An abacus, which allows you to learn about numbers and such concepts as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, is today more of a child’s toy than a scientific instrument. Though basic, it often suggests keeping some kind of a tally.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
To see a baby’s feeding bottle would indicate the need to be successfully- nurtured and helped to grow.
A bottle of alcohol would show the need to celebrate, or to curb an excess, while a medicine bottle might symbolise the need to look at one’s own health.
A broken bottle could indicate either aggression or failure.
2- Opening a bottle could mean making available resources you have, but may have suppressed.
3- A womb symbol: the principle of containing and enclosure.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
A bottle of alcohol would show the need to celebrate, or to curb an excess, while a medicine bottle might symbolize the need to look at one’s own health.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Prosperity, or something for which you would pay highly. In ancient Rome, this was one of the most highly valued imports.
The expanding of human consciousness to more universal horizons. Cinnamon was one of the spices that helped spur world exploration in humankind’s early history.
Cleansing and purification. Cinnamon has natural astringent properties.... The Language of Dreams
2- We tend to learn through play, and for a doll to appear in a dream usuallv indicates the need to relearn some childhood lessons which we have forgotten.
3- The doll can be a representation of the soul of a particular person who can be helped, or harmed, by sympathetic magic or witchcraft.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
The puppet, far from being malign, is a doll that is fashioned for a particular purpose. In dreams it serves as a focus of energy.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
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
If our mother is unable to develop a feeling contact with us, we may lack the confidence to meet our emotions.
Our maturation as a man or woman calls us in some way to meet and integrate our childhood desire, which includes sexual desire for our parent of the opposite sex, and rivalry with, mingled with dependence on, the parent of the same sex. Even a missing parent, the mother or father who died or left, is a potent figure internally.
An absence of a father’s or mother’s love or presence can be as traumatic as any powerfully injuring event. Our parents in our dreams are the image (full of power and feeling) of the formative forces and experiences of our identity. They are the ground, the soil, the bloody carnage, out of which our sense of self emerged. But our identity cannot gain any real independence while still dominated by these internal forces of our creation. Heraclitus said we cannot swim in the same river twice; attempting to repeat or compete with the vinues of a parent is a misapprehension of the true nature of our own personality. Sec individuation.
Family group: The whole background of experience which makes up our values and views. This background is made up of thousands of different obvious and subtle things such as social status; amount of books in the home; how parents feel about themselves; how they relate to life outside the family; whether dominant roles are encouraged; what nationality parents are; what unconscious social attitudes surround the family (i.e. the master and servant, or dominating employer and subservient employee, roles which typified England at the turn of the century still colour many attitudes in the UK). Simply put, it is our internal ‘family’ of urges and values; the overall feeling tone of our family life—security, domination, whatever it was, the unconscious coping patterns of the family.
Parents together in dream: our general wisdom, background of information and experience from which we make important decisions or gain intuitive insights. Parents also depict the rules and often irrational disciplinary codes we learnt as a child which still speak to us from within, and perhaps pass on to our own children without reassessment. These include everything from ‘Don’t speak with your mouth full’ to the unspoken Masturbation is unholy/
Dead parent in dream: the beginning of independence from parent; repression of the emotions they engendered in us, our emotions regarding our parent’s death; feelings about death. See dead people dreams.
Example: ‘My father was giving me and another woman some medicine. Something was being forced on us. I started to hit and punch him in the genitals and, when he was facing the other way, in the backside. I seemed to be just the right height to do this and I had a very angry feeling that I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me’ (Audrey V). Hurting, burying , killing parent: in the example Audrey’s height shows her as a child. She is releasing anger about the attitudes and situations her father forced down her throat’.
To be free of the introverted restraints and ready made values gathered from our parents, at some time in our growth we may kill or bury them. Although some people arc shocked by such dreams, they are healthy signs of emerging independence. Old myths of killing the chief so the tribe can have a new leader depict this process. When father or mother are dead’ in our dream, we can inherit all the power gained from whatever was positive in the relationship. Seeing parent drunk, incapable, foolish: another means of gaining independence from internalised values or stultifying drives to ‘honour’ or admire father or mother.
Generally positive: authority; ability in the external world; family or social conventions, how we relate to the ‘doer’ in us; physical strength and protectiveness; the will to be. Generally negative: introvened aggression; dominance by fear of other people’s authority, uncaring sexual drive; feelings of not being loved. See father under archetypes; man.
