In my following interpretation of a pendulum and a fish, as they relate to elements in Marc Chagall’s painting, Time Is a River without Banks, I hope to illustrate how differently we each perceive and interpret various symbols in our dreams, in our art, and in our lives, based on our own situations, experiences, and feelings. I have no idea what the elements in Chagall’s painting symbolized for him, and when it comes to interpreting my dreams, it does not matter.
The following is my interpretation of the meaning of the elements in Chagall’s painting as they pertained to my own life after I discovered a few weeks ago that a couple of dreams I had had back in 1999 apparently picked up some of the elements from Chagall’s painting (right), a realization that has led me to a greater understanding of these dreams, which began a long-needed healing process—much to my surprise and my delight.
Unconscious Rejected Painful Associations
I had turned the pages to Jung’s Man and His Symbols every now and then since college, looking up the soul, or the Self, or the fetus image that I associate to Self, and I have a vague recollection of thumbing by Marc Chagall’s Time Is a River without Banks (p. 41). But something about it always annoyed me, and I refused to give it my full attention.
Then in March 2013, I committed myself to reading Jung’s first section of the book, “Approaching the Unconscious,” which required that I stay on that page while I read the adjacent page. But the painting kept distracting me, so fine! I finally looked at it, really looked at it, and realized that its elements perfectly reflected images right out of my own dreamscape, images that incited painful memories.
Stalking/Murder by Frying Pan
In a dream journal entry dated Tuesday, February 2, 1999, I am drifting through the flooded streets of a familiar city on a floating dock of some kind.
After a while, I no longer recognize where I am. It seems kind of fun, though I know I am in danger. Then I realize where I am, which is actually where I started. I’m somehow catapulted back on dry ground, where Griffin (my husband at the time) is stalking me, trying to kill me. He busts through two doors with locks on them, then he corners me. He swoops down on me slamming me in the head with a huge frying pan, bigger than Big Ben’s pendulum (it occurs to me for some reason). In a daze, I thought, “Now I know what it’s like to be murdered.”