Dream Interpretation Individuation | Dream Meanings


One of Carl Jung s most interesting areas of thought is that of individuation. In a nutshell the word refers to the processes involved in becoming a self-aware human being.

The area of our being we refer to when we say T, ‘me’ or ‘myself’ is our conscious self awareness, our sense of self, which Jung calls the ego.

The autobiography of Helen Keller has helped in understanding what may be the difference be­tween an animal and a human being with self awareness. Helen, made blind and deaf through illness before learning to speak, lived in a dark unconscious world lacking any self awareness until the age of seven, when she was taught the deaf and dumb language. At first her teacher’s fingers touch­ing hers were simply a tactile but meaningless experience. Then, perhaps because she had leamt one word prior to her illness, meaning flooded her darkness. She tells us that ‘noth­ingness was blotted out’. Through language she became a person and developed a sense of self, whereas before there had been nothing.

The journey of individuation is not only that of becoming a person, but also expanding the boundaries of what we can allow ourselves to experience as an ego. As we can see from an observation of our dreams, but mostly from an extensive exploration of their feeling content, our ego is conscious of only a small area of experience.

The fundamental life pro­cesses in one’s being may be barely felt. In many contempo­rary women the reproductive drive is talked about as some­thing which has few connections with their personality. Few people have a living, feeling contact with their early child­hood, in fact many people doubt that such can exist. Because of these factors the ego can be said to exist as an encapsulated small area of consciousness, surrounded by huge areas of ex­perience it is unaware of.

In a different degree, there exists in each of us a drive towards the growth of our personal awareness, towards greater power, greater inclusion of the areas of our being which remain unconscious.

A paradox exists here, because the urge is towards integration, yet individuation is also the process of a greater self differentiation. This is a spontaneous process, just as is the growth of a tree from a seed (the tree in dreams often represents this process of self becoming), but our personal responsibility for our process of growth is neces­sary at a certain point, to make conscious what is uncon­scious.

Because dreams are constantly expressing aspects of indi­viduation it is wonh knowing the main areas of the process. Without sticking rigidly to Jungian concepts—which see indi­viduation as occurring from mid-life onwards in a few individuals—aspects of some of the main stages are as fol­lows. Early babyhood—the emergence of self consciousness through the deeply biological, sensual and gestural levels of experience, all deeply felt; the felt responses to emerging from a non-changing world in the womb to the need to reach out for food and make other needs known. Learning how to deal with a changing environment, and otherness in terms of rela­tionship.

Childhood—learning the basics of motor, verbal and social skills, the very basics of physical and emotional indepen­dence. One faces here the finding of strength to escape the domination of mother—difficult, because one is dependent upon the parent in a very real way—and develop in the psyche a satisfying sexual connection. In dream imagery this means, for the male, an easy sexual relationship with female dream figures, and a means of dealing with male figures in competition (father); see sex in dreams.

The dream of the mystic beautiful woman precedes this, a female figure one blends with in an idealistic sense, but who is never sexual.

The conflict with father—really the internal struggle with one’s image of father as more potent than self—when re­solved becomes an acceptance of the power of one’s own manhood. Women face a slightly different situation.

The woman’s first deeply sensual and sexual love object—in a bonded parent-child relationship—was her mother. So be­neath any love she may develop for a man lies the love for a woman. Whereas a man, in sexual love which takes him deeply into his psyche, may realise he is making love to his mother, a woman in the same situation may find her father or her mother as the love object. In the unconscious motivations which lead one to choose a mate, a man is influenced by the relationship he developed with his mother, a woman is influ­enced by both mother and father in her choice. Example: ‘I went across the road to where my mother’s sister lived. I wanted to cuddle her and touch her bare breasts, but we never seemed to manage this. There were always interruptions or blocks.’ (Sid L).

At these deep levels of fantasy and desire, one has to recog­nise that the first sexual experience is—hopefully—at the mother’s breast. This can be transformed into later fantasies/ dreams/desires of penis in the mouth, or penis in the vagina, or penis as breast, mouth as vagina.

For most of us, however, growth towards maturity does not present itself in such primi­tively sexual ways, simply because we are largely unconscious of such factors. In general we face the task of building a self image out of the influences, rich or traumatic, of our experi­ence. We leam to stand, as well as we may, amidst the welter of impressions, ideas, influences and urges, which constitute our life and body. What we inherit, what we experience, and what we do with these creates who we are.

One of the major themes of individuation is the journey from attachment and dependence towards independence and involved detachment. This is an overall theme we mature in all our life. In its widest sense, it pertains to the fact that the origins of our consciousness lie in a non-differentiated state of being in which no sense of T exists. Out of this womb condi­tion we gradually develop an ego and personal choice. In fact we may swing to an extreme of egotism and materialistic feel­ings of independence from others and nature.

The observable beginnings of this move to independence are seen as our at­tempt to become independent of mother and father. But de­pendence has many faces: we may have a dependent relation­ship with husband or wife; we may depend upon our work or social status for our self confidence; our youth and good looks may be the things we depend upon for our sense of who we are, our self image. With the approach of middle and old age we will then face a crisis in which an independence from these factors is necessary for our psychological equilibnum.

The Hindu practice of becoming a sanyassin, leaving behind family, name, social standing, possessions, is one way of meeting the need for inner independence from these in order to meet old age and death in a positive manner. Most people face it in a quieter, less demonstrative way. Indeed, death might be thought of as the greatest challenge to our identifica­tion with body, family, worldly status and the external world as a means to identity. We leave this world naked except for the quality of our own being.

Meeting oneself, and self responsibility, are further themes of individuation.

The fact that our waking self is a small spot­light of awareness amidst a huge ocean of unconscious life processes creates a situation of tension, certainly a threshold or ‘iron curtain’, between the known and unknown.

If one imagines the spotlighted area of self as a place one is standing in, then individuation is the process of extending the bound­ary of awareness, or even turning the spotlight occasionally into the surrounding gloom. In this way one places together impressions of what the light had revealed of the landscape in which we stand, clues to how we got to be where we are, and how we relate to these. But one may remain, or choose to remain, largely unconscious of self.

The iron curtain may be defended with our desire not to know what really motivates us, what past hurts and angers we hide. It may be easier for us to live with an exterior God or authority than to recognise the ultimate need for self responsibility and self cultivation.

To hide from this, humanity has developed innumerable escape routes—extenonsed religious practice, making scapegoats of other minority groups or individuals, rigid belief in a political system or philosophy, search for samadhi or God as a final solution, suicide. This aspect of our matunng process shows itself as a paradox (common to maturity) of becoming more sceptical, and yet finding a deeper sense of self in its connec­tions with the cosmos. We lose God and the beliefs of humanity’s childhood, yet realise we are the God we searched for. This meeting with self, in all its deep feeling of connec­tion, its uncertainty, its vulnerable power, is not without pain and joy. Example: ‘On the railway platform milled hundreds of people, all men I think. They were all ragged, thin, dirty and unshaven. I knew I was among them. I looked up at the mountainside and there was a guard watching us. He was cruel looking, oriental, in green fatigues. On his peaked cap was a red star. He carried a machine gun. Then I looked at the men around me and I realised they were all me. Each one had my face. I was looking at myself. Then I felt fear and terror’ (Anon).

The last of the great themes of individuation is summed up in William Blake’s words ‘1 must Create a System, or be en- slav’d by another Man’s; I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.’ A function observable in dreams is that of scanning our massive life experience (even a child’s life experience has millions of bits of information) to see what it says of life and survival. Out of this we unconsciously create a working philosophy of what life means to us.

It is made up not only of what we have experienced and learnt in the gen­eral sense, but also from the hidden information in the cul­tural riches we have inherited from literature, music, art, the­atre and architecture.

The word hidden” is used because the unconscious ‘reads’ the symbolised information in these sources. It is, after all, the master of imagery in dreams. But unless we expand the boundaries of our awareness we may not know this inner philosopher.

If we do get to know it through dreams, we will be amazed by the beauty of its in­sight into everyday human life.

