Dreams always seek to make an adjustment in the way I understand things, and this requires a constant sacrifice of some aspect or another of my personal sense of reality. The dream, as a rule of thumb, is a picture of my personal truth. Dreams have multi-levels of meaning.
The goal of the dream is individuation (peace and balance within which in turn brings health, creativity and oneness with self, others and nature). The goal of individuation is knowing myself as completely as possible or self-consciousness. From the process of individuation of consciousness a new element is produced, which Jung calls the ego
The ego is the organization of the conscious mind, which composed of consciousness perception, memories, thoughts, and feelings. Even though it is a small part of the psyche, it is the gatekeeper to consciousness. Unless the ego acknowledges the presence of idea, a feeling, a memory or a perception, it cannot be brought into awareness.
Dreams are coded in symbolic language, which is unique to the dreamer. This language helps to circumvent my resistance to insight or change. I can refuse to evaluate the dream material but the substance still comes forward from the unconscious. Dreams show me how I participate in the stresses in my life by my reactions to them. They show me where in my life I am at dis-ease and put me in touch with my personal conflicts. They call us to action by showing possible new responses
My personality as a whole is called psyche. Jung believed that we are whole to begin with and throughout life we are to develop this inherent wholeness to the greatest degree of differentiation, coherence, and harmony possible and guard against breaking up into separate, autonomous and confliction systems. Dreams help us to recover our lost wholeness.
Repeating dreams themes
1. The dream is only a symbol placed in front of a black background. I see myself with a brown spider attached to the center of my forehead, with its head pointing upward. Surrounding the spider and connected to it are multicolored beads that circle around my head. Similar to a Mandela and spider is its center point. It is a magnificent headdress that resembles something a Mid-eastern woman would wear.
Following are possible meanings using shadow material, symbolism of the images, archetypal meanings, associations, complexes, unconscious and collective unconscious material.
Dream Images that emerge from the unconscious have intentions. The general intention of the image is to contact and affect the ego. A specific image has a particular intention, which is to contact and affect the ego in a distinctive way for a precise purpose - which, from a Jungian perspective, is to compensate some maladaptive attitude of the ego.
The person in the dream is seen as me. The self is itself a central theme to Jungian psychology. It is the organizing principle of the personality and is an archetype. The self is the archetype of order, organization, and unification. It draws to itself and harmonizes all other archetypes and their manifestations in the complexes and consciousness. It unites the personality giving it a sense of oneness and firmness.
Everything in this dream is me. The information may have come from my personal unconscious (where unprocessed information by the ego is stored) or the collective unconscious (a reservoir of primordial images that are collected from our ancestors _ human as well as animals). The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypal symbols. First, there are symbols that will lead to the clues of the dream. There are three circles. The beads, the circle of beads around the spider and the beads as they wrap around my head like a Mandela. Is the headdress a persona (mask)? Is it what I pretend to be or what I am being called to accept? What shadow material is in this image?
The spider is an archetypal figure representing balance between past and present, physical and spiritual, male and female leading to wholeness. Spider as an archetype also calls for the feminine. All parts of life are part of the whole web of life. It calls for creativity in the written word.
The spider’s location is significant, it is situated in the middle of the forehead linking the eyebrows. The center of the forehead is the sixth chakra and is known as the third eye chakra. This Chakra is represented by the indigo Ajna Mandela (command centre), the element of the mind, electricity and light and it is also symbolized by spirit. The third eye chakra influences our capacity to see things that are yet to come into being or clairvoyance it is the foundation of our psychic powers. We are able to link into our intuition, imagination, visualize, concentrate, have insight, enlightenment, and a finely tuned awareness. This chakra physically influences the eyes, vision, nose, central nervous system, brain, and pituitary gland. Does this third eye call me to look at my nature with another perspective?
When the third eye chakra is balanced, we feel in control of our lives and have the courage to follow our own path. We are confident in our own abilities and have no need to look to others to feel whole. Our mental abilities and our sixth sense are working well.
The idea of the Chakra is somewhat threatening to me. This kind of a gift is one I shy away from. It is an ongoing process for me to accept those parts of enlightenment, intuition, or mysticism that I yearn to be. I have seen these gifts as power and I am afraid of power. I am prone to pride when I feel powerful. When my pride surfaces, I am at risk for being knocked down as low as I was high in pride. The ego here is in conflict with who I believe I need to be and who I am naturally.
Is the dream calling me to see spiritually enlightened or warning me to the dangers? Is my shadow side bringing forth this gift to accept?
With all things, there is always the opposite quality just waiting to surface. I believe that this dream also cautions me not to get too heady with the calling to a higher level of consciousness.
Mandela is an archetype and calls to inner peace, meaning to life and wholeness. As an archetype, the Hindu Mandela is a tangible symbol of the presence of the godhead at the center of all things. Jung says that the Mandela is the “nuclear atom” of the human psyche - whose essence we do not know.
Mid-Eastern woman style of headdress reminds me that Eastern (Spirituality, wisdom, contemplative) is different from Western (logic or materialism). Is this a calling of shadow to break with the Western and move into the more mystical expression of life? Is this a calling to put aside the linier way I think and to become vertical? Is this a calling to step into the unclaimed parts of my nature?
Headdress is another symbol for persona or mask. Am I allowing the new internal image to flow outward? The beads were multi colored like the rainbow. I associate the rainbow with promises from God.
Seems to me that all symbols are pointing to balance and wholeness.
Because my ego was not prepared to incorporate this new knowledge, I returned to fear of accepting the truth about wholeness.
The dream spider returns.
2. I am in a large home setting, which has many rooms and is being used as a gathering or possibly a party. All persons in the dream are unknown to me. People are moving from room to room talking with one another.
I go into one of the rooms to talk to those there. As I turned to go out of this room, I notice a hanging basket of greenish brown cascading leaves just to the right of the open doorway. One of the hanging down leaves reaches out to me and taps my shoulder to get my attention. I notice a big bodied, long legged very large spider. Because I notice it, it begins to move out from behind the leaves to become more noticeable. Once I clearly see it, I am afraid that the spider will use the connection of the plant to my shoulder to crawl over and reach me. I see the spider drop downward toward the floor out of the hanging basket, using a thin strand of its own web. Had it not moved I would not have seen it. The movement of both the spider and the plant surprises me. The spider makes its way back up the web and rests back in the plant. It stops moving and I wonder why.
I offer a possible meaning for this dream.
The spider is feminine energy. It represents the lunar energies. Spiders have eight legs. Eight is a symbol of infinity and mysticism.
The other people represent all the voices that that talk to me in the psyche. These particular people are having a good time by celebrating life. How can I celebrate the message of this dream?
The Plant hanging by an open door is suggesting that the invitation is being offered and, with acceptance, to move through the door to a new room. An indoor plant needs a caretaker. The spider as a spiritual being with its home in the plant symbolized to me that the spiritual will take care of me if I remain connected to it.
For me the house symbolizes my inner being. Moving from one room to another may suggest that I am looking for something and that the something housed in my subconscious is attempting to find me.
The vine tapping me on the shoulder reminds me of the scripture “ I am the vine and you are the branches.” Is the dream telling me that I am not remaining connected to the vine? Maybe the Lord was getting my attention so that I would see the spider and embrace its message. The spider and its thread are in the direction of up and down, again representing to me the connection between heaven and earth (God and man). The spider has the ability to walk between earth and heaven, the spiritual and the physical, the past and the future. I immediately go from this insight to finding a reason why I cannot or should not accept this who I am. I remember my dyslexia, and then the spider challenges me to embrace the gifts of both sides of my brain. This resistance is buried in the complexes of my life and my ego holds it locked. The dream is calling the ego to let go.
Shadow material is resistant to transformation. It is everything in us that is unconscious, repressed, underdeveloped, and denied. These are dark rejected aspects of our being as well as light, so there is positive undeveloped potential in the Shadow that we do not know about.
Synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence between seemingly unrelated events. The following are 2 synchronistic events that I had.
While on vacation in Hot Springs, Ark., I was in a pottery shop when I noticed hanging on the wall a piece of pottery that had been formed from a real-life leaf. I was captured by its beauty. I took it off the wall to examine it and to possibly purchase. All of a sudden, I felt something crawl swiftly across my forearm and drop to the floor. I looked down and saw a spider scurrying off. I told the owner who quickly approached the spider and stepped on it. He asked if I had been bitten. I had not felt a sting so I responded with a “No.” He then said that the spider was a brown recluse. The combination of the piece of pottery in the shape of a leaf and the spider dropping out from behind the leaf, I thought of my spider dreams. I wondered the significance that the spider was a recluse. Was my shadow side calling me to look in the parts of myself that I keep hidden?
Recluse: is this calling me to develop the mental function of extraversion? I am an introvert and a shy one at that. The movement into development of extroversion is a painful transition. The recluse did not appear out from behind its secure covering with out the movement of the leaf. We are like that too. We stay like that, hidden in the darkness of limited consciousness until the dream breaks through and illuminates us. Even the recluse died before it can be reborn into the new dimension of consciousness. I do likewise. With every new insight, there must be a death to the old. And so the cycle of life in the movement of dreams continues.
The next stop on our vacation was to the Gardens to take pictures. As I made way around to the waterfall, I discovered a rock formation on the rocks just to the side of the waterfall. There were several symbols from my spider dream. The long vine-like streamer hanging down, the clump of fern resembling a hanging basket and the huge spider rising out of the rock surface. Spider and greenery are just to the right of the waterfall. In the dream, the plant and spider were to the right of the open door. This time, the spider’s head point downward in the same direction as the falling water. I was filled with glee as I saw my dream unfolding before me in waking life. What synchronistic meaning will come from this encounter, I do not know yet.
Do I understand the dream’s message this time and am I able to step into the new beliefs and actions that I am being called to follow?
More stories like this one can be read about in my book ”Dream Symbols In Waking Life" which can be viewed and ordered through the website... blurb.com/books/783979. Enjoy.
Jeanne G. Miller