Through a Jungian Lens

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Dreams – The Story Behind the Story

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Open to the light

This little guy sat still long enough for me to go and get my camera and get this photo taken.  To tell the truth, when I got back outside his wings were folded and I had to wait a while before he opened them up again for this photo.

Wings closed

There is no doubt that I was lucky that the  butterfly had remained on the tree during the time it took to get these two photos two days ago. I didn’t know if I should keep the first photo as it is a bit blurry and doesn’t have the aesthetic quality of the photo with its wings opened to receive the warmth of the sun’s rays; but now, I am glad that I did. The two photos seemed to illustrate my dream from early this morning.  I guess I should explain.

My dream this morning was about dreaming. In my dream about dreaming, I was concerned about the recording of the dream and found myself recording dreams in two separate journals. The second journal contained dream fragments, those bits of dreams that indicate that there was more but defy all conscious attempts to capture the fullness of the dreams. The first journal was where the dream then got recorded in all of its fullness, a drama in full colour even though the drama has no linear structure, a fullness that almost has all the parts existing at the same time in which the ego dream-self navigates without worrying about obeying the laws of physics or rationality. Two journals; two versions of the same dreams – two photos that has one hinting at way is hidden while the second photo holds nothing back.

I know that I am always stuck with the fragments which sometimes are actually quite large running into several hundred words, but usually containing less than a hundred words. The fragments do help me in terms of “associations” with my personal past and often with incidents of the very recent past. Yet, these associations are not enough if I am to fully understand the dream.  Looking for more, I turned to C.G. Jung in order to find a bit of guidance.

“Dreams, then, convey to us in figurative language – that is, in sensuous, concrete imagery – thoughts, judgments, views, directives, tendencies, which were unconscious either because of repression  or through mere lack of realization. Precisely because they are contents of the unconscious, and the dream is a derivative of unconscious processes, it contains a reflection of the unconscious contents.” (Jung, CW 8, par 477)

Unconscious contents, repressed contents being “reflected” – there, I knew that there was something to even this fragment. It doesn’t take more than a fragment to point to what the fragment is a reflection of, the fuller story. Jung spoke of how dreams pointed to motifs, to themes that are often represented in myths and fairy tales, stories of the collective unconscious which is embedded within our personal unconscious. Finding the theme allows us to hear what the dream is attempting to communicate to us. Now, all I have to do is to mull upon the question of what is it that I am trying to disguise about myself, saying as little as possible in terms of self-disclosure. Of course, the clues are in what is actually disclosed, in the fragment.


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