In connection with this there is an urge to be, and perhaps to procreate oneself in the world. Sometimes this is experi­enced as a sense of frustration—that there is more of us than we have been able to express, or to make real. While physical procreation can be seen as a physical survival urge, this drive to create in other spheres may be an urge to survive death as an identity. Dreams frequently present the idea that our sur­vival of death only comes about from what we have given of ourself to others.

A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences | Tony Crisp


Individuation | Dream Interpretation

The keywords of this dream: Individuation

Abscess

Example: ‘Was looking at my knuckle and saw that I had a nasty boil which had come away as I did the washing up and all that was left was a big hole, pink and healthy looking skin around. It felt very close to my knuckle bone.

(My lover had told me he was leaving me for good, and going back to his children. That evening, I cried most of the night.)(Hilary K). In Hilary’s case the abscess has released its pus, or painful feelings, perhaps through her prolonged crying. Ab­scess still swollen and unrelieved: emotions still repressed and may be causing psychological infection, influencing views and decisions negatively.

The emotions are, with Hilary, af­fecting her grasp’. She also uses other imaged word play in ‘near the knuckle’. Washed up shows her clearing away the influence of her ‘evening meal’ of experience.

The dream ab­scess may also represent a site of physical illness which may or may not be obvious while awake. See individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Categories Of Dreams

Gnffith, Miyago and Tago give 34 types of dream themes, from falling to being hung by the neck.

For the lay dreamer it is more useful to put dreams into much broader categories such as psychological. ESP, body, sexual, spiritual and problem solving. In researching the data for this book, some special cluster of dream themes were no­ticed.

For instance a cluster was noted in women past middle age, they dreamt of walking in a town and losing their hus­band. Description of these clusters can be seen in son and husband under family; losing teeth under body; flying; secret room under house; dead people; individuation. See also dream as meeting place; dream as spiritual guide; dream as therapist and healer; sex in dreams; ESP in dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Crossing

A change, but often with much vulnerability; an obstacle, usually of a feeling nature, to overcome. Maybe fear or uncertainty causes us to be unable to make the change, so we dream of a bridge giving way. Such changes often are to do with major life junctures, such as from youth to adulthood, prepuberty to adolescence, single to married, young to middle age. Sometimes it can be a trial or test such as initiation. Crossing a river or chasm: feelings about death. See bridge; river; road; individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Dreamer

Our current ‘self image’ is displayed by what we do in our dreams.

If we are the active and central character in our dreams, then we have a positive, confident image of our­self.

The role we place ourself in is also the one we feel at home with, or one which is habitual to us.

If we are con­stantly a victim in our dreams, we need to consider whether we are living such a role in everyday life. Dreams may help us look at our self image from a more detached viewpoint. We can look back on what we do in a dream more easily than we can on our everyday waking behaviour. This helps us under­stand our attitudes or stance, a very growth-promoting experi­ence.

It is important to understand the viewpoint of the other dream characters also; although they depict secondary views, they enlarge us through acquaintance. See identity and dreams.

What we ourself are doing in our dreams is an expression of how we see ourselves at the time of the dream, our stance or attitude to life, or what could be generalised as our self image. It typifies what aspects of our nature we identify with most strongly.

Example: My husband and I are at some sort of social club.

The people there are ex-workmates of mine and I am having a wonderful time and am very popular. My husband is enjoying my enjoyment’ (quoted from article by the author in She magazine).

The dreamer describes herself as ‘a mature 41- year old’.

The dream, and her description of it, sum up her image of herself in just a few words. She sees herself as attrac­tive, sociable, liked, happily married. She is probably good looking and healthy. But the dream carries on. She and her husband ‘are travelling down a country lane in an open horse drawn carriage.

It is very dark and is in the areas we used to live. We come to a hump-backed bridge, and as we amve at the brow of the bridge a voice says, “Fair lady, come to me.” My body is suddenly lying flat and starts to rise. I float and everything is black, warm and peaceful. Then great fear comes over me and I cry out my husband’s name over and over. I get colder and slip in and out of the blackness. I wake. Even with the light on I feel the presence of great evil. From a very positive sense of self, she has moved to a feeling which horri­fies her. How can such a confident, socially capable woman, one who has succeeded professionally as well as in her mar­riage, have such feelings? The answer probably lies in the statement of her age. At 41 she is facing the menopause and great physical change.

The image of herself she has lived with depended, or developed out of, having a firm sexually attrac­tive body, and being capable of having children. Losing what­ever it is that makes one sexually desirable must change the image others have of one, and that one has of oneself.

The hump of the bridge represents this peak of her life, from whence she will start to go downhill towards death, certainly towards retirement. So she is facing midlife crisis in which a new image of herself will need to be forged.

To define what self image is portrayed in your dreams, consider just what situation you have created for yourself in the dream, and what environment and people you are with. Example: I am a shy 16 year old and am worried about my dream. In it I am walking along the school’s main corridor. I try to cover myself with my hands as a few pei pie go by, not noticing me. Then a group of boys pass, pointing and laugh­ing at me—one boy I used to fancy.

A teacher then gives me clothes. They are too big but I wear them because I have nothing else’ (HM). Adolescence is a time of great change anyway, when a lot is developing as far as self image is con­cerned. Her nakedness shows how vulnerable she feels, and how she has a fear that other people must be able to see her developing sexuality and womanhood.

It is new to her and still embarrassing, particularly with boys she feels something for. She tries to cover up her feelings, and uses attitudes she has learnt from parents and teachers, but these are not suit­able. So we might summarise by saying that the situation she places herself in within the dream shows her present uncer­tainty and sense of needing clothes—attitudes or confidence —of her own. See identity in dreams; individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Eating

Satisfying one’s needs or hunger’. This can be any area of need, such as emotional, mental, sexual, depending on dream context. Example: I am putting four of our puppies under the grill and cooking them’ (Maureen). Although Mau­reen hasn’t eaten her puppies yet, her dream illustrates how food is used to represent emotional needs. Maureen is child­less, has a lot of mother love, planned the pregnancy of her bitch, and gets enormous satisfaction from rearing the pup­pies. She is literally hungry for the exchange of love and care she finds in dealing with her puppies.

Occasionally shows information about actual nutritional needs or physical allergies. Also, to eat is to continue involve­ment in the fundamental processes of life, a celebration of interdependence.

To not eat: shows a conflict with the physi­cal reality of one’s body and its needs, an avoidance of growth or change; an attempt to be isolated from others, reality, the whole. Avoiding cenain foods: expression of decision making in dealing with needs; food allergy. Giving food to others: giving of oneself to others, or nunuring some aspect of one­self. Eating objects or repulsive food: meeting objectionable experiences; trying to ‘stomach’ things which make you ‘sick’.

Example: 1 ran into a house and came face to face with a huge stag. I noted the open back door, whereupon he staned eating my leg. I was pushing against his horns and managed to stop him chewing me’ (Jasmine C). Being eaten : the first pan of Jasmine’s dream (not quoted) is obviously sexual. Be­ing eaten therefore suggests she is being consumed by her sexual drive. Being eaten, especially if it is the face, also shows how our identity, or our fragile sense of self, is feeling attacked by emotions or fears, other people, or internal dnves.

The classic story of Jonah illustrates this, and shows how the conscious personality needs to develop a working relationship with the unconscious. Eaten by dogs, maggots: feelings about death. See food. Sec also dog under animals; individuation. Idioms: eaten away; eat din; eat humble pie; eat like a horse; eat one’s hean out, eat one’s words; eat out of one’s hand; eat you out of house and home; what’s eating you?; proof of the pudding is in the eating; dog eat dog. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Family

From our family we leam most of the positive and negative patterns of relationship and attitudes towards living, which we carry into daily events. Father’s uncertainty in deal­ing with people, or his anxiety in meeting change, may be the roots of our own difficulties in those areas.

If our mother is unable to develop a feeling contact with us, we may lack the confidence to meet our emotions.

Our maturation as a man or woman calls us in some way to meet and integrate our childhood desire, which includes sexual desire for our parent of the opposite sex, and rivalry with, mingled with dependence on, the parent of the same sex. Even a missing parent, the mother or father who died or left, is a potent figure internally.

