The meaning of The shadow in dream | Dream interpretation
Did you dream of someone, perhaps a stranger, or someone you know who behaved in a repulsive, hateful or shocking way and your instinctual response was one of loathing? If so, you may have encountered your shadow. In waking life, your consciousness represses your shadow, but in dreams it can come to the fore. A useful indicator of your shadow is the quality you despise most in other people, such as boastfulness or cowardice. When your shadow appears, it may be telling you to embrace that part of yourself you find hard to accept, so that you can enhance your creativity.
The shadow is the unacceptable or unknown aspect of ourselves. It derives from our pre-human, animal past, when our concerns were limited to survival and reproduction, and when we weren’t self- conscious.
Symbols of the shadow include the snake, the dragon, monsters, and demons. It can appear in many different dream disguises: a foreigner, gypsy, tramp, prostitute, murderer, thief, stranger, alcoholic, drug addict, rapist, burglar, crippled, deformed, blind, a servant or someone following you. It often guards the entrance to a cave or a pool of water, which is the collective unconscious.
The shadow is not always represented as an enemy in dreams. It often contains values that are needed by consciousness and only becomes hostile when ignored or misunderstood. Although it suggests the ‘dark side’ of the ego, the shadow is actually amoral—neither good nor bad, just like animals. An animal is capable of tender care for its young and vicious killing for food, but it doesn’t choose to do either. It just does what it does. It is ‘innocent’. But from our human perspective, the animal world looks rather brutal, inhuman, so the shadow becomes the part of ourselves that we can’t quite admit to.
According to Jung, the shadow is the repressed or unacceptable part of your own personality, so if a shadow or shadowy figure appears in your dream, this represents an aspect of yourself that you are rejecting. The image may also suggest feelings of being overshadowed, put in the shade or feeling inferior in waking life. The shadow may also express a fear of the unknown, or of negative impulses.
A shadow can be a sign of coming events or a shadow cast from the future, because you often see a person’s shadow before you see them. Bear in mind that the shadow or hidden part of your personality can express itself in many different guises in your dreams, although there is usually an air of disrepute, danger or negativity about the image.
Depicted as: a shadowy figure, often the same sex as the dreamer, a zombie or walking dead; a dark shape; an unseen ‘Thing’; someone or something we feel uneasy about or in some measure repelled by; what is behind one in a dream, anything dark or threatening.
The Shadow is any pan of ourself which we reject, and so do not allow expression in our life. We may so dislike aspects of our nature we fail to see them altogether and instead see them in other people and criticise them. Nations as well as individuals do this.
The Nazis projected all problems on to the Jews; the Americans have not wished to see their own social sickness, and have looked instead at the Russians, no doubt the Irish blame the English, and the English use the class system, with its projections between employee and employer.
It is easier than looking at one’s own Shadow.
If you can think of the characteristics you loathe in others, that is a fair picture of what you repress in yourself.
The great ‘ladies’ man’ may hide a Shadow which feels inadequate sexually; the loving Christian mother might meet a Shadow full of resentment and anger at how she has been taken for granted. Meeting the Shadow through our dreams is a meeting with our own reality, which in turn enables us to look at the world realistically.
The Shadow can be met.