Archetypes are among the most powerful and most significant of all items found in dreams, and they are of great interest to dream interpreters and to dream researchers and scientists alike. At its simplest, an archetype is a prototype, or an original copy, of any object or experience. An archetype can also refer to the prefect example of an object – the object by which all others are judged.
This article will examine several important prototypes encountered in dream interpretation. The first of these archetypes is the animus.
The animus is a term used by psychologist Carl Jung to represent the masculine side of the female. Jung felt that women possessed a unconscious masculine imprint, and he called this imprint the animus.
Women become familiar with the nature of the animus through a constant questioning of ideas and opinions, and of gender roles and identity. When coming to terms with her masculine side, the woman learns to criticize her opinions and hold them at a distance. This does not mean repressing those opinions; it simply means investigating where they come from, and delving more deeply into their background.
Dream interpretation can often be a big help in discovering the masculine side of a woman, and the woman who dreams of being a man is often exploring her masculine nature.
According to Jung, women go through four stages of development when exploring and discovering their animus. In stage one, he animus may appear in dreams, and he may represent the ultimate embodiment of physical power. Thus the animus may appear as an athlete, a highly muscular man, or even as a criminal or thug.
In stage two, the animus gives the woman the initiative and the ability to take action. Women in this stage are often ready to take on careers and lives of their own, apart from their family and other role models.
In stage three of the development process, the animus may be seen in dreams as a clergyman, professor or other authority figure. During this stage, the animus represents knowledge and wisdom.
In the final stage, the animus comes to represent spirituality and deeper meaning. During this stage, the animus moves back and forth between the conscious and unconscious mind, still appearing frequently in dreams but appearing in the waking world as well.
The other popular dream archetype is the Mandela. A Mandela can be either a complex or a simple geometric design or pattern, usually in the form of a circle. Mandelas are frequently seen in Native American ceremonies, and they make up a big part of the religious experiences of many Native American and indigenous peoples around the world.
The Mandela also figures prominently in Eastern religions, and it is used to represent the universe in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In Jungian philosophy the Mandela is the symbol for the self. The Mandela is also used to symbolize the circle of life, completeness or wholeness.
Dreams can use any one of these meanings, or a combination of several meanings, for the Mandela. Dreaming of a Mandela or seeing a Mandela in your dreams, is often seen as a spiritual yearning, or as a greater enlightenment.
It is important to know that archetypes such as the animus and the Mandela are universal in nature, showing up again and again in religions and mythologies around the world and across the time. Their universal nature if one of the things that gives them such power and influence, both in the world of dream interpretation and in the waking world.
Even so, it is important to note that the appearance of these symbols in dreams can have very different meanings and interpretations for each individual dreamer. Even thought the symbols are universal, each individual is unique, and personal experience plays a large role in making each individual dream symbol unique as well.