A clear illustration will help enlighten by example
A chain on my left leg prevented me from going very far. I look down the road and see my mum, dad and my four brothers in the back of a car. I wave and call and they drive right past me, going over the chain I am wearing on my leg’ (Lorraine). Lorraine’s dream illustrates not only her feelings of being left out of family life, but also the chain on her leg shows her not fully independent. We often feel abandoned’ while we are trying to become more independent. Being abandoned in the sense of allowing sexual and emotional liberty: finding a new freedom, dropping usual social codes and unashamedly expressing ourselves. Also: it can be an example of one of the functions of dreams, which is to release held back sexuality and emotion. See alone; functions of dreaming; hero. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If you are the one deserting others in your dream, this illustrates your being overpowered by your own conflicts and struggles.... Dream Symbols and Analysis
When we are an inactive observer in our dream, are all the time on the receiving end of dream action, or as in the example make no effon to move from discomfort, we are in a passive role.
If this occurs frequently in our dreams, we are probably passive in our waking life. This can gradually be changed by such techniques as active imagination. It is our own emotions, fears and sexuality we are meeting in our dreams, so it is wise to take charge of our being rather than be a victim.
The following dream illustrates an active dreamer: ‘As I walked toward a house a number of demons or devils came at me menacingly, trying to stop me getting near the house. Although they made all the ghostly noises, I wasn’t at all afraid of them. I felt they were a damned nuisance, and to show them I meant business I grabbed one and with my right hand I gripped its flesh and squeezed. It started to squeak in pain and I squeezed harder’ (Clive J). ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The influence these archetypes have upon our conscious self is varied. Panly they are supportive, as instincts are to an animal.
Some ancient cultures erected a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Many of these gods were expressions of archetypal themes, such as death, rebirth and womanhood.
A sheepdog has in itself, unconsciously, a propensity to herd animals under direction. Through the worship of gods, perhaps ancient people touched similar reservoirs of strength and healing. Without such, the individual might find it mcre difficult to face the fact that death waits at the end of their life, or to allow sexuality to emerge into their life at pube ty.
The dream of a girl suffering from anorexia shows her cutting off her own breasts with scissors. Here her developing sexual traits and urges are unacceptable to her. Perhaps she ‘cuts them off’ by not eating, thus preventing her body and psyche from maturing. In the past it would have been recommended that she give offerings to a goddess, thus aligning her with an unconscious power to adapt and mature.
Some of these archetypal patterns of behaviour, such as territorialism and group identity, are only too obviously behind much that occurs in war, and their influence needs to be brought more fully into awareness. But we must be careful in accepting Jung s descnption of the archetypes. In more recent years, through the tremendously amplified access to the unconscious made possible in psychiatry through such drugs as LSD, a lot more information about unconscious imagery has been made available. It is possible thai certain synthesising aspects of the mind produce images to represent huge areas of collected experience, i.e. the Mystic Mother or Madonna representing our collected experience of our mother.
Whatever may be the explanation of these archetypal themes, they are imponant because they illustrate how we as individuals, and as human beings collectively, have been able to develop^ur sense of conscious identity amidst enormous forces of unconsciousness, collectivity and external stresses. Below are some common archetypal symbols and their associated images. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
A single crystal: The core of self, our identity and existence. Look at how the crystal appears for more interpretive value. Is it clear, multifaceted, cloudy?
Clear vision, discernment, or foresight. Smooth crystal surfaces were used for scrying throughout history, in numerous cultures including that of Medieval Europe
and Victorian America. Watch and see if any symbols or images form in the sphere, and use those as a starting point for interpretation (see Divination).
As with gems, each crystal has different interpretive value and represents various omens. Agate, for example, portends positive business ventures, while amethyst reveals contentment with your work. Conversely, dreaming of losing an amethyst signals the loss of love or self-control. Here is a brief list of other common crystals and their interpretations. Note that many meanings correlate to the crystal’s color:
Beryl: harmonious relationships Lapis: psychic awareness
Bloodstone: wish fulfillment Lodestone: enticement Camelian: luck and safety Malachite: peaceful rest Garnet: faithfulness Onyx: discord Hematite: charm and grace Opal: change, bad luck Jet: sadness and mourning Quartz: energy, strength
What happens to the crystal in the dream will alter the interpretation.
To illustrate, having a bloodstone shatter probably indicates that you feel as if your hopes have been dashed, whereas receiving the gift of a lapis might indicate an openness to develop your latent psychic abilities.... The Language of Dreams
To hear of any friend or relative being dead, you will soon have bad news from some of them. Dreams relating to death or dying, unless they are due to spiritual causes, are misleading and very confusing to the novice in dream lore when he attempts to interpret them.
A man who thinks intensely fills his aura with thought or subjective images active with the passions that gave them birth; by thinking and acting on other lines, he may supplant these images with others possessed of a different form and nature. In his dreams he may see these images dying, dead or their burial, and mistake them for friends or enemies. In this way he may, while asleep, see himself or a relative die, when in reality he has been warned that some good thought or deed is to be supplanted by an evil one.
To illustrate: If it is a dear friend or relative whom he sees in the agony of death, he is warned against immoral or other improper thought and action, but if it is an enemy or some repulsive object dismantled in death, he may overcome his evil ways and thus give himself or friends cause for joy. Often the end or beginning of suspense or trials are foretold by dreams of this nature. They also frequently occur when the dreamer is controlled by imaginary states of evil or good.
A man in that state is not himself, but is what the dominating influences make him. He may be warned of approaching conditions or his extrication from the same. In our dreams we are closer to our real self than in waking life.
The hideous or pleasing incidents seen and heard about us in our dreams are all of our own making, they reflect the true state of our soul and body, and we cannot flee from them unless we drive them out of our being by the use of good thoughts and deeds, by the power of the spirit within us. See Corpse. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
What lies beyond death is conjecture, but the archetype of death we are considering is not completely about physical death. It is about our observation of it in others; our conceptions of it gained from our culture and our impressions; the feelings which generate around our experiences and thoughts; our attempts to deal with our own aging and approach to death, plus what material the deeper strata of our unconscious release regarding it. It is about how our sense of conscious personal existence meets the prospect of its disintegration.
Unless we can come to terms with what is behind the haunting images of death we meet in our dreams, we fail to live fully and daringly, we are too haunted by death lurking in the shadows of injury and the unknown. Images of death and the associated emotions, carried within for years, can have a negative influence on our health. Coming to terms means the courage to feel the emotions of fear or chill and discover them for what they are—emotions. They are certainly not death, only our feelings about it.
The differences shown in the two following examples illustrate the avoiding and the meeting. Example: 4So to get to the bedroom I had to jump across this gap. I tried to jump but missed and I fell and hit the bottom.
The next thing I remember was I was floating up. I looked down and saw myself lying face down with arms spread out and I suddenly realised I was dead. I was so frightened that I woke up. I had the feelings of fear of dying, but I felt no pain’ (Cath). Example: “Suddenly I was in a huge underground cavern. It was hundreds of feet high and as wide. It had two great statues in it, both to do with death.
The whole place overpowered me with a sense of decay and skeletal death, darkness, underground, earth, the end. I cried out in the dismal cave, “Death, where is your sting! Grave, where is your victory!” I immediately had the sense of being a bodiless awareness. I knew this was what occurred at death. Fear and the sense of decay left me’ (Andrew).
Summarising these and many other dreams, it is not only the accumulated images of death, but also bodilessness and loss of power and identity which bring so much fear. There are two antipodes of human experience. At the tip of one is focused self-determining self consciousness. At the tip of the other is unfocused void without identity. Strangely enough we experience both each day in some degree—the first while awake, the second when we sleep. Yet to face the second with consciousness feels like all the horrors of death and loss. Yet facing it is important, especially to the second half of life.
The symbols of rebirth are: the cave; an egg; spring; the tree; the cross; dawn; emerging out of the sea; the snake; the bird; a seed; arising from the earth or faeces; green shoot from a dead branch; phoenix; flame; a pearl; the womb. Rebirth is as difficult to face as death. It holds within it not just the memones of the struggles and difficulties of our own physical birth and growth, but also the challenge of becoming the unknown future, the dark possibility, the new.
The dream of Andrew in the underground cavern is an example of positive rebirth. After realising himself as bodiless awareness he emerges from the cave and finds himself near a tree. Example: ‘A tremendous jolt of power poured into me from the tree. I saw that we had arrived at a place where a line of trees, about a 100 yards in length, stood very close together in a slight semicircle on the top of a bank.
The trees had great spiritual power and the place was a holy temple. Two spiritual beings were there—an ancient Earth Being, and Christ’ (Andrew).
