Oneiromancy - History of Dream Analysis by Kaz Psychic

 

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Oneiromancy is a form of divination based upon dreams

 

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Dreams can be prophetic, predictive of future events, and atone time dreaming was considered to be a supernatural phenomenon!

 

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Kaz - History - Dream Analysis - Oneiromancy


The fascinating origins of Oneiromancy

 

Kaz Psychic on the history of dream analysis - oneiromancy - The fascinating origins of Oneiromancy

 

Oneiromancy (from the Greek Oneiros) (dream analysis or dream interpretation) is a form of divination based upon dreams; it is a system of dream interpretation that uses dreams to predict the future. Derived from the Greek words oneiros which means dream and the Greek word manteia that means prophecy.


Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, focused this idea and formed theories, experiments, and terminology around Oneiromancy.

 

Dream Interpretation (Oneiromancy) is the process of assigning meaning to dreams. In many ancient societies, such as those of Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be unravelled by people with certain powers. In modern times, various schools of psychology and neurobiology have offered theories about the meaning and purpose of dreams.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Tom Paine asleep having a nightmare

Tom Paine's "Asleep, having a nightmare"

 

Early history

 

Eastern Mediterranean
One of the earliest written examples of dream interpretation comes from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh dreamt that an axe fell from the sky. The people gathered around it in admiration and worship. Gilgamesh threw the axe in front of his mother and then he embraced it like a wife. His mother, Ninsun, interpreted the dream. She said that someone powerful would soon appear. Gilgamesh would struggle with him and try to overpower him, but he would not succeed. Eventually they would become close friends and accomplish great things. She added, "That you embraced him like a wife means he will never forsake you. Thus your dream is solved." While this example shows the tendency to see dreams as mantic (as predicting the future), Ninsun's interpretation anticipates a contemporary approach. The axe, phallic and aggressive, symbolizes a male who will start as aggressive but turn into a friend. To embrace an axe is to transform aggression into affection and camaraderie. Later, a compendium of dream omens, the "Dream Book" or Iškar Zaqīqu was assembled.

 

In ancient Egypt, priests acted as dream interpreters. Hieroglyphics depicting dreams and their interpretations are evident. Dreams have been held in considerable importance through history by most cultures.

 

The ancient Greeks constructed temples they called Asclepieions, where sick people were sent to be cured. It was believed that cures would be effected through divine grace by incubating dreams within the confines of the temple. Dreams were also considered prophetic or omens of particular significance. Artemidorus of Daldis, who lived in the 2nd century AD, wrote a comprehensive text Oneirocritica (The Interpretation of Dreams). Although Artemidorus believed that dreams can predict the future, he presaged many contemporary approaches to dreams. He thought that the meaning of a dream image could involve puns and could be understood by decoding the image into its component words. For example, Alexander, while waging war against the Tyrians, dreamt that a satyr was dancing on his shield. Artemidorus reports that this dream was interpreted as follows: satyr = sa tyros ("Tyre will be thine"), predicting that Alexander would be triumphant. Freud acknowledged this example of Artemidorus when he proposed that dreams be interpreted like a rebus.

 

In medieval Islamic psychology, certain hadiths indicate that dreams consist of three parts, and early Muslim scholars recognized three kinds of dreams: false, pathogenetic, and true. Ibn Sirin (654–728) was renowned for his Ta'bir al-Ru'ya and Muntakhab al-Kalam fi Tabir al-Ahlam, a book on dreams. The work is divided into 25 sections on dream interpretation, from the etiquette of interpreting dreams to the interpretation of reciting certain Surahs of the Qur'an in one's dream. He writes that it is important for a layperson to seek assistance from an alim (Muslim scholar) who could guide in the interpretation of dreams with a proper understanding of the cultural context and other such causes and interpretations. Al-Kindi (Alkindus) (801–873) also wrote a treatise on dream interpretation: On Sleep and Dreams. In consciousness studies, Al-Farabi (872–951) wrote the On the Cause of Dreams, which appeared as chapter 24 of his Book of Opinions of the people of the Ideal City. It was a treatise on dreams, in which he was the first to distinguish between dream interpretation and the nature and causes of dreams. In The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna extended the theory of temperaments to encompass "emotional aspects, mental capacity, moral attitudes, self-awareness, movements and dreams." Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah (1377) states that "confused dreams" are "pictures of the imagination that are stored inside by perception and to which the ability to think is applied, after (man) has retired from sense perception."


