Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night – Edgar Allan PoeImagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine, and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities – FRANK BAUM, intro, The Lost Princess of Oz.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE LIVING INSIDE ME DURING THE WEE HOURS?
I’ve always been curious about what dreams mean and lately I’ve been having some very poignant dreams so it was timely that I happened to come across this:
“IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THESE LIVELY CHARACTERS, THEY WILL LEAD YOU TOWARDS WHOLENESS, BALANCE, AND REGENERATION.”
Carder Stout came late to the world of psychotherapy: After working for Warner Brothers and then branching out to do his own thing in the film industry, he went back to school for his Masters in Psychology in 2004 (he’ll be completing his PhD in August). One of the lovely things about Carder’s approach is that his goal with all patients (he’s a licensed psychotherapist and dream analyst, who also specializes in addiction) is to ensure that they don’t need him for long—he coaches people until they can get off the couch, rather than enabling them to settle in too deeply. As part of this (and as a Jung disciple), he urges his clients to look inside. As he explains, the method “focuses on deciphering the origins of recurring thoughts, behavioral patterns, negative feelings, and images from both waking life and dreams. The object of depth psychotherapy is to shine a light on the unknown and bring the unconscious parts of psyche into consciousness. This helps to restore balance and increase levels of happiness in all aspects of life.” In short, Carder believes dreams are as real as anything else you might experience over the course of a day. Below, he explains how to decode the imagery.
All of the figures in our dreams represent aspects of ourselves. We are incredibly diverse and complicated beings. There is not one but many of us present at any given moment. You are a mother, a businesswoman, a friend, a chef, an artist, a diva, and a romantic all in the same breath. The multiple people living inside you are called personas. So, if you dream about an encounter with a painter or writer, you are dreaming about the creative energy inside your psyche. If you dream about having lunch with a group of children, you are viewing the childlike qualities that remain with you. A dream filled with angels corresponds to your most spiritual nature. You can glean hidden insight from these wonderful sleepy-time excursions with your personas. Perhaps you need to pay more attention to that childlike essence, artistic nature, or spiritual side. If you listen carefully to these lively characters, they will lead you towards wholeness, balance, and regeneration.
The symbols that we dream about have significance as well. If you dream about traveling in a red car to a house with a blue door, mind the details. What do the colors red and blue mean to you? A door may symbolize making a transition in your life. Are you on your way to enter this new phase? Think about each element in the dream and see how it resonates. Are there any feelings attached with these objects? Are they real memories from your conscious life? If so, what do they represent? We call this process unpacking the dream images. Find how the images traverse the actual lines of your life. What do you remember? Often dream images will unlock memories from our childhood. Perhaps our earliest memories. What a blessing this is when it happens. Imagine that psyche is presenting you with something you forgot even existed. Maybe it was your old crusty sled or the wisp of a feather you held in your hand. Remember, it is appearing in your dream for a reason.
THE DREAM GLOSSARY
These are common dreams that many people have during different phases in their lives.
Losing teeth: This is a dream you may have when moving through a transition in life, i.e. moving, changing jobs, breaking up, etc. It simply means that you are growing out of one phase and into the next—like a child losing his/her teeth. Embrace the change!
Falling: This is a dream you may have when you are feeling overwhelmed. Symbolically, the earth beneath your feet has vanished and you don’t feel like you have solid footing or a firm foundation in life. Maybe you have taken on too much and need to slow down. Take care of yourself.
People You Know: When you dream about people you know it is only natural to interpret this at face value. This is not the case. Remember that the people in your dreams represent aspects of yourself. If you dream about a close friend, then think about their strongest character traits. If you think of them as being humble then you are dreaming about the humble side of yourself.
Flying: This can be a wonderful or scary dream. If you’re up in the sky looking down and feeling blissful like a bird, this simply means you’re gaining a new perspective on something. If you’re afraid, then this could mean you’re holding onto old ideas and do not want to change your understanding.
Losing Someone: This is another unsettling dream. We tend to be afraid that we will never find them again. If you dream that you are losing your child it refers to ignoring those childlike qualities in yourself. So, play more and stop being such a grown-up. If you lose your spouse there may be a need for you to address the masculine or feminine energy that pulses through you. Remember, you are the perfect blend of both.
Being Chased: This can be a frightening dream, often demonstrating that some unresolved part of your personality needs attention. Perhaps you are being dishonest with someone or are ignoring something that has been difficult to admit. This is a shadow dream and whatever chases you is simply an unwanted aspect of yourself. Do not ignore this or it will get bigger. If you feel you cannot move and are stuck this means that you feel helpless and are not sure how to address the issue.
