Dad Dyes His Hair

By Douglas McElheny

It’s possible there are exceptions to the rule, but I would wager that 99.9% of people who have an active dream life dream often of the person or persons who were their primary caretakers growing up. For most people that will be a person or persons labeled ‘parent’. And for most of us growing up with a two-parent situation, one parent was more likely the authority figure while the other was more maternal and indulgent. If you were raised in a traditional family it was probably dad who was more the authority figure, and thus he could represent, among other things1, the authoritarian part of oneself. I think that’s case with me and in that context I wanted to share and then discuss this dream.

 I’m with my Dad and he’s dyed his hair black to cover up the grey. I tell him, “You finally decided to do it huh?” His mustache has been shaved off too and he looks a lot younger. I open the freezer and there’s some kind of cake inside but it’s flat like it collapsed while cooking in the oven. It has little light brown chocolate chips on it. Dad tells me, “Why don’t you pick the fruit off?” I tell him, “No I’m just looking at it.”

For the first few years of my life my dad was clean-shaven and that’s how he appears in pictures from that time of my life. Then when I was about four or five he grew a mustache that he’s had ever since. My mother told me when I was still a child (but old enough to understand these things) that for the first few years of my life, my father was warm and indulgent with his sons, but there reached a point where a shift occurred and he became more distant, controlling and authoritarian. The trend increased the older my brother and I got. She said it was something she found baffling and never could understand why it happened. I’m not going to postulate about why it happened, just state that it did.

Now here at our house I’m more the authority figure and always have been. The youths we have with us now were not with us in their most formative years, but if they were to dream of Donny and I in the context of parents there’s no doubt I would appear in their dreams as the authoritarian part of themselves and Donny as the more nurturing and indulgent part. At the time of the dream though I was experiencing a noticeable lessening of the authoritarian part of my nature, which in some ways was also a letting go, particularly about things regarding money, because one thing that’s difficult for me is our charges are almost completely bereft of any practicality or sense of sacrifice. They are for the most part only interested in wringing as much pleasure out of life as they can with the minimum amount of effort. That’s par for the course for people in their age group, but I feel it’s exacerbated in them by the stamp they got from the poor village environment in which they spent their earliest years.

When I had the dream I thought it was reflecting this lessening of my authoritarian streak that I was experiencing, since it depicted my Dad going back physically to what he looked like at the time in my life when he was more indulgent. I was noticing at the time that it was like something heavy was gone from me, and I felt a clearness and a lightness inside as well as a heightened sense of goodwill. For me this is proof that my authoritarian streak is exaggerated to the point of being a painful manifestation of egoism which, I suppose when you get down to the foundation of it, is a desire to control and impose what I feel is the right way to live on others. It goes beyond money to other areas but as far as money goes there’s also an attachment to it, a clinging to it. I will say however that I don’t think the attachment to money and where it’s going would be so hard if I was living with and supporting a houseful of people who were spiritual aspirants or at the very least interested in some kind of self development or improvement. That’s not the case here with anyone other than Donny.

So this clearing in the vital lasted a couple of weeks. Then something one of our charges did or wanted provoked a reaction. I don’t remember exactly what now, but I seem to recall it was Mugu wanting money for something. I’d had a dream the night before where I’d found myself lying on my side in bed, probably in the cataleptic state, looking at a small picture hanging on the wall in front of me. I had at least one other dream after this one before awakening, so I can’t clearly recall anything about it other than it was showing a pretty and colorful outdoor scene, but one that, if I remember correctly, had a lot of autumn like colors such as yellow, orange and red. There was also at least one building in the dream as I recall. The dream ended with a line which was something to the tune of “I knew at some point my dad would enter the picture.” I feel that line was addressing the fact that this authoritarian dad part of myself had reseated itself in me with that reaction, and I haven’t felt clear of it since to the same degree that I did for those couple of weeks after the first dream. During that time it was much easier to let go of these reactions if they arose at all. Perhaps the picture in the dream was showing my emotional state at the time, which was something pretty, but also perhaps near the end of its span because of the autumn like colors.

Regarding the deflated cake in the freezer, that would suggest to me some kind of vital indulgence that had been ‘put on ice’ so to speak at the time. Perhaps it’s not necessarily some kind of material indulgence like eating a lot of sweets or smoking cigarettes or sexual desire, but rather the lower vital feelings that get indulged when I’m in authoritarian mode, such as anger, obsessive control etc. which give the vital a perverse pleasure. I don’t know if that’s the case, and perhaps it did have to do with some more material indulgence. I’m just throwing this out there as an idea.

In closing, if I had to take a guess as to what was going on during those clear weeks, I would postulate that my psychic being was able to exert an influence over the vital throughout that time. It was temporary of course, but like many other experiences that come and go, it’s a promise of something that can become stable with the right development.

Notes and References

  1. It seems to me your dad in a dream could potentially represent any strong trait or tendency you picked up from him that manifests often in your life, as well as the big authority figure in your life.

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