Meaning of Dreams
Dream Away Stress
This shows the healing power and importance of dreams not only to improve our own well being but also for all of us, that is to accept the objective psyche that is harboured in the unconscious which, usually, first manifests itself by way of dreams.
What are the meaning of dreams and why did evolution incorporate them into a main part of our existence by planting them into sleep which takes up a third of our lives? Everybody as well as animals dream this has been proved by Rapid Eye Movement (REM) studies during sleep, even babies in the womb have REM phases! A study at University College London showed that if people were disturbed during REM sleep, they awoke tired and listless, whereas if equally woken up during sleep, not in REM mode, arose refreshed and ready for the day. Professor Carl Jung described this effect as if the psyche of a person has a quantity of energy, which acts like a waterfall pouring out to deal with the affairs of consciousness, but needing to be restored in a nightly vigil by this necessary process, ready for the next day. Whether accepted or not, the affect of dreams furtively effect the dreamer, albeit in a subtle way. However if noted and better still understood will have a more profound result.
Insomnia is basically born of an innate concern about the content of dreams because sleeplessness is caused when the conscious aspects of a person are in conflict with the natural side of the being, therefore the insomniac builds up a resistance to sleep and moreover its secret truths. Slumber besides being an evolutionary tool to rest also helps to balance our psyches. Sleep is a state where the light of ego consciousness is dimmed thus allowing the life compensating and healing aspects of nature to filter through. Nevertheless with a little effort and some honesty, if one opens up the psyche to let this hidden stuff through, this will turn an unessessary malaise into a very positive experience. Thus one can flow along with the natural world, instead of against it, therefore creating a more fulfilled existence. Insomnia is proportionately on the increase in relation to the present state of our unnatural lifestyles. This humbling procedure of opening up, will not only prevent restlessless at night but also during the day. Many people have to stay busy in order to fight off and repress these unconscious and uncomfortable happenings from bubbling through. This happens a lot to career obsessed people who usually end up destroying their relationships and or if in power the environment as well as society at large.
If one cannot remember dreams, a good place to start is by digging down to the first dream one ever had or one that struck you, or a dream that has been more or less repeated and quite often this first major dream is a clue to the destiny of the person. I met a Taoist Master in China who was unaware of my interest in interpreting dreams, certianly in a Jungian manner, although Master Wang Li Shen, fifty years of age, was very intuitive. He recounted to me that his first dream told him how to conquer his bullying as a young boy of five years of age. In the dream an old wise man in a tree gave him a staff and showed him some movements. This caused him unknowingly to take up martial arts, which he later deduced was due to the dream. When still a young man, a later dream in a Bhuddist Monastery inspired him in the way of Taoism. He is now the 17th Grand Master of the Zhenwu clan of Wudang Mountain monastery the most revered Taoist centre in China where they practice Tai Chi, Chi Kung, internal martial arts, natural health care as well as meditation. So if you can go to your first dream or even early fantasies, this can trigger the dream dialogue. Then every night say to yourself before you go to bed, “I am going to remember my dreams” and have a pen and paper by the bed ready to record them, then voilÃ .
Everybody dreams including vegans, and are usually ignored or discarded as odd nightly events including shocking nightmares which can be also just shrugged off in the morning. Whichever, they carry meaning because dreams act as an inner balancing act, compensating for outer dilemmas, for example if one feels inferior, a dream will show how great one can be, so acting as a friendly inner and truthful guide. However there are two spheres to life, a daily conscious outer existence which is balanced by the all too discarded realm where many mysteries reside as well as their answers. Dreams emanate from the other side of consciousness being the unconscious. The midaeval alchemists attributed this effect to the actions of the deus absconditus- the hidden or inner god.
Modern psychology is mainly Freudian, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, talking and drug therapies, hypnotherapy and suggestion etc. these methods are a temporary respite because they spurn the inner psyche, as well as the legendary meaning of dreams. Moreover if you do not take into account the unconscious of each person they cannot be fully and helped because you are only dealing with a part of the person. It is little known that Freud made up alot of his case histories to prove his theories because he ignored the apparently serendiptous and magical qualities of the unconscious. Nevertheless Sigmund Freud put psychology on the map being a pioneer of this new science mainly derived from Pierre Janet school of thought from the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. However Freud and his followers consider dreams to be repressed outer conflicts and gave rigid and dogmatic interpretations to dreams which has little or no lasting result.
The younger Dr Jung removed from the famous Dr Freud a neurosis as Sigmund Freud would faint and become incontinent in Jung’s presence. Thererafter Carl Jung took the whole story forward with the empirical proof that there is an unconscious and independent aspect to the human psyche which is common to everybody holding the key to healing. Jung developed a more fluid and deeper understanding of the dreamworld realising it was autonomous and objective, connecting dreams to former projected deities, religions, myths, folklore and legends etc. and went on to prove that that all stem from the creative urge of the unconscious.
Freud’s Viennese school of analytical psychology was based on the shallow experiences of bourgeious Victorians who were sexually frustrated, echoing his own odd, early sexual experiences.
Whereas Carl Jung had studied Western and Eastern philisophy, religion and alchemy as well as psychology. He discovered that each person has their own unique answer to their woes inside their own being. Thus, like in all things, the solution lies at the centre of the problem or the person. Carl Jung discovered that this answer was in this common medium that connects all of us regardless of race, age, time, space or language.
He called this the Collective Unconscious, this discovery caused the final split with Freud who denied this fact, as do many people today, hence our modern mess because most of us especially the ruling class have a major part of nature missing from their lives and are therefore unbalanced and unconscious. This onesided view leaves a void of lop sided and destructive actions. The language of the Collective Unconscious is dreams, so when we look at our dreams and work on them, we do not only heal ourselves but assist the collective as well.
