The meaning of Survival in dream | Dream interpretation
Survival is imminent and revealed to encourage
2. A close call, an avoided disaster.
3. Reverse: plans for recovery need to be reviewed for faults.
4. A need to remove oneself from a situation or relationship in waking life. ... New American Dream Dictionary
The power of drives such as the urge to parenthood via sex might be shown as a horse which we are trying to control. More than anything else, though, our dream animal represents our powerful reactions to situations, reactions developed through centuries of human experience in frequently terrible situations. This aspect of ourself is rooted in the older portions of the brain.
The animal in our dreams has commonly been seen only as the sex drive.
A careful examination of animal dreams, though, shows this to be untrue.
The animal represents all our biological needs and responses, which include survival and hunger, reproduction; parental urges; need for exercise and rest; social drives, fear reactions, anger, urge to provide (for young and mate); home/nest building; territory protection, social hierarchy, etc.
If these aspects in an individual are damaged or traumatised, we see parents who have lost their natural bonding and caring for their child; individuals who have no sense of social status or responsibility, enabling them to be criminally violent; disturbed and misplaced sexuality. Dominating or attempting to kill out the animal in us can cause tension, depression and illness.
The common escape into dry intellectualism is a cause of internal conflict. Complete permissiveness is no answer either, our higher brain functions need expression too. So one of the challenges of maturing is how to meet and relate to our ‘animals’, and perhaps bring them into expression in a satisfying way. Such drives are fundamentally a push towards life.
It must be remembered that where sex or sexuality is mentioned, I am not simply referring to the sex act. I mean sexuality in its overall aspect, which includes the urge towards parenthood, and the love and caring connected with it.
(Brain damage or certain drugs or chemicals can diminish the ‘human’ levels of function and only the animal and lizard levels are expressed.) Below are listed some common ways animals are used in our dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The end of a particular world for the dreamer, i.e. the end of school life, divorce, loss of spouse. Also: fear of the irrational forces of life and the unconscious which may destroy all we have built—our conscious self. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The life cycle of a bird has so many similarities with important human stages of maturity we frequently use it to represent oneself, as in the example. Pauline uses the bird to depict her own urge to be independent of her mother’s influence, opinions, likes, dislikes and decisions. Later in the dream her mother hands Pauline the ribbon to hold, suggesting an offer of independence. As soon as she lets go of the ribbon, a huge black bird attacks the ribboned one.
The ribbons are a reference to Pauline’s own girlhood. When she lets go of her girlhood, moving towards independent womanhood, she feels threatened by the internalised negative side of her mother, such as her possessiveness—the black bird. Internalised means all the standards, self controls she learned from her life with her mother, which she now carries within her even if absent from her mother.
General: Imagination; intuition, the mind; thoughts, our spiritual longings; expanded awareness—in this form, perhaps a large bird which can fly high. Because wider—or spiritual—awareness means looking beyond the usual boundaries of what we see, this may be painful. Hatching from the egg; our birth and infancy.
The nest: home; family environment; security, even the womb. Leaving the nest: gaining independence. Making a nest: home building; parental urges. Flying: rising above something; independence; freedom; self expression.
Freud said the bird represents the male phallus, and flying means the sexual act. Many languages use the word bird’ to mean woman. In Italy it alludes to penis.
The bird is also used to denote the sense of death and survival. Bluebird: especially represents the spint or soul after death. Baby bird: our own childhood, as in the following example.
The old lady is once more reference to the mother, to whom the bird is first connected before moving on to the difficulty of independence. Example: An old lady made room for me to sit at the end of one of the three seats of a bus. As we drove away a very large chicken-size baby bird flew in. It had short stubby wings and yellow down, but flew expenly. I believe it first landed on the lady and chirped squeakily. But in its squeaks it actually spoke, saying it had lost its mother. It sounded as if it were crying (Andrew). Idioms: charm the birds from the trees; a bird told me; bird has flown; bird in the hand, bird of ill omen; free as a bird, odd bird. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
A dead body, death of someone we know: very often, as in the example, the death of some aspect of our outer or inner life. Our drive to achieve something might die, and be shown as a death in our dreams. Lost opportunities or unexpressed potentials in ourselves are frequently shown as dead bodies. All of us unconsciously leam attitudes or survival skills from parents and others. Often these are unrecognised and may be shown as dead.
Example: ‘During my teens I was engaged to be married, when I found a more attractive panner and was in considerable conflict. Consistently I dreamt I was at my fiance’s funeral until it dawned on me the dream was telling me I wanted to be free of him. When I gave him up the dreams ceased1 (Mrs D).
If the death is of someone we know: frequently, as in the example, desire to be free of the person, or unexpressed aggression; perhaps one’s love for that person has ‘died’. We often ‘kill’ our partners in dreams as we move towards independence. Or we may want someone ‘out of the way so we do not have to compete for attention and love.
Death of oneself: exploration of feelings about death; retreat from the challenge of life; split between mind and body.
The experience of leaving the body is frequently an expression of this schism between the ego and life processes. Also death of old patterns of living—one’s ‘old self.
The walking dead, rigor mortis: aspects of the dreamer which are denied, perhaps through fear. Dancing with, meeting death or dark figure: facing up to death.
Example: ‘I dream I have a weak heart which will be fatal.