Ancient Egyptian
A unique exemplar of a book of dream-interpretation survives from pre-Hellenistic Egypt, the so-called "Ramesside Dream-Book", the surviving fragments of which are translated into English by Kasia Szpakowska.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Epic of Gilgamesh

Epic of Gilgamesh

 

Assyrian, Babylonian, and Sumerian (Mesopotamian)
The Epic of Gilgamesh reflects heavily on the belief that our ancients looked to our dreams to predict, roughly, our future, by his persistence to sleep on things and gather information from his dreams before making decisions. The story has been retold countless times.

The Epic of Gilgamesh may be the oldest written story unearthed to date. It depicts the adventures of the historical King Gilgamesh of Uruk in Babylonia on the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq. The Epic of Gilgamesh dates to about 2700 BC and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in the cuneiform script of ancient Sumeria.

 

Tablet 11 of the Epic of Gilgamesh contains an extensive flood story that’s similar in many ways to the biblical account in Genesis.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - he Holy Bible

The Holy Bible

 

Biblical: Some examples, you may know of more:


Dreams occur throughout the Bible as omens or messages from God;

 

(a) YHWH speaks to Abram while he is in a deep sleep (Genesis 15);
(b) God speaks to Abimelech the King of Gerar concerning his intentions regarding (c) Sarah, Abraham's wife (Genesis 20);
(c) Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven (Genesis 28);
his son Joseph dreamed of his future success (Genesis 37) and interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh of Egypt (Genesis 41);
(d) Solomon conversed with God in his dreams (1 Kings 3);
(e) Daniel interpreted dreams (in the Book of Daniel 2 and 4);
(f) the Magi are told in a dream to avoid Herod on their journey home (Matthew 2);
(g) Joseph, when betrothed to Mary, was told not to fear taking Mary as his wife (Matthew 1);
(h) Joseph, now husband of Mary, was directed to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt (Matthew 2);
(i) Pilate's wife suffered in a dream because of Jesus (Matthew 27);
(j) Paul was told to go to Macedonia (Acts 16)

 

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 offers instruction about those who claim to have inspired but false dreams. In Acts 2:17 the apostle Peter quotes Joel 2:28 saying that because of the Spirit now out poured "...your old men will dream dreams."

 

Greco-Roman
Dream divination was a common feature of Greek and Roman religion and literature or all genres. Aristotle and Plato discuss dreams in various works. The only surviving Greco-Roman dream book, the Oneirocritica was written by Artemidorus (2c.). Artemidorus cites a large number of previous authors, all now lost.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Artemidori Daldiani Oneirocritica

Artemidori Daldiani Oneirocritica

 

Oneirocritica (The Interpretation of Dreams) is an ancient Greek treatise on dream interpretation written by Artemidorus in the 2nd century AD, and is the first extant Greek work on the subject, in five books. The first three volumes were intended for the general public, providing an encyclopedic treatment of the subject matter of dreams, and the remaining two volumes were written for the private use of the author's son, a novice dream interpreter. Artemidorus inscribed the book "Artemidorus of Daldis", despite having been born in Ephesus, to commemorate the little-known birthplace of his mother in Lydia.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Artemidorus

Artemidorus

 

Artemidorus suggests that dreams are unique to the individual, and that a person's waking life will affect the symbols in his dreams. He shows awareness of the dreaming mind's capacity to use metaphors in its messages.

 

Artemidorus' Oneirocritica is the point of reference of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, Vol. 3: The Care of the Self, which analyzes the text as a practical, experiential guide rather than a moral reflection or evaluation. It reveals culturally salient patterns relating to "the ethical experience of the aphrodisia."

 

Oneirocritic literature is the traditional (ancient and mediaeval) literary format of dream interpretation. The ancient sources of oneirocritic literature are Kemetian (Aegyptian), Akkadian (Babylonian), and Hellenic (Greek). The mediaeval sources of oneirocritic literature are Āstika (Hindu), Persian, Arabic, and European. Ancient oneirocritic literature:

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Ramesside dream book

Ramesside dream book

 

Egyptian
The oldest oneirocritic MS hitherto discovered is a Ramesside dream-book now in the British Museum.

 

Akkadian
This was a section of the extensive omen-literature, the most notable exemplar of which was the “Dream Book,” Iškar Zaqīqu.

