“Dreams are the guiding words of the soul.” – Carl Jung
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I began my learning about symbolism, and Jungian psychology in general, because I was interested in dreams; very cliché for a Pisces! In Jungian style interp, we imagine the dream as referring to internal processes. The dream elements, including human characters, represent what we call “inner” experience, a misnomer that refers to whatever is not somehow interpreted as “out there”. Dream characters and elements are our own qualities, our own interpretations of experience, however latent or unexpressed.
Assumed in this symbolic interpretation model is that every human contains or has access to all of Creation, including all human qualities and powers, whether they have any conscious awareness of these or not. As physical beings, it’s not practical to express them all at once, or indeed in any one lifetime. The basic difficulty in this model of dream interpretation for most people is that universal alchemical rule: As within, so without. Thus many folks are sure that someone “keeps appearing in my dream” in the same way a person comes to their house, implying some sort of interference by the other.
While the physical manifestation of our dreams is more than possible, and while we can indeed be visited by these others on the physical as well as ethereal plane, for most of us in my culture the person keeps appearing in dreams because it is a way for the psyche to represent some quality of the dreamer’s experience, which is also found in the imagined dream character. The alchemical perspective teaches us that it is absolutely true that we encounter our inner experience “out there”, and vice versa. For there is not really a separate “out there”, and we are all acting together on this Earth stage.
Certainly we dream in the same sense that we think during waking hours; in sleep our minds are busy sifting, experimenting, reflecting, creating. In this sense dreams are not always of huge import, of course. However, we also dream as a way of communicating important information from other levels and realms of consciousness, from soul and higher self, for example, to the level of the personality, so that we can change things in our lives. Dreams that make a strong impression on us are in this last category, as are many repetitive dreams.
Though words appear in dreams, dream’s primary language is nonverbal and nonrational symbolism, the language of the soul. One of Jung’s excited discoveries was that symbolism is more or less universal; much of it transcends culture. The word Jung used for these universal symbols is ‘archetype’. So, we use archetypes in our dreams. The archetypes or larger symbols are “fleshed out” in our dreams by our own personal associations. Thus a particular place or person or car or food may have a particular meaning to you.
For this reason, most dream interpretations involve my asking questions of you. If I know a person well, I can often provide this sort of symbolic detail for them. There are also dreams that are very “classic”, in the same way that fairy tales are. They speak of larger issues, and the details are often moot. I am glad to answer any questions, however seemingly trivial, though. What is important in the physical is not always so in the symbolic, and vice versa.
In the Jungian school dreamers can interact with their dreams on their own in order to gain insight from them, a form of self conducted therapy. Alchemists are famously self reliant, anyway, since one of the main objectives is self-responsibility. I will share with you this method of active imagination when I do the interpretation.
Some folks actually dream in a whole different dimension; while some are classically archetypal as hell. If I cannot interpret your dreams, I will certainly let you know! If you wonder about my skills, or wondering if my healing perspective clicks for you, you have only to look at my symbolic interpretations. [Click here for my writing page], and [click here for my blog].