Dr. Jung proved amongst other things that dreams balance out our dilemmas, healing us as they are the missing, inner part of life, and when the two parts are consciously united in the psyche, one becomes whole or healed. The word ‘heal’ is derived from the old english whole, therefore to be complete we need to incorporate the other rejected aspect. Usually the first place to experience this rejected aspect of absolute knowledge, is when we sleep. Thus sleep holds many secrets by allowing the symbolic and objective language from the unconscious to filter through because in the sleep state our egos are dimmed. In Chinese philisophy the zen masters state that when we go to sleep we do not know if we are going to wake up, hinting at this field. The unconscious is the other side to the human condition, therefore if we ignore this potential we are only partly conscious therefore unbalanced.
Dreams are in effect the expression of the magical contents of the Holy Grail or Philisopher’s Stone sought by many over the centuries, not to be found in a cave or in some remote mountain or desert but is within each person. This secret element is available every night, free of charge or danger. However this inner journey can be equally heroic as any historical quest.
Jung called this process Individuation, a path to be at one with oneself, creating an indivisible person, able to cope with the trials and tribulations of life and not to be torn apart by the serpentine path of life. Individuation
Because dreams as well as being objective, can tell us of future events as well warning us or informing us about people or the future. Dreams are personal therefore dream books are pretty useless as each person’s association is individual. Dreams besides helping us daily can also lead to an understanding of one’s destiny, being the process of individuation. Throughout history scientists, prophets, leaders and soldiers as well as the ordinary person have been influenced by dreams which have given them wise advice which if followed can lead to success. However this inner voice of nature should always be respected and utilised with dignity and integrity.
Therefore if one takes note of one’s dreams, life will have more meaning, as well as avoiding fatalistic events, thus living one’s true destiny. So this font of knowledge will improve, relationships, careers, health and help explain the meaning of life, thus alleviating the curse of stress, as well as helping the collective struggle.
Ancient and Modern Stresss
The hustle and bustle of life not only distorts the true meaning of our existence, but the very words we use to go about our daily business. Stress, is a new age curse but if we take a little trouble to look at the actual word and its derivation, one can see a hidden agenda in its meaning and why it has been adopted to describe this present condition. It seems that mankind has only replaced the past ills for new ones. In the past we struggled for survival, as hunters then gatherers, then later threatened by natural disasters, war and famine became the blights.
Although some of these have been temperorarily conquered in the Northern Hemisphere we have replaced these ills with the new ones of cold and hot wars, terrorism where peoples are fighting for their rights as well as the dramatic increase in certain illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, mental health issues all caused by the pollution of modern living.
Here I am using the word stress to encompass all the pressures that the psyche encounters in the world which can include the strain of work, a bereavement, relationships, depression, poor health, insecurity of personal or world affairs and so forth.
The Original Meaning of Stress
Stress was first used in the middle of the 16th Century in England being derived from ‘distress’ which in turn comes from the French word ‘destresse’ via ‘distrain’ from the Latin ‘districtus’ meaning divided in mind. There are many other offshoots including, ‘straits’ as in Straits of Dover, describing a narrow or restricted stretch of water, or the phrase ‘goods in distress’. A legal term from the past, still used in law today, when goods are seized or distrained to offset a debt, thus causing distress. Stress can also describe the pressure on a human being or an inanimate structure such as metal which will buckle when over stressed and so forth, but always denoting a strong onslaught of focused tension.
Stress & Health
Today, more than ever the medical profession accepts that stress is detrimental to health. It is responsible for a variety of problems including; reducing the ability of the immune function to operate efficiently, encouraging colds and more severe illnesses as well as physical trauma including cancer, bad backs, weak muscles and tendons, organ dysfunction, especially heart and lung trouble, IBS, stomach disorders, allergies, skin complaints etc.. Stress also impairs the mind to operate appropriately. These two areas of physical and mental stress are now prevalent everywhere.
However some types of stress can be positive, in manageable doses, being a necessary teacher which can fortify and stimulate development, because tension produces growth. This necessary tension has been and still is a character builder of mankind and a selective evolutionary tool in the natural world. However too much stress is a danger because the intensity becomes overbearing and destructive inwardly to an individual’s mind and body or expressed outwardly as collective disasters and war.
That Which Does Not Kill You, Makes You Stronger
A classic example of this potential, explosive tension was expressed in the work of Frederich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, whose writings were a source of disastrous inspiration for the German Nazi movement in WWII. He pointed out; “that which does not kill you makes you stronger”. Unfortunately all too literally for Nietzsche as fate took him to an early grave, jilted and torn apart by a broken heart, afflicted with venereal disease. He became split or stressed by his genius which he thought was his own. Whereas it came from the unconscious.
When stress becomes too much for a person, it becomes destructive, however disguised whether on a personal plane or in society as a whole. This syndrome can lead to selfish hedonism which covers up the fear, provoking a form of self deception, in order to justify the ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude, all too prevalent today. In short, individualism which is one of the mainstays for global injustice and environmental destruction. This short sighted view not only blindly ignores the plight of the less fortunate, but above all, maintains a disparaging blind spot towards nature. These synthetic and superficial forms of compensation can only end in disaster for the individual and society. There is a golden rule that if one tucks away an uncomfortable truth in the dark recesses of the psyche, it can only manifest itself in a negative manner in the world of light. This rule applies to both the individual or the collective. Thus we meet our darkness as fate in a disastrous manner, whether as personal or collective crisis.
Reflection is Enlightment.
