Here is a pretty water-dream of a female patient, which was turned to extraordinary account in the course of treatment.
At her summer resort at the … Lake, she hurls herself into the dark water at a place where the pale moon is reflected in the water.
Dreams of this sort are parturition dreams; their interpretation is accomplished by reversing the fact reported in the manifest dream content; thus, instead of “throwing one’s self into the water,” read “coming out of the water,” that is, “being born.” The place from which one is born is recognized if one thinks of the bad sense of the French “la lune.” The pale moon thus becomes the white “bottom” (Popo), which the child soon recognizes as the place from which it came. Now what can be the meaning of the patient’s wishing to be born at her summer resort? I asked the dreamer this, and she answered without hesitation: “Hasn’t the treatment made me as though I were born again?” Thus the dream becomes an invitation to continue the cure at this summer resort, that is, to visit her there; perhaps it also contains a very bashful allusion to the wish to become a mother herself.1
Another dream of parturition, with its interpretation, I take from the work of E. Jones. “She stood at the seashore watching a small boy, who seemed to be hers, wading into the water. This he did till the water covered him, and she could only see his head bobbing up and down near the surface. The scene then changed to the crowded hall of a hotel. Her husband left her, and she ‘entered into conversation with’ a stranger.” The second half of the dream was discovered in the analysis to represent a flight from her husband, and the entering into intimate relations with a third person, behind whom was plainly indicated Mr. X.’s brother mentioned in a former dream. The first part of the dream was a fairly evident birth phantasy. In dreams as in mythology, the delivery of a child from the uterine waters is commonly presented by distortion as the entry of the child into water; among many others, the births of Adonis, Osiris, Moses, and Bacchus are well-known illustrations of this. The bobbing up and down of the head in the water at once recalled to the patient the sensation of quickening she had experienced in her only pregnancy. Thinking of the boy going into the water induced a reverie in which she saw herself taking him out of the water, carrying him into the nursery, washing him and dressing him, and installing him in her household.
The second half of the dream, therefore, represents thoughts concerning the elopement, which belonged to the first half of the underlying latent content; the first half of the dream corresponded with the second half of the latent content, the birth phantasy. Besides this inversion in order, further inversions took place in each half of the dream. In the first half the child entered the water, and then his head bobbed; in the underlying dream thoughts first the quickening occurred, and then the child left the water (a double inversion). In the second half her husband left her; in the dream thoughts she left her husband.