The Other Wife with a Missing Right Arm

I let bibliomancy guide me to the dream symbol for this week. Not feeling inspired, I opened my dream journal at random to a dream from a couple of weeks ago. The first symbol I noticed was “the other wife” with a missing right arm.  There are a lot of directions to go with this symbol. I’ll start with the wife. She’s not the waking life wife of the character in the dream, so she must be his other wife. I see in that an alternate understanding of my role as wife, of the feminine that I see as “other,” as different from myself.

In the dream, the husband is sad because his other wife used to be a writer, and now her right (write) arm is gone, however she’s living off royalties from earlier work. This dream came at a time when writing time was carefully carved out of a life suddenly taken over by Life Events demanded my attention. So the symbol of the missing writing arm is fairly obvious at that level. So what levels am I not seeing so easily? As I type this, I think of “righting wrongs” and my prayer that my work on this blog may do its bit to heal wounds, lift tired spirits, and remind people of beauty during hard times. That too, has felt missing the last few weeks as my world has undergone big changes.

Yet in the dream, the wife is living off royalties from previous projects. In my waking life, this is most certainly not the case, at least not literally. In some sense, it must be true metaphorically, or I wouldn’t have dreamed this dream. So what are the metaphorical royalties I’m earning from the years of writing practice? Trust in the process comes to mind first. I’ve learned how to listen for story, and if I prepare to write what I hear, the words will come. This itself could be a metaphor for listening to my own inner guidance about life. So the dream reminds me to listen to my intuition about everything in the way I listen to the stories that I write.

Another payoff from my commitment to writing is that it led me to a deeply dedicated tribe of writer friends who share my passion for a good story and understand the sometimes tortuous path of a writing life. And they, in turn, stand in as symbols for all of the networks I’ve built in the life I’ve led. These are the people who will keep me grounded, no matter whether I’m flying high on success or slogging through the doldrums. Friendships more precious than gold.

Gas station sign from 2001
From 2001

So that part of the dream is enormously reassuring. But the missing arm is still piquing my curiosity. One of the first phrases that occurred to me when I decided to write about this dream was “I’d give my right arm” followed by “cost an arm and a leg.” The former phrase begs the question, what would I give my right arm for? For those of us who are right-handed, this would carry the weight of my work in the world, and my ability to get myself noticed (by raising my hand). What would I give all that for? What would I willingly sacrifice a part of myself for? The second phrase carries the same implication of a thing that cost a great deal, but has less of the willing sacrifice archetype to it, at least in my reading. It’s more something that I paid because I had to, for something I really needed.

So this “other” wife carries these shadow pieces of sacrificing her work in the world, of not fulfilling her true calling. I’m reminded to touch in to my inner guidance and see what it is that I need to do to integrate this shadow in pursuit of wholeness, while being reminded that I have great abundance in the metaphorical royalties of my life.



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