The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

I am not much into dream interpretation, being a Dust-bowl empiricist sort of psychologist by training. My dreams are pretty understandable, not scary, just annoying and mundane, usually fueled by anxiety. My most recent stupid dream concerned the band in which husband and I play doing a gig at the Vatican, and I couldn’t get my bass guitar amp to play loud enough during Mass. How dumb is that?

Our sojourn into Indian Country has taught me, though, that when a person has a dream concerning American Indians, it is wise to sit up and take notice. Dreams are important means of communication in the Native community.  I have heard many a Native person say to someone “I had a dream about you last night. Thought I better come and check if you are ok.” I had a very strange dream a while back about Linda, one of our Native friends we were going to meet up with at a pow wow. The dream, which seemed strangely real, involved Linda, in great distress, trying to contact me to tell me that she wasn’t going to make it to the pow wow because she was ill.  In the morning we drove up to the pow wow grounds. I asked about Linda and was told that she was ill and was staying home. That was a really odd experience.

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The photo attached to this post is of the Hopi Corn God.  We purchased him at Mesa Verde, in the National Park gift shop. He isn’t made by the Hopi, but by Apaches for the tourist trade. I think that Kachinas are too sacred to the Hopi to make and sell. I set him in a place of honor in the living room when we got back home. One night I had enough of husband’s snoring (this was pre-CPAP) and I bunked up on the living room sofa. That night I had a horrific dream that the kachina was really, really angry. It seemed very real, and it was again hard for me to decide if it was a dream or if it was really happening.  He was about 50 feet tall and was moving toward me, stomping and stomping with his big feet.  It felt that he was going to stomp me to jelly. I woke up and found some dried field corn we had for the squirrels and sprinkled some around the kachina’s feet.  I haven’t had any more dreams about him, but I wonder what it was he was trying to tell me that night.  Probably that even Apache-made Hopi Kachinas are too sacred to be used as an ornament. I probably need to ask some our Native friends what I should do with him and how I should properly dispose of him if they think that necessary. Be careful if you have an opportunity to purchase Native artifacts.

You may have dreams.

What is your most worrisome artifact?

55 thoughts on “The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of”

  1. Good morning. We have a cuckoo clock that we inherited from my Mother-in-Law. She had it hanging on her wall for many years and now it is on our wall. This is the clock that my Mother-in-Law was “setting” when she fell off a stool and broke her arm. We are using it as a decoration and it is no longer used as a clock. It may need some repairs and we don’t know where to get it repaired or if we want to get it repair. If we accidentally start it by pulling on one of the chains or hitting the pendulum, it will run for a while, the cuckoo bird will come out, and it will go “cuckoo cuckoo”.

    It has suffered some damage from not being handled well when we moved from Clarks Grove to Minneapolis. I glued it back together and it looks okay. Part of one of the clock hands is broken. This broken hand is hidden behind the other hand so you can’t see it. However, we know the broken hand is there and wonder if we should get ride of the clock. I sort of like the clock. However, I would say it is one of our most worrisome artifacts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. perfect example jim
      todays world makes it possible to get stuff fixed but too expensive. in clarks grove a repairman gets 20an hour. in minneapolis he gets 75-100 per hour. find a repairman to fix it for a set price. those old clocks are no to be seen again for lesss than a small fortune. umnless it is a modern knock off. then throw it.
      made in black forest yes.
      made in taiwan no
      i see the clarks grove hardware hank is up for sale. did he run a decent store?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The guy that ran the Clarks Grove hardware was great guy and was an asset to the town. He probably wasn’t the greatest at the technical side of running the operation, although the store was well stock and ran smoothly. Mainly he was a very nice guy who was always very helpful.

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    2. I was very worried when we moved my parents’ grandfather clock from Minnesota to our home in ND. It made the trip well and started right up like it was supposed to. We don’t have any local clock repair people out here, and, even if we did, it is kind of cumbersome to take a grandfather clock into the shop if it needs fixing. There is a lovely clock repair shop in Fargo where we have had a smaller mantle clock fixed. It was wedding present and needed an entire new works last year. I keep my fingers crossed that the grandfather clock will stay on the straight and narrow and behave itself.

