Last weekend I had the pleasure of sitting with a circle of dreamers at Caritas Spiritist Center. It was another chance to sit with Jeremy Taylor and so many others in my Dream Family. All weekend I had the feeling that my name would be pulled, and it came out last, the final dream focus of the weekend. I had two that I’d flagged, but the moment I heard my name, I knew which one to read for the group.
One of the images present in the dream is a toy blue boat that I owned as a child. I received it on my fourth birthday and it’s still knocking around the house of dreams. Boats remind me of my mom, who spent her childhood playing in water. The presence of a little girl in the dream offers me the parent’s perspective. Both of these associations make me think of the ways my role as a mother is changing as my daughters grow, the praise and grief of watching them need me less. What will I do with myself? The creative life is chomping at the bit, bringing with it the fear of tapping into it at the rate it seems to want.
But the projection also came up in the circle that the blue boat I’m riding in this life is depression. With that projection came the reminder that meeting life with an open heart enables me to overcome the depression.
In idiom, we speak of “my ship coming in” to denote great success, usually after long labor, or “that ship has sailed” to speak of an opportunity that has passed. Boats have ancient and archetypal associations as well, including the womb and cradle, the voyage of life, birth and death. A boat provides a thin barrier between a person and the water, and so is a symbol of safety in the presence of great danger, and of riding the currents of life. According to The Book of Symbols, included in its metaphorical meanings, “The boat denotes those things, material, spiritual, energetic, that suddenly appear on our horizons and are brought to shore.”
In the dream I shared at the workshop, the toy boat also carries associations of play and innocence, when I could live life “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,” and life did feel like a dream.
I consulted the following books for this post: J. E. Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols; J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols; and Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin, ed., The Book of Symbols.