heaven and earthDreams provide the most interesting information for those who take the trouble to understand their symbols. The results, it is true, have little to do with such worldly concerns as buying and selling. But the meaning of life is not exhaustively explained by one’s business life, nor is the deep desire of the human heart answered by a bank account. – C.G. Jung*

 We know so much about so much these days. We are well informed on the latest discoveries of science, medicine, technology. We wonder and marvel at the recent landing on Mars and it is wondrous indeed. The Haldron Collider in Bern may well give us an idea of what came before the Big Bang. We’re connected to the larger, broader, wider world in a way as never before. May we continue to push the boundaries in all fields of our wondrous planet and beyond and find other realities of whose existence we were previously unaware.

But what of the inner world and its realities? How connected are we to our inner world? What is the potential value of the inner world? Can it help to regulate and balance our mental and physical energies? Can our dreams help us to be more of who we are or are yet to become? Is there a superior intelligence at work in the unconscious? Do we have any idea of what is of value to us when we reach a stage of thinking ‘where to from here?’ or ‘is this all there is?’ Is there meaning to be discerned in our inner world as expressed by the image of the dream? Can they hint at, or guide to a deeper meaning or an underlying unity in our lives? What can ‘this heap of broken images’ reveal to us? Can we have a dialogue with them? What can they tell us that we do not already know?

We know that dreams are spontaneous, mercurial and unpredictable. They do not seem to fit into our normal waking consciousness and at first glance we can make no sense of them. So we disregard them as nonsense, as we do just about anything that does not fit in with our world view.

Working with dreams is sacred soul work. They form a bridge between the conscious and unconscious, a bridge between world and self. They lead to greater knowledge about one’s self and therefore to the wider world and one’s place in it. They lead away from a psychic numbness that pervades today’s world and towards a sense of more wholeness within.

The unconscious – from where the dream originates –

‘What is not conscious to us is by definition unconscious and unknown to us and this is its mystery’. As Marie-Louise von Franz says in the book ‘The Way of the Dream’** …the unconscious part of our psyche is portrayed in our dreams, and by recalling the dreams, our conscious mind has the opportunity to view contents of the unconscious mind.’

In my next blog I may write about the unconscious that resides within us all and attempt to sketch this untapped reservoir. For now I will end with another quote by C.G. Jung.

When we consider the infinite variety of dreams, it is difficult to conceive that there could ever be a method or a technical procedure which would lead to an infallible result. It is, indeed, a good thing that no valid method exists, for otherwise the meaning of the dream would be limited in advance and would lose precisely that virtue which makes dreams so valuable for therapeutic purposes – their ability to offer new points of view.

So difficult is it to understand a dream that for a long time I have made it a rule, when someone tells me a dream and asks for my opinion, to say first of all to myself: ‘I have no idea what this dream means.’ After that I can begin to examine the dream.***

*C.G. Jung quoted in: The Way of the Dream. Conversations on Jungian Dream Interpretation, Mari-Louise von Franz, Fraser Boa. Shambhala. Boston & London 1994.

** same reference though Marie Louise von Franz’ own words

*** CG Jung, Collected Works, quoted in: Dreams, a Portal to the Source. Edward C. Whitmont & Sylvia Brinton Perera. Routledge. London and New York 1991.

16 Comments on – dreaming the dream onward – part 5

  1. Hi Susan,

    I love Jung’s standard comment in which he first admits that he truly does not know what the dream means, with any certainty, which is in direct contradiction to Freud’s arbitrary assignation of meaning to certain objects in dream interpretation. Jung’s approach is similar to shamanism when it says animal totems can mean different things to different people.
    I know a psychologist who is also a shamanic worker who believes that Jung’s belief in a collective unconscious was a thinly veiled disguise for past life experience, which Jung secretly believed in but was afraid to mention for fear of being ostracized in the medical/ psychological community. How true that is I don’t know.
    Certainly dreams enrich our lives. Many dreams are clairvoyant experiences, sensing something that comes to pass later. Is that our subconscious sensing the future? Who knows! Perhaps clairvoyant dreams are angelic revelation.

    As always, your article’s are stimulating and well-written, Susan; thank you for writing about it!

    • Hi Catharine, how lovely to see your response this morning thank you!
      Yes dreams do have a clairvoyancy about them in that they tell you how things actually are in the psyche and in that sense ‘things come to pass’.
      I prefer the word unconscious and the collective unconscious. I like what you say about animal totems meaning different things to different people.
      Thank you again Catherine.

  2. Beautifully and intelligently written, Susan. I, too, love the interweaving of Jung’s thoughts. Very significant post. Much to ponder. Signposts, and cell connections — excellent observations.

    Thank you for writing this.

  3. Hi,
    Excellent views on dreams combine with great quotations from Jung. I don’t dream often but when I do I take it seriously and I write my dream into my journal. There are time that I have been disturbed about a situation or I have had a feeling that something is happening that I am not aware of, and then I dream. But there are also times when I have gone to sleep not thinking about anything in particular and have been at peace with myself and I have dream. I truly believe that my dreams are signposts for my life.
    Very interesting article and I enjoyed reading, my dear.

    • Thank you very much Patricia! It’s wonderful how the dream is there to guide us and as you say, ‘signposts for my life.’ I love that statement.
      Thank you again,

  4. When I dream I feel that I’m processing something taking place in my soul. My soul tells me what I’m lacking in life or that I’m not being proactive and dealing with an issue. I wish I had a “land-line” into my soul to maintain constant communication, instead my cell connection isn’t strong enough… yet.

    • How beautifully put Gwynn thank you! Cell connection – lovely metaphor – even if not meant immediately by you! The dream is in our cells. Wish for the connection to your soul – just believing in it is already a great start. I wish for it very much for myself.

    • Thank you Susan. There is always a danger of one making one’s own wishful interpretation. It is sometimes impossible to grasp the meaning of a dream in isolation; it needs context and setting and exposition and many themes or a theme to present itself. And of course the dream does not tell us what we already know … it guides us to what we NEED to know … essential to be open-minded to our own dreams. Thank you again.

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