Years ago, a middle-aged trader (let’s name him Jim) came to see me for psychotherapy because Jim was feeling extremely lethargic. Jim said, “The spark has gone from my life.” I suggested he write down his dreams and we could discuss them during his therapy sessions.
Initially, Jim’s dreams reflected his depression. Jim dreamed he went bankrupt. This is a common dream theme in depression and it means that his money (the energy and creativity emanating from the unconscious) has disappeared. Jim needed a renewed connection to his psyche for change to happen.
Within the first two months since beginning therapy, Jim dreamed the following dream:
I’m in a boat on a lake fishing alone. I see some papers floating by and wonder why they aren’t sinking. As the papers float closer to the boat, I see that they are my bond brokerage statements. As I reach for them, they sink.
No, the dream doesn’t mean that the US Treasury bond market is going down. This dream is multi-faceted. From one angle, Jim is communing with his unconscious (the lake). He is fishing (asking the unconscious for answers to his life’s dilemma). The answer comes in the form of the sinking bond statements.
From another angle, in alchemy, water dissolves (solutio). Therefore, it means that Jim’s US Treasury bond trading days were over. Jim’s life had become as range-bound as the bonds.
Interestingly enough, Jim used to come to a cabin on the lake in the dream to analyze stocks. He did this for the first five years of his trading career (from age twenty-three). Jim would analyze and pick stocks to trade when he got back to the city. This was an extremely exciting time for Jim and he became quite successful at picking stocks.
Somewhere along the way, Jim slipped into being a stolid bond trader. Bond trading not only wasn’t his niche, but it led to his depression and his full-circle return to stock trading. Jim’s depression lifted and his zest for life returned. Jim loved picking his stock gems.