 

The Dream Book, iškar dZaqīqu (“core text of the god Zaqīqu”), is an eleven tablet compendium of oneiromancy. Tablets two to nine form the manual of deductive divination, while tablets one, ten and eleven provide rituals to alleviate bad dreams. Zaqīqu which means "spirit" or "ghost" is a name of the dream god.

 

The text
Dream interpretations first appear in texts from Mari, whether solicited by the incubation ritual or spontaneous. The iškar dZaqīqu is one of the few texts to have survived in fairly complete form from the library of Ashurbanipal, and is believed to have been copied from an old Babylonian original. Visions from dreams came in three types: messages from a deity, reflections of the dreamer’s state of mind or health, and prophetic dreams. The šā’ilu “questioner” or dream diviner could be a professional drawn from any of the disciplines of Mesopotamian scholarship, the ašipu, “exorcist,” the bārû, “diviner,” ṭupšarru, “astrologer,” muhhûm, “ecstatic,” or raggimu, “prophet,” or commonly a woman, ragintu “prophetess.” Records of the library at Nineveh show inclusion of tablets from the collections of a diviner and also of an exorcist from Nippur. The similarity with the traditions of Egyptian New Kingdom dream hermeneutic oracles suggest a shared origin.

 

The omens take the form of – one sentence, highly formalized units – with a protasis in which the portentous event is described, and an apodosis in which the meaning or consequence is given. They make extensive use of puns to explain the symbolism of the dream, for example, “If a man dreams he is eating a raven (arbu); he will have income (irbu),” "If a man dreams he is eating human flesh (šēru); then he will have great riches (šarû)” and “If (someone) has given him miḫru-wood; he shall have no rival (māḫiru).”


Greek
These include Artemidoros, Astrampsychos, Nikephoros, Germanos, and Manuel Palaiologos.

 

Mediaeval oneirocritic literature

 

Āstika
The pertinent material is included in the several Purāṇa-s, such as the Liṅga Purāṇa.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - First Surah Koran Fragment

First sura of the Quran, Al-Fatiha, consisting of seven verses.

 

Arabic
Here, dreams about specific numbers or about reading specific chapters of the Qurʼan are among the chief subjects of prognostication. The most renowned of the Arabic texts of oneiromancy is the Great Book of Interpretation of Dreams.

 

European
Achmet is an adaptation of an Arabic book to the tastes of a European readership.

 

Derived from older literature, modern dream-books are still in common use in Europe and the United States, being commonly sold along with good-luck charms.

 

Cultural
The indigenous Chontal of the Mexican state of Oaxaca use Calea zacatechichi for oneiromancy.


China
A standard traditional Chinese book on dream-interpretation is the Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation (夢占逸旨) compiled in the 16th century by Chen Shiyuan (particularly the "Inner Chapters" of that opus). Chinese thinkers also raised profound ideas about dream interpretation, such as the question of how we know we are dreaming and how we know we are awake. It is written in the Chuang-tzu: "Once Chuang Chou dreamed that he was a butterfly. He fluttered about happily, quite pleased with the state that he was in, and knew nothing about Chuang Chou. Presently he awoke and found that he was very much Chuang Chou again. Now, did Chou dream that he was a butterfly or was the butterfly now dreaming that he was Chou?" This raises the question of reality monitoring in dreams, a topic of intense interest in modern cognitive neuroscience.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

 

Modern Europe
In the 17th century the English physician and writer Sir Thomas Browne wrote a short tract upon the interpretation of dreams. Dream interpretation was taken up as part of psychoanalysis at the end of the 19th century; the perceived, manifest content of a dream is analyzed to reveal its latent meaning to the psyche of the dreamer. One of the seminal works on the subject is The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis -  The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud

The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud
(Original German first edition)

 

The Interpretation of Dreams (German: Die Traumdeutung) is a book by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The book introduces Freud's theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation, and also first discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex. Freud revised the book at least eight times and, in the third edition, added an extensive section which treated dream symbolism very literally, following the influence of Wilhelm Stekel. Freud said of this work, "Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime."

 

The initial print run of the book was very low — it took many years to sell out the first 600 copies. However, the work gained popularity as Freud did, and seven more editions were printed in his lifetime.