It is the practice of doctors in such cases to administer a tablet causing one painlessly to go to sleep—die. I am completely calm and accepting of my fate. I suddenly realise I must leave notes for my parents and children. I must let them know how much I love them, must do this quickly before my time runs out’ (Mrs M). This is a frequent type of ‘death* dream.
It is a way of reminding ourselves to do now what we want to, especially regarding love. Although the unconscious has a very real sense of its eternal nature and continuance after physical death, the ego seldom shares this. We have an unconscious realisation that collective humanity carries the living experience from the life of the dead.
The farmer roday unconsciously uses the collective experience of humanity in farming. What innovation he does today his children or others will learn and carry into the future. Idioms: dead and buried, dead from the neck up/down; dead to the world, play dead. See death and rebirth under archetypes. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The dinosaur represents our very basic urges of life such as fear, reproduction and survival; this does not make these brutal’— they are fundamental and necessary in today’s life. Because these aspects of ourself are so old, and have survived so long, there is often great wisdom in them to be made conscious. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
A person who doesn’t handle anxiety or stress can easily fail in work or in relationships. Many people do not enter a relationship because of the problems it poses. Dr Evans suggests that dreams are the means by which we both practise and update our programs of survival. Our experience of the day may question or enhance our behaviour stratagems for success at work or in relationships. Without the reprogramming occurring in dreams we would be stuck at one level of behavioural maturity. ‘As we gain in experience, as our input gets richer and more diverse, we modify our programs rather than replace them with a completely fresh set/ ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: ‘I realised a door had been left open that should have been locked and I felt very vulnerable. Suddenly a sword of light appeared in my hand and a voice told me that it was my weapon to fight the evil’ (Mrs DE).
A fight also depicts, as in the example, fighting for our space; our values or honour, we may fight for survival, for our health, fight crime (resist criminal impulses); we may also feel attacked by another person’s opinions, assaulted by sexual desire; fight against depression; have a conflict over moral issues. See attack; war. Idioms: fight it out; fight like cat and dog; look for a fight. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If we do not argue any particular theory, however, then perhaps we see dreams as having a much wider function.
The most primal drives observable are survival, growth and reproduction. Other urges, such as eating, social position, curiosity, are secondary.
The human animal appears to have survived and reproduced more capably after the development of self awareness, language and reasoning. With or without these, we remain an animal with a psychobiological nature. All animals are known to dream. All animals share a certain situation. They have an internal world out of which arises impulses (to eat, to mate, to avoid danger) and feeling reactions (anger, fear, anticipation). And they have an external world which confronts them with real survival dangers, sources of food, a mate, changes in environmental conditions.
A dream lies somewhere between these two worlds.
We can think of the human personality as being like a special son of cavity into which all these influences are dropped or are thrown. Physical sensations, internal drives and emotions, language, social rules, religious ideas; prompts to make decisions; news of war, massive media and advertising information, are all dropped in.
The cavity has to deal with it, but as it is a mixture of things, many of which are in opposition, some sort of balance has to be kept. But how? And it cannot be simply a matter of throwing out all of one sort or aspect of things. Eradicating the memory of criticism might make us more calm, but it would limit the process of psychological growth, which has survival value.
Dreams can be seen to be connected with our survival and self regulating process. Because this involves all aspects of oneself and one’s experience, one cannot give dreams a single definition. They probably have many secondary functions, such as an interface to balance the internal and external influences, to compensate between the inner needs and outer reality—a baby may miss its feed so, to cope with this primal need, it may dream of being fed. Traumatic or exterior dangerous events, which cannot be processed immediately, can be stored and dealt with (experimented with or abreacted) while asleep. In higher mammals, infant traumas can be stored and dealt with in sleep when, or if, a stronger ego develops.
To meet the loneliness and isolation of consciousness’ or fears of death, the dream can link the waking self with its unconscious sense of unity or God.
To meet survival needs of primitive human beings prior to rational thought, the dream probably acted as a computer, synthesising experience and information, giving rise to creative solutions to hunting or social situations, presented as sleeping or waking imagery. This may explain why many pnmitive people say skills such as farming, weaving, writing, were told them by a vision of a god or goddess.
If we realise that the dream is an end product of a process which produces it, it enables us to see that the process’ (the survival function which regulates, compensates, links, problem solves) can be accessed without meeting the dream. See sleep movements; dream process as computer; Adler; Freud; Jung. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The dream shows how easy and integrated she is with these. Controlling the horse or fear of it: fear of feelings of love and sexuality.
If the horse dragged the dreamer along: impetuosity of such feelings; feeling dragged along by natural urges. Running away from a horse or horsemen: fear of sexuality, which includes responsibility for parenthood and relationship; fear of life drive.
The winged horse: shows how our life or drive is not limited to sexuality or survival, but can lift into wider activities—a woman turning her love of her children into social caring.
A horse race: one’s life; everyday competition and where you rate yourself in it.
A sick or dying horse: loss of health, energy, enthusiasm. Black horse: unaccepted passions. White horse: changing sexual drive into love and wider awareness; a meeting with our feelings about death.
The mare: femininity, re- ceptiveness, fertility.
The stallion: masculinity, power and virility. Idioms: back the wrong horse; from the horse’s mouth, horse sense; you can take a horse to water, wild horses. See dream as spiritual guide. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
It is also noticeably something which develops during childhood and reaches different levels of maturity during adulthood. Although it is our central experience, it remains an enigma—a will o’ the wisp, which loses itself in dreams and sleep, yet is so dominant and sure in waking.