Generally positive: feelings; ability in relationships; uniting spirit of family; how we relate to feelings in a relationship; strength to give of self and nunure; intuition. Generally negative: will based on irrational likes and dislikes; opinion generated by anxiety or jealousy; domination by emotions; lack of bonding. See Great Mother under archetypes; woman.
siblings and children
Whether brother, sister, daughter or son (see below in this entry), the most general use in our dreams is to depict an aspect of ourself. However it is almost universal to believe with great conviction that our dream is about the person in our dream.
A mother seeing a son die in her dream often goes through great anxiety because there lurks in her a sense of it being a precognitive dream. Vinually everyone at some time dreams about members of their close family dying or being killed—lots of mothers dream this, and their children live till 80. But occasionally children do die. Is the dream then precognitive, or is it coincidental?
Example: ‘I was walking along a rather dusty track carrying my younger son who would be around 10 months old and I was feeling rather tired. Suddenly I met a man who stopped to talk to me and commented I looked rather weary carrying the baby. He said, come with me and look over this wall and you will see such a sight that will gladden your hean. By standing on tiptoe I could just see over the wall and the sight I beheld took my breath away, it was so beautiful’ (Johan E). Here Johan’s son depicts the weight of responsibility she feels.
The beauty is her own resources of strength in motherhood.
Example: ‘I have just given binh to twins and they lay on the floor. We started to care for them. My mother took them to the doctor for his advice while I went to see my married sister who has two children. I met them there with the twins so that my sister could give her opinion on the babies. She had recent experience of childbirth and could tell us if the babies were good specimens’ (Miss E). Miss E has no children of her own, so she is uncertain of her own capacity to have and raise them.
The mother depicts her own mothering abilities, which seek confidence from an authority figure. Her sister is her own nearest experience of childbirth. So out of what she has leamt from observing her sister, she is assessing her own qualities.
Most often the family member depicts the qualities in ourself which we feel are part of the character of the person dreamt of. So the passionate one in the family would depict our passions; the intellectual one our own mind, the anxious one our hesitations. Use the questions in dream processing to define this. Having done this, can you observe what the dream depicts? For Miss E it would be questions regarding motherhood.
Example: ‘My daughter told me the only positive part of my work in a helping profession was with a woman who had turned from it to religion. There followed a long and powerful interchange in which I said she had as yet no mind of her own. She was dominated by her mother’s anxiety, and the medical rationalism of her training. When she had dared to step beyond her own anxieties to integrate the lessons of her own life, then I would listen again’ (Desmond S). Desmond was divorced and struggling with his own pain and guilt about leaving his daughter while still a teenager. His daughter depicts this conflict between his feelings and his rational self.
Oneself, or the denied pan of self, meeting whatever is met in the dream; feelings of kinship; sense of rivalry, feelings about a brother. Woman’s dream, younger brother: outgoing but vulnerable self; rivalry. Woman’s dream, older brother, authority, one’s capable outgoing self. Man’s dream, younger brother: vulnerable feelings; oneself at that age. Man’s dream, older brother: experience; authority, feelings of persecution. See boy; man. Idioms: big brother, brothers in arms; blood brother.
Feeling self, or the lesser expressed pan of self; rival; feelings about a sister. Man s dream, younger sister: vulnerable emotions; rival for love of parents. Man’s dream, older sister: capable feeling self; feelings of persecution. Woman’s dream , younger sister: one’s experiences at that age; vulnerable feelings, rival for parents’ love. Woman’s dream, older sister: capable feeling self. See girl; woman. Idioms: sisters under the skin.
One’s relationship with the daughter, the daughter, or son, can represent what happens in a marnage between husband and wife.
The child is what has arisen from the bonding, however momentary, of two people. In dreams the child therefore is sometimes used to depict how the relationship is faring. So a sick daughter might show the feelings in the relationship being ‘ill’.
In a mother’s dream: often feelings of suppon or companionship; feelings of not being alone in the area of emotional bonds; or one’s feeling area; responsibility; the ties of parenthood; oneself at that age; one’s own urges, difficulties, hurts, which may still be operative. Also a comparison; the mother might see the daughter’s youth, opportunity, and have feelings about that. So the daughter may represent her sense of lost opportunity and youth—even envy, competition in getting the desire of a man.
In a father’s dream: one’s feeling self, the feelings or difficulties about the relationship with daughter; the struggles one’s own feeling self goes through to mature, how the sexual feelings are dealt with in a family—occurs especially when she starts courting; sister, parental responsibility; one’s wife when younger. Someone else’s daughter: feelings about one’s own daughter, feelings about younger women.
