"I dreamed that my father was sitting on some rocks in an ocean tidepool with his jean pant legs rolled up. He kept pulling up and shucking oysters. Each one contained a pearl but he didn't seem to value the gem so he would throw away both the oyster shell and the pearl in it. Then, he kept working hard to find and shuck more oysters, but he would throw them all aside.
What a lovely surprise to find a pearl in an oyster! Naturally occurring pearls are rare and precious gems. They are the only gemstone formed by an animal and not earth. When a tiny irritant gets inside the shell of an oyster, the mollusk deposits nacre in layers around the invader in an attempt to wash it out much like tears. So, one might say that it is a jewel crafted out of tears which holds significance in dream symbolism.
A pearl is not like other gemstones such as diamond or ruby. What does it mean that this dreamer sees her father finding and discarding pearls? Let's take a look at the dream symbols: (Remember that these interpretations of these dream symbols are given within the context of the rest of this particular dream.)
The Dream Symbols
In a tidepool. A tidepool teems with life as the ocean ebbs and flows. A refuge for many animals, a tidepool represents a place of discovery, spirituality, emotions. What is revealed after the water recedes?
Wearing rolled up jeans pants. Who's wearing the pants in the family? Pants symbolize a role we play and usually it is a dominant one. We roll up our pant legs to keep our clothing clean when working or playing. In this dream, he wears casual pants.
Finding and shucking oysters. Seeking something hidden. Studying, researching.
Finding a pearl in each oyster.Discovering something valuable.
Tossing shell and pearl aside.Not recognizing the value of what is found.
OysterA most remarkable sea animal in that it produces a gem with its tears. Oysters have multiple meanings but within this context, they represent religious institutions.
Pearl A pearl is valuable and made from tears. This often reflects a valuable lesson that comes from sad times. Pearls can indicate anything worthwhile that is not appreciated ("Pearls before swine.")
Continuing the process, working hard. Focusing on the toil and the process of seeking.
The Dream Interpretation
The dreamer's father is seeking something in his waking life. What could it be? Sitting in a tidepool, he finds and shucks oysters but he isn't looking for food. He finds a valuable pearl in each oyster he opens, but he does not recognize their worth and ends up discarding both oyster and pearl.
Unbeknownst to the dreamer, her father is secretly concerned about religion and spirituality. He may not show it, instead projecting a casual demeanor, but he is very intent on learning which path (church, religion) is the right one. He seeks and he finds. But he does not see value in anything he has found so far, even though there are pearls everywhere.
He keeps searching.
I encourage this dreamer to open discussion with her father about her dream and his questions and concerns about his spirituality. It turns out that as her father was uninterested in religious matters until now. As he ages, his quest is taking on a more frantic pace. He wonders if there is a God and an afterlife.
He would benefit from taking more time to carefully consider what he has found thusfar as every religion has its pearls of wisdom.