Dream of the Month (September 2004)
- Title: Slavery with Washing Machines
- Date of the Dream: 6/29/2004 (mailed Sunday, 15 August 2004)
- Dream: It is a sunny afternoon, and I am in an open area near the outskirts of a big city like Chicago or Detroit. I am aware that I have been delivered into slavery. The slave owners are an organization; it's not personal. The organization consists of men only. They are from the Middle East but live and operate here. I am directed to join a group of about five other women who are engaged in a strange activity.
In this open area, like an abandoned parking lot, there are two or three washing machines set up. The women are in a line taking turns collecting some material like sand in a black wool sock or cap and then putting it into the washing machine. There are three different detergents to be used in a certain way. One of them is called "Jez." Another is "Matte," I believe. My ex-husband is there. I'm not sure if he gave me into slavery. I seem to remember him looking very unkempt and broken. I know that this huge organization owns me now, and there is no escape. I know there is no hope. The other women seem so apathetic and dehumanized that they don't even have faces anymore and are barely human. They have their heads and faces covered with scarves. I have a sense that it's not their faces they're hiding, but the fact that they don't have faces anymore. They aren't doing this washing very well, and I think I can do better, but then I am shocked by my acceptance of my position.
- Significant life event: Three months before the dream, I started a new job. I quit my old one because I couldn't make enough money anymore and am still struggling very much to make ends meet. I work just as hard but my earning power has gone down for reasons that aren't really clear.
- Personal concerns/issues: The evening before, I had watched "Monster's Ball." I admired Halle Berry for her gutsy, all-out performance. I felt sad that life is cruel. I felt sad that I have no sex and no romance in my life.
- Associations: In my five-year marriage, now 15 years ago, I was, in effect, a slave. I felt completely hopeless and trapped. My ex was from another culture (Bangladesh) and a pathological liar and manipulator. He was totally unique and bizarre, and my memory of that time has the quality of a lonely secret - I have always felt it would be impossible to communicate what it was like. I am completely clueless about the washing machines and the detergents. I am not focused on housework or homemaking and don't do laundry very often. I think I am too disturbed by the feeling of hopelessness in the dream to be able to think about it very well. Part of why the dream is so disturbing to me is perhaps that I can't understand why it would pop up now and bring up things that I believed to belong to the distant past. I have never been to Chicago or Detroit. My main association with Chicago is gangsters.
- Category: Nightmare
- Pen Name: Anna
Dr. Holloway's Comments:
This dream shows how collective anxiety can blend with individual material in a single storyline. When a dream has multiple layers, it is often best to step back and examine the themes holistically, avoiding judgment. This is certainly a theme of loss of freedom accepted until it is too late to turn back. Distill this theme in a single sentence: masculine energy has placed feminine energy in a bind, with resulting loss of freedom and identity. We cannot know whether this restriction is intra-psychic, relational, collective or all three. Only the dreamer can determine where the felt-sense of recognition occurs. The dream may be protesting a situation the dreamer has had good reason to rationalize or endure. One solid response would be to absorb and acknowledge the dream's portrait of pain. Honor and be present to your truth; and then consider what other options can be exercised to make circumstances more expansive and livable.