I dreamed again of a flying trapeze the other night. I’ve had a few very memorable dreams in the past where I was watching trapeze artists flying over great distances, grasping each others’ hands in amazing catches. But this time, I was on the trapeze myself.
The dream opens with me introducing Jeremy Taylor to an audience. I have a red scarf over my head. I go out, and he has a huge line of people waiting to talk to him. I do a trapeze act with D. W., who preaches as he swings on the trapeze. He says, “Go for a hike, tell someone you love them, forgive someone.” At the end, we hug while each on our own trapeze, and then he lets go of the trapeze, curls into a ball, and floats to the ground.I go back inside where Jeremy is. My arms are sore. A woman in the audience asks everyone to give their attention to Jeremy.
Many dream dictionaries don’t include “trapeze,” though Betty Bethards offers these associations: “High-minded ideas; daring inspiration. Swinging back and forth; indecision.” All of these projections elicit ahas from me. I swing back and forth between the creative work I do that feels inspired and the work I do in my family that feels more like service. In addition, I project the importance of timing on the symbolic meaning of a trapeze act. I have to be ready to catch my partner when he flies on his own, and I have to know when to let go of my own hold on the trapeze bar and trust that I’ll be safely caught again.
D.W. is a childhood acquaintance whom I haven’t seen in nearly forty years. In that sense, he’s a perfect candidate for a dream symbol, since I know nothing of who he is now. What he represents in the dream is based on my projections on him from when we were children. There’s an innocence about him in my memory and in the dream, and the wisdom that comes from an innocent heart. His advice to exercise, express love, and release old resentments seems a sound prescription for health and wholeness. His gentle descent to the ground suggests that not all landings have to be hard. His curling into a ball suggests a sphere, which is wholeness.
The scene with D.W. and the trapeze is framed with dream work. Jeremy represents that, of course, but also teaching, preaching, and spreading the metaphorical word. So for me this dream is about my calling to write, to explore meaning through metaphor, and to help people understand their dreams and get in touch with their own creativity. The dream reminds me that at the center of that, I need to forgive myself, and take care of myself, and trust the universe to catch me when I take a leap of faith. All easier said than done, but like a trapeze act, it takes practice.