According to an online dream meaning dictionary, to dream of an earthquake means that your core belief systems are being shaken up, that one will make an “earth shaking” discovery, that you won’t feel that your foundations are secure. Which, to my mind, is stating the perfectly obvious. And given how often I dream of earthquakes, I really shouldn’t have any core belief systems left.
I’ve only ever once experienced an earthquake, when I was in Los Angeles back in the mid-1990s. It was a very minor one, probably only 1.5 on the Richter Scale. It felt like a large lorry had just gone past, but there was no lorry in sight. Most people didn’t even look up, and simply picked up the odd item that had fallen over. I only found that out because it merited a couple of lines on an inside column in the newspaper the following day.
There is an exhibit in London’s Natural History Museum which re-enacts the effects of the devastating 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. It is set up as a series of supermarket aisles with articles on the shelves; the floor is hydraulically powered to represent the earthquake. Naturally, it is carefully monitored and the health and safety of the visitors is paramount, but even so, it is a terrifying experience. I cannot imagine what it must be like to experience a major earthquake without any warning or any safeguards.
This is at the forefront of my mind at the moment, as both Alexander Humboldt and Charles Darwin experienced major earthquakes in South America. I also remember many years ago, reading an entry in an encyclopaedia about plate tectonics, the mechanism behind earthquakes, which went way above my head. The pictures were amazing, though; detailed diagrams of how the earth folds up like a piece of well-made pastry.
Maybe when I’m dreaming of earthquakes, I’m not bothering about my core beliefs at all. I’m just hankering for a spinach and ricotta pasty.