Dream Symbols of the Beloved


In my last post I described the Self as our Beloved, the core energy in every psyche that compels us to grow into loveable, enlightened beings. Our egos often reject the Self’s guidance but it never gives up on us. In its aspect as Dream Mother it reveals itself in symbols and actions based on six basic attributes: wholeness, centrality, unity, love, pattern, and the life-giving force.
Wholeness: Jung associated this with quaternity, or four-ness, because of the way we and our world are created. There are four directions and four winds. Christianity has four evangelists, a cross has four arms, there are four cardinal virtues, and mandalas — the intricate circular sacred symbols produced by many religions — have four sections. Also, humanity has four basic ways of experiencing life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. So whenever a circular object (a coin, table, bowl, sphere, etc.) or four-ness (four people, four flowers in a vase, four walls, the numeral 4, etc.) appear in a dream, I always consider their implications for my growth into wholeness.
Centrality: The Self is our psyche’s source of energy and the point from which every psycho-spiritual event proceeds. It is often represented by things with centers; for example, the heart (a vital central organ), the circle with a dot in the center (the central hole in the Chinese jade disk opens to heaven), and ancient symbols for the center of the world, including a cosmic tree (Jung saw the vertically growing form of a palm tree as a symbol of the soul) or sacred mountain.
Unity: Since the Self’s creative energy is constantly being renewed by the ongoing tension between our masculine and feminine drives, it is often symbolized by the balanced union of opposites — i.e. pairs of things, a Couple, reciprocal actions, the Divine Androgyne (suggested by having attributes of the opposite gender), twins, crosses, two interlocking circles, the hexagram or double triangle, the yin-yang symbol, weddings and wedding rings, sex, and bridges — and also through images of the unity in multiplicity, i.e. a pearl necklace or mandala.
Love: Deity’s primary characteristic is love. As our god-image, the Self can be represented in dreams via depictions of people engaged in loving actions such as kissing, hugging, forgiving, helping others, gift-giving, or making sacrifices. When our dream egos feel and demonstrate love for others, or when others make us feel loved, we are being shown something about our capacity for love and the Self’s love for us. Of course, the heart is also a symbol of love.
Pattern: Since we think of God as the creator and sustainer of the underlying patterns that support life, the Self is suggested by patterned walkways, lattices, mathematical arrays, music, webs, grids, the Diamond Net of Indra, holograms, intricately patterned mandalas or jewelry, and so on.
Life-Giving Force: All symbols or acts of insemination, creativity, initiation, birth, growth (i.e. growing babies or blooming plants), transformation (the butterfly), or movement and change (a snake shedding its skin, the double-stranded DNA spiral, spinning wheels), refer to the miracle of our life and the forces that sustain it.
Next time I’ll have some suggestions about how to work with your dreams. Meanwhile, pay attention to your dreams tonight. You might just have one that features the Self. If you do, I hope you’ll let me know!

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0 Responses

  1. Jeanie, this is perhaps the most informative of all your many informative articles to date. I love the way you are organizing (allowing the Logos its authentic participation in) the Mythos! These explanations and examples just could not be clearer or more lovely—the whole of your post is like wandering through a beautiful formal garden, the colors and forms and aromas set apart for identification’s sake even as their roots all touch underground for meaning’s sake….
    Do I remember correctly that Jung pointed out (paraphrasing) that the ego is not able to deal with the overpowering content of the archetypes but that the Self, as the Central Archetype, has the capacity to organize and integrate the other archetypes? If this reminds you of anything, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it—and if I’ve misremembered it, please correct it, as I find it a most meaningful line of inquiry….
    You are doing such important work here. I know many people will access these articles for many years to come!!
    All My Best,

