Who's in Your Dreams: Jungian Archetypes and Other People
Our dreams tend to be very self-centered; they are almost always about us. So, when we dream of other people, those people represent aspects of ourselves our subconscious wants us to pay attention to. Occasionally people in dreams represent someone else, but in general they tend to be highly symbolic of aspects of ourselves. For example, if you dream of someone who has darker hair, darker eyes, a darker skin tone, or darker clothing than you typically wear, these people are often a representation of your shadow, or that part of yourself you dislike and wish to keep hidden.
Dream People and Personal Symbolism:
When trying to decipher meaning, I always suggest you look to personal symbolism before you consider archetypes, which arise from the collective consciousness. When another person appears in your dreams, ask yourself the following:
- What does that person mean to me?
- How do I feel when I see or think about that person?
- How do I identify that person in my life?
- What parts of me do I see reflected in that person?
- What is that person’s role in my life?
- If I could describe that person in one or two words, what would they be?
Jung believed certain representations of people that resided in the collective unconscious were universal types of characters. He listed several archetypes, which may appear as people in your dreams. If someone in your dreams fits any of the common archetypes that follow and they don’t fit within your personal symbolism, then they may represent an archetypal energy.
- Persona: The identity you project to others is persona.
- Shadow: Parts of yourself you may be ashamed of, repress, keep hidden, or have disowned.
- Anima/Animus: The female and male aspects of your personality, or the polarity of traits such as yin and yang or female and male.
- Divine Child/Innocent: Represents your purest self—that divine part of you that is innocent and true.
- Wise One: Often appearing as a wise old man or woman, this is the archetype of the sage or mentor in dreams.
- Trickster: Often responsible for our strangest dreams, comes to remind you to lighten up.
- Great Mother: A nurturer, often a maternal figure, reminds you to nurture yourself deeply.
- Hero: Represents confidence and bravery, showing you ways you can resolve issues and move forward with conviction.
- Fool: Similar to the innocent, reminds you to take life as it comes and stay focused on the moment at hand instead of worrying about the future or living in the past.
- Magician: Reminds you that you have all the tools needed to turn your dreams into a reality.
- Hermit: A reminder to spend time alone in meditation, contemplation, or spiritual learning.
Dream characters, whether they embody personal symbolism or Jungian archetypes, play vital roles in decoding the messages of our dreams. By delving into the meaning behind these characters, we gain deeper insights into our inner worlds and the universal themes that shape our dreamscapes. Understanding the rich symbolism of dream characters enriches our dream interpretation and personal growth.