The next example is of a dream typical of meeting memories of physical birth. As can be seen, the experience is powerful enough to cause physical shaking. Example: All I can see of what I enter is a very narrow space with a light showing through. But immediately I enter I realise I have made a mistake for I am being forced swiftly through a dark, very narrow tunnel. I feel pain as I am dragged along and I hear loud banging noises which frighten me, but although they are loud they seem to come from inside my head. I feel terrified and breathless and very relieved when I wake before reaching the end of the tunnel. In fact as I write this account I am shivering” (female, anon). ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If one succeeds in touching the feelings and memories usually connected with a dream image, this becomes apparent because of the depth of insight and experience which arises. Although ideally the Freudian analyst helps the client discover their own experience of their dream, it can occur that the analyst puts to the client readymade views of the dream. Out of this has occurred the idea of someone else ‘analysing or telling us about our dream.
Carl Jung used a different approach. He applied amplification (see entry), helped the client explore their associations, used active imagination (see entry) and stuck to the structure of the dream. Because amplification also put to the client the information and experience of the therapist, again the dreamwork can be largely verbal and intellectual, rather than experiential.
In the approach of Fritz Perls (gestalt therapy) and Moreno (psychodrama), dream analysis is almost entirely experiential.
The person exploring the dream acts out or verbalises each role or aspect of the dream.
If one dreamt of a house, in gestalt one might stan by saying I am a house’ and then go on to describe oneself just as one is as the particular house in the dream. It is important, even if the house were one existing externally, not to attempt a description of the external house, but to stay with the house as it was in the dream. This is like amplification, except the client gives all the information. This can be a very dramatic and emotional experience because we begin consciously to touch the immense realms of experience usually hidden behind the image. When successful this leads to personal insights into behaviour and creativity. See dream processing; amplification; gestalt dream work.
dream as a meeting place Any two people, or group of people who share their dreams, particularly if they explore the associated feelings and thoughts connected with the dream images, achieve social intimacy quickly. Whether it is a family sharing their dreams, or two fnends, an environment can be created in which the most profound feelings, painful and wonderful, can be allowed. Such exposure of the usually private areas of one s feelings and fears often presents new information to the dreamer, and also allows ventilation of what may never have been consciously expressed before. In doing so a healing release is reached, but also greater self understanding and the opportunity to think over or reconsider what is discovered.
Herbert Reed, editor of the dream magazine Sundance, and resident in Virginia Beach, Va., initiated group dreaming experiments. It started because Reed noticed that in the dream groups he was running, when one of the group aired a problem, other members would subsequently dream about that person’s problem. He went on to suggest the group should attempt this purposely and the resulting dreams shared to see if they helped the person with the problem.
The reported dreams often formed a more detailed view of the person’s situation. In one instance the group experienced many dream images of water. It aided the woman who was seeking help to admit she had a phobia of water and to begin thinking about learning to swim. In another experiment, a woman presented the problem of indecision about what college to transfer to and what to study. Her group subsequently said they were confused because they had not dreamt about school. Several had dreams about illicit sex. though, which led the woman to admit she was having an affair with a married man. She went on to realise that it was the affair which was underlying her indecision. She chose to end the affair and further her career.
Whatever may be underlying the results of Reed’s expen- ments, it is noticeably helpful to use the basic principles he is working with. They can be used by two people equally as well as a group—by a parent and child, wife and husband, businessman and employee. One sets out to dream about each other through mutual agreement. Like any undertaking, the involvement, and therefore the results, are much more pronounced if there is an issue of reasonable importance behind the experiment. It helps if one imagines that during sleep you are going to meet each other to consider what is happening between you. Then sleep, and on waking take time to recall any dream. Note it down, even if it seems far removed from what you expected. Then explore its content using the techniques in dream processing.
Example: My wife and I decided to attempt to meet in our dreams. I dreamt I was in a room similar to the back bedroom of my previous marnage. My present wife was with me. She asked me to help her move the wardrobe. It reminded me of, but did not look like, the one which had been in that bedroom. I stood with my back to it, and reached my hands up to press on the top, inside. In this way I carried it to another wall. As I put it down the wood broke. I felt it ought to be thrown away’ (Thomas B). Thomas explored the dream and found he connected feelings about his first marriage with the wardrobe and bedroom. In fact the shabby wardrobe was Tom’s feelings of shabbiness at having divorced his first wife. In his first marriage, represented by the bedroom, he always felt he was married for life. In divorcing, he had done something he didn’t like and was carrying it about with him. He says ‘1 am carrying this feeling of shabbiness and second best into my present relationship, and I need to get rid of it.’
dream as a spiritual guide Dreams have always been connected with the spiritual side of human experience, even though today many spiritual leaders disagree with consideration of dreams. Because dreams put the dreamer in touch with the source of their own internal wisdom and certainty, some conflict has existed between authoritative priesthood and public dreaming.
A lay person finding their own approach to God in a dream might question the authority of the priests. No doubt people frequently made up dreams about God in order to be listened to. Nevertheless, despite opposition, Matthew still dreamt of an angel appearing to him, Joseph was still warned by God to move Jesus; Peter still dreamt his dream of the unclean animals.
The modern scientific approach has placed large question marks against the concept of the human spirit. Study of the brain’s functions and biochemical activities have led to a sense of human personality being wholly a series of biological and biochemical events.
The results of this in the relationship between doctor and patient, psychiatrist and client, sometimes results in the communication of human personality being of little consequence. It may not be put into words, but the intimation is that if one is depressed it is a biochemical problem or a brain malfunction.
If one is withdrawn or autistic, it is not that there is a vital centre of personality which has for some reason chosen to avoid contact, but that a biochemical or physiological problem is the cause—it’s nothing personal, take this pill (to change the biochemistry, because you are not really a person). Of course we have to accept that human personality must sometimes face the tragedy of biochemical malfunction, but we also need to accept that biochemical and physiological process can be changed by human will and courage.
In attempting to find what the human spirit is by looking at dreams, creativity stands out.
The spiritual nature may not be what we have traditionally considered it to be.
An overview of dreams and how dreamers relate to them suggests one amazing fact. Let us call it the ‘seashell effect’. When we hear sounds in a shell that we hold to our ear, the noises heard seem exterior to oneself, yet they are most likely amplification of sounds created in our own ear, perhaps by the passage of blood. Imagine an electronic arcade machine which the player could sit in and, when running, the player could be engulfed in images, sounds, smell and sensation. At first there is shimmering darkness, then a sound, and lights move. Is it a face seen, or a creature. Like Rorschach’s ink blots, the person creates figures and scenes out of the shapeless light and sound.
A devil appears which terrifies the player. People, demons, animals, God and angels appear and fade. Scenes are clearcut or a maelstrom of movement and ill-defined activity. Events arise showing every and any aspect of human experience. Nothing is impossible.
If, on stepping out, we told the player that what occurred was all their own creation due to unconscious feelings, fears, habits, thoughts and physiological processes occurring within them, like the seashell effect, they might say ‘Good God, is that all it was, and I thought it was real. What a waste of time.’
Whether we can accept it or not, as a species we have created out of our own longings, fears, pain and perhaps vision, God, with many different names—politics, money, devils, nationalism, angels, an, and so on and on. All of it has flowed out of us. Perhaps we even deny we are the authors of the Bible, wars, social environments. Responsibility is difficult. It is easier to believe the source is outside oneself. And if we do take responsibility for our amazing creativity, we may feel ‘is that all it is—me?’ Yet out of such things, such fears, such drives, such unconscious patterns as we shape our dreams with, we shape our life and fonune, we shape our children, we shape the world and our future.
The shadow of fear we create in our dream, the situation of aloneness and anger, becomes a pattern of feelings, real in its world of mind. We create a monster, a Djinn, a devil, which then haunts and influences us. Or with feelings of hope, of purposiveness and love, create other forces in us and the world. But we are the creator. We are in no way separate from the forces which create our existence. We are those creative forces. In the deepest sense, not just as an ego, we create ourselves, and we go on creating ourselves. We are the God humanity has looked so long for.
The second aspect of the human spirit demonstrated by dreams is consciousness.
The unconscious mind, if its function is not clogged with a backlog of undealt with painful childhood experience and nonfunctional premises, has a propensity to form gestalts. It takes pieces of experience and fits them together to form a whole. This is illustrated by how we form gestalts when viewing newsprint photographs, which are made up of many small dots. Our mind fits them together and sees them as a whole, giving meaning where there are only dots. When the human mind is working well, when the individual can face a wide range of emotions, from fear and pain to ecstasy, this process of forming gestalts can operate very creatively. This is because it needs conscious involvement, and if the personality is frightened of deep feeling, the uniting of deeply infantile and often disturbing cxpcrience is cut out. Yet these areas are very rich mines of information, containing our most fundamental learning.
