I’ve often heard Jeremy Taylor refer to dreams as “the magic mirror that never lies.” Dreams, if we can unpack them, reflect us back to ourselves. And what I see in a mirror in a dream is often a glimpse of my truest self. I’ve been thinking about two mirrors—one in a dream I had the good fortune to offer my dream group, and the other in waking life.
The first mirror was a mirror in a bathroom, the room in the house where we are most honest with ourselves. I’m the observer in the dream, and the action unfolds before me like a movie that I have no influence over. I glimpse the reflection of one of the dream actresses as she looks into a mirror at the back of a bathroom stall. There are tears in her eyes, and I think that this was an interesting choice by the director to show the audience how she’s feeling. A moment later she comes out of the bathroom determined to take action.
The mirror is quite distant from me, the observer, and yet I see the woman’s tears clearly. I can’t tell you much about how she looked otherwise, so clearly the tears are central. I interpret that in the dream as sadness about the inevitable transformation that will result from her action, yet that sadness does nothing to stop her from her chosen path. So there’s a grief piece, and when I look deepest into my heart, I find grief there, but also her determination to change things that creates the grief.
The other mirror was a waking life moment, when my dad was helping me out of a tight spot (I forgot to bring my charge cable for the Leaf) and we had to take two cars across town so I could leave mine charging at the dealership while we had our visit. On the way to the dealership, I got out ahead of him in traffic. I stopped at a light and the road in my rear view mirror was empty pretty much as far back as I could see. The light didn’t change, and didn’t change, and pretty soon, the rear view window showed his car emerging from the distance. The light didn’t change. He pulled in behind me, and I waved, watching him in the mirror. He waved back, mildly amused, acknowledging me on this tandem journey.
When I “read” this as a dream, I remember that things behind me in dreams often represent shadow—not necessarily dark shadow or bright shadow, but the things that remain unconscious to me and have an effect on how I behave. And the mirror shows me a part of myself that is true. I see in that mirror the first target of my projections about what the mature masculine looks like. He’s loyal and good-natured, happy to be of help when help is needed, able to go with sudden changes in plans. He has a strong streak of practicality—just do what needs doing and don’t fuss about it. In my dream, I see these qualities in his reflection in the mirror, so they are deep and intrinsic parts of myself which I don’t generally consciously acknowledge, but which I appreciate very much in my dad.