Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)

Tholos temple, sanctuary of Athena Pronaia; located in Delphi, Greece



IT is a well-known fact that one of the principles of analytic psychology is that the dream images are to be understood symbolically; that is to say, that they are not to be taken literally just as they are presented in sleep, but that behind them a hidden meaning has to be surmised. It is this ancient idea of a dream symbolism which has challenged not only criticism, but, in addition to that, the strongest opposition. That dreams may be full of Import, and, therefore, something to be interpreted, is certainly neither a strange nor an extraordinary idea this Has been familiar to mankind for thousands of years, and, Therefore, seems much like a banal truth the dream Interpretations of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and the story of Joseph who interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, are Known to everyone, and the dream book of Artemidorus Is also familiar. From countless inscribed monuments of All times and peoples we learn of foreboding dreams, of significant, of prophetic and also of curative dreams which the Deity sent to the sick, sleeping in the temple.

We know the dream of the mother of Augustus, who dreamt she was to be with child by the Deity transformed into a snake. We will not heap up references and examples to bear witness to the existence of a belief In the symbolism of dreams. When an idea is so old, and is so generally believed, it is probably true in some way, and, indeed, as is mostly the case, is not literally true, but is line psychologically in this distinction lies the reason why the old fogies of science have from time to time thrown away an inherited piece of ancient truth; because it was not literal but psychologic truth. For such discrimination this type of person has at no time had any comprehension.

From our experience, it is hardly conceivable that a God existing outside of ourselves causes dreams, or that the dream, eo ipso, foresees the future prophetically. When we translate this into the psychological, however, then the ancient theories sound much more reconcilable, namely, the dream amuses from a part of the mind unknown to us, but none the less important, and is concerned with the disputes for the approaching day. This psychological formula derived from the ancient superstitious conception of dreams, is, so to speak, exactly identified with the Freudian psychology, which assumes a rising wish from the unconscious to be the source of the dream As the old belief teaches, the Deity or the Demon speaks in symbolic speech to the sleeper, and the dream interpreter has the riddle to solve In modern speech we say this means that the dream is a series of images, which are apparently contradictory and nonsensical, but end in reality from psychologic material which yields a clear meaning.

Were I to suppose among my readers a far-reaching ignorance of dream analysis, then I should be obliged to illustrate this statement with numerous examples. Today, however, these things are quite well known, so that one must proceed carefully with every-day dream material, out of consideration for a public educated in these matters It is a special inconvenience that no dream can be recounted without being obliged to add to it half a life’s history which affords the individual foundations of the dream, but there are some few typical dreams which can be told without too great a ballast. One of these is the dream of the sexual assault, which is especially prevalent among women A girl sleeping after an evening happily spent in dancing, dreams that a robber breaks open her door noisily and stabs through the body with a lance. This theme, which explains itself, has countless variations, some simple, some complicated Instead of the lance it is a sword, a dagger, a revolver, a gun, a cannon, a hydrant, a watering pot; or the assault is a burglary, a pursuit, a robbery, or it is someone hidden in the closet or under the bed Or the danger may be illustrated by wild animals; for instance, a horse which throws the dreamer to the ground and kicks her in the body with his hind foot; lions, tigers, elephants with threatening trunks, and finally snakes in endless variety. Sometimes the snake creeps into the mouth, sometimes it bites the breast like Cleopatra’s legendary asp, sometimes it comes in the role of the paradisiacal snake, or in the variations of Franz Stuck, whose pictures of snakes bear the significant titles “Vice,’ Sin,” and Lust.” The mixture of lust and anxiety is expressed incomparably in the very atmosphere of these pictures, and far more
brutally, indeed, than in Morike’s charming poem.

The Maiden’s First Love Song

“Sin” by Franz Von Stuck

What’s in the net?
But I am afraid,
Do I grasp a sweet eel?
Do I seize a snake?
Love is a blind
Tell the child
Where to seize.
Already it leaps in my hands,
Oh, Pity, or delight 1
With nestlings and turnings
It coils on my breast,
It bites me, oh, wonder!
Boldly through the skin,
It darts under my heart.
Oh, Love, I shudder’
What can I do, what can I begin?
That shuddering thing;
There it crackles within
And coils in a ring.
It must be poisoned.
Here it crawls around
Blissfully I feel as it worms
Itself into my soul
And kills me finally

All these things are simple, and need no explanation to be intelligible. Somewhat more complicated, but still unmistakable, is the dream of a woman , she sees the triumphal arch of Constantine A cannon stands before it, to the right of it a bird, to the left a man A shot flashes out of the tube; the projectile hits her; it goes into her pocket, into her purse There it remains, and she holds her purse as if something very precious were in it. The image disappears, and she continues to see only the stock of the cannon, and over that Constantine’s motto, “In hoc signo vinces.” These few references to the symbolic nature of dreams are perhaps sufficient For whomsoever the proof may appear insufficient, and it is certainly insufficient for a beginner, further evidence may be found in the fundamental work of Fiend, and in the works of Stekel and Rank which are fuller in certain particulars. We must assume here that the dream symbolism is an established fact, in order to bring to our study a mind suitably prepared for an appreciation of this work We would not be successful if we, on the contrary, were to be astonished at the idea that an intellectual image can be projected into our conscious psychic activity, an image which apparently obeys such wholly other laws and purposes than those governing the conscious psychic product. ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types, Pages 8-13