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  2. interesting renee. i have just decided to start paying attention to my dreams int he last day or two. last night was about old forend who taught me the business of selling going into menards to do product research and dealing with the returns counter. dont know what it means but at least i filed it away this time. i have a tendancy to remember the dreams and let them go because they are so normal. it occured to me a while ago tha ti do this with songs to. they come to me and i enjoy them but dont file them a way so they are lost to the cvapors. i have started recording them on the phone app. i should get thos into a specific file sometime and start turning thme into ore than passing ditty memos my kids will toss along with my other collections when im not there to object.
    my moms dad wa sin bridge construction and built a road to his prperty on leach. it is 3 miles ong and the rumor is that there were indian burial grounds on the land which he ceared so he wouldnt have to deal with the athorities and be told he was not allowed to do what he was doing. 50’s ugly americans bad joo joo atthe lake. maybe thats what itas all about.
    in hong kong years ago i was in a bar and was picked up by the most beatiful woman i had ever seen. she took me away and made it apparent her was what was in my pockets not my head or soul. i was careful to guard myself until i got to the hotel safe where i put the valuables as she protested. she ended up leaving telling me she was a powerful voo doo queen and would put a hex on me. my life went in a death spiral shortly there after.. always wondered if that voodoo had a role. watch out for pretty women in hong kong is lesson number 2 learned there.
    my great grandfaterh was an american indian who valued and honored the tribal ways as much as he adapted to be in the white mans world. unusual fo rthe times. my grandmother (his daughter my moms mom) had many indain artifacts around. dolls in native outfits with beading and leather work. hanging weavings and tapestries. paintings done with the theme and subjects being native themed.
    today i have masks from indonesia and africa that were over by the piano. i was pleased to see wife has designated the piano area in the enw house as mask territory again. i like em. i am the mover she is the organizer. unfortunately a large portion of my job is to allow her to organize my ware house to put box after box to be sorted later.

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    1. Chinese voodoo? That’s kind of awesome, though more than a little unlikely. Of course, if you read the legends (and watch wuxia films), those Taoist sages had some serious mojo of their own.

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  3. I left almost all of a lifetime’s accumulation of artifacts in Saint Paul when I moved to Oregon. Some I left by choice. Others I would have kept but wasn’t able to organize my sudden departure, so they went into the estate sale.

    One of the few things i did bring is a shoulder bone from a cow on which a friend painted a portrait of my first English setter. I met Don when Spook was a puppy. Don admired him so much he painted Spook on a cow clavicle, which I guess is one of those traditional cowboy culture arts I never learned growing up in corn country. Don used to ride broncos in rodeos. After being retired from rodeos because of all his broken bones, Don made a few bucks by crafting cowboy art like hand-tooled leather belts. Spook smiles in Don’s painting, holding his point while a quail flies away. Don said he’d never in a lifetime met a dog so smart and disciplined as Spook.

    It would be foolish understatement to say the cow clavicle doesn’t fit my new life here in a valley of the Cascade Mountains. Yet I cannot bring myself to throw it out, for it so perfectly exemplifies the respect Don had for my dog. His unique gift perfectly reflects the oddness of his life and our unlikely friendship. I sure wish I could see him again and say, “Hey, podner! Thanks!”

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  4. When I lived in Japan, my Dad got really sick. It took me 36 hours from the time I made the reservation to the time I got to Texas. The flight is a 14 hour overnight. The plane was black, all the blinds shut, everyone was asleep, the only sound was plane engine whur. My Dad said in my ear- loudly- “Hey love” I could feel his breath in my ear. I woke up immediately, heart pounding. When my sisters met me at the airport I wasn`t surprised. He had told me goodbye.

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  5. I can’t think of any of my artifacts that are “worrisome.” I have plenty of artifacts, to be sure. And perhaps the three dream catchers that are hanging in my bedroom window are catching any worrisome dreams before I have them. And I have had them in the past. So it must be true that they work.

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  6. My most worrisome artifact just righted itself this summer.

    When Young Adult was very young, we lost our Irish Setter (Scarlet). It was very emotional and Child seemed to want more closure than she got from saying goodbye to Scarlet before the last trip up to the vet. It was also an extremely broke time and the cost of getting Scarlet cremated and having her specific ashes returned to us was just not do-able. So I scooped some ashes out of the fireplace into a bag; we kept them in a little box in a drawer in the dining room. I don’t think either of us ever mentioned it again.

    Fast forward to this summer when our big fluffy passed away. I asked YA if she wanted to go to the cost of getting his ashes and she said that it wasn’t necessary for that kind of money. Then she remembered Scarlet’s ashes and asked me why I had done it for Scarlet? So I told her the truth, that I thought it was what she needed at the time. She thought it was pretty smart of me to think of it and when we got home we tossed the fireplace ashes.

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  7. I tend to be rather skeptical about things I can’t explain rationally, but I recognize that dreams are definitely influenced by what’s going on in our minds whether on a conscious or subconscious level.

    I, too, have lots of artifacts, but none that I would categorize as worrisome. They are all treasures, and I’m very mindful of the hands that have created them whenever I touch or look at them.

    Some of my dearest possessions are artifacts created by friends: lots of pottery, a couple of paintings, a weaving or two, but the bulk of my treasures is pottery. These artifacts have become even more precious as their creators have passed on. One of them was Ken Olson who died thirteen years ago.

