“Schooners and Sampans” dream

15 Nov

On the morning of September 21, I’d already known for several months that I wanted to organize some kind of series of Dutch-themed dream-related  events. I’d also been toying with the scavenger hunt idea for a while.

The second of two dreams that I woke with was striking, both because it was brief and because of its visual impact:

Night. I’m with someone (a boyfriend?) in a small back room of my small apartment (not my waking-life apartment). We’re looking out the window, over rooftops and alleys toward other tenements on the next street. (Feeling: The apartment feels new to me, and confining: I’m not used to such a small place.)

In a gap toward the right, between two buildings, there are two sailing ships / schooners sailing into the night lit by the moon (on what seems to be the East River, looking across to Brooklyn, but no buildings are apparent there). They’re beautiful. “Oh, look!” I say. “Two sailing ships!” (Feeling: Magical and surprising for both of us. Seems like extremely good fortune.)

(Switch) Then it’s daytime, and we see the ships are still there. But now they’re sampans, with the name of the company that owns them, China something, printed in an arc on the sails. (I don’t notice the change in ship type, just the name.) (Feeling: Surprised they’re still there. Wonder who else is noticing. The China name feels historic, like the Hudson Bay Trading Co., but the modern print and big type marring the sails’ beauty are a disappointment.)

Schooner and Sampan dream image

Schooner and Sampan dream image

It quickly occurred to me that the 2 ships x 2 types of ships was a double case of doubling. This is a dream symbol I’d become interested in some years ago when I read a cryptic reference to it in The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, by Nancy Qualls-Corbett, a Jungian (Toronto: Inner City Books), 1988, p.98—she wrote of two shadow figures in a patient’s dream as being “an example of the doubling motif, which points to something new on the brink of consciousness.” She didn’t explain why the doubling motif is interpreted that way by Jungians (and I don’t have enough background in Jung’s theories to know).

Second, I knew I had dreamt of a sampan several years before. I suspected there was what I call a Triangle at work—a metapattern of synchronicity in which a current dream refers back to a dream from years before (side one of the triangle); when I look up that dream record, there turns out to be something additional there (side two) that corresponds with something in present time (side three). The earlier dream of a sampan was from 2005, and yes, there was a Triangle.

I’ll get back to the sampans of these two dreams in another post later, but side two of the Triangle here was that the 2005 dream also had a schooner in it. I had completely forgotten about that!

As for the schooners…Wikipedia says: “Schooners were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century, and further developed in North America from the early 18th century.” I don’t think I knew that, but I feel confident that one meaning of the double schooners in the more recent dream is that my dreaming mind was working on the question of how to arrange the Dutch dreaming events. The blog treasure hunt approach that eventually materialized was “something new on the brink of consciousness,” to use Qualls-Corbett’s words.


One Response to ““Schooners and Sampans” dream”


  1. Art that visualizes New York’s Dutch past « - November 17, 2010

    […] brought home to me the rather small scale of ships such as sloops and the schooners in my “Schooners and Sampans” dream of September 21. His painting Castle Island particularly had that effect; the […]

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