Example: 1 am standing outside a supermarket with heavy bags wearing my mac, though the sun is warm. My daughter and two friends are playing music and everyone stops to listen. I start to wnte a song for them, but they pack up and go on a bus whilst I am still writing. I am left alone at the bus stop with my heavy burden of shopping, feeling incredibly unwanted’ (Mrs F). Such dreams of the daughter becoming independent can occur as soon as the child starts school, persisting until the mother finds a new attitude. See child; woman.
Extroverted self; desires connected with self expression; feelings connected with son; parental responsibility. Mother’s dream: one’s ambitions; potential, hopes; your marriage—see example.
Example: ‘My wife and I were walking out in the countryside. I looked around suddenly and saw my four-year-old son near a hole. He fell in and I raced back.
The hole was narrow but very deep. I could see water at the bottom but no sign of my son. I didn’t know whether I could leap down and save him or whether it was too narrow. Then somehow he was out. His heart was just beating’ (Richard H). Richard had argued with his wife in such a way he feared the stability of their marriage.
The son represents what they had created together —a child, a marriage.
The marriage survived, as his dream self-assessed it would. Death of son: a mother often kills off her son in her dreams as she sees him make moves towards independence. This can happen from the first day of school on. Example: T am on a very high bridge over an extremely wide and deep river with steep banks. My son does a double somersault over the railing, falls into the water. I think he is showing off. I am unable to save him. My son is 18 and has staned a structural engineering course at university’ (Joyce H).
The showing-off suggests Joyce feels her son is doing daring things with his life, and the relationship in its old form dies.
Father’s dream: yourself at that age; what qualities you see in your son; your own possibilities, envy of youth and opportunities; nvalry. Someone else’s son: feelings about one’s own son; feelings about younger men. Dead son: see dead people dreams. Sec boy. See also man; first example in falling.
Depicts how you see the relationship with your wife; your relationship with your sexuality; sexual and emotional desire and pleasure; how you relate to intimacy in body, mind and spirit; your feeling, intuitive nature; habits of relationship developed with one’s mother. Example: ‘My wife was trying to get me out of her life, and out of the house. It was as if she were attempting to push me into a feeling of tension and rejection which would make me leave’ (David P). Out of childhood experience, in which his mother repeatedly threatened to give him away, David was finding it difficult to commit himself emotionally to his wife. In the dream his wife represents these feelings, so he sees her—his anxiety and pain —pushing him to break up the marriage.
Example: I was standing with my wife at the end of the garden of the house I lived in as a child. We were looking over the fence to the rising meadow beyond. She said, “Look at that bird in the tree there.” On our right, in a small ash tree, an enormous owl perched. It was at least 4 feet high, the biggest bird I have ever seen. I recognised it in the dream as a greater hooded owl, which was not native to our country. I was so excited I ran into the house to telephone someone— zoo, police, newspapers?—to tell them about the bird. I cannot remember contacting anyone, but felt the bird was there in some way to meet me. Also it was hungry and looking at next door’s bantams. So I wondered what I could give it to eat’ (David P). This shows the positive side of David’s relationship with his wife.
The garden is the boundanes which arose from his childhood. But he is growing—the garden— and looking beyond them in connection with his marnage.
The amazing bird is the deep feelings he touches because he has a mate, like any other natural creature. Out of his mating he becomes aware of drives to build a home—nest—and give himself to his mate. These are natural and are a pan of his unconscious or spiritual nature.
The bird is a hooded owl which can see in the dark—the unconscious—because David is realising things he had never seen’ before.
The bird is masked, meaning putting the ego aside, which is a necessity for touching the wider dimension of life or the unconscious.
The hunger of the bird shows an intimate detail of what David has learnt from his wife. She had been working as a waitress and bringing home pieces of chicken for him, saved from her own meal.
The spiritual side of David wants to develop this quality of selfgiving, which his wife’s love had helped him see.
Example: ‘1 have been a widower since January 1979, having married in October 1941. I continually dream I am in London where my business was. I am walking the streets with my wife and suddenly I see her ahead of me in a yellow raincoat and hat. I call her and try to catch up, but suddenly she vanishes. In spite of calling and searching I cannot find her’ (Douglas G). This is a common theme dreamt by widowers or widows, disappearance of spouse. Douglas has ‘lost’ his wife. His dream shows the paradox of love after death of panner. His love is still there, years after her death. He is possibly still trying to love his wife as an externally real person. so his feelings can make no connection.
