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Painting a woman inside of a box

I had a dream last night that I was drawing with charcoal inside of a box, kind of like a small model or a diorama. I was trying to draw an image of a girl/woman, but the charcoal kept smudging and it looked too dark and I was getting frustrated. Suddenly, I noticed the vague shape of a woman traced faintly in the charcoal. I worked on it some more and suddenly, the who diorama changed into a beautifully painted scene with a woman sitting in the center, surrounded by three mirrors; one to her left, one to her right, and one just behind her in the center. There were also tiny fluorescent lights in the diorama, and the woman looked brightly lit. I then posted my diorama on Facebook, and it immediately gets two 'likes', one from a man and one from a woman named Lili (might be related to my best friend from high school, with whom i am no longer friends.)

Any ideas for interpretation...?


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 25, Brooklyn, NY

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

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Re: Painting a woman inside of a box

My impression of the dream is you are trying to find your true self, a good possibility that self being associated with creativity. Charcoal can symbolize transformation to that true self {diamonds come from charcoal}. The box may represent limitations. The image you are trying to draw is of this true inner self but you are frustrated, your efforts being 'smudged' by outward things {social obligations, emotional stress, etc}. The woman you see in the charcoal is you, that true creative being. The more you work on becoming that person the more she becomes a part of your conscious life {she has already left an impression within your unconscious}. This is your true center and when 'in touch' can be 'reflected' {mirrors} in all aspects of life {conscious/unconscious/metaphysical} if you would bring her out. Such an endeavor would light up your life and balance your life {man and woman}. Lili likely is someone you identify with or has qualities you wish to possess.

A response to my interpretation would be appreciated.


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 63 Space Coast, Fla.

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

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Re: Painting a woman inside of a box

Hi Jerry,

Your interpretation is very insightful. I am currently in a bind; I am attending graduate school for Library Science, and though I think it's an interesting field and it was a "practical" move for me to continue studying (I've been working part-time in a library for 5 years) there is an artistic, creative side to me that is desperate to come out. I feel I never have time to be creative though because I am always doing schoolwork, or feel I should be studying. I am also feeling scared lately because I am not sure if this field is right for me, or if I should drop it altogether...

Creativity is not something that was ever encouraged in my family when I was growing up, and so I never saw it as a legitimate career path. But if you asked me what my dream is, I would wish to be an artist. Possibly an illustrator. I am actually illustrating a children's gothic ABC book right now for a writer I met on facebook; it will be published in October. It was a stroke of fate how I got that job... lol However, I am just feeling very stressed and pulled in different directions. I want to do the 'responsible', 'practical' thing and go to school and get a well-paying job....but I also want to create. I don't know what to do and it has been making me very depressed and I feel very alone in my dilemma...I also feel like a bit of a fake and a fraud at graduate school because all my colleagues are very passionate about the field whereas I simply enjoy it somewhat and am curious about it, but not 100% devoted.

Lili was a friend of mine for ten years, but she was also bipolar and manic depressive. She would sometimes physically abuse me. However, she was also quite spiritual, creative and adventurous. I ended the friendship because of her abuse, but I always remember these good qualities about her. She often appears in my dreams as a Shadow figure, and I know she is representing parts of myself. I once dreamed she was a very tall, beautiful, kind priestess wearing indigo-colored robes.

Thank you so much for responding, Jerry. I have been feeling very lonely and it means the world to me that you took the time to write to me. I hope to hear from you again...what would you do in this situation?

All the best,


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 25, NYC, USA

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

Re: Painting a woman inside of a box

I do appreciate the response. And I hope you will follow that creative path. My spiritual mentor Joseph Campbell most famous quote was to 'follow your bliss'. If you follow the money {what society tells you to do} you are off your path. You follow your bliss the money will follow you and you will have your bliss also. Just image waking up every morning going to a job you love.