    1. Thank you, William. I love your garden analogy. This is pretty much the way my mind works: using logos to make mythos distinctions and using mythos to see the underlying connections in the big picture. This becomes a sort of non-ending figure 8 loop in my mind where one side always leads back to the other, with synchronicities, or meaningful coincidences between my inner and outer worlds, often occurring in the middle (centerpoint). At least that’s the way it seems to me.
      Yes, Jung said the ego is easily overwhelmed by the archetypes and needs the Self for mediation and intervention. The ancient Greek ego didn’t know why it fell passionately in love, so found its answer in Eros and Aphrodite; or why it became overwhelmed with rage and had to make war, so attributed it to Ares. Where the ego is powerless in the face of an archetype, the god-image is honored, which takes the heat off the ego. This is why it often takes a huge emotional crisis for our egos to wake up to the sacred Mystery. But it also explains Jung’s comment that the gods have become our diseases, because if the awakening ego gets stuck in a particular god-image and refuses to grow and change, old Ares takes over and then you have another war. Which is why the ego’s task is to acquire self-knowledge. If I can see and own my rigidity and anger instead of blaming it on God or Satan, I have a better chance of making a healing choice. It’s always such a pleasure ‘talking’ with you. Jeanie

  2. divine Jean Raffa,
    Cosmic dreams transmitting through cosmic web.
    your article made my day. thanks for spreading the dreams…
    add little…..
    We will know god through modern science but we
    must test the nector of the precepts and the wisdom
    of the sages and saints who explored the
    non-attributive .
    we may compare the modern scientific finding in the
    light of the wisdom of saints and may be amazed to
    similarities in both the findings.
    For example:-
    We could only know particles of atom by year 1900-50
    as neutron ,proton,electron and their properties but
    thousands of years before this fact was expressed
    through mythological wisdom stories like in hindu
    philosophy V ISHNU as neutron, BHRAMAN as proton,
    and SHIVA as electron.and all together they govern
    the cosmas.as TRILOGY.
    VISHNU= Dreaming while floating on water ( neutral )
    many time people ask why dreams are visual ?
    because everybody can understand this cosmic language .
    many time people ask which language god understands?
    put the question on search engine of cosmic intelligence and
    click your mouse ………answers as..
    ” since all languages comes out of silence anyone can communicate with me in any language or in silence.”
    many time people ask why mythological and wisdom
    VISHNU= visual information Asystems human new understanding.
    Birth is like start of the film, death is like end of the film, life is to watch the film to know your role and my part.
    ” a cosmic dream work productions ”
    Review:- film is neither real nor false, know your words and world of present film, no dialogue from past or future films.
    enjoy the film………….

    1. Dear Ram0singhal,
      I’m so glad you like my article. I totally agree with your observation about how science and saints point to the same fundamental truths. The Diamond Net of Indra is another example of the spiritual and intuitive precursor to quantum physics’ holographic universe. And yes, dreams use the universal language of images that speak directly to the instincts and intuition because images predate language. A final observation; when I began dreamwork I had several dreams of being in a theater and trying to watch a film, but distractions alway interfered. Now I realize this was about how my attempts to observe my life objectively by watching my dreams were being sidetracked by personal issues–such as fears, or worrying about the opinions of the other viewers–that had to be understood and worked with first.
      Thank you so much for your always rich and insightul comments!!
      With gratitude,

  3. there are four directions .
    inform =science = physical
    uniform = technology. =mental (balance )
    perform= Civilization . = emotional
    transform =biosphere = spiritual
    looks first as chaos as
    we open the water tap,but
    water automatically reorganise
    into harmonious flow .
    with warmness all can coexist.
    dreaming is a subtle answer
    for the search one clicks
    for physical,
    spiritual quests wrapped in
    different fluid layers of
    consciousness on cosmic search
    Having no questions is enlightenment,
    having many answers is wisdom ,
    mile to smile, mind to no mind………
    happy dreaming……….

    1. Dear RamOsinghal,
      I love the way your word play brings out the most amazing insights…”mile to smile, mind to no mind.” That’s some gift you have there!! Thanks so much for sharing it with me and my readers. And my best wishes to you with your new blog: http://ram0singhal.wordpress.com
      My best to you,

  4. Ram0singhal,
    Thank you so much for featuring my latest post on your new site! I feel your kindness and generosity and am very grateful for it.