There is a simple solution that will not only relieve the individual but help the collective as well. If one takes a fresh look at the whole situation, the solution for this divisive stress is to be found at the core of the predicament. Let us return to the original meaning of the word to ‘narrow’ or further back ‘divided in mind’. One can see that the root meaning of the word, is a split. This division fractures the ability of the person to handle dilemmas in a balanced fashion. Surprisingly with the best will in the world, positive thinking will and can never work because it is one sided. For, if the negative is not accepted and realised, this dark element will control the situation in the end, by way of projection. The unconscious always projects through the individual, until reflected or caught with the mind by honest self-analysis. Therefore all this modern stress is really a manifestation of the individual or collective strife engendered out of unconscious projections.
Stress will never be relieved by modern science, even though it can mechanically highlight relative areas of the brain, with the aid of ‘scanners’ which pinpoint centres of activity caused by stressful events. However the CAT scan does not explain the emotional differences between people and how each person reacts differently to life and its problems.
Brain, Tool or Centre?
A scan can identify the electrical activity of the all-important, hypothalamus as well. A region of the forebrain, which amongst many of its functions, stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to produce adrenocorticotrophic hormone, ACTH. This hormone, in turn triggers the production of adrenaline, the main ‘stress’ hormone. But this science does not show why one person will be scared and produce adrenaline for one reason, yet another person will have no reaction.
Also there are the medical stimuli, including drugs, which turn off or subdue certain areas of the brain’s activity, but this technology does not address the difficulties of life, character and so forth. The medication merely numbing the brain as an expedient method of subduing the symptoms. These immediate quick fixes do not address the whole person, often leaving the patient with disagreeable, long-term side effects.
It is obvious that stress effects people in many differing ways, some people thriving on it, in a sort of masochistic fashion. Whereas some are split apart, whichever the case, both are detrimental in the long run. The question is where does one look for the answer? Doctors, therapists and the media are full of any number of superficial solutions including, exercise, meditation, diet, holidays, alcohol, drugs, counselling, change of lifestyle and so forth, all having varying different levels of superficial success
The method I will lay out is suitable for any person who is willing to take a bit of trouble in examining themselves. This will not only resolve the conflict, but also give true meaning to life itself, because the solution always lies at the heart of the problem. The problem is how to access this centre. Initially this can be awkward because although the dilemma holds the key, it is hidden behind a blind spot. Even though this blind spot can be very evident to enemies who can exploit this weakness. On the other hand, the well meaning, but the all too often unwanted advice of family and friends is often ignored. However the key to unlocking this mystery is available to all, completely free every night, in dreams. Because dreams are personal, they can be more poignant than any other stimulus. (See Time for A Change).
Carl Jung and Stress
The first person to uncover this dream factor, in an empirical way, was the Swiss analytical psychologist, Professor Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). He discovered this remedy, conclusively at the beginning of this century, after his exhaustive studies of the mind, the psyche, dreams, history, religion, philosophy, mythology, folklore, Western and Eastern alchemy. Please refer to Liber Novus/Red Book links on the web and on my website.
Historically, Jung has often been wrongly associated with the Freudian school of thought. Although Sigmund Freud was an early mentor for Dr Jung, he soon parted Freud’s circle because the young Swiss doctor found Freud too rigid in his view of the psyche and dream interpretation. Jung realised that Freud, although a pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis, could not address the deeper, mysterious realms of the human being, where religion and science meet. Also the psyche’s ability to ‘see’ into the future or contact other people at great distances and so forth, plus containing the meaning of life.
Jung’s research proved how buried in each psyche there is an objective autonomous core, which can guide any person, willing to look inwards. This not only heals any split, but also gives a true meaning to human existence. He determined that there was a totally independent and personal arbiter in the dark areas of the psyche. He called this area of the psyche, the unconscious because one is not aware of its contents. He proved that dreams are the method of communication between the two worlds. Because dreams are expressing unconscious contents, their language has to be symbolic. This language of symbols is necessary in order to bypass the blind spot, expressing allegories from religion, poetry, ancient myths, folklore and fairytales. Thus dreams point to the missing ‘half’ of a person, acting as a balancing and compensating arena.
Stress and The Unconscious
There are two main levels of the unconscious, firstly a personal unconscious and deeper down in the psyche is to be found the collective unconscious, where the archetypes dwell.
The personal unconscious is where we tuck all personal events pleasant or repressed. This area nowadays is fairly easily aired with a little self-honesty, by education and open discussions with a partner and friends. It also contains archaic remnants of survival techniques which evolved in order that our primitive ancestors could perpetuate their species, before collective societies. This explains the selfish gene syndrome. Unfortunately these methods of survival have developed, misguidedly, into the new dilemmas of the desire for power, opportunism, materiality, greed, selfishness, jealousy and so forth. However these initial instincts were necessary to protect food, family and the tribe against the hazards of nature and rival aggressors. But now these instincts are more or less redundant, as mankind is more conscious and able to provide and protect itself in cohesive societies. But due to levels of unconsciousness still prevalent today, there are vestiges of these prehistoric instincts that display themselves today, spilling out as environmental destruction, exploitation of people and war etc..
What goes around comes around, because extremes are linked at their weakest point. It is for this reason that religion and social codes have always dictated certain rules, not only in fear of wrathful deities, but pure common sense, because by the law of opposites, the exploiters will become the exploited. Life highlights the negative results of the projected aspect of the unconscious because one will bump into them in the cycles of fate, in the trials and tribulations of existence. This is another dimension to the universal law of opposite and antagonistic tendencies of all things; also manifesting as the old Chinese code of yin and yang.