An absence of a father’s or mother’s love or presence can be as traumatic as any power­fully injuring event. Our parents in our dreams are the image (full of power and feeling) of the formative forces and experi­ences of our identity. They are the ground, the soil, the bloody carnage, out of which our sense of self emerged. But our iden­tity cannot gain any real independence while still dominated by these internal forces of our creation. Heraclitus said we cannot swim in the same river twice; attempting to repeat or compete with the vinues of a parent is a misapprehension of the true nature of our own personality. Sec individuation.

Family group: The whole background of experience which makes up our values and views. This background is made up of thousands of different obvious and subtle things such as social status; amount of books in the home; how parents feel about themselves; how they relate to life outside the family; whether dominant roles are encouraged; what nationality par­ents are; what unconscious social attitudes surround the fam­ily (i.e. the master and servant, or dominating employer and subservient employee, roles which typified England at the turn of the century still colour many attitudes in the UK). Simply put, it is our internal ‘family’ of urges and values; the overall feeling tone of our family life—security, domination, whatever it was, the unconscious coping patterns of the fam­ily.

Parents together in dream: our general wisdom, back­ground of information and experience from which we make important decisions or gain intuitive insights. Parents also de­pict the rules and often irrational disciplinary codes we learnt as a child which still speak to us from within, and perhaps pass on to our own children without reassessment. These in­clude everything from ‘Don’t speak with your mouth full’ to the unspoken Masturbation is unholy/

Dead parent in dream: the beginning of independence from parent; repression of the emotions they engendered in us, our emotions regarding our parent’s death; feelings about death. See dead people dreams.

Example: ‘My father was giving me and another woman some medicine. Something was being forced on us. I started to hit and punch him in the genitals and, when he was facing the other way, in the backside. I seemed to be just the right height to do this and I had a very angry feeling that I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me’ (Audrey V). Hurting, burying , killing parent: in the example Audrey’s height shows her as a child. She is releasing anger about the attitudes and situations her father forced down her throat’.

To be free of the intro­verted restraints and ready made values gathered from our parents, at some time in our growth we may kill or bury them. Although some people arc shocked by such dreams, they are healthy signs of emerging independence. Old myths of killing the chief so the tribe can have a new leader depict this pro­cess. When father or mother are dead’ in our dream, we can inherit all the power gained from whatever was positive in the relationship. Seeing parent drunk, incapable, foolish: another means of gaining independence from internalised values or stultifying drives to ‘honour’ or admire father or mother.

father

Generally positive: authority; ability in the external world; family or social conventions, how we relate to the ‘doer’ in us; physical strength and protectiveness; the will to be. Generally negative: introvened aggression; dominance by fear of other people’s authority, uncaring sexual drive; feelings of not being loved. See father under archetypes; man.

mother

Generally positive: feelings; ability in relationships; uniting spirit of family; how we relate to feelings in a relation­ship; strength to give of self and nunure; intuition. Generally negative: will based on irrational likes and dislikes; opinion generated by anxiety or jealousy; domination by emotions; lack of bonding. See Great Mother under archetypes; woman.

siblings and children

Whether brother, sister, daughter or son (see below in this entry), the most general use in our dreams is to depict an aspect of ourself. However it is almost universal to believe with great conviction that our dream is about the person in our dream.

A mother seeing a son die in her dream often goes through great anxiety because there lurks in her a sense of it being a precognitive dream. Vinually everyone at some time dreams about members of their close family dying or being killed—lots of mothers dream this, and their chil­dren live till 80. But occasionally children do die. Is the dream then precognitive, or is it coincidental?

Example: ‘I was walking along a rather dusty track carrying my younger son who would be around 10 months old and I was feeling rather tired. Suddenly I met a man who stopped to talk to me and commented I looked rather weary carrying the baby. He said, come with me and look over this wall and you will see such a sight that will gladden your hean. By standing on tiptoe I could just see over the wall and the sight I beheld took my breath away, it was so beautiful’ (Johan E). Here Johan’s son depicts the weight of responsibility she feels.

The beauty is her own resources of strength in motherhood.

Example: ‘I have just given binh to twins and they lay on the floor. We started to care for them. My mother took them to the doctor for his advice while I went to see my married sister who has two children. I met them there with the twins so that my sister could give her opinion on the babies. She had recent experience of childbirth and could tell us if the babies were good specimens’ (Miss E). Miss E has no children of her own, so she is uncertain of her own capacity to have and raise them.

The mother depicts her own mothering abilities, which seek confidence from an authority figure. Her sister is her own nearest experience of childbirth. So out of what she has leamt from observing her sister, she is assessing her own qualities.

Most often the family member depicts the qualities in our­self which we feel are part of the character of the person dreamt of. So the passionate one in the family would depict our passions; the intellectual one our own mind, the anxious one our hesitations. Use the questions in dream processing to define this. Having done this, can you observe what the dream depicts? For Miss E it would be questions regarding mother­hood.

Example: ‘My daughter told me the only positive part of my work in a helping profession was with a woman who had turned from it to religion. There followed a long and powerful interchange in which I said she had as yet no mind of her own. She was dominated by her mother’s anxiety, and the medical rationalism of her training. When she had dared to step beyond her own anxieties to integrate the lessons of her own life, then I would listen again’ (Desmond S). Desmond was divorced and struggling with his own pain and guilt about leaving his daughter while still a teenager. His daughter de­picts this conflict between his feelings and his rational self.

brother

Oneself, or the denied pan of self, meeting whatever is met in the dream; feelings of kinship; sense of rivalry, feel­ings about a brother. Woman’s dream, younger brother: out­going but vulnerable self; rivalry. Woman’s dream, older brother, authority, one’s capable outgoing self. Man’s dream, younger brother: vulnerable feelings; oneself at that age. Man’s dream, older brother: experience; authority, feelings of persecution. See boy; man. Idioms: big brother, brothers in arms; blood brother.

sister

Feeling self, or the lesser expressed pan of self; rival; feelings about a sister. Man s dream, younger sister: vulnera­ble emotions; rival for love of parents. Man’s dream, older sister: capable feeling self; feelings of persecution. Woman’s dream , younger sister: one’s experiences at that age; vulnera­ble feelings, rival for parents’ love. Woman’s dream, older sister: capable feeling self. See girl; woman. Idioms: sisters under the skin.

daughter

One’s relationship with the daughter, the daughter, or son, can represent what happens in a marnage between husband and wife.

The child is what has arisen from the bonding, however momentary, of two people. In dreams the child therefore is sometimes used to depict how the relation­ship is faring. So a sick daughter might show the feelings in the relationship being ‘ill’.

In a mother’s dream: often feelings of suppon or compan­ionship; feelings of not being alone in the area of emotional bonds; or one’s feeling area; responsibility; the ties of parent­hood; oneself at that age; one’s own urges, difficulties, hurts, which may still be operative. Also a comparison; the mother might see the daughter’s youth, opportunity, and have feelings about that. So the daughter may represent her sense of lost opportunity and youth—even envy, competition in getting the desire of a man.

In a father’s dream: one’s feeling self, the feelings or diffi­culties about the relationship with daughter; the struggles one’s own feeling self goes through to mature, how the sexual feelings are dealt with in a family—occurs especially when she starts courting; sister, parental responsibility; one’s wife when younger. Someone else’s daughter: feelings about one’s own daughter, feelings about younger women.

Example: 1 am standing outside a supermarket with heavy bags wearing my mac, though the sun is warm. My daughter and two friends are playing music and everyone stops to lis­ten. I start to wnte a song for them, but they pack up and go on a bus whilst I am still writing. I am left alone at the bus stop with my heavy burden of shopping, feeling incredibly unwanted’ (Mrs F). Such dreams of the daughter becoming independent can occur as soon as the child starts school, per­sisting until the mother finds a new attitude. See child; woman.

son

Extroverted self; desires connected with self expression; feelings connected with son; parental responsibility. Mother’s dream: one’s ambitions; potential, hopes; your marriage—see example.

Example: ‘My wife and I were walking out in the country­side. I looked around suddenly and saw my four-year-old son near a hole. He fell in and I raced back.

