Dreaming LifeDreaming Life


Freud used the process of reduction to interpret dream, but Jung preferred to expand on the symbolism in dreams in a process called amplification. Jung tried to discover a more profound meaning by assessing symbols in a broader and more universal context.


The ‘soul’ embodies the feminine attributes of mood, reactions and impulses in a man.


Embodies the masculine qualities of commitment, belief and inspiration in a woman. The two are soul guides to our untapped inner potential.


Archetypes are the mythological motifs of the collective unconscious according to Jung. There are seven major archetypes that exist in the collective unconscious of the human race; The Persona, Anima and Animus, Trickster, Wise Old Man, Divine Child, Great Mother, Shadow.


If you want to interpret your own dreams you must keep a written record of your dreams in a dream journal, looking at a larger picture that develops over a number of months will help you make a more accurate dream interpretation. It helps if you divide the contents of your dreams into groups such as colours, feelings and objects; then make up you mind whether you want to focus on a particularly vivid dream or look at a recurring theme.


Castration dreams are very common and symbolise the mutilations of a person, either physical or psychological, that occur during her or his lifetime.

The Censor

The dream censor is a device used by the unconscious mind to make disturbing images more acceptable during your dreams, making subtle suggestion about a situation rather than brutally presenting the facts in a way that would shock – the dream censor’s offered dream imagery is more distant from the actual imagery when the subject is perceived to be more objectionable to the dreamer.

Collective Unconscious

A term invented by Carl Jung to describe a state of mind that has been within all of mankind since the beginning of time. Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious are largely based on his extensive studies regarding mythology, religion and alchemy from varying cultures all over the world, arguing that common themes occur that are available to us all regardless of our cultural background and geographical locations. These are the essence of psychological existence and represent the world of primitive humankind within every one of us. The collective unconscious is a container of primeval forms and images and mythological motifs, which Jung named Archetypes. They occur repeatedly in the form of folklore and legend throughout the centuries and appear in many of our deepest dreams.


Jung thought that as most dreams unlike what is going on in the conscious mind but show "peculiar deviations", we must assume that the unconscious (or as Jung called it, "the matrix of dreams"), functions independently. This is what Jung called the "autonomy of the unconscious". Sometimes the dream images are only slightly modified and the difference between the dream and our conscious attitude is slight; occasionally the dream may even coincide with conscious content and tendencies. In general though, the dream reflects the opposite to our conscious objectives. When Jung tries to explain this behaviour in a formula, the concept of compensation seemed to Jung the only adequate one, because it summed up the various ways in which a dream behaves. Compensation is the balancing and comparing of different viewpoints in order to adjust or rectify.

Compensatory Dreams

Freud placed great emphasis on the latent meaning symbolized by the manifest content of dreams. Dreams have aspects of three compensation mechanisms: symbolization, gratification and fantasy.


Freud's term for the combining two or more dream images to form one symbol in order to mask the latent dream content. It is brought about when the dream’s individual elements discharge themselves and pass from one idea to another, forming intense imagery. As this process is repeated several times, the intensity of a whole train of thought may eventually be concentrated in a single element. In this way, 'compression' or 'condensation' is brought about. It is thought that this that is responsible for the bewildering impression left on us by dreams.

Conscious Mind

The conscious is the rational, down to Earth and self-aware aspect of the mind.

Direct Association

A method of dream interpretation, started by Carl Jung, whereby the analyst makes an association with the dreamer's symbols in order to interpret the dream. One must take an object or feeling (preferably a recurring one) from a dream and write it down on a piece of paper to practice direct association. Then write down all the associated thoughts or images that the mind connects with the object or feeling until no more thoughts occur. Then move onto the next dream symbol. See also Free Association


Or transposition is where a person, animal or object replaces the dreamer within the dream. Dream displacement and dream condensation were described as being "the two governing factors to whose activity we may in essence ascribe the form assumed by dreams" by Freud. Their purpose is to deceive the censor by disguising the latent content of the dream.

Divine Child

The Divine Child usually appears in dreams in the form of a vulnerable baby or an innocent young child. This powerful archetype may symbolize regeneration and rebirth and can remind us of our true selves, of who we really are or want to be, away from the influence of our restrictive ego.


At the age of around one year, another aspect of the human personality is developed. Freud called this the organized realistic part of the mind which regulates the interactions of the person with their environment. The real "me" has a learned morality that controls the base instincts of the id. In our dreams the urges of the id take advantage of the lack of conscious control.

Ego States During Sleep

Intact Ego — normal control as in consciousness. Destructuralised Ego State ~ where dreams are implausible, bizarre and unrealistic. Restructuralized Ego State - dreams are realistic and plausible.

False Awakening

False awakening is accompanied by dream imagery that is almost as clear as that of lucid dreams. In this case, the dreamer thinks that he or she is awake and proceeds within the dream to go about the normal business of getting up, washing, dressing and sometimes even traveling to work or performing several normal waking life events before waking up for real.

Free Association

Freudian method of dream interpretation, often compared to Jung’s Direct Association, whereby the dreamer is encouraged to link dream symbols with conscious thought in order to discover their meaning.

Great or Grand Dreams

Jung said that the dreamer is most likely to dream 'Grand Dreams' during transitional times of life such as puberty, adolescence, middle age, just before death and at other times of uncertainty and change. The grand dreams are part of the collective unconscious, these are very important dreams, heralding a move towards individuation and spiritual growth - they can be very most difficult to interpret because of their archetypal symbolism. Jung described these dramatic dreams as possessing 'a cosmic quality', they usually have a very important message.


Hypnagogic dreams are those we have when we are on the edge of sleep, more properly, the transitional ASC (altered state of consciousness) that occurs when one is not fully awake but not yet in a deep sleep. This is not REM (rapid eye movement) sleep but dreams in the hypnagogic state can be similar, if less vivid than those in REM sleep.


The soul or spiritual guide.


Hypnopompic dreams are experienced just before you wake up.


Freud referred to the id (literally meaning "it") as the uncoordinated, instinctual part of the mind. The id represents unconscious instincts required for survival, both of the individual and mankind itself. Freud believed that most of our conscious actions are brought about by the id's urges, which if left unchecked would manifest themselves in an undesirable and unsociable way. It is the job of the ego to transform these instinctive energies into acceptable form, by using such devices as repression and projection. During our dreams the id releases its urges that are then transformed into symbolic form within our dreams. By interpreting our dreams we expose the id and defuse the friction between the ego and the id.


Jung's theory that an individual's dreams obey a general disposition, a characteristic orientation, and to describe this he used the alchemical term defining the union of conscious and unconscious and of male and female leading to oneness.

Latent Content of Dreams

The latent content or the "meaning" of the dream is what the unconscious is trying to communicate to the conscious.

Lucid Dreaming

When we dream there are times when we are aware that we are dreaming, although when we recall the dream the next day we realize that however 'conscious' we thought we were in the dream, we still allowed ourselves to believe and accept the inconsistencies which are part of the dream make-up and we reacted to them accordingly. In some cases though, it is possible to retain, whilst dreaming, our normal state of consciousness and have some degree of control over the content and course of the dream. This is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreams are thought only occur in REM sleep and are more vivid, logical and memorable than other dreams.


Commonly take the form of a circle, square or triangle.

Manifest Content of Dreams

The manifest content is the dream image as experienced by the dreamer, the superficial facade of the dream that often appears unfathomable.


In certain situations, we feel the need to devalue or punish ourselves in order to be acknowledged or loved — the abnegation of the individual ego, in order to feel connected to all that surrounds us. People who are depressed are more likely to experience masochistic dreams.


In his process of amplification, Jung recommended the use of myths to help interpret the meaning of a dream. Grand dreams sometimes contain obvious mythological themes that can be associated with a waking situation or the conscious desires of the dreamer. Myths have been confused with a fantasy world that has no meaning in, or connection with, the modern world. However, Jung was convinced that archetypes and myths have developed from the collective unconscious. Our unconscious minds therefore contain this knowledge and that is why this symbolism appears in our most profound dreams.


Neurosis occurs when some aspect of the personality escapes conscious control. It can manifest itself in several ways. Sometimes the control of ideas is lost or there may be uncontrolled disturbing behaviour patterns, loss of physical control or involuntary movement.


These disturbing dreams are often sent to warn the conscious mind that something is being blocked or ignored. Rather than putting the nightmare out of mind because it was such an unpleasant experience, it is important to make efforts to interpret and confront the nightmare imagery in order to identify the waking cause.


People who do not remember their dreams, or who are convinced they do not dream at all.

NREM Sleep

It was first assumed that NREM or non-rapid eye movement sleep was dreamless, but later research indicated that there was a certain amount of mental activity during these periods of sleep; though it is thought that NREM dreams are not vivid like their REM counterparts. NREM dreams are usually made up of pretty realistic thoughts with only as ting amount of imagery. It is in NREM sleep that the body produces a growth hormone responsible for regeneration and repair, and research has shown that people under great physical stress or those in periods of growth require greater levels of NREM sleep; so it is thought that NREM sleep is for repairing our physical bodies and REM sleep is for our mental health.

Paradoxical Sleep

During REM or dream sleep our nervous system is aroused and physiological changes occur, with rapid eye movements, an increase in oxygen consumption and adrenalin, and a level of heart and brain activity similar to that of the waking state. For this reason REM sleep is also called "paradoxical sleep", its essential function is to maintain normal mental processes.


Jung coined the word to describe that part of the personality that decides what an individual's reactions are going to be to a situation, person or thing. It is the opposite of the anima or animus.

Personal Unconscious

The personal unconscious stores instinctive urges, repressed desires and emotions; Freud called it the id.


Anything that represents the image of the penis, which has been seen by many religions though the ages as signifying the natural life force.

Physiological Dreaming

Physiological dreaming takes place when dreams are motivated by physical stimuli or external activity that makes an appearance in the dream scenario. For example, dreams of searching for warmer clothes or looking for wood with which to build a fire, may be caused by us throwing the blankets off the bed earlier in the night; or the sound of an alarm clock could become part of a dream.

Precognition Dreams

Throughout history, people have believed in precognitive dreams and placed great importance on their predictive powers. In modern times however, we have become suspicious of predictive dreaming, trying to rationalize it scientifically. Nevertheless, there are still those who report cases of precognition dreams, particularly farewell dreams, where the dreamer has seen a loved one waving goodbye, or signifying their departure in some other way. Dreams hardly ever predict the future though, but they can make a guess at what is going to happen to you based on current events in your waking life; for instance you may dream of being seriously ill or having a car accident if you are working too hard, drinking or smoking too much et cetera.

Preconscious Mind

The preconscious mind is like a vessel, containing information, memories and concepts upon which the conscious can draw at will.

Primary Process & Secondary Process

Freud believed that a method called the "primary process" is responsible for the sifting and processing of material in the unconscious mind and that the "secondary process" is aligned to the thought processes of the conscious.


The mind, especially in its spiritual, emotional and motivational aspects, or the collective mental, or psychological characteristics of a nation culture or nation.

Psychological Projection

When we attribute the source of our anxieties or emotions to someone or something else external to us, the process is called projection.

Reductive Interpretation

Rather than amplify or expand upon a dreamer's symbol, Freud would take an image or images and reduce them to what he considered the prime or most pertinent symbol of the dream.

REM Sleep

Also known as paradoxical sleep because of the increased activity of the nervous system, REM or rapid eye movement sleep was discovered in 1953, and is thought to be the period of sleep in which dreams are the most vivid; you are more likely to remember your dreams if you are woken up during this time. Usually a sleeper will average five periods of REM sleep per night, the last period occurring just prior to waking. Often the reason we forget our dreams is because our alarm clocks have woken us before we’ve had our final REM sleep - lucid dreaming is also said to only occur during REM sleep.


During the implementation of his mechanism of 'free association', Freud discovered that the unconscious mind resisted investigation by the analyst. The earlier yeas of Freud's work were largely concerned with discovering means by which the resistance of these patients could be overcome and what lay behind it could be brought to light. Freud's self analysis allowed him to discover the nature of the unconscious processes at work in the mind and to understand why there is such a strong resistance to their becoming conscious; it enabled him to devise techniques for overcoming or evading the resistance in his patients and most important of all enabled him to realize the very great difference between the mode of functioning of these unconscious processes and that of our familiar conscious ones.

Royal road to the unconscious

Freud's much quoted expression for the discovery of unacknowledged potential in the unconscious mind.

Secondary Revision

When we recount our dreams we often exaggerate, gloss over or blot out certain details or events in what seems to be a selective memory process. Freud found this "secondary revision" an essential tool when interpreting dreams with his patients, because the way in which dreams are revised, often indicates more about the unconscious workings than the dream itself.


Jung defined the shadow as something which represents all that we won't accept or acknowledge about ourselves, such as inferior character traits, but which force themselves upon us regardless.


Somatic stimuli are physical or corporeal - to do with the body not the mind or spirit.


According to Freud, the super-ego develops between the ages of three and five and is in permanent interaction with the id and the ego. The super-ego is the imposed "me" and has a critical and moralizing function. It represents the 'idealistic' part of us and tries to make us behave according to our social and moral environment. The super-ego will often come into conflict with the id because the id demands that we satisfy our bodily urges as soon as they arise.


Symbols disguise the content of our dreams and can be either universal or personal. They appear in our dreams in both negative and positive form and can reveal aspects of the personality which might otherwise be inaccessible- Symbolism also protects the dreamer from recognizing the possible fulfillment of unconscious urges, forbidden by the conscious mind. By recording our dreams we can discover a pattern of emergence of recurring symbols, which should allow better interpretation of our dreams.

Wish Fulfillment

These dreams are often involving revenge or material gain, regularly dreamed by children but still occur in adulthood.