If the process is working well, then one’s expenence is gradually transformed into insights which transcend and thereby transform one s personal life.
For instance, we have witnessed our own binh in some manner, we also see many others appeanng as babies. We see people ageing, dying. We see millions of events in our life and in others.
The unconscious, deeply versed in imagery, ritual and body language, out of which it creates its dreams, picks up information from music, architecture, traditional rituals, people walking in the street, the unspoken world of parental influence.
The sources are massive, unbelievable. And out of it all our mind creates meaning. Like a process of placing face over face over face until a composite face is formed, a synthesis of all the faces; so the unconscious scans all this information and creates a world view, a concept of life and death.
The archetypes Jung talks of are perhaps the resulting synthesis of our own expenence, reaching points others have met also.
If so, then Chnst might be our impression of humanity as a whole.
If we dare to touch such a synthesis of experience it may be seanng, breathtaking.
It breaks the boundaries of our present personality and concepts because it transcends. It shatters us to let the new vision emerge. It reaches, it soars, like an eagle flying above the single events of life. Perhaps because of this the great hawk of ancient Egypt represented the human spirit.
Lastly, humans have always been faced by the impossible.
To a baby, walking and not wetting its pants is impossible, but with many a fall and accident it does the impossible. It is a god in its achievement.
To talk, to fly heavier-than-air planes, to walk on the Moon, were all impossible. Humans challenge the impossible every day. Over and over they fall, back into defeat. Many lie there broken. Yet with the next moment along come youngsters with no more sense than grasshoppers, and because they don’t know what the difference is between right and left, do the impossible. Out of the infinite potential, the great unknown, they draw something new. With hope, with folly, with a wisdom they gain from who knows where, they demand more. And it’s a common everyday son of miracle. Mothers do it constantly for their children—transcending themselves. Lovers go through hell and heaven for each other and flower beyond who they were. You and I grow old on it as our daily bread, yet fail to see how holy it is. And if we turn away from it, it is because it offers no certainties, gives no authority, claims no reward. It is the spiritual life of people on the street. And our dreams remember, even if we fail.
For this is the body and blood of the human spirit.
dream as a therapist and healer There is a long tradition of using dreams as a base for both physical and psychological healing. One of the earliest recorded incidents of such healing is when Pharaoh’s ‘spirit was troubled, and he sent for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men; and Pharaoh told them his dream, but there was none who could interpret it’. Then Joseph revealed the meaning of the dream and so the healing of Pharaoh’s troubled mind took place (Genesis 41).
The Greek Temples of Asclepius were devoted to using dreams as a base for healing of body and mind (see dreams and ancient Greece).
The Iroquois Amerindians used a social form of dream therapy also (see Iroquoian dream cult).
The dream process was used much more widely throughout history in such practices as Pentecostal Christianity, shaktipat yoga in India, and Anton Mesmer’s groups (see sleep movements).
Sigmund Freud pioneered the modern approach to the use of dreams in therapy, but many different approaches have developed since his work. Examples of the therapeutic action of gaining insight into dreams are to be found in the entnes on abreaction, recurring dreams, reptiles.
The entry on dream processing gives information about using a dream to gain insight and healing. See also dream as meeting place.
A feature which people who use their dreams as a therapeutic tool mention again and again is how dreams empower them. Many of us have an unconscious feeling that any important healing work regarding our body and mind can only be undertaken and directed by an expert, the expert might be a doctor, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or osteopath. Witnessing the result of their own dream process, even if helped by an expert, people feel in touch with a wonderful internal process which is working actively for their own good. One woman, who had worked on her dream with the help of a fnend (non expert), said It gave me great confidence in my own internal process. I realised there was something powerful in myself working for my own good. It was a feeling of cooperating with life.’ One is frequently amazed by one’s own resources of wisdom, penetrating insight and sense of connection with life, as met in dreamwork. This is how dreams play a pan in helping one towards wholeness and balance.
The growing awareness of one’s central view of things, which is so wide, piercing and often humorous, brings developing self respect as the saga of one’s dreams unfolds.
There may be no hint of this, however, if a person simply records their dreams without attempting to find a deeply felt contact with their contents. It is in the searching for associated feelings and ideas that the work of integrating the many strands of one’s life begins. Gradually one weaves, through a co-operative action with the dream process, a greater unification of the dark and the light, the painful and transcendent in one’s nature.
The result is an extraordinary process of education. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
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
If we take away the images and events occurring in a dream and simply look to see what feelings or emotions are evident, the dream is often more understandable than if we try to interpret the symbols. Feelings in dreams are nearly always undistoned. We therefore do not need to interpret them, simply to acknowledge them and see if we can recognise where they occur in waking life.
The images in a dream may be the way we unconsciously pictorialise our flux of feelings and the play of internal energy flows.
For instance love or sexual drive can give rise to physical movement—as in sexual intercourse. Repression of sex or love also represses such physical movements, leading to tension and conflict, which might be presented in the drama of a dream.
Example: ‘I was with my wife, walking along a street, on holiday with her. But I felt awful tension. It was the son of stress I feel when I have turned off my sexual flow—as I have at the moment’ (Brian V). Brian can easily see the connection between the dream feelings and his everyday life, although sometimes we need to practise this. But the situation could as easily be expressed as a dream image of a blocked river.
The underlying feelings would then be less easy to grasp.
Example: ‘I was in a very ancient crumbling building, confronted by a large stone door, deeply engraved with many designs and creatures. I began to open the door and felt high feelings of anxiety. I realised this was an initiation and I must calm my feelings in order to pass beyond the door, i.e. if I were controlled by my feelings I would run away’ (Derek F). How we meet the emotions in our dreams illustrates our habitual method of dealing with them.
The feelings of anxiety in Derek’s dream were met and moved beyond, but this is unusual. This is because most of us change our direction as soon as there is a hint of fear.
The amount of nicotine and alcohol human beings consume suggests how poorly we meet anxiety. Going beyond fear or pain is an initiation which opens doors for us. We might now apply for the job, ask for the date, raise the issue, express the creativity, make the journey abroad, which anxiety previously kept us from. We see this in the next example: I had a ring on my marriage finger. It was a thin band of gold. I woke up frightened’ (Angela). Angela is not married and feels anxiety about the commitment.
Dreams give us a safe area to express emotions which might be difficult or dangerous to release socially. Anger in a dream may be expressing what we failed to express in a waking encounter, or it might be our habitual response. It may also be directed against ourself. Dreams also contain many positive emotions. Sometimes they present a new aspect of feeling which is life enhancing.
A person who habitually felt at odds with her father and relatives experienced a dream in which she felt forgiveness for the first time. This was entirely new for her and led to a reconciliation with her family.
Some feeling states in a dream are subtle, and may be more evident in terms of the symbols than the feelings.
A grey drear environment suggests depression and lack of pleasure.
A sunny light environment with flowers and colour shows pleasure and good feelings.
A country landscape depicts quite a different feeling state to a smoky busy city street. We can define these for ourself using the techniques described under dream processing.
Whatever feelings or emotions we meet in our dreams, many of them are bound to be habitual responses we have to life. Where these habits are negative we can begin to change them by working with the dream images as described in the last question under dream processing. See love; hostility. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Characters or themes from the fables of our youth commonly appear in dreams as archetypes of personality traits or prevalent situations. Normally, the subconscious tries to illustrate a key that will help you develop those traits, overcome negative habits, or succeed in your present circumstances.
For example, the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears could be counseling you to be less selfish or bearish in the way you act toward strangers.
The hero or heroine reflects your Higher Self, and the best personal characteristics you hope to eventually develop. Pay close attention to what these people do (see Icons, Men, Women).
Kings and queens reflect authority figures (or situations, belief systems, etc.) to whom you subjugate yourself.
The question here is whether such service is beneficial to you as a whole person. Alternatively, these can be icons of gods and goddesses.
Fantastic creatures represent your ability to imagine and reach beyond surface reality. Each creature also has a unique symbolic message to consider.
For example, dreaming of a Lilliputian might indicate that you feel very “small” about something right now, or that you lack self-confidence.... The Language of Dreams
The words find, finds, finding, found occur 297 times. And the words connected with looking and seeing occur 1,077 times.
During our development or growth we ‘fall’ from our mother’s womb when ripe; being dropped by a parent must be our earliest sense of insecurity; we fall many times as we learn to stand and walk; as we explore our boundaries in running, climbing, jumping and riding, falling is a big danger, at times it could mean death. Out of this we create the ways falling is used in dreams.
