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The Unconscious World of Dream


(1) Personal relationships in dreams are always important. They fall into two categories: first, those that refer to actual awakening life relationships; secondly, those that depict relations between the conscious ego and other parts of the psyche. Meetings with strangers will nearly always belong to the second category: the strangers will parts of your psyche that you have not yet got to know very well. And even where there is no doubt that the dream is asking you to take a serious look at an actual real life relationship, you should bear in mind that the quality of your extrenal relationships may be determined by the way your conscious ego relates - or fails to relate - to the other parts of your psyche. For example, a man who does not acknowledge the feminine side of his own nature may have a very unsatisfactory - perhaps very superficaial - relationships with women. In other words, when a dream shows you in a relationship with an actual real-life person, it may be inviting you to look at the relationship with a view to understanding yourself better: How you relate to other people reveals yourself (e.g. are you proecting on to the other person some unacknowldged characteristic of your own?)
Patterns in dreams correspond to patterns in your conscious life, or else - occasionally - a dream may present a pattern for you to follow in your life instead of old patterns. For example, a man may relate in dreams to very feminine women. This may represent an established pattern in his waking life, in which case he is being asked to reassess that pattern in his waking life. Perhaps he is attracted only to very feminine women because he is proecting on to women his own repressed femininity and needs to integrate his anima. On the other hand, a dream of relating to a woman in a very bold and assertive manner may be the unconscious way of telling a man he needs to display his masculinity more.
An antagonistic or belligerent relationship in a dream probably indicates a need to be reconciled with the other, whether the other person is another person or another part of yourself.
In the dream do you control, or want to control, the relationship? Perhaps the dream is a descriptive one simply describing how, in fact, you do behave; in which case, your unconscious is probably asking you to review your situation. Perhaps you need to learn to let go, and trust people more. On the other hand, the dream may be a prescriptive one, telling you what you ought to be doing: perhaps you have been too weak and unassertive in the past. Do you tend to be, in your dreams, a mere observer, watching other people relate? Well, it is a good thing to observe, whether what you are observing is external relationships or internal relations between parts of yourself. But the process of self-discovery may be accelerated if you resolve to participate more in future dreams. Try it. Relating with your shadow may be much more revealing than just looking at it.

(2) There may be an impersonal or spatio-temporal relationships between dream items or between one epsiode of the dream and the next. For example, an earlier dream episode may symbolize whatever is the cause of what is symbolized in the following dream episode. (But do not assume this casual relationship always exists between different parts of a dream). If a person is taller than you (in a dream), this may mean you see that person as superior to yourself. If the person in the dream represents some part of your psche, the meaning would then be that your conscious ego tends to submit to this other psychic component.

Reference: Eric Ackroyd

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