    1. divine jean raffa…
      child ask mother seeing people praying ,ask to whom they pray,
      mother replies ,to god for all the kindness bestowed on them.
      then child ask have you created me to pray to you?
      mother is mom what to answer, get tears ………….
      child inquires again also about the tears thinking question may
      not have hurt ?
      mother composes and hold child in the lap and whispers in the
      child’s ear and says when in the garden I feed you with food , you
      also try with your small tiny hands to feed me ,please mom eat little ,how wonderful food you have cooked for me…still tears flowing
      adds “It is not the requirement of god that we pray .
      prayers are like tiny hands of child wants god to taste the wonderful cosmos that has created.
      kindness is nature of cosmic intelligence and as child is happy mother is happy.
      happiness is prayers and thanks to god.
      happy dreaming………

      1. RamOsinghal, What a beautiful story. I love its essence: Kindness is the nature of cosmic intelligence, and as we are happy, god is happy. Happy dreaming to you too. Jeanie

  5. Hi Jeanie,
    I’ve been having some “waking dream” symbol fun with your post and the amazing picture you posted here titled “Serpentine Fire.”
    Here is my latest synchronicity journaling entry:
    “June 2010 – I’ve been wondering the meaning of my snake friend in my yard over the past few weeks. He has been here since we moved in to the house, but really started showing up – at front and back doors – when Harold was dying, then, disappeared again. Now showing up in my thoughts, and just the other day my brother-in-law told me he saw the snake when he was watering the yard while I was in California.
    6/12/2010 – in a.m. – Felt drawn to the beautiful mandala titled “Serpentine Fire” by Jean Raffa off her blog Matrignosis Blog titled “Dream Symbols of the Beloved” June 12, 2010.
    Then later in the day, came home and opened the book that I’m reading – “Alchemy of Nine Dimensions” by Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow – to the exact spot where there is a Australian aboriginal painting of “The Cosmic Serpent” and under it the caption is discussing the serpents in the picture as compared with double helixes and DNA.
    Below caption, the Clows go on to state how “Shamans often see serpentine images, especially double ones, which resemble the DNA double helix. The DNA molecule is a single long chain made of two interwoven ribbons connected by four bases: DNA is both single and double, just like mythical serpents. Jeremy Narby (The Cosmic Serpent, pp. 78, 80) concludes that DNA is the origin of shamanic knowledge.
    6/14/2010 – Decided to pull a Medicine Card (1988, Jamie Sands and David Carson) this morning…just one to give me a focus for the day.
    #34 Grouse is what I pulled. “Grouse…of the Sacred Spiral, Leading us on, To reach the everlasting heights, Where we can live as one.” Also, in the text: “…If you have Grouse medicine in your cards, undertake a meditation on the various qualities of movement within your world. Begin by visualinzing the sun as one member of a huge group of stars swirling in the massive pinwheel shape of the Milky Way. Then draw yourself out of this pinwheel of light into the spiraling of your own DNA’s double helix, …contemplate if your own movement is compatible with your greatest desires and goals…Grouse medicine is an invitation to the dance, and offers this dance to you as a gift. You can spend a lifetime learning Grouse’s lesson on how to harmonize your dance with Mother Earth’s cycles, and how to offer the dance a s creation of selfless beauty. (pp. 173, 174)”
    Wow! I think Snake is talking to me!
    Thank you for this lovely, informative post…I truly enjoy wandering through the garden path of your thoughts and visions…

    1. Dear Jenna, Welcome to my garden! It’s so good to hear from you. I love your synchronicity journal and wish I’d been keeping one all these years. Here’s another synchronicity you can add to it: I just came to my computer moments ago and as I was waiting for my mail to open up, I picked up my copy of Aion (Jung’s collected works, Volume 9, ii) and opened it to a place I marked some time ago to have another look at what Jung says about Self symbols. I was thinking I need to write another post about this topic because it’s been so popular and there’s so much more I could say. The paragraph I was most interested in (#356) is the one where Jung says that the Self also has animal symbolism; among these is, you guessed it, the snake. A few pages later he says that the snake symbol brings us to the images of Paradise, tree, and earth; together these symbolize creation, our origins. This brings to mind the idea that the original unity had to be split up into the multiplicity of the visible world and that our job is to reunite our separate parts (in the inorganic realm) into a whole, unified being. So after I read that, I opened your comment. I think snake is talking to us both. I need to get busy writing that post! Much love, Jeanie

