Dream Journal x Analysis: The Tortoise
Dreaming, is the way our subconscious communicating with us. Often, our suppressed desires, emotions and thoughts during conscious times, will seed in the subconscious. As we drift into sleep, the seed grows into a story in our minds, replaying our true inner voices.
Most of the times, unless intended, it’s hard to recall dreams. Recently, I attempted to remember my dreams by keeping a dream journal. The dream journal is actually easy and fun, I highly recommend you try it.;)
Steps are as followed:
1. The moment I open my eyes, I will first reach out for my smartphone, and verbally record whatever I can recall from the dream.
2. After some time, I replay the recordings and turn them into words.
3. Analyze the elements in the dreams, research on what message does the subconscious intends to tell. Keywords to find include: dreams, elements, meaning.
4. Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic perspective in deciphering dream is indeed a good start to understanding oneself better.
Okay, here’s my recent dream:
Under the scorching sun, I was standing by a pond.The pond was glittering in turquoise, with some greenery surrounding the banks. A group of people were standing by the pond, chitchating in distance. Neither I could see their faces nor hear what they said.
In front of me, was a gigantic Sulcata land tortoise, resting by the pond. “Land tortoises can’t really swim, and she’s a female.” thoughts flashed through my mind at the moment. There’s something peculiar about the tortoise shell — — -the anterior part of the shell was terribly deformed. “Maybe it’s from trauma or metabolic bone disease.” I said to myself.
Just as I was still trying to figure out why, out of the blue, the Sulcata was being pushed into the pond, leaving me in shock. “She can’t swim！！“ I panicked. I still could hear the people chitchating in distance, but nobody came to help.
And then I woke up.
Writing it down and drawing (Zentangle Flow: Dream Doodle), I thought it was just some random animal dream. I was indeed encountering obstacles in my job and life, which I chose to put aside in order to stay alive. Until one day, I discussed my dream with my mentor, and realized that it’s truly an insightful dream.
“In Jungian’s dream psychoanalysis, tortoise is a symbol of SELF image. It comprises both Yin and Yang, with the shell as Yin characteristics (compassion, containment) while the emerging head possesses the Yang features (brave, adventurous).
In your dream, you mentioned it was a land tortoise, barely knew how to swim in deep waters, yet pushed into the water. It might be a sign that you’re struggling in a drowning environment. As for the damaged shell, it might be telling you that, there’s a deficit in self containment, which kind of resonated to your current life.”
At that very moment, I felt immense sorrow. I’ve always been a high achiever, trying my very best to be resilient, yet I intendedly ignored my vulnerabilities, because I was terrified facing them. Till then, unfolding the dark side of oneself is truly uncomfortable, unbearable, yet it was a really liberating experience. :)
Grishko, V., 2012. Turtle: Primordial Symbol of Creation, Strength, Containment and Transformation in Sandplay Therapy with Children. Journal of Sandplay Therapy, 21(2).
Russack, N., 2002. Animal guides in life, myth and dreams. 1st ed. Inner City Books.
沙遊與夢的隨想. 2021. 【物件象徵書摘】?烏龜? — 沙遊與夢的隨想. [online] Available at: <https://sandplay.siterubix.com/【物件象徵書摘】🐢烏龜🐢>.
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Claim: I’m not a professional psychoanalyst, all dream analysis shared about was just based on my own experience.