “earthy” aspects; life, attitude, and emotional side rather than anything spiritual.
  • Leather reveals one’s manner of interaction with others; the key is whether the leather was soft or stiff. In this case, the condition of the leather wasn’t apparent to me, but the horse did not seem to mind, suggesting my attitude toward my “wild” nature is likewise not established (see also below).

grey nylon lead

  • Grey is another recurring color. Grey corresponds with the physical brain and the mind contained within.
  • Nylon implies some type of disassociative personality trait; a personal desire to distance self from others or certain situations. The lead being worn and dirty suggests the person or situation is something I’ve been trying to get away from for a long time. It being attached to the halter leads me to wonder if the previously established relationship with my “wild” nature is more sedentary. I have often struggled to establish/explore some of what certain people (notably, my father) might consider the more “wild” parts of my personality, mainly out of fear of getting caught and being punished or ridiculed.
  • A lead (leash) stands for self-imposed limitations, even if someone else is holding it, because the self still has the power to break free. Given the comments above, having self-imposed limitations on my “wild” nature doesn’t surprise me.

trees are bare

  • Trees symbolize the life force, living gifts, and natural talents. Specifically, these were birch trees. Birch exemplifies an open and honest situation or atmosphere.
  • Bare trees don’t necessarily mean they were dead. Birch trees, after all, lose their leaves in winter. But there were no indications in the dream that it was winter. Neither did I have the impression the trees were dead. Just…leafless. Like trees, leaves symbolize natural abilities and talents. A lack of leaves on the trees implies a lack of natural abilities and talents, perhaps with respect to the aspects of my “wild” nature that are under self-imposed limitations?

grey suburban

  • Another instance of the color grey. A suburban (to me) is a type of truck. Trucks correlate to personal efforts and the energy expended for same. It wasn’t really a big suburban. Being grey, this suggests only a small amount of effort and energy is being expended on something related to my mental state.

At this point, I’m starting to get an idea about what this dream was really about. : )

hunter shooting a white-tail deer with a bow

  • A hunter may indicate a “killing of innocence” whereby one obliterates positive attitudes and spiritual truths or it may mean an individual who is “searching” for something important in life. Surrounding dreamscape details will clarify which meaning is intended. Since the hunter was shooting a deer, the former meaning seems relevant here.
  • Deer applies to a tendency to be cautious; watchful; aware. An archer’s bow stands for an aspect that helps identify a problem. The hunter using the bow to kill the deer is a pretty straightforward message: the obliteration of the caution (control) I show with respect to my “wild” nature.

straight brown hair that hangs over eyes

  • Brown again. Hair symbolizes thoughts, and long hair, in particular, illustrates analytical thoughts, mental exploration, and complex contemplation. It being brown connects these thoughts to life, attitude, and emotions.
  • Eyes define one’s personal perceptual characteristics. I couldn’t tell what kind of eyes they were (small, large, squinty, beady, etc) because of the hair. This suggests the aforementioned thought processes are blocking out some of my characteristics.

chestnut mare

  • Brown yet again. Chestnut is a pretty specific shade of brown, and it stands for heartfelt feelings and warm emotions. The mare was quiet and unconcerned inside the trailer. It was okay for the horses to be inside the trailer, but not safe for me to remain there. I’m puzzled by this. Maybe it suggests a need to break away from that which is comfortable and familiar?

white-blue denim

  • Everyone in the dream except Kristen and myself was wearing white-blue denim. Denim alludes to that which is long-lasting, an aspect that endures. White-blue is a color that mixes purity and goodness (the positive aspects in life) with spirituality (the spiritual aspects in life).
  • How does this reflect on the fact I felt threatened by all the men? Additionally, the denim was not new; the ugly man specifically had loose threads and no sleeves (80’s punk style, if I had to label it), suggesting this long-lasting aspect was breaking down.
  • These men were after my horse, the “wild” nature in me. Lately I have been contemplating some more spiritual things that have laid buried in what could be considered my “wild” side. The scientist in me likely feels threatened…and as I have largely been without any sort of spiritual guidance my entire life, perhaps the science is actually the “spiritual” aspect the white-blue denim alludes to. There is nothing wrong with my scientific side per se…though it does make exploring spiritual topics quite challenging. : )

red and white stripe pattern

  • That the woman attacking me was Kristen is not something I feel is particularly important or relevant. At one time a few years ago I did find her something of an annoying threat to my relationship with Alec but that threat has long-since passed. Greg was recently a source of stress for both Alec and me so I think my mind just latched onto her face because it was…”handy”.
  • Red as a color may refer to anger or danger, which seems rather obvious in this context. White, as mentioned, represents purity and goodness (the positive aspects of life). These symbols conflict rather harshly here and there’s not much context for me to work with.

black handle and is double-edged

  • Daggers signify harmful aspects of one’s life and frequently indicate an associate or someone the dreamer knows. It’s a very personal weapon (not like a gun). Black, as mentioned, stands for mystery or negativity, so perhaps I don’t know who the associate is. Specifically noticing the blade as it was being plunged into my body suggests a “cutting” off from some specific element in my life.
  • What about the fact the dagger was being plunged into my shoulder? Shoulders denote the quality and quantity of one’s inner strength. Has my inner strength on the subject of my “wild” nature been severed or defeated?

right eye

  • I pierced Kristen’s right eye with my car keys. Eyes, as mentioned, define one’s personal perceptual characteristics. Destroying one should represent the destruction of said personal perceptual characteristics. Being on the right (as a position) represents a supportive role.

This is not particularly clear, other than illustrating a conflict between something likely within me that has or wants to destroy my inner strength and me making an attempt to defy or counter said “opponent”.

Interpretation

Recently there have been forces moving around me which are challenging me on topics specific to my spiritual beliefs. My beliefs have never been very clear to me, and in the past I often encountered roadblocks to exploring them in greater depth.

I had an argument on Sunday with Alec on this subject. The argument ended well but this dream tells me I was nevertheless left unsettled.

Alec is not the challenger necessarily, but he is something of an instigator. Mostly the opponent suggested by the nightmare is myself as well as the overall idea of trying to discern what my spiritual beliefs are or might be.

I’m most puzzled by the encounter with “Kristen” at the end. Is this a reflection of myself? I’ve had internal conflict for years about spirituality. I have certain pagan/Gardnerian leanings, but ultimately I struggle with my scientific mind, which always balks because no abstract spiritual or religious concept can be verified. How do we know it’s not all just some made-up mumbo-jumbo? Additionally, organized religion is very much “not my thing”, and I don’t know that I could comfortably cherry-pick just those aspects from religion or spiritual teachings which do align with my way of thinking. Yet, I have experienced many things in my life which science alone cannot explain, so what am I to do?

Most of the time I guess I just don’t think about it, until suddenly prompted, confronted, or otherwise just asked, at which point I am forced to realize I have very little in the way of any answers.