Saturday, 22 November 2014

7 Day Dream Incubation Experiment - Marilyn Monroe Dream (2)

If you haven't read my first post on this Dream Incubation Experiment, which sets out my aims and basic methodology, please click here where you can access both the article and accompanying Youtube video I made.

This post analyses the first two days of experimental results. I have already recorded the two dreams on this Blog, in the normal Dream Diary format, but I will include the same text on this post, so if you have not already read the dreams, there is no need to look at the earlier post. 

My methodology for both days was:
  • Dream incubation - I set the intention to meet Marilyn Monroe in a dream narrative in which I am a starlet in Hollywood during the height of her career/fame. I want to ask Marilyn Monroe something about myself - something subconscious which I might not acknowledge in my waking life. I meditate on the subject of my intended dream during breaks in my waking day (usually after performing a reality check) and for around 15 minutes while laying in bed before sleep. I focus on a mental visual image of Marilyn (see previous post, linked above).
  • MILD Technique - because I want to become lucid in my dream I use the standard MILD technique (mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming), which combines meditations, affirmations, visualisations and reality checks. I also set an intention to vividly recall my dreams, even if not lucid.
  • Reality checks - I perform reality checks throughout the day - usually when I am either using the bathroom, about to leave the house or boiling a kettle - things I do repeatedly and regularly throughout the day. I use the hand method, whereby I try to push the fingers of my right hand through my left palm, consciously focusing on the impossibility of the task and the fact I know I am awake and not dreaming. After a reality check, I remind myself of my dream incubation goals and tell myself that when I have successfully incubated my chosen dream, I will perform a reality check in my dream and become lucid. 
  • Wake-Back-To-Bed Method - I wake up after a period of 7 - 8 hours, which ensures I get my deep sleep. I then stay awake for approximately 30 minutes and then use a reality check, dream incubation and MILD technique (as above) before falling back to sleep until I am ready to wake naturally, without an alarm clock (because my schedule permits me to do this).

Day 1 - Wednesday 19 November 2014

I went to sleep in the very early hours of the morning, so theoretically, this dream took place on Thursday 20 November 2014, but since I went to bed at a normal time (around 11 pm) on Thursday night, I have recorded this dream as 'Wednesday' due to the fact it was the first sleep I had since waking up on that day, but took place after midnight.

'Birthday Cakes'
I had to help PS get a birthday cake for his mum - the question was whether it should be black or white. We in an outside environment, looking up at train tracks which crossed above us in the sky. It was a dimly lit day - maybe dusk. PS said: 'You know which one to take to get to the cake shop'. Two cakes were on a chair in an (unfamiliar) domestic environment, but in fact they were both dresses - one black and one white. PS couldn't decide which cake/dress his mum would prefer, so he said that we would decide later. 

I went to visit some people who had some form of learning disability, although the precise nature of their problems were not made clear to me. There were two females, both using paper and pencils to draw pictures of a man in glasses sitting at an angle on a bus seat. Both pictures were quite childlike, and in the corners, the girls had written 'I love scientists'. I decided that the girl who used the symbol of a love heart rather than the word 'love' had done best.

I was then in my bedroom at my nan's house. PS was with another male who was tall, thin, white and geeky looking, with brown hair and glasses. It was this male's birthday - I am not sure if PS's mum had become this boy or whether he was a separate dream character. PS told me that I had to leave because for his birthday, the boy liked to wank off to pictures of women on his mobile phone and PS was the only person able to supervise him doing so. I felt annoyed that I had to leave my own bedroom for this. I noticed clusters of party balloons strung up in the corners of the ceiling.

PS and I then went to look at the black and white cakes/dresses again, and still could not make a decision as to which one was best.

I was in a very dark bedsit - I think this was the unfamiliar domestic environment in which we had first looked at the black and white cakes/dresses. There was a bed and a sink. PS was with me and also a tall, slim, white female, with very short black hair. She looked very masculine. She was a professional makeup artist and she was going to do my hair and makeup. She had a blue towelling bath robe and a black coat, which she soaked in water in the sink. I was sat on the bed watching her. She told me that I would have to choose between the blue bath robe and the black coat - which I would wear while she did my hair and makeup. She referred to the two items as a 'black or a white dress' and suddenly I noticed that the robe and coat were in fact a black dress and a white dress. I chose to wear the white dress. The dream ended.
  • Timing: After WBTB, during the last stage of this 3 hour sleep
  • Lucidity: NO
This dream did not feel to be a successful dream incubation result. There was no reference to Marilyn Monroe in the manifest content. However, I thought I should interpret and analyse the dream to see what the underlying latent content might tell me.