The hole was narrow but very deep. I could see water at the bottom but no sign of my son. I didn’t know whether I could leap down and save him or whether it was too narrow. Then somehow he was out. His heart was just beating’ (Richard H). Richard had argued with his wife in such a way he feared the stability of their marriage.

The son represents what they had created together —a child, a marriage.

The marriage survived, as his dream self-assessed it would. Death of son: a mother often kills off her son in her dreams as she sees him make moves towards independence. This can happen from the first day of school on. Example: T am on a very high bridge over an extremely wide and deep river with steep banks. My son does a double somersault over the railing, falls into the water. I think he is showing off. I am unable to save him. My son is 18 and has staned a structural engineering course at university’ (Joyce H).

The showing-off suggests Joyce feels her son is doing daring things with his life, and the relationship in its old form dies.

Father’s dream: yourself at that age; what qualities you see in your son; your own possibilities, envy of youth and oppor­tunities; nvalry. Someone else’s son: feelings about one’s own son; feelings about younger men. Dead son: see dead people dreams. Sec boy. See also man; first example in falling.

wife

Depicts how you see the relationship with your wife; your relationship with your sexuality; sexual and emotional desire and pleasure; how you relate to intimacy in body, mind and spirit; your feeling, intuitive nature; habits of relationship developed with one’s mother. Example: ‘My wife was trying to get me out of her life, and out of the house. It was as if she were attempting to push me into a feeling of tension and rejection which would make me leave’ (David P). Out of childhood experience, in which his mother repeatedly threat­ened to give him away, David was finding it difficult to com­mit himself emotionally to his wife. In the dream his wife represents these feelings, so he sees her—his anxiety and pain —pushing him to break up the marriage.

Example: I was standing with my wife at the end of the garden of the house I lived in as a child. We were looking over the fence to the rising meadow beyond. She said, “Look at that bird in the tree there.” On our right, in a small ash tree, an enormous owl perched. It was at least 4 feet high, the biggest bird I have ever seen. I recognised it in the dream as a greater hooded owl, which was not native to our country. I was so excited I ran into the house to telephone someone— zoo, police, newspapers?—to tell them about the bird. I can­not remember contacting anyone, but felt the bird was there in some way to meet me. Also it was hungry and looking at next door’s bantams. So I wondered what I could give it to eat’ (David P). This shows the positive side of David’s rela­tionship with his wife.

The garden is the boundanes which arose from his childhood. But he is growing—the garden— and looking beyond them in connection with his marnage.

The amazing bird is the deep feelings he touches because he has a mate, like any other natural creature. Out of his mating he becomes aware of drives to build a home—nest—and give himself to his mate. These are natural and are a pan of his unconscious or spiritual nature.

The bird is a hooded owl which can see in the dark—the unconscious—because David is realising things he had never seen’ before.

The bird is masked, meaning putting the ego aside, which is a necessity for touching the wider dimension of life or the unconscious.

The hunger of the bird shows an intimate detail of what David has learnt from his wife. She had been working as a waitress and bringing home pieces of chicken for him, saved from her own meal.

The spiritual side of David wants to develop this quality of selfgiving, which his wife’s love had helped him see.

Example: ‘1 have been a widower since January 1979, hav­ing married in October 1941. I continually dream I am in London where my business was. I am walking the streets with my wife and suddenly I see her ahead of me in a yellow raincoat and hat. I call her and try to catch up, but suddenly she vanishes. In spite of calling and searching I cannot find her’ (Douglas G). This is a common theme dreamt by widow­ers or widows, disappearance of spouse. Douglas has ‘lost’ his wife. His dream shows the paradox of love after death of panner. His love is still there, years after her death. He is possibly still trying to love his wife as an externally real per­son. so his feelings can make no connection.

To meet what actually remains of his wife, within himself, he would need to face his own internal grieving, emotions, and all the feelings, memories, angers and beauty which make up the living re­mains of his wife within him. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

God

Jung says that while the Catholic church admits of dreams sent by God, most theologians make little attempt to understand dreams.

God in a dream can depict several things: a set of emotions we use to deal with anxiety, i.e. our own belief that a higher power is in charge, so therefore we are all right in the world and are not responsible; a parent image from early infancy; a set of moral or philosophical beliefs one holds; self judgment; something/one we worship; a feeling of connection with hu­manity; an expression of the fundamental creative/destructive process in oneself. See the self under archetypes; religion and dreams. See also individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

I

See dreamer. See also identity and dreams; individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Identity And Dreams

To have a sense of personal existence distinct from others may be unique to human beings, and in large measure due to the learning of language. Jung and Neumann’s studies of the historical development of identity suggest, in an evolutionary sense, that having an T is still a very newly acquired function. This makes it vulnerable.

It is also noticeably something which develops during childhood and reaches different levels of maturity during adulthood. Al­though it is our central experience, it remains an enigma—a will o’ the wisp, which loses itself in dreams and sleep, yet is so dominant and sure in waking.

In dreams, our sense of self—our ego, personality or iden­tity—is depicted by our own body, or sometimes simply by the sense of our own existence as an observer. In most dreams our T goes through a series of experiences, just as we do in waking life, seeing things through our physical eyes, touching with our hands, and so on. But occasionally we watch our own body and other people as if from a detached point of bodiless awareness.

If we accept that dreams portray in im­ages our conception of self, then dreams suggest that our identity largely depends upon having a body, its gender, health, quality, the social position we are bom into, and our relationship with others. In fact we know that if a person loses their legs, becomes paralysed, loses childbearing ability or is made redundant, they face an identity crisis. But the bodiless experience of self shows the human possibility of sensing self as having separate existence from the biological processes, one’s state of health and social standing. In its most naked form, the T may be simply a sense of its own existence, without body awareness.

Dreams also show our sense of self, either in the body or naked of it, as surrounded by a community of beings and objects separate from the dreamer, and frequently with a will of their own.

If we place the dreamer in the centre of a circle and put all their dream characters, animals and objects around them; and if we transformed these objects and beings into the things they depicted, such as sexuality, thinking, will emotions, intuition, social pressure, etc., we would see what a diverse mass of influences the ego stands in the middle of. It also becomes obvious that our T sees these things as outside itself in nearly all dreams. Even its own internal urges to love or make love may be shown as external creatures with which it has a multitude of ways to relate.

If we take the word psyche to mean our sense of self, then in our dreams we often see our psyche at war with the sources of its own existence, and trying to find its way through a most extraordinary adventure—the adventure of consciousness. One of the functions of dreams can therefore be thought to be that of aiding the survival of the psyche in facing the multitude of influences in life—and even in death.

See Individuation; dreamer. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Internal Organs

Often to do with concerns over health. Could be a sense of illness in that pan of body, but mostly our anxiety about illness. Heart: emotions; pity, sympathy; likes and dislikes. Idioms: lost your heart, have a heart; have no heart; heart like stone; change one’s heart; done one’s heart good; from the bottom of one s heart (too many more to list). Brain: intellect; thinking; insight; creativity. Idioms: brain­storm; brainchild; pick someone’s brains; harebrained; scat­terbrained. Lungs: might relate to tension, feelings of being suffocated’ in a relationship or situation, as one may have been with one’s mother or home life. Often to do with smok­ing or related to such idioms as relate to breathing, such as: catch one’s breath; bated breath; hold one’s breath. Ovaries and uterus: for many women, represent their sense of validity or adequacy, just as testes do for men. See vagina within this eniry; individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Journey

How we are feeling about our life and its ups and downs, goals and destinations, challenges and opportunities, undertakings we embark on, or expenences being met. In our life we have lots of journeys, such as through schooling; mar­riage and perhaps divorce; work; parenthood; and the overall journey of life and death. See (where applicable) day and night for time of journey, car; train; boat; hill; airplane. See also individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Jung, Carl (1875-1961)

Son of a pastor, his paternal grandfather and great grandfather were physicians. He took a degree in medicine at the University of Basle, then specialised in psychiatry. In early papers he pioneered the use of word- association, and influenced research into the toxin hypothesis regarding schizophrenia. Jung’s addition to modern therapeu­tic attitudes to dream work arose out of his difference of view with Freud regarding human life. Jung felt life is a meaningful experience, with spiritual roots. His interest in alchemy, myths and legends added to the wealth of ideas he brought to his concept of the collective unconscious.

