Dream Architecture


There are many architectural spaces inside my head that frequently come out in my dreams, especially libraries, bookstores, antique stores, museums and opera stages (why opera, which I don’t care for rather than Broadway musicals, which I love, I have no idea). I tend to assume that the Dream Chipmunks in my head are busy all night in the File Room of My Mind, frantically trying to file away the day’s events, conversations, thoughts, daydreams and all the other flotsam and jetsam of my life.

So I went into an online Dream Interpretation Dictionary and looked some of these things up. Most of them are not rocket science. Libraries symbolize knowledge, museums and antiques the things you value. “To watch an opera in your dream represents your quest for the grander things in life…”—okay, this part I totally buy, but this part? “…The dream may also be trying to tell you that you are being overly dramatic in some waking situation” (“Opera”), I really don’t. Further, it says, “To dream that you are watching a musical indicates that you need to be careful not to get carried away by your emotions” (“Musical”).

Now it may just be me, but it seems like the writers here have a bias against musicals. And why would being dramatic or getting “carried away” with your emotions be a bad thing anyway? This interpretation strikes me as being written by a straight WASP male of the old school (i.e., the medieval one that didn’t have women in it). Maybe the opera/musical imagery is telling me that I need to be more dramatic and more emotional. I am an introvert, after all, who has dealt with depression, and having and identifying my emotions has long been difficult for me. Maybe my dreams are telling me to embrace my inner Leo. There might also be glitter involved…


I have been having these kinds of spaces show up in my dreams more often than usual over the last week or so, and maybe that is a result of all this introspection I’ve been doing. Normally, I would expect more teaching anxiety dreams or overflowing toilet dreams, or the even more normal ones where completely random and meaningless things happen (I suspect in part because chipmunk hands aren’t really made for holding onto paper and they often drop things on the floor and then misfile them in their hurry to finish the job before I wake up and go to work).

I suppose what this suggests is that, as useful as such resources are, they are going to share the cultural biases of their makers. In the end, my own intuition about what a symbol means is probably going to be much more useful to me than anything somebody else comes up with.

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