Example: ‘I am sitting in a high window box facing outwards, with my son and a friend of his on my left. I feel very scared of falling and ask my son and his friend to climb back into the building. I feel too scared to move until they shift’ (Trevor N). At the time of the dream Trevor was working, for the first time in his life, as a full-time freelance journalist. His wife was out of work and his frequency of sales low enough to cause them to be running out of money.
The building behind him in the dream felt like a place he had worked nine to five —security. Falling was failure, getting in debt, dropping into the feelings of self doubt and being incapable.
In general, then, falling represents loss of confidence; threat to usual sources of security such as relationship, source of money, social image, beliefs; tension. Sometimes it is loss of social grace; losing face, moral failure—falling into temptation; coming down to earth from a too lofty attitude, sexual surrender.
Example: ‘I was on a road which led up to the hospital I was put in at three. I felt a sense of an awful past as I looked at the road. Then I was standing on the edge of a precipice or cliff. My wife was about four yards away near the road. I stepped in an area of soft earth. It gave beneath my weight and I sank up to my waist. I realised the cliff edge was unstable and the whole area would fall. I was sinking and shouting to my wife to help me. She was gaily walking about and made light of my call for help. I cried out again. Still she ignored me. I shouted again for her help. She took no notice and I sank deeper, the ground gave way and I fell to my death’ (Barry 1). Through being put in a hospital at three without his mother, Barry had a deep seated fear that any woman he loved could desen him. His fall is the loss of any sense of bonding between him and his wife out of this fear. His death is the dying of his feeling of love and relationship, and the pain it causes. Understanding these fears, Barry was able to leave them behind in later dreams and in life.
By learning to meet our insecurities (perhaps by using the last question in dream processing) we can dare more in life. This is in essence the same as meeting the fear of falling off our bike as we learn to ride.
If we never master the fear we cannot ride. Therefore some dreams take falling into realms beyond fear.
The following examples illustrate this.
Example: ‘Near where I stood in the school gymnasium was a diving board, about 20 ft off the ground. Girls were learning to dive off the board and land flat on their back on the floor.
If they landed flat they didn’t hurt themselves—like falling backwards standing up’ (Barry I).
The school is where we learn. Once we learn to fall ‘flat on our back’, i.e. fail, without being devastated or ‘hurt’ by it, we can be more creative. Going fast to an edge and falling: could mean overwork and danger of breakdown of health.
Example: ‘As I prayed I realised I could fly. I lifted off the ground about 3 feet and found I could completely relax while going higher or falling back down. So it was like free fall. I went into a wonderful surrendered relaxation. My whole body sagging, floating in space. It was a very deep meditative experience (Sarah D). Sarah has found an attitude which enables her to soar/dare or fall/fail without being so afraid of being hurt or dying emotionally. This gives a form of freedom many people never experience. This does not arise from denying or suppressing fears.
Seeing things fall: sense of danger or change in regard to what is represented. Person falling: wish to be rid of them, or anxiety in regard to what they represent; end of a relationship. Child, son falling: see baby; son and daughter under family. House falling down, personal stress; illness; personal change and growth due to letting old habits and attitudes crumble. Example: ‘I was standing outside my mother’s house to the right.
The ground in front had fallen away.
The house was about to cave in. I felt no fear or horror. Instead I was thinking about new beginnings and the possibility of a new house’ (Helen B). Helen is here becoming more independent and leaving behind attitudes and dependency. See house; abyss; chasm. See also flying. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The entrance was difficult to find, but I had discovered it many years before and been in lots of times. I found objects in the cellar and was looking for something’ (Tony C). Usually, as in the example, to discover, realise, become aware of some aspect of oneself and gain access to or use of. One might be living with constant resentments about one’s past or present situation, and then ‘find’ release from this for a day, yet not be conscious how it was achieved.
The dream might attempt to define this. Or it might be a new idea you realise unconsciously in sleep.
Example: Then I was with my father (dead) and was showing him a handful of exotic banknotes I had found in the building. They were £100 notes. I wasn’t sure if the money was legal tender or not.
The notes had an unusual design’ (Andy). Andy has found a sense of his own value—the money —but is not sure if other people also value him.
The dream illustrates the attempt to ‘find a place* in society.
The effort to search and find is frequently to do with one’s own identity, and what one is searching through is one’s experience, as in Tony’s cellar above, or this example: l was looking into the crowd in the film to find me and it was like looking at a snapshot, it felt very important that I find me, I saw my green slacks just showing, right at the back of the crowd’ (Trudy K). See look; see. Idioms: find oneself; find fault; find out; find one’s bearings. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical transitions.
Protection and safety.
The pentacle of the Knights Templar is illustrated as a five-pointed star. This was used regularly to shield people from the evil eye or malicious magic.
Ancient Roman: An emblem of love and commitment.
The Roman marriage rituals featured five burning candles throughout the ceremony.
Islamic: The number of sacred tasks: regular cleansing, offerings, fasting, prayers, and taking a pilgrimage.
In some dream oracles, this number portends the restlessness that accompanies change. Listen to your inner voice, and let it steer you in the right direction.... The Language of Dreams
The next stage though was to extend my height, and this took enormous effort of will and body. I made active swimming motions and climbed, but only held altitude with great and constant concentration. With further practice still, this clumsy mode of flying was left behind as I leamt to use pure motivation or will to lift me into the air and carry me easily and gracefully wherever I wished. At this stage my flying was swift, mobile and without struggle’ (Jason V).
The example illustrates how much will, effort and learning can be involved in flying in dreams. This aspect of flying connects with the gaining of independence and the expression of one’s potential. We are all born into a certain paradigm or ‘reality’. At one time, part of the ‘reality’ for most Britons was that anyone without a white skin was a heathen or savage. At other times the reality’ has been that anything heavier than air could not fly. Meteors did not exist because theory discounted them. And so on.
To break free of such paradigms and from the gravity’ or hold our parental and social authority has on us to find a measure of emotional and intellectual freedom, takes the son of will, effort and learning depicted.
Flying expresses also the dealing with our internal influences which hold us down, such as self doubt, anxiety, depression.
Example: ‘I was flying. I felt nervous at first that I would fall down, but not afraid. I soon became confident and felt very happy and wanted the sensation to continue. I was (lying over a building, could have been a small church, crematorium or graveyard but did not feel afraid or upset. When I woke I lay in bed and tried very hard to keep the feelings with me and, for reasons unknown, I do not wish to forget it’ (Mrs SM). In flying, Mrs SM is finding a way to look at death—the graveyard—which gives her a different viewpoint, a different feeling reaction to it, and she doesn’t want to lose that precious newly learnt view. In their maturing process some peo- pie learn to see their thoughts and emotions as things they expenence rather than things they are, and this brings the sort of new viewpoint seen in the example.
Example: ‘I was in a building with a group of people. I was being chased and suddenly flew up in the air to escape my pursuers’ (Michael O). Learning independence, and the ability to make decisions despite what others feel, may be done by ignoring our own feelings. This may be achieved by always keeping busy; never having quiet moments alone; filling empty periods with entertainment or company; smoking, drinking alcohol, taking sedatives or tranquillisers; ngid positive thinking. Then, as Michael does in his dream, we fly from issues we are pursued by instead of resolving them. This may lead us to the extremes of being either rigidly materialistic, or as rigidly ethereal. In either case we lose contact with everyday human issues, and may begin to have the escape-type flying dream, or an out of body experience.
Example: 41 knew I could fly. I picked up one of the young women I felt love for and flew with her.’ Laughingly I felt like superman, and flew easily’ (Simon W). Flying alone occurs most frequently, showing the independent aspect of flying. But because it often involves our positive feelings of pleasure, flying may depict our sexuality, as above, especially aspects of it expressing freedom from social norms and restraints.
Example: ‘I was floating atop a tree near houses and a rising walkway. I was saying to people around the tree that I had found something wonderful. Reaching out my hand I told them they could join me if they accepted this possibility in themselves. Some thought it was a publicity campaign, but were enjoying the spectacle.
A few reached out and were immediately with me, until there were about six of us, men and women. We joined hands, experiencing a most amazing sense of well-being. Then we slowly and effortlessly flew to a great height, leaving a trail of coloured smoke which could be seen for miles. It was to demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit. We then descended and were going somewhere else to show others’ (Margareta H). Transcendence is also depicted by flying.
The tree is Margareta’s personal life. She is at the growing tip, transcending, leaving behind her past. Being high in flight, on a hill or mountain also represents the action of seeing our life as a whole, having a sense of our overall direction and destiny, our essential self. This frequently gives rise to the drive to give of one’s best to others, as Margareta does in leaving behind a sign—the spire of colour.
