Dear Claire,

I have versions of this dream where I am in this huge, mansion-like house at nighttime. It is very dark, and there is this horrible storm that seems to be at its worst right over the house. Just about everything in the house is in disrepair; the roofs, windows, and doors are all leaking, rotting, and falling apart. As a result, it is storming all over the inside of the top story of the house, and water is swirling and flooding everywhere. I am up to my ankles in a current of rushing floodwater, and water from the storm keeps pouring on me. It is almost like having no roof at all, because I can see so much of the storm and the sky above. I want to fix the house and stop the storm from coming in. However, it just keeps storming, and it is too overwhelming to fix it. These two young women keep showing up in different parts of the house for different reasons. Every time they show up, they do things that are wrong or that I don’t approve of.  For example, they don’t tell the truth in order to avoid paying for things which they should be paying for. I am, for some reason, part of their group. However, I am not really with them. They totally ignore and exclude me while doing these things. I am sort of like this apparition that follows them around but doesn’t want to. The dream ends when I wake up, realizing that this is my former childhood home and thinking how I need to get something back that was taken from it.

The symbols that come to the forefront in this dream are the house, the storm, and the darkness. Houses are classic symbols of safety, protection, family, and tradition. However, at a more complex level of symbolism, houses can also represent the human mind or psyche—with the exterior representing the image of ourselves that we show to the world, the top floors representing our conscious mind, and the bottom floors or basement representing our subconscious mind.

Storms in a dream are generally representative of trouble and difficulties in the waking world—or situations which are unpredictable/unstable, tumultuous, or destructive. Whenever there is a storm in a dream, the dreamer should take note of any positive or negative emotional responses to it, as well as take note of its location and severity. If the storm is in the background, it can symbolize trouble that has past; if it is in the foreground, it can symbolize trouble that is imminent or being expected/anticipated. If the storm is precisely overhead, it could symbolize trouble that is present and occurring. Furthermore, a minor storm indicates manageable trouble, as opposed to a major storm which indicates an extremely serious or tumultuous issue. In the end, storms in a dream (unless you love storms or fell asleep during a storm) do not tend to be positive symbols and are usually reflections of some volatile, emotionally damaging, or destructive situation in life.

Night-time and darkness in a dream can symbolize the “darkness” that we are feeling—as in negative or “dark” emotions, attitudes, behavior, or perceptions that are connected to situations and people in our lives. Darkness can also reflect a state of sadness or depression, an exposure to evil or negativity, or can reflect the death of a person, a way of life, or a relationship. In addition, darkness can represent the deep, “dark” areas of the mind where emotions and memories are suppressed or kept hidden. However, darkness does not have to be an exclusively negative or repressive symbol. It can merely represent secretiveness or signify a lack of awareness—i.e., being “kept in the dark” about a situation. However, when attempting to interpret its meaning, it is important to consider how the dreamer feels about that darkness. Is the feeling positive or negative – or is it of any significance at all?

After communicating with this dreamer, it became apparent that this dream was a definite reflection of great trouble and angst in the dreamer’s waking life. A house that is falling apart amid darkness, storms, overwhelming rain, and flooding are hardly positive symbols and would indicate a dark and volatile situation in the waking world. Furthermore, this was a complex dream, containing multiple issues, symbols, and layers of meaning. In fact, several pages of analysis could be written about this one dream only. To explain the dreamer’s situation in brief, she was dealing with the serious and emotionally-wrenching illness of a parent, which forced her to have more contact than usual with siblings who she described as a “pack of jackals.” This recent, excessive exposure to extremely negative siblings resulted in the unearthing of traumatic memories; and this forced her to, once again, have to experience and attempt to come to terms with the dysfunctional and destructive nature of her childhood family. The darkness in this dream, paired with the storms and driving rain, is most likely a reflection of the “dark” and negative emotions, attitudes, and perceptions residing inside this dreamer’s psyche.

The overwhelming storms and swirling floodwater also reveal the dreamer’s state of mind and reflect the overwhelming difficulty of caring for her sick parent while simultaneously dealing with these long-buried emotions and extremely toxic family relationships. Her storm is continuous and is precisely overhead, an indication of immediate, tumultuous difficulty, and the family house, that is in rotting disrepair, is how she views her childhood family’s past and present situation. As for the two young women in the dream, they are representative of her actual siblings, whom she has no shred of a positive relationship with – only a forced connection by birth.

The following is an old Jamaican proverb which, while simple, offers profound advice: “Live in the cement house – no worry the hurricane.” While it is definitely logical and emotionally healthy to avoid people and situations which bring turmoil and pain, that might not always be an option. However, if we listen to the messages being sent from our subconscious, and take the time to confront, and work through, past issues and traumas, then we can build that internal “cement house” that will help us to withstand the storms (and “storm carriers”) that come into our lives.


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