ARL Archive · Know Your Words

Vampire in the Library Part 2: The Dream Interpreted

vampiro_atacando_cristao_-_seculo_xv
In the grip of life’s problems.

Before I get to analyzing my “Vampire in the Library” dream, it might be useful to take a step back and provide some background info on “where” I was in my life when I had it.

These were the salad days, my mid to late high-school years, and although I didn’t have any questions about who I was or where I was going at that time of my life (for going to college was a “given” as far as my folks were concerned), I was starting to feel the pressures associated with an adult life. School, work, relationships, social obligations — I didn’t realize it then, but it’s clear to me now that some of these “pressures” feature prominently in this dream.

That said, I’ve tried analyzing this dream before. In fact, I gave a “reading” of it on my last blog, Anachrovert, where my interpretation appeared as follows:

First Interpretation:

My parents were very practical people and the house I grew up in didn’t have a lot of books. It wasn’t that my folks couldn’t afford them, or that they were against them in any way, they just weren’t big on reading. What we did have, though, was a World Book Encyclopedia set from the 1950s with very stiff spines. (I can still recall the sound the volumes made when they opened.)

How I loved that encyclopedia. I used to pull a volume at random and then lay on the floor for hours, flipping through it page by page. I remember being astounded and, even at a young age, feeling grateful that someone had taken the time to compile all that information for others to have at the ready. It seemed like such a noble thing to do.

Given my emotional connection to that encyclopedia, it should come as little surprise that books — and to a larger extent libraries (i.e., places with a lot of books) — would serve as setting for my this dream. Rooms full of books have always been something of a sacred space to me. Thus, when I read in the Dream Dictionary that, in dreams, books are symbols of “knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence” and libraries “places where the collective wisdom of humankind is collected,” my only thought was, “Yeah they are.”

The symbolism of light and dark in my dream isn’t much of a mystery either. In addition to being practical, my folks were also Catholic, so Sunday mass was a regular part of my routine during my formative years. By the time I got to high school, I was well versed in what the “light” meant (i.e., good) and what the “darkness” implied (i.e., bad), as was anyone else who was even remotely Christian.

The vampire/zombie, however, is something of a curve ball, as is the notion that my beloved librarian from grade school would turn into such a creature. Although, the woman was already super old when I knew her as a kid and, even then, she looked rather “skeletal,” so maybe seeing her in my dream as a zombie wasn’t such a stretch after all.

The Take-Home Message:

The human-turned vampire in my dream — a cherished authority figure who turned into an undead ghoul — offered a dire warning: Even a career in which one was surrounded by books could be “lifeless.” On the other hand, it could be argued that the book return in the dream symbolized my apparent need to occasionally “let go” of my affinity for books and interest in a life of study when life demanded action.

Then again, this dream could also have been telling me that affinity for books and the pursuit of wisdom (i.e., that piece of information I needed to find in the stack of books on the table) would serve me well, hence my feeling of “contentment” in the dream. However, this passion for the written word and the wisdom it delivers, was not to take over my life. If I was to live fully, I would have to put the books away every once in a while, get my head out of the pages, and face life’s unknowns (i.e., monsters) head-on. I would survive such encounters, but the struggle would demand all of the physical and mental abilities I possessed, and save for the brief moment of calm, I wouldn’t be able to relax for very long.

Second (Better) Interpretation:

459px-the-reader
If I was alive back then, I would have been this guy (but with cooler clothes).

I don’t know what the fuck I was on when I wrote this first interpretation. Here’s a second attempt with a little less “wishful thinking” involved.

Although I maintain my love for books like encyclopedias began in my home and that the library in the dream symbolizes my “happy place” (as I’m naturally drawn to any place with a lot of books), it’s clear to me now that what this dream is really about is my inherent dissatisfaction with the way life “works.” That is, making our way in the world (i.e., growing up) all to often keeps us from doing the things we want to do, by forcing us to do things we hate, but have to do (i.e., work).

Thus, even though I was just in youngster in high school, I had (apparently) realized that life is a never-ending series of challenges, confusion, danger, obligations and social pressures that repeatedly interrupted my desire to pursue my interests. Thus, the continuous cycle of light and dark (insight and confusion), the constant reappearance of the monster even though I “defeated” it, the successive trips through the labyrinth of tables and study carrels en route to the circulation desk — all these things conspired to prevent me from doing what I wanted to do: to learn … and possibly find the answer to the question: how do I keep life’s hassles, interruptions, and problems at bay?

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Have you had a dream you’d that you’d like to know the (possible) meaning of? Tell me about it and I’ll provide some explanations of what it might mean for free!

 

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