To meet what actually remains of his wife, within himself, he would need to face his own internal grieving, emotions, and all the feelings, memories, angers and beauty which make up the living remains of his wife within him. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If you dream that you help someone, or someone asked you for help, it means that you will succeed without needing help from anyone.... My Dream Interpretation
The area of our being we refer to when we say T, ‘me’ or ‘myself’ is our conscious self awareness, our sense of self, which Jung calls the ego.
The autobiography of Helen Keller has helped in understanding what may be the difference between an animal and a human being with self awareness. Helen, made blind and deaf through illness before learning to speak, lived in a dark unconscious world lacking any self awareness until the age of seven, when she was taught the deaf and dumb language. At first her teacher’s fingers touching hers were simply a tactile but meaningless experience. Then, perhaps because she had leamt one word prior to her illness, meaning flooded her darkness. She tells us that ‘nothingness was blotted out’. Through language she became a person and developed a sense of self, whereas before there had been nothing.
The journey of individuation is not only that of becoming a person, but also expanding the boundaries of what we can allow ourselves to experience as an ego. As we can see from an observation of our dreams, but mostly from an extensive exploration of their feeling content, our ego is conscious of only a small area of experience.
The fundamental life processes in one’s being may be barely felt. In many contemporary women the reproductive drive is talked about as something which has few connections with their personality. Few people have a living, feeling contact with their early childhood, in fact many people doubt that such can exist. Because of these factors the ego can be said to exist as an encapsulated small area of consciousness, surrounded by huge areas of experience it is unaware of.
In a different degree, there exists in each of us a drive towards the growth of our personal awareness, towards greater power, greater inclusion of the areas of our being which remain unconscious.
A paradox exists here, because the urge is towards integration, yet individuation is also the process of a greater self differentiation. This is a spontaneous process, just as is the growth of a tree from a seed (the tree in dreams often represents this process of self becoming), but our personal responsibility for our process of growth is necessary at a certain point, to make conscious what is unconscious.
Because dreams are constantly expressing aspects of individuation it is wonh knowing the main areas of the process. Without sticking rigidly to Jungian concepts—which see individuation as occurring from mid-life onwards in a few individuals—aspects of some of the main stages are as follows. Early babyhood—the emergence of self consciousness through the deeply biological, sensual and gestural levels of experience, all deeply felt; the felt responses to emerging from a non-changing world in the womb to the need to reach out for food and make other needs known. Learning how to deal with a changing environment, and otherness in terms of relationship.
Childhood—learning the basics of motor, verbal and social skills, the very basics of physical and emotional independence. One faces here the finding of strength to escape the domination of mother—difficult, because one is dependent upon the parent in a very real way—and develop in the psyche a satisfying sexual connection. In dream imagery this means, for the male, an easy sexual relationship with female dream figures, and a means of dealing with male figures in competition (father); see sex in dreams.
The dream of the mystic beautiful woman precedes this, a female figure one blends with in an idealistic sense, but who is never sexual.
The conflict with father—really the internal struggle with one’s image of father as more potent than self—when resolved becomes an acceptance of the power of one’s own manhood. Women face a slightly different situation.
The woman’s first deeply sensual and sexual love object—in a bonded parent-child relationship—was her mother. So beneath any love she may develop for a man lies the love for a woman. Whereas a man, in sexual love which takes him deeply into his psyche, may realise he is making love to his mother, a woman in the same situation may find her father or her mother as the love object. In the unconscious motivations which lead one to choose a mate, a man is influenced by the relationship he developed with his mother, a woman is influenced by both mother and father in her choice. Example: ‘I went across the road to where my mother’s sister lived. I wanted to cuddle her and touch her bare breasts, but we never seemed to manage this. There were always interruptions or blocks.’ (Sid L).
At these deep levels of fantasy and desire, one has to recognise that the first sexual experience is—hopefully—at the mother’s breast. This can be transformed into later fantasies/ dreams/desires of penis in the mouth, or penis in the vagina, or penis as breast, mouth as vagina.
For most of us, however, growth towards maturity does not present itself in such primitively sexual ways, simply because we are largely unconscious of such factors. In general we face the task of building a self image out of the influences, rich or traumatic, of our experience. We leam to stand, as well as we may, amidst the welter of impressions, ideas, influences and urges, which constitute our life and body. What we inherit, what we experience, and what we do with these creates who we are.
One of the major themes of individuation is the journey from attachment and dependence towards independence and involved detachment. This is an overall theme we mature in all our life. In its widest sense, it pertains to the fact that the origins of our consciousness lie in a non-differentiated state of being in which no sense of T exists. Out of this womb condition we gradually develop an ego and personal choice. In fact we may swing to an extreme of egotism and materialistic feelings of independence from others and nature.
