The dream: “I’m on the top level of a castle and there are people with me. There’s a tsunami coming and I’m contemplating the structure of the building and trying to work out whether it will withstand the force (should it be high enough). I’m also contemplating death and what it will be like. As I look to my left and my right I can see green hills and at the top of them really well built castles that look like French châteaus. As I see them I know that we can’t make it up to them and we are basically waiting for our fate. Behind me is a valley that stretches off into the horizon.”
First, let’s start with some idioms:
– a man’s home is his castle.
– he’s the king of the castle.
– he’s the top guy, guy at the top.
– even though he is on top of things, there is a disaster coming.
– he’s in a difficult position.
– he lives in dangerous times.
– he is under threat of getting wiped out.
– he is in a defensive position, but his defences are down (i.e. when compared to the châteaus).
– there are forces at work that are out of his control.
– he is becoming aware of the dangerous nature of things.
In terms of taxonomy, there are a number of interesting features. The castle, as container denotes inherited status, castles themselves tend to serve more as a status symbol and locus of governance over and above that of practical function. In the event of invasion or siege, few castles can sustain it’s prisoners for long. Container metaphors are about birth-family, and by comparison there are others that are in a far better position than this one when considering the coming threat. But all things are relative. When a tsunami is coming, then a castle at the top of a hill is at the best advantage. During normal climactic conditions, being more down to earth and connected with the surroundings may be the greater advantage.
The elevations play a part here too in terms of acquired status. The castle is not in such an elevated position. As a general rule being equal to ground level is “normal” or baseline – higher than this is acquired status, lower than this is decreased status, relative to baseline. Long term happiness seems to be hugely dependent on living at baseline.
With the dreamer being in an elevated position within his container (i.e. the castle) this suggests that the dreamer has an elevated status within his birth-family. This may be that he has the career that is highly regarded, or maybe he has the role of “the head of the family.”
And this tells us where the threat is heading. It is a threat to his family. There are outside forces that threaten to change this family structure forever, unless they are strong enough to withstand this threatened event. They will need to pull together, their bonds will be severely tested should this event occur.
Whilst not inherent in the metaphor, there is the potential for an “immersion” metaphor. Immersion metaphors are about unavoidable, external circumstances over which the person has no influence or control. Immersions tend to be little more than bad luck, rather than resulting from anything the individual has created themselves.
And herein lies a possibility of what this event may pertain to. Shame.
Shame metaphors tend to be about contamination, much like sin is perceived by the Christian church. Such contamination is dealt with via cleansing albeit by washing away the sin, baptism with water, blessing the temple with fire, cleansing the world with a great big flood to kill off all the wickedness.
And here’s where it gets complicated. When the world was flooded, not everyone was sinful or contaminated and I’m sure that there was at least one good guy killed in that flood. Shame is an aspect of experience that is attributed by others (there are exceptions, but that is too lengthy to go into here) and not everyone has done anything at all to be ashamed of. However, that doesn’t stop other people making such an attribution. Gossip mongers and false accusers do a great deal of this.
So do some therapists, inadvertently helping people to feel bad about things that they have no reason to feel bad about.
So, in this dream there is no shame, but there is a major solution to shame that is coming his way whether he likes it or not. It’s an unfair attribution that has no place in this world, yet it exists and it might be happening anyway.
Only those of a higher position will escape it. Their elevated positions protect them from such unfairness. It’s just in the nature of things.