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IN YOUR DREAMS

Elusive Woman Holds Clue to His Identity

April 28, 1998|CYNTHIA RICHMOND

Dear Cynthia: I've had this dream since I was 16. I am now 20. I am walking through the park. I think it's autumn since the leaves are falling. It is very beautiful and peaceful. I see a figure up ahead. As I get closer, I see that it's a woman. I run to get closer to her, but it seems impossible. I call to her, but she either doesn't hear or doesn't acknowledge me. She sits on the grass, as if waiting for me. Finally, I get close enough to see her face--and I wake up. What does this mean?

WESSLY CIFUENTES

Los Angeles

Dear Reader: Each of us carries within us qualities of the other gender. Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss-born psychologist (1875-1961), identified this phenomenon as the anima (which represents the feminine qualities in men) or the animus (the masculine qualities in women). Your dream depicts your desire to know the feminine part of yourself--an understanding that at present eludes you (as the woman in your dream sits and waits).

You need to bring feminine qualities, such as sensitivity and nurturing, into proper focus within yourself. Otherwise, for one thing, you may find yourself attracted to women who are overly sensitive and too nurturing.

In any case, don't wait, as many do, until the autumn of your life to accept these parts of yourself. If you put up a strong "male front" and at times feel artificial, try to express tender or sensitive feelings when appropriate. Understanding your feminine qualities can make you stronger and can bring feelings, as in your dream, of beauty and peace.

*

Dear Cynthia: I've just been elected president of the United States. The inauguration ceremony is taking place in a swamp, and as soon as I am sworn in, two gray snakes come into the swamp. For my first act as president, I take it upon myself to kill the snakes with an ax. I kill the snakes by slicing them repeatedly. The crowd cheers me on. This dream was so vivid! What could it mean?

PAIGE THIGPEN

West Hills

Dear Reader: Your dream indicates that you recently have taken on new responsibility and feel "swamped" with work and new duties.

Snakes have many meanings as a symbol. Here, they seem neutral (gray): They are an opportunity for you to assert your authority. By overkilling them--"slicing them repeatedly" with an ax--you reveal some resentment and anger connected with your new obligations. (In the dream, you were elected, an indication that you may not have volunteered for this position.)

However, the swamp where all this happens is a murky place, connoting a lack of emotional clarity: You really aren't sure how you feel about all this yet, or how it will turn out.

Meanwhile, the dream finds you rising to the demands of the job. You definitely seem to enjoy the attention it is bringing you.

*

Dear Cynthia: I have had this dream for the past seven or eight years. I either witness or am involved in a plane crash. I always walk away from the wreckage unhurt. But the feelings I experience during the dream--the feeling of falling, of being out of control, the fear of imminent death--are tremendous. I travel extensively for work and pleasure, and as a result of these dreams, my anxiety levels increase. Does this dream mean that I will die in a plane crash?

JEFFREY ROBINSON

Los Angeles

Dear Reader: No. This is not a warning. It does reveal an anxiety, a fear of losing status or financial security--a theme common among executives and others who have achieved a level of success in the corporate world. Your fear is that through an event not within your control (you are a passenger or observer, not the pilot), your position could crash.

I suspect that this dream comes more frequently as you rise in status and title and there becomes more to lose. But note that you always "walk away from the wreckage." Ride out your fears. Sure, today's corporate world is uncertain, but reinforce your sense of security: Remind yourself of your qualifications (many of which would be applicable to other companies and industries), and if you don't have a savings plan, start one and contribute to it regularly. The dream should stop.

*

Clarification: One of the dreamers from our last column, Dr. Judith Orloff of Los Angeles, is the same Dr. Orloff who wrote "Second Sight" (Warner Books, 1996), a book that includes a fascinating and insightful study of dreams.

*

In Two Weeks: What does it mean when you dream that you are lost and can't find your way back home?

* Behavioral therapist Cynthia Richmond's column appears every other Tuesday. To contact her, write to "In Your Dreams," Life & Style, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; send a fax to (213) 237-0732; or e-mail her at cynthrich@aol.com. Please include the name of the city where you live and a daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 100 words and cannot be returned. "In Your Dreams" should be read for entertainment purposes only.

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