The observable beginnings of this move to independence are seen as our attempt to become independent of mother and father. But dependence has many faces: we may have a dependent relationship with husband or wife; we may depend upon our work or social status for our self confidence; our youth and good looks may be the things we depend upon for our sense of who we are, our self image. With the approach of middle and old age we will then face a crisis in which an independence from these factors is necessary for our psychological equilibnum.
The Hindu practice of becoming a sanyassin, leaving behind family, name, social standing, possessions, is one way of meeting the need for inner independence from these in order to meet old age and death in a positive manner. Most people face it in a quieter, less demonstrative way. Indeed, death might be thought of as the greatest challenge to our identification with body, family, worldly status and the external world as a means to identity. We leave this world naked except for the quality of our own being.
Meeting oneself, and self responsibility, are further themes of individuation.
The fact that our waking self is a small spotlight of awareness amidst a huge ocean of unconscious life processes creates a situation of tension, certainly a threshold or ‘iron curtain’, between the known and unknown.
If one imagines the spotlighted area of self as a place one is standing in, then individuation is the process of extending the boundary of awareness, or even turning the spotlight occasionally into the surrounding gloom. In this way one places together impressions of what the light had revealed of the landscape in which we stand, clues to how we got to be where we are, and how we relate to these. But one may remain, or choose to remain, largely unconscious of self.
The iron curtain may be defended with our desire not to know what really motivates us, what past hurts and angers we hide. It may be easier for us to live with an exterior God or authority than to recognise the ultimate need for self responsibility and self cultivation.
To hide from this, humanity has developed innumerable escape routes—extenonsed religious practice, making scapegoats of other minority groups or individuals, rigid belief in a political system or philosophy, search for samadhi or God as a final solution, suicide. This aspect of our matunng process shows itself as a paradox (common to maturity) of becoming more sceptical, and yet finding a deeper sense of self in its connections with the cosmos. We lose God and the beliefs of humanity’s childhood, yet realise we are the God we searched for. This meeting with self, in all its deep feeling of connection, its uncertainty, its vulnerable power, is not without pain and joy. Example: ‘On the railway platform milled hundreds of people, all men I think. They were all ragged, thin, dirty and unshaven. I knew I was among them. I looked up at the mountainside and there was a guard watching us. He was cruel looking, oriental, in green fatigues. On his peaked cap was a red star. He carried a machine gun. Then I looked at the men around me and I realised they were all me. Each one had my face. I was looking at myself. Then I felt fear and terror’ (Anon).
The last of the great themes of individuation is summed up in William Blake’s words ‘1 must Create a System, or be en- slav’d by another Man’s; I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.’ A function observable in dreams is that of scanning our massive life experience (even a child’s life experience has millions of bits of information) to see what it says of life and survival. Out of this we unconsciously create a working philosophy of what life means to us. It is made up not only of what we have experienced and learnt in the general sense, but also from the hidden information in the cultural riches we have inherited from literature, music, art, theatre and architecture.
The word hidden” is used because the unconscious ‘reads’ the symbolised information in these sources. It is, after all, the master of imagery in dreams. But unless we expand the boundaries of our awareness we may not know this inner philosopher.
If we do get to know it through dreams, we will be amazed by the beauty of its insight into everyday human life.
In connection with this there is an urge to be, and perhaps to procreate oneself in the world. Sometimes this is experienced as a sense of frustration—that there is more of us than we have been able to express, or to make real. While physical procreation can be seen as a physical survival urge, this drive to create in other spheres may be an urge to survive death as an identity. Dreams frequently present the idea that our survival of death only comes about from what we have given of ourself to others. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: ‘Some two weeks before my dear wife died of cancer of the oesophagus, at about three a.m. in the morning, she shot up in bed screaming “No. No! No!” On questioning her she said her mother, who had died in November 1981, was trying to kill her’ (Gerry B). In this unusual dream the wife feels the approach of death, depicted by her mother. As dreams suggest, death is as much a new area of experience as adolescence was, it would have helped the dreamer if she had taken time to develop a more positive relationship with her mother as described in dream processing. See death. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If the knife is rusty, the separation will be attended with heartbreak or disgrace on the part of either.
To see meat of any kind being cut with a knife, is an augury thai some serious difficulty will be helped by heroic treatment.... The Complete Dream Book
Mystically, the ascent to a higher spiritual plane. In ancient Egypt, the ladders of Set had angels on each side that helped the Pharaohs reach heaven.
