Archetypes in Dream

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There is a part of the unconscious that all people have access to, which Carl Jung labeled the "collective unconscious." It is a psychic storehouse for all humankind, and the contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes: patterns that are found within the unconscious of everyone. Sigmund Freud also recognized a concept of "archaic remnants," inherited rather than learned beliefs, through which our basic emotions and principles are represented. For instance, monsters are a universal means of depicting our inner fears.

Again, we point out that the first step in analyzing an archetype, as any symbol, is through personal reference. A dream of drinking wine may indeed refer to a spiritual transformation taking place within the dreamer; but it might just be a carry-over from the previous night's entertainment. Obviously, if the dreamer is a vintner, the dream may be related to work.

ANDROGYNOUS BEING (Half man/half woman) • associated with the second spiritual center (cells of Leydig); a person with a perfect balance of male/female characteristics.

ANGEL • spiritual ideals; Higher Self image; divine messenger; spiritual being employed in the service of God; or an evil being of similar powers; possible death symbol.

BULL • second sign of the Zodiac (Taurus); archetype symbol for the first spiritual center (gonads); strength; material possessions; earthy desires. "Bull-headed"; "bull market" (rising in price); "take the bull by the horns"; "shoot the bull" (insincere, boastful, idle talk).

CAVE • Great Mother symbol; hidden aspects of self; deeper levels of the mind; exploring the depths of the unconscious; storage place, living quarters, area of protection of more primitive lives; site of mystery and healing; loneliness, desolation, secrecy; hiding place when troubled; a major experience which neither light nor sun can penetrate; a state of consciousness devoid of light and truth.

CHRIST • associated with the sixth spiritual center (pineal); the embodiment of all divine ideas; the true, spiritual, Higher Self of every individual; the Supreme pattern set before us to conform to.

CROSS • an archetype symbol for the way of Christ, our ultimate overcoming of materiality through an alliance with the will of God; humankind's fall from Spirit into matter and the need to crucify or control the lower animal nature.

DEVIL • all the inner impulses that resist being led by the Higher Self.

FATHER • another name for God, the Creator; provider; protector; disciplinarian, authority figure; Great Father—represents the guiding wisdom that comes from within.

FIRE • at its worst, fire symbolizes uncontrolled temper, jealousy, vengeance, hatred, unbridled sensuality. Its opposites are the fires of love, spiritual zeal, patriotic fervor, patience and enthusiasm; in the Bible fire generally symbolizes cleansing and purification.

GOBLET/GRAIL • openmindedness, readiness, receptivity.

LIGHT • associated with the sixth spiritual center (pineal); mental understanding; spiritual illumination; insight and help from the Divine; radiant energy; the brighter side of life.

LION • fifth sign of the Zodiac (Leo); archetypal symbol for the third spiritual center (adrenals).

LOTUS • a universal symbol of perfection or the Higher Self. Because it is grown in a pool of stagnant water, it represents purity of the soul rising above the sordidness of the earth or materiality.

MANDALA • designs, usually enclosed within a circle, which represent the Higher Self. They are basically a sign of wholeness.

MARRIAGE/WEDDING • a union, or balance, of the male/female qualities; on a spiritual level a transformation taking place, bringing the lower, earthy self under the guidance of the higher, spiritual self.

MONSTER • our innermost fears, or any negative attitudes, that are seen as larger than we can handle.

MOTHER • the nurturer, comforter; source of self; overprotection.

MOUNTAIN • attainment of spiritual awareness after surmounting obstacles; lofty ideals; mastery over earthly things.

OLD MAN/OLD WOMAN • wisdom; senility; out-dated attitudes; Great Father or Great Mother images; the very old may symbolize new beginnings, depending on surrounding symbols, clothing, etc.

RAINBOW • in the Bible the rainbow was God's promise to man that the earth would never again be destroyed by water. Symbolically, this is a promise that if we keep our endocrine system (represented in the rainbow by the seven spectral colors) properly balanced, the body (earth) will not be flooded by the emotions (water).

RIVER • the course of life, the "river of life."

ROSE • love, beauty, perfection; universal symbol for Christ; full bloom of the rose—unfoldment.

SEA • (See ocean in Common Symbols)

SERPENT/SNAKE • the kundalini, the creative life force that flows through the endocrine centers in figure eights, raising one to spiritual awareness.

STAR • high, spiritual ideals; let your own light shine through.

STONE • highest and most frequent symbol of the Self (because stones are unchanging and everlasting).

SUN/SON • (See Common Symbols)

TREE • support (trunk), strength, permanence, virility, dignity; one of the most frequent symbols indicating growth and unfolding.

WATER • the element associated with the second spiritual center (cells of Leydig); spirituality (because all life begins in water); rebirth or birth-of-the-spirit, as in baptism; emotions; physical cleansing may be needed.

WEDDING • (See marriage)

WINE • in the ancient language of the biblical parables, wine represents the highest level of understanding esoteric Truth, meaning the truth that leads to our highest spiritual evolvement.

As you can see, there is an overlapping of the common symbols and the archetypes. To determine if archetypes are implied, you must take into consideration the other images in the dream, as well as the feelings and general atmosphere. A deeper understanding can be gained by studying myths and fairy tales, as well as many of the writings of Carl Jung. We also recommend The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim.

Jung added to our understanding of archetypes with constructs of his own which some people find helpful in working with dreams. You might wish to consider them, too.

ANIMA/ANIMUS • the unconscious feminine element in the male (Anima), and the unconscious masculine element in the female psyche (Animus).

PERSONA • the personality that is presented externally, usually represented by the state of one's clothes, or skin.

SELF • the higher, more spiritual aspect of the dreamer; the inner core of the total psyche.

SHADOW • the unacceptable, or unknown, aspects of the personality. It is imaged in dreams as a person of the same sex, similar but inferior to the dreamer.

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