What is a Dreamplace?
A dreamplace is what I call a place that I return to again and again in my dreams. Last night, I dreamt once again of what I’ve come to think of as “The Chateau.” This isn’t the first dreamplace I’ve had. When I was younger, it was a toy store full of action figures that never existed but I wished existed.
And I’d wake up sad once I realized I did not, in fact, come home with an armful of them. Later, it was a house with overly complex interiors. Then an amusement park that was flooded with a few inches of water, so that everything was reflected in it.
The Chateau, however, has lasted longer than any of them. I don’t often remember my dreams. Usually, if I do, the dreams have turned apocalyptic. That’s a reoccuring theme to my dreams. The other dreams I remember usually happen in The Chateau. Last night’s dream combined both The Chateau and sub-apocalyptic goings-on! So, you know, two for one!
First, to describe the dreamplace. The Chateau is a very, very large house. It’s old, but it’s been converted into a hotel/hostel that has a vast modern shopping center on its ground floor. It also has, in some way I’ve never seen, an airport. It’s situated on a mountain, next to a mountain lake, in some other country. It’s sometimes snowy, but not always. The landscape, I would say, is vaguely Norwegian? It’s surrounded by a rustic village that is dangerous to visitors. The townspeople, it seem, do not care for the vacationing people from the Chateau.
The dreams I have here are usually pretty benign, but often confounding. I’ve had difficulties with a roommate while staying there. There is, it must be said, an open shower room usually full of naked showering men where things turn sexual. But, more often than not, I’m just trying to get around the shopping mall. It’s a maze, and usually has some way of getting between floors that’s irritating. Stairs that end nowhere. Or that you have to jump across from one platform to another for some stupid reason.
I seem to remember tube slides were involved at least once. There is a Toys ‘R Us in the shopping center, a callback to that childhood toy store, I suppose? I often try to find it, because I know there are fun and interesting things in it, but I have rarely found it. The one time I did find it, I couldn’t find the action figure aisle.
One time, I ventured out into the village, even though I knew it was dangerous. But it was really lovely and quaint, with all these shops that you’d think visitors would want to go to. And there was a pub. But I remember being really afraid because there was this feeling of dread just being out into it.
In last night’s dream, it was much like any other dream in The Chateau. I was trying to find a bookstore, but found a couple bookstands in the mall. I found some interesting books, blah, blah, blah. But, then it all took a turn. My time there was nearing an end, and I had to get to the airport. Like pretty much everywhere in this place, the airport is difficult to find and get to. In a previous dream, I was trying to get to the airport and ended up in a large theater where they were putting on a play. Thankfully, I was far enough away from my theater days that I didn’t end up in the old “actor’s nightmare” scenario where I was meant to be acting. But, I digress.
I had come out of The Chateau and found my way to the airport, which meant climbing up a winding wooden staircase full of people. That’s when a blizzard hit, followed shortly by an avalanche! The warnings went out. The avalanche was coming, and the Chateau would be destroyed.
Everyone was desperate to get up to the airport to escape, and everyone on the stair really couldn’t get back down again even if they wanted to as it was packed with people. Then people started to freeze, because they’d been out there so long. Until, finally, the avalanche came, crushing down. I was pushing the wooden rail of the stair away from me, trying not to be crushed as part of a mountain (and a chateau!) came down on me.
So, one of the less pleasant visits. But certainly a memorable one. But, I’ve always wondered – does everyone have places like this they visit again and again? Is there some weight to the fact that my mind keeps going back to this same place? It’s interesting, as I wrote about it, how I can see echoes of past “dreamplaces” in my current dream. As if it’s all become one large combined place. This will take further reflection. I often assumed dreams were kind of like your mind on shuffle. But modern neuroscience seems to suggest it is a cognitive function. A way of your mind processing input. Which, I think, makes more sense with my experience, especially coming back to the same “place,” even if that place doesn’t really have any defined look or borders. It always “feels” the same.
I’d love to hear what dreamplaces other people have, or if they have them at all. Whether in the comments here, or wherever you first saw this blog posted.