The subject of sym­bols fascinated him and he devoted more work to this than any other psychologist. He saw dream symbols, not as an attempt to veil or hide inner content, but an attempt to eluci­date and express it.

It is a way of transformation where what was formless, non-verbal and unconscious moves towards form and becoming known. In this way dreams ‘show us the unvarnished natural truth’. By giving attention to our dreams we are throwing light/upon who and what we really are—not simply who we ait/as a personality, but who we are as a phenomenon of cosmic interactions.

Jung recommended looking at a series of one’s dreams in order to develop a fuller insight into self. In this way one would see cenain themes arising again and again. Out of these we can begin to see where we are not balancing the different aspects of ourself. See abreaction; active imagination; ampli­fication; archetypes; black person; collective unconscious; compensatory theory; creativity and problem solving in dreams; dream analysis; Fromm, Erich; identity and dreams; individuation; lucidity; mandala; dream as spiritual guide; unconscious. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Transformation

Any dream in which an obvious change occurs in one of the dream figures shows transformation. Each of us go through major transformations during growth— not just physically, as when we change from a toothless baby to a walking, toothy child, but also psychologically.

Example: ‘On a hot summer day I was walking with a beautiful black woman through countryside. She stopped and told me she had a problem.

To show me she pulled down the strap of her dress. On her shoulder the black skin was peeling to reveal golden white skin underneath. She said that if she kept seeing me she would become completely white. She was going to ask advice from her mother about what to do. As we walked on two black men fought with me. They wanted to take her back to the village. I woke feeling I was winning’ (paraphrased from The Way of The Dream, Fraser Boa). Here the dreamer is relating well to his own feelings of sexuality and sensuality. However, he is beginning to see a female part­ner as a real person, not just as his sexuality paints her. Also, the reference to seeking advice from the mother suggests his ability to love is still not freed from emotional and erotic connections with his mother, and needs transforming. One often hears people, even in their 40s, saying It is difficult (developing a relationship) with that person because my mother doesn’t like them.’ The dreamer ‘fights’ the opposing drives, which want to take the man’s love back to the village, his childhood level of love—thus he moves towards becoming independent in love and life.

The transformation is towards mature love and relatedness.

For a further description of the major areas and themes of transformation, see individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Trees

The tree depicts the living structure of our inner self. Its roots show our connection with our physical body and the earth, its trunk the way we direct the energies of our being— growth, sex, thought, emotion.

The branches are the abilities, directions and many facets we develop in life—varied and yet all connected in the common life process of our being.

The tree can also symbolise new growth, stages of life and death, with its spring leaves and blossom, then the falling leaves.

The top of the tree, or the ends of the branches, are our aspirations, the growing vulnerable tip of our personal growth and spiritual realisation.

The leaves may represent our per­sonal life which may fall off the tree of life (die) but what gave it life continues to exist.

The tree is our whole life, the evolu­tionary urge which pushes us into being and growth. It de­picts the force or process which is behind all other life forms —but seen as it expresses in our personal existence.

In some old manuscripts pictures show a man lying on the ground and his penis growing into a tree, with fruits, birds, and perhaps people in its protective shade. This illustrates how one’s personal life energy can branch out from its source in the basic drives, and become creativity, fruitfulness, some- thing given to others.

The tree can also represent the spine, and the different levels of human experience—physical, sen­sual, sexual, hungers, emotions, relatedness, communication, thought, awareness.

Example: ‘I was about eight years old when I had this dream. In it I was sitting in a large garden. I believe there was a big house nearby which was our family house—not our real house. With me were other members of my family, and there was a baby boy too. Nearby was a laige tree. We climbed this tree, the baby as well, to see what was at the top.

The baby fell out of the tree. We climbed down and took the baby to a room and lay it on a bed. It seemed to be asleep and didn’t wake up. Later we went back to the room to see the baby but it had gone. In its place was a bluebird. As we looked the bluebird flew away’ (told to author on LBC radio programme).

The tree in this dream depicts the child’s sense of her life as it might develop or grow in the future. Climbing it shows her exploring what it might be like to grow up. At about eight most children unconsciously develop a philosophy which en­ables them to meet the difficulties of meeting the growth of self awareness, which includes the knowledge of death at the end of life.

The dreamer looks at this by having the baby fall out of the tree. Death is seen as the bluebird which flies away.

Example: ‘I flew low over small trees which were just com­ing into leaf. They had beautiful soft green leaves. I knew it was autumn and the leaves were only just coming out because it had been a cloudy, overcast summer. I felt the leaves would have time to mature because the sun would be out in the autumn, and the trees would not die’ (Colin C). Colin dreamt this in his early 50s, at a time when he felt frustrated by not being able to achieve a regular source of income or, more important, feel satisfied with what he had achieved in life.

The flying shows him taking an overview of his situation.

The poor summer is his feelings that the years of his life which should have been most productive had been poor—literally, the sun had not shone on his endeavours. But he feels encouraged because he senses that his personal ‘summer’ is still to come, and his many endeavours—the trees—would not prove un­productive.

A wood, collection of trees: the natural forces in one’s own being, therefore one’s connection with or awareness of the unconscious, other people’s personal growth and connection with self. Dead tree: past way of life; something which was full of life for you in the past, but is now dead; dead relative. Falling tree: sense of threat to one’s identity, loss of relative. Christmas tree, other evergreen: the eternal aspect of our tran­sitory experience. Human, animal hung on tree: personal sac­rifice; the death of some part of self so further growth can occur—death of dependence so independence can arise; the pains and struggles, the sense of crucifixion occurring in the maturing process. Oak: strength, masculinity. Flowering tree: fertility, femininity. Idioms: top of the tree; family tree; bark up the wrong tree. See death and rebirth and the self under archetypes; second example in wife under family; fifth exam­ple in flying. See also individuation. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Amulet / Talisman

Need for security, desire for magical powers, which points to regression. Unconsciously wishing for a stronger personality and individuation.

It is important what the amulet looks like and what it is to protect. Talisman in Arabian means “magic picture,” and in a dream it can also point to one’s having illusions and false hopes.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Ball / Globe

See Circle. Completeness, wholeness.

The dynamics of the psyche that bring contradictions into harmony.

The symbol of the all-encompassing “completeness of the cosmic soul.” You are on the path of individuation and able to view it from many perspectives.

The glass ball (hollow inside) is like the soap bubble. Since the Middle Ages it has been a symbol of impermanence.

A solid globe made of glass or a crystal ball is a symbol for all-knowing, or the pretense of being all-knowing.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Cube (geometric)

Being on the path of individuation. As far back as ancient Greece, geometry was considered the path to self-realization. According to Plato, the cube stands for Earth.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Garbage

Desire for cleansing.

A need to discard internal refuse that is burdensome. Similar to Abortion. Much has accumulated and must be emptied: emotional garbage and everyday garbage. Suffering because of involvement with the environment (and yourself). You are making an important discovery: it is in the “garbage” that we find the gold of meaning; in the inconspicuous and rejected lies the chance for self-knowledge. As C. G. Jung has stated, in accepting the rejected shadow, we take the first step to individuation.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Square

A symbol of wholeness. You are on the path of individuation and self-awareness. You are grounded and emotionally balanced.

The idea of being grounded was particularly emphasized by Plato, who considered the square the original symbol of Earth, since the angles of the square are an expression of permanence, in the sense of its structural shape.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Treehouse

If you dream of being in a treehouse, you are in a positive phase of self-development and becoming the person you are meant to be. You are concentrating on your own individuation.

To dream of building a treehouse represents your desire to get away from the problems of everyday life and find a sanctuary where you can feel peaceful. In this case, redecorating your room to make it more pleasant will be very benificial to you. This building dream can also foretell success in social situations.... My Dream Interpretation

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My Dream Interpretation

Air-sea Rescue

(see also Sea) (1) The sea may represent your mother.

If you need to assert your independence from your mother, therefore, the dream may mean that rescue is at hand - rescue from the possessive psychological grip of your mother. See also Mother.

