Dream analysis I – Animus & Persona

This article and its second part, Dream Analysis II – Shadow and Anima (not published yet), are special and differ from others in one particular way – they contain the most intimate messages of individual souls. In this part there are dreams from two women; in the second part from two men. I want to thank these people because without their approval, this article would not exist. I am not publishing their names for privacy reasons. 

Animus and Persona in a woman

1. dream – Mother and horse

The client is in her native country. First there is an image of her mother, but then the dream takes place without her parent. She goes to the stable where she has her own horse. There are scientists there and the main owner of the stable is a scientist holding the head of a disembodied horse she owns. Then she walks out of the stable with this head and tells people to do something about it. They respond, “Oh, you poor thing!” This sentiment irritates her. 

Analysis

The scenario begins in the dreamer’s native country, and the first person to appear there is the dreamer’s mother. In connection with the image of the horse and the native land, we agreed that the mother represents the one through whom the client received life. And since the image of the horse follows, we can take this animal too as a symbol of life in connection with the mother. So the mother is the gateway to life. The horse here would mean not only instinct but also life itself. In Jung’s dream (see below – two of Jung’s dreams about the theme of death), the horse also symbolizes the force of life. It is an animal that has been doing the hard work of man for centuries. I will also mention that the client really owned a horse and had a close relationship with them, so it was a very intimate symbol. Taking all of this into consideration, we could take it to mean that the horse is here, in connection with this dream, the bearer of life. That’s why the mother opens the dream and the stable – because she received life through that mother. There is the mother first, and then the horse. There is also a scientist in the stable, which symbolizes a rational, experimental approach. It is her animus that wants a clear hypothesis, an equation, an answer. That’s what she does to the horse – the same way she treats her life. She has the horse’s head in her hand. There is only the head; the rest of the body is missing. This means that there is a lot of life lived in the head, thus the reason why the rest of the body is missing. Her animus/ the scientist is the owner of the stable. This is a demonstration of the dominance of the animus over her life; he imposes his – yang – hard, uncompromising energy over her. 

She was not aware of this problem because the dream continues by her going to other people and saying: “Look! That’s not right!” She is not aware that rationalism is her problem. What she encounters here is superficiality and contempt. She projects this onto the collective. She is extroverted because she looks for answers or solutions in other people. This dream is about her limit because she is a woman who tends to intellectualize. The dream tells her that she perceives life only on its intellectual level,l and that she could and should expand this. She can do that, but she won’t succeed if she only turns to other people as the ones who have to solve things for her. 

The first initiating force on the path of a woman’s individuation is the animus- her male side that is in the unconscious. We worked with the client for a long time, and she was a great inspiration to me. In the course of the collaboration, her animus was uncovered, and uncovering caused her feelings and intuition to be revealed. This revelation also awakened her introverted side. During the whole process, with the help of dreams analysis, she was more aware of what was happening inside her. She began to understand herself more and take on life more responsibly.

Next series of dreams

The following series of three analyzed dreams are from another woman who lives a deep life connected to nature and spirituality. She is a young woman in search of herself. 

2. dream- Crow

She dreamt of a crow that had a cat’s head and was very, very black and had an ironic smile, like the cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Analysis 

A crow would mean a tendency towards non-existence. The crow is often associated with death, and is therefore a representative of death, especially if it is very black. A cat’s head would indicate that the death/ non-existence attitude is in her head/ mind. The cat is Yin energy. So the meaning suggests she thinks about all this mentioned topic in her head. These destructive thoughts or reflections were therefore in her head, rather than in herself, as a being. The cat here represents female thinking. In symbolic speech it says: “she thinks like a cat.” So the character is literally a crow that thinks like a cat. This says enough.

As the woman dreamer was opening up, pains from her childhood opened up in her, and these were not at all easy for her to recount. She often shut down in sessions and had various escapes – She often shut down in sessions and sought to avoid certain subjects related to this earlier period of her life. Even the recounting of this dream was challenging for her.​​ Her mental state was often depressed with panic attacks. Opening these traumas was very painful. But this opening was hugely successful in healing the wounds that these traumas had caused. 

3. dream – Snowstorm

She interprets: 

“I was in the middle of a snowstorm. There was no one anywhere and it was completely deserted. There was just ice and snow everywhere, with the exception of something human there – some kind of hut. I went towards it. All the mountains were sharp. And yet, I was on one of them, which was the only one that was not steep. I took off my shoes and threw them away. I walked on ice and snow without them. After some time I realized that I should wear them again. I felt that I needed them. I only found one in the snow. I suddenly had the feeling that I was not alone. There seemed to be some sort of helicopter nearby, but it was more of a feeling.

Analysis

This dream indicates abandonment and loneliness. The dreamer’s idea of ​​the world is austere, barren, egoistic. This is represented by snow, ice and cold. Moreover, in the dream, she throws away her shoes, so she throws away her persona. She rejects and despises the position, the attitude, the mask- which is what carries us and protects us. Shoes, as a persona/mask, she throws away – and this makes her vulnerable in an egoistical, cold world. She even feels that she needs shoes. Together with the first dream, the presence of the shoes indicates the difficult life the dreamer lives. And this self-awareness concerns her conscious side, which was a key finding. In other words, the dreamer created this attitude herself and lives by it. She had to develop this attitude somewhere. We found out that she created it in childhood through specific situations. 