Dying/Being Killed/Death: These can be disturbing and confusing dreams. Do not worry—this is not a premonition that your death is near. These dreams refer to a part of yourself having a symbolic death. What in your life that is slowly slipping away? Is it your anger or your lust? Is it your dream of becoming an actress? When something in us dies we go through a natural grieving process so don’t be surprised if you feel sad. You are saying good-bye to something you have known. This can actually be a good thing as you may be losing something that was not serving you anymore. If it is someone who is killing you then you are probably in conflict about letting go. Your narcissistic need for adoration could be killing your hope for real intimacy.
Naked: This can be an unsettling dream. It refers to the fact that you feel unprotected and vulnerable, as though the shield you have put up is not working and people can now see the real you. This may create anxiety, because in our most natural form we are exposed for all to see. You may feel unprepared and shy to show the real you. Don’t worry, you’re beautiful.
Home: If you’re dreaming about a house, castle, or other structure you are usually dreaming about the unconscious part of yourself called psyche. There may be many rooms filled with different artifacts, furniture, or people. These may represent different times in your life, your personas, feelings, or character traits. Look around you and pay attention to what you see. Bring those wonderful elements back with you into consciousness. They will be fun to play with.
Water: Water represents the unconscious. Submerging in any body of water means exploring your psyche. Enjoy!
Keep in mind that all of these Archetypes live inside you and may appear at different moments in your life.
The Soul: This is our most authentic being and spiritual essence. In a woman’s dream the soul is represented by an attractive, alluring, confident, dashing man. In a man’s dream the soul is represented by a beautiful, kind, nurturing woman. Are you feeling centered, balanced, and whole? Will you pass that loving energy on to those around you?
The Shadow: This is the repressed and unwanted part of our personality. The things we do not like about ourselves. Our dishonesty, addictions, fear, and anger. In a woman’s dream this is represented by a frightening, strange, decrepit woman. In a man’s dream this is represented by an ugly, destructive, and undesirable man. What unwanted character trait is knocking at the door? If you try to hide, the knocks will get louder.
The Hero: Represented by a dominant male/female figure who is valiant and brave. A rescuer or a champion. A warrior. Someone who can slay the dragon. This figure may show up when you’re feeling challenged in your life and have to overcome difficult obstacles. Are you battling something difficult in your life?
The Divine Child: This image is represented by a beautiful boy or girl with radiance and hope. This figure may appear during periods of new beginnings, reinventing yourself, a spiritual rebirth, and a time of cleansing. Would a change be good for you?
The Wise Old Man: This image is represented by a kind, aged, softened man or woman. This figure will appear when you are learning something new about yourself, acquiring wisdom, making a smart choice, or have a thirst for knowledge and understanding. Is it time to remember what you have learned?
The Trickster: This dream image is often represented by a coyote or a slick, shifty-looking character. When there is dishonesty deceit, or a sense of betrayal in your life the trickster may appear in your dream. Do you not trust someone who is close to you?
The Good Mother: When you are filled with maternal energy, the archetype of the good mother may appear as a wholesome, loving, nurturing, kind woman who is a protector and teacher. Do you need to mother some aspect of yourself that feels neglected?
The Good Father: The dream image is of a powerful, decisive, strong man who takes control. This archetype may be present when you feel a need to surge forward and get things done without too much thought or emotion. Is it time to take control and be proactive about that thing you have been putting off?
God Image: This dream image may be represented by a Divine Maternal or Paternal figure, a shining star, a planet, the sun, or Mother Nature. This archetype appears in our dreams when we are ready to embrace and surrender to our most spiritual side. Do you believe in God?
The Orphan: Represented as a sad boy or girl who is lost and alone. This powerful archetype may appear in our dreams when we feel left out, disconnected with others, ignored by someone we love, and in need of guidance. Is there some aspect of yourself that needs attention? A part of you that feels lonely?
The Lover: If you are feeling a swell of sexual energy, being intimate with a partner, or have new romance in your life, you may dream about the lover archetype. This will be represented by images of flowers, sexual encounters, intertwined hands, and a sense of belonging. Is it time for a romantic getaway?
“IF YOU ARE A WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN DREAMING ABOUT A MALE FIGURE WHO IS HANDSOME, INTRIGUING, SEXY, WHOLESOME, AND FAMILIAR, YOU ARE DREAMING ABOUT YOUR SOUL.” Shucks!
The Rebel: This is shown as the rule breaker, free, and uninhibited, the wild child who calls for the revolution. If you are at a crossroads in your life and are frustrated with conventional living this archetype may show up. Do you need to stand up for your beliefs and tell the truth?
How about a Mermaid that flies above the sky and is afraid of water?
Source (Carder Stout): goop.com