Jungian Dream Interpretation
Jung’s Archetypal Dreams
Archetypal dreams, also referred to as “mythic dreams”, “great dreams” or “grand dreams”, usually occur at significant times or transitional periods in your life. They often leave you with a sense of awe or that you have learned something important about yourself. Such dreams have a cosmic quality or an element of impossibility if occurred in reality. They are often extremely vivid and stay in your mind long after you had the dream.
To further help you in uncovering the meaning of your dreams, Carl Jung noted certain dream symbols that possess the same universal meaning for all men and women. He terms this phenomenon the “collective unconscious”. While dreams are personal, your personal experiences often touch on universal themes and symbols. These symbols are believed to occur in every culture throughout history. Jung identifies seven such symbols in what is referred to as the major archetypal characters:
- 1. The Persona is the image you present to the world in your waking life. It is your public mask. In the dream world, the persona is represented by the Self. The Self may or may not resemble you physically or may or may not behave as your would. For example, the persona can appear as a scarecrow or a beggar in your dream. However, you still know that this “person” in your dream is you.
- 2. The Shadow is the rejected and repressed aspects of yourself. It is the part of yourself that you do not want the world to see because it is ugly or unappealing. It symbolizes weakness, fear, or anger. In dreams, this figure is represented by a stalker, murderer, a bully, or pursuer. It can be a frightening figure or even a close friend or relative. Their appearance often makes you angry or leaves you scared. They force you to confront things that you don’t want to see or hear. You must learn to accept the shadow aspect of yourself for its messages are often for your own good, even though it may not be immediately apparent.
- 3. The Anima / Animus is the female and male aspects of yourself. Everyone possess both feminine and masculine qualities. In dreams, the anima appears as a highly feminized figure, while the animus appears as a hyper masculine form. Or you may dream that you are dressed in women’s clothing, if you are male or that you grow a beard, if you are female. These dream imageries appear depending on how well you are able to integrate the feminine and masculine qualities within yourself. They serve as a reminder that you must learn to acknowledge or express your masculine (be more assertive) or feminine side (be more emotional).
- 4. The Divine Child is your true self in its purest form. It not only symbolizes your innocence, your sense of vulnerability, and your helplessness, but it represents your aspirations and full potential. You are open to all possibilities. In the dreamscape, this figure is represented by a baby or young child.
- 5. The Wise Old Man /Woman is the helper in your dreams. Represented by a teacher, father, doctor, priest or some other unknown authority figure, they serve to offer guidance and words of wisdom. They appear in your dream to steer and guide you into the right direction.
- 6. The Great Mother is the nurturer. The Great Mother appears in your dreams as your own mother, grandmother, or other nurturing figure. She provides you with positive reassurance. Negatively, they may be depicted as a witch or old bag lady in which case they can be associated with seduction, dominance and death. This juxtaposition is rooted in the belief by some experts that the real mother who is the giver of life is also at the same time jealous of our growth away from her.
- 7. The Trickster, as the name implies, plays jokes to keep you from taking yourself too seriously. The trickster may appear in your dream when you have overreach or misjudge a situation. Or he could find himself in your dream when you are uncertain about a decision or about where you want to go in life. The trickster often makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, sometimes mocking you or exposing you to your vulnerabilities. He may take on subtle forms, sometimes even changing its shape.