The key to unlocking a dream is buried within the dreamer, and can be uncovered through analysis -- or self-analysis. An essential element to this discovery is collecting your personal recollections in order to find the true meaning of your dream.
By interpreting your dream within the context of your life, a transcendent function develops. A transcendent function is something new that develops to form your internal "ah ha" moment... and can lead to your individuation.
Yet, analyzing your dream can be very confusing, as archetypal and mythological figures are both perplexing and unrecognizable. Carl Jung indicated that dreams have a purpose, and that by analyzing a dream you can identify particular dream symbology, which may inform you about your inner state -- your shadow material -- and whether you are individuating.
Further, Jung (1) discussed the idea that certain archetypal dreams may elicit an emotional response, and therefore, the skill of an experienced analyst is required to guide you through the process of individuation safely. Jung described the compensatory function of dreams and recognized that the symbology of dreams can act as guides through this process. He suggested that because your dream motifs are connected to mythological motifs, they permit a comparison, and it is through the knowledge of those symbols and mythological motifs that you can interpret the meaning of your dream.
It is then that you can discover what is it that your unconscious is trying to tell you -- the information that your unconscious is giving you, to bring you to consciousness. This conversation between you and your unconscious can only occur within your dream. And, from this connection, your unconscious will show you the true meaning of your life, your vocation, your destiny and the way out of your descent. Now, you can reclaim your soul. So, it is through the interpretation of your dream, that archetypal information emerges, which has the capacity to not only support your individuation, but also to expand your sense of self and purpose in life.
Jung also examined the figurative language in dreams, as well as the religious ideas encountered there. Here he pointed out that religious ideas can aid in dream analysis, as they have a psychological construction, such as the circle, mandala, or mandorla, which can be identified and, as a result, give valuable information to you or to your analyst.
It is the symbolic language of dreams, as well as the compensatory function, which has the capacity to enrich and restore a sense of vitality to the dreamer. Seeing your life through new eyes helps you have a new perspective, which can support individuation. Since dreams have an unconscious function or irrational fragments, the symbolic language of dreams can potentially lead to integration and wholeness. Hence, dream interpretation gives you the opportunity to become acquainted with your own unconscious material, and therefore, has the potential to restore balance and harmony to your life.
In a sense, the dream is a portal to your soul's journey to wholeness... a process of individuation that can lead you to rediscover the lost meaning and libido of your life. Therefore, because the process of individuation is a natural maturation process, you can reconcile an equilibration between the conscious and the unconscious.
Through dream analysis, symbology elucidates archetypes that affect your consciousness. It is this material that has the capacity to balance a compensatory life, with archetypal forces. According to Jung, the unconscious has a compensatory function, which has the potential to bring the one-sidedness of consciousness into balance. This is why dream analysis is so important.
Understanding your compensatory function can broaden and enrich your life. Thus, an important element to dream interpretation includes honestly examining all possible meanings that dream figures hold for the dreamer. It is important to note that the compensatory function, which has the effect of bringing into balance the one-sidedness present in your consciousness, also has the capacity to integrate the conscious with the unconscious, thereby balancing the psyche.
Source: Dreams, from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung
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