In dreams, our sense of self—our ego, personality or identity—is depicted by our own body, or sometimes simply by the sense of our own existence as an observer. In most dreams our T goes through a series of experiences, just as we do in waking life, seeing things through our physical eyes, touching with our hands, and so on. But occasionally we watch our own body and other people as if from a detached point of bodiless awareness.
If we accept that dreams portray in images our conception of self, then dreams suggest that our identity largely depends upon having a body, its gender, health, quality, the social position we are bom into, and our relationship with others. In fact we know that if a person loses their legs, becomes paralysed, loses childbearing ability or is made redundant, they face an identity crisis. But the bodiless experience of self shows the human possibility of sensing self as having separate existence from the biological processes, one’s state of health and social standing. In its most naked form, the T may be simply a sense of its own existence, without body awareness.
Dreams also show our sense of self, either in the body or naked of it, as surrounded by a community of beings and objects separate from the dreamer, and frequently with a will of their own.
If we place the dreamer in the centre of a circle and put all their dream characters, animals and objects around them; and if we transformed these objects and beings into the things they depicted, such as sexuality, thinking, will emotions, intuition, social pressure, etc., we would see what a diverse mass of influences the ego stands in the middle of. It also becomes obvious that our T sees these things as outside itself in nearly all dreams. Even its own internal urges to love or make love may be shown as external creatures with which it has a multitude of ways to relate.
If we take the word psyche to mean our sense of self, then in our dreams we often see our psyche at war with the sources of its own existence, and trying to find its way through a most extraordinary adventure—the adventure of consciousness. One of the functions of dreams can therefore be thought to be that of aiding the survival of the psyche in facing the multitude of influences in life—and even in death.
See Individuation; dreamer. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The area of our being we refer to when we say T, ‘me’ or ‘myself’ is our conscious self awareness, our sense of self, which Jung calls the ego.
The autobiography of Helen Keller has helped in understanding what may be the difference between an animal and a human being with self awareness. Helen, made blind and deaf through illness before learning to speak, lived in a dark unconscious world lacking any self awareness until the age of seven, when she was taught the deaf and dumb language. At first her teacher’s fingers touching hers were simply a tactile but meaningless experience. Then, perhaps because she had leamt one word prior to her illness, meaning flooded her darkness. She tells us that ‘nothingness was blotted out’. Through language she became a person and developed a sense of self, whereas before there had been nothing.
The journey of individuation is not only that of becoming a person, but also expanding the boundaries of what we can allow ourselves to experience as an ego. As we can see from an observation of our dreams, but mostly from an extensive exploration of their feeling content, our ego is conscious of only a small area of experience.
The fundamental life processes in one’s being may be barely felt. In many contemporary women the reproductive drive is talked about as something which has few connections with their personality. Few people have a living, feeling contact with their early childhood, in fact many people doubt that such can exist. Because of these factors the ego can be said to exist as an encapsulated small area of consciousness, surrounded by huge areas of experience it is unaware of.
In a different degree, there exists in each of us a drive towards the growth of our personal awareness, towards greater power, greater inclusion of the areas of our being which remain unconscious.
A paradox exists here, because the urge is towards integration, yet individuation is also the process of a greater self differentiation. This is a spontaneous process, just as is the growth of a tree from a seed (the tree in dreams often represents this process of self becoming), but our personal responsibility for our process of growth is necessary at a certain point, to make conscious what is unconscious.
Because dreams are constantly expressing aspects of individuation it is wonh knowing the main areas of the process. Without sticking rigidly to Jungian concepts—which see individuation as occurring from mid-life onwards in a few individuals—aspects of some of the main stages are as follows. Early babyhood—the emergence of self consciousness through the deeply biological, sensual and gestural levels of experience, all deeply felt; the felt responses to emerging from a non-changing world in the womb to the need to reach out for food and make other needs known. Learning how to deal with a changing environment, and otherness in terms of relationship.
Childhood—learning the basics of motor, verbal and social skills, the very basics of physical and emotional independence. One faces here the finding of strength to escape the domination of mother—difficult, because one is dependent upon the parent in a very real way—and develop in the psyche a satisfying sexual connection. In dream imagery this means, for the male, an easy sexual relationship with female dream figures, and a means of dealing with male figures in competition (father); see sex in dreams.
The dream of the mystic beautiful woman precedes this, a female figure one blends with in an idealistic sense, but who is never sexual.
The conflict with father—really the internal struggle with one’s image of father as more potent than self—when resolved becomes an acceptance of the power of one’s own manhood. Women face a slightly different situation.
The woman’s first deeply sensual and sexual love object—in a bonded parent-child relationship—was her mother. So beneath any love she may develop for a man lies the love for a woman. Whereas a man, in sexual love which takes him deeply into his psyche, may realise he is making love to his mother, a woman in the same situation may find her father or her mother as the love object. In the unconscious motivations which lead one to choose a mate, a man is influenced by the relationship he developed with his mother, a woman is influenced by both mother and father in her choice. Example: ‘I went across the road to where my mother’s sister lived. I wanted to cuddle her and touch her bare breasts, but we never seemed to manage this. There were always interruptions or blocks.’ (Sid L).
At these deep levels of fantasy and desire, one has to recognise that the first sexual experience is—hopefully—at the mother’s breast. This can be transformed into later fantasies/ dreams/desires of penis in the mouth, or penis in the vagina, or penis as breast, mouth as vagina.
