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Tulips dream and photos

29 Mar

I remembered this dream from yesterday after checking my email a little while after I woke up yesterday. A friend here in New York had forwarded a series of photos of tulip fields in northern Holland, with the subject line “The Netherlands in May.” I suddenly remembered the dream (I had already remembered a different one) and realized, of course! The Holland connection for the dream should have been obvious to me, given the upcoming conference in Kerkrade, Netherlands, of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. (Also, the caption mentioned Tulip Mania— “Their dazzling colors are thanks to the years in the 17th century when tulip mania swept the globe and  the most eye-catching specimens changed hands for a small  fortune”—and Robbie Bosnak had referred to Tulip Mania in his January 30 talk for IASD-NYC.)

Here’s the dream:

Sunny windowsill, like in my WPR [waking physical reality] kitchen; I’m facing to the right. I think, “I should pull out that dead avocado [as in WPR].” I look to my left, at the avocado plant, and discover that the young leaves of a number of tulip plants are showing in the pot, around the stem of the avocado. “Oh! I forgot I planted tulip bulbs there. I guess I can’t pull up the avocado until the tulips are done.”

(Feelings) Surprised. Impressed that I made such good use of the space in the pot, and pleased to anticipate seeing tulips–a nice surprise. But I’m disappointed about not being about to get rid of the avocado, which has clearly died and is beyond my help.

Interesting that that email caption about Tulip Mania goes on to say something I didn’t know, but somewhat parallels the combination of flowers and food in my dream’s flower pot: “But like a Rainbow, this colorful landscape is a short-lived phenomenon. When the flowers are gone, the land  will be cultivated for a rather more mundane crop of  vegetables The Netherlands produce more than nine million bulbs a year.”

I’ve found the same photos on a couple of blogs—not credited to a source in either place–but they certainly are beautiful. Click on the following photo to get to more of them:

Tulip Fields in northern Holland (unattributed photo at Tourism on the Edge)

Tulip Fields in northern Holland (unattributed photo at Tourism on the Edge)

What this dream leads me to do:

I won’t be in Holland in May (but June, I hope!)…so what about tulip festivals locally? A bit of Googling finds a few in May:  in Albany (Saturday, May 7) … and in Huntington, LI (Sunday, May 1). In Manhattan, the West Side Community Garden (West 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus) had its “day of [planting] 10,000 tulips” in November, so as spring warms up, it’s bound to be a beautiful place to visit. I haven’t checked the Brooklyn and Bronx botanical gardens, but there are sure to be at least some tulips showing up in each. Time to get out and get some color!

Robbie Bosnak: true gold

2 Feb

Robert BosnakThe talk Sunday night by Dutch psychoanalyst Robert Bosnak (who’s now based in Australia) was greeted with enthusiasm for this renowned and gracious dreamwork pioneer. In the late 1970’s, Robbie pioneered a radically new method of dreamwork—embodied imagination—that incorporates aspects of Carl Jung’s technique of active imagination and insights from Jung’s studies of alchemy. Robbie’s book A Little Course in Dreams has been translated into twelve languages. In the late 1990s, Robbie and advanced nurse practitioner Jill Fischer in Connecticut pioneered dreamwork on the Internet, establishing, via which dreamers in locations around the world engage in real-time dream-sharing groups via PalTalk. And now they both are part of a team establishing a healing sanctuary in Santa Barbara, California.

Nieuw Amsterdam drawing by Rev. Samuel Manning, from Wikipedia Commons

Nieuw Amsterdam drawing by Rev. Samuel Manning, from Wikipedia Commons

Scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the 2011 conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in Kerkrade, Netherlands, in June, Robbie chose a topic for New York that links his homeland with this city that originated as a Dutch colony: “Nieuw Amsterdam and the Dream of the Golden Age: An Alchemical Perspective.” Though Robbie set the dream succinctly against the cultural heritage of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age that helped spawn Holland’s New World colonization, the “dream of the golden age” in Robbie’s title was the culmination of a modern-day dream series. The dreams were incubated (requested of the dreaming mind before sleep), under Robbie’s direction, by a person he characterized as a financial expert dealing with the emotions and practicalities of the past three years’ turmoil in the financial world.

Robbie intends to publish his research with the dreamer in question, so best to leave it to him to get it into writing the sensitive dream text accurately. Descriptions of the dream imagery in this post will be limited mostly to the very general (sorry, folks!), but it was rich with metaphors that seem easily associated to the stock market of the past couple of years: metaphors for bloatedness, performance measures, lack of transparency, control and lack thereof, indifference by those in charge to how activity is directed, heart-stopping panic, and collapse. The Dutch historical perspective that Robbie recounted also seemed easily associated to modern times, in a history-repeats-itself way. Continue reading

Dreams from and of the Holocaust

27 Jan

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Many Holocaust survivors found their way to the New York area, of course, and New York has its own  excellent Holocaust museum in Battery Park City.

At the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) conference in Chicago in 2009, David L. Kahn gave a riveting presentation titled “20th Century Nightmare: Dreams of the Holocaust by Survivors, Their Children, and Everyday People in Modern Times.” Rereading his abstract online, I’m reminded that one of David’s sources is  The Shoah Dream Project. Another is the master’s thesis research of Yifat Erlich. At IASD’s 2010 conference, in Asheville, N.C., David reprised with a presentation I didn’t get to, “While the World Slept: Dreams of Rwandan Genocide Survivors.”

IASD Past President Deirdre Barrett, who’ll be speaking on a different topic at the Rubin Museum on March 5, edited the book Trauma and Dreams, which has a chapter titled “Sleep, Dreaming, and Coping Style in Holocaust Survivors,” by Peretz Lavie and Hanna Kaminer.

Although not Jewish, I’ve had several intensely disturbing dreams that I associate with the Holocaust. Mostly they’ve been from a viewpoint I associate with the persecuted. In the most explicitly connected one, however, I’m horrified to discover—via a framed photo—that my father (most certainly not my waking-life father) was an SS officer. I’m not aware of research specifically into the genocide dreams of those who have no personal connection to genocide, but I imagine such dreams are somewhat common, as well, given the level of media exposure.

20th Century Nightmare: Dreams of the Holocaust by Survivors, Their Children, and Everyday People in Modern Times

Getting into a Nieuw Amsterdam state of mind

21 Jan
GezichtOpNieuwAmsterdam (Memory of The Netherlands), by Johannes Vingboons (1664); from Wikipedia Commons

GezichtOpNieuwAmsterdam (Memory of The Netherlands), by Johannes Vingboons (1664); from Wikipedia Commons

The obsessive reading-up I’ve been doing about the New York area’s Dutch roots has me in high anticipation of Robbie Bosnak’s January 30 talk on “New Amsterdam and the Dream of the Golden Age: An Alchemical Perspective.” (Download a printable PDF of the flyer for the talk.) I’ll be getting a lot more out of his talk from this preparation—and from out of the 2011 annual conferece of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in June in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, if I get to go to it.

Whether you’re planning to attend either of those or not, you may find a browse through this post and its links helpful in understanding the mindset of this area’s first European settlers and the lasting Dutch influence on New York’s character. (See the St. Mark’s Church item in the Self-Guided Tours section for a particularly convenient adjunct to the Bosnak talk.)

You can also easily get to all this blog’s Dutch-related posts, past and future, by going to the navigation panel at the right side of the blog. In the Topics drop-down list, choose “Dutch.”

The Dutch Golden Age

__  Wikipedia has a succinct but enlightening description.

__  The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, by Simon Schama

I bought this book soon after it was published in 1987; I started reading it last week! Already it’s given me a lot of insight, and I’m only in the introduction…but it’s 720 pages, and I was glad for an assist from a New York Times book review.

Continue reading

Warning dream of a Dutch settler’s slave

20 Jan

Ahh, I love these little accidental discoveries.

Topping off a list I’m about to post about Nieuw Amsterdam, I came upon this about the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, NY (oldest church in the state, according to the Web site):

Tradition says that after Frederick Philipse built his grist mill, probably about 1683, the dam that held the water for it gave way to floods. Philipse withdrew his workers from the church they were building and sent them to work on the dam. The fast-flowing waters broke through again. One day an enslaved African recounted a recurring dream to his master. In the dream God told the slave that unless his master first completed building the church, his dam on the Pocantico River would not contain the flood waters. Philipse concentrated on finishing the church. And the dam held.


Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow, NY

Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow, NY

Sinter Klaas comes to New York

18 Jan

Coming in a little late for Christmas, but we’ve had our jillionth snowstorm this morning, and my Christmas lights are still up. (Shh — so’s the tree.) Rather than hold this post for next Christmas, I want to include it now for its Dutch theme, and I was waiting until I’d be anywhere near Moore Park to get some photos.