This dream has recurring symbols of black and white. While incubating the dream, I was focusing on a visual image of Monroe which was from a black and white movie (Some Like it Hot (1959) - her most well-known role). White commonly represents a clearness of mind, purity and virginity as well as enlightenment and inner realisation. It is the colour of new beginnings. Black represents the unconscious and the unknown, inviting the dreamer to delve further into the depths of their subconscious. It may also symbolise death, mourning or loss. Black and white are contrasts symbolising coexistence and balance. The symbol of the white dress (where the cakes are perceived as 'dresses' and in the final dream scene, where the wet garments become an option between wearing a black dress and I opted for white) may link to Monroe, as one of her most iconic images involves the white dress she wore in the subway scene in The Seven Year Itch (1955), where her skirt is blown up, exposing her legs and underwear. 

The symbol of 'mother' is a dream archetype - a nurturing, maternal force of protection and guidance. It was not my own mother in the dream - but that of my ex-boyfriend, thus a former 'mother-in-law' which implies a need to resolve inner turmoil or conflict. However, in this dream, the only conflict appeared to be about the colour of the birthday cake. Monroe represents to me the epitome of femininity and female sexuality - which was part of her charm and allure during her film career. She juxtaposed both explicit and easily available sexuality and desire with a childlike innocence and purity. She was the living embodiment of the 'Madonna-Whore' depiction of contrasting female identities. Unable to become a mother herself (suffering from a number of miscarriages, phantom pregnancies and reproductive ailments as well as undergoing several abortions), Monroe experienced a distant, emotionally-troubled relationship with her own mentally ill mother, who was unable to care for her daughter (meaning that Monroe spent the majority of her younger years in an orphanage and a series of unsuitable foster placements. She was to initially claim in her early Hollywood years that she was an orphan - her father was absent and unknown). I think the mother symbol in this dream refers to inadequacy and distance, as no mother enters the dream (and she later seemingly becomes a young male) - decisions about how to celebrate her are left open and uncertain, and instead the idea of choosing on her behalf, becomes me making a choice for my own benefit (selecting a birthday cake eventually becomes me choosing which dress to wear). 

A birthday cake represents that wishes and desires are being fulfilled in some way, as well as a willingness to share and let other people into your life. It is generally viewed as a positive dream symbol. In my dream, the birthday cakes were elaborately iced and decorated - the white one resembled a wedding cake, and the white dress into which is transformed appeared to resemble a wedding dress. Monroe famously sang 'Happy Birthday' on stage, for President Kennedy (JFK) at Madison Square Gardens on 19 May 1962, disobeying the Hollywood movie executives who demanded that she stay in Los Angeles to shoot her final (unfinished) movie, Something's Got to Give and leading to her being fired. Therefore, the birthday cake may relate to Monroe on this level. The birthday cakes and birthday theme raised feelings of choice, confusion and decision-making - consequently, no decisions were reached in the dream, until the point at which I selected to wear a white dress in the final scene, the dresses having been interchangeable with cakes in earlier scenes. 

The symbol of the birthday also enters the dream at the point I find myself in my childhood bedroom with PS and the male dream character, who wishes to masturbate to images of girls on his phone as a birthday celebration. I am being removed from this scene, because only PS can be present. Seeing others masturbate in a dream (although I did not actually see him doing so) can symbolise the dreamer's anxiety about inhibitions and unexpressed sexual needs/desires. Balloons - which were linked to the birthday of the male dream character - are signals of disappointments and declining hopes in love, as well as an inflated ego. I felt annoyed that I was being asked to leave my own bedroom for the male dream character (whose only perceived characteristics were 'awkwardness' and 'geeky') to masturbate, and specifically at PS, for endorsing the male dream character's behaviour. 