 

The first translation from German into English was completed by A. A. Brill, a Freudian psychoanalyst. Years later, an authorized translation by James Strachey was published. The most recent English translation was performed by Joyce Crick. Because the book is very long and complex, Freud wrote an abridged version called On Dreams.

 

Background


Freud spent the summer of 1895 at manor Belle Vue near Grinzing in Austria, where he began the inception of The Interpretation of Dreams. In a 1900 letter to Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote in commemoration of the place:

 

"Do you suppose that some day a marble tablet will be placed on the house, inscribed with these words: 'In this house on July 24th, 1895, the secret of dreams was revealed to Dr. Sigm. Freud'? At the moment I see little prospect of it." - Freud in a letter to Wilhelm Fliess, June 12th, 1900

 

In 1963, Belle Vue manor was demolished, but today a memorial plate with just that inscription has been erected at the site by the Austrian Sigmund Freud Society.

 

Overview


Dreams, in Freud's view, are all forms of "wish fulfilment" — attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past (later in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud would discuss dreams which do not appear to be wish fulfilment). Because the information in the unconscious is in an unruly and often disturbing form, a "censor" in the preconscious will not allow it to pass unaltered into the conscious.

 

During dreams, the preconscious is more lax in this duty than in waking hours, but is still attentive: as such, the unconscious must distort and warp the meaning of its information to make it through the censorship. As such, images in dreams are often not what they appear to be, according to Freud, and need deeper interpretation if they are to inform on the structures of the unconscious.

 

Freud used to mention the dreams as "The Royal Road to the Unconscious". He proposed the 'phenomenon of condensation'; the idea that one simple symbol or image presented in a person's dream may have multiple meanings. For this very reason, Freud tried to focus on details during psychoanalysis and asked his patients about things they could even think trivial (i.e. while a patient was describing an experience in their dream, Freud could ask them: "was there any sign upon the walls? What was it?").

 

As Freud was focusing upon the biologic drives of the individual (a fact that alienated him from several colleagues of his like Breuer, Jung and Adler), he stated that when we observe a hollow object in our dreams, like a box or a cave, this is a symbol of a womb, while an elongated object is a symbol for penis. Due to these statements, Freud attracted much criticism from those who believed him a "sexist" or "misanthrope", as he was alleged to have overemphasized the role of instinct, as though he believed people were "wild beasts".

 

On Dreams


An abridged version called On Dreams was published in 1901 as part of Lowenfeld and Kurella's Grenzfragen des Nerven und Seelenlebens. It was re-published in 1911 in slightly larger form as a book.


Contents


The first edition begins:


"In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there exists a psychological technique by which dreams may be interpreted and that upon the application of this method every dream will show itself to be a senseful psychological structure which may be introduced into an assignable place in the psychic activity of the waking state. I shall furthermore endeavor to explain the processes which give rise to the strangeness and obscurity of the dream, and to discover through them the psychic forces, which operate whether in combination or opposition, to produce the dream. This accomplished by investigation will terminate as it will reach the point where the problem of the dream meets broader problems, the solution of which must be attempted through other material."

 

Freud begins his book in the first chapter titled "The Scientific Literature on the Problems of the Dream" by reviewing different scientific views on dream interpretation, which he finds interesting but not adequate. He then makes his argument by describing a number of dreams which he claims illustrate his theory.

 

Freud describes three main types of dreams: 1. Direct prophecies received in the dream (chrematismos, oraculum); 2. The foretelling of a future event (orama, visio) 3. The symbolic dream, which requires interpretation (Interpretation of Dreams 5).

 

Much of Freud's sources for analysis are in literature. Many of his most important dreams are his own — his method is inaugurated with an analysis of his dream "Irma's injection" — but many also come from patient case studies.


Legacy


Memorial plate in commemoration of the place where Freud began The Interpretation of Dreams, near Grinzing, Austria


Some authors, such as Hans Eysenck, have argued that the dreams Freud cites do not really support his theories. Eysenck argues in Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire (1985) that Freud's examples actually disprove his dream theory. Max Schur, Freud's physician and friend, has provided evidence that the first dream that Freud analyzed, his so-called "Irma dream" was not very disguised, but actually portrayed rather closely a medical disaster of Emma Steinbeck, one of Freud's patients.