As for your dream. I got the impression the dream was 'deeply' focused on your creative self. The charcoal {charcoal becomes diamonds} was the first 'clue'. Then as the dream unfolded {the unfolding pattern} I sensed the dream was definitely addressing the inner woman that wanted to express herself. Anytime this type motif is part of a dream it is most often about metaphysical aspects, creativity and/or spiritual {sharing your creative self is a spiritual endeavor}. More specifically the word 'diorama' provided more insights to this inner you {as reflected in the 3 mirrors}.
Its definition is: A three-dimensional miniature or life-size scene in which figures, stuffed wildlife, or other objects are arranged in a naturalistic setting against a painted background.

The being within wanting to be fully a part of the whole self, this being the 'naturalistic self', the object painted against the background {conscious self}.

The Facebook post {our 21st century psyches using technology} depicted a balanced self, one man and one woman, both which were 'liked'. It also 'reflected' an actual experience in your life {common in dreams of someone your age}. If there was a dislike then the message could have been different. Its the images and patterns that expose what the dream is trying to communicate. The images in your dream {at least for me} pointed to the creative being within you. The negatives in the dream, the conflicts in your life, were the 'true self' being 'smudged' and the frustration. The stress you feel are what these images are about. Having to do what society dictates is most often the primary 'dragon' to be slain in life. You may enjoy the training but it is not your passion {bliss}.

Its interesting what you say about Lili. On one hand she was abusive {here dreams would have a lot of demons}. Yet she was creative and spiritual. Her manic depression may have been a neurological condition and it would be very hard to be the true spiritual person with that {so many great artists end it all because of inner demons}. But there may have been early life life experiences that contributed to her condition {and its severity} also. You were naturally attracted to her positive side but had to end it because of her negative, and perhaps because she made you get too close to your own shadow. It would not be unusual for her to be a 'Shadow" figure in your dreams {we all possess a shadow} since she possessed or displayed traits within your. Your description of the shadowy figure is a perfect example of the 'shadow' self would appear in dreams. To see this shadow and understand it is a reference to your own inner condition, that is what the dream is attempting to do.

This shadow application may be something you will want to explore. Because you did have a 'shadow' dream it probably means there is an unresolved conflict to do with your shadow. This dream may hold clues. "the vague shape of a woman traced faintly in the charcoal" could be addressing the shadow. The charcoal is black {as is the shadow} and a residue of wood {feeling dead inside}. The previous sentence states, "charcoal kept smudging and it looked too dark and I was getting frustrated." I don't believe this is the primary focus of the dream {which we have discussed as to do with the creative self} but a Jungian concept {one I agree with} is all dreams have at least two meanings/applications. usually there is a primary focus of a dream with the secondary also being addressed in a lesser way {to derive the shadow there would be a knowledge that was a possibility}. Many dreams combine the two applications. Plus, your frustration may come from more than just the social dragon. Have you had problems with depression or feeling low, or other experiences that would indicate your 'shadow' is affecting your life? The fact Lili was in this dream and you recognized her as a shadow projection suggests a relationship. And if you have not had any 'conscious shadow experiences' there is a good chance you will later in life if 'it' is allowed to establish itself more firmly in your unconscious. If you read my page on the archetypes you will get a better idea of the power this psyche aspect can have on the conscious self. Better yet, if you would purchase the book or audio CD by Anthony Stevens {referenced on the page} you will gain a knowledge that will be valuable in so many ways in your life. I wish everyone would read about the archetypes, the concept is that important.

Your response and added personal information has provided a lot more to think about. If you wish to respond and continue the discussion i am always here and ready to discuss such things. You see, my bliss is my dream work and my websites {I design them myself}. The websites are my creative self in full bloom. Now that I am retired I am following my bliss full time. I discovered this aspect 21 years ago. If you can apply bit to your life at your age what a life it could be. Living a life where day is a joy to live. I'll end with a Campbell quote:

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 63 Space Coast, Fla.

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

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