Some researchers believe flying dreams often precede lucid dreams. See lucid dreams; out of body experience. See also Hill; mountain. Idioms: fly by night, flying high; send flying. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The example illustrates how we may use one emotion or situation to hide what is really important.
Hiding from feeling; avoiding awareness of something we don’t want to see; being protective—hiding how we really feel about someone, or our sexual feelings about someone; not knowing. Hiding from something dangerous, dangerous thing hidden: feeling threatened either by unconscious contents or exterior situation. Hiding a body, object: not facing difficult feelings connected with the body or thing. See dead people dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The image of a journey becomes more apparent as time goes on and death approaches. We become more aware of reaching our final destination.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
2- As we become more open to possibilities, the various facets of our personality can achieve their own method of communication with us. This is often experienced in dreams as strange language, and often comes across as sleep-talking.
3- In Spiritualism, hearing language is communication by discar- natc beings.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
The unconscious, as in speaking in tongues—glossolalia—and of course in dreams, frequently moves towards clear awareness in stages.
The strange language is a halfway house, as is a dream.
If we bring focused attention to these, as explained in dream processing, the next step, clear verbal expression, can be reached. Speaking in language we are learning: the language is becoming habitual, making it possible to think in it. See speaking. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
if we are right handed, the left represents the less dominant or expressed side of oneself, or the parts of our nature we try to hide or suppress.
If we write or knock in a nail using our right hand, we will hold the paper or nail with our left. So left leg or arm frequently has this sense of representing the supponive but less dominant functions in us. Our confidence may suppon our activity as a salesperson, so may be depicted as being on the left.
the dominant, confident, conscious, exterior or expressed side of self; lightness; correct social behaviour, moral.
Dreams can also use a play on what is right and left to illustrate a polarity or opposites. Our internal world of feelings, memories and values—the left; our external world of activity and environment—the right.
A secondary choice— left; the right’ choice at the time—right. Pans of self unconscious or shadowy—left; our conscious known self—right.
The immoral, selfish, wrong action—left; the moral, right action—right.
Example: ‘On my right are three monks, on my left sits a beautiful, shapely blonde. I am in the centre and I see a road, which leads to the right and a beautiful sunlit valley in the distance’ (from Dreams Your Magic Mirror by Elsie Sechrist). Here right and left represent not only choice between sexual pleasure and religious discipline, but also the polar opposites of spiritual and material. Although in the dream there is a movement to the right, to find equilibrium we often have to take a way between the opposites.
Idioms: two left feet; keep on the right side of somebody; in one’s right mind, in the right; mister right; set somebody right; right hand man; right in the head, stan on the right foot; give one’s right arm. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: 4I had backed my car into a big yard, a commercial area. My wife, two of my sons and I got out of the car. As we stood in the yard talking I realised there was a motorbike where my car should be. I said to everyone, “There was a car here a moment ago, now it’s a motorbike. Do you know what that means? It means we are dreaming.” Mark my son was now with us, and my ex-wife. I asked them if they realised they were dreaming. They got very vague and didn’t reply. I asked them again and felt very clearly awake’ (William V). William’s is a fairly typical lucid dream, but there are features which it does not illustrate. During the days or weeks prior to a lucid dream, many people experience an increase in (lying dreams.
The next example shows another common feature.
Example: In many of my dreams I become aware that I am dreaming. Also, if anything unpleasant threatens me in the dream I get away from it by waking myself (Alan). Lucidity often has this feature of enabling the dreamer to avoid unpleasant elements of the dream.
The decision to avoid any unpleasant internal emotions is a common feature of a person’s conscious life, so this aspect of lucidity is simply a way of taking such a decision into the dream. Some writers even suggest it as a way of dealing with frightening dreams. Avoidance does not solve the problem, it simply pushes the emotion deeper into the unconscious where it can do damage more surreptitiously. Recent findings regarding suppressed gnef and stress, which connects them with a higher incidence of cancer, suggests that suppression is not a healthy way of dealing with feelings.
Another approach to lucidity is that it can be a son of playground where one can walk through walls, jump from high buildings and fly, change the sofa into an attractive lover, and so on. True, the realisation that our dream life is a different world and that it does have completely different principles at work than our waking world is imponant. Often people introven into their dream life the morals and fears which are only relevant to being awake in physical life.
To avoid a charging bull is cenainly imponant in waking life. In our dream life, though, to meet its charge is to integrate the enormous energy which the bull represents, an energy which is our own but which we may have been avoiding or running away’ from previously. Realising such simple differences revolutionises the way we relate to our own internal events and possibilities.
To treat lucid dreams as if they offered no other attainable expenence than to manipulate the dream environment, or avoid an encounter, is to miss an amazing feature of human potential.
Example: ‘In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened out very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was simply an image representing a process occurring within myself which I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression of actual and real events occurring in my body and mind. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance’ (Francis P). It is now acceptable, through the work of Freud, Jung and many others, to consider that within images of the dream lie valuable information about what is occurring within the dreamer, perhaps unconsciously. Strangely, though, it is almost never considered that one can have direct perception into this level of internal ‘events’ without the dream. What Francis describes is an experience of being on the cusp of symbols and direct perception. Considering the enormous advantage of such direct information gathering, it is surprising it is seldom mentioned except in the writings of Corriere and Han, The Dream Makers.
Example: After defining why I had not woken in sleep recently, i.e. loss of belief, I had the following experience. I awoke in my sleep and began to see, without any symbols, that my attitudes and sleep movements expressed a feeling of restrained antagonism or irritation to my wife. I could also observe the feelings were arising from my discipline of sexuality. Realising I did not want those feelings I altered them and woke enough to turn towards her’ (Francis P). After the first of his direct perception dreams, Francis attempted to use this function again, resulting in the above, and other, such dreams. Just as classic dream interpretation says that the dream symbols represent psychobiological logical processes which might be uncovered by dream processing, what we see in Francis’ lucidity is a direct route to self insight, and through it a rapid personal growth to improved life experience. Such dreams provide not only psychological insight, but very frequently a direct perception of processes occurring in the body, as the following example illustrates.
Example: ‘Although deeply asleep I was wide awake without any shape or form. I had direct experience, without any pictures, of the action of the energies in my body. I had no awareness of body shape, only of the flow of activities in the organs. I checked over what I could observe, and noticed a tension in my neck was interfering with the flow and exchange of energies between the head and trunk. It was also obvious from what I could see that the tension was due to an attitude I had to authority, and if the tension remained it could lead to physical ill health’ (Tony C).
An effective way to develop lucidity is frequently to consider the events of waking life as if they were a dream. Try to see events as one might see dream symbols. What do they mean in terms of one’s motivations, fears, personal growth? What do they suggest about oneself? For instance a person who works in a photographic darkroom developing films and prints might see they were trying to bnng to consciousness the latent—unconscious—side of themselves.
A banker might feel they were working at how best to deal with their sexual and personal resources. In this way one might actually apply what is said in this dream dictionary to one’s outer circumstances.
The second instruction is, on waking, at a convenient moment, imagine oneself standing within one’s recent dream. As you get a sense of this dream environment, realise that you are taking waking awareness into the dream. From the standpoint of being fully aware of the dream action and events, what will you now do in and with the dream? Re-dream it with consciousness.
For example the things you run from in your normal dreaming you could now face. See dream processing for fun her suggestions. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
In past cultures the ideas or fears which obsess us would have been described as an evil spirit or ghost taking over the person. This is because the irrational obsession takes hold of us against our will, so this is quite an accurate image.
The obsessing factor may still appear in present day dreams in the form of a spirit or demon. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The harder I try to move the worse it gets and I become very fnghtened. I can neither move nor wake myself up. Sometimes I feel as if I am leaving my body. But to deal with the fear I have learnt—it’s a recurring thing—to stop struggling, knowing that I will eventually wake’ (Susan Y). This is a common experience which may be due to the fact the body is paralysed during periods of the dream process; all brain signals to the voluntary muscles are inhibited. This is not sensed as a problem if we are unconsciously involved in a dream.
If enough self awareness arises in the dream state, then awareness of the inability to move may occur, along with the anxiety this can arouse. Another factor is illustrated by what Susan says—the harder she tries to move the worse it gets. Our unconscious is very open to suggestion.
If this were not so we would lack necessary survival responses. In a dimly lit situation we may mistake a shape for a lurking figure. Our body reactions, such as heartbeat, react to the mistake as if it is real, until we gain fresh information. Whatever we feel to be real becomes a fact as far as our body reactions are concerned.
The fear that one cannot move becomes a fact because we believe it. When Susan relaxes, and thereby drops the fear of paralysis, she can be free of it. This applies to anything we feel is true—we create it as an internal reality. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
2- In order to disentangle the various types of ‘information’ which each character brings to the dreamer, it is often necessary to decide what or who each one makes us think of. That way we will reveal the deeper meanings and connections.
