Archetypes are images common to all humans because they arise out of common human experience.
Though we are each unique individuals, our commonalities are more pervasive and fundamental than our differences. Truly understanding this is the only cure for racism, jingoism and prejudice.
Most symbols in your dreams reflect a part of yourself. Some images common to all of humanity, along with their typical meanings are:
· THE PERSONA: A person’s “public mask.” The image of yourself you present to the public.
· THE SHADOW: The parts of a person they hide from the public, and even from themselves.
· THE ANIMUS: The male part of a person’s psyche (especially of a woman). Represented by men in one’s dreams.
· The ANIMA: The female part of a person’s psyche (especially of a man). Represented by women in one’s dreams.
· THE COUPLE: Represents wholeness and integration of the various parts of the self: anima and animus, inner and outer life, etc.
· THE HERO: Most people identify with the hero of stories, and so the hero represents the ego, which is the identification of the self.
· THE MAIDEN: Represents innocence, purity and beauty, but often an innocence accompanied by weakness that needs to be “rescued” by the hero, and so is more precisely naiveté.
· THE TRICKSTER: Sometimes represented as a clown or a magician, the trickster’s job is to hinder the mission of the hero.
· THE CHILD: The true, innocent self, filled with potential, but vulnerable.
· WISE OLD MAN: One’s inner guide based on the wisdom a person has accumulated over the years that often has to give guidance to the young inexperienced hero.
· THE FATHER: A guide, provider or authority figure.
· THE MOTHER: The part of a person that is nurturing, and promotes growth and fertility.
Beginning your understanding of dream symbols with these archetypes can give you a quick start before you delve into the more challenging (but also exciting and rewarding) work of learning your personal symbology.
Beyond these personal images, common dreams are also founded on emotions common to all of humanity:
· The need to be understood
· The desire to be loved
· Lust and passion
· Thrill and adventure
· The pursuit of security
· A sense of belonging
· Personal journey of spiritual growth
Because humans have so many traits in common, many of our dreams are similar. These common dream symbols are the most easily understood as they have been analyzed and diagnosed by experts for years. Like archetypes, they are an excellent place to begin your journey in understanding the language of dreams.
If you are mystified by a dream, begin with the two lists above and ask if your dream contained any of the characters from the first list, or feelings from the second list. If so, begin there, and often the meaning of other more personal symbols will unfold their meaning as your mind begins to make associations.