The train tracks in the dream are thought to represent the notion that the dreamer has set out a clear goal and method of obtaining desired results, although the process may be slow and steady. This seems to relate to my dream incubation experiment in some way. However, it may be an indication that the dreamer's thought process is too rigid and linear in some way. The fact that the railway tracks were above me, might indicate that my successful methods are just out of reach and that there are different options available for achieving my goal. I am at the intersection, and undecided how to proceed. My dream character of PS is unable to advise me on how to achieve my outcome, and there seems to be some uncertainty as to this aspect of the dream. 

I am not sure what the scene with the two learning disabled girls meant - I think the reference to 'I love scientists' is daily residue - I had been watching and discussing science documentaries about the universe. Here, I was being asked to choose between the pictures and I was able to make a choice, unlike elsewhere in my dream. However, I did not make the choice on who produced the best picture, but rather on the basis that one of the girls drew the symbol of a love heart as opposed to just using plain text. This may be an indication that I need to look deeper into the symbolism of my dream to discover the meaning, rather than focusing on the manifest content of words and visual depictions. The fact that these dream characters had learning disabilities may also be a sign of my feelings of intellectual superiority and vanity. 

The final scene of this dream involved me being prepared for an event which was unknown - my hair and makeup were to be done by a professional. This is the closest I think my dream came to depicting me in the role of a Hollywood starlet. However, the location was far from glamorous - being a dark bedsit. My costumes were either a blue robe or a black coat - both unglamorous and soaked in water by the makeup artist, who herself was not beautiful or glamorous. I think this dream scene was indicating how far I was from the lifestyle of a Hollywood starlet, although I was making an attempt to adopt elements of this lifestyle, by being 'madeup' and 'coiffed' by someone employed to alter my appearance. The fact that the unflattering wet garments transformed into a black dress and a white dress was optimistic for me and in choosing the white dress, I think this was a step closer to the glamour and lifestyle associated with Monroe. 

I feel that the fact I opt out of choosing a birthday cake, and focus on choosing a dress - as well as seeing the balloons in my childhood bedroom and being annoyed that male characters want to force me out of my environment so they can indulge in their own entertainment points at vanity and ego. These are two qualities associated with Hollywood celebrities. The fact that I felt superior and more beautiful than the professional makeup artist, despite the fact she was offering me an initial choice between two ugly, wet garments and I was being made up/styled in a dingy, dark bedsit, also refers to my vanity, even in adverse situations where I might not be in an ideal situation. Maybe I was annoyed at the masturbating male dream character because subconsciously I wasn't a sexual object, unlike the photos of the girls he intended to look at on his mobile phone - I was being removed from his birthday celebration because I wasn't sexy or beautiful enough to warrant his sexual desire - even in my own bedroom where I was not welcome. I was being usurped in some sense, leading to a later attempt to beautiful myself with the help of a professional makeup artist. 

Day 2 - Thursday 20 November 2014

'Public Transport & Pizzas'
I was at my nan's house, sitting on the sofa next to my cousin, HM, She was holding a book which I had when I was a child - it was a Garden Gang book by Jayne Fisher - Penelope Strawberry, about a vain, narcissistic strawberry. I was trying to wrestle the book from HM, but she was pleading with me, saying she only wanted to read the cover. I thought that 'Penelope' was the perfect name for a female strawberry and this thought was very clear in my mind.

I was then in a supermarket, very briefly. The supermarket was dark and I could not see what was on the shelves clearly. I bought a quail for £5. I took it back to a house where I was with my mum, standing at a counter. I ate the quail and found it delicious, however it was pale (raw-looking). In real life I have never eaten quail before. I told my mum that I thought it was delicious, and she agreed, but said that quails were too expensive to eat often. She gave me a smallish box, which she said came inside the quail. I opened it and inside were slices of dark meat (looking like beef), something called 'corned quail' (which was the quail version of corned beef) and some other quail-based meat products. My mum told me that these were the internal organs of the quail and said we should eat them, because they were the best bit. We started to eat them, and they were also delicious. My dog, Kelli (now dead) came into the room and I started playing with her. She looked as I remember her (large German Shepherd), but her hair was longer and fluffier. My mum gave her some chocolate. I knew chocolate wasn't good for dogs, and also had a knowledge that Kelli would die when she reached the age of 13 years. This made me sad. I ran out into a lush, green garden. where my stepdad was doing some gardening, and told him that he should stop my mum giving the dog chocolate for a treat and we might be able to prolong her life beyond 13 years. I had some kind of dispute with my mum over what looked like mashed swede or some kind of pureed orange vegetable which was smeared on a plate. I think my mum was saying that it was not fit to eat and I was trying to convince her that it would taste nice.

