The prophetic nature of my Puerto Rican dreams
I come from a highly superstitious family. Every body part, for example, has some superstition attached to it. Itchy palms means money is headed one’s way and ringing ears means someone is talking about you. White fingernail spots means that you will be receiving a gift soon. It gives a different meaning to listening to one’s body. Every day was an exercise in deciphering the latest omens. Every Sunday night we watched Walter Mercado’s astrology show to better understand what may be coming up ahead, as per our zodiac sign.
As such, in my house growing up, we must have had about ten books at any given time on how to interpret one’s dreams. We readily and commonly shared our latest dreams in the hopes of coming to an interpretation and prediction of what was to happen in the near future. Of course, if we had a nightmare we were to wait until the sun was out before we shared it. Bad luck would come to those that shared a nightmare when the skies were grey. Dreams were definitely a vehicle for guiding our lives. Of course, I went on to become a psychologist and my interpretations of dreams from the psychological and scientific perspective went up against my long-standing Puerto Rican traditions. Regardless of either scientific or cultural perspective, I believe in dreams. I believe they are trying to tell us something. I also know for a fact that dreams can be both spooky and prophetic.
Growing up, I oftentimes had dreams in which I was a heroine fighting off evil and saving the world. In my dreams I was a cross between Indiana Jones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One particular summer night I tossed and turned continuously. I was doing a special summer research program. It was actually my very first grant, in a way. I was staying on campus for the summer toiling away in the libraries and on the road interviewing first responders. I was looking at the economic and psychological aspects of said work. I hadn’t felt particularly productive.
I tossed and turned. It was hot and I had no air conditioning. Not that I really cared for it. Growing up my mom had always warned me against sleeping with “air” being blasted upon me as that could cause one to be ill as that entailed mixing hot and cold air elements. Looking back I realize we were just to poor to ever afford such precious cold air.
That night I had a wild dream. Again, I was fighting off evil. I was fighting off an army. They could have been demons. I was swinging my sword back and forth to and from. I ran and I ran down dark caves trying to find others who were alive. I stumbled onto a street where I find humans in need of saving. I rush up and start fighting. I am pinned down. An evil spirit floats above me and places a curse. The spirit flies away. I look about me and no one is around. I look down on my legs and under my skin there is movement. It is as if a snake is inside of me but it is very small. It slowly starts inching its way up my leg. Everywhere it went it left a mark in the form of a red circle on my leg. I see a fortune teller up ahead and I ask her to explain to me what is happening.
I am told that an evil entity has been embedded in my body and I must stop it at all costs before it reaches my heart. Should it reach my heart, I will die. I look at my sword and think of using it but I take a knife put of my boot. I start trying to jab this evil entity. I am essentially cutting and stabbing myself. It keeps inching up my body. I run trying to make my way home to tell my mother I was going to die. I run and stab. I run and stab. I run and stab. I keep fighting the demons trying to save others. I feel desperate, scared and anxious. I can’t seem to stop this evil spirit. I finally reach my home and advise everyone there, namely my mother, of my situation. Everyone tries stopping the spirit’s movement but it just keeps stealthily moving up my body. I beg for forgiveness as it looks like I will fail. I head towards the window. Outside the streets are filled with screams. I can’t help anyone. I look back, my eyes open widely and I look down. The snake had reached my heart. I scream and I awake.
I looked about my dorm room. It was dark, damp and quiet. I was alone. There was no one with whom to share my dream. Of course, since the sun was not out, I could not anyway. I, instead, read some academic papers lulling back to sleep.
I woke up in the morning with the sun shining brightly into the room. I groggily picked up my toiletries and bath case and headed out to the showers. Upon finishing, I headed back to my room. I started to pick out my clothes and then I looked down. There on my left leg was a big red circle. It looked like a snake. I was a bit freaked out. What could it be? I wanted to rush out to the doctor but the school’s medical office was closed and I had no portable health insurance. What was I to do? I wanted to be home. I was so tired of always being away. Now I had a red circle on my leg.
I never did go back home. I ended up with ringworm. Obviously, there was a need for me to take better care of myself. The meaning of that dream had many layers including psychological, historical and physical connotations and manifestations. I have never been so scared to see a mark on my leg. The physical manifestation of my dream was unnerving and to this day still reverberates within me.
Years later, I had another prophetic Indiana Jones type of dream that actually resembled one of the first crises that George Bush he had to handle upon entering office after Gore v. Bush was decided. But that story I will leave for another time.
Other thoughts on dreams