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The Unconscious World of Dream

Mother - Father


Basic meaning: Older, wiser, more experienced part of feminine self aspect; the unconscious; intuition; natural and instinctive life; your relationship with your mother.

(1) A dream about your mother may be telling you something about your relationship with your mother. Mother-attachment may be so strong that the development of your own individuality has been prevented. Inner independence of mother is the first great step towards realizing your true self.

(2) In a man's dream, mother may symbolize the feminine side of his psyche.

(3) Mother may symbolize the unconscious; intuitive self; natural instinctive life; the source of nourishment and growth for the psyche.


Basic meaning: Wiser, more mature masculine aspect of self; straightforward representation of your father.

(1) For men, father may be a conscience figure. If this is the case, bear in mind that your father's prohibitions and commands will probably represent either conventional moral options which may have no relevance to your true nature or 'destiny', or irrational fears and feelings of guilt that began to take shape in you in earlychildhood.

(2) For a woman, father may figure in a dream as one who generates affection.

(3) The presence of your father may be a straightforward representation of him, or of the way you see/remember him (which may owe more to your subjective distortions than to what your father actually is or was). In any case, the reason for your father appearing in the dream will be shown by the part he plays in the dream story.

(4) If your father features in the dream as a protector, it may be that you need to 'grow up' and rely on your own resources. After all, life can hurt you only if you let it, only if you identify with your emotional self instead of with that deep layer of yourself that is immune to life's pains and perils.

(5) Father may be an animus figure (see Glossary of Jungian Termnology), representing a woman's (unconscious) masculine qualities. In this case, the dream may be suggesting that she should cultivate this countrasexual side of her nature.

(6) Frequent appearances by eithet parent, or both, in dreams may be a sign that you have not thrown off an infantile over-dependence on them. Jung cites a young man's dream in which the man's father appeared as a drunken driver, smashing his car into a wall. This is the exact opposite of the real father, who was a most respectable person, rightly - but too too much - respected by the son. What the unconscious was doing through the dream was dethroning the father in order to enable the son to achieve a proper sense of himself as a person in his own right, with his own unique destiny and values.

Reference: Eric Ackroyd

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