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The Unconscious World of Dream

Devil - Satan

Basic Meaning - A fear of those repressed contents of the unconscious that are, when acknowledged the very forces that could bestow a new anf fuller life.

(1) The Satan of Jewish- Christian-Islamic tradition was orginally a horned fertility god, a personification of the fertilizing power of Nature. In psychologiacl terms, a fertilizing agent is something within the psyche that can inaugurate a new phase in the individual's development.

(2) The evil connotations of the devil figure may reflect the dreamer's fear of those repressed contents of the unconscious that are, in fact, the very forces that - if mobolized and utilized - could bestow new and fuller life. What we repress is invariably something that had great value for us but on some occasion in the past gave rise to guilt-feelings or a fear of punishment. It is our fears that invest the unconscious with the fearsome characteristics of a dark underworld inhabited by evil monsters. In reality, the unconscious contains all the energy and wisdom we need for healing and wholeness.

It might be said that our fundamental human task is the conversion of the devil within ourselves, that is converting negative charged (dissident, destrctive) psychic forces into positively charged (life-enhancing and unifying) powers. But you don't convert the devil with brute forces, only with love. The negatively charged psychic forces are the ones you neglect and despise or fear. They become positively charged when you acknowledge them and integrate them into your conscious life.

If we do not recognize the 'devil' within ourselves, we shall project him onto others and thereby give him more scope or hatred and dsetruction (the real devil!) in the world.

(3) In certain contexts - if, for example, he has horns or is sexually involved with naked women - the devil may be a sexual symbol. If sexuality is repressed in such a guise in a women's dream, it is possibly because she has a fear of sexual relations. In a man's dream the indication might be that he has a guilt-ridden attitude towards his own sexuality (which Freud might trace back to anxiety arising out of the normal male infant's erotic feelings for his mother).

Reference: Eric Ackroyd

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