I was then in some kind of seaside town, where there was a London Underground Station, positioned next to a bus stop. I was waiting to catch the tube, but first wanted to go into a shop and buy a snack. I was aware that I was taking ages in the shop, not able to make my mind up. It was just a small shop/cafe, like those you find in a train station, just selling coffees and basic snacks. There was a middle-aged woman there, with a young, slightly obese daughter, who  was named 'Boo Boo' (a little bit like 'Honey Boo Boo'), except she was British and much quieter. I held Boo Boo's hand and sat down with her and her mother, who I instantly befriended, although this was the first time I had ever met them. We had some conversation in this cafe and I found them to be very nice people. Suddenly, Boo Boo's mother announced that the tube (which was late) had arrived and it was time for us to board. I thought I would sit with them for the lengthy journey to our (unknown) shared destination. Boo Boo was telling me to hurry, and we all ran outside into the daylight to board the tube. However, there was a bus which was parked in front of the doors to the tube, so we had to squeeze past these to get into the carriage. Boo Boo and her mother boarded the tube, but I was a fraction of a second too late, and the door shut, nearly on my hand. The tube train started to move away slowly. The train conductor/guard (a young black man wearing a deep red uniform) noticed me and said: 'I could have let you get on if you'd have asked!' but I just said: 'I didn't see you to ask'. I felt annoyed as now I had lost my friends and had to wait for another tube. I noticed that in my hand I had a clear, transparent bag. Inside were sweets, drugs and small plastic toys. I realised this belonged to Boo Boo and I felt sad because I had no way of returning it to her. I wondered if I should take the drugs, but decided not to, because they might be dangerous, or they might be medication which she needed. I decided to try and find a way of getting the bag back to her.

I then went on a walk to kill time before the next tube, which I saw on a sign was scheduled to be late. The front of the station looked quite a lot like Stratford Station in London (where there are buses at the front of the station forecourt). I walked around to the side, and found that it was a dusty, desolate waste ground area. There was a bench positioned next to an old lock-up/warehouse area, and I took a seat. I was joined by a man - middle-aged and brown-skinned with black hair. He was dressed in a pale yellow T-shirt (which matched the colour of the dust on the ground), grey baggy tracksuit bottoms and black work boots. He took a seat opposite me. He seemed to be friendly and I felt safe. The man asked me where I was from. He said: 'You have a 'Shirazzy look' about you'. Shiraz is an city/area in the Fars Province in South-West Iran and apparently, this is where my Persian family name originates from. I said to him: 'How did you know?' and he just smiled at me and said he 'could tell. I asked: 'What about you, where are you from?' aware that he had a foreign accent. I noticed that there were some people wandering around nearby and some of them had reacted negatively to me asking  where this man was from, but I ignored them, as this was a private conversation. The man told me that he was 'Iranian' and I said: 'It's weird how Iranians can always recognise that I have Iranian blood, but non-Iranians think I'm from Spain' (which is an actual real life experience that I have noticed). The man just smiled at me and he had a charming smile with very white teeth. He reached under the table and pulled out an old coffee machine, then preceded to tell me about a trick he and his workmates had played on a colleague - apparently, the coffee machine would only spit out stones and pebbles instead of coffee. The man opened the padlock to the lock up next to us, and put the coffee machine in there, before re-locking it. He asked me to come walk with him, and he put his arm around me, but it felt more fatherly than romantic or sexual. I knew he did not feel that way about me, because there was at least a 20 year age gap between us and he was polite and caring.

