Recently a client who is an avid collector of stuffed animals shared a recurring dream that was unsettling him. In the dream, he was relaxing in his sumptuous home when a noticed that a prized stuffed otter seemed to be breathing. He tried to ignore it, but the more he ignored it, the more alive it seemed to become, until it was arching its back and stretching like a cat.
When we dream of animals we are reflecting on aspects of ourselves that are unconscious and instinctual, and that we perhaps try to keep hidden as we feel that they may be difficult to control. When we dream of a stuffed animal we are considering a part of our unconscious self that we think we have controlled and neutralised so that it no longer poses a threat to us.
However, when we dream of a stuffed animal coming to life, we feel that some instinctive behaviour that we thought we had under control is beginning to take on a life of its own again. In this case of an otter in a case, it suggests a need to be more playful and altruistic when exploring the flowing waters of feelings and emotions.
This dream of taxidermic trauma is similar to the dreams about bombs, where potential energy is available for the dreamer to positively change some aspect of their life that they are repressing, or have been forced to repress. By welcoming this instinctual energy and using it to go with the flow, my client brought a valuable aspect of himself back to life.