Communing with spiritual powers (note Jacob’s ladder in the Old Testament).
The quest for, or achievement of, enlightenment in Asia and China.
Going downward on: Deep introspection and internalization.
Getting dizzy on the ascent upward represents intoxicating ambitions that may lead to a hard fall.... The Language of Dreams
2- When luggage appears as a symbol in our dreams we should perhaps look at whether it is ours or someone else’s.
If ours, it signifies those views, altitudes and behaviours which we have brought through from the past.
If it is someone else’s, then we may be looking at family or global concepts which no longer are useful to us.
3- Spiritually if we are to travel ‘light’ we must often find a way of unburdening ourselves. Luggage in a dream can help us to envisage this.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
Because the unconscious produces dreams, and because dreams are imagery which give form to the otherwise abstract elements of internal human nature, there anse in some dreams shapes or patterns which depict an overall view of one s own inner condition. Carl Jung drew attention to the circle and square designs in some dreams, calling them man- dalas, and seeing them as representing the nucleus of the human identity. Although we are, in our everyday life, the magical and mysterious process of life, it is difficult for us actually to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What am I?’ with any lasting conviction.
The mysterious essence of ourself is met in dreams as a circular or square object or design, as the sun, a flower, a square garden with a round pond in the middle, or a circle with a square or quartered design within it, a circle with a cross within, a revolving or flying cross-shaped object. Classical symbols from all nations use this theme; and we can find it in the round table of King Arthur, in the centre of which the Holy Grail appeared; the healing sand paintings of the Na- vaho Indians, the zodiac; circle dances; stone circles; the Buddhist wheel of birth and death; and so on.
The circle usually symbolises a natural wholeness, our inner life as nature has shaped it.
The square shows wholeness we have helped shape by conscious cooperation with our m- neT world. There are two main reasons why one produces this theme in one’s dreams. It occurs in children or people meeting internal or external shocks, and produces a strengthening of the vulnerable identity in meeting the vaned influences they face. It arises in people who are meeting and integrating the wider life of their being existing beyond the boundaries of their usual interests, or what they allow themselves to experience.
The contact with the self is then pan of an extending of awareness into what was dark or unknown, not only in our own unconscious, but in external life. In touching the nucleus of one’s being in this way, one becomes aware in some measure of the infinite potential of one’s life. There is often an accompanying sense of existence in eternity and the many different mansions’ or dimensions of experience one has within the eternal. See the self under archetypes; shapes. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
A map that has already been used by other people would therefore indicate that we arc capable of taking a direction and learning from those people.
2- When we first set out on the journey of discovery which makes us grow into capable human beings, we often need clarification of the way that we must undertake the journey. In dreams this often appears as a map.
The direction we are being shown to take (See Position) is important; i.e. forwards, backwards, left or right and we are often helped by the idea of having a course to follow.
3- A map can obviously help us in our quest to find the spiritual way- forward. It is worth remembering that we would need to read the map ourselves, and therefore we are our own guides.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
The direction we are being shown to take is important: i.E. Forwards, backwards, left or right and we are often helped by the idea of having a course to follow.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
A smell can remind us of a particular situation or person. Odour attracts, repels, relaxes or offends, and so depicts feeling responses and intuition, and may summarise what we feel about a person or situation. Frequently in dreams a smell expresses an intuition of something rotten in one’s life if the smell is bad—rotten might mean ‘bad’ emotions felt in a relationship, a hunch or feelings about something, as in the example; memories. Good smell: good feelings; non-verbalised intimations or love.
Also explainable by the large number of idioms regarding smell. Idioms: on the right scent; throw someone off the scent; in bad/good odour with; odour of sanctity; smell a rat; smell of greasepaint; smells fishy; something stinks to high heaven; like stink; raise a stink; what you did stinks. See nose under body. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If an unwed woman sees him in her dream, it means that she will get married through a third party involvement.
The same goes for an unwed man, or it could indicate his search for a wife. Ifa suitable person sees himselfbeing a preacher in a dream, it means that he will be appointed to manage a sensitive position of authority. Ifone sees himself delivering a sermon CKllutba)in accordance with the prescribed method and prophetic traditions in a dream, it means that he will be helped at doing his work.
If he wears a white garment instead of a black one when delivering his sermon in the dream, it means that he will rise in station and that his earnings will increase.
If one sees himself sitting down rather than standing up when delivering his sermon in a dream, it means that he will preside over his companions.
If one sees himself sitting on the pulpit rather than standing up and delivering his sermon in a dream, this maybe interpreted as afflictions and disgrace.