Unfortunately these old codes have to be updated, as mankind needs a new understanding of the psyche. This requires more individual consciousness, and far less collective values. I hasten to add that the ‘new’ material mantra of individualism, cannot work, as it is a distortion of becoming an individual. The advocates of individualism, being the powers that be, are manipulating the weaker and darker side of human nature. This manipulative control of the ruling elites, by way of the biased media, is a classic case of divide and conquer. Media was first exploited in this way as a very successful marketing and PR tool, by a nephew of Sigmund Freud called Edouard Bernays in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. This selfish side to human nature which everybody has, is exploited as a method of control. This negative shadow quality, is manipulated by big business and politicians of all hues especially nowadays by the new credo of the worship of the market force and the debtor society. This demonic condition and all its dire effects, is in effect a collective shadow situation. It is this aspect of the personality that is easily manipulated by the controlled propaganda of politicians and the media. This divides society into selfish fractured entities by inducing fear in order to maintain the order of power. This is the tried and tested theme of divide and conquer. However because this principle is based purely on egotistic values, which contain projected shadow criteria, it can only end negatively.
Consciousness and Enlightenment
One can, only truly, form into an individual, by developing more consciousness. This can be achieved whilst still supporting the collective, by being a responsible and decent member of society. Unfortunately, nowadays, shadow qualities are encouraged and rewarded by increased material gain. This attitude perilously ignores our fellow humans and the environment. The results of which are all too evident, and what happens when the shadow of the one and a half billion Chinese et al, is let loose on the world?
The personal unconscious is really an instinctual, upper echelon of the collective unconscious. The psyche is formed out of an archetypal structure, which is made up of four main areas. The first is the ego complex which is the centre of consciousness. It is like an island floating above a vast ocean. The meaning of the word complex has been distorted by psychology and its very relationship to this area of the psyche. It actually means, a coming together (com = cum. Lt.) of many things (plex), be it expressing the ego or a repressed set of circumstances. i.e. like the collection of factors that create an inferiority or mother complex. Complexes manifest themselves as irritable moods, tantrums, depression and uncontrolled tempers, obsessive behaviour, etc..
The ego is a fusion or complex of features and experiences formed into a cohesive entity, at around the age of seven years. This usually occurs when a child starts to identify him or herself as a person. Quite often children say ‘we’, prior to this, as they identify themselves with the egos of their parents, family or social group.
Darwin was wrong
The human ego complex is the reason that homus erectus contains a unique level of consciousness which is different from all other species. Therefore the Darwinian perspective of the ascent of man should really be replaced by the evolution of consciousness as opposed to the survival of the fittest by natural selection. Intelligence and education do not create or guarantee consciousness, on their own, although they are necessary. It is wrongly assumed that a high intellect is a higher form of consciousness. Consciousness is actually a fusion of opposites, formed from the understanding and marriage of these conflicting tendencies. The unconscious is a chaos of undifferentiated opposites, seeking the light and actual manifestation through the discernment of the ego complex. The ego has the ability to marry these inner and outer conflicting halves, if not, they are projected. There are many, so called brilliant academics who do not appreciate the all too evident opposites in nature or in the psyche. Remember the atom bomb did not grow on a tree, it came from the psyche and thus the unconscious.
This ego, being a complex of opposites, is derived from the collection of experiences, gathered together throughout life. It is born out of parental influences, racial and religious origins, environment and childhood occurrences. All this information is fused together by the inner being, the soul, of an individual. As the person grows, the ego enlarges its field of consciousness by absorbing conscious and unconscious experiences. Therefore consciousness is relative to the ability of the ego to consciously assimilate the split halves from the two spheres of the psyche.
The next layer is the shadow, so called because it is something dark that lies in the shadow of the ego, just under the threshold of consciousness. This negative side of the personality, always has a destructive tendency, when left unconscious. This is because one always projects unconscious contents out into the world of people and matter, until one reflects on these subjects in the magic mirror of the mind, thus making them conscious. This is why we meet out unconscious as fate.
In reality, individual or collective conflicts are the effects of unconscious projections battling themselves out in the material world.
A simple, yet uncomfortable way to identify one’s own shadow qualities is to look out for a person of the same sex or similar personality who has all the qualities one dislikes. This may be housed in one or several persons mirroring our own repressed and rejected traits. For example a very manipulative person who is constantly weaving selfish plans in the shadows, will clash or will accuse others of being control freaks. Often such people are petrified of snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies as they represent their own clandestine qualities. The shadow can appear in dreams in these forms. However with a little honesty, if such a shadow trait is accepted, it can become a positive aspect of the psyche and create a consciousness with great organisational abilities.
The shadow is only hostile when ignored or misunderstood. For example a bully who has a cowardly shadow can become brave, the person with feelings of inferiority can become heroic, an idler can turn his or her life around by positive activity and so forth. The personal or collective values of the unconscious are a compensation for the attitude of the ego, so whatever is on top is a compensation for what is underneath. The shadow is therefore just a distortion of survival instincts that have become the all too recognisable failings of humanity now played out as duplicity, stealing, violence, jealousy, power drives, greed, selfishness, hubris, sexual deviation and so forth. The shadow appears in dreams as the same sex as the dreamer and is often at the core of nightmares appearing as dark and menacing characters. The Christian shadow was exemplified in the New Testament as Christ’s shadow The Devil. The Shadow of Mary the Virgin Mother, has a projected shadow as the fallen woman, Mary Magdalene.
The Inner Guides – Anima and Animus
Underneath the shadow one discovers the inner guide, which if left unconscious, has random and nefarious reactions in both men and women thus disturbing consciousness, unexpectedly. However, when accepted and realised is an inspiring ally. In women it manifests itself as a masculine figure and in men, it is female. The male side of the feminine psyche is called the animus whereas the male has an anima. The animus and anima are the contra-sexual personifications of the respective psyches. In classic literature they appear as demons or witches in their negative or projected condition, but develop into inner guides with the possibility of divine inspiration, when made positively conscious. Jung realised that if the anima or the animus is projected it causes a host of love disasters. However when integrated into the consciousness is a guide into and out of the deeper reaches of the unconscious psyche. Writers, composers and artists depend on them for inspiration. For more humble folk, these inner navigators can help us through life’s ups and downs, smoothly.
