I Put A Spell On You: Melissa Daum Is Here to Learn Your Secrets & Dreams

 This space serves as a place of healing and wonder, redeeming the cast-out witches, queens and goddesses in you, the modern woman.

Dear Wondrous Advice Readers,
Thank you so much for your honest and insightful questions! I can’t wait to get to more of them. Check back every Monday to see if your submission has been selected.
And one reminder — when your submission is selected it will be posted along with my response. Please write only what you’re comfortable having made public, or note what you’d like taken out.  — Melissa

This month, NY-based “therapist for creatives” Melissa Daum, LMFT, has set up her couch for Free People. In her work, Melissa draws from ancient symbols, Greek mythology, fairy tales, and alchemy to shed light on modern-day conundrums. This realm of feminine magic and symbolism is easily overlooked, on a cultural level and in turn, within ourselves. In an effort to better identify and explain some of this magic, Melissa wants to field questions from YOU! Feel free to share with her your deepest secrets, strangest dreams, most absurd single behavior. This space serves as a place of healing and wonder, redeeming the cast-out witches, queens and goddesses in you, the modern woman.

SEND YOUR QUESTIONS/DREAMS/SECRETS to: cyotter@freepeople.com

We’ll be addressing YOUR thoughts, so please don’t be shy!

Question #3 comes from J:


So I’ve had somewhat of a recurring dream for the past few years. The exact situations are always a little different, but it always ends in the crashing of my car and waking up. In the last, I was driving down a winding, dark, foggy road. I was driving my car alone and I felt drunk or disoriented; I couldn’t focus my vision and was frustrated. I began to lose control of the car and the last thing I saw before I swerved into a ditch was a mailbox.  And then I immediately woke up. I didn’t tell anyone about the dream, but a week later my mom dreamed I was in a car accident and died, and she was arranging my funeral. She said it was so vivid that it bothered her for days.

I’ve spent the past 4 years, on and off, traveling around the world. I was just in Asia for 6 months before returning to the States this fall. I haven’t had a real job in over a year and I think it’s safe to say that I’m officially a starving artist — I paint and shoot film. 

 I’ve always chalked these dreams up to inevitably getting into a fatal car crash one day, and especially now that my mom is having them! I’ve always had a very strong intuition but I’m not exactly sure what this means.

Hope to hear your thoughts!



Dear J,

Recurring dreams can be so unsettling! I used to have an on and off recurring dream that I was drowning in a whirlpool. Then years later, the whirlpool became a tidal wave. Then eventually, years after that, I started surfing the tidal wave over top of a city and landing safely. Recurring dreams can be imagined as the psyche’s way of illustrating a task that will keep presenting itself until it’s mastered. So let’s look at what your car crash dreams could be communicating to you.

If you took Psych 101 you may remember learning about Freud’s id, ego, and superego. The id is the drive toward instincts and pleasures, the ego is conscious sense of self or “I-ness,” and the superego is the severe, punishing, “should-ing” voice. Freud wrote, “The poor ego…serves three severe masters and does what it can to bring their claims and demands into harmony with one another. These claims are always divergent and seem incompatible. No wonder the ego so often fails in its task. Its three tyrannical masters are the external world, the superego, and the id.” [1] So let’s imagine that your car crash dreams are a way of your psyche expressing that the ego is under such strain from all three areas of pressure that it can’t drive.

This might sound funny, but I actually think your car crash dreams are a good sign. Your ego/driver sounds resilient in that it keeps driving off on its own, which is also mirrored in your outer life via your traveling adventures. But maybe the demands of the outer world — like work, time, and money — are becoming more acute as you’ve returned from traveling, making it hard for you to “focus your vision.” And on top of that, maybe you feel a pressure about what you “should be doing” coming from your superego, your family, or looking around at your peers. Feeling drunk as you’re driving down a dark and windy road sounds like a drive toward id. And to crash into a mailbox? What a symbol of the mundane! Could this illustrate a collision between the id and the ordinary? A mirror of your experience of returning home from Asia?

Maybe find a therapist, or at least journal about it to start, mapping out the demands coming at you from these different internal and external forces. It sounds like you have a powerful vitality and “drive” that you’re learning how to live with. I wouldn’t worry about this being a prophetic dream about a literal car crash. Yet a part of you may have to be mourned in order for the car to stay on the road.

[1] Freud, S., & In Strachey, J. (1971). The complete introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. London: Allen & Unwin.


Melissa is a therapist in private practice in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her work is grounded in psychoanalysis and Jungian theory. For several years Melissa was a therapist at an eating disorder day hospital program in Manhattan and she continues to work with men and women struggling with eating and body image issues. Illustrations are by Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist and designer, Erica Prince. Through drawing, sculpture, installation, relational projects, functional housewares and more, Erica’s work presents opportunities for speculation and exploration of potentialities. Her works have been featured in T: New York Times Style Magazine, Vice, Artsy, NPR, Wallpaper and Canadian Art. 
Erica and Melissa were college roommates at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and have continued to collaborate, inspire, and encourage one another. From Sex and the City Psychoanalysis Club to ladies terrarium nights, experimental performance art projects, and regular dates to discuss research projects, life, love, and book ideas, Erica and Melissa are excited to collaborate with Free People to bring you this magical advice column. 
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Oh, recurring dreams are the worst!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

6 years ago

I had a dream that a white Bengal tiger was outside of the house. At first I was afraid it was going to attack us or our pets. When I looked again, their were 9 Bengal Tigers in different pale shades instead of just the one white one. Grey, light orange, white etc. They were just sitting in a line outside of the house and never moved even when children and animals ran around them. What do you interpet from this dream? Thank you

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6 years ago

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