Jungian Therapy and the Meaning of Dreams : Houses
Jungian therapy abounds with house symbols, because they are often central to the meaning of dreams — the house is one of the most common dream symbols.
It’s a very rich symbol, archetypal in fact. Humans seek a secure place that is fundamentally their own in which to live, whether it is the troglodyte’s cave, or the King’s palace.
Our earliest home is the maternal womb, and all our subsequent physical homes carry its shades and tones. In mythological traditions from all over the world, our first home is a paradise, and we are ever seeking to return to it.
The House as Symbol of Personality
In dreams, the home often symbolizes the dreamer’s entire psyche or personality. Is the dream house well-kept, or does it appear neglected? Is it made of solid stuff or shoddy materials — and thus perhaps in need of renovation? Does the house seem well proportioned? Are its internal spaces cramped or spacious?
House as “Space” I Occupy
In waking life, some houses clearly symbolize and embody the people who live in them. So it is in the dream symbolization of the inner world, where houses reflect the person that they contain / are. Often a house can have different levels, which may reflect different periods of time, or different aspects of the being of the dreamer. There may be different “rooms” in the house; some familiar, and some unknown, waiting to be discovered. Jungian therapy knows that the meaning of dreams about houses partakes in the house as a universal symbol, and also in the experiences of the individual relative to the house.
Emotional Power of the House Symbol
Houses engender deep emotions in their occupants. We can have a loving and intimate relationship with a house — or sometimes what seems like an anger or even hate-filled grim struggle.
Dream houses may reflect our inner psychic state — or we may project our inner psychic conflicts onto our outer house in the waking world. Most of us know the terminally “house proud” individual, whose identity has completely fused with the outer house.
Jungian therapy fully recognizes the deep feelings at play around the house.
The Inner Housing Crisis: Where Will I Dwell?
We all have to dwell somewhere; this is a truth in the inner world, as much as the outer. And, as in the outer world, so in the inner: our house has characteristics, and our relationship to it is changed by our choices.
Often it’s a matter of greatest importance for an individual to pay attention to their inner “house”. Its dimensions and proportions often fill our dreams. Jungian therapy is very attuned to the theme or motif of the house in the dreams of the individual — especially at times of tension or crisis. In addition to many other therapeutic techniques, work on the house as part of the meaning of dreams can be a powerful element in Jungian therapy.
How has the symbol of the house appeared in your dreams?
Next in series: Jewels
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