I have a friend who remembers all his dreams. Every single one of them. His is a gentle insanity, a madness born of no respite from a battering unreal reality. He is a historian, and only rests when he climbs into his scholarship. In the violent past of the places he studies, he finds a peace that eludes him in waking.
But his case is unusual, to be sure. Dreams needn’t always dine upon conflict.
Some dreams are merely curious. My husband had a dream a few days ago in which I informed him nonchalantly that I had a boyfriend at the public library. Suffice it to say, I do not. I’m a one-guy kind of woman. But I do like the library. For the books.
There are also the dreams of hoping. Dreams of fantasy. The dream where I am ice skating across a dazzling plaza spread out like diamonds before a sparkling Taj Mahal. All is quiet. With the wind dashing cool across my cheeks, I swizzle across the ice and leap into a into a triple toe jump. I am grace incarnate.
Then there are prophetic dreams. The ones that tell us the future, or very nearly what we believe the future holds. The sort that shamans, priests, and wise women the world over will only explain in cryptic terms. These dreams give me the uber-chills.
Here’s the thing: I believe dreams are born of passion.
In college I took a course called “Religion and Psychology.” In this class we learned theories of dream analysis. (Or maybe it’s called dream interpretation. I had a crush on a guy in that class so I may have missed some notes.) Famously, Sigmund Freud believed that dreams were all about “wish fulfillment.” He argued that in dreams our subconscious takes over where our conscious dares not tread, especially into the realm of suppressed sexuality.
I am not a good Freudian. At least not when it comes to dreams. I’ve had plenty of scary dreams that I do not wish to happen. Not in a million years.
But I just said I believe dreams are born of passion. There is however (as all romance readers know) a great deal more to passion than sexual urges. And real passion is not about suppression. It is about freedom. It is about reaching and longing and seeking heaven, bliss—not only with the spirit, but with heart, body, mind and everything all tangled together.
The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung had a rather spiritual approach to dream analysis that I particularly like. Jung believed that dreams open a channel to the unconscious mind. Through this communication, we can achieve wholeness within ourselves and ultimately with one another. This Is Very Cool. It makes dreams into something much bigger than playgrounds for the frustrations of everyday life. It recognizes them as fuel for epics.
In my debut historical romance, Swept Away By a Kiss, the heroine, Lady Valerie Monroe, dreams. Her dreams disturb her, occasionally frighten, and she’s not able to make sense of them. Not until she discovers a deeper meaning to them. Meaning that draws together the passion burning in her body and heart with the passions of the man she desires. Her dreams, she discovers, are about her longings and his, and a great deal more as well.
Do you remember your dreams? What is the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
Katharine Ashe lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. RT Book Reviews awarded her debut historical romance, Swept Away By a Kiss, a “TOP PICK!” review, calling it “a page-turner and a keeper.” Please visit her at www.katharineashe.com.
Readers, Katharine is giving away a copy of Swept Away By a Kiss to a lucky commenter who answers the question: Do you remember your dreams? What is the craziest dream you’ve ever had? To finish your entry into our drawing, be sure to leave your email address in your comment so we can contact you if you are chosen as the winner. The winner will be chosen on Thursday, September 30.