Big Spider Dream
THE BIG SPIDER AND WEDDING DRESS DREAM
The picture is of Brenda with her baby and my family
I was wearing a wedding dress, there was a helper in the background, the dress was white lace as I looked down at myself in the dress I noticed red roses on the neckline, I was surprised at this, then looking down my laced arm there was a tarantula spider. I was not frightened but wanted it off my hand, it was really weighing my hand down, I took control not fearfully but knowing I had to deal with it, I went to put it under a running hot water.
I offered this dream to work in a group. Collette used word association asking what the bride represented; Libby offered some figures of a bride to use to connect with the symbol.
I was asked what came to mind when thinking about the bride, what it might represent – young innocent romantic? But what I felt in my body was resistance to the symbol which was a clue to what was trying to get through (the resistance). The spider I thought might be about the homework as that was what came to mind as I began, again it was from the mind.
I felt grateful but did not get ”Ah, ah” that I get when it fits and when the knowing sense is felt, so I went to visit Tony Crisp, with whom I have worked with for many years, exploring my dreams, using active imagination, LifeStream, a willingness to be moved from within, a surrendering of self and Gestalt therapy; a method where you step into each symbol and speak from that symbol. Example, I am a spider, as a spider.
The important part of using these tools is to take time in letting the client sink into the symbol, not to rush with questions as it is a slow process moving from the known self to the symbol, the not so known self, (the symbol coming from the unconscious).
As I identified with being a spider I noticed I was covered in fine hairs with red eyes that were on little stems. My hairs were like little sensors feeling vibrations listening and feeling intently fully focused. I realised that it was a part of my defence, having kept me safe as a child in a family with secrets, with hidden sexual abuse.
But unknown to me, due to that abuse, I was verbally and emotionally abused by someone, not knowing why. I did not realise that this abuse was happening when I was a child. In fact it was through working on a dream with Tony Crisp when I was 24yrs old. Following that information I discovered what had happened. So the spider dream brought to my awareness that I felt that I always needed to be aware of everyone else’s needs and to respond to them to keep me safe. I really understood the relevance of the spider being in my dream how it had kept me safe, but it took up so much of my energy that now, as an adult and realising this, I could respond to my needs in a different way.
This sound very logical but this information arose from my unconscious and not by interpreting in an intellectual way. I can see and have spoken in my journal about noticing how I respond to others needs before my own. While still working with my symbols I thanked the spider and invited the spider to go live somewhere else. The spider influence in me was also stopping me from being free in my movement of my right hand, which does not know what it wants to do but now feels freedom to explore my wants and needs. I thanked Tony who asked if I wanted to look at the girl in the wedding dress but I said that I thought I knew what that meant – a conventional female role. But later that day I decided to ask two friends if they would be willing to support me as I explore this dream. One friend, a 2nd year level 4 ST counsellor student, the other friend trained in Barbara Brenner’s energy work, so I felt safe,
Using the same therapeutic tools as used with Tony, becoming the symbol, I gave a list of suggested questions to ask me such as, this was support if my friends did not know what to ask but not to have to use them
“If you was to become the bride?”
“If you spoke from the being the dress?”
“Where do you feel that in your body?”
“Where did you first feel this?”
“How old are you?”
So when I first became the woman in the dress I said, “I am about to get married, and I feel full of emotional energy, excitement and concern.”
“Where do you feel that in your body”
“All over the torso going all around it.”
“If you became the dress.”
“I like it that I am going to commit myself and have the ritual, but I do not like the idea that I am going to do this in front of all those people”
“Is there a part of you that would like that attention?”
“NO” was my response.
“How old are you?”
This took some time to get any image or feeling. “I am not sure, what is coming as a memory is of me in bridesmaids dress. I was 11yrs old at my sisters wedding. I started to feel lots of confusion.” Then I talked about what was happening back then, which was still confusing. There was a lot going on that I did not understand. I started to feel restricted in my body, a tightness around my torso. Staying with this body sensation I felt it getting tighter and tighter.
“What does your body want to do?”
“I want to get out of this”, and started to struggle. “Its like being in a cocoon.”
Staying with this I felt my cocoon splitting and emerging, then feeling like bits of sticky stuff in patches over my body.
“What do you want to do?”
“Get this off my body, get rid of all this shit, it is not mine, and I am understanding that it had grown me into who I am. I felt the release of my 11yr old from the cocoon and protection of the spider, so even though I worked with different people who had not met before working with active imagination, being the spider speaking from that position using Gestalt, both the wedding dress and the spider where about what was happening for me as a 11yr old.
Learning to be present, to have the observer framing what was being said, being embodied and noticing what is happening in my body, how to use the physical body, knowing it to be a doorway to the unconscious, using movement of the physical and connecting to the emotional self expression. Also active imagination as a way of moving from the known self to exploring the unknown self. To record and gain information from my dreams using all the skills I was learning, and the value of our dreams. All the work that took place with Tony Crisp was personally centred. And from this work I grew to understand some of who I was, empowering me with skills that I still apply to my life to-day
Tony Crisp was a great teacher, friend, emotional support and the most generous soul I have met.
The skills that I have learnt from Tony have also been some of the skills being taught in Sweet Track counselling with further development when joining the WAC – Western County Association of Counsellors in N Devon in 1982
Brenda added another dream that relates to the work done on the above dream.
The neglected animals
I had a dream regarding my needs, which once again my mind thought it knew the answer, (I had been to an evenings talk on sexual abuse), and I dreamt that I met a woman who looked very frail (her life had been hard). We spoke about puppies and she invited me to go with her to see hers. As we got to her back yard there on the floor were two little puppies in the gutter on a concrete floor in the rain. Then the woman went to her back door which was green. She said, “I just need to go inside and sort things before you can come in.” It sounded like there was many animals desperate for something.
She went in and I turned and walked away thinking I don’t want to go in there. But working with gestalt and embodiment I discovered that I was keeping my needs behind a green door, and that all I needed to do was open the door. There were many different animals some young some adults, all able to take care of themselves if the door was open.
See Levels of the Brain that explains what part dream animals play in our life. Also read