(2) The sea may represent the feminine in genera]. In this case your dream may be drawing your attention to (the need for) some remedy for an imbalance in your psyche caused, for example, by insufficient assertiveness. See also Woman; and see pages 46-49 on anima / animus.

(3) The sea may be a symbol of the unconscious. In this case, the aircraft in the dream may symbolize reason rescuing you from a hitherto uncontrolled sea of emotions - uncontrolled because unrecognized and repressed.

NB To be ‘rescued from the unconscious’ means only to put an end to a situation in which vour life is being determined and shaped by forces outside vour control (a situation symbolized bv drowning). It does not mean that the unconscious is itself a negative, harmful thing. On the contrary, it is vour unconscious that is telling vou - in the dream - that something has gone wrong in your life and what you must do to put vour house in order.

(4) For Jung the first stage of the individuation process is the establishing of the person’s individual ego-identity, and this involves a struggle of consciousness to lift itself out of the all-encompassing darkness of unconscious existence. See also Drowning.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Birth

(1) If you are a woman, the birth in your dream may refer either to an unfulfilled desire for a child or - if the associated feeling is bad - to an unwanted pregnancy.’Otherwise, it will almost certainly represent some possibility of new experience (inner or outer) and new personal growth.

(2) Just possibly it is your own birth you are dreaming about.

If so, it might mean, especially if you are depressed, that you are asking why you were bom. But don’t miss the opportunity to relive your dream and note the emotions - positive or negative - associated with the birth. By ‘reliving your dream’ I mean closing your eyes and taking yourself all the way through the dream again.

‘... the act of birth is the first experience of anxiety and therefore source and model of the affect of anxiety (Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams). This idea of birth as the prototype of all anxiety, which all later feelings of anguish revive and reinforce, was developed by Otto Rank (Trauma of Birth), who singled out the birth trauma as the decisive psychological event and the ultimate origin of all neuroses. So, it may be worth asking yourself if the birth image in your dream could possibly be associated with an anxiety, either conscious or repressed. For example, it might be that such an anxiety-associated birth image is telling you to sort out some unfinished business with your mother - by which I mean what your mother symbolized for you as a child or young adolescent, as well as your real relationship with your mother as she actually is or was. (Even when dead your mother may live on in your psyche, perhaps preventing you from being your own person. In such cases some people find it helpful to ask their unconscious to let them meet their deceased mother in dreams, where they can engage in dialogue with her.)

(3) For Jung, birth, life, death and rebirth all function as symbols of aspects of what he calls the ‘individuation’ process, which is the development of the human psyche to full maturation, wholeness and harmony. In Jungian terms, therefore, birth may symbolize the beginning - actual or potential - of a new phase in your personal development.

If you feel some such intimation of a possible new phase in your life (inner or outer - though for Jung the stress is on the inner), you would be well advised to work seriously and purposefully towards its realization, even if this means giving up something: the death of something - an old negative attitude, old anxieties or guilt-feelings, for example - is nearly always a precondition of new life.

the unconscious and rise again renewed or transformed. Only thus can one grow inwardly, in wisdom and strength and wholeness (see also Sun).

Understood in this way, the birth image may still have connections with mother or mother image (as in (2) above): the ocean commonly symbolizes mother, or simply the feminine.

If you are male, the feminine symbolism may refer to either your mother or your anima, the feminine side of vour personality (for anima, see Brother / Sister, section (4)).

(5) Giving birth in a dream may symbolize the (sometimes painful) process of bringing something new into your life, fashioning a new lifestyle for yourself, achieving a greater degree of maturity, or releasing and expressing in an appropriately creative way some psychic function hitherto repressed. See also Baby, Child.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Dragon

(1) Is the dragon guarding treasure, or a cave which might contain treasure? If so, the cave probablv represents your unconscious, the treasure represents your self, and the dragon that stands between you

and vour true self represents the fearsomeness of the unconscious for one who is still afraid of what may be lurking there, (For self)

(2) For Jung, the first stage of the individuation process is the conscious ego’s heroic struggle to lift itself out of the original all-encompassing unconsciousness and to establish its control of unconscious forces. This finds symbolic representation in the legendary dragon-slayer, St George (St George = the ego; the dragon = the unconscious).

(3) The dragon may represent the devouring aspect of (your relationship with) vour mother. ‘Slaving the dragon’ may therefore mean putting an end to whatever in your attachment to your mother is detrimental to the process of finding your own psychic individuality. Once the individual has achieved liberation from the ‘dragon’, the feminine side of the man’s psyche and the masculine side of the woman’s psyche will no longer appear in threatening form, but as an indispensable companion and guide in the further stages of self- discovery.

(In some male initiation rites in which boys are given adult status, the boys withdraw from the communin’ and live in huts shaped like a dragon or crocodile. This may be seen as a symbol of a young person’s victorious struggle with the devouring mother or all-encompassing unconsciousness: descending into the unconscious realm, acknow’- ledging its powers, and transforming any negative functioning of those pow ers into positive ones.)

(4) A dragon may represent the generative pow er of (Mother) Nature; the unconscious, felt as a wromb pregnant with new possibilities of life.

(5) A winged dragon may symbolize some kind of transcendence, some passing from a ‘lower to a ‘higher’ level of personal maturin’. The fact that it is a dragon that does the flying suggests that the energy for further personal development must be looked for in your unconscious, perhaps in something you have been hitherto afraid even to look at. A winged creature may symbolize spirituality. But a winged dragon is a symbolic reminder that spiritual heights mav not be attained bv abandoning our ‘low’er’ natum, but by letting it serve us as a vehicle. For example, sexuality can be bogged down in fantasizing lust and unedifying topdog / underdog games; it can also be something that releases and activates the power of love within us, a form of self- expression in which sensuous pleasure fuses with the joy of worship; indeed, it can be an experience of the mystical oneness of all things.

(6) A dragon may be a symbol of your sexuality, particularly if it - your sexuality - frightens you. Is your fear irrational; or docs sexuality threaten to rule your life? In either case, don’t kill the ‘dragon’; if necessary, tame it.

(In China ‘chi’ is good, life-giving energy and the channels it runs along are called ‘dragon-lines’, which are said to follow the flow of underground water and underground magnetic fields.)... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Labyrinth

(1) A labyrinth is a symbol of the unconscious. Is there a frightening monster guarding something valuable at the centre of the labyrinth? You must come to terms with the frightening contents of your unconscious if you are to uncover your true self.

(2) It may be a symbol of mother. Getting out of the labyrinth means liberation from a smothering mother-attachment.

(3) Jung described the ‘individuation’ process as a ‘labyrinth’ path, meaning that progress towards self-discovery and self-fulfilment does not follow a straight line, but involves periodic returns to earlier starting-points (for individuation).... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Night

(1) Night is a common symbol of the unconscious; the ‘dark’ other side of your personality; the primitive or negative (‘evil’) aspects of yourself. See also Evil.

(2) A night journey, and especially a sea journey, may symbolize a ‘journey5 into the unconscious, or the process of individuation, or its second phase.

(3) If moonlight is in evidence, see Moon.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Spiral

(1) The symbolism of spiral movement may depend partly on its speed and partly on how it feels - good or bad. See also Anticlockwise, Clockwise.

Upward spiral movement may symbolize progress and achievement. (Dr Jacobi describes individuation as a spiral process. On individuation) However, if the speed is hectic, it may symbolize getting out of control through trying to achieve too much.

Downward spiralling may symbolize something negative: for example, sliding - or hurtling - towards destruction.

(2) A stationary spiral - staircase, candle, conch, etc. - may be a symbol of sexuality, representing either vagina or penis or of fertility, growth, well-being.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Sword

(1) The symbolism may be phallic.

(2) The sword may symbolize consciousness. In what Jung called the first stage of individuation, beginning at puberty, the conscious ego must free itself from the previously all-embracing unconsciousness, in order that the individual may fulfil his or her particular destiny. What the conscious ego has to ‘slay5 is not the unconscious as such, but its ‘devouring-mother5 aspect; and once that is done, the ego must treat the unconscious with respect and cooperate with it. (Compare folktales which depict a hero slaying a dragon with his trusty sword. The same theme appears in those myths of creation in which the creator-god wrestles with and slays the female monster in the primeval ocean and so brings order out of chaos.) See also Dragon, sections (2) and (3).... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

Bathroom

A bathroom represents the consciousness of individuation and privacy.