An individual from the past could link us with that period of our lives and with specific memories which may, or may not, be painful.
A neighbour or close associate usually appears in a dream to highlight a particular quality in that person. Somebody else’s mother, father, brother etc. may suggest our own family members or possibly jealousy. Sometimes, rather than trying to decipher the meaning of the dream it is enough to look at what bearing the dream character’s actions have on the dreamer’s everyday life.
To interpret why the dreamer has adopted a particular role we would need to know a little bit more about his lifestyle. When there is some conflict within the dreamer between love and aversion for a particular person, we are more likely to dream about them.
Often in dreams there may be a noted difference between two of the participants to illustrate two sides of the dreamer’s thoughts and feelings. Similarly; there maybe a marked contrast in the way the dreamer handles a situation with two of his dream characters. It is as though two options are being practised. Composite characters As with composite animals, the composite character will emphasise one characteristic or quality in order to draw the dreamer’s attention to it.
The fact that it is not just one person emphasises the many-faceted human being. Every- character who appears in our dreams is a reflection of a facet or part of our own personality and can often be better understood if we put ourselves in the position of that person. Adolescent To dream of oneself as adolescent focuses on our undeveloped side. Dreaming of an adolescent of the opposite sex usually means dealing with a suppressed part of our development.
The emotions associated with adolescence are very raw and clear and such emotions arc accessible often only through dreams. There may be conflict over freedom. Ancestors Our customs, ways of behaving, morality and our religious feelings are all handed down from generation to generation. When we become conscious of our ancestors in a dream we are focusing on our roots. We may- understand ourselves through our relationship with the past. Authority Figures (such as magistrates, teachers etc. also see individual entries) Our concept of authority is first developed through our relationship with our father or father figure. Depending on how we were treated as children, our view of authority will be anything from a benign helper to an exploitative disciplinarian. Most authority figures will ultimately lead us back to what is right for us, although not necessarily what we might consider good for us. Authority figures in dreams initially appear to have power over us, though if worked with properly will generate the power to succeed. Dreaming particularly of police can indicate a kind of social control and a protective element for us as members of society. Often a policeman will appear in dreams as one’s conscience. We may feel that our wilder, more renegade side needs controlling.
Baby To dream about a baby which is our own indicates that we need to recognise those vulnerable feelings over which we have no control. We may be attempting something new.
If the baby is someone else’s in the dream, we need to be aware of that person’s ability to be hurt, or that they may be innocent of something. Psychologically we are in touch with the innocent, curious side of ourselves, with the part which neither wants nor needs responsibility. Dreaming of a baby can indicate that, on a spiritual level, the dreamer has a need for a feeling of purity.
Boy To have a dream about a boy- shows the potential for growth and new experience.
If the boy is known he reflects recognised qualities in the dreamer. Psychologically, we may need to be in touch with ourselves at that age and with the innocent youthfulness and enthusiasm that a boy has. We are contacting our natural drives and ability to face difficulties.
Boyfriend To dream of a boyfriend, whether present or former, connects with the feelings, attachments and sexuality- connected with him.
To dream of having as a boyfriend someone whom you would not anticipate, indicates the need to have a greater understanding of the way you relate to men. Consideration may need to be given to the loving, nurturing side of masculinity. We are still searching for the ideal lover.
Carers such as nurses, nuns etc. This suggests the more compassionate, nurturing side of ourselves. Often it is that side of us which has been ‘called’ or has a vocation. Usually there is, for men, a non-sexual relationship. Child (who could be one of the dreamer’s own children) Dreaming of a child gives us access to our own inner child. We all have parts of ourselves which are still child-like and curious. When we are able to get in touch with that side of ourselves we give ourselves permission to clarify a potential for wholeness which we may not previously have recognised. Crowd Crowds in dreams can indicate how we relate to other people, particularly in a social sense. They may indicate how we can hide ourselves, or indeed how we hide aspects of ourselves and do not single out any one attribute. We may also be attempting to avoid responsibility.
A huge crowd suggests information which we may not be able to handle. Dictators (Hitler, Stalin etc.) If the dreamer has had an overbearing father, a known dictator may appear in dreams as representing that relationship. Emperor or Empress - see
Authority Figures and also King and Queen Ethnic minority Any aspect within ourselves which is out of the ordinary or different can manifest in dreams as a member of another race.
Girl When a girl of any age appears in our dreams we are usually attempting to make contact with the more sensitive, innocent side of ourselves. Those qualities of intuition and perception may be somewhat undeveloped but can be made available.
If the girl is known to us we probably are aware of those qualities, but need to explore them as though we were approaching them from the girl’s point of view.
If she is unknown, we can acknowledge that a fresh approach would be useful.
Girlfriend When a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend appears in a man’s dream there arc usually issues to do with masculinity and femininity involved. There may be fears to do with sexuality.
If a girlfriend appears in a woman’s dream, there can either be a concern about her in the dreamer’s mind, or she (the dreamer) needs to search for and find qualities belonging to the friend in her. Hero or any heroic figure falso see Archetypes) In a man’s dream the figure of the hero can represent all that is good in him, the Higher Self. In a woman’s dream he will suggest the Animus (see Introduction). When the hero is on a quest We are struggling to find a part of ourselves which is at this time unconscious (also see Quest). It is important that the darker forces are vanquished but not killed since they cannot be totally annihilated without harming the Wise Old Man (see Introduction). In other words, our eventual integration still needs the challenge of the negative.
The hero’s failure may be brought about inadvertently We all have a weak point through which we can be attacked.
To have such a dream indicates that we are not paying attention to the details in our lives or to that part of ourselves we tend not to have developed. We may be being warned of an element of self-neglect.
The death of the hero can often suggest the need to develop the more intuitive side of ourselves, to be born again to something new.
A conflict between the hero and any other dream character suggests a basic disharmony between two facets of our own character.
The hero often appears in dreams as an antidote to some hated external figure within the dreamer’s everyday life. High Priest, Astrologer, or anyone with similar esoteric knowledge (also see Archetypes and Authority Figures in this section) Any character within our dreams who appears to have knowledge of magical practices or similar types of knowledge is usually first introduction to the Higher Self. It is as though we can only become privy to this deeper knowledge by meeting our teacher first. Inadequate Person It is a lot easier to confront our own inadequacies in the dream state where we are safe. Often this is the first opportunity we have to meet the Shadow (See Introduction). We ignore this aspect of ourselves at our peril and cannot afford to dismiss such an image when it appears. We must acknowledge this dream figure as a reflection of ourselves in order to deal with a learnt sense of inferiority.
If we do not. we are continually faced in life by our own sense of inferiority.
Intruder (also see individual entry and Burglar) The intruder in a woman’s dream is often a personification of her own Animus (see Introduction). In a man’s dream it characterises his Shadow (see Introduction). In either case it suggests the need for a change in attitude in order for the dreamer to be able to have a full and meaningful relationship with himself. King Almost invariably a king appearing in a dream represents the father or father figure.
A personality such as an emperor may- indicate that some of the father’s attitudes arc alien to the dreamer, but should perhaps be accepted. When the king is old or on the point of dying the dreamer will be able to reject outworn or old-fashioned family values. Ministers of all Religions (also see Authority Figures in this section and Archetypes) Ministers of all religions hold a special placc in the dream hierarchy; since their authority is given to them not by man alone, but to all intents and purposes by God or an ultimate power. There is therefore an ‘otherness’ about them. Man Any man appearing in a dream shows an aspcct or facet of the dreamer’s character in a recognisable form. Each of us has a repertoire or portfolio of behaviours, some of which are acceptable and some of which arc not. In dreams those behaviours and characteristics can be magnified so that thev are easily identified, often as personalities. By working with the characteristic, more energy and power becomes av ailable. Even when we are threatened by a negative character trait, we can still access room for improvement.
A man in a dream can identify the Shadow for a man, and the Animus for a woman (see Introduction).
An older man (if the man is white-haired or holy) can represent the innate wisdom we all have. Such a person can also signify the father in dreams. When a large man appears in our dreams we arc usually appreciating the strengths, certainties and protection which our basic beliefs give us.
A man in a woman’s dream signifies the more logical side of her nature. She has, or can develop, all the aspects of the masculine which enable her to function with success in the external world.
If the man is one she knows or loves she may be trying to understand her relationship with him.
An unknown man is generally that part of the dreamer’s personality which is not recognised. In a woman’s dream it is the masculine side of herself, and in a man’s dream it is the Self (see Introduction). Old People (also see Man and Woman) In dreams, old people can represent either our ancestors or grandparents, hence wisdom accrued from experience.