“Sugar plums dancing in their heads” is the dream hook to this post—but the post’s not entirely about Christmas, either.

According to All About Christmas, by Maymie R. Krythe (1954), Santa Claus was brought to New York by the Dutch as Sinter Klaas. Before that, Krythe writes, “Dutch seamen were the first to carry to western Europe [from Asia Minor] tales of the bishop’s generosity; as a result, children in Holland got their presents on December 6” (Nicholas’s feast day, the anniversary of his death).

Sinterklaas (on Wikipedia)


When the Dutch settled Nieuw Amsterdam—now New York—they brought along their traditions of St. Nicholas, and named their first church for him. In fact, a figurehead of the saint adorned the vessel, the Goede Vrouw, which brought them to these shores in 1630. The image wore a broad-brimmed hat, and had a long Dutch pipe. In the New World, the bishop laid aside his official, churchly robe, and was transformed from a pale ascetic into a tubby character in short breeches.

Continue reading

Saint Nicholas’s dreams

27 Dec

Away for Christmas week-plus, I’ve been reading a 1954 book, All About Christmas, by Maymie R. Krythe.
“Good Saint Nick” was a real person in the early centuries A.D., quite different in original form from his permutations in various countries in later periods. And the book tells two stories in which dream were important to Nicholas’s real-life development as a saint.
The only child of Christian parents, the book says, Nicholas was born around 280 at Patara, a port in the province of Lycia in Asia Minor. Both his parents died in an epidemic; he inherited their wealth—and was anonymously generous in using it to help others.
According to Krythe, a dream helped elevate Nicholas in the church:

Young Nicholas dedicated his life to God’s service and moved to Myra, chief city of his province. There, after the death of their bishop, members of the Council balloted unsuccessfully, for some time, trying to choose a successor. Finally, in a dream, the oldest official was told to stand next day at the cathedral door and select as the new bishop the first man named Nicholas who entered.
When the young Christian went to the church as usual for morning prayers, he was asked his name; and soon afterward he was selected by the Council  and consecrated to high office.

The second dream the book tells is that Nicholas, on his way to the Council of Nicaea, stopped at an inn where the innkeeper had robbed and dismembered two rich young men. (Such hospitality!) A dream informed Nicholas of the crime. “He forced the wicked man to confess; then Nicholas made the sign of the cross over the casks, prayed earnestly to God, and immediately the three boys were restored to life. Therefore, it is not surprising that the good saint became the patron of children.”

Art that visualizes New York’s Dutch past

17 Nov

On October 17, I happened to watch on Channel 13 a show that was perfect for this blog: Hudson River Journeys. It profiles two people who love the Hudson River: One is Pete Seeger, who instigated the building of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in 1969 as an environmental project for cleaning up the Hudson.

Pete Seeger on the sloop Clearwater

Pete Seeger on the sloop Clearwater

The other person is an artist named Len Tantillo, who specializes in historical art of New York. Continue reading

Dutch dreaming

13 Nov

I have a specific short-term focus and purpose for this blog. Next year’s annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) will take place in Kerkrade, Netherlands. The theme is cultural diversity.

New York having once been New Netherlands / New Amsterdam, this region’s Dutch heritage can be a special link for IASD in the New York area. From the Arthur Kill on Staaten Island, to the Holland Tunnel, the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens, and the Throgs Neck in the Bronx, from Bergen County, New Jersey, to Peekskill, New York, farther up the Hudson Valley, we encounter New York’s Dutch origins every day. It probably almost never comes to the forefront of our awareness for those of us not of Dutch descent. But what influence does, or could, it have on our psyches? How might we use our dreams to explore this place we live in?

So my personal focus at the beginning of this treasure hunt will be mainly (not exclusively) on the Dutch connection. In mid-November, there’s a wide-ranging series of events called 5 Dutch Days in New York, and I encourage you to attend some of those events, dream about them, and journal the results here. Of course, many other Dutch-related experiences are available in New York, from collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to historic homes throughout the area. And your participation relating dreams to any of New York’s offerings, Dutch or otherwise, is welcome.

If one or more of us New Yorkers (and Northern New Jerseyites) will be going to the IASD conference in Kerkrade (I hope to!), maybe we can turn any Dutch-related posts from this blog into a poster presentation for the conference. The deadline for proposing posters is March 1.

(Please note that while this treasure hunt is inspired in part by IASD, it’s not an official IASD activity.)