Interpreted by Jane Teresa Anderson
(Real dreams collected worldwide)
STUMPS AND FEATHERS
I am standing just inside the edge of a suburban park. Behind me is a quiet street. To my left is a woman who means a lot to me who I'm in a double bind with - I can't bear to think about her and I can't bear not to think about her. But she's busy talking to someone else, so I do what I find most relaxing of all and that is to go walking.
I walk away. I go for a walk in the park.
It's a nice morning, soft diffused light. The park is open and grassy, with some lone-standing native trees around. It is a typical suburban park.
I come across a tree stump. It's fairly large and round. The wood comes up to a little below my eye level. Except the tree is not quite dead, as I look closer and see a small green leafy bit of new growth starting to sprout from this stump.
I walk on and come to a second tree stump, in a sunnier spot than the first, about the same size. On this tree stump, I see what at first I think is a very large brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly. On closer inspection I see that it is instead a dinner-plate sized feather as luxurious as a peacock's, offering maximum contrast to the hard tree stump it rests on. I leave the feather there.
I arrive suddenly at a third tree stump. At this tree stump, standing on my left is the Canadian singer Jane Siberry. She is holding between her outstretched arms many of these feathers the same size and colour saturation as the blue one, but all different colours. I see she has them all spread out on a string, connected.
We don't say anything to each other, she just pauses long enough for me to see this and take all these colours in. Then she silently brings all the feathers down together on the string in one fluent movement so they rest superimposed in my softly cupped hands.
The start of a dream usually states the situation the dream goes on to explore. At the start of your dream you note a double bind situation. Look at the rest of your dream in that context.
Firstly you relax. Relaxation is a good first step to solving a problem. It’s morning so the day is in its infancy. This suggests new possibilities. You notice some lone-standing trees. Trees often represent the dreamer and these lone trees draw attention to your isolation or to a sense of knowing that you alone can address and solve this problem.
Next you come to a tree stump. Dreams often use word play, so this may be a visual cliché reflecting your feelings of being ‘stumped’ in this situation. Stumped for an idea as to how to solve the problem and also feeling cut-off or cut-down.
The tree stump is a little below your eye level. This may be a dream emphasis on “I” (eye). This tree stump is you and looking into it is looking into yourself.
Here you notice that what you first assumed was dead is not so. Some new growth is beginning to sprout. That new growth is the new growth within you. Although you may feel as if you’re in a dead-end situation, there is personal growth and the promise of new life in this for you. Notice that this new growth is from within the tree – within you. It is not about your relationship with the woman, it is about you and what you are learning from this.
As your dream progresses you encounter two more tree stumps. Sometimes a dream introduces repetition to emphasise the symbol, but this feels more like a reminder that you have been in this kind of situation on two other occasions. Would this be correct? If not, it may show a progression, as if your potential growth is shown in two possible future stages.
The second tree stump is sunnier, indicating happier circumstances or a greater consciousness (sense of understanding of the issue). At first you think you see a butterfly. In dreams a butterfly often symbolises transformation because the butterfly is the beautiful transformed caterpillar following hibernation in the chrysalis – what a wonderful symbol of transformation direct from nature. You identified the butterfly as a Ulysses. Are you familiar with Ulysses the novel? What light might this throw on the issue?
But as you look closer the butterfly transforms again into a feather. As light as a feather? Is the ‘hard’ problem of being stumped transforming into something light? You notice the contrast in the dream. Here is the potential for contrast in your future but to find it you need to look within that tree (within yourself). The answer and the transformation lay within.
What does Jane Siberry represent to you? What qualities do you see in her? What you see in Jane reflects something about your own attitudes and beliefs. She offers you a further stage in the transformation process, a full range of feathers that are connected and yet, as she finally illustrates, they all fold down into one superimposed image.
Contemplate those three tree stumps. If you can identify three relationships or times when you have felt stumped in this double-bind way, then ask yourself how these are connected. The main connecting factor is you, but what are the other similarities? Superimpose the three situations just as the differently coloured feathers were superimposed as one in your dream. Now, what can you learn by doing this? What composite picture do you see?
In your dream the final superimposed feathers – many but appearing as one – were placed directly into your hands. The way to lighten this issue is to take it into your own hands – to see that it is of your own making and you have the power to heal it too.
DREAM ALCHEMY PRACTICE
Gut Reaction Poetry
The title of your free-form poem is “Birds of a feather”. Keep it going for 5 - 10 minutes.
How to do this
Take a blank piece of paper and a pen. Set a timer for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Do not allow yourself to think! Start by writing the title as your first line and just let it flow. Keep on writing even if your poem seems childish or nonsensical. No rhyming or verses unless it comes out that way! The only definition of ‘poetry’ here is that you’re not writing sentences and you’re not using up all the space on your lines. Let your words find their own shape on the page.
How does this work?
By not thinking, by keeping the words flowing, you are letting your right brain and unconscious mind do most of the work. They created the original dream so they know what these symbols mean for you. They will reveal. You will be surprised.
Enjoy more interpretations like this one in my ebook, 88 Dreams Interpreted.