It turned out that he walked me to his brother's house, which looked like a traditional family home, with beige and cream furnishings, and a kitchen which looked like the mirror image of my own kitchen in Norwich (my neighbours have a kitchen which is on the opposite side of the lounge, but identical to my own, so I have actually seen the 'mirror image' of my kitchen in real life). It turned out that the man's brother was not Iranian, but he was the father of Boo Boo, so I was pleased that I could return her bag of sweets, drugs and toys. I was sat at the kitchen counter. I was joined by my cousin, HM, who said that Boo Boo and her mother were not yet home, but the father was making us some pizza while we waited. HM and I went into the lounge, and found that the oven was where an electric fire, or heater, would usually be found - underneath the TV, in front of the sofa. The father put some items in the oven, then said he had to go out, so we should help ourselves when the food was ready. He left with two other men, with whom we had made no conversation. Since I had found myself in the house, the Iranian man had disappeared. I looked into the oven. The father had already cut the pizza into slices and placed them on top of each other and in a very disorganised way on the oven shelves, draping them over some red items of food, which I knew was food for Boo Boo. The pizza looked cooked, so I reached in to get two slices out for HM and I. The slices were not equally sized and the piece that I got for myself had no cheese on it, only tomato sauce, so I asked HM to give me some of the cheese from her pizza, as she had plenty to spare. She gave me some of her excess cheese with no argument.

I was then walking down Cromer Road in Sheringham with my mum and some other 'parents' of people I was supposedly at school with. It was night. I felt like an adult, but I was actually in the penultimate year (Year 10) of high school. My mum and the other parents had just been told that our high school was closing down and the only option for us to complete our secondary education was to enrol at a local private school, paying very expensive tuition fees. My mum was saying that she could not afford the private school tuition fees and I was worried, as I needed to sit my exams in order to continue into higher/further education. My mum and the other parents were putting together a mental list of all the parents/children in a similar situation - unable to pay the private school fees. They were listing names and saying things like: 'ZT's mum won't be able to pay, she's unemployed', 'NN's parents can't afford it'. I advised my mum to register me at the private school and once I was a student there, we would explain that we couldn't pay, and if the school tried to remove me or not let me attend classes, then we would complain to the government, and point out that every child is entitled - and legally required - to receive an education. My mum was considering this idea. We reached a small, square building in which a local meeting was being held to discuss the problem of the school closing down.
  • Timing: After WBTB, during the last stage of a 5 hour sleep
  • Lucidity: NO
This dream had a lot of food symbolism in it. Food represents nurture and care (especially baby food - and the orange puree in the dream did resemble baby food). Eating with others - with my mum and my cousin HM - signals intimacy and harmony. Tomorrow I am going to a family function, so no doubt this is why I found myself eating with two of my family members. Eating alone represents loneliness, loss, rejection and cut ties, but since I ate with relatives, the opposite (intimacy and close familial relationships) can be implied. The fact that my mum enjoyed eating the expensive quail dish, but rejected the baby food, may be a sign that I need to act more mature and lose my childish ways. These two food symbols may be the result of daily residue, as I had recently watched a cookery contest on TV where the chefs were asked to prepare quail, and it is common for a vegetable-based puree to appear in the dishes created for the contest. I think being told that the best bits of the quail were contained in the box which had been inside the bird is symbolic of the subconscious and the need to 'go inside', delve deeply and open up an internal box to reveal what is inside. Boxes in dreams symbolise instinctual nature and impulses. Opening a box is seen as the revealing of secrets and a hidden aspect of yourself being shown. This action in the dream was experienced as very positive - as the box contained the most delicious parts of the quail, which I had initially ignored in favour of the exterior meat. In this dream, I could literally taste the quail, especially the corned quail from inside the box. It was moist, with a rich buttery taste and soft texture. Recently, one of my acquaintances on a lucid dreaming Facebook page stated that he has most success in becoming lucid in a dream when he eats corned beef before bed. Apparently, dreaming of a quail represents sexuality and eroticism and a sense of overcoming one's hardships, even if you are experiencing current negativity in your life.

The fact that I dreamed that my dead dog was alive and my mum was feeding her chocolate is another sign of nurturing -  but one which is potentially harmful and indulgent. I could see this in the dream, and asked my stepdad to step in and stop the dog being fed chocolate, even if the intentions were to make the dog happy. The fact that I felt some resistance to this by my stepdad signifies my mum's strong will and the fact that she is likely to resist being controlled by another. I think the symbol of the garden in this dream - although very brief - represents the state of my parent's marriage, which is strong and tranquil. My mum is doing the nurturing (she works in the care profession) whereas my stepdad was doing gardening (a manual job, he is a manual worker in his real life job), which is nurturing in its own way (promoting growth and life) but also symbolises hard work to maintain stability and an environment suitable for cultivation. 

The archetype of the mother in a dream represents nurture, maternal guidance and protection. A dog represents loyalty, intuition, protection and fidelity. To dream of a dog being fed represents the nurturing of a talent or skill and implies a need to foster relationships in your waking life. A German Shepherd is a common breed of dog seen in a dream - it is thought to represent protective instincts and attention to detail, as well as a sign that there is no time to be nervous or lose control in a given situation. Chocolate represents indulgence, love, satisfaction and reward - but also a need to stop indulging in too many excesses (which quite literally ties in with how chocolate was presented in my dream - as being fed to a dog who could be harmed by the excesses of motherly love).

There seems to be a return to childhood in this dream - my cousin and I were fighting over a children's storybook in my nan's house, where we both grew up. Penelope Strawberry was described by the author as being vain and snooty - and my actions in trying to get the book away from my cousin could be seen as selfish. My cousin has a successful cake-making business which she documents online, with photographs of her stunning creations. I had recently set up my own Facebook page for this Blog and my dream research, although it is difficult to reach out to a wide audience, so maybe I was feeling envy, because her successes are more tangible and recognised, whereas I have always been immersed in academia and cerebral pursuits. The day before this dream, I had used my Facebook page to thank my readers for helping me achieve my childhood dream of becoming a writer - by writing and Blog and getting feedback from my readers, I am partially achieving this goal, and honing my talents. The fact that the Garden Gang books, of which Penelope Strawberry was my favourite in the series, were written and illustrated by Jayne Fisher when she was only 9 years old (a piece of information that I was aware of as a child reading the books, and undoubtedly shaped my own ambition to become a published writer) is quite significant, I think. I am yearning to achieve my childhood aspiration of being a successful writer. The day that dream happened, I had seen a photograph of Kourtney (my other cousin's name, but spelled slightly differently!) Kardashian's daughter, Penelope, posted on Facebook by Kim Kardashian. Penelope was seated between her older brother, Mason, and her cousin, North West. I had also gone into my local shop and seen some strawberry milkshake on special offer, which might be forms of daily residue affecting my dream content. 

The dream character of Boo Boo seems to be very similar to Honey Boo Boo, the redneck reality star who had her own spin-off series following her appearance on  Toddler and Tiaras, starring mothers and daughters on the American beauty pageant circuit. Honey Boo Boo's mother was criticised for her child-rearing techniques (involving her daughter in the superficial and slightly misogynistic pageants: dressing her up inappropriately with fake tan, makeup and wigs, as well as revealing costumes; and feeding her  with 'pageant crack' - an energy drink laced with sugar to make her more hyperactive). She has recently been subject of even more damaging publicity due to the revelation that she is now dating a sex offender who abused one of her elder daughters. The mother in my dream was not like Honey Boo Boo's mother - she was more kind and nurturing - although the child, Boo Boo, did have a bag of sweets and drugs which I had somehow taken from her during our meeting. Honey Boo Boo represents to me, aspirations of stardom and fame, but having little in the way of raw talent or beauty. She is the representation of a silk purse being stitched from a sow's ear and her media career had been forced on her by her mother and the television network. The dream character, Boo Boo, wasn't quite the same as Honey Boo Boo, and so I am struggling to reconcile how she appeared in the dream with her real life counterpart. I felt quite close to Boo Boo and enjoyed being in the company of her and her mother. My mum sometimes calls me 'Boo Boo' as well as 'Tallulah' - both pet names.

The fact that the public transport (underground train, perhaps representing a journey into the depths of my subconscious mind) I intended to use left without me on board, displays the fact that I could not take a straightforward route to my destination (my incubated dream) and my dream wanted to show me something else, so created an obstacle (the bus) which prevented me from taking the easy route. 

I then met with an elder Iranian male in a wasteland area. I think this represents my father, who was absent during my childhood and only reappeared in my adult life when he was on his deathbed and sought my forgiveness for being estranged and seemingly uncaring. I should also note that my dog died around the same time as my dad did and  felt more pain at the loss of my dog than my father. The dream character was not my father, but I got the feeling that he was symbolic of the lost father. This is the dream symbol which comes closest to my incubated dream - of Monroe - because she famously grew up without a father, not even sure of his own identity, due to conflicting accounts given by her mother. Perhaps this dream scene was intended as a form of conflict resolution or closure on the issues I have surrounding my own (lack of) relationship with a father and my identity as being the only mixed-race member of my immediate family. The fact that the Iranian man opened up the lock-up/warehouse seemed to symbolise my subconscious - much like the box my mum found inside the quail, which I had not noticed until she opened it and gave it to me. It seems that the quail box and the lock-up represent opening up and looking inside to find something. Warehouses represent hidden energy and stored resources.

The father figure then took me to my intended destination - to Boo Boo's house, where I rejoined my cousin. In this house, which was a composite location of both my own home in Norwich and a traditionally decorated family home, we met another father figure - that of Boo Boo - who was kin with the Iranian father figure who delivered me into this house. Boo Boo's father was a provider and gave my cousin and I food to eat, although it was prepared in a strange, non-conventional way.

The pizza we were supposed to eat represents abundance and variety - although I felt short-changed, as my pizza slice had no cheese and therefore I had to beg my cousin to give me a 'piece of her pie'. Cheese represents gains and profits. The pizza was already sliced when it was placed into the oven to cook, so I interpreted that to mean that roles had already been assigned - plans had been made which could not be changed. There was a sense of inevitability and destiny of some sort. When I saw the sliced pizza, which was stacked messily and in a disorganised way in the oven, I thought it was weird that Boo Boo's father had decided to portion it up this way and to just throw a bunch of food into the oven together so it all mixed up. There was a clear division between the food (sliced) pizza intended for HM and I and the food intended for Boo Boo. Ovens represent warmth (and the oven was in the place you would expect to see a fireplace in this dream), togetherness and unselfishness. My cousin was unselfish in giving me some of the cheese off her pizza slice. In some interpretations, the oven symbolises the womb and fear/anxiety over having children - my cousin has one son, I have no children of my own yet. The day before this dream, I saw a Facebook post from HM's dad to her half-sister, SF1, in which he referred to himself as her 'uncle' (he is still close to our family, despite having divorced from HM's mum many many years ago, and both having their own families with subsequent partners). As a child I was always envious of HM's relationship with her father, as I did not have one with my own. At weekends, she would go to visit her dad, leaving me alone with my family, and then return with sweets and toys (although she was always very generous and would share everything). I wonder if childhood resentments are key to understanding this dream? Perhaps Monroe's famous fatherless-ness is also at the root, showing me that I am consciously aware of that particular similarity in our very different lives? My stepdad - my real life father figure - was tending a garden in this dream and thus working hard to cultivate and maintain a healthy domestic environment.

The final dream scene about the closure of my school and the expensive, unaffordable tuition fees of the private school seems to symbolise my anxiety that I might not complete my education. I sometimes go through periods of doing little academic work (such as now, while I await a meeting with my supervisor and an upgrade to the full PhD programme). My academic progress is the only aspect of my life which I am proud of, because I have achieved everything I have wanted to do with little or no resources - in my mind it is also a source of pride for my family. While I was worried about the situation, my mum and I were trying to think of possible solutions, so it wasn't necessarily a negative part of the dream, even though it was dark outside, with little light guiding us on our walk. The fact that we were joined by other people and able to name others in the same predicament was a sign that I was not alone in my anxieties. 

These dreams were interesting, as although they are not strictly a successful attempt at my chosen dream incubation, they did reveal some of my subconscious to me, and have recurrent themes of parental love and nurturing (as absence) and childhood aspirations. There is the sense of something hidden being accessed through the dreams. Also, there are clear themes of indulgence, excess, vanity and ego, which may be traits I associate with Monroe.

Here is the accompanying videos I recorded for my dream incubation experiment to date (you now have a direct comparison between my made-up and no-makeup face!):

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