Twilight Dreams for the Twilight Years

A woman in her mid-sixties had the following dream:

Tom (my former boyfriend) and I were riding our bikes on a two-lane country road. We were not paying much attention when we suddenly realized we had ridden far beyond our destination. A huge 18-wheeler semi-truck was parked in the road, blocking most of the roadway. I walked my bike between the truck and a nearby fence on the left. Bushes lined the fence on this narrow road and there was barely enough room to squeeze by. It was twilight and we experienced a sense of foreboding. No one else was around, and we had no idea where we were. To my surprise my dog appeared and I tried to quickly buckle his harness. Meanwhile, Tom was anxiously urging me to go. We were both really scared.

The dreamer has gone beyond where she intended to go. Her life journey has taken her into unfamiliar territory. The sun, the light of ordinary consciousness that has guided her up to this point, is setting. Now she must make her way by a new light, that of the distant stars. Without much emotional preparation she has entered the twilight of her life.

Twilight is the time of two lights, the waning light of the sun, and the growing light of the stars. Twilight is a less intense, more diffuse light. It is a light without shadows, a light that yields less distinct images and figures. Thus, it is a light in which the unconscious is more easily projected onto the outer world. It is a time and illumination in which dreams, visions, and spirits are more readily experienced.

In the twilight of one’s life a changeover begins. The journey inward quickens its pace. Spiritual questions and mortality issues rise to the surface, pressing for recognition. They rap on the door, an unknown visitor. Because it is new and unfamiliar, the onset of twilight can create insecurity and anxiety for some people. Fortunately, the dreamer’s dog has arrived. He symbolizes the wisdom and guidance of her instinctual self. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, seems more fearful than she and, in fact, turned out to not offer much companionship at this stage of her life. The semi, an imposing, powerful vehicle symbolizes the ego’s temptation to power that would squeeze her off the road and derail her journey inward. The ego resists this transition in her life; it likes things the way they are.

I was on a bike at the left side of Montgomery Street in San Francisco. It was one of those classic intersections in the financial district where three streets meet and people can cross diagonally. But this intersection seemed three times as large from curb to curb. There were lots of cars and people walking. As the lights changed drivers and pedestrians made a dash for the other side. However, I was scared since there were so many cars and every time I wanted to go I saw more vehicles coming from another direction. Finally I pushed off and pedaled as fast as I could, hoping to beat the oncoming cars. Out of breath but greatly relieved I made it safely across. It was twilight now and there were people all around. The ones closest to me were women dressed in old time clothing, like from the 1800’s. They had bonnets and fitted dresses with big skirts. All this was in gray. They were just shapes in the encroaching darkness.

This is another twilight dream occurring about two weeks after the first. It takes place in the city where she lived and worked before retiring. Again she is riding her bike, but this time she is by herself. The weak masculine is gone. She must cross a street, a busy, complex intersection. It represents an important transition in her life. Like twilight, it is a bridge between two states of being. She musters her courage and propels herself safely to the other side. She accepts the challenge and does not retreat as in the first dream.

On the other side of the intersection she becomes aware of women in 1800’s clothing. It is as if she has transported herself back in time, a time, coincidentally, when spiritualism was in its heyday. The ghostly aspect of the dream is amplified by another dream she recalled shortly after her father’s death. In that dream she saw her father on the far side of Montgomery Street but was unable to cross over and catch up to him. In both dreams Montgomery Street seems to serve as a boundary between this world and the next.

The dreamer and her three sisters had a strong interest in the afterlife, ghosts, and the paranormal as young girls, but this interest was set aside in adulthood as career and home life issues took center stage. Perhaps her spiritualist interests are returning as she enters her twilight years. A renewed interest and sensitivity for the spirit world could be very appropriate at this time of her life.

Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D.
Excerpts may be used provided full and clear credit is given author with link to original article.

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