For most of us, however, growth towards maturity does not present itself in such primitively sexual ways, simply because we are largely unconscious of such factors. In general we face the task of building a self image out of the influences, rich or traumatic, of our experience. We leam to stand, as well as we may, amidst the welter of impressions, ideas, influences and urges, which constitute our life and body. What we inherit, what we experience, and what we do with these creates who we are.
One of the major themes of individuation is the journey from attachment and dependence towards independence and involved detachment. This is an overall theme we mature in all our life. In its widest sense, it pertains to the fact that the origins of our consciousness lie in a non-differentiated state of being in which no sense of T exists. Out of this womb condition we gradually develop an ego and personal choice. In fact we may swing to an extreme of egotism and materialistic feelings of independence from others and nature.
The observable beginnings of this move to independence are seen as our attempt to become independent of mother and father. But dependence has many faces: we may have a dependent relationship with husband or wife; we may depend upon our work or social status for our self confidence; our youth and good looks may be the things we depend upon for our sense of who we are, our self image. With the approach of middle and old age we will then face a crisis in which an independence from these factors is necessary for our psychological equilibnum.
The Hindu practice of becoming a sanyassin, leaving behind family, name, social standing, possessions, is one way of meeting the need for inner independence from these in order to meet old age and death in a positive manner. Most people face it in a quieter, less demonstrative way. Indeed, death might be thought of as the greatest challenge to our identification with body, family, worldly status and the external world as a means to identity. We leave this world naked except for the quality of our own being.
Meeting oneself, and self responsibility, are further themes of individuation.
The fact that our waking self is a small spotlight of awareness amidst a huge ocean of unconscious life processes creates a situation of tension, certainly a threshold or ‘iron curtain’, between the known and unknown.
If one imagines the spotlighted area of self as a place one is standing in, then individuation is the process of extending the boundary of awareness, or even turning the spotlight occasionally into the surrounding gloom. In this way one places together impressions of what the light had revealed of the landscape in which we stand, clues to how we got to be where we are, and how we relate to these. But one may remain, or choose to remain, largely unconscious of self.
The iron curtain may be defended with our desire not to know what really motivates us, what past hurts and angers we hide. It may be easier for us to live with an exterior God or authority than to recognise the ultimate need for self responsibility and self cultivation.
To hide from this, humanity has developed innumerable escape routes—extenonsed religious practice, making scapegoats of other minority groups or individuals, rigid belief in a political system or philosophy, search for samadhi or God as a final solution, suicide. This aspect of our matunng process shows itself as a paradox (common to maturity) of becoming more sceptical, and yet finding a deeper sense of self in its connections with the cosmos. We lose God and the beliefs of humanity’s childhood, yet realise we are the God we searched for. This meeting with self, in all its deep feeling of connection, its uncertainty, its vulnerable power, is not without pain and joy. Example: ‘On the railway platform milled hundreds of people, all men I think. They were all ragged, thin, dirty and unshaven. I knew I was among them. I looked up at the mountainside and there was a guard watching us. He was cruel looking, oriental, in green fatigues. On his peaked cap was a red star. He carried a machine gun. Then I looked at the men around me and I realised they were all me. Each one had my face. I was looking at myself. Then I felt fear and terror’ (Anon).
The last of the great themes of individuation is summed up in William Blake’s words ‘1 must Create a System, or be en- slav’d by another Man’s; I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.’ A function observable in dreams is that of scanning our massive life experience (even a child’s life experience has millions of bits of information) to see what it says of life and survival. Out of this we unconsciously create a working philosophy of what life means to us.
It is made up not only of what we have experienced and learnt in the general sense, but also from the hidden information in the cultural riches we have inherited from literature, music, art, theatre and architecture.
The word hidden” is used because the unconscious ‘reads’ the symbolised information in these sources. It is, after all, the master of imagery in dreams. But unless we expand the boundaries of our awareness we may not know this inner philosopher.
If we do get to know it through dreams, we will be amazed by the beauty of its insight into everyday human life.
In connection with this there is an urge to be, and perhaps to procreate oneself in the world. Sometimes this is experienced as a sense of frustration—that there is more of us than we have been able to express, or to make real. While physical procreation can be seen as a physical survival urge, this drive to create in other spheres may be an urge to survive death as an identity. Dreams frequently present the idea that our survival of death only comes about from what we have given of ourself to others. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The house only had two bedrooms, and the children’s room was directly opposite ours. Both of us had had the same thought—”Oh no, it’s the children again.” Much to our annoyance they had been waking in the middle of the night claiming it was morning and time to play. We had tried to suppress it, but here it was again.
As these thoughts went through our minds we heard the sound of feet clomping down the stairs. This was strange as the children usually stayed in their room. Brenda got up, determined to get whoever it was back into bed. I heard her switch the light on, go down the stairs, switch the sitting room light on, and I followed her via the sounds of her movement as she looked in the kitchen and even toilet—we didn’t have a bathroom. Then up she came again and opened the children’s door—strange because we had assumed it had been opened. When she came back into our room she looked puzzled and a little scared. “They’re all asleep and in bed ‘ she said. ‘We talked over the mystery for some time, trying to understand just how we had heard the door handle rattle then footsteps going down the stairs, yet the door wasn’t open. Also, the door handles on our doors were too high for the children to reach without standing on a chair. There was a stool in the children’s bedroom they used for that, yet it wasn’t even near the door when Brenda opened it.
