My Psychic 3-D Tattoo

A month or so ago, in a dream, I looked down at the inner side of my right forearm, which was resting palm-up. Just below the elbow crease, I saw a hole, perhaps an inch across, surrounded by a curious encrustation.

The whole thing resembled a rotted-out tree stump, with the above-ground roots flaring out a short distance onto my inner forearm from the raised collar that surrounded the hole. It was built of gray, very slightly glistening beads, or cells, each about the size of a cooked grain of plump rice. Especially in the raised collar area, the beads were tidily arranged end-to-end in circles that abutted one another to surround the hole.

I don’t remember what preceded my having this image in my dream or what followed, although probably what followed was that I woke up. During the moment of the image, or as I was waking, I didn’t feel fear or revulsion; I recall just being puzzled that there could be a hole in my arm without there being any blood and without my seeing any muscle or bone. The hole was simply dark and empty.

In the days that followed, I pondered this striking image, trying to figure out what it meant. Perhaps it was a message from my body that I had some sort of cancer. I spent time on my cell phone looking for images that were like the collar or at least like the beads of the collar. I found a picture of a skin cancer made up of a lot of little lumps, but they were not arranged in an orderly manner. I was more drawn to a magnified photo of scale bugs, which were about the right shape and had a similar organic glistening quality, but scale bugs paste themselves on plants to feed, not on people.

Last Sunday I attended a day-long, Zen-style meditation retreat. Early on—I think during the silent, single-file walking that followed the first silent sitting session—I found myself obsessing over the collared hole in my right forearm. I decided that I was just going to accept that it was part of me and stop worrying about it. Which worked; I was able to let the image go. From time to time during the day, I would become aware of that area of my right forearm, and I would mentally pat it fondly. It was OK.

Yes, well, it made sense at the time.

Since then, I have thought of that area occasionally, still with the sense that whatever it is, it is part of me, but not a problem. At one point, it occurred to me that I might have visualized an acupuncture point. I checked out the forearm of my acupuncture doll: My image sits at about Lung 5. So I looked up Lung 5 online and in one of my books, but nothing that was said about it or why it might be needled particularly resonated with me.

Later this morning, I will have an acupuncture session and will ask my acupuncturist to assess my right arm, and then will tell her about the image from my dream. I will be interested to know what she thinks.

Meanwhile, I feel good about getting these words out of head and down on “paper,” as I had come to feel the need to do.

It seems I have a psychic, 3-D tattoo. Children sometimes have imaginary friends. I have an imaginary 3-D tattoo….

PS: My acupuncturist didn’t think there was anything energetically unusual about my right forearm. Damn.


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4 responses to “My Psychic 3-D Tattoo

  1. karlthunemann

    Dear Barbara –

    I think your dream is riveting. And so I must pass along to you two of the maxims in the dream kit set forth by Jeremy Taylor, the great itinerant UU minister and dream guru: * All dreams come in the interest of health and wholeness * No dream comes to tell us what we already know. If you trust your primary care doctor, I think it would be a good idea to ask her to check out your arm and consider whether any tests are indicated. Of course, the wisdom of this path might depend on the doctor’s recognizing the importance of dreams and their relation to health.

    I looked online and found no definitive ideas about your dream, but my search may not be the best. The most interesting link I found was this:

    Besides offering an interesting discussion, it also provides some interesting resources. Kelly Bulkeley might be good. I would never take a dream to Robert Moss. He strikes me as reckless and self-righteous.

    If you like, I would be happy to work on this dream with you. I’m no guru, of course, but it might be useful. It could be that some fairly obvious links could be suggested. Are you over-using your right arm? Are you functioning as the Board’s right arm?

    For the main part, I think it would be a mistake to ignore this dream until it fades away.

    Please let me know what you decide to do, if anything.


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Hi, Karl — I don’t think I will ignore this dream. My feeling at this moment is that it may have combined some elements from my life, as my dreams often do. Another reader suggested that I might think of the image of the collared hole as a portal to within. This fit for me because in my present meditation life, I am letting my awareness rest at my dantian, with the thought that my awareness might thereby touch into emptiness. My teacher locates the dantian within the body between the navel and the mingmen on the spine, and recommends that one take one’s awareness in through the navel to the dantian. So the navel is not only visually a collared hole — I have an “innie” — but it is also a portal, and the dantian is a portal as well…..

  2. Your approach of first investigating any possible medical implications seems wise and prudent. However, once those concerns are satisfied, I would suggest a more shamanic approach. Things seen in dreams and journeys usually are metaphors or allegories; bugs tend to represent things in our psyches which are sort of on auto-pilot, living their prosaic little lives fairly oblivious to our more conscious activities. They aren’t necessarily anything bad (and yours seem pretty benign) — they are just things we have to accommodate. Another possibility is that the image may be an invitation to journey inward, a portal through which to climb *into* yourself — there may be a whole universe inside that little hole.

    • Thank you! This is helpful. I should say that the beads, or cells, weren’t bugs in my dream — I just found that image of scale bugs online that were the right shape and also filled all available space. But the notion of the image as “an invitation to journey inward, a portal through which to climb into yourself” and the thought that “there may be a whole universe inside that little hole” really resonated with me. Currently my meditation practice is to do some qigong to build energy in the lower dantian, which my teacher says is located within the body between the navel and the mingmen on the spine, and then, while sitting, to rest my awareness on the dantian. I think the idea is that eventually the mind/awareness touches into emptiness. So in a way, the dantian is a portal. And also, the navel is a portal. When I was sitting this morning, it occurred to me that perhaps the “3-D tattoo” at my elbow might work on my navel. I moved it there, although it was difficult because I am not really sure in my mind’s eye where my navel is; it sort of moves around, depending on how I am sitting and how my tummy fat is arranged. But it was interesting, and I might do it again. I’d like to say that I attained emptiness, but in truth, after not long enough a while, I began writing a speech in my head about an issue affecting the over-55 housing co-op where I live. Sigh….

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