If the old person is male depending on the gender of the dreamer he will stand for either the Self or the Animus (see Introduction).
If female then she will signify the Great Mother or the Anima (see Introduction). .’Ml father figures, or representations of the father, will often appear old as if to highlight their remoteness.
A group of old people often appears in dreams. Usually this signifies the traditions and wisdom of the past - things sacred to the ‘tribe’ or family. Older people usually stand for our parents even though the dream figures may bear no relationship to them. Pirate Dreaming of a pirate suggests there is an aspcct of our personality which destroys our emotional connection with the soul.
Prince (Hero) and Princess (also see Archetypes) These figures represent those parts of ourselves, or others, who exist by right; that is, those aspects which have been brought into conscious awareness and authority. As the hero has taken responsibility for his own journey, so the prince and princess take responsibility for the lives they live.
Queen (Not only the present queen, but a historical one such as Victoria) This usually represents the dreamer’s relationship with his mother, and thus with women in authority generally. Stranger (also see Shadow in Introduction) The stranger in a dream represents that part of ourselves which we do not vet know. There may be a feeling of awe or of conflict with which we need to deal before we can progress. Twins (including the mirror- image of a figure in the dream) (also see individual entry) Twins in a dream can suggest two sides of our personality.
If they arc identical we may be recognising our ambiguous feelings about ourselves.
If not identical they suggest the inner self and the outer reality. Twins may also signify our projections into the world of our own personalities. Woman In a woman’s dream a woman, such as a family member or friend is often representative of an aspect of her own personality, but often one she has not yet fully understood. In a man’s dream such a figure denotes his relationship with his own feelings and with his intuitive side. It mav also show how he relates lo his female partner.
A goddess or holy woman signifies the highest potential for working with the Greater Good that the dreamer has. Oriental women appearing in dreams usually suggest the mysterious side of the feminine. In a man’s dream such a figure will often reveal his attitude to sexuality; while in a woman’s dream it will reveal more about her own intuitive transcendent jx)wers.
An older woman mostly represents the dreamer’s mother and her sense of inherited wisdom.
An unknown woman in dreams will represent either the Anima (see Introduction) in a man’s dream, or the Shadow (see Introduction) in a woman’s. It is the qualities of surprise and intrigue which allow us to explore further the relevance of that figure. We can gain a great deal of information bccausc the figure is unknown.
3- When we begin to work spiritually with ourselves, there is a gargantuan store of knowledge which can be worked on, and with, to enhance our lives.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
A huge crowd suggests information that we may not be able to handle.
An individual from the past could link us with that period of our lives and with specific memories that may, or may not, be painful.
A neighbour or close associate usually appears in a dream to highlight a particular quality in that person. Somebody else’s mother, father, brother etc. May suggest our own family members or possibly jealousy.
To interpret why we have adopted a particular role we would need to examine their lifestyle. When there is some conflict within us between love and aversion for a particular person we are more likely to dream about them. Often in dreams there may be a noted difference between two of the participants to illustrate two sides of our thoughts and feelings. Similarly there may be a marked contrast in the way we handle a situation with two of our dream characters. It is as though two options are being practised. As with composite animals, the composite character will emphasize one characteristic or quality in order to draw our attention to it.
The fact that it is not just one person emphasizes the many-faceted human being. Every character who appears in our dreams is a reflection of a facet or part of our own personality and can often be better understood if we put ourselves in the position of that person.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
The prices on objects in our dreams reflect their value to us.
For example, seeing someone buy an expensive designer outfit instead of an identical brand-name one illustrates a superficial personality, someone interested only in impressing others and looking more important. Or, paying an exorbitant price on a heart-shaped pillow could represent having given too much of yourself to a relationship, or valuing love as precious.... The Language of Dreams
Each profession illustrated in dreams carries specific meaning, commonly the attribute that first comes to mind when you think of that profession.
For example, an astronaut is adventurous and highly trained, bartenders are thought to be good listeners, and secretaries exhibit strong organizational skills. So, dreaming of all three of these individuals together might indicate the need to hone your personal listening skills for greater effectiveness.
Note that if you cannot find the specific profession dreamt of in the main listings, review that professions central goal, location, and / or tools for possible meaning.
For example, look up nurse under healing or women, and construction workers under hammer, nails, or tools.... The Language of Dreams
Modern humans face the difficulty of developing an independent identity and yet keeping a working relationship with the primitive, thus maturing/bringing the primitive into an efficiently functioning connection with the present social world.
The survival urge at base might be kill or run, but it can be transformed into the ambition which helps, say, an opera singer meet difficulties in her career. Also the very primitive has in itself the promise of the future, of new aspects of human consciousness. This is because many extraordinary human functions take place unconsciously, in the realm of the reptile/spine/lower brain/right brain/autonomic nervous system. Being unconscious they are less amenable to our waking will. They function fully only in some fight or flight, survive or die, situations.
If we begin to touch these with consciousness, as we do in dreams, new functions are added to consciousness. See The dream as extended perception under ESP and dreams.
Unconscious life or growth processes which can lead to transformation (the frog/prince story); the growth from childhood vulnerability—tadpole to frog—therefore the process of life in general and its wisdom. Frogspawn: sperm, ovum and reproduction.
Example: ‘My wife and I saw a large lizard on the wall near a banana. It was there to catch the flies.
The lizard turned so it was facing away from us—head up the wall. We then were able to see it had large wing-like flaps which spread from its head in an invened V. With amazement we saw on these flaps wonderful pictures, in full colour, of birds. In fleeting thoughts I wondered if the bird “paintings” were to attract birds, or were some form of camouflage. But I felt cenain the lizard had “painted” these wonderful pictures with its unconscious an’ (David T). Generally, a lizard is very much the same as a snake, except it lacks the poisonous aspect; awareness of unconscious or instinctive drives, functions and processes. In the above dream, the banana is both David’s pleasure and sexuality, while the lizard is the creativity emerging from his unconscious through the attention he is giving it—he is looking at the lizard. Chameleon: either one’s desire to fade into the background, or adaptability.
Example: A small snake about a foot long had dropped down my shirt neck. I could feel it on the left side of my neck Fearing it was poisonous and might bite me, I moved very slowly. At one point I put my head on the ground, hoping the snake would wish to crawl away. It did not. Then I was near an elephant I loved, and hoped it would remove the snake. It did not. Even as I slept I felt the snake was an expression of the attitude of not shanng myself with anybody except family’ (David T).
For months prior to the above dream David had experienced a great deal of neck pain. After discussing the dream with his wife, and realising much of his thinking and feeling was intumed, the pain disappeared. So the snake was both poisoner’ and ‘healer’. This may be why snakes are used as a symbol of the medical profession.
The Hebrew word for the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Nahash, which can be translated as blind impulsive urges, such as our instinctive drives.
So, generally, snakes depict many different things, but usually the life process.
If we think of a person’s life from conception to death, we see a flowing moving event, similar in many ways to the speeded up films of a seed growing into a plant, flowering and dying.
The snake depicts the force or energy behind that movement and purposiveness—the force of life which leads us both to growth and death. That energy —like electricity in a house, which can be heat, power, sound and vision—lies behind all our functions. So in some dreams the snake expresses our sexuality, in others the rising of that energy up our body to express itself as digestion—the intestinal snake; as the healing or poisonous energy of our emotions and thoughts.
Example: ‘I was in a huge cathedral, the mother church. I wanted to go to the toilet/gents. As I held my penis to urinate it became a snake and reached down to the urinal to drink. It was thirsty. I struggled with it, pulling it away from the unclean liquid. Still holding it I walked to a basin and gave it pure water to drink’ (Bill A). Here the connection between snake and sexuality is obvious. But the snake is not just Bill’s penis. It is the direction his sexual urges take him he is struggling with. Out of his sense of love and connection with life— the cathedral—he wants to lift his drive towards something which will not leave him with a sense of uncleanness. Snake in connection with any hole: sexual relatedness.
A snake biting us: unconscious worries about our health, frustrated sexual impulse, our emotions turned against ourselves as internalised aggression, can poison us and cause very real illness, so may be shown as the biting snake. Snake biting others: biting remarks, a poisonous tongue.
