Haven't found what you're looking for
Erotic Dreaming: When a Lover Transforms

Erotic Dreaming: When a Lover Transforms

Welcome to Erotic Dreaming, a monthly column in which writer, editor, artist, and dreamer, Manisha Anjali, engages with our readers sex dreams.
By Manisha Anjali

"Hello. I have a question about a dream I had recently. I’m a woman in my mid-thirties. I’ve been with my partner since I was 21. I’m not someone who is overly sexual, or who usually has sexual dreams. So this dream I recently had has me shook.

I was in a palace, that looked like Versailles. I was there with my partner. I’m not quite sure what we were doing. Sort of aimlessly walking around the place. As time went on, my partner slowly morphed into Marie Antoinette; the Kirsten Dunst/Sofia Coppola version. It wasn’t a sudden change, it happened gradually throughout the dream.

My interaction with her became sexual. We were lying on a chaise in her parlour. I was being fanned with a feather while she went down on me. I woke up feeling shaken and randy. I’m unsure how to make sense of what happened. All I know is that I liked it and I’m now confused. "

Once, somebody I admired came to me in a dream. We were listening to Mazzy Star in a timber hut in the woods, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. It was very Lynchian ⸺ shadowy and disorienting, with a cool soundtrack. So naturally, something felt off. I asked, who are you? The man’s face changed into a face I had never seen before. Sheepishly, he confessed, I took the face of somebody you knew so that you would love me. He said he lives in the dream realm and that he has been trapped here for thousands of years. He confirmed that it is a fact, that people do live in the dream realm, interacting with dreamers, putting on immersive performances, regularly taking on the faces of people we know for their own amusement.  We talked for one thousand years, about life and death and the ways that beings move through dimensions to experience one another. My eyes filled with tears, and I told the stranger that I could love him. We might have lived happily ever after in that Lynchian dimension, but I was to wake in this reality, having obtained new perceptions of time, performance and transmutations.

In folk stories, mythology and fairy tales, transformations, be they metamorphosis or outright shapeshifting, occur by way of divine intervention, magic, demonic possession, or innate ability. Since the birth of storytelling, gods, animals and humans have been changing form for seduction, deception, escape from danger, punishment and reward.

When I read this dream, I am reminded of gods and semi-divine beings who shapeshift to seduce humans. The Ichchadhari naags and naagins of Hindu mythology are cobras who after one hundred years of atonement, are blessed with the ability to transform into any living creature. In popular culture, naagins of this genus take the form of attractive women to seduce and kill men.  Some of the most explicit transmutations are found in Greek mythology, the most famous example being Zeus, who deceives and rapes mortals by changing into a satyr, a bull, an ant, a swan and even rain made of gold. Male selkies, of the seal folk mythology of Scotland, are known to change into irresistible men, who seduce lonely wives of fishermen who wait for their lovers to return from sea.  And there are of course, all the frogs who metamorphose into handsome princes once kissed by the princess.

'Lida and the Swan' by Fernando Botero. Image by Jesse Hunniford for MONA.

When our familiar lover changes into someone else, we may wake and ask ourselves, will I love my lover if they had another face? Will I love them as another, if they had another face?

Let’s have a closer look at the symbolism in the dream. The palace in Versailles, the parlour,  being fanned with a feather while engaging in a sexual act and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette are all symbols of aristocracy, wealth and class. Marie Antoinette represents extravagance, haute couture and fine art. The fact that the partner gradually changes into Marie Antoinette allows the dreamer to be eased into opulence. When the familiar changes form in a dream, it signifies that this reality already exists within you ⸺ the pleasure you desire is already present ⸺ at least on the quantum level.

Ask yourself, in what ways can I increase my sense of enjoyment in the material world? What forms of escape from the mundane can be realistically actioned? This can be as simple as performing the dream with your partner ⸺ take turns fanning each other, feed each other grapes, immerse yourselves in physical pleasure, forget about the real world for a moment. To enjoy as Marie Antoinette did ⸺ without guilt.

However, the Marie Antoinette figure does come with caution. Her excesses, amongst other things, made her unpopular. She was beheaded during the French Revolution. And with the recent death of a monarch, society is once again considering the abolition of the ruling class. But there are gifts that can be borrowed from Marie Antoinette that can enhance the life of the dreamer.

I would not perceive a dream like this to signify being unfaithful or even having the wandering eye. It reads to me like there is a delight to be had in the earthy realm ⸺ within reason, and with care.

Or perhaps, we could draw from the wisdoms delivered by the shapeshifting man in my Lynchian dream – that perhaps, this Marie Antoinette is a dream-world inhabitant who took the face of someone you knew, so that you could love her. Perhaps she is, like our selkies and naagins, a semi-divine being  who regularly changes form to seduce dreamers. However you choose to interpret this encounter, my advice is to think about it while on a romantic holiday, or devouring an extra piece of cake, or immersing oneself in a rose petal bath ⸺ however it may be that you define indulgence.

Manisha Anjali

– Writer, Editor, and Artist

Manisha Anjali is a writer, editor and artist. Manisha is the founder of Neptune, a research and documentation platform for dreams, visions and hallucinations.