In Jungian dream analysis, there are two types of dreams which were actually defined by Freud I believe: The objective dream and the subjective dream.
An objective dream Is one in which we are surrounded by friends and family and places we know which occur roughly in the time we live in our day to day lives.
A subjective dream, however, is more symbolic, metaphorical, and even fantastical in its content. You may not know the places or people you encounter, and if you do they maybe deceased or at an age that is not true to real life.
You may encounter some very strange things that don’t exist in real life (once I met a bipedal, human-sized, female cat-person who scratched me to tears!). In a subjective dream, all the elements of the dream may be interpreted as an aspect or reflection of your own consciousness, including the “dream ego” or you as a dream participant.
Complicating matters, objective and subjective elements may be mixed in a dream.
The important things with dream interpretation is to write them down asap, including the context of your conscious life at the time as well as the dream itself. It’s important that the symbolism and metaphors used in the interpretation are meaningful to you, not some random dream book or website. Our personal unconscious and it’s unique contents are key to interpretation.
Anyway, this whole area of Jungian psychoanalysis goes way deeper than that, but suffice it to be said that, in my experience, the unconscious will usually respond to you in the language of dreams if you set your intentions before sleeping – which is pretty wild if you ask me. It’s an area we are not accustomed to thinking about in the Western world anymore, but has existed as long as humankind has
It’s dream recall that is a bitch. Even though my recall is often not very good, I can usually gain some perspective from its commentary to meditate on once I’ve written it all down.
With that said, here’s an example of how I deconstruct or “amplify” one of my typical dreams. This particular dream occurred last night.
I went to bed with the intention of dreaming, and asking my “Self” to comment on my circumstances. I was in the state of depressive FOMO when I went to bed, feeling lonely, bored, and frustrated on a Saturday night for reasons previously stated in my recent blog posts.
First I had another “compensatory” sexual dream. It was quick and right to the point – the point between the legs of my former female boss. When I awoke, peed, and went back to bed I had the following subjective dream:
I was in a large venue where a some kind of reality TV competition seemed to be taking place. I found myself walking precariously through the crowd and the sharply inclined seats trying to make progress to somewhere for reasons I don’t remember.
Along the outer walls of the venue was some sort of catwalk, raised concourse or mezzanine area with people mulling about.
At one point, when I was back on the the main floor toward the back of the venue, a dog was lifted from the crowd by his collar with a precarious-looking “hook”, like a giant crane-game. I remember wondering if they were kicking the dog out. Was he not supposed to be there?
I feared the dog would fall and the whole crowd looked on with trepidation. But the dog was raised and moved to the upper platform safely, but not gracefully (he wriggled off the hook just as soon as he was over the platform and fell the few feet below).
At one point when I was wandering around looking in corners where wires, boxes and other supplies were stacked (I think I was wirking there?) a great deluge of water started pouring out of the “control room“, which was an elevated office on one side of the concourse.
I feared that somehow I was responsible and would be in trouble. Did I make a mistake that led to this flood? I ran up to the control room door (behind the office, opposite the crowd) but it was locked. A male figure with dark curly hair and a beard (typical “roadie” looking guy) successfully picked the lock with some strange apparatus (now that I think of it, I saw something similar online recently – see how consciousness bleeds it all together?) and unlocked the door. I remember feeling surprised he did it.
End of dream.
So the “reality tv” venue seems to suggest a “game of life” scenario to me. Perhaps a nod to my conscious reality; I’m “crowded” by other people and am forced to navigate my way through them, being very careful not to step on anybody as I move about (that seems on point with my personality).
The dog who was “uplifted” from the crowd was perhaps a representation of my instinctual, sexual aspect, wriggling to get “off-the-hook” as soon as he could. The fact that the process was precarious and sort of unpleasant seems pertinent somehow; successfully “uplifted” but ultimately in an awkward fashion.
The “control room”, located in the top elevation (above the concourse), was maybe symbolic of my brain, i’e. the control room of the body. Its “flooding” was perhaps a nod to overstimulation, and the water (typically interpreted as the unconscious in dreams) was in danger of ruining any hopes of control – which, if you’ve read my last few posts, rings true; I’m repressing certain aspects of my personality and instincts (e.g. sexuality) by necessity.
The lock to the control room was “picked”by my male shadow aspect (same-sex figures in subjective dreams are typically interpreted as shadow figures – or figures representing all of what we wish not to be), which I find to be a fascinating clue. The “key” to the “control room” isn’t used, but by the shadow picking the “lock”, i.e. bypassing the normal mode of entry. Hmmmm.
So how does one allow the shadow to “pick the lock” to regain access to the “control room” of the brain? Meditating? Shadow work?
I’m looking forward to your comments.
Credits: Featured photo by marcello iaconetti on Scopio. Abstract Photo by Aislyn Hedenberg on Scopio.“Control Room” photo by Spencer Nel on Scopio. “Crane Game” photo by Suparerg Suksai on Scopio (b&w filter added by author).