Saturday, October 3, 2015

Of Bikes and Roads and Dreams

I noticed the bike when I was giving a new camera a test run. My last compact suffered a fall and probably it was time for a change. A test demands a wide range of shots and this scene offered distance and geometry. Most of all, it was a low light day. My immediate thought was of the owner's decision to secure the bike here. It's in a pedestrian island and hardly unobtrusive. Perhaps the owner was hiding it in the light. I hardly dare to speak of symbolism and bicycles. Sometimes clients would dream about being on a bike and of course they had looked it up. "Under my own steam," they would say proudly. I would mentally flinch - because like "the road less taken," the phrase is much overused. "On yer bike!" is one phrase that I like, although it's an impolite expression for "go away." And of course, because one rides a bike, it also has a sexual reference which I'll briefly explain by example. In my youth, a well meaning teacher, eternally doomed to explain sex to teenagers, told the class that no-one could get an STD from riding a Raleigh bicycle. We giggled politely and guffawed mightily later. So "I dreamed I was riding an old bike," isn't necessarily an expression of freedom and balance. In dream analysis it's always best to explore every connotation of the dream symbol. By way of an ending I would ask the client what kind of road they were riding in the dream - smooth, rough, rutted? Was the going tough? Was it less taken?

Friday, April 17, 2015

If you want to get ahead - get a hat

I always liked this kind of hat. The fellow wearing it is in a museum and I thought he would be happier with a ruddy glow because he seems like an outdoor sort. The hat is a headdress and to some extend shares symbolism with hair. It's the topmost adorning feature and a sign of authority. A hat is also like a crown and a tricorn hat even more so. So the hat also denotes power. Hats have a powerful iconography. The importance of the hat in movie Westerns cannot be over estimated. That is usually a black hat or a white hat, often worn with a correspondingly coloured horse. It connotes a position in the narrative of opposites - good and evil. To wear a different hat is to assume a different role but to change your hat is an altogether more serious business. Jung points out that this involves changing your ideas, your outlook on the world. Gustav Meyrink's novel "The Golem" is a Jewish tale of the Prague ghetto. The unnamed hero borrows a hat belonging to one Athanasius Pernath and is plunged into his head and body. The Golem is a Biblical creature rather like Frankenstein's monster and there are mystical Jewish texts that offer instructions on how to make one. Hasidic folklore suggests a Golem can be made to serve the purposes of its creator, but the most important thing is the fashioning of the head. In "Waiting for Godot", the hat is all about identity. "Give him his hat, he can't think without his hat." And when the characters speak as one, they all take off their hats. If you dream about a hat, it may represent a concern about identity, role and authority. Are you taking off the hat or putting it on?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sacks on the Beach

This is one of the first shots from my new wide angle zoom lens for the Pentax Q. I always visit Fregene over the Christmas period and there are always different kind of scenes to be captured. This time I was testing the potential of new equipment. Every winter, storms destroy many of the temporary beach structures - and so the beach was dotted with piles of sandbags. I noticed that the sacks originally contained coffee, so the container has been recycled to a defensive purpose, the holding back of the sea's destructive forces,  Unlike a sea wall these are temporary, seasonal defenses and quite distinct. They're designed to absorb the force of the sea and mitigate rising water levels. So if you dream of sandbags this can represent defenses of a transitional nature. Perhaps some turbulent period in life is approaching. It's temporary but you need to weather and limit the damage of forces ranged against you. Sometimes the unconscious may organise such a defense on your behalf in a manoeuvre to protect the individual against intolerable anxiety. The German term abwehr more appropriate describes the process. It implies parrying or warding off. We know the sandbags can't completely defend against rising waters, nor are they waterproof. They defend by warding off the danger.