It is the room where we get to shut the door and be with ourselves in total intimacy.

It is also a symbol of freeing ourselves of waste and toxins. Many dreams that feature a bathroom find us searching for one. Such a dream is about searching for the freedom to be our authentic self, often with the caveat of reaching that authenticity by releasing that which no longer serves us or is detrimental if we continue to hold on, such as resentment or other poisonous thoughts.

A bathroom inside a home connects with personal issues, whereas one that is more public is revealing information about your outside interactions.

A toilet is located in a bathroom. As such, it can relate to relieving yourself of the “shit” in your life that you no longer need.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams

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Complete Dictionary of Dreams

Birth And Childhood

Whilst pregnant women often dream about giving birth in anticipation of the upcoming event, dreams of giving birth typically have very little connection with the biological process of reproduction and more to do with a sense of being reborn, of fresh beginnings, of ideas coming to fruition or a period of personal growth. This sense is mirrored in everyday language: ‘giving birth to a new idea’, which refers to a project, not a baby.

For Jung, dreams about giving birth were important because he believed they represented a stage in the process of what he called ‘individuation’, the growth of the human psyche to maturation and wholeness. Birth therefore represents the start of an important new stage in your life and psychological development. We tend to dream of birth at the beginning of a new life stage, way of life, attitude, ability or project. We also have such dreams when we need to let go of the past and come to terms with the new. Birth is symbolic of new beginnings: beginning college, starting or ending a relationship, launching a new career and moving house are all associated with birth themes in dreams. Although women from their teen years onwards tend to have birth dreams more than men, it can happen to anyone at anytime. There may often be something strange or unusual about the birth of the child. These details are important as they can symbolize what part of your life is changing and how others will receive this new development.

Jung also claimed that the symbol of the child, as with the symbol of birth, represents new beginnings and possibilities, and paves the way for future changes in your personality. A common theme in mythology is the ‘divine child’ or mystical hero or savior; for instance, the baby Jesus who saves the world from damnation. The divine child is the symbol of the true self, both vulnerable and pure, but also capable of great transforming power. In your dream, it may represent your true self urging you to explore new possibilities and reach your full potential. Therefore dreaming of a baby or child who could be yourself, one of your own children, a child you know or an unknown child, gives access to your own inner child. We all have parts of ourselves which are childlike, curious and vulnerable, and when we are able to get in touch with these parts we are reminded of our true potential for wholeness.

Although dreams of birth and childhood may appear to be simply nostalgic memories, most dream researchers believe that they have a strong bearing on your current circumstances in waking life. For example, your dream may be telling you that you have forgotten how to play or that you should take a fresher, more innocent approach to life. They may also be manifestations of an unconscious desire to escape from the responsibilities and problems of waking life. In addition, they may represent a part of you that needs reassurance and comfort, or a part of you that needs to care, to love and to begin anew. As such they can represent important psychological, spiritual and physical needs.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Crystals, Gemstones And Rocks

Many dream analysts believe that when a specific stone, jewel, mineral, metal or rock is highlighted in your dream, it represents the self or the core, unique part of yourself that is charged with personal significance.

According to Freud, rocks and stones are obvious phallic symbols on account of their hardness. The appearance of rocks, stones and metals in dreams for Jungians, however, has a different interpretation inspired by Jung’s interest in alchemy. Alchemy is the ancient art of transmuting base metals into gold but it is not just about this transformation. It can also be viewed as a system of self- initiation. Jung was amazed to find that the images and operations he encountered in old alchemy texts related strongly to his theories of psychoanalysis and the unconscious. He saw in alchemy a metaphor for the process of individuation or personal transformation, and the morphing and mutating imagery of that process which emerges from the stream of consciousness. For Jungians, therefore, the appearance of rocks, stones, metals and jewels in dreams are potent and powerful symbols of a person’s basic nature, heart and soul, and of their potential for personal transformation. See also NATURE AND THE SEASONS; PLACES.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Alchemy

According to Jung, alchemical practice is a tangible display of the process of individuation—the balancing between the conscious and unconscious sides in the individual—which aims to produce a psychic equilibrium, a point where an individual becomes whole and has realized what Jung defined as their ‘Self’. In other words, alchemy is not only about changing base metal into gold, but also about psychological change; of turning a human being’s focus from base materialism into angelic gold.

If this symbol appears in your dreams, consider what in your life is changing or needs changing. Your dreaming mind is encouraging you to change for the better.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Family

Family relationships have been studied and written about for centuries, from the brothers Cain and Abel, through Joseph the favored son, to evil stepmothers in fairy stories and Mrs Robinson in The Graduate.

Whilst whole schools of family therapy have been developed to help address the issues that emerge within a family context, it is worthwhile looking at one theory of a child’s development into an adult as it sheds much light on dreams about the family. This is Jung’s theory of the process of ‘individuation’, one of his most interesting and important theories. In short, individuation refers to the processes involved in becoming a self-aware and independent human being. The area of being to which we refer when we say ‘I’ or ‘me’ is our sense of self, which Jung calls the ego. A vital part of the process of individuation is to meet and integrate, or become independent of, your childhood patterns. This includes desire for the love of the parent of the opposite sex, rivalry mingled with dependence with the parent of the same sex, and the move away from total dependence on both parents.

An absence of a father’s or mother’s love can be especially traumatic, as parents are the soil out of which your sense of self must emerge. And even if your parents are no longer alive or you never had a relationship with them, their impact on your psyche can be just as profound. Without a doubt, parents are powerful, emotive figures in dreams but a person’s identity cannot gain any real independence while still dominated by these internal forces. Psychologically, this struggle for individuality should take place within the safety of the family unit.

Unfortunately this does not always happen and in dreams, images of family members may be manipulated so that issues and conflicts that have been unresolved during Jung’s process of individuation can be worked out.

Family dreams are so common because most of the conflicts and problems in your waking life are experienced first within a psychological environment laid down by your family. It is as if a pattern has been imprinted that will continue to appear until it is broken willingly. The way you were brought up has such a profound effect on your psychological health that any dream you have of family members will probably have a unique and highly specific meaning to you, depending on what your family means to you, your own experience of family life and other related attitudes. Because there is such variety here, you will need first to define your present relationship and feelings about the member of your family that features in the dream.

Individual family members can represent the various archetypes in your dreams. For example, the father can represent the masculine principle of authority and discipline, whilst the mother represents the feminine principle of nurturing and protection. In many instances, dreams featuring your family members can be reassuring. They may give you confidence and guidance, as well as a feeling that you are supported and loved. On the other hand, they may also highlight current or longterm problems within your family or personal relationships. Because they can replicate values, attitudes and emotional or social responses towards living that you have absorbed from your family, all future relationships outside the family are influenced in some way by the ones you first develop within your family. In times of stress, therefore, your dreams might use scenarios involving family members to try and put things right or reveal and confirm the conflict.

Bear in mind that each dream about a family member must be considered in context, and what the idea of a family means to you may not mean the same to another person. For example, Western concepts such as individuation, sibling rivalry or Freud’s Oedipus complex would make no sense in those cultures where an uncle or grandparent is considered no less significant than mothers or fathers. See also RELATIONSHIPS.... The Element Encyclopedia

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Tarot

Symbols are the language of the subconscious mind, and both Tarot and dreams speak to us in exactly the same way, in the language of symbols. Some dream experts believe it is a natural marriage to combine Tarot and dreams to at once deepen and enhance the understanding of dream symbols whilst also expanding one’s understanding of Tarot.

Jung saw all the Tarot images as being ‘descended from the archetypes of transformation’. These archetypes include several of the primary archetypes that were encountered during his own individuation process, a process of psychological maturation similar in nature to the aging of the physical body.

These include the shadow, the anima and animus, and the wise old man. The Tarot also contains symbols representing other important archetypes of transformative processes, such as the hero, the mother, the self, sacrifice and rebirth. In Jung’s analytical psychology, these archetypes comprise the major dynamic components of the unconscious that affect the human psyche in many different ways. To dream of a Tarot reading indicates your current situation and state of mind. It means that you are open to the idea of exploring your unconscious thoughts and feelings. Pay attention to what the Tarot cards revealed.