If an unqualified person sees himself delivering a sermon during the pilgrimage season in a dream, in this case his dream may refer to someone in his company who will do so, or it may mean that he will suffer from an illness or a mishap.
If he delivers a sermon and people hearken to his words in the dream, it means that he will become a respected and obeyed guardian or leader.
If he does not finish his sermon in the dream, it means that his guardianship will not last, or that he will resign or be fired from hisjob. Ifa woman sees herself delivering a sermon and admonishing people in a dream, it means that she will gain power, or marry a strong and a righteous man.
If she sees herself giving a sermon on Friday’s congregational prayers in a dream, it means that she will be divorced, or conceive a child from adultery. (Also see Friday; Setting out)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
At its most fundamental, the human religious sense emerges out of several factors. One is the awareness of existing amidst external and internal forces of nature which cause us to feel vulnerable and perhaps powerless. Such natural processes as illness, death, growth and decay, earthquakes, the seasons, confront us with things which are often beyond our ability to control. Considenng the information and resources of the times, one of religion’s main functions in the past was the attempted control of the ‘uncertain’ factors in human life, and help towards psychological adjustment to valine rability. Religions were the first social programmes aiding the human need for help and support towards emotional, mental, physical and social health and maturity. Even if primitive, such programmes helped groups of people to gain a common identity and live in reasonable harmony together. Like a computer program which is specific to a particular business, such programmes were specific to a particular group, and so are outdated in today’s need for greater integration with other races. Religions also offered some sort of concept of and connection with the roots of being.
Example: ‘For two nights running I have dreamt the same nightmare. I am in a chapel walking down the first flight of several flights of steps when I hear loud noises behind me. I am told to run, being warned of the soldiers who ride the cavalry horses nght down the steps, and who run you over if you are in their way.
The horses are fierce and they absolutely race down the steps at the same time every day, and you literally have to lock yourself away in a nearby room which is a long way down the chapel. I ran into the room hearing the pounding of the horses’ hooves. It was a terrible pandemonium in that chapel. In the room were school children the same age as me and some perhaps younger’ (Maria H). Maria, who is 16, in describing her dream says she had recently been confronted with whether to have a sexual relationship with her boyfriend. Religion, represented by the chapel, is Maria’s way of locking out her powerful sexual urges. Many dreams show that religion, as a set of beliefs, is used as a way of avoiding anxiety in the face of life’s uncertainties.
For many people, the rigid belief system helps them to avoid uncertainty in making decisions.
Dreams also portray and define the aspect of human experience in which we sense a kinship with all life forms. This is the side of spiritual expenence through which we find a connection with the roots of our being. While awake we might see the birth of a colt and feel the wonder of emergence and newness; the struggle to stand up and survive, the miracle of physical and sexual power which can be accepted or feared. In looking in the faces of fellow men and women we see something of what they have done in this strange and painful wonder we call life. We see whether they have been crushed by the forces confronting them; whether they have become ngid; or whether, through some common miracle, they have been able to carry into their mature years the laughter, the crying, the joy, the ability to feel pain, that are the very signs of life within the human soul. These things are sensed by us all, but seldom organised into a comprehensive view of life, and an extraction of meaning. Often it is only in our dreams, through the ability the unconscious has to draw out the significance of such widely divergent expenences, that we glimpse the unity behind phenomena which is an essential of spiritual life, i.e. we all have a life, we breathe, we have come from a mother, so share a universal experience.
Example: To quote J.B. Priestley from his book Rain Upon Godshill: ‘Just before I went to Amenca, dunng the exhausting weeks when I was busy with my Time Plays, I had such a dream, and I think it left a greater impression on my mind than any experience I had ever known before, awake or in dreams, and said more to me about this life than any book I have ever read.