A crowned or light-encircled snake: when our ‘blind impulses’ or instinctive or unconscious urges and functions are in some measure integrated with our conscious will and insight, this is seen as the crowned snake or even winged snake. It shows real self awareness and maturity. In coils of snake: feeling bound in the ‘blind impulses’ or habitual drives and feeling responses. Instincts and habits can be redirected, as illustrated by Hercules’ labours. Snake with tail in mouth: sense of the circle of life—binh, growth, reproduction, aging, death, rebirth; the eternal. Snake coiling up tree, pole, cross: the blind instinctive forces of life emerging into conscious experience—in other words the essence of human expenence with its involvement in pain, pleasure, time and eternity; the process of personal growth or evolution; healing because personal growth often moves us beyond old attitudes or situations which led to inner tension or even sickness. Snake in grass: sense or intuition of talk behind your back; danger, sneakiness. Colours: green, our internal life process directed, perhaps through satisfied feelings, love and creativity, into a healing process or one which leads to our personal growth and positive change; white, eternal aspect of our life process, or becoming conscious of it; blue, religious feelings or coldness in relations. See colours; anxiety dreams; death and rebirth, the self under archetypes; dreams and Ancient Greece; cellar under house, buildings; hypnosis and dreams; jungle; paralysis. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: My dream is of an eternal journey, which takes a road that turns into a circle or maze that is endless. Behind me is a large fat young man with blond hair. I can’t get along and he catches up with me, I say “We can’t go back we must struggle on.” He takes my wrist. I am trying to hide my fear of him and the pathway, when I wake up’ (JP). JP feels her life is something she must ‘struggle on’ with, but it is an endless circle of confusion in which she gets nowhere. This illustrates the road as a symbol of one’s approach to life. Perhaps it is her fear which creates this sense of life for her.
Example: ‘Janet my wife was cycling beside me. We came to the end of a short road. I said we should turn left, but Janet thought we ought to turn right. We got out into the middle of the road without turning either way’ (Arthur P). Crossroads, deciding which road to take: Arthur’s dream shows crossroads as depicting our many choices. Arthur’s choice involves his attempt to include his wife’s needs.
The size, richness, cleanliness, amount of people, situation of the road shows how you inwardly see either the direction chosen, or the choices confronting you. See crossroads.
Example: ‘Walking alone along a road through a small town. I was heading for a place that a group of people, in a street parallel to mine, were also heading for.
A person from the group tried to persuade me that the right way to get to the place was along the street the group was walking. I knew the street did not matter, only the general direction.
The person was quite disturbed by my independence. It made him or her feel uncertain to have their leader apparently questioned. I felt uncertain too for a moment. Then I walked on and came to an open stretch of ground’ (Tony C). Tony’s dream shows how roads can represent different sorts of social behaviour.
To choose one’s individual ‘road’ may be difficult, because others are so sure they know best. Patterns of behaviour such as needing an authority figure to follow are also here depicted as a road.
Road behind: the past; what you have already achieved or done. Road ahead: the future; aspects of self not yet expressed; new areas of endeavour. Fork in road: something to decide; parting from accustomed way or relationship. Unpaved road, track off to one side: going off the beaten track or being sidetracked. Lane: individual direction. Known road: one’s associated feelings with that road. Running out into road: danger. Going wrong way up one way street: going against prevailing attitudes. Going out from house into road: how others see you; being in public view. Idioms: on the road to recovery, road hog; end of the road; take to the road, middle of the road; the high road to. See track. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Depth Psychology: Rust symbolizes aging, but also illustrates the destructive influence of bad experiences.
The dream might also be a reference to the transitory nature of life. Or is it perhaps about a blemish on your character?... Dreamers Dictionary
For a text such as this to appear in a dream would signify the need for encouragement and perhaps wisdom.
An elaborately illustrated text or manuscript gives us access to ancient knowledge and belief. Consult the entries for book, communication, telephone and writing for extra information.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Example: ‘Now I sit on a bed. Near me, looking at a book I am holding is a woman I know. I realise as we talk that her foot is touching mine. As my wife is on my left across the room I feel uncomfortable about this. Now the woman has her left hand on my penis.’ (Anthony B). Often directly or indirectly sexual, as in the example.
The absence of touching in otherwise intimate scene: can suggest lack of ability to rcach out or express one’s needs for contact; a passive attitude in which you want the other person, or a more automatic aspect of oneself, to take responsibility and risks.
Active avoidance of touching: as illustrated in the following example, shows feelings of anger.
The anger may be passive, but such avoidance of contact is as vicious as hitting.
The dreamer moves towards a healthier state by expressing her anger. Example: ‘My husband came over to me with his arm out to touch me but I was so angry I put my arm up to shield myself from his touch and then began to throw things at him to express how angry I was feeling’ (Susie R).
Example: The man was so superior in his attitude, and patronisingly arrogant about the lost children, that I cursed him with a touch, saying “May you lose children of your own” ‘ (Albie G). Touching is also a means of communicating our emotions or intentions. This can be love, anger, sympathy or, as with Albie. a statement which attempts to break down insularity. Albie’s dream also shows another aspect of touching, which is its use to produce a change. Albie wanted to leave a mark, make a change in the man, who is an aspect of himself. Idioms: get in touch; keep in touch; lose touch, lose one’s touch, out of touch, touch and go, touch someone, touched up, touch something off, touch upon, common touch; Midas touch; touch bottom; soft touch, touch wood. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
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
1- In dreams twins may, if known to us, simply be themselves.
If they are not known to us then they may represent two sides of one idea.
2- Often in everyday life we come up against conflicts between two oppositcs. Twins in dreams can actually represent two sides of our personality acting in harmony.
3- Duality must eventually re-unite into unity. Twins illustrate the idea that while separate at the moment, that unity can be achieved.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
A spiritual conceptualization is that while unity is the original state and splits into duality, duality must eventually reunite into unity.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
2- A village can present certain problems.
For instance, everybody knows everybody else’s business which can become trying. In this case we may be highlighting the oppression felt in close relationships. Because the pace of life is slower, we may find that the village in a dream is a symbol of relaxation.
3- Often village life was centred around the church and the pub, providing many contrasts. Spiritually, we often have to look at balancing two parts of our lives.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
A village appearing in a dream suggests a fairly tightly knit community. It may illustrate our ability to form supportive relationships and a community spirit.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Example: ‘I am in deep water, no evidence that it is the sea. I am wearing my heavy brown coat. I have no fear, no feeling of cold and I pleasantly just sink’ (Mrs B). Mrs B is in her 80s, and is preparing for death in her dreams.
The water in her dream has the feeling of being womblike, suggesting that she senses death as a return to a womblike feeling state, with possible rebirth.
Example: ‘I was then standing in front of a senes of glass water tanks. I had apparently written an article about the balance between intellect and emotion, which had presented emotion in a way to show its equal value with intellect.
The tanks had water flowing through them with a series of valves. This demonstrated the different relationships between intellect and emotion. Some tanks were beautifully clear and colourful, showing the right balance.
The unbalanced ones had weed growing in them. I was then in a lift with a young woman. We moved close together and kissed. This moved my feelings so much I felt a great melting feeling in my abdomen, and a lot of body sensation against her body’ (Anthony F). Anthony’s dream perfectly illustrates how water refers to the emotions and flowing body feelings.
Example: ‘I was in a hospital ward—maybe for children. I was there to help them. In the ward was a large oblong tank full of water. I got into the water. I realised all the sick people in the ward bathed in the water—not soap, just immersion. This produced feelings of revulsion. I felt I would take into myself their sickness. I also thought that if I drank the water it would show the patients a positive attitude towards their sickness. They would no longer be afraid, and this would be a factor in their healing’ (Anthony F). Another of Anthony’s dreams in which he is looking at how to meet anxious feelings about his health. He sees that a more positive conscious attitude heals the childhood fears.
Entering water: entering into strong feelings such as might arise in a relationship or new job, sexual relationship, emotions which might stand in one’s way—as a deep lake might, or turgid water. Deep water: the deeps of one’s inner life. Hot water: strong emotions—see example in Introduction. Electricity and water: emotions which can generate very powerful reaction to a situation, such as jealousy or anger. Idioms: make water, muddy the waters; tread water, water something down; turn on the waterworks; water under the bridge; hold water, in hot water, head above water; pour cold water onto something. See fluid; river; rain.
water creatures See fish, sea creatures. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
This next example from Oliver, a boy of six, illustrates how such fears can be met with a little courage. It is a dream which recurred several times, so his descnption is of a series of dreams: ‘1 am in my bed in my own room and I hear what I know to be a wolf wearing the son of clogs worn in Lancashire. He (the wolf) gets to a certain point, there is a bang, and I wake terrified. My mother’s reassurances do not help. Each night he gets a bit nearer before my panicky awakening.
The night comes when I know he will reach me. Sure enough he arrives, and the bedroom door—in my dream—is flung wide open with a tremendous bang. There is no one there. I never dreamt it again.’ Idioms: wolf at the door, wolf in sheep’s clothing; cry wolf, throw to the wolves. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences