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Snakes and Centipedes

Dreamed 2008/11/1 by Russ Thornton
santafechef at hotmail dot com


I haven't had this dream before, but it felt familiar--I was unable to move, unable to help myself, like many a dream as a child where I was crossing the road or railroad tracks and, being tired as I was in reality (and thus sleeping) I felt like I could only lie there, torn between my desire for rest and my need to flee oncoming disaster. So the malaise I felt was familiar.

I lay upon the ground. Two snakes slithered about, intertwining. Then they re-enacted a scene I saw as a boy in Tucson, Arizona--two lizards had rolled about fighting before my eyes, and though I liked to catch lizards I was frightened by the blind ferocity of these two as they fought in the dust, blind to my presence mere inches away. These two snakes were fighting just as those lizards had. I could only lie there, paralyzed, unable to do anything but scoot mere inches away. I wanted to sit up at least--but the weight of the world pressed me down, watching.

My best friend in the world, Elizabeth, was there. I turned to her for help, as I am used to, though in waking life she and I just broke up.

Just as Elizabeth helped me sit up, I spied a centipede crawling from under a rock, then another. The second centipede gave credence to the first by emerging and growing larger and longer, but most strikingly they were both as white as the screen behind the letters I am typing now--brilliantly white. Their tentacle-like legs waved with reckless abandon before me. At least I wasn't lying down. Other forms of vermin began to crawl out of the soil and rocks, as the snakes still seemed to toil, but none were too clear...

...and thus ends my memory of this dream.


A couple days later I tell Elizabeth.

The next day, she tells me that a co-worker, Richard, with no prompting, told her "I dreamed about two snakes crawling out from a rock, followed by a millipede...a millipede that seemed to get larger and longer as it pulled itself from under the rock."

Elizabeth asks him "Was I in the dream?"

He says "No."

"Good," she says, "now shut up and don't tell me any more."

--Russ Thornton


Yeah, that does seem to be everyone's first reaction when blindsided like this. Shared/telepathic dreams are disturbing. "Am I crazy? Was my science teacher wrong? Are my private thoughts and dreams out there for anyone to see?"

But there it is in your face. Send my condolences to Elizabeth! It's so much fun having two psychic guys in your life, picking your brains. Braaaains...

Seriously, don't panic. Coincidence? I doubt it. But whatever these dreams are, they're way more common than you think. Usually they happen between close friends like you and Elizabeth, but occasionally with mere acquaintances too. Even close friends rarely tell or compare their dreams, so we usually don't detect shared ones! What's unusual isn't the dream, but the fact you both told it to the same person.

Three things struck me:

  1. In your dream you rely on her for support, but maybe, for this, she's the one who needs support. She's the hinge in the middle, with two guys telling her the same freaky dream! Can't be easy, especially if she thought telepathy was a superstition.
  2. Freud mentions this patient who told him a dream picking up secrets about a second patient. Seemed to be telepathic but pointless--the two had nothing in common. Freud concluded it wasn't about the other guy; it was just to get Freud's attention--"See what I can do?" So sharing the same dream doesn't prove you have any significant link with Richard; maybe he just likes Elizabeth and told her his dream to get her attention. "See what I can do?" Even if it just put her off! I wouldn't bother about Richard. But as the dream points out, you still do care about Elizabeth, deeply. Friends or lovers, you lean on her. So try to make that friendship 50/50.
  3. Your account keeps shifting back into the past. Understandable right after a breakup--I just went through one and did the same thing, in fact--but this warning bell inside me says it may be creating that weak/tired/dependent feeling in your dream. Like you can't quite focus here and now. I dunno. Suggestion: try short bursts of total focus on the present, like aerobic exercise but with your senses not your muscles. Can't hurt!
Further weirdness? Let me know...

--Chris Wayan

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