Had a strange but pleasant experience one morning this week. In that liminal period at first waking, a meaning for a childhood nightmare popped to mind. My son and partner and I had been discussing various family patterns of interaction the evening before, and how they can perpetuate over generations.
I think that discussion is what triggered the next morning's revelation. I've wondered for many years what a certain repeated childhood nightmare might mean. I had it when visiting my grandparents one summer when I was about eight years old - maybe seven, maybe nine. Never could figure out what it had meant.
In the dream, I'd see someone with a big zinnia flower growing out of the top of the head like a big mushroom. I liked zinnias, but as a head growth they really looked awful. In the dream, if a zinnia headed person touched a normal person, the normal person quickly grew a zinnia head. So as the dream progressed, I'd be running and hiding all over the house and yard, trying to escape being touched by a zinnia head.
The interpretation that popped into my head is simple. As a child, I must have sensed that all around me were contagious "heads" - family patterns of thinking and talking. I didn't want to "catch" these patterns and absorb them into myself. But as a young child, I couldn't say "Grandmother and Grandfather, I've been observing the usual patterns of interaction in this extended family. I find them dysfunctional. I'd rather not participate." The dream was my way of trying to "see" this and at the same time, make my escape.
It's kind of fun to think that after fifty years, a mystery can be suddenly illuminated. It's especially fun that it can happen effortlessly. Now to choose my zinnia color....I think I prefer the bright red orange.