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Disturbing dream on birthday eve

Last night was the night before my 39th birthday. I dreamed that I was in a strange place and time with other people (not sure now who). We were with a dark-colored horse that was either very sick or badly injured--the horse was lying on the floor or ground and was dying a slow and horribly painful death, and we knew that s/he was going to die eventually but it seemed like there was a lot going on so we weren't really paying attention to the horse.

I had some drugs that I could give the horse to ease the pain, and I kept meaning to administer them, but I never did. My little dog Maisey was watching the horse very closely, and we knew that this was probably making the horse more afraid/stressed during the dying process, and I kept calling her away and then getting distracted and noticing she was back sitting a few inches from the horse's face obsessively staring. Finally I started over toward the horse with the morphine or whatever the drug was and my friend Sandi (the only person I remember from the dream) examined the horse and said "it's already dead."

In the dream and now writing about it I felt inadequate and like I had failed to give attention to something that was important, something that was real and sacred, the time of this horse's death. I felt upset that we had let this animal die in pain and afraid when we had medicine that would have eased its suffering, and like we had not given the respect and attention that the horse deserved as a sentient living creature dying.

An image of the horse's skull, particularly the teeth and jawbones were somehow very vividly present toward the end of the dream. I woke up feeling depressed and powerless.

Age/Gender & Location {Age & Gender Absolutely Required}: 39 North Carolina

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Re: Disturbing dream on birthday eve

Milkweed,
Because you did note the dream came on the eve of your 39th birthday {Happy Birthday-belated} we can look to that as a possible source for the reasoning for this particular dream. Having performed a quick read of the dream I can see the possible connections.

The horse in your dream is central to its meaning. My sense is it represents psyche/psychic energy of the emotional kind {dreams are primarily about the emotions}. The dark color suggest to me an unconscious view of these emotions, emotional energies that have yet to become a conscious force but have the ability to do so. The other people in its primary focus would be other aspects of your psyche, your total being. Part of that being is not well. It is a part that is dying, a slow death. But it isn't something you are really paying attention to. In the back of your mind, your unconscious, you realize s/he was going to die.

To edit the above so to understand its symbolism the horse is a part of you, if not you. Keep that in mind as well look through the rest of the dream.

People use drugs either for legitimate healing purposes or as substitutes for real life emotions. In both cases it can ease the pay although temporarily. This part of you may require drugs but you have not administered them. This either suggests a need for something that will help you in whatever emotional pain you suffer from {life is a pain} or/and a refusal to give in to harmful temptations. I sense a bit of both.

Your dog, which the dream recognizes by name, is an important part of your life. This may suggest real life experiences, the dog actually watching/sensing emotional aspects you are going through {an unnamed dog would more likely be symbolic of our animal nature}. This attachment to Maisey and her sensing {she would in some lesser aspects represent your human animal nature} makes it even more emotionally painful. Your attention is on the horse and the possible remedies for the emotional suffering {your emotional suffering}. Your friend Sandi in actual life experiences may have witnessed this pain. The being dead is the psyche/psychic energy that is coming to an end, or a fear of it coming to an end.

Your feelings about failing to give attention to something important surmises what I see as the central message of the dream. Add the fact you are 'celebrating' your 39the birthday I sense the dream's intent is about getting older {often the 39th birthday is as 'dreadful' as the 40th which is a milestone of going from young adult to middle age}. At mid-life we begin to reflect on the past {whereas in earlier life we are still looking forward and planning our future}. The horse is those emotional energies associated with life and death, present and past, and your future. The one constant with every life is there is suffering and pain, wrong decisions and wrong turns. We often try to substitute what is lacking in our emotional lives with material things, or drugs, food, sex, an array of substitutes to fill the emotional void. What is probably closest to you now is your dog Maisey. Recent experiences having to do with your 39th birthday have given you pause to think about the past and the future. One thing for certain about everyone's future is they will die. The dying horse is this emotional part of you that is now beginning to look back, the mid-life transition, and is losing {dying} the youthful sphere in which life has been lived. When we look back and reflect we begin to see and realize those things that are important, those important things we failed to give proper attention to {the sacred could be spiritual/creativity}.

In summary your 39th birthday which is a fore barrier of your 40th birthday is causing you to ponder your life in the past and for the future, including the fact there will be death. This need not be a conscious fear that all of sudden consumes you {but again it could every well do that if you let it} but merely the unconscious expressing itself, your deepest self giving time to look at where you are in life. A typical response for someone about to celebrate a birthday that leads up to the dreadful 40th.

As for the ending paragraph in your dream. Teeth are often an archetypal image of the dreamer's sense of confidence and competence in the waking world. At mid-life that confidence/competence changes {hopefully to be replaced by wisdom from experience}. The skull houses the mind and outlines/defines the emotional self. As for the jawbone, we can look to its definition as verb to understand its significance in the dream. ' To urge voluntary compliance with official wishes or guidelines.' Voluntary compliance to the fact you are getting older, and death is a part of the aging process, will make life much more tolerable to live than if you go about the final stages of life worrying about dying. Your personality may be a type that would tend to do this. The dream, in its natural force of healing emotional wounds, is trying to get you not to. The 39th birthday is a pre-cursor to the 40th. The good news is if you survive the 'terrors' of the 39th birthday the 40th usually becomes an humdrum event.

Jerry

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Re: Disturbing dream on birthday eve

Wow, thank you Jerry.

Much of what you wrote rings true. I will continue to digest and reflect, but just wanted to say *thank you* for such an in-depth, thoughtful, and wise analysis of this dream.

I feel less disturbed by the dream now, partly because of time passing, and also at least in part because of thinking about the symbols and aspects you drew out.

Much appreciation to you.

~M

Age/Gender & Location {Age & Gender Absolutely Required}: 39 North Carolina

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