Oh, Dreams and Their Archetypes!

Take a gander at this, Jung! Dreams, dreams, always uncovering the unexpected…


It would begin by looking upon myself laying in the fetal position on top of a cobblestone bridge overlooking a river. I was clad in dingy rags, covered in dirt, and my own feet unnoticeable in blood. It was dark, it was dank, it was the 1800s. The small village that was down the street was illuminated with torches, showing the filth and feces that covered the road. I looked in that general direction, and then upon my hands. Dirt was built up underneath my nails, scars covered my palms and as the cold wind blew, they would sting like knives were being slid across. Out agony, I placed my hands under my arms to seize the pain.

Through my teary-vision I witness the slow progress of a hooded figure. Black. Cold. Sudden eminence fled my entire being, not knowing what is to come from his encroachment. As he grew closer and closer, his face would hit the moonlight in such a way where all would be revealed. His eyes were as the dark as the night, and his smirk as soulless as the earth. His face had no flesh, no meat. All it was a carcass of what once was human. A Grim Reaper.

Following shortly behind the reaper was a mob of people holding pitch forks, and lit torches. They all looked full of anger and hostility, like they all were possessed with the want to kill by the Leader Grim.

The blade in Grim’s hand was close enough to touch my bruised cheek, and I ran far far away – past the town and towards the woods. Once they witnessed my escape, the mob gained speed in attempts to lay one fateful torch to my garb or pitch fork to my leg. As I dodged a tree, they soon followed with as much more furry and hatred than the tree before. With each glance I threw behind, they became closer and closer. Before I could catch another look, my foot was caught underneath a tree’s uplifted root. It immediately twisted my ankle, so much so that I could not stand upon my feet to run once more. Instead, I had to use my bare hands to grip the soil, to try to push forward. I looked behind to see the Reaper to be a few inches from my face, with a clear smile in victory. He raised his blade accompanied with a malicious giggle. And soon as the blade was meant to meet my neck, I wake up.

This dream haunted me for years, recurring at the oddest of times. It would awaken me in the deadest of sleeps, and make me fear going back to bed. But as I have gotten older, I have been able to view my life at a distance, or a third person view. And while many have said before, dreams are conscious representations of the fear, anger, love in our very lives. At that time in my life, my parents were going through a very tumultuous time in their marriage, many fights and many discussions about divorce. My home life was financially unstable since my father was out of work for over three years, where it effected where we lived, the lifestyle we adhered to, the food we ate or lack thereof.

The Grim Reaper symbolizes death, the captor of death, or a finite ending, even the Shadow archetype. It was signifying the end of childhood, the end of innocence, the end of comfort-ability or stability. My life was being turned upside down at the hands of reality. And as much as I did not want it to happen, it was going to affect my everything. The Grim Reaper was acting upon his natural, humanly instinct to kill for wrongdoing or chaos. I would “run away” which can be seen as the anxiety for not recognizing life and its quirks.

The mob could be seen as the other pressures that were present in my life at the time – good grades, a great friend, a loving sister. I took on a lot of responsibility and I was failing in many facets due to the distress I tried to avoid at all costs. And that failure weighed on me, enough to affect my self perception. I did not believe I had worth, or value if I did not have a mother and father who cared like most parents did. They did at a distance, not truly supporting me with the decisions I made or the accolades I received. This can be clearly seen through the rags, dirt, and blood I was wearing. It shows that I was not wanted, and thus not treated in a healthy or loving manner. No one was there to