Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Symbolic Goat


I woke up this morning (or so I thought), suddenly realizing that I had no idea what to feed the goat I had tied to the rail out on my balcony. Somewhere at the back of my head I seemed to remember being told that goats will eat anything. But do they really? And what on earth had I been thinking, buying that goat in the first place??

Then, slowly, it began to dawn on me that I might not be quite awake yet after all; and by the time I finally was, there was of course (to my great relief) no goat waiting on the balcony; and the only one I had to feed was myself. (Which was not a problem.)

I lead quite an interesting life at nights, sometimes!

I’ve also often (through the years) found it worth while having a go at trying to figure out why I dreamt as I did. I can’t say I bother about it every time, so of course most dreams just fade away without leaving lasting memories. This one was of the kind that kept on bugging me, though – like it wanted to be interpreted. Why on earth a goat?? I’m not even much of a pet person; and I’ve never taken any special interest in goats…

But then, while I was washing up the dishes after breakfast, I did suddenly become aware of the other “links in the chain” that must have led to the goat appearing in my dream… 

Yesterday, I received a thank you card from a friend who turned 70 about a month ago. At the time, I could not think of any sensible gift to send - nor anything properly whimsical and personal. So instead, I ended up visiting one of those charity websites through which you can send symbolical gifts, which in reality go to a charity project in some other part of the world. For example a goat to a poor family in Africa.

The site offered other options than goats as well, though – so I did not actually buy a goat; but chose to give my friend (who used to be a teacher) “a school year” instead.

But I do think that’s probably how the goat found its way through my labyrinth of dreams this morning (because I was reminded of it all when I received the thank you note).

Purely for fun, and already having written the major part of this blog post, I decided to also look up ‘goat’ in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Dreams (first published in 1909):

“To dream of goats wandering around a farm, is significant of seasonable weather and a fine yield of crops. To see them otherwise, denotes cautious dealings and a steady increase of wealth.”  

Surely “otherwise” must include balconies? Anyway I think I’ll go with that. Caution and a steady increase of wealth suits me fine!

(There were a few other suggestions as well, but as I was neither butted by the goat nor rode upon it nor milked it, I’ll skip those!)

The photo is my own, from a visit to the zoo a couple of years ago.


  1. As we have discussed on many occasions I dream al lot but rarely even think about trying to work out their significance. In fact except when I have a night mare or a night stallion I rarely even give them a second thought. The problem with night stallions is that they often just won't go away.

    1. As you say, Graham, we have discussed the topic before :) In my own personal experience, the ones that just gallop away into the sunrise and disappear rarely cause much trouble. It's the ones that linger or keep returning that may need confronting. But sometimes I just get curious!

  2. I like to work back through things too to try and figure out where my dreams come from. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes I still sit and scratch my head.

    1. Same here, Janet. There have been periods in my life when I have put more effort into understanding my dreams and felt rewarded with better understanding of myself. But there are other times when one has to let it go :)

  3. Most of the time, I know quite well what a certain dream or an element in a dream means, i.e. why I dreamt it and what it "tells" me. Not on a mystical level, just mere kitchentable psychology and knowing myself rather well (I think!).
    Your explanation of the goat dream is reasonable, and I am not at all surprised that you were relieved to realize it was only a dream and there wasn't really a goat waiting for food on your balcony :-D

    1. Meike, I do believe that the keys to our own dreams are to be found within ourselves. One may learn about symbolism in general through books, but one still always has to decide for oneself if an interpretation suggested by someone else (whether in a book or over the kitchen table) really applies to one's own thoughts and feelings.

  4. Additional comment: - As for the Dictionary of Dreams, I see that just as a mirror of ideas that were popular in its own time. It's just fun to look things up there sometimes. In this case, it actually also did add a bit to my thoughts... because the whole idea of giving away a goat to people in poor circumstances (in some parts of the world) IS to provide them with a possibility to "a steady increase in wealth"!


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