In dreams the anima will be in female form, often appearing as an ideal female partner who can inspire the male and lead him into and out of the unconscious. A good example of a legendary anima figure, is Ariadne who gives Theseus a magic thread to guide him out of the tortuous maze, where he slew the Minotaur. Here the female is a benevolent anima guiding the hero in and out of the darkness so he can conquer his negative or beastly qualities. Another classic depiction, this time a negative anima, is the Gorgon Medusa with her terrifying hair of snakes whose gaze would turn any man to stone. Perseus aided by his polished shield was able to kill her, by sighting her image in the reflective qualities of this magic screen. These simple well known legends, show in story form that if the anima is kept in the dark it will have petrifying effects, but when reflected upon is helpful, creating a hero out of the man, however he must retain his feeling function which is usually ‘feminine’ in order for it to become an ispirational muse, a psychopomp or messenger to and from the Gods.
“a calming beauty of a moonlit night where the sharpness of the landscape is caressed into gentle curves by the delicate light which the Queen of the Night reflects.” That
silver disc in the night sky is the calming reflector of the sun, silently yet dutifully controlling the tidal flows of all the great waters on earth, without even uttering a whisper”.
Man’s Inner Female
In life when the female side of the male is kept in the dark or is negative the man is frozen from reality finding the big bad world only a mess that is not worth bothering with. She will keep him in dark moods, depressed, weak, spiteful, fickle, vain and above all, unattractive to real women.
The anima is conditioned by the relationship to the mother. Therefore if there was a negative experience or total lack of a mother figure, the anima will have those qualities which in later life are projected onto women who will live out the negativity, thus giving rise to bad relationships. This does not mean that this experience has to be all bad.
If the anima is brought to the fore instead of lurking around in the dark areas of the psyche playing all her tricks, she will become a good creative friend. This leads to strong positive bonds with women and life. In order that a man give birth to his anima proper, it needs the accompaniment of an open minded woman, preferably someone who understands the idea of the unconscious, i.e. she accepts that she has an animus. If not the anima and animus will battle until one or the other of the partners, just buckles under the strain. This is not healthy as the so-called winner will live in a precarious hubris, whilst the other remains lifeless. In the case of the anima of a man, it is the hen pecked husband.
All love quarrels are made of this stuff and have been in evidence all over the world since time immemorial. The anima is tied up with the sexual energy of the body and of course, is the true food of love.
If the mother imago has been too positive and possessive this can lead a man to having shallow relationships such as the Casanova attitude to women, where the man can never allow the woman in or have a deep contact with the female, because it is tied up within his anima. Also this type of mother complex can lead to a man having only one woman in his life, his mother. Thus his love and sexuality is bound up and projected onto men with similar complexes. This type of gay man is usually very creative and has a high feeling content and if openly accepted, it does not have to be detrimental to his development. Often in these gay unions, one man is more feminine than the other, creating a balance of sorts. Jung says the increase of homosexuality came to pass for a variety of reasons including overpopulation, as well as a collective need for men and women to embrace part of their shadow complex, i.e. loving and embracing the same sex. However, it is down to personal choice and it’s inevitable effects.
The anima as well as being the inner ‘inspiratrice’ and cohesive substance for relationships is the inner guide to the centre of the male psyche, the God Image of the Self, which is always masculine for the man.
Animus, Legend or Legion?
The animus in a woman, if neglected can become legion. Especially in this modern age of so-called equal opportunities. The female is now more than ever dependent on her masculine soul, in order to face the trials and tribulations of modern life. If the animus overwhelms the female ego, it can cause the woman to become frigid, dogmatic, reckless, full of empty talk or silently frozen, obstinate, dangerous and so forth. These destructive animus qualities can sublimate, the very creative and now necessary aspect of the female psyche, being the feeling function. The animus, if made conscious and realised, give women a superior advantage in the new world with the added quality of retaining all the wonderful aspects of femininity. Besides making a woman naturally confident with all the organisational abilities needed nowadays, the conscious animus will compose positive ties with the opposite sex and children. Just as for men, the animus really needs a partner of the opposite sex for it to be truly recognised. This can be achieved through a close relationship, friendship or counselling.
Animus and Bluebeard
Just as the mother shapes the anima of a man, the animus of the woman is conditioned by the father, hopefully giving her a clear concise way of ordering all the aspects of her life. But the negative animus will appear as a bluebeard type character in dreams, robbing and murdering her femininity. Bluebeard was a mythical character; the stuff fairy tales are made of, based on an actual sixth century Breton chieftain who killed his many wives. In the fairy tale he is a rich prince who lures young maidens into marriage, forbidding them to open a secret door. Just as curiosity killed the cat, a new young wife cannot resist the temptation. Therein, she finds the dead bodies of Bluebeard’s past wives. But here her curiosity saves her life as she uncovers the murderous aspect of her husband in time. Another classic example of the destructive animus is in Wuthering Heights, where Emile Bronte in her one and only book, projects her negative animus into Heathcliff. He torments Bronte’s heroine, Cathy, in a love hate relationship which continues even after her death, showing that this character is paranormal.
Whereas the male personification of the female psyche, when enlightened, will be her best friend. This is laid out in the fairy tale of beauty and the beast. When the possessed and entrapped girl, can embrace the beast, he turns into Prince Charming, the man of her dreams, and she lives happily ever after.
Most religions being patriarchal are of little use to the modern woman or at best a stepping stone. Whereas the older nature cults have more in tune with the feminine psyche where Goddesses were worshipped and served the female, so the true way is to find the Goddess within which is a major leading role for the animus.
