From my own experience of dreams it seems apparent that many incursions from the unconscious into the ego’s realm of consciousness bring with them a measure of dread. Like the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna arising from her stay in the underworld surrounded by the demonic minions of her sister Ereshkigal, any psychological content—regardless of its potential—that we have banished to either the basement or attic of our psyche can become a feared bogie or mad person. For example, a species of zombie. According to legend, a zombie is a person who has been deprived of their will and their power to speak—and the silent screams of the dispossessed can often become the most haunting.ave banished to either the basement or

Dream 1: I am with a man who I love, a man called Will. We are out and we meet a man called Bill Hunter who recognises me; he is with his wife and his many children.

Will and I are returning, he to his place and I to mine. I get to my flat and realise I am wearing Will’s soft reddish suede coat. I’m touched that he made me wear it because I was cold, but then I realise I’ve got his keys in the pocket. I’m thinking I can’t even get into my flat to phone him; somehow I assume he has my keys. The next bit is unclear, as I may then find I do have my keys. Nevertheless I decide to go out and meet him, as I know he’ll be looking for me.

I’m out on this bit of wasteground, and I see him rush past. Then I bump into this zombie woman. She is quite terrifying, and I’m flooded with dread. I am trying to push her away, and trying to scream to Will for help. But I can’t seem to speak. And then I wonder whether the zombie has already got to him, and that really puts me in a panic.

I wake up, absolutely terrified.

The day I had this dream I had managed to overcome inhibitions that had previously kept me from enquiring about the possibility of teaching an adult education course on astrology: I had called the relevant college department and arranged to send in a course proposal. My confidence thus boosted I had then phoned a group that met locally to offer a talk on dreams.

My subsequent nightmare pictures the terrifying threat of finding one’s willpower only to lose it again. In this instance, my dreamweaver heightens the horror by using a real-life figure of a childhood schoolmate (Bill Hunter). Although undoubtedly chosen for the symbolism of his name, his presence might also suggest that the part of my psyche predatory to my ability to assert myself is both known to me and something with which I feel comfortable. Not only that, he now has a large family: with each move forward in the expression of my will, the repressive force seems to be multiplying.

In the dream I assume that it is the zombie who is the threat to my ‘will’, but it is far more likely that she is a portent of what I might become in the absence of will. And indeed, by the end of the dream, I, too, have lost the ability to speak.

There are many ambiguities surrounding this dream, but I cite it as an example of having been visited by a side of the psyche—the zombie—that I would certainly wish to avoid. Yet the dream, though terrifying, was of great use, in that it confronted me with the fact that it is not the outcast zombie, but rather a more familiar part of my psyche that preys on my determination.