Dream Interpretation - Using Dreams to Tap the Wisdom of the Unconscious
- Created on Friday, 04 May 2012 10:17
- Written by Maria Tadd
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In many ancient societies, such as those of Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be unravelled by people with certain powers. In modern times, various schools of psychology have offered theories about the meaning of dreams.
The two most noted psychologists who strongly influenced dream interpretation were Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Messages from Our Unconscious
According to Freud, dreams always have a manifest and latent content. The manifest content is what the dream seems to be saying, with scenes and scenarios that often seem bizarre and/or nonsensical. The latent content is what the dream is really trying to say. Interpreting the latent content is where the challenge lies – what is the message from our unconscious?
By using “free association,” a technique used by Freud, the dreamer can uncover the underlying significance of the dream and its latent content. When using this technique, you start with one dream symbol and note what automatically comes to your mind first. As you repeat the process you hopefully will start to make some sense of your dream.
Jung also believed that dreams are a way of communicating with the unconscious. He believed that dream images reveal something about yourself, your relationships with others, and situations in your waking life. Furthermore, he believed that dreams guide your personal growth and help you to achieve your full potential. According toJung, one way to intepret and unlock cryptic images in your dreams was to discuss what is going on in your life. Your interpretation is more important than what someone else thinks or believes.
Jung noted that certain dream symbols occured in every culture throughout history and had the same universal meaning. He called this phenomenon the "collective unconscious".
These symbols are known as the seven archetypes.
1. The Persona is the image you present to the world in your waking life.
2. The Shadow is the rejected and repressed aspects of yourself.
3. The Anima/Animus are the female and male aspects of yourself. Everyone possesses feminine and masculine qualities.
4. The Divine Child is your true self in its purest form.
5. The Wise Old Man or Old Woman is the helper in your dreams.
6. The Great Mother is the nurturer.
7. The Trickster, as the name implies, plays jokes to keep you from taking yourself too seriously.
To learn more about Jung’s work on dreams visit: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtheory/jung.htm
Contemporary Dream Authoritarians
Today there are a number of people who have devoted much of their lives to studying dreams. Here are a few: Jeremy Taylor, Marc Ian Barasch, and Robert L. Van De Castle. They all have written books from which you can learn a great deal about dreams and how to interpret them.
Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, Jeremy Taylor – he has written several other books on dreams as well.
Healing Dreams, Marc Ian Barasch
Our Dreaming Mind, A Sweeping Exploration of the Role that Dreams Have Played in Politics, Art, Religion, and Psychology, from Ancient Civilizations to the Present Day, Robert Van De Castle, Ph.D.
One of the better dream dictionaries, “Cloud Nine”, by Sandra A. Thomson.
An Example of Dream Interpretation
March 26, 2009
Suitcases have appeared in my dreams during the last three out of four nights and am wondering what they might mean? Suit as in law suit, cases as in legal cases? And they appear the next night.
First dream there was one suitcase, which belonged to a woman, it was filled with orange high-top sneakers, and she wanted to sell them. Orange high top sneakers – wanting to get back in touch with my athletic side, wanting people to notice, wearing bright orange sneakers – sneakers, to sneak, walk quietly … In the second dream there were three suitcases which belonged to a traveler from Europe – one very large, hard shell, olive green, another cloth, black held together by a “belt” and I don’t remember what the third suitcase or travel bag looked like. I also don’t know what they contained – in the dream it seemed that some of the items were his clothes for his stay and some were gifts. Hard shell, hard exterior, protecting what is inside. Belt – holding the exterior together, wanting to prevent something from falling out, perhaps not wanting to reveal something.
Last night I had a small suitcase and a small travel bag, and I needed to pack my things as I was going to go on a trip.
Suitcases could also mean baggage, as in emotional or psychological baggage. Or luggage, having to lug something.
However, the word suitcase is the word that I have used consistently so I am not inclined to think of them as baggage or luggage.
When one packs, there usually is an order to things. In the first dream the shoes were in rows, in pairs.
In the second dream, the suitcases were not opened, but I remember thinking that because the one suitcase was so large that things inside may have shifted to the bottom. The order becomes disordered. Is there chaos in my life? Is there clutter?
In the third dream the suitcases are waiting to be packed.
When one packs one has to select what one needs – my bags were small so I could only take a few items. Although I was on a vacation, at least I think I was, so I had already decided what to take for the trip. In this case I just needed to pack my clothes that had already been selected.
When packing one sees how little one really needs.
Perhaps it is time to do a major spring cleaning.
Numbers – one suitcase – One can mean wholeness, unity, uniqueness, individuality. Orange high tops might also point to individuality. Not being part of the masses. Shoes are in pairs, the number two – many meanings.
In addition to exploring the meaning of the various numbers and how they relate to the undelying message we could also take a look at the meaning of the different colors; orange, olive green, black.
Understanding our dreams not only enrich our lives but also can provide insight into who we are and how we operate in the world, as well as help us solve problems.
This concludes our series on dreams. We hope you enjoyed it.