The Self and The Centre of The Psyche
This positive animus will open the way to the spiritual union with the higher aspect of the psyche, the Self. The Self is female for the woman.
Jung pointed out that if the world was to survive, it would be due to the feminine and the feeling function. The Self for both men and women is the ultimate goal of human existence. It is the Image of God and the centre of the human psyche. The Self can only, truly be realised when the shadow and the animus or anima are made conscious. However a path towards the Self can be activated by guilt which usually occurs after a trauma. A raw encounter with the Self will be recognised, never to be forgotten, as it can be awesome. A mild manifestation of the Self can be felt sometimes as a temporary feeling of well being or oneness caused by a number of ‘happy’ occurrences such as the warmth of a family gathering, winning a prize or an event, promotion, creative endeavours and so forth. For the Saints, it was a dramatic experience, the ‘Ectstasis’ or ecstasy.
Over the centuries people have sought out this elusive spirit, in many forms even misguidedly, from the ‘spirit’ in the bottle, with alcohol being the hidden inner spirit, and also drugs. A modern sickness is the scourge of alcohol and drug abuse in many consumer societies, with some substances even being falsely labelled ‘Ecstasy’. The devastating ‘worship’ of materialism and all the other ‘ism’s’ are another area which needs correcting to ensure a secure future for subsequent generations. These are all a ‘loss of soul’ and an unhealthy projection of the archetypes of the unconscious.
The Self and Dreams
The Self appears in dreams as the same sex as the dreamer in the guise of a positive authority figure. This varies according to the consciousness of the dreamer, it can be a teacher, doctor, monk, nun, priest or even a stereotypical version of a God or a Goddess from an accepted religion or cult. Jung pronounced that when the Self spoke it was the voice of absolute knowledge, often ignored, but it is the free will of each person to listen or not.
There is a caveat as always, because along the path of self-discovery, involving the complexes and archetypes, there is a personal price. However when identified as a natural occurrence, is less disturbing than when it first appears, for if recognised it can be controlled. This is a mild depression. When the centre of consciousness absorbs these dark elements, the light of the ego is dimmed, thus causing a slight depression. This is necessary to allow the effect, and the unconscious contents to congeal into the world of light. If this is repressed, it will only appear at a later date in another fashion, usually more destructive. Jung discovered that when life has no meaning one day and meaning the next then you know you are on the Via Regia.
It is extremely dangerous to accelerate this phenomenon by artificial means such as mind-altering substances. Although in many native cultures a ritual lowering of consciousness was controlled by an experienced medicine man. Alas many of these rituals have been lost, along with the knowledge of the shamans, leaving many native cultures to fall into depravity.
Certain Indian tribes from North America sometimes ritualised this rite of passage in their ‘sweat lodges’. On occasions using mild hallucinogens to assist the transmutation from one existence to another. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the shamans of the Australian aborigines admit that the demise of the traditional life style and degeneration of their peoples, is mainly, due to the loss of the rituals that can contact the ‘dream time’.
This altered state, is not to be confused with manic depression or a psychosis which must be treated as an illness because the ego has lost control, albeit due to an unconscious eruption. In such cases the island of consciousness has been overwhelmed by the waters of the unconscious. It was not by chance that Western Alchemy used the sobriquet of Mercury for this domain with all the allusions to lead and quicksilver. These substances were not only pseudonyms for the unconscious but its potential quality of being poisonous. The curse of the genius is that he or she is precariously close to the unconscious. This can explain their bizarre, even mad and sometimes short existences because the unconscious, although a source of inspiration can overwhelm the ego, if care is not taken.
Depression- Positive or Negative is a point of view
Depression is a state where the unconscious is trying to communicate with the conscious aspect of the ego causing the ego to lose its primary function of orientating in the conscious realm. Because the ego is a complex of associations when something comes up from the unconscious its displaces the ego, which needs to be reset after this assimilation. Also when an unconscious content is assimiliated into consciousness it dims and thus disorientates the ego. Therefore if one is honest with onself and look at ones dreams, a depression is turned into a tool of strenghtening the ego by enlarging its field of consciousness.
This listless feeling of mild despair, if understood, then controlled, can be exploited to improve our well being, because when the ego potential is diminished temporarily, it opens a door allowing in these illuminating features. These factors then enlarge and strengthen the ego making it more fertile. Thus the island of consciousness grows, rather like the layers of congealed lava surging up from the depths of an oceanic volcano turning from a barren landscape into a balanced and diverse eco-culture.
After a lifetime of experience adopting the Jungian method of analysing dreams and the psyche I acknowledge, as Jung determined, there are no fixed laws to elucidate the unconscious, but there are certain archetypal components which are more or less common.
Here follows a ‘made up’, possible dream of a man, containing some basic, archetypal themes. The genders can be reversed for the feminine ego.
‘A man is walking on a sea shore where he encounters a black magician who scares the dreamer, for it appears the evil wizard wishes him harm. He flees into the sea to escape, where after nearly drowning, he is rescued by an enchanting mermaid who carries him off to a sacred island. There, she introduces our refugee to a wise old man who is a white magician, living in a cave. The helpful magician whispers secrets into his ear and gives him an amulet to control the evil magus. He notices, much to his surprise, that both magicians have the same features’.
The man is our ‘make believe’ dreamer. The seashore is the border between the unconscious, represented by the sea, and the conscious, terra firma of dry land. The black magician is the man’s dark shadow personality, which is always the same sex as the person who dreams. The shadow of an individual is easily, but painfully recognised in dreams or otherwise in life by being those characteristics which we dislike in another, usually of the same sex. The shadow, as all unconscious contents, is projected and destructive until being made conscious by reflection. People often create a false persona or public face, which acts like a mask covering the darker shadow personality, often revealed in a person’s laugh.
