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Visions Seminar

Dr. Jung: You can call them prophetic, but with that peculiar psychological inflection naturally.

In the so-called prophetic dreams of antiquity, if you dreamt, for instance, that your house or the house of your father had collapsed, it meant that it was really going to collapse, it was a concrete event.

But if we dream that a house collapses, once in thousands of cases it might mean a real house, but as a rule it does not.

Usually it would be a psychological dream meaning that an attitude or a certain mental condition was going to collapse, because a house symbolizes a man’s psychical structure, his attitude, his beliefs, the way in which he lives, and so on.

For example, pieces of furniture mean contents, either of the conscious or of the unconscious.

And baggage, pieces of luggage, very often mean complexes; therefore those dreams where you are hurrying to change trains and discover you have a great pile of luggage and no time to carry it to the other train mean that you are not getting over your complexes, there are too many and the unconscious is overburdened.

Such dreams are not to be understood literally, they are not prophetic in that sense, but they have that quality of psychological anticipation.

Or suppose someone is going to die.

The death is not necessarily anticipated because in the unconscious it is not so terribly important whether a man is alive or dead, that seems to make very little impression upon the unconscious.

But your attitude to it matters, how you will take it, whether you believe in immortality or not, how you react to such and such an event, that matters to the unconscious.

One could say the whole psychological side of human life was the thing that is chiefly anticipated or constructed by the dreams. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Pages 902-903.