The Dreamers Dictionary
By Kathie Bergquist, Dream Interpreter for the Stars
Chapter Six: Dreams of Female Perversion
Dreams are windows to our souls. They shed light on the deepest workings of our subconscious mind; through recognizing their patterns and repeating totems, we learn about who we are now and can foretell who we are yet to be.
Dreams also reveal our rightfully hidden secrets and darkest, most sordid desires. In Chapter Six, we will explore dreams that you should avoid discussing in public places such as department store restrooms or parent-teacher conferences.
Here we go.
To dream of an aardvark signifies an itch for something that lies just below the surface, something yummy that you know is there, even if you can’t yet see it or taste it. You are driven, by instinct, to stick your nose into dubious places.
If the setting of the dream is Ancient Greece and you are the student, you will make love to the teacher. If you are the teacher, you will make love to the student. This might be a figurative kind of love-making. Maybe not. Maybe the object of love is not corporal but mechanical: a turning key.
Freudian interpretation: We all know the quip about the Spartans: they never leave their brother’s behind.
The dream of trying to ascend a broken staircase indicates uncertainty regarding your direction. A broken suitcase means you should release old baggage and negative feelings. Dreaming of a broken promise foretells a change of plans; a broken bottle and a broken heel in the same dream means you’re having an interesting evening, and may, in fact, be drunk.
And a dream of a broken heart reveals a troubadour’s soul.
The feminist bookstore truly is its own dream, because you’ve only recently met the Dyke with a Moustache Who Gave You Funny Feelings and you don’t yet know the difference between the magazines Off Our Backs and On Our Backs (and trust me, there’s a big difference) and it’s here that you buy a copy of the Coming Out Stories and read all of the Dykes to Watch Out For comic strips and discover the work of Sarah Schulman and Pat Parker and Judy Grahn and Dorothy Allison and Audre Lorde and Cheryl Clarke and Joan Nestle and Rita Mae Brown and Susie Bright and the music of Two Nice Girls and Sweet Honey in the Rock and oh my god these women teach you everything.
Giant Grocery Shopping Cart
The dream of the giant grocery shopping cart is a prescient dream. It means you will pee between two parked cars later in the afternoon.
You are being chased down a dark tunnel. Suddenly the ground opens up and you’re sinking in a chickpea tahini muck. If you don’t make it through the sludge before the bell rings, you will fail the quiz. Alternate interpretation: You’ve been attending too many lesbian gatherings.
The Musical, Grease
Perhaps you recently had a summer-loving blast. Conversely, it may have happened too fast. In either case, there is more than one version to this story and the details do not add up.
Specifically, Patti Smith circa Horses with the suit coat and the skinny tie, and even more specifically, Patti Smith singing “Gloria,” in the most butch swaggery, sextastic, lesbontronic way ever:
Oh, she looks so good, oh, she looks so fine
And I got this crazy feeling and then I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine
Ooh I’ll put my spell on her
Here she comes
Like wildflowers, your seeds travel on the wind. You bring color to barren places.
See: Ancient Greece. See also: Sappho’s leap.
The Dream of Social Justice
Like social justice, the interpretation of this dream is elusive and fleeting, hovering just beyond perception, like a South Carolina Senator in the back room of the leather bar. See also: Aardvark.
That Dyke with a Moustache Who Gave You Funny Feelings
In this dream it’s 1986, maybe ’87. You are a fierce young feminist, protesting the University of Minnesota campus store for selling Playboy because “pornography promotes violence against women.” On day two, the Dyke with the Moustache shows up. She and her friends are counter-protesting your protest, demonstrating against the policing of sexuality and what they call the feminist sex police. She is a dyke with a capital D, she knows the difference between Off Our Backs and On Our Backs, and she makes you feel funny, like in a tickly way throughout your body. Interpretation: You have awoken.
You have many agents of your heart: these include but are not limited to the girl who works at the bakery, the artist who lives across the street, the boy you left behind, the girl who was in your coming out group, the butch power activist, the one who liked you because of your hat and kissed you at the club, the one who gave you her glasses, the one who was International Ms. Leather, the one who brought you a flower, the tall glass of water, the one who wrote the book that you hold closest to your heart, the one who made you crazy, the butch who pedaled up wearing sunglasses, the moon-faced one with dimples, the one you loved ferociously. The one who carries your rib in her chest, to whom you said “yes, I do.”
Cats (Not the Musical)
Cat dreams are believed to represent female sexuality, power, and creativity. See also: Patti Smith
At the feminist bookstore you buy a labrys pendant, symbol of the amazon. You get your hair cut short – very short — and wear T-shirts from Act-Up and Queer Nation. You have a difficult conversation with your mother. You hem and haw. Finally, after many hemmings and hawings you spit it out: “I like someone. It’s a girl.” The girl in question is not the Dyke with the Moustache Who Gave You Funny Feelings. Rather, it is the one who liked you because of your hat and kissed you at the club. “Oh that’s it, honey?” your mom asked, “I thought you were going to tell me you were pregnant.”
Dreams of Wildflowers
You have finally learned the difference between Off Our Backs and On Our Backs.
Adrienne Rich’s Dream of a Common Language
*No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.
*from 21 Love Poems
Kathie Bergquist is the author of five books, most recently A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago, co-authored with Robert McDonald. She edited the anthology Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Writing from the Third Coast and is editor-in-chief of www.msfitmag.com. Her essays, stories, and poems have appeared in numerous publications. She teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago.