Friday, 2 August 2013

I Dreamed About a Chicken

I have had my fare share of weird dreams, but the one I had this morning must be considered one of the most surreal dreams to date. It wasn't particularly long, just unusually odd.

Image Source

I dreamed that I was sleeping in my bed here in Korea (this is significant because I've only recently started dreaming of being Korea), and I woke up to see that there is a rooster in my bedroom. Not a particularly large rooster. A handsome little rooster trotting about in my bedroom, of the colourful South-East Asian bantam variety. Later it made itself comfortable on the little bedside (bookcase) beside my bed, standing their as if on attention. And then, it started to speak to me. It wasn't verbal communication, but rather, I'm guessing, a form of telepathy. I just understood it, as if it's thoughts just manifested within my head. It impressed upon me that I don't have to worry, it will be my bodyguard.

That's the dream.

Now usually, for a gestalt therapeutic approach to dream interpretation, you would ask yourself (or the therapist would ask you): if the object in the dream could speak (in this case the chicken), what would it say to you? Lucky for me, the object in my dream did speak: it bravely announced that it will be my bodyguard. The question is, however, what will it guard me from? When I ask this question, the answer I get is that it will guard me from what I fear. Which is what exactly? I'm not sure.

According to different cultural traditions chickens have different symbolic meanings. For instance, a chicken could suggest that “one is chicken”; i.e. cowardly, fearing something in your life; not brave enough to get something you want.

Roosters, because of their colourful plumage, may be boastful or flamboyant—this is a characteristic associated with people born in the year of the Rooster, in accordance with the Chinese Zodiac. According to Chinese tradition a chicken symbolises both pride and enlightenment. It is the chicken's pride that makes it crow the first in the morning, before any other creature. It therefore suggests bragging or showing-off, particularly roosters crowing would suggest this. (The rooster in my dream wasn't very noisy.)

However, it's crow comes with the start of day, with the first light, and therefore denotes enlightenment. The Greeks also made this connection with the sun, and for them the rooster was a symbol of the sun, and victory overthe night, and therefore associated with Apollo. On the other hand, the rooster was associated with danger and the underworld in Nordic and Celtic traditions, where it acted as a messenger of the underworld, and called out warnings.

In Christian symbolism the rooster may symbolise Peter as he had denied Christ before the rooster crowed three times. It later became a symbol for Peter's repentance and also as a warning for religious vigilance, reminding us not to deny the Lord as Peter did. Weathercocks on churches act as symbolic reminders of such vigilance and may also suggest that the rooster not only calls us to wake up, but calls us to prayer first thing in the morning.

As a time-keeper, the rooster may be symbolic of a “wake-up call”. Not merely waking us up from our literal sleep, but waking us up to specific issues in our lives.

In a Freudian sense, a rooster is obviously a phallic image—the archetypal cock. As such it is a symbol of manliness, or “cockiness”, and possibly also pride.

So what does my dream mean? I'm still left with the same question, why do I need a bodyguard? What is the rooster keeping me safe from? And why a rooster, and not something else more fierce such as a tiger? What is it that a rooster is better at protecting one against than any other creature? Or is that a wrong question? Maybe I should not assume that a chicken has any special significance in its roll as bodyguard; it might just have been the only “available” or “willing” bodyguard to keep me safe. I can't remember how I felt when the chicken announced it's assurance towards my well-being—I can't say that I felt unsafe before I noticed the chicken, but I do think I felt slightly more assured after it's brave announcement.

Of course, it may all just be a strange dream induced by indigestion because of the fruit & veggie juice I drank and bag of cherries I ate just before bedtime.

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Retha said...

I think a rooster is perfectly good bodyguard, if you take into account how popular cockfighting used to be...

Skryfblok said...

Very true, Retha. I remember when I was a kid we had this rooster on our farm that used to kick freakin' hard. I was terrified of it. Maybe it has come back to make amends. ;-)