Branching Woman

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Poem and dream journal entry by Patricia Garfield, PhD.
Painting by Brenda Ferrimani.

Painting by Brenda Ferrimani

Dream Notes from 1973

I am with a group of professionals at a conference. We are discussing various aspects of dreaming. Several people have spoken earlier of the symbolism involved in “leaving,” referring to leaves dropping from a tree. Zal and I are seated on chairs at the front. All of us are eating. I stand up and say, “We’ve talked about ‘leaving;’ I’d like to discuss the concept of ‘branching.’ I’ve had several dreams in which there was a growth. There was a woman’s head and from it grew branches, almost like antlers, but many more and more, each subdividing until it grew very thick, dense.”
I describe more and more, feeling invested and excited. I finish and there is a slight pause as the head person, to whom I’ve mainly addressed the remarks gets up and ducks under a kind of table top in front of her to get more food. Meanwhile, Zal says to me, “You did that really well,” and kisses me on the cheek.
People get distracted with the arrival of more food. This is frustrating but I still feel good from expressing myself. They are now distributing various kinds of cake. By the time they get to the table where I am now there are only a few wedges left. I express a preference for one type but don’t think I get it. There are several pieces on one plate, some to be shared with a blonde girl next to me. I just begin to eat without waiting further; One piece of cake is rather like crushed pineapple. I eat what I want.

Poem from 2007

Invocation to

Great Matriarch! Mother of dreamy
life paths that diverge and reach
like trees into the future, please hear me.

Come, as when I first saw you shake
your shimmering limbs to reveal
the finest course tor me to take.

Full-crowned, your grand branches traced,
like antler-thoughts, the parting routes
feeling out the choices faced.

For decades I have followed where you led
while your gifts petal-showered down on me.
Now the light fades; the track grows shaded.

Hornèd Goddess, you nodded your royal head
to indicate the trail tor ancient feet to tread;
don’t leave me in confusion. Visit my dream-bed.

Blaze again, Mighty Mother! Stir your boughs.
Shake your horns. Point out the branch
to advance to fullest life that time allows.

Show me, I implore, the right way forward.


Original 1973 journal painting

Branching Woman
Dream journal brushstroke painting by Patricia Garfield, 1973


Image of original journal page

Image Within an Image  —  Painting of Patricia Garfield Drawing Her Dream