Dear Claire,

I was very intrigued by your dream analysis in the last issue and thought that I would take a stab at sending you the details of a recurring dream that has been plaguing my psyche for the last two or three years. This is one of those dreams that doesn’t seem all that profound to the average listener because the events are mundane. However, in the dream, my backyard shed door is wide-open, and there is always a tool that is missing—obviously stolen. These missing tools have all been extremely important ones—like a shovel or a rake—tools that are vital to the maintenance of my yard and its gardens. In reality, my backyard is my utopia and is about the only beautiful “thing” in my life. My personal life is a wreck, so my yard is very important to me—the only place where I actually feel connected to life and beauty. I am not a materialistic person, for the most part, but in my dream, I am devastated by the theft of my primary yard tools. Claire, can you help me?

There are three significant symbols in this dream—the backyard/gardens, the door, and the tools. Because gardens are places of life force and beauty, as well as places of contemplation and renewal, they become powerful symbols in the subconscious world for life, growth, fertility, creation, regeneration, renewal, sustenance, sanctuary, and paradise. In addition, gardens are symbols of nature—as well as the strong, nourishing connection between humans and nature.

In dreams, doors are often a symbol for passing from one state of existence to another or from one world to another—and can represent a physical and/or emotional transition in life. In addition, doors can serve as a symbol for entrances, exits, and connections in life, and can represent a borderline or barrier existing in certain physical or emotional aspects of life. For example, a closed door can represent feelings of separation or feelings of being blocked, shut out, or somehow prohibited from doing something in life or moving somewhere in life. A closed door can also be representative of shutting people out or closing oneself off to emotions, relationships, or experiences in life. Open doors, on the other hand, are symbols of potential, hope, and new possibilities in life–being “open” to making new connections or re-establishing past connections, and being “open” to establishing closer relationships and exploring new opportunities. Open doors can also signify being “open” to the risk of allowing certain emotions to enter into one’s life.

When dreaming, tools are classic symbols of assistance, support, creation, and destruction (as in, the tools can build, but they can also tear down). Furthermore, tools can also be symbols of being able to fix situations, things, and people—and can be representations of what, or who, the dreamer needs for support in life or to facilitate happiness in life.

In the submitted dream, a door was open; however, this was not a positive symbol due to the fact that something was taken as the result of this open door. Furthermore, the thing that was taken was something vital and necessary to the upkeep of the dreamer’s garden sanctuary. Not only was there this loss of safety and security in his place of refuge, beauty, and spiritual nourishment, but there is a repeated assault on his sanctuary—his “utopia”—every time this dream recurs. His secluded world of beauty, sustenance, renewal, and “all things good”—where he goes to escape his “wreck” of a personal life—is being repeatedly threatened and diminished in his dream world. Why?
As it turned out, this dreamer suffered many major personal losses in the past three years. Devastated by each new loss, the dreamer retreated further and further into his beautiful, secluded, backyard “utopia” in order to escape from negative feelings and emotions—believing that if he had never opened that emotional “door”, he would not be feeling the overwhelming loss and subsequent emotional pain. Losing the “tools”—a.k.a., the people and situations who he believed were vital to maintaining his emotional, social, and physical well-being—is linked to the “unclosed door” symbolism. The upset over the “unclosed door” reflects his need for self-protection in that a closed door would keep others out and help him to avoid further loss and pain. The open door, the stolen tools, and the feelings of devastation kept recurring in his dreams as a means of expressing and working through the feelings of personal loss, pain, and diminishment.

However, are closed doors, closed-off emotions, and seclusion—even when in “utopia”—the pathway to peace of mind? That is up to the individual to decide. However, perhaps, at this time—and for this dreamer—a quiet, solitary refuge is necessary for moving in the direction of peace, healing, and regeneration.

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