Losing Teeth and the Seeds of Change

Losing Teeth and the Seeds of Change
by Michelle Katz

I had an interesting, though common, dream this week:

I was driving in my car, on the highway, not unlike any other day, when suddenly, I felt my back left molar crack and crumble into little pieces.  In an overall panic, and concerned about swallowing them, I sought out a place to stop to manage the situation.  I pulled into a gas station, or wait station (as I called it in my dream), aptly named Love’s.  I walked through the store and out the door to the desolate area behind of the station.  Where, there on the black tar-top, I saw a shiny new basket drain, like the kind you buy for your kitchen sink, only bigger, stainless steel, clean as can be, and entirely out of place. I thought this would be a good place to spit. My two friends came beside me as I spit out the crumbled teeth from my mouth, one handing me water to rinse and spit. And as I did so, more and more teeth came out broken and crumbled, coupled with blood and tears. I cried and cried, down on my knees, watching my teeth leave me. I was asking and pleading, between my cries and spits, that there be a way to bring these to the doctor to surgically put my teeth together and back in. One friend, then mentioned the possibility of dentures.  In the moment that I immediately resisted the idea of dentures, it occurred to me how different I must look now, that half my face would be caved in slightly. I began to envision how much this has surely aged me.

Dreaming that our teeth are falling out is familiar and memorable to many. There is much meaning and interpretation that can be taken from such imagery of the psyche. When an we dream this, it is incredibly individual as much as it is collective.  Without a doubt, a dream like this is important!

Many people have ideas about interpreting teeth falling out dreams, there are few I can bare the interpretation of, but I found that backofthebrain.com did reveal some good points to consider.  Teeth are the beginning of the digestive process, the breaking down of nutrients, thus this dream may have some relevance to the beginning of a process of psychic digestion. If teeth are falling out perhaps there is a struggle in trying to integrate something.  Teeth also fall out or are absent during certain periods of life: new born babies, childhood, and elderhood. In the first and last stages, our physical abilities are limited as is our autonomy.  But in childhood, this is a stage of recognizing the end of baby teeth and the adult part of us coming into being.

Ultimately, the meaning of the dream can be found in the soul of the dreamer:

Life is busy and more often than not, I move fast.  I am the driver of my own car on the highway, moving from one place to another.  But, something seemingly out of control forces me stop. It is not coincidence that I stop at a “wait station”/gas station (a place on the road, where we have to stop moving in order to refuel to ensure we have what we need to keep moving) called Love’s.  For love is the greatest of red lights, calling out for our attention. Where I lose my teeth.  I certainly see this as statement of letting go of some youthfulness and stepping more deeply into growing up and older.  For goodness sakes, the conversation of dentures entered the scene!

It seemed like the crumbling and spitting out of teeth into the earth was endless, along with the blood and tears of my grief and loss, which can only be felt when love is also present.  My plea to be youthful again, to have the teeth put back in was unrealistic and sweetly naïve.  A plea to be taken care of, shielded from some necessary truth.  Something essential is changing in me at this time and the grief and loss is immensely heartbreaking.

To spit the teeth into a drain in the ground is a bit unusual. It was clear they were not easily being discarded, like the blood and tears that went through the drain and into the earth. I recall the story of Cadmus, who sowed the seeds of a dragon he slayed, and the sprung into soldiers that would eventually help him build a city. This is the collective myth that informed the individual journey.  As I lose something essential, I can plant it into the earth, and from that earth, something greater will grow, and that is what I wish to hold onto in this great time of change.  I am sad, for I have lost something important and grand in the Love station.  I weep and weep and bleed great distress. When the tears have stopped, I saw those teeth in the earth, well held, all as a testament of my growing up and older. May the lessons, once a part of me, never be discarded completely.  May the letting go help me grow into who I am meant to be and may the remains be sown and cultivate the beginnings of building whatever I am meant to build in this life.  This is the story, dream and gift of a rite-of-passage.

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