College Campus Dream

16 Dec

I had a dream in which I was a very confused new student at Harvard University. I was young and scared of all these strangers, and people weren’t particularly interested in me.

I lived in a dorm room, and to get to it I had to enter a door into a run-down-looking little corridor and staircase.  I don’t remember my actual room. On the first day of class, I got to the bottom of that staircase and went along with a bunch of students to an acting class or rehearsal. I was supposed to play a male character in a play, because I had apparently signed up for it, or maybe my mother signed me up for it.

A clique-ish group of girls, maybe four, were somewhat friendly toward me (they weren’t hostile, and they were willing to let me tag along, and they acknowledged my presence and spoke a little to me). They all lived in the same dorm as I, and they were in this acting group. So I tagged along. We met up with other students and with the director, a cheerful woman with grey hair and a pale blue cardigan. We met in a sort of patio area, where we ended up walking down a few steps before the acting stuff began. I think we were reading from a script or something like that.

After that, I went along with the other girls to my next class…and I’m not sure what that was, now that I’m awake. It may have been a drawing class or such, something in the art department.

At some point, I was with a group of students—maybe the same group as before, the actors—and was following an older woman around, a woman in her sixties. She led us to what I’m tempted to say was a library, but maybe not. Yes, I think it was the library. There was a large room—the building looked like it was designed in the 1960s (nothing looked remotely like how I remember Harvard, which is full of beautiful old buildings).

I seemed to keep running into the acting students and had a vague sense that I was supposed to be one of them, if nothing else because we were all first years. At lunch break I ran into them, I think. I don’t remember a school cafeteria—we may have been eating on those few steps, eating bag lunches.

On the second day, I still didn’t know my schedule and made my way through my first class much as I had the previous day. I listened in on other students’ conversations and followed them to class. I was totally winging it, all still very confused.

At some point, after one class, I wandered to a strange building. It was another building that could have been from the 1960s. It was very wide and dark brown. Inside, there were quite a few people, all older than typical college age (I’d say they were mostly in their fifties and sixties). In the center of the room was a beautiful sculpture. It was kind of abstract but also kind of like a twisting tree such as trees I saw in India—a bodhi tree or banyan tree, one of those trees that seem to made of twisty ropes. But at the same time, it was like a huge yoni or Goddess sculpture, right there in the center of the room. I think there were candles and much smaller Goddess statues sitting around on the benches and floorboards around the sculpture. Nearby, such as next to me, were dark brown tables where people were, looking busy with pens.

I asked a woman in her sixties—a woman who looked like she could be a librarian—about the particular building for which I was looking. A shaggy, bearded man (a brown beard and wavy, shoulder-length hair—he looked to be in his fifties) told me how to get there, and I headed out the door with one last awed glance at the central sculpture. I ended up at the building, the one that was the library I’d visited the day before. This was, I thought in a sort of intuitive sort of way, where my next class was supposed to be.

I don’t remember a lot of details about actual classes. I do remember being in a classroom taught by a man, and the walls were very white and there were all these students in the room, and I was very quiet. I think the teacher gave a lecture, but I don’t remember the topic. I was probably too confused and worried about what on earth the rest of my classes were that day. Considering the time of day and the fact that my classes apparently averaged one and a half hours long each, I calculated that I’d better skip lunch that day—that I wouldn’t have  time to sit down to lunch. I also didn’t have any snacks with me.

After at least two classes that day, I headed back toward my dorm. I had trouble remembering where it was and almost wandered into a similar building that had a tiny convenience shop on the bottom floor. The dorm was the next building over.

Inside the dorm building, I was in a hallway that widened into this chaotic section with bulletin boards and such on the walls. There was a huge table in the center, and it was covered with what appeared to be potluck food, or at least enough food for a great many people. I noticed chanterelle mushrooms that looked raw and uncut and thought it was too bad they hadn’t been made into stew or something. There were other things—I think there was a big hunk of gross meat that put me off, made me inclined to pass up the entire feast. There was what may have been a gigantic cinnamon roll (similar to the cinnamon roll I took home from Blossoming Lotus and had for breakfast this morning).

I came to realize, as I wandered around from building to building and such, that I didn’t actually have my schedule and that I was sort of winging it. I didn’t know what my classes were or when they met. It was stressful and scary, even though nobody was mean to me. Everyone except me seemed very confident and knew what they were doing, which made me feel embarrassed and stupid. (In real life, of course, I would have made a point of having my schedule or going to the registrar’s office and getting it, but because this was a dream that didn’t even occur to me.)

I also came to realize, to my shock and confusion, that my mother and teachers had gotten together and made up my schedule for me. I had had no part in it, of even choosing which classes to take—my mother had taken over the whole thing. I felt shocked by this realization, as I absent-mindedly looked at rows of books, I think in my dorm room. The walls were quite pale, like off white, and there was a large window with a great deal of sunlight beaming in, at the time that I made that realization.

Next—at least, I think this was the same dream, oddly enough—I was with one or two young women, and we were outdoors in a sort of courtyard. We were talking (I forget the  topic), and we sat down on some random bleachers.

Next to the bleachers was a small tree, and as soon as we sat down next to the tree, a huge flock of little birds suddenly descended upon it with a chorus of chirps. They filled up the tree. For a few seconds, I thought the birds resembled bats and were black. But as I watched, I realized they were green, very green. They had strange little monkey-like faces that were a combination of light green and a darker green—their snouts were light green, and feathers or fur stuck out around their heads. They seemed to look back at me. With the other young women, I was debating what colors the birds were—I had originally said they were black and afterwards said, “Oh, no, they’re green.” In response, one of the women said, “They’re blue.” I stared at them more closely to figure out if they were blue, and they looked that much greener to me.

Before having this dream, I’d read part of the book In Her Image: The Unhealed Daughter’s Search for Her Mother, by Kathie Carlson. It’s a book about women who didn’t  get enough nurturing as children and still yearn for it, and about how our society expects real live mothers to be the archetypal mother, which isn’t possible. So we should turn to the Mother Goddess instead, and reading up on Goddesses is therapeutic and nurturing for us.

In connection with that book, the dream involved Goddess statue and what looked rather like a Goddess shrine in the middle of a library-like space. There was my real-life mother trying to control my life and dominate it and conspire against me—she and the teachers had created my class schedule and I was expected to blindly follow it, the schedule (life plan?) that my mother chose.


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