The setting of the dream was quite simple, and owed something to the fact that not long before my wife had visiied the lighthouse here at St Catherine’s to do some bird ringing. I dreamt I was standing at the top of a very high tower, alone, looking down upon myriads of birds all flying in one direction; every kind of bird was there, all the birds in the world. It was a noble sight, this vast aerial river of birds. But now in some mysterious fashion the gear was changed, and time speeded up, so that I saw generations of birds, watched them break their shells, flutter into life, mate, weaken, falter and die. Wings grew only to crumble; bodies were sleek, and then, in a flash bled and shrivelled; and death struck everywhere at every second. What was the use of all this blind struggle towards life, this eager trying of wings, this hurried mating, this flight and surge, all this gigantic meaningless effort? As I stared down, seeming to see every creature’s ignoble little history almost at a glance, I felt sick at heart. It would be better if not one of them, if not one of us, had been bom, if the struggle ceased for ever. I stood on my tower, still alone, desperately unhappy. But now the gear was changed again, and the time went faster still, and it was rushing by at such a rate, that the birds could not show any movement, but were like an enormous plain sown with feathers. But along this plain, flickering through the bodies themselves, there now passed a sort of white flame, trembling, dancing, then hurrying on; and as soon as I saw it I knew that this white flame was life itself, the very quintessence of being; and then it came to me, in a rocket burst of ecstasy, that nothing mattered, nothing could ever matter, because nothing else was real but this quivering and hurrying lambency of being. Birds, men and creatures not yet shaped and coloured, all were of no account except so far as this flame of life travelled through them. It left nothing to mourn over behind it, what I had thought was tragedy was mere emptiness or a shadow show; for now all real feeling was caught and purified and danced on ecstatically with the white flame of life. I had never before felt such deep happiness as I knew at the end of my dream of the tower and the birds.’
Some Nonh American Indians developed the totem out of similar processes. In one generation a person might learn to plant a seed and eat the results. Later someone might see that through fertilisation more food was produced. Still later someone found that by irrigating, still more improvement was made. No one individual was responsible for such vital cultural information, and the collective information is bigger than any one person, yet individuals can partake of it and add to it.
The totem represented such subtle realities, as it might in a modem dream; as Christ might in today’s unconscious. That older cultures venerated their collective information, and that modem humans seem largely apathetic to it, shows how our ‘religion’ has degenerated. Yet utilising the power of the unconscious to portray the subtle influences which impinge upon us, and building the information gained into our response to life, is deeply important.
With the growth of authoritarian structures in western religion, and the dominance of the rational mind over feeling values, dreams have been pushed into the background. With this change has developed the sense that visionary dreams were something which ‘superstitious* cultural groups had in the past. Yet thoroughly modem men and women still meet Christ powerfully in dreams and visions. Christ still appears to them as a living being.
The transcendental, the collective or universal enters their life just as frequently as ever before. Sometimes it enters with insistence and power, because a too rational mind has led to an unbalance in the psyche—a balance in which the waking and rational individuality is one pole, and the feeling, connective awareness of the unconscious is the other.
Although it is tempting to think of the transcendent as ethereal or unreal, the religious in dreams is nearly always a symbol for the major processes of maturing in human life. We are the hero/ine who meets the dangers of life outside the womb, who faces growth, ageing and death.
The awe and deep emotions we unconsciously feel about such heroic deeds are depicted by religious emotion.
See angel; Christ, rebirth and Devil under archetypes; church; evil; fish, sea creatures; example in whale under fish, sea creatures; heaven, hell; sweets under food; dream as spiritual guide. See also hero/ine; mass; masturbation; old; paralysis; colours; sheep under animals. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: ‘We walk around, go upstairs, and I notice a staircase leading to a room or rooms. It goes up square, about eight steps in a flight, but round and round—spiral. I am scared by them, don’t want to go up, but am curious. We move in and nobody but myself has really taken any notice of the stairs. Nobody has been up . In one dream I try to go up but the children are scared for me. They plead, ‘Don’t go up Mum, just forget them”. Then I wake. In the next dream I wait till they are asleep. Half way up_ I am terrified but have to go on. Then I wake. Next dream I got up there. Then I woke’ (Ann H). Ann’s dream theme recurs, so is important to her. In marking just some of the words we see that the ‘up’ or go up’ is important. Childhood fears hold Ann back for a while, but she dares to climb.
If we look at the entries for climb and stairs, we see they depict taking steps towards exploring the unknown, daring to explore one’s potential or opportunities.
By marking the words in this way we might also highlight certain statements otherwise hidden in the dream. Particularly watch out for the connections with the word T, such as I want, I do, I will, I have, I know, I cannot, etc. Example: ‘1 want to withdraw.’ I was full of sadness but was trying not to show it.’ ‘1 felt keyed up and ready to fight.’ Taking such statements out of context and looking for connections with everyday feelings oi situations often throws considerable light on the dream.
If what you realise is then considered in connection with the plot of the dream, the viewpoint your unconscious has on the situation might become evident.
For instance, the statement ‘I felt keyed up’ occurred within a classroom, and helped the dreamer understand the anger generated at school. See amplification; plot of the dream; the comments on dream processing in the Introduction; dream processing; postures, movement, body language; settings; symbols and dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences