Electric Dreams

The Dream Doctor 

Charles McPhee, Ph.D. 

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  McPhee, Charles Ph.D. (2000 April) The Dream Doctor. Electric Dreams 7(4). Retrieved July 14, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

McPhee, Charles Ph.D. (2000 April) The Dream Doctor. Electric Dreams 7(4). Retrieved July 14, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

"Healthy Ponies"

Dear Dream Doctor,

I was standing watching a pony in a paddock with no feed. I seemed to keep putting off moving it or feeding it hay. In my mind, though, I could visualize what I wanted for the pony - lush pasture, rolling green hills, a sparkling stream...

I stood watching it for a long time. Suddenly a girl I used to go to primary school with appeared. (She was my best friend back then but I haven't seen her for about 10 years). She told me off angrily. Unfazed I replied, "Yeah, I'm going to do something about it..."

She snapped furiously, "It will Starve to death!" Then she disappeared.

I felt a bit cross and guilty. I let the pony into the next paddock (which wasn't much better). I walked around finding it food. There was an old house (appeared abandoned) with a decrepit veggie garden outside. In it were some remnants of lettuces. I fed some leaves to the pony. It moved into the garden and ate some more. There wasn't a complete fence around this paddock so later I had to put it back in the old paddock...

My overall feeling that I can recall was frustration or not knowing what to do, also a strange reluctance or inability to act. The pony meanwhile was not blaming me in any way but just getting on with its business (of trying to scratch up scraps of food). It didn't necessarily even appear distressed. It was delighted with the lettuce scraps I fed it later in the dream and went actively seeking more itself.

After going over this dream many times I began to feel, first that the pony was a young female, and later that it represented my daughter. This horrified me as naturally I would not like to think I am neglecting my child in any way!!! However there are problems at the moment involving her schooling. She is very bright and far ahead of her class mates. My repeated attempts to get the school to provide an appropriate program for her have been fruitless.

Therefore I certainly feel like I am standing helplessly watching her search for scraps in a barren paddock. I think it is a shove to provide "sustenance," in the form of learning, myself.

The following night I asked for a dream to "explain" the pony dream and received a much simpler dream without symbols referring mainly to my daughter's school and her work.

Well, those are my feelings...what do you think!?

- Angie, Age 29, Warrnambool, AUSTRALIA

Hi Angie -

If your daughter takes after her mom, I have little doubt that she is a straight-A student! I think you did a great job of interpreting your own dream!

When we awaken from an emotionally puzzling dream whose meaning is not immediately visible to us - we need to know some simple dream skills to help us unravel the dream's message. In your case, you took all the right steps. You reviewed the dream several times in your mind, allowing yourself to feel your feelings and noting any associations and memories (no matter how bizarre) that "popped" into your mind. Soon you began to get the feeling that the pony was female, and eventually you decided that it was a dream symbol representing your daughter, whose educational needs currently are not being met. Surprise!

I agree with you that the pony symbolizes your daughter's educational plight. I also think the sudden appearance of your "best friend from primary school" confirms this hunch. Who else do we know, currently, who is in primary school?

Many readers no doubt are wondering why the dream - if it really was about your daughter - would go to all the trouble to represent her as a pony searching for food. It sounds complicated. For example, why not a simple dream where your daughter appeared to you complaining about school? Or perhaps a simple image of your daughter's school in a dilapidated and worn-down condition?

The answer to this excellent question is found in your very own comments upon uncovering the symbolic meaning of the "hungry pony." You wrote, "This horrified me as naturally I would not like to think I am neglecting my child in any way!!!" It is apparent that, coupled with your awareness that your daughter needs a more challenging school environment, a sense of personal responsibility lingers. Specifically, you worry that you are not doing enough for your child.

Accordingly, your dream is a fine illustration of the psychological phenomenon of resistance: we all tend to avoid recognizing feelings and awarenesses that we find uncomfortable or disturbing.

It is your desire to avoid this awareness - that you are "neglecting your daughter" (be it valid or not) - that causes the dream to speak in camouflaged and symbolic language. And indeed, your dream the following night, which you wrote was "simpler" and "without symbols refering mainly to my daughter's school and her work" confirms our theory. Once you recognized the disturbing feeling that lay behind the first dream - there was no more need for symbols or disguise.

Congratulations on being such a good student of your inner voice! I agree that your dream is a "call-to-action" in regard to your daughter's education. With your mind now fully attuned to the problem, I am sure you will be much more effective in your efforts to move her into a "new paddock" - one that does have a complete fence around it.

What is the message of this dream? To grow into healthy, happy adults, all our ponies need lush pastures, rolling green hills, and sparkling streams... And it is our responsibility to provide it for them.
Copyright 2000 Charles McPhee