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Dream Symbols
By Kevin R. Williams, B.Sc.

Carl JungCarl G. Jung, the great founder of analytical psychology and an NDEr, was convinced that the scope of dream interpretation is large, reflecting the richness and complexity of the entire unconscious, both personal and collective. Jung believed that archetypes manifest themselves in dreams as dream symbols. Such symbols could take the form of an old man, a young maiden or a giant spider for example. Each symbol represents an unconscious attitude that is largely hidden to the conscious mind.  Jung cautioned against blindly ascribing meaning to dream symbols without a clear understanding of the client's personal situation. He described two approaches to dream symbols: the causal approach and the final approach. In the causal approach, the symbol is reduced to certain fundamental tendencies. Thus, a giant spider may symbolize particular fear, or falling in to a trap . In the final approach, the dream interpreter asks, "Why this symbol and not another?" Thus, a giant spider representing a particular fear could represent the dreamer's fearful, subjective emotion about a personal situation. Or a giant spider could represent the dreamer is falling into a trap as an objective situation. The final approach will tell you additional things about the dreamer's attitudes and give the dream a more approximate interpretation. Technically, Jung recommended stripping the dream of its details and presenting the gist of the dream to the dreamer. This process is equivalent to thinking of the dream as a newspaper article and writing a headline for it. Jung stressed that a dream is not merely a devious puzzle invented by the unconscious to be deciphered, so that the true causal factors behind it may be elicited. Dreams are not to serve as lie detectors, with which to reveal the insincerity behind conscious thought processes. Dreams, like the unconscious, had their own language. As representations of the unconscious, dream images have their own primacy and mechanics. As such, Jung believed that dreams may contain inescapable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, irrational experiences and even telepathic visions. Just as the psyche has a daily side which we experience as conscious life, it has an unconscious nocturnal side which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy. Jung would argue that just as we do not doubt the importance of our conscious experience, then we ought not to second guess the value of our unconscious lives.

Dream Symbols Index
1. Animals 6. Flowers 11. Situations
2. Birds 7. In the House 12. The Body
3. Buildings 8. Miscellaneous 13. Trees
4. Clothing 9. Nature 14. Vehicles
5. Colors 10. Numbers    
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