In this example, the mermaid (half human, half fish) being the helpful anima figure acting as a positive aspect of his feminine soul. In myths and folklore the mermaid has had two aspects on the one hand, helpful, the other, the siren luring sailors and their ships to crash on to the rocks. The anima can also be devastatingly irresistible, the ‘femme fatale’ which destroys the man because he is chasing a dark, destructive projection of his own soul. The anima is conditioned by the mother imago, so it often occurs when a man has had a negative experience of motherhood, he is easily seduced by actual sirens or indulging in impossible liaisons, also sometimes personified in the form of the unobtainable ‘She’ of Rider Haggard, such as beautiful women, actresses, pop stars etc., always, much to his chagrin.
The benevolent anima can be exemplified in myth and literature as the ‘inspiratrice’ for a man, much as the Muses were to the Ancient Greeks. These nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory), encouraged the creative spirit in man to the fore, inspiring poetry, dancing, songs, painting, the art of love and so forth.
Oedipus and Electra
The Oedipus complex is now a clichÃƒÂ© for men, where the man loves his mother incestuously, thus destroying him and her. But for women, there is also the lesser-known ‘Electra complex’ which is an unresolved conflict with the father, giving rise to pathological relationships with men. In Greek legend Electra was the mythical daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. She convinced her brother, Orestes to murder their mother and her lover, Aegisthus, in retaliation for the murder of her father, Agamemnon. Thus the conflict began for her and gave rise to the ‘Electra complex’. This type of complex can lead to poor unions with the opposite or same sex.
The wise old man for the masculine ego in this case is the Self. The Self is only the image of God or the Creator, due to its unfathomable potential, aptly summed up by St. Augustine who described God ‘As a circle which has a centre which is everywhere and a circumference which is nowhere’.
I have not delved too much into the female psyche, in print for a variety of reasons therefore I recommend the works of Dr. Marie-Louise Von Franz for further reading on the workings of the female psyche.
When trying to interpret dreams, a simple rule of thumb is to take the meaning literally first, then look at any symbolism making it an adventure of self-discovery. Remember dreams are not there to insult you but to guide and forewarn you on your path through life.
70,000 -100,000 Dreams
Dr. Marie-Louise Von Franz, who has dedicated her life to Jungian psychology, was a student and close collaborator of Jung with an exhaustive workload of dream analysis, some 70,000, and books second only to the founder himself. Quoting Von Franz from a dream seminar; “The unconscious, amongst other things, is a great jester, and from time to time it speaks right out – bang! So that as you write the dream down you explode with laughter and you know what it means. Just the other day for example, I was very ill and revolting against my illness, I dreamt that, I was at a festival to greet old soldiers coming home from military service. And as they handed in their carpenter’s tools, I saw they were terribly old. They were a hundred years old, and somebody said into my ear, “Yes, they have kept those people much too long in active service”. Now you don’t have to be an analyst to understand that dream. At once I drastically reduced my workload.”
Professor Jung stated that an oral communication in a dream must be accepted, verbatim.Also to help understand dream language here is a brief intermezzo into Jung’s four functions which are needed by the psyche to orientate itself in consciousness.
The Four Functions or Jungian Types
Briefly the four functions can be described as follows, sensation tells one that something exists, thinking informs what it is, feeling guides us emotionally, whether it is good or bad and intuition speculates its origin, past and future use. When intuition is accepted as a function it becomes a method of ‘seeing’ into the unconscious, that is ‘perceiving or sensing’ even the future because the unconscious is a time space void, where past, present and future are undifferentiated. Mediumistic people have intuition as their foremost function. Thinking and feeling are opposites balanced by the other two, sensation and intuition. For example if a man has a predominant thinking function, seconded by intuition, his two lower functions will be sensation with feeling at the lowest point. So the masculine ego has the two upper functions whilst the underlying ones are less conscious, and feminine allied to the anima. The anima will often appear in dreams using these lower functions.
The reverse will be true for a woman. If a woman has sensation and feeling as her lower functions, they will be her masculine attributes and attached to the animus. This type of psyche can make a successful entrepreneur or dealer.
Often people are attracted to each other at an unconscious level because the type is opposite and complimentary. Hence a ‘thinking’ man will be attracted to a feeling type woman and so forth.
The Fluidity of The Functions
The functions are never rigidly static, their precedence will change from time to time. This can be noticed when somebody is out of character. But, when a certain function predominates most of the time, it will fix a position for the others, determining the typology of the person. However the order of the functions can and do change during life.
Jung pointed out that thinking is the opposite function to feeling which he considered to be logical. Whereas sensation is contrary to intuition, being the illogical functions. Here illogical does not mean that they are unreasonable, but outside the norm. For example it is a well-known fact that people can dream or have accurate hunches about the future whether a businessman, dealer or a medium. If all events were purely causal it would create a dead world without inspirational criteria, especially in the arts but equally one needs a sixth sense to buy the right house. These illogical facts are just so, hence accepted logic needs redefining to incorporate this quantum field of the unconscious.
Wholeness is dependent on including all the functions into consciousness, therefore a balanced standpoint is to use all the functions equally, in a rounded way. Simplistically, take a problem, think about what it is, then use sensation to tell you what it is in material terms, thereafter intuition will determine where it came from, the past, and where it is going, into the future; lastly feeling will guide one as to whether it is good or bad thing. In this way one sees any situation or dilemma in a wholesome fashion.
Each dream is unique and personal; therefore the associations must be interpreted in this manner. However there are crossovers, so I shall lay out some general hints which are not to be taken under any circumstances, as fixed rules.