  6. Oops, forgot to put the title of my synchronicity journal entry in my last post: Synchronicity: June 14, 2010 Sacred Geometry/Serpentine/DNA

    1. Dear Jenna, Of course. At the beginning of the chapter in Aion I just told you about, Jung reviews the facts that led psychologists to conjecture an archetype of wholeness, i.e., the Self, and says, “These are in the first place dreams and visions; in the second place, products of active imagination in which symbols of wholeness appear. The most important of these are geometrical structures containing elements of the circle and quaternity…” Jeanie

  7. Thank you for sharing your synchronicity, too, Jeanie. What fun! I bet there are others of your readers who have their own events of synchronicity to share around these discussions. It has been my experience that when an archetypal subject comes up in group, many in the conversation experience a synchronicity which highlights their own personal meaning(s) around it.
    By the way, do you mind if I share this exchange in my thesis/book, using your name and referencing your blog? If you would prefer that I do not, please don’t hesitate to say so. I always ask, before using anyone’s ideas or words.
    Can’t wait for your next posts…

    1. Jenna, Of course you may share this exchange and any others we may have in the future. I already know of at least one other synchronicity occurring around this same topic. A few days ago a Jungian friend sent me a dream featuring an elephant and asked for any thoughts I may have. I sent a few, then two days later picked up Aion and turned to the page I cited in my previous comment about the animals that represent the Self in dreams. The elephant was the first one mentioned. When I wrote that to her she responded that she had done a meditation and active imagination with her dream elephant and its message to her had been about how much it loved her. Nothing could point more strongly to the Self than that. By the way, based on our previous discussion and the wonderful response to this post I’ve received from so many others, I’ve already written the next post on the same topic. It will be published tomorrow evening. Much love, Jeanie

  8. Thank you – for the release to use your wise words and for more synchronicity around our discussion! I agree with William that the work you are doing here is so important, and I look forward to tomorrow’s post! Much love, Jenna

  9. Jean, I love this mandala – Serpentine Fire 81. Did you do this? I would like to use this image for personal use but wish to give credit to the author. Thanks

    1. Barbara, I love it too. I found it some time ago on Google Free Images but didn’t notice if the artist’s name was on the site. I’d like to know who it was and give him/her credit as well. If you find it will you let me know? Thank you. Jeanie

  10. Hello. I have had a dream that I cannot stop thinking about. The most nagging aspect is a sign that I saw. On the sign was illustrated two interlocking circles. On each side of this there were illustrated two people, pulling, like a tug-of-war. I have looked all around but can’t find an answer. This blog entry is the closest I’ve found to a meaning but I’m still curious about the people on each side. What do you think it means?
    Thank you

      1. Hello Lori,
        For me, two interlocking circles illustrates the meeting of two personalities, with the overlap being a holy space of understanding and respect and dialogue, plus a measure of intimacy, between them. This holy space is an important symbol called a mandorla, and there’s a lot of literature about it on the internet.
        Again for me, the fact that two people are trying to pull this positive connection or relationship apart, suggests opposing factors in myself that are trying to sabotage this relationship. The relationship itself can refer to the connection between the conscious ego and unconscious Self, or the masculine and feminine principles, or it can represent some literal relationship I have with someone else in waking life, or it can refer to both inner and outer relationships at the same time. I, as the dreamer, am the only one who can identify this internal conflict and know what it refers so. No one else can tell me what that might be.
        For me, the sign, “Windows Removed” suggests that the inner forces trying to destroy this connection are trying to remove my “window”, i.e. objective view, into what’s going on in my unconscious self. Perhaps part of me wants to gain a better perspective on the unconscious conflicts and forces at work in my psyche that are problematic for me, but another part of me is afraid of this inner work and wants to remove my window (perhaps provided by dreamwork) so that I won’t have to suffer scary unknown consequences.
        Remember that this is just my take on these symbols. They may not have the same meaning for you. I would suggest you explore your own associations.
        the fact that this dream is so disturbing to me that I would ask for help in understanding it tells me that this dream is important and merits more attention. I wish you well with your inner work and recommend that you continue to pay close attention to your dreams. They will guide you through your inner labyrinth if you let them.

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