A pervasive attitude characterizes this dream – depression, abandonment, loneliness, a lack of understanding by anyone for the dream. Everyone leaves her. We were getting to the core of the problem: the helicopter symbolizes a man’s world, associated with animus. The male world is just imagined in her, something masculine, luminous that can fly – a helicopter – the spirit. It is as if she wasn’t fully convinced of this power in herself.  

4. dream – Moon

She interprets the dream: “I’m outside looking at the moon. I know there are other people around. We are all impressed. It’s a full moon and there is a clear aura around the moon, but it turns hazy and opaque, to green. I’m starting to get scared and I feel like something’s wrong. At that moment there’s a flame coming out of the moon; I know it’s all over and we’re dead. I tell my friend, who is standing nearby, that this is the end of us. He starts to laugh and I feel relief. We begin to have a deep conversation about existence and life. A third person appears who knows all the answers. He says: “You have to start all over again- you failed!” He continues further, saying, “You didn’t do anything good.” I am indignant, sad, and also surprised because my friend Xx passed by and could continue unperturbed. 

“Then the whole scenario changes, and all the deep conversation is gone. I’m now in the room with my parents and sister, and they tell me that, since they’re going to die, they’ve come to say goodbye to me.”

Her associations to the dream: “I woke up feeling like shit! I feel lost and down these days. I have no purpose to live.”

Analysis

For an easier understanding of what the dream is trying to tell us, we can divide it into two parts. Otherwise the dream might seem too complicated. The first message is about the drama of the moon itself, which points to the relationship between the dreamer and the universe. It is how she sees not only the world itself, but how her inner universe is structured. This is a continuation of her depressive and destructive attitudes from previous dreams. The drama of the moon is manifesting her own attitudes. When the moon explodes, there is a conclusion: It’s the end, it’s over. It’s visible here how she is still in her stance towards the whole universe – a fact which fascinates her. She is captivated by her own inner universe, but something is happening there, and it is something dangerous and deadly. She says: “Everything is fucked up, something is going to kill us!” It is as if she was saying; “Well, you see, I was right!” But there is also her male friend, her animus who is also standing there with her, who can also be perceived as the consciousness of life. He mocks her in a friendly manner and actually compensates her attitude by saying: Don’t be silly! 

As for the third person in the dream, we don’t know who it is, but we know he holds all the answers! There is a personification of order – the third person. It is a cosmic order which points to creative energy, so It is a spirit itself. It suggests to her that her attitude is not tenable in the face of reality. He says: “You didn’t complete the task; you can’t go on. You have to go back to the beginning.”So it is a regression. It’s like the spirit is saying – you have to go back to childhood. She immediately recalled scenes that occurred when we touched on childhood. The client was puffed up: “I’ve dealt with it with so many therapists”! It was as if she was saying: “I don’t want to deal with it anymore; it hurts to keep opening it.” There was an emotional block – a pain to which the spirit pointed out that this was the way. The second part of the dream also bore witness to this.

The whole scenario changed when the whole deep conversation was finished and the client was in a room with her parents and sister. They said that since they were going to die, that they had come to say goodbye to her. 

The client reached a stage where she realized that the attitudes stemming from her inner child were not doing her any good in life. The parents in the dream were saying – You’ve found out where the injuries you’ve clung to are coming from, and now you’re ready to take responsibility for releasing the pain. It was as if the unconscious was calling to her, saying: “You are ready to let go of the artificially created attitude that is preventing you from living today.” In coming to her to say goodbye, her family  was actually communicating: ”Since you are ready to leave infantile ties, we have come to say farewell; you are ready to go through this process and to let it go!” The whole dream is actually very positive, as is her male friend’s message from the first part of the dream; he is similarly affirming, “You’re ready!” It is the compensation for her conscious, artificial attitude.

These are positive messages given to her, however, the client wakes up feeling lost, shaken, and down. She doesn’t see any meaning, purpose or reason in life. She goes back and hardens in her consciously-destructive attitude. What can strengthen her?! Her mind  evaluates what is the complete opposite! As Eckhart Tolle says – her ego perceives her rescue as her demise. It is very threatening to her ego how her soul reacts to her situation. And this feeling of threat is why she puts obstacles in the way and closes herself off. It’s not her own doing, but it’s her ego, which drags her along under the pretext of suffering, because obviously, the ego doesn’t want to open old wounds that hurt!

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to talk to this woman about her situation since then. Our cooperation ended when she moved from Iceland where we met, so I don’t know how her situation has continued to develop. Even though I asked myself questions about what I could have done better, I concluded my efforts and hindsight by saying that I couldn’t take on another person’s burden, let alone push someone into something they didn’t want to do. We had gone deep, and this plunge is always painful. We often need time to process certain, inner dives, especially if they are difficult for us. So my hunch is that this is why we ended our collaboration in this way.

Additional two Jung’s dreams about death

In a book – resources – C.G.J. – “Výbor z díla I./ Grundfragen zur Praxis ”, there are two dreams about the theme of death being something that essentially concerns a person. This is unlike our case from the 2nd dream – The Crow- when death was only an existential and consciously created problem. The symbol of the horse and the mother, which we already discussed in the 1st dream – Horse and mother, expands on this concept as well. If anyone is interested in the topic of death in dreams, I recommend the book – M.L.V.F – On Dreams & Death. 

You can read the subsequent part of the article here – Dream Analysis II. – Shadow and Anima (not published yet).

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