Dreams of flying indicate an inflation, one is puffed up full of air, above oneself needing to come back to an earthly reality. In a classical myth, this is clearly portrayed by the hubris of the hot headed Icarus, who disobeying the advice of his father Daedulus, flew too near to the sun causing his wax wings to melt and fall to his death.
Whereas birds can point to an overuse of the thinking function whilst ignoring the opposite and balancing earthiness of feeling. Feeling could be expressed by kind, sensitive animals or people, i.e. caring mothers, nurses and domesticated animals etc.. Dogs often represent intuition as they can nose out a problem. Our canine friends can be mystical messengers, in the tradition of Anubis and Upuaut, the Egyptian dog or jackal gods. Upuaut was also depicted as a dog-headed man attending to a ‘mummy’ or conducting the dead into the underworld Hall of Judgement. Here the passed over would have their hearts weighed to see if it still contained any guilt, this was overseen by Osiris. The statues of the scales of justice all over the world are derived from this mythological procedure.
We now live in a period of excessive flying both literal and figurative ignoring the feeling area of sensible compassion to our fellow humans, animals and the environment.
Seas, Lakes & Oceans etc.
Water normally represents the unconscious as do forests, caves, dungeons, cellars etc. representing a sort of back door to the realm of Nature. This is evident in fairytales and myths where heroes are often lost at sea, in forests and deserts only to be helped by trolls, talking animals or weird and wonderful creatures. Being immersed in water can also mean a baptism of renewal. Drowning could indicate life’s problems are too much and going over our heads.
Fire can mean a variety of things but if it is hot or burning then beware as things are getting too steamy or dangerous. Fire also cleanses and changes, bringing new life. The fire of the sun illuminates so this form of incandescence could herald more consciousness. When I first started the process of individuation, I had a dream where ‘a capuchin monk, his face obscured by his cowl, beckoned me across a threshold of hot coals in a dungeon’. A baptism by fire, which subsequently happened in the blaze of events during this process of individuation.
Earth spirits or animals, crocodiles, bulls, snakes, chthonic gods like Pan, trolls, earth dragons etc. normally relate to an unconscious instinctual side of our nature. Snakes and saurians possibly indicating a cold-blooded approach to a problem or a person, i.e. using a thinking aspect only. Bulls or Pan could demonstrate the raw sex drive of self-preservation or desire.
The Beauty and The Beast
The English patron saint and his myth, St. George and the Dragon are derived from a Christian martyr from 3rd century Palestine who was popularised by the Knight Templars on their return from the Holy Land. St. George is the hero killing off the primal shadow instincts of his power drive displayed as the dragon. This act released the damsel in distress which had been captivated by this shadow quality. This act of heroism released his anima and the Eros function of ‘feeling’. This theme was acted out by many Templars who after the fruitless and bloody crusades gave up violence. This feeling function caused them to instigate the debacle of fairer legal and justice systems, charities and hospices all over Europe. Also several became troubadours wooing maidens with their love songs and poetry. Even modern Freemasonry which is derived from the Templar tradition has to have a charitable arm.
The female equivalent is the fairytale of Beauty and the Beast. Here the charming and beautiful young maiden has to embrace the beast in order to release his handsome qualities. This echoed in Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming and the Princess and the frog.
When one dreams of a house, it can represent the psyche, the upstairs being the conscious realms and the lower floors, more towards the unconscious. Houses on fire could be danger or change. Running away is usually evading a problem. If one is being chased, the gender or type of pursuer will determine whether one is trying to escape the reality of the soul or the shadow.
Death in a dream can be an end of an old relationship or facet. A pupil of Jung’s dreamt that Jung had died. When he told it with trepidation to Dr Jung, he smiled and replied to the student that, now he could take on his own patients. Killing can denote a repression of an uncomfortable item; young children being a childish attitude. Whereas a birth or new born child indicates a rebirth of the individual or the birth of a complex, both paving the way for a new perspective on life. Often a dream of a child in ‘my house’ will represent the same age as a forgotten or repressed childhood trauma. For example if the child in the dream is three, it could be the unconscious is pointing to an incident that happened at three years of age.
Meaning of Dreams Summation
To sum up, take dreams seriously, at face value, however bizarre, work on them at a sensible pace even if the significance is not immediately apparent. The soul will have registered an effect, with the meaning, possibly surfacing years later. Dreams can be treated as a drama played on our own personal stage, so the first part can introduce the theme and the characters, the next being the story line and lastly a suspended uncomfortable event. Three being an incomplete number, requires the fourth enlightening element of consciousness to unravel the meaning being the final conscious conclusion. Always write down the dreams and take the trouble to allocate associations to the contents whenever possible.
Therefore the only real combat to stress or division is to integrate the archetypes from the unconscious into consciousness and when one is contact with the Self, one’s life will have true meaning and security. If knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is freedom.
Jung proved this fact time after time and only ignorance denies it. Obviously one has to be questioning about ‘voices’ from inside, but the ‘voices’ in a normal person will be the ever obliging, informative archetypes, as in the above situation. In the case of the very disturbed, being schizophrenics or psychotics, the ‘voices’ will be dangerous complexes which need professional analysis. Safer are the ‘voices’ and or their images from dreams.
Since antiquity from the Greek Tragedies or the Arab Story tellers throughout history including Shakespeare, the archetypes of the unconscious have been portrayed as the heroines, heroes and demons of literature. These acting as a catharsis, thus temporarily exorcising the unconscious projections from the psyche. This is what makes a play, opera, book, film or soap fascinating as it acts out these archetypes. For example Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the word still taboo for English speaking actors. It is a story of greed, thus the shadow, motivated by a manipulative female, Lady Macbeth playing the role of the dark anima. The tale resolving itself with the hero emanating from a wood, representing the redeeming function from the unconscious.
Thank you for reading meaning of dreams, please continue your journey by reading the following…