Having no answer to the puzzle we stopped talking and settled to wait for sleep again. Suddenly a noise came from the children’s bedroom. It sounded like the stool being dragged and then the door handle turning again but the door not opening. “You go this time” Brenda said, obviously disturbed.
‘I opened our door quickly just in time to see the opposite door handle turn again. Still the door didn’t open. I reached across, turned the handle and slowly opened the door. It stopped as something was blocking it. Just then my daughter Helen’s small face peered around the door—high because she was standing on the stool. Puzzled by what had happened, I was careful what I said to her. “What do you want love?” I asked.
‘Unperturbed she replied, “I want to go to the toilet.” The toilet was downstairs, through the sitting room, and through the kitchen.
‘Now I had a clue so asked, “Did you go downstairs before?”
“Yes,” she said, “but Mummy sent me back to bed.” * (Tony C).
This is an unusual example of an out of body experience (OBE). Mostly they are described from the point of view of the person projecting, and are therefore difficult to corroborate. Here, three people experience the OBE in their own way. From Tony and Brenda’s point of view what happened caused sensory stimuli, but only auditory. Helen’s statement says that she was sure she had physically walked down the stairs and been sent back to bed by her mother. Tony and Brenda felt there was a direct connection between what they were thinking and feeling—get the children back to bed—and what Helen experienced as an objective reality.
OBEs have been reported in thousands in every culture and in every period of history.
A more general experience of OBE than the above might include a feeling of rushing along a tunnel or release from a tight place prior to the awareness of independence from the body. In this first stage some people experience a sense of physical paralysis which may be frightening (see paralysis). Their awareness then seems to become an observing point outside the body, as well as the sense of paralysis. Then there is usually an intense awareness of oneself and surroundings, unlike dreaming or even lucidity. Some projectors feel they are even more vitally aware and rational than during the waking state. Looking back on one’s body may occur here. Once the awareness is independent of the body, the boundaries of time and space as they are known in the body do not exist. One can easily pass through walls, fly, travel to or immediately be in a far distant place, witnessing what may be, or appears to be, physically real there.
Sir Auckland Geddes, an eminent British anatomist, describes his own OBE, which contains many of these features. Example: Becoming suddenly and violently ill with gastroenteritis he quickly became unable to move or phone for help. As this was occurring he noticed he had an A and a B consciousness.
The A was his normal awareness, and the B was external to his body, watching. From the B self he could see not only his body, but also the house, garden and surrounds. He need only think of a friend or place and immediately he was there and was later able to find confirmation for his observations. In looking at his body, he noticed that the brain was only an end organ, like a condensing plate, upon which memory and awareness played.
The mind, he said, was not in the brain, the brain was in the mind, like a radio in the play of signals. He then observed his daughter come in and discover his condition, saw her telephone a doctor friend, and saw him also at the same time.
Many cases of OBE occur near death, where a person has died* of a hean attack for instance, and is later revived. Because of this there are attempts to consider the possibility of survival of death through study of these cases. In fact many people experiencing an OBE have a very different view of death than prior to their experience.
Early attempts to explain OBEs suggested a subtle or astral body, which is a double of our physical and mental self, but able to pass through walls. It was said to be connected to the physical body during an OBE by a silver cord—a son of lifeline which kept the physical body alive. This is like the concept that the people we dream about are not creations of our own psyche, but real in their own right. Whatever one may believe an OBE to be, it can be observed that many people in this condition have no silver cord, and have no body at all, but are simply a bodiless observer, or are an animal, a geometric shape, a colour or sound (see identity and dreams).
The person’s own unconscious concepts of self seem to be the factor which shapes the form of the OBE. If, therefore, one feels sure one must travel to a distant point, then in the OBE one travels.
If one believes one is immediately there by the power of thought, one is there.
If one cannot conceive of existing without a body, then one has a body, and so on.
This approach explains many aspects of the OBE, but there is still not a clear concept of what the relationship with the physical world is.
The many cases of OBE which occur during a near-death experience also suggest it may be connected with a survival response to death; not necessarily as a way of trying to transcend death, but perhaps as a primeval form of warning relatives of death.
If there is survival of death, then the OBE may be an anticipatory form, or a preparatory condition leading to the new form. See hallucinations, hallucinogens. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: ‘I was outdoors with a group of people acting as leader. We were in the middle of a war situation with bullets playing around us. Maybe aeroplanes were also attacking. I was leading the group from cover to cover, avoiding the bullets’ (Paul W). Despite feeling attacked, either by external events, or from inner conflicts, Paul is using leadership skills to deal with his own fears and tendencies.
If a friend told us he had just had an argument with his wife and was going to leave her, we might sit down and counsel them by listening and helping them to son out the hun feelings from their long- term wishes. We might point out they had felt this way before, but it passed—in other words give feedback they had missed. In a similar way, our various emotions and drives often need this son of skill employed by ourself. This unifies us, leading to coping skills as in Paul’s dream.
Example: Walking alone through a small town. I was heading for a place that a group of people, in a street parallel to mine, were also heading for.
A person from the group tried to persuade me that the right way to get to the place was along the street the group was walking. I knew the street did not matter, only the general direction.
The person was quite disturbed by my independence. It made him or her feel uncenain co have their leader apparently questioned. I felt uncenain too for a moment’ (Ivor S).
A group of people, as in Ivor’s dream, can also depict how one meets the pressure of social norms. As social relationship is one of the most imponant factors outside personal survival—and survival depends upon it— such dreams help us to clarify our individual contact with society. Human beings have an unconscious but highly developed sense of the psychological social environment. Ivor’s dream shows something we are all involved in—how we are relating to humans collectively. Are we in conflict with group behaviour and direction? Do we conform, but perhaps have conflict with our individual drives? Do we find a way between the opposites? Much of our response is laid down in childhood and remains unconscious unless we review it.
In some dreams, a group of people represent what is meant by the word God. This may sound unlikely, but the unconscious, because it is highly capable of synthesis, often looks at humanity as a whole. Collectively humanity has vast creative and destructive powers which intimately affect us as individuals. Collectively it has performed miracles which, looked at as an individual, appear impossible. How could a little human being build the Great Pyramid, or a space shuttle? The Bible echoes this concept in such phrases as Whatever you do to the least of one of these, you do to me. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If detailed observations were made of the habits of ten people, one could predict fairly accurately what they would be doing for the next week, perhaps even pinpointing the time and place.
For instance some would never visit a pub, while others would be frequently there.
Because the unconscious is the storehouse of millions of bits of observed information, and because it has a well-developed function enabling us to scan information and predict from it, some dreams forecast the future. Such predictions may occur more frequently in a dream rather than as waking insight, because few people can put aside their likes and dislikes, prejudices and hopes sufficiently to allow such information into the consciousness. While asleep some of these barriers drop and allow information to be presented.
Ed Butler’s dream is about his work scene. Each detail was real and horrifying. Shonly afterwards, Rita was burnt just as in the dream. Example: ‘I was stanled by the muffled but unmistakable sound of a nearby explosion. While unexpected, it wasn’t entirely unusual—the high energy propel- lants and oxidisers being synthesised and tested in the chemistry wing were hazardously unstable. When I heard the screams I froze for an instant, recognising that they could only be coming from Rita, the one woman chemist in the all male department. I rushed to the doorway of her laboratory. Peering through the smoke and fumes I saw a foot sticking out of the surrounding flames. I was only in my shirt sleeves, unprotected, not even wearing my lab coat, but I had to go into the flames. I grabbed Rita by the foot and noticed with horror that her stockings were melting from the heat. I pulled her back into the doorway and tugged at a chain which released gallons of water on her flaming body. When satisfied the fire was quenched, even though my own clothes still smouldered, I ran for the emergency phone’ (from Dream Network Bulletin, June 1985).
Some precognitive dreams appear to go beyond this ability to predict from information already held. So far there is no theory which is commonly accepted which explains this.
A not too bizarre one, however, is thai our unconscious has access to a collective mind. With so much more information available, it can transcend the usual limitations when predicting from personal information.
The next examples are all from Shirley G. Because of space, only three of the dreams are quoted. Nevertheless, they are typical of dreams which do not seem to fall into the category of precognitive dreams arising from unconscious scanning or information already known. Example: ‘1 set out to dream the winner of a horse race each day for a week. I was driving down a country road and suddenly saw a glimpse of Emmerdale Farm down a side road. Following day: chosen horse Emmerdale Farm came in first. 2 Was working in a room when a man popped his head around the door and shouted excitedly “John, John, your uncle’s here” and disappeared. I carried on working. Chosen horse: Uncle John. Came in first. 3 Was walking down a road, called into a house by a friend to have a chat. On the way out she opened the door and I saw a completely empty room except for a huge black fireplace. Door closed and I left the house. Chosen horse Black Fire—which I insisted would only be placed due to a fireplace. Came in 2nd.* See ESP in dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Modern humans face the difficulty of developing an independent identity and yet keeping a working relationship with the primitive, thus maturing/bringing the primitive into an efficiently functioning connection with the present social world.
The survival urge at base might be kill or run, but it can be transformed into the ambition which helps, say, an opera singer meet difficulties in her career. Also the very primitive has in itself the promise of the future, of new aspects of human consciousness. This is because many extraordinary human functions take place unconsciously, in the realm of the reptile/spine/lower brain/right brain/autonomic nervous system. Being unconscious they are less amenable to our waking will. They function fully only in some fight or flight, survive or die, situations.
If we begin to touch these with consciousness, as we do in dreams, new functions are added to consciousness. See The dream as extended perception under ESP and dreams.
Unconscious life or growth processes which can lead to transformation (the frog/prince story); the growth from childhood vulnerability—tadpole to frog—therefore the process of life in general and its wisdom. Frogspawn: sperm, ovum and reproduction.
Example: ‘My wife and I saw a large lizard on the wall near a banana. It was there to catch the flies.
The lizard turned so it was facing away from us—head up the wall. We then were able to see it had large wing-like flaps which spread from its head in an invened V. With amazement we saw on these flaps wonderful pictures, in full colour, of birds. In fleeting thoughts I wondered if the bird “paintings” were to attract birds, or were some form of camouflage. But I felt cenain the lizard had “painted” these wonderful pictures with its unconscious an’ (David T). Generally, a lizard is very much the same as a snake, except it lacks the poisonous aspect; awareness of unconscious or instinctive drives, functions and processes. In the above dream, the banana is both David’s pleasure and sexuality, while the lizard is the creativity emerging from his unconscious through the attention he is giving it—he is looking at the lizard. Chameleon: either one’s desire to fade into the background, or adaptability.
Example: A small snake about a foot long had dropped down my shirt neck. I could feel it on the left side of my neck Fearing it was poisonous and might bite me, I moved very slowly. At one point I put my head on the ground, hoping the snake would wish to crawl away. It did not. Then I was near an elephant I loved, and hoped it would remove the snake. It did not. Even as I slept I felt the snake was an expression of the attitude of not shanng myself with anybody except family’ (David T).
For months prior to the above dream David had experienced a great deal of neck pain. After discussing the dream with his wife, and realising much of his thinking and feeling was intumed, the pain disappeared. So the snake was both poisoner’ and ‘healer’. This may be why snakes are used as a symbol of the medical profession.
The Hebrew word for the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Nahash, which can be translated as blind impulsive urges, such as our instinctive drives.
So, generally, snakes depict many different things, but usually the life process.
If we think of a person’s life from conception to death, we see a flowing moving event, similar in many ways to the speeded up films of a seed growing into a plant, flowering and dying.
The snake depicts the force or energy behind that movement and purposiveness—the force of life which leads us both to growth and death. That energy —like electricity in a house, which can be heat, power, sound and vision—lies behind all our functions. So in some dreams the snake expresses our sexuality, in others the rising of that energy up our body to express itself as digestion—the intestinal snake; as the healing or poisonous energy of our emotions and thoughts.
Example: ‘I was in a huge cathedral, the mother church. I wanted to go to the toilet/gents. As I held my penis to urinate it became a snake and reached down to the urinal to drink. It was thirsty. I struggled with it, pulling it away from the unclean liquid. Still holding it I walked to a basin and gave it pure water to drink’ (Bill A). Here the connection between snake and sexuality is obvious. But the snake is not just Bill’s penis.
It is the direction his sexual urges take him he is struggling with. Out of his sense of love and connection with life— the cathedral—he wants to lift his drive towards something which will not leave him with a sense of uncleanness. Snake in connection with any hole: sexual relatedness.
A snake biting us: unconscious worries about our health, frustrated sexual impulse, our emotions turned against ourselves as internalised aggression, can poison us and cause very real illness, so may be shown as the biting snake. Snake biting others: biting remarks, a poisonous tongue.
A crowned or light-encircled snake: when our ‘blind impulses’ or instinctive or unconscious urges and functions are in some measure integrated with our conscious will and insight, this is seen as the crowned snake or even winged snake. It shows real self awareness and maturity. In coils of snake: feeling bound in the ‘blind impulses’ or habitual drives and feeling responses. Instincts and habits can be redirected, as illustrated by Hercules’ labours. Snake with tail in mouth: sense of the circle of life—binh, growth, reproduction, aging, death, rebirth; the eternal. Snake coiling up tree, pole, cross: the blind instinctive forces of life emerging into conscious experience—in other words the essence of human expenence with its involvement in pain, pleasure, time and eternity; the process of personal growth or evolution; healing because personal growth often moves us beyond old attitudes or situations which led to inner tension or even sickness. Snake in grass: sense or intuition of talk behind your back; danger, sneakiness. Colours: green, our internal life process directed, perhaps through satisfied feelings, love and creativity, into a healing process or one which leads to our personal growth and positive change; white, eternal aspect of our life process, or becoming conscious of it; blue, religious feelings or coldness in relations. See colours; anxiety dreams; death and rebirth, the self under archetypes; dreams and Ancient Greece; cellar under house, buildings; hypnosis and dreams; jungle; paralysis. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If this area is damaged or suppressed, humans or animals make full muscular movements in connection with what is dreamt. He observed that cats would stalk, crouch and spring at imaginary prey. These very imponant findings suggest a number of things.
The unconscious process behind dreaming, apan from creating a non-volitional fantasy, can also reproduce movements we have not consciously decided upon. This shows we have at least two centres of will which can direct body and mental processes. Christopher Evans, linking with the work of Nicholas Humphrey at Cambridge University, sees the movements of dreaming cats as expressions of survival ‘programs’ in the biological computer. These ‘programs’ or strategies for survival need to be replayed in order not only to keep in practice, but also to modify them in connection with the influx of extra experience and information. In the human realm, our survival strategies and the way we relate to our social, sexual, marriage and work roles may also be replayed and modified in our dreaming.
Such movements are not linked simply to survival or social programs’.
An important aspect of dreaming is releasing painful emotions or trauma, and moving toward psychological growth. Also, the process producing these movements does not keep strictly to the realm of sleep.
It is observable that many muscular spasms, ticks, or unwilled waking movements arise from this source—the will’ of the unconscious—attempting to release trauma or initiate a necessary programme of psychological growth. That such dream’ activities as spontaneous movement or verbalisation should occur during waking would appear to suggest that a dream must occur with them. Research shows this is unlikely. It does however show that a dream may be imagery produced to express this mental, muscular, emotional ‘self regulation’.
The imagery may not be necessary if the process is consciously experienced.
Because the self-regulatory process produces spontaneous movements, emotions and verbalisation, it is likely there is a connection between it and many ancient religious practices such as pentecostalism, shaktipat in India, subud in Indonesia and seitai in Japan. These are forms of psychotherapy practised by other cultures. They create an environment in which practitioners can allow spontaneous movement and fantasy while awake. Because consciousness is then involved, and can co-operate with the self-regulating or healing activities of the unconscious, such practice can lead to better health and utilisation of unconscious functions.
The older religious forms of this practice relied on belief systems of spirits or gods. Once the connection between these practices and the dream is realised, much in them which was obscure becomes understandable. In my book Mind and Movement I explain the connection between the dream process, self regulatory healing, extended perception and waking consciousness. See abreaction; sleep walking; dream as therapist and healer. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
It is the image of modern man’s fight for survival.
The dreamer is looking for validation, Applause.
According to Freud, this dream image appears to those who, as children, have witnessed sexual inter- course among adults. Even if it does not necessarily always address a question of sexuality, it clearly refers to the body and physicality. How are you treating your own body.7 How agile do you feel. This image can appear when you are not physically active enough.... Little Giant Encyclopedia
To be dancing in a dream portrays the creation of happiness, feeling at one with the surroundings and possibly getting closer or more intimate with a partner.
2- Psychologically, dance can be a reinforcement of freedom of movement, strength and emotion.
3- Spiritually; dancing has always been taken to represent the rhythm of life.
The patterns created are reputed to mirror the patterns of creativity. Dance also signifies the transformation of space into time.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
To dream of a swarm of flies is to dream of the sort of purposeful behaviour which occurs when there arc large numbers of insects. Where one insect may appear to be moving aimlessly, large numbers do not. Often we can only succeed in changing matters by group behaviour.
2- Insects of anv sort usually link us to primal instinctive behaviour, that of survival against all odds. Whatever threatens us docs so on a very basic level, and we may have no defences, except those of our own nature.
3- Some form of spiritual contamination may have taken place. Hopefully it can be dealt with easily, and steps can then be taken to keep it away.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
1- Being aware in a dream that something is prehistoric is lo recognise that feelings and emotions we have arise lilerallv from before the time we were able to understand ourselves. WTicn we have not fully integrated and comprehended the basic urge for survival, it is possible for us to be self-destructive without necessarily appreciating why.
2- Often in dreams the landscape or scenario appears to be prehistoric. This is ‘before thought’ and before we had the ability to record our impressions.
If one believes that babies are conscious of the world they will enter before birth, then these impressions can appear in later life as prehistoric images.
For instance, a barren landscape might indicate a lack of love.
3- Spiritual progression requires us to understand our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual urges. In this context, the prehistoric images indicate the lack of ability to integrate either the various parts of ourselves successfully, or to integrate with society.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
In common with most fish when they appear in dreams, the salmon signifies our basic urges most often the need for survival. By- being able to put in effort we reap the rewards of our actions.
In mythology the salmon signifies knowledge of other worlds (the lands beneath the sea) and of other-worldly things. This refers principally to the subconscious.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
2- The need for us to be able to divide time into periods or phases arises initially from the necessity to co-operate with the seasons from a survival point of view. Given deadlines and limitations, the human being is able to survive through striving.
3- The division of the year into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter gives occasion for celebrations and festivals.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
If you are unbuckled, you are throwing caution to the wind and living dangerously. Consider the feeling tone. See Belt.... Strangest Dream Explanations
If this is a military camp, see Army, Marine, or Navy.... Strangest Dream Explanations
A cannibal also represents power, control, and a battle for energy. See Venting Dreams, Animal, Fight and Flight.... Strangest Dream Explanations
If you are in the center of a situation, then your choices will either create a sense of unity and interconnectivity or chaos. Choose wisely.... Strangest Dream Explanations
The earth is also symbolic of your mother or the maternal, nurturing energy you have received in life. Sometimes the things that are the most important for our survival are the things we most taken for granted. Your subconscious mind may be giving you the message to be grateful for the people in your life that are there for you unconditionally and to treat them with the respect they deserve. See Dirt.... Strangest Dream Explanations
If your foundation is solid, then there is security and support for the structures that which will be built upon it.
If the foundation is weak or flimsy, then the rest is in jeopardy of falling apart. See Floor.... Strangest Dream Explanations
The way you hunt says a lot about your survival mechanisms. You are becoming aware of the effectiveness of your survival skills. See Stocking.... Strangest Dream Explanations
For example, if you dream of killing a male, then you are attempting to kill off your masculine energy; if you are killing a female, then you are attempting to kill your female energy, etc. Also, this dream may denote your desire to eliminate a destructive habit. See Shadow, Integration Dreams and Venting Dreams.... Strangest Dream Explanations
To dream of losing money signifies that you are dealing with financial challenges and setbacks.
To dream of stealing money signifies that you are feeling desperate and are in survival mode.
To dream of having lots of money represents a consciousness of wealth, and that you are preparing for great prosperity.
If you dream of not having enough money, then you are venting out poverty consciousness.... Strangest Dream Explanations
If you dream of a specific person that you know, then identify the qualities that they represent to you (i.e. friendliness, fearfulness, inspiration, etc…), and realize that this is a reflection of either an aspect of yourself. See Integration Dreams.... Strangest Dream Explanations
If you dream that the roof is leaking or caving in, then your dream is giving you the message to take time to review your belief systems and make some repairs or perhaps to remove the roof entirely.
If you are standing on the roof, then this can either represent aloofness or a quest for higher consciousness. Consider the feeling tone. See Lid or Cover.... Strangest Dream Explanations