It was in his book The Interpretation of Dreams (Die Traumdeutung; literally "dream-interpretation"), first published in 1899 (but dated 1900), that Sigmund Freud first argued that the motivation of all dream content is wish-fulfilment, and that the instigation of a dream is often to be found in the events of the day preceding the dream, which he called the "day residue." In the case of very young children, Freud claimed, this can be easily seen, as small children dream quite straightforwardly of the fulfilment of wishes that were aroused in them the previous day (the "dream day"). In adults, however, the situation is more complicated—since in Freud's submission, the dreams of adults have been subjected to distortion, with the dream's so-called "manifest content" being a heavily disguised derivative of the "latent" dream-thoughts present in the unconscious. As a result of this distortion and disguise, the dream's real significance is concealed: dreamers are no more capable of recognizing the actual meaning of their dreams than hysterics are able to understand the connection and significance of their neurotic symptoms.

 

In Freud's original formulation the latent dream-thought was described as having been subject to an intra-psychic force referred to as "the censor"; in the more refined terminology of his later years, however, discussion was in terms of the super-ego and "the work of the ego's forces of defence." In waking life, he asserted, these so-called "resistances" altogether prevented the repressed wishes of the unconscious from entering consciousness; and though these wishes were to some extent able to emerge during the lowered state of sleep, the resistances were still strong enough to produce "a veil of disguise" sufficient to hide their true nature. Freud's view was that dreams are compromises which ensure that sleep is not interrupted: as "a disguised fulfilment of repressed wishes," they succeed in representing wishes as fulfilled which might otherwise disturb and waken the dreamer.

 

Freud's "classic" early dream analysis is that of "Irma's injection": in that dream, a former patient of Freud's complains of pains. The dream portrays Freud's colleague giving Irma an unsterile injection. Freud provides us with pages of associations to the elements in his dream, using it to demonstrate his technique of decoding the latent dream thought from the manifest content of the dream.

 

Freud described the actual technique of psychoanalytic dream-analysis in the following terms, suggesting that the true meaning of a dream must be "weeded out" from dream:

 

You entirely disregard the apparent connections between the elements in the manifest dream and collect the ideas that occur to you in connection with each separate element of the dream by free association according to the psychoanalytic rule of procedure. From this material you arrive at the latent dream-thoughts, just as you arrived at the patient's hidden complexes from his associations to his symptoms and memories... The true meaning of the dream, which has now replaced the manifest content, is always clearly intelligible. [Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1909); Lecture Three]

 

Freud listed the distorting operations that he claimed were applied to repressed wishes in forming the dream as recollected: it is because of these distortions (the so-called "dream-work") that the manifest content of the dream differs so greatly from the latent dream thought reached through analysis—and it is by reversing these distortions that the latent content is approached.

 

The operations included:

 

Condensation – one dream object stands for several associations and ideas; thus "dreams are brief, meagre and laconic in comparison with the range and wealth of the dream-thoughts."

 

Displacement – a dream object's emotional significance is separated from its real object or content and attached to an entirely different one that does not raise the censor's suspicions.

 

Visualization – a thought is translated to visual images.

 

Symbolism – a symbol replaces an action, person, or idea.


To these might be added "secondary elaboration"—the outcome of the dreamer's natural tendency to make some sort of "sense" or "story" out of the various elements of the manifest content as recollected. (Freud, in fact, was wont to stress that it was not merely futile but actually misleading to attempt to "explain" one part of the manifest content with reference to another part as if the manifest dream somehow constituted some unified or coherent conception).

 

Freud considered that the experience of anxiety dreams and nightmares was the result of failures in the dream-work: rather than contradicting the "wish-fulfilment" theory, such phenomena demonstrated how the ego reacted to the awareness of repressed wishes that were too powerful and insufficiently disguised. Traumatic dreams (where the dream merely repeats the traumatic experience) were eventually admitted as exceptions to the theory.

 

Freud famously described psychoanalytic dream-interpretation as "the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind"; he was, however, capable of expressing regret and dissatisfaction at the way his ideas on the subject were misrepresented or simply not understood:

 

“ The assertion that all dreams require a sexual interpretation, against which critics rage so incessantly, occurs nowhere in my Interpretation of Dreams ... and is in obvious contradiction to other views expressed in it.[21] ”


On another occasion, he suggested that the individual capable of recognizing the distinction between latent and manifest content "will probably have gone further in understanding dreams than most readers of my Interpretation of Dreams".

