Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940 (Philemon Foundation Series)

  1. Dreams of a Four- to Five-Year-Old Girl of Her Father as a Menacing Giant, of a Pergola and a Dachshund, and of Exercising in a Barn

Presented by Dr. Ignaz Reichstein


  1. I’m lying in my bed and watch how the door to my parents’ bedroom slowly opens. My father appears in the opening, but it’s a mighty giant; he looks ferocious and threatens me with a club. I wake up frightened.

  2. I’m standing in front of an endless pergola; a little dachshund jumps out of it and comes toward me. I am so scared that I wake up.

  3. I am in a very big, high barn, and under the roof I climb from one beam to another.

Dr. Reichstein: In the first dream, the locale and the persons are: the dreamer’s bedroom beside the parental bedroom, the dreamer herself, and her father as a giant.

Peripateia: the door to the parents’ bedroom opens, the father appears in the form of a giant and threatens the dreamer with a club.

The lysis is missing.

The dreamer is in her bed next to the bedroom of the parents, usually a very protected, intimate place, in immediate proximity of the parents.

We are in bed before or during sleep, thus in a state in which the unconscious is particularly activated.

Then the dreamer sees how the door to the parents’ bedroom slowly opens.

She catches sight of the place where the unconscious of the parents is activated.

Above all, this is the sphere of sexuality and the place of procreation.

From there the father comes in the form of a mighty giant, threatening her with a club.

The giant is an archetypal figure.

In German mythology, the giants are described as follows: they are primordial natural beings, mostly appearing in groups, displaying little individual character.

In the Edda, Ymir, a primordial giant, develops out of the primordial waters, out of whose body parts the world was built.

The giants stand in contrast to the gods; they are coarse creatures, indifferent to morality, who know only fleshly pleasures such as getting drunk and overeating.

On the other hand, as the eldest beings, they possess a knowledge of primordial things, an uncreated and traditional wisdom.

Utgard, their dwelling place, lies outside the circular earth, along the sea coast, or beyond the world ocean, which was thought of as a small strip—thus, in a place outside the world.

According to another myth, they are underground, in the womb of the waters or of the hollow mountains.

The gods had erected a protective barrier, the fortress Midgard (the land of man), against the attacks of the giants.

Gods and giants constantly fight against each other, as is particularly evident in the Götterdämmerung, the twilight of the gods, in which giants and gods destroy each other in a final battle.

In ancient mythology, giants and dragons often turn into each other, and enforced human sacrifices had to be made to them.

Later heroes, who took the place of the gods, put an end to these sacrifices by defeating the giants, freeing the treasures guarded by them, and saving the princesses who had been destined to be their victims.

In Greek mythology, the giants are also sons of the earth and adversaries of the gods.

In the Gigantomachia, the battle between the gods and the giants, the latter can be defeated only with the help of a mortal, which task falls to Heracles.

The club is the primitive weapon of the giants, but often also of the gods. Grimm writes: “Stones and rocks are the weapons of the race of the giants; they use only stone clubs, stone shields, no swords.”

The god Thor, too, the main opponent of the giants, is armed with a hammer or a club.

It also corresponds to the thunderbolts and the flash of lightning, by which the club also assumes a fertilizing character, as can already be seen from its typically phallic form.

In Frauenlob, Simrock mentions a passage in which a virgin says about God the Father: “the smith from the upper land threw a hammer into my lap/womb.”

The lightning also throws wedge-shaped thunder stones as deep into the earth as church towers are high, “nine fathoms deep,” which rise again to the surface of the earth after seven or nine years.

To summarize, the giants can be characterized as follows: they are chaotic, untamed, natural, instinctual creatures; insatiable and destructive in their carnal greed, if they are not reined in by the gods to be more benevolent. ~Dr. Ignaz Reichstein, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Pages 382-384.