Different Types of Dreams
Sometimes dreams are absurd. Some dreams are scary. Others are downright silly. Most of the time, your dreams don’t have anything to say that is especially deep or profound. They simply amplify and echo your everyday experiences. But Dr. Carl Gustav Jung was a 20th-century Swiss psychologist who simply thought dreams had something more to say. He explored the hidden and mysterious aspects of the mind and found that some dreams are energized by timeless motifs that have echoes in art, poetry and music throughout all human existence. These dreams may hold intriguing new insights into life and the world, Jung believed, because they come from the “collective unconscious,” the part of the mind where ancient wisdom is stored.
There are two kinds of dreams. There are ordinary dreams about ordinary things. These dreams are merely a remix of our everyday memories and superficial fantasies. They do not hold any deep or meaningful insight for the dreamer beyond their odd entertainment value. Attempts to read into them will likely be fruitless. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” as Dr. Sigmund Freud said. These kinds of dreams are frequently forgotten.
But there are other, much rarer dreams that come from somewhere deep inside us—the part that Dr. Carl Jung called “the collective unconscious.” The collective unconscious is bigger and more fundamental than the mind of any single individual. It is the profound and timeless wisdom that all humans share. But, because our waking minds aren’t able to directly communicate with the collective unconscious, it will sometimes send us unexpected signs and signals in our dreams. When you decode the images in these important dreams you may receive some new knowledge that could help you or your community through a crisis.
The mythologies that defined all the world’s great civilizations were founded on insights gleaned from the collective unconscious. All the stories about the old gods and heroes follow the same dreamy patterns that you may observe yourself someday if you have a dream that changes the very course of your life!
Our fractured modern society lacks the single, cohesive mythology, as the ancients enjoyed. That’s why we seem a bit lost sometimes. But we try. Even today, all of our best, blockbuster epics echo of the classic contours of the Hero’s Journey of the unconscious mind.
Archetypes describe the function or role a character plays in a story. Think of the Archetype as a mask a character wears in a particular scene. One character may serve primarily as the Mentor of a tale, wearing that single mask for the majority of the Journey. But just as we play many roles in our lifetime, or even change masks in a given day, a story’s characters have the potential to wear any of the Archetypal masks depending upon the demands of the story. Obi Wan Kenobi is the Mentor throughout Star Wars, and yet he must wear the Hero’s mask and sacrifice himself to Darth Vader in order to allow Luke to escape with the princess.
The Hero – “to serve and sacrifice”
The Hero is our protagonist, or central character, whose primary purpose is to separate from the ordinary World and sacrifice himself for the service of the Journey at hand-to answer the challenge, complete the quest and restore the Ordinary World’s balance. The Hero’s Journey may be a challenge of personal growth: to win a competition, to heal a wound, or to find love. Heroes may also need to answer Calls to Adventure where physical lives and even the fate of the world are at stake. These Heroes must learn to accept the sacrifice of life and limb for the service of others.
Mentor – “to guide”
An essential Archetype, the Mentor provides motivation, insights and training to help the Hero overcome his doubts and fears and prepare for the Journey. Often the Mentor has traveled the road before and can provide needed guidance to a Hero who is reluctant to face the unknown. If the Hero proves his commitment, the Mentor may reward him with magical gifts (a weapon, clothing, piece of advice, or a key) that will help him on the Journey ahead. The Mentor might present a powerful magical gift to lure the Hero to accept the challenge
Threshold Guardian – “to test”
Threshold Guardians protect the Special World and its secrets from the Hero, and provide essential tests to prove a Hero’s commitment and worth. The Hero must bypass these obstacles, and use any method available: ignoring, outwitting, overcoming, appeasing, or befriending.