    Ken’s wife, Shirley Olsen, a very dear friend of mine, has been struggling for the past year with cancer of her jaw. She entered hospice care at the end of October, and everyone knew her death was imminent.

    Husband attends a photo salon meeting on the first Saturday of each month. When he returned from the meeting on Nov. 7th, he asked me if I had heard any news about Shirley; I told him I had not.

    I asked him why he had asked, and he said he was driving on the East River Parkway near Shirley’s home, when he suddenly had this intense feeling that she was leaving; the feeling was so intense, he looked at his watch, it was 11:47 AM. He said he couldn’t explain the feeling, it was just a strong sensation that she was gone. The following day, we learned that was exact time of Shirley’s death.

    I am rather skeptical of supernatural claims in general, but I have had several such experiences with people I know. My mother knew of the death of one of her brothers in Ireland hours before the telegram reached her in Denmark informing her that he had been killed in a motorcycle accident. She didn’t know exactly what had happened, but she was inconsolable for hours, sure in her premonition that something terrible had happened in her family. Such experiences give me pause.

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    1. some years ago I was working at a day care…in the midst of an ordinary day, I felt a coldness around my heart…at or about 2 pm. I later learned that a good friend had committed suicide in St.Paul at that time. I don’t know that it was related or how I would have felt that because of him…

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    2. I got chills when reading this, in part because of Hans’s experience but also because I knew dear Shirley Olson. Hers will be one of four memorial services with which I will be helping in the next few weeks. Hers will be on 12/5 (3400 Dupont Ave S). May she rest in peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was wondering if you knew her, Lisa, when you wrote recently about the Universalist Unitarian community you belonged to. I met Shirley in 1974, and we’ve been friends ever since. I guess I’ll be seeing you at her memorial service. It’s at 11 AM.

        Shirley was an extraordinary person, and I relish her having been a part of my life.

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  8. I share PJ’s general skepticism about finding deep significance in dreams. But as I write that, I have to acknowledge at least one event that defies ordinary explanations. I’ve written about it before, so I’ll not say much about it again. Basically, my dad had a recurring nightmare when he was a teen. A decade or so later, he was hiking in the Philippines in WW II when he realized he had entered the scene from the dream. He screamed and dove behind a rock, saving himself and his partners from a Japanese machine gun ambush.

    What do you do with a story like that? My dad didn’t mention it for forty years, and he never was comfortable talking about it.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. A week or so ago, I happened to casually think of my niece. I hadn’t spoken to her for ages, she was certainly not the last call on my phone, which in any case was locked and on a table in another room. About a minute after the thought passed through my mind, I heard the text message ding on my phone. It was from my niece saying, “I think you butt dialed me. Have a great day.” Not earth moving, but an interesting event which begs the question, “if I telepathically butt dialed her, does that make me a smart ass?”

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Such interesting stories, baboons. Son Joel used to have an occasional dream of something that would then happen in the waking world, in detail. There is a book, The Kin of Ata by Dorothy Bryant that tells of a group of people for whom the dream world is the “main event” in life, and their waking life the “filler”. Much of their waking life was built around relating their dream life to the people involved.

    Only troubling artifacts I can think of are photo albums of my moms that need to be gone through. But every time I go into a drawer or a closet, I am reminded of how many things I still carry that I no longer need. This place needs a good clearing-out.

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  11. I don’t want to get preachy here, but I have discomfort regarding the way the dominant white culture has appropriated elements of Native American religion and spirituality. A friend used to have a “dream catcher” over her bed. I never told her that made me uneasy.

    It doesn’t bother me if Native Americans choose to sell their own religious artifacts such as the popular dream catchers. But that, I think, rarely happens. I don’t think it is appropriate for other groups to market such special objects from religions they don’t feel and probably know nothing about. And most of the stuff sold that replicates Indian spirituality is not made by Native Americans and is just one more case of other cultures profiting economically by co-opting symbols of someone else’s religions.

    I doubt Crow Girl will be here after posting earlier. It occurs to me to wonder how she feels about the commercialization of pagan and other ancient religious symbols.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I made mine. If you find something helpful or spiritual in the beliefs or rituals of another culture, I don’t see a problem in adapting it for your own needs.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like your distinction between objects you make for yourself and those made in a distant sweatshop and sold in a tourist shop. But have you considered the perspective of an American Indian? Some of them, I believe, are not comfortable with having parts of their religion adopted out of context by the culture that dominated them.

        I’m not taking a stiff position here. If you or anyone else is inspired by an element of Indian culture, you honor that culture by acting on it. And still I can understand if Native Americans feel insulted when their religion is commercialized for the benefit of others.

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    2. I made one, too and hung it over my bed. This happened after a spate of flying dreams. I would awaken, exhausted in the morning. After I hung the dreamcatcher, I stayed home at night.

      I travel enough in real time.

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      1. At the school where I worked, one of our Native American teachers taught her students how to make dream catchers in her art classes. Didn’t seem to have trouble with the idea that very few of those students were Native American.

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  12. Rise and Remember your Dreams Baboons!

    Interesting topic today, Renee. Thanks so much for putting this experience in writing. What a dream that was. I do pay attention to dreams, but not so much that I obsess about them. I think they can be another source of information. Like many Baboons here, I have had some significant dreams. I spent my early childhood dreaming about Native Americans. After your comments, Renee, I wonder what that was about? In my professional world, I had to learn therapeutic dream protocol for clients with PTSD and nightmares. That has been very helpful.

    I can’t say that I have any troubling specific artifacts. I do have a set of my mother’s or grandmother’s silver plate flatware that I would love to unload somewhere because I don’t want it. My mother was extremely sentimental about “stuff,” especially either grandmothers’ stuff. When we broke up her household, she wanted us to treasure her stuff, grandma’s stuff, great grandma’s stuff, along with the many older artifacts from the ancestors on the frontier.

    This Is Too Much Stuff.

    Now that she has lost her memory of many of her things, I cleaned out the boxes and the closet holding it all, after selecting some special things of hers and all of the frontier artifacts–those I would not part with. But I parted with Grandma’s white, plastic watering can. Treasuring that was asking way too much of me. It troubled me only because I was supposed to keep all this stuff, and it felt wonderful to get rid of it all. It was a very good year for Good Will Industries.

    This seems like a great place to post George Carlin’s You Tube recording of “Stuff.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. When I was a young child, I used to have recurring nightmares. Reflecting on those dreams from an adult perspective, I’m sure they were caused by the constant fear and anxiety I lived in. The dreams had me trapped in a Salvador-Dali-like landscape: barren, frightening, completely silent, and unable to move. When years later I saw a Dali painting for the first time I could only nod in recognition; I’m guessing that he too had those dreams.

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  14. Many years ago when I was still married, I was working on my dreams with a friend who is a Jungian psychologist. One dream in particular she wanted me to think about what would happen if I had gone “over the waterfall” if my then husband hadn’t stopped me. I couldn’t say, couldn’t imagine what that was about. Sometime after that dream, my husband announced the marriage was over….she then told me that dream was my “divorce” dream. Then I got it. what my subconscious/dream world was trying to tell me.

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    1. The Canadian novelist Robertson Davies wrote a fascinating book called The Manticore, about Junian analysis using dreams. It is part of a trilogy of bokks called The Deptford Trilogy.

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  15. Actually, now that I think about it, I do have several artifacts that should worry me if I attributed to them the power intended by the creators. The Inuit of Greenland carve these wonderfully grotesque bad luck tokens from walrus tusks. The uglier and more powerful they are, the worse the luck they bring. Originally, these were sent to enemies to bring them bad luck; nowadays they’re sold as cultural artifacts. They are called tupilakker. Here’s a link to a website that has some photos of some. Scroll down to the first large picture, and you’ll see four tupilakker.
    http://www.skovsantik.dk/tupilakker.htm

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I bought them in Greenland in 1965, and while I have had some bad luck in the interim, it seems to have leveled off. By what to do with them, do you mean dispose of them? I like them too much to part with them. I also have several Inuit soap stone sculptures. I love primitive art.

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        1. I guess I meant that if you were going to dispose of them, to make sure you did it the way the Inuit do. I, too, love primitive art.

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        2. Well, the Inuit sell them, Renee. So that’s what I would do. I can’t imagine destroying them. Perhaps, I can find someone who would like to have them, and just give them away when the time comes.

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  16. Last year we visited the Pipestone National Monument and I bought a Native pipe carved out of Pipestone with a White Ash stem for husband. When our Native friends saw it, one of them said “You should have told me. I could have carved one for you for about 20 bucks.” Then he told husband detailed instructions for the care and keeping of his pipe, which involves wrapping it in a red cloth and keeping it in a very special case. It is not to be displayed, and husband is to take it with him wherever he goes. It will be formally blessed at a Sun Dance ceremony next July that our friend coordinates on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is an artifact that requires far more care and responsibility that we could ever imagined.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those pipes are sacred objects to Native Americans, many of whom object to them being sold at the gift shop at the Monument. Husband’s brother bought one on a visit many years ago, and I have no doubt it is hung on the wall for display in his den. His reasoning is, he paid good money for it, and he can do with it what he wants. My friend, Mitch Walking Elk, was aghast when I told him this.

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  17. When I was in eighth or ninth grade someone gave me a necklace made out of objects resembling claws or talons. I never knew what they were or whether they were real. They had an odd texture, like brazil nut shells. Maybe they were brazil nut shells. I think that necklace is still tucked away in a box somewhere. Hadn’t thought about it in a long time. Now it’s going to bother me.

    Liked by 3 people

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