You could try to interpret your dreams to gain self-knowledge. You could look to your dreams for clues about the future. You might ignore your dreams as complete tripe. Or you could, especially if you were Neapolitan, use them to win the lottery. And in order to do this, you would consult the “Neapolitan Smorfia.”
I will never forget walking down the street in Milan with my soon-to-be husband and seeing the following poster affixed to the window of our neighborhood tabaccaio.
“What is that?” I asked, intrigued by the grid of tiny little illustrations paired with numbers from 1 to 90. He went on to explain to me that it was the Neapolitan system for interpreting dreams with the specific objective of choosing winning lottery numbers. I studied them, amazed and amused, greatly amused.
For the patriotic Italian dreamer, 1 (one) might be a number you choose on your lottery ticket. For those who dream of rat infestations, 11 would be important. And for those who dream in living color about the private parts of women, 6 would be your lucky number. But don’t stop there. If you translate the Neapolitan description for the number 6—and this had me in gales of laughter there on the street—you are not dreaming about [your choice of phrase here]. You are dreaming about chella ca garda ‘nterra in Neapolitan, or “The thing that looks at the ground.” Yes, ladies, you heard that right. Our genitalia look at the ground.
I, for example, dream often about my teeth. Specifically, and unfortunately, that they are ALL falling out. Why on earth, therefore, have I never consulted the Neapolitan smorfia? If I go to this handy site, I can use this repetitive and unsettling dream to earn my fortune! I enter the Italian word for teeth, “denti,” and hit send (“invia”). I am then confronted with several possible images of teeth in dreams, and in some cases what they might symbolize: teeth that grow out of your gums (from a small transaction, you stand to gain a windfall), teeth that are being cleaned (it’s necessary every now and then to rein in your altruism), fake teeth, teeth that need drilling, etc. And there, in the middle, what I am looking for: “Denti che cadono,” teeth falling out, which symbolizes a possible death in the family (egads!) or the loss of money or precious objects. Hmmm. That all sounds dire. But it is represented by the number 18! So all I have to do is rush to buy a lottery ticket and lay my faith in the number 18. I’ll win big, and whatever precious objects I’m about to lose will be compensated for by my enormous lottery winnings.
Thus is the Neapolitan way. Or as Spock said, who was surely half-Neapolitan: Live long, pay attention to your dreams, and prosper!