Dreamages: A Primer by Timothy Tate

10. Souvenirs

``...all I remember is sixteen dead horses on a field."

A snippet of a dream; a remnant from a larger story is sometimes all we are left with the next day. No sense beating a dead horse? Then why do these images stick with you, even haunt you.

``Then she told me her dream: it was simply an image of a barren tree made only of fingernails. In telling it, she stretched out her fingers and clawed the air... Images provided the main place of connection between us.
--James Hillman, Blue Fire
These dream tidbits can be snatches of a greater tale being told over time. Think of them as souvenirs you pick up along the way. A full four-part silver dream or a shinning gold vision are not the only treasures buried in our unconscious.

When I was eight years old I crossed the ocean on a steam ship. I have a wee bell from that trip with the steamer's insignia on its brass handle. Ringing this souvenir brings me right back to the storm-tossed wet decks of the Empress of Canada.

The ocean liner did not need me as a gleeful passenger to function. So it is with the invisibles in our imagination. You may not remember them, but they exist. And bringing them to the surface tickles their and your fancy. Now my eight year old daughter rings the bell and giggles.

Dream souvenirs remind us of the full cast of characters down below. They communicate with us in a variety of ways. Sometimes a full dream exposes a particular scene in the play we call Life. Other times we are given bulletins.

Here is a way to begin your souvenir collection. No matter how brief our dream images, the trick is the same as with longer dreams. We must be clever enough to remember them, to write them down, and to tell them. If we do not honor what comes to us in the night, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, then we lose our lifeline to the dream world, and are left only with our daytime experience.

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