The deck of cards known as the Tarot is divided into two parts: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana (the word Arcana’ is from the Latin word for ‘secret’). The Major Arcana consists of twenty-two cards, each separately titled. These cards depict symbolic figures, such as the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess and the Empress, elements of nature such as the Star, the Moon and the Sun, and human experiences on the spiritual journey, as well as joys, hopes, fears and sorrows. The symbols are drawn from legend, and from universal symbolism and magical belief. Typically, the Major Arcana are subject to broad interpretations. In essence they are archetypes and their sequence from naught to twenty-one is believed to represent the soul’s journey to awareness, the process of becoming whole or the alchemical process of spiritual transformation. They represent the stages of a person’s individual passage through life, from non- existence, birth, love, marriage, death, spiritual ascension and back to non- existence again.

Most of the cards in the Minor Arcana represent everyday concerns, events or qualities. The Minor Arcana is a combination of four suits; each suit is comprised of cards numbered from one to ten, plus the court cards of Page, Knight, Queen and King. The four suits of the Minor Arcana are most commonly known as Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords; from these suits it can clearly be seen that the Minor Arcana is the ancestor of our modern playing cards with their corresponding suits of Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades.

Each suit of the Minor Arcana has a meaning. Traditionally the Wands represent fire, inspiration, spirituality, action, initiative, and the psyche. The Swords signify air, determination, strength, faith and conquering of fear. The Cups symbolize water, emotions, purity, and your outlook towards life and the future. Finally, the Pentacles denote finances, social influence, worldly knowledge, and your connection with nature and earth. Consider these general meanings of the Major and Minor Arcana and the four Tarot suits, as well as the individual meanings of the cards.... The Element Encyclopedia

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Stages Of Life

In his 1930 essay ‘Stages of Life’, Jung postulated four stages of life— childhood, youth, middle age and old age—based on his own clinical observations.

He viewed youth as a period of expanding consciousness, middle age as a period of questioning long-held convictions, and old age as a period of increased introspection and preoccupation with self-evaluation. According to Jung, dreams are important tools of self-discovery for you, whatever your age or life stage.

This is because in every stage of your life you will face many challenges: emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical. These challenges can trigger fascinating dreams, some of which can help you to meet those challenges and pass on to the next phase of your development.

Jung believed that what prevents people from becoming independent, fulfilled and ultimately happy is their refusal to open themselves to change or to new and unfamiliar experiences that potentially threaten their sense of self. His approach to finding balance in every stage of life was through the analysis of dreams and a process he called ‘individuation’. Dreams are a powerful tool for self-discovery and individuation is a self-analysis, a self-discovery, a way of analysing your own reactions and responses at every life stage so you can discover what truths lie underneath your conscious and egocentric personality.

In this chapter you will explore dreams that are believed to be typical of distinct life stages; some dream analysts refer to them as ‘developmental dreams’. This is because they seem particularly to reflect the typical stresses, questions and issues you may face at specific times in your life. This makes sense as you would expect the dreams you had when you were fifteen to reflect the concerns of your life as a teenager, just as you would expect the dreams you have now to have evolved into a mirror of your current situation and age group. Bear in mind, however, that how the stresses and challenges of your current life stage is represented in the dream world depends upon your personal circumstances, your sleep patterns and your ability to remember your dreams.

Bear in mind, too, that it is possible to have any one of these dreams even if you don’t fit the life-stage profile that coincides with it.

Dreams of death will also be explored in this chapter, as death is the final stage or change that comes to us all. Although dreams of death may explore your feelings about death or represent potential you may have missed or not expressed in general, dream analysts believe that such dreams represent the ending of one phase so a new one can begin. They reveal forthcoming finalities such as the end of a relationship or career and should not be interpreted literally. Because in the past we were terrified at the idea of death, it also represents upheaval, calamity and the sense that things will never be the same again. It was something that could only be endured but never be understood. Today, as our attitudes towards death have changed, death in a dream represents a challenge that cannot be avoided and which must be confronted if progress is to be made in waking life.

The message is that some approach or attitude to life needs to be changed or adjusted; if you can find the courage to make that adjustment successfully, there can be a fresh start or a new beginning.

For dreams concerning childhood, see BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD. See also LOSS AND FRUSTRATION; NIGHTMARES; SPIRITS AND GHOSTS.... The Element Encyclopedia

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Hero / Heroine

The hero or heroine is the person who has elected to undertake their own journey of exploration. They are able to consider options and decide the next move. They will overcome challenges, solve problems and, more often than not, rescue someone who is in distress. The focal point of myth, legend and fairy tale is, in most cases, the psychological growth of the hero and heroine; modern fantasies express many of the same themes as their more ancient precursors.

Whether heroes and heroines appear in modern or ancient garb, they represent the same impulses within the dreamer, such as an expression of bravery, ambition or adventure.

For example, Star Wars grips its audience not just because of its ground- breaking special effects, but because it also speaks to our unconscious mind. The themes in the film exhibit many of the same structures possessed by myths and fairy tales. Extraordinary things happen to ordinary people and tragedy is the catalyst which sets the story in motion. For example, in Star Wars, the turning point for the young Luke Skywalker is the devastation of his family home. This may reflect the circumstances of your waking life. For many people, psychological growth begins with a tragedy or change in circumstances. Allies join the hero, Luke, just as they do in classic myth, and in Jungian psychology this represents psychological energy and the wisdom of the unconscious. The fantasy adventure goes on to express a classic hero myth, giving Luke greater self-realization and psychological wholeness.

So if a hero figure appears in your dreams whether in the guise of Luke Skywalker, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, James Bond, Robin Hood or Lara Croft, they often symbolize your search or desire for psychological wholeness. These figures—if you can properly understand their appearance and intention—are all assisting in the process of individuation, helping you to find yourself.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Freud And Jung Revolution

‘Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.’
Sigmund Freud

Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1858-1939) opened the door to the scientific study of dreams with his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In a relatively prudish age, he caused general outrage with his controversial theory that dreams are wish-fulfillment fantasies that have their origins in our infantile urges, in particular our sexual desires.

Freud believed that the human mind is made up of the id, the primitive or unconscious mind; the ego, the conscious mind which regulates the id’s antisocial instincts with a self-defense mechanism, and the superego, which is the consciousness that in turn supervises and modifies the ego. According to Freud, the id is controlled by the pleasure principle (the urge to gratify its needs) and the instinct that the ego finds hardest to manage is the sexual drive first awakened in childhood. The id comes to prominence in dreams, when it expresses in symbolic language the urges repressed when we are awake. Symbols are used, because if these drives were expressed literally, the ego would be shocked into waking up. To successfully interpret a dream the symbols need to be uncovered and their true meaning discovered. The way that Freud suggested doing this was a technique called ‘free association’ or spontaneously expressing the responses that immediately spring to mind when certain words relating to the dream are put forward. The aim is to limit interference from the ego to discover the dreamer’s unconscious instincts.

Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1965), although an initial supporter of Freud’s ideas, could never fully agree with them. He felt there was far more to dreams than hidden sexual frustration and put forward the theory of the ‘collective unconscious’: a storehouse of inherited patterns of experiences and instincts common to humans and expressed in dreams in universal symbols, which he called ‘archetypes’. According to Jungian theory, the psyche is made up of the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious, and when a symbol appears in a dream, it is important to decide whether it relates to us personally or is an archetype. The way Jung suggested we do this is by a technique called ‘direct association’, i.e. concentrating only on the dream symbol when you think about the qualities associated with it.

Jung speculated that the unconscious mind projected dream symbols in an attempt to bring the conscious and unconscious mind into a state of balance he called ‘individuation’. According to his theory, the only way the unconscious mind can express itself fully is in dreams, so it will flood our dreams with symbolic messages that reflect our current progress in waking life. These messages can bring comfort and guidance, or bring repressed urges to the fore, but their aim is the same—to lead to our fulfillment. However, before we can benefit from such intuitive wisdom, we first of all need to understand the language of symbols.... Dreampedia

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