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Gustav Jung

 

Jung

Although not dismissing Freud's model of dream interpretation wholesale, Carl Jung believed Freud's notion of dreams as representations of unfulfilled wishes to be simplistic and naïve. Jung argued that Freud's procedure of collecting associations to a dream would bring insights into the dreamer's mental complex—a person's associations to anything will reveal the mental complexes, as Jung had shown experimentally, but not necessarily closer to the meaning of the dream.

 

Jung was convinced that the scope of dream interpretation was larger, reflecting the richness and complexity of the entire unconscious, both personal and collective. Jung believed the psyche to be a self-regulating organism in which conscious attitudes were likely to be compensated for unconsciously (within the dream) by their opposites.[24]

 

Jung proposed two basic approaches to analyzing dream material: the objective and the subjective.

 

In the objective approach, every person in the dream refers to the person they are: mother is mother, girlfriend is girlfriend, etc. In the subjective approach, every person in the dream represents an aspect of the dreamer. Jung argued that the subjective approach is much more difficult for the dreamer to accept, but that in most good dream-work, the dreamer will come to recognize that the dream characters can represent an unacknowledged aspect of the dreamer. Thus, if the dreamer is being chased by a crazed killer, the dreamer may come eventually to recognize his own homicidal impulses. Gestalt therapists extended the subjective approach, claiming that even the inanimate objects in a dream can represent aspects of the dreamer.

 

Jung believed that archetypes such as the animus, the anima, the shadow and others manifested themselves in dreams, as dream symbols or figures. Such figures could take the form of an old man, a young maiden or a giant spider as the case may be. Each represents an unconscious attitude that is largely hidden to the conscious mind. Although an integral part of the dreamer's psyche, these manifestations were largely autonomous and were perceived by the dreamer to be external personages.

 

Acquaintance with the archetypes as manifested by these symbols serve to increase one's awareness of unconscious attitudes, integrating seemingly disparate parts of the psyche and contributing to the process of holistic self-understanding he considered paramount.

Jung believed that material repressed by the conscious mind, postulated by Freud to comprise the unconscious, was similar to his own concept of the shadow, which in itself is only a small part of the unconscious.

 

Jung cautioned against blindly ascribing meaning to dream symbols without a clear understanding of the client's personal situation. He described two approaches to dream symbols: the causal approach and the final approach.

 

In the causal approach, the symbol is reduced to certain fundamental tendencies. Thus, a sword may symbolize a penis, as may a snake. In the final approach, the dream interpreter asks, "Why this symbol and not another?" Thus, a sword representing a penis is hard, sharp, inanimate, and destructive. A snake representing a penis is alive, dangerous, perhaps poisonous and slimy. The final approach will tell you additional things about the dreamer's attitudes.

 

Technically, Jung recommended stripping the dream of its details and presenting the gist of the dream to the dreamer. This was an adaptation of a procedure described by Wilhelm Stekel, who recommended thinking of the dream as a newspaper article and writing a headline for it.

 

Harry Stack Sullivan also described a similar process of "dream distillation."

 

Although Jung acknowledged the universality of archetypal symbols, he contrasted this with the concept of a sign—images having a one to one connotation with their meaning. His approach was to recognize the dynamism and fluidity that existed between symbols and their ascribed meaning.

 

Symbols must be explored for their personal significance to the patient, instead of having the dream conform to some predetermined idea. This prevents dream analysis from devolving into a theoretical and dogmatic exercise that is far removed from the patient's own psychological state. In the service of this idea, he stressed the importance of "sticking to the image"—exploring in depth a client's association with a particular image. This may be contrasted with Freud's free associating which he believed was a deviation from the salience of the image. He describes for example the image "deal table."

 

One would expect the dreamer to have some associations with this image, and the professed lack of any perceived significance or familiarity whatsoever should make one suspicious. Jung would ask a patient to imagine the image as vividly as possible and to explain it to him as if he had no idea as to what a "deal table" was. Jung stressed the importance of context in dream analysis.

 

Jung stressed that the dream was not merely a devious puzzle invented by the unconscious to be deciphered, so that the true causal factors behind it may be elicited. Dreams were not to serve as lie detectors, with which to reveal the insincerity behind conscious thought processes. Dreams, like the unconscious, had their own language. As representations of the unconscious, dream images have their own primacy and mechanics.

 

Jung believed that dreams may contain ineluctable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, irrational experiences and even telepathic visions.

 

Just as the psyche has a diurnal side which we experience as conscious life, it has an unconscious nocturnal side which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy. Jung would argue that just as we do not doubt the importance of our conscious experience, then we ought not to second guess the value of our unconscious lives.

 

Kaz Psychic - History of Oneiromancy - Dream analysis - Calvin S Hall

Calvin S. Hall


Hall

In 1953, Calvin S. Hall developed a theory of dreams in which dreaming is considered to be a cognitive process. Hall argued that a dream was simply a thought or sequence of thoughts that occurred during sleep, and that dream images are visual representations of personal conceptions. For example, if one dreams of being attacked by friends, this may be a manifestation of fear of friendship; a more complicated example, which requires a cultural metaphor, is that a cat within a dream symbolizes a need to use one's intuition. For English speakers, it may suggest that the dreamer must recognize that there is "more than one way to skin a cat," or in other words, more than one way to do something.

 

Faraday, Clift, et al.

In the 1970s, Ann Faraday and others helped bring dream interpretation into the mainstream by publishing books on do-it-yourself dream interpretation and forming groups to share and analyze dreams. Faraday focused on the application of dreams to situations occurring in one's life. For instance, some dreams are warnings of something about to happen—e.g. a dream of failing an examination, if one is a student, may be a literal warning of unpreparedness. Outside of such context, it could relate to failing some other kind of test. Or it could even have a "punny" nature, e.g. that one has failed to examine some aspect of his life adequately.

 

Faraday noted that "one finding has emerged pretty firmly from modern research, namely that the majority of dreams seem in some way to reflect things that have preoccupied our minds during the previous day or two."

 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Wallace Clift and Jean Dalby Clift further explored the relationship between images produced in dreams and the dreamer's waking life. Their books identified patterns in dreaming, and ways of analyzing dreams to explore life changes, with particular emphasis on moving toward healing and wholeness.


Primitive instinct rehearsal theory of dreaming
Two researchers have postulated that dreams have a biological function, where the content requires no analysis or interpretation, that content providing an automatic stimulation of the body's physiological functions underpinning the human instinctive behavior. So dreams are part of the human, and animal, survival and development strategy.

 

Professor Antti Revonsuo (2000) has limited his ideas to those of "threat rehearsal," where dreams exercise our primary self-defence instincts, and he has argued this cogently in a number of publications.

 

Keith Stevens extends the theory to all human instincts, including threats to self, threats to family members, pair bonding and reproduction, inquisitiveness and challenges, and the drive for personal superiority and tribal status. He categorizes dreams, using a sample of 22,000 Internet submissions, into nine categories, demonstrating the universal commonality of dream content and instinct rehearsal. It is postulated that the dream function is automatic, in response to the content, exercising and stimulating the body chemistry and neurological activity that would come into play if the scenario occurred in real life, so that the dream does not have to be remembered to achieve its objective.

 

It is argued that, once a dreamer has experienced a threat in a dream (either to self or a family member), his/her ability to confront and overcome a real life threat is then enhanced, so that such dreams, in both humans or animals, are an aid to survival. The threat rehearsal can be specific, for instance, an attack from a savage dog, but it can also be general, in that the threat response physiology is activated and reinforced whilst dreaming.

 

For human reproduction, the theory states that dreams of pairing, bonding and mating stimulate the reflex to reproduce the species, with an emphasis on dreams that promote the principle of selection; the desire of the individual to find the best mate and to achieve the optimum genetic mixing. In that respect, the dream function conflicts with human values of fidelity and mating for life. Specifically, young women dream often of being pregnant and giving birth, overwhelmingly positive dreams that directly stimulate the urge to reproduce.

Regarding status, dreams about being superior or inferior to others are thought to stimulate the dreamer's determination to improve his status within the immediate human hierarchy, either through the positive physiology of success or the negative physiology of failure. Hence, dreaming is believed to promote competition and the reproductive success of those best suited to the environment.

 

Finally, other dreams stimulate the determination to explore and inquire, through the extremes of exhilarating dream achievements (positive physiology) or frustrating obstructions and barriers. The latter stimulates a determination not to give up in a quest, so that, in life, the individual and the species move forward. For the dreaming wildebeest, it may be a rich pasture over the hill; for the human dreamer it may be splitting the atom.

 

I hope you will have found this article enlightening, and also the many articles to follow.

 

Bright Positive Blessings,

Sweet Dreams!

Kaz XX

 

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