Dream Archetypes and the Theories of Carl Jung

Dream Archetypes and Theories of Carl Jung

There are two names that are inextricably associated with the art and science of dream interpretation – Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.  While Freud saw the unconscious as a wild place, Jung saw it as more refined and spiritual.

Carl Jung was born in 1875 and lived enjoyed a long and fruitful career until his death in 1961.  Carl Jung originally studied under the tutelage of Sigmund Freud, and he learned a lot about the mind, the unconscious and the world of dreams during his role as a student.

It was their differing interpretations of the dream world, and their different views of the unconscious, however, that eventually led the two men to go their separate ways.  Eventually, their differing views on what dreams meant caused a major rift in their relationship.

Just like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung believed that the subconscious existed in its own right.  Unlike Sigmund Freud, however, Carl Jung did not view the unconscious as a wild, instinctual and animalistic place.

Instead, unlike Freud, Jung saw the unconscious on a more spiritual level.  To Carl Jung, dreams were the best method for people to acquaint themselves with their unconscious mind.  Carl Jung did not see dreams as a way to hide the dreamer’s true feelings from the conscious mind, as Freud did.  Jung saw dreams as providing a guide to the waking self and helping the dreamer achieve a kind of wholeness.  To Jung, dreams were a way of offering solutions to problems the dreamer was experiencing in his or her waking life.

Jung and Archetypes:

The most common facet of dream interpretation associated with the work of Carl Jung is that of archetypes.  Jung believed that there are certain universal themes and universal images that were common to every culture and every civilization around the world.  To Carl Jung, these universal archetypes were proof of what he called the collective unconscious – or memories handed down through the ages from one generation to the next.

Some of the most well known archetypes described by Carl Jung include:

The Persona – Jung described the persona as the image presented to the public by each person.  In essence the persona is the public mask, the part of yourself that is shown to the world at large.  The opposite of the persona is the shadow.

The Shadow – Whereas the persona represents the parts of the personality that are shown to the world, the shadow archetype represents each person’s rejected aspects of themselves.  The shadow is often seen as a symbol of fear, anger or weakness.

The Anima – Jung saw the anima as the feminine aspects of the male mind.  The anima is the repressed female parts of the male psyche.

The Animus – The animus is the opposite of the anima.  Where the anima is the feminine part of the male psyche, the animus is the masculine part of the female mind.  Like the anima, the animus is most often repressed during waking hours.

The Divine Child – The divine child was described by Carl Jung as a symbol of the true self.  The divine child is often seen to represent the sense of potential or the sense of vulnerability.

The Wise Old Man – Jung saw the archetype of the wise old man as a symbol of the self or of a powerful figure.

The Great Mother – The great mother is seen as a symbol of nurture, growth, or fertility.  The great mother archetype is also associated with dominance and seduction. 

These archetypes appear in every culture, and variations of them have occurred around the world and in many different times.  Jung saw the appearance of these archetypes in dreams as highly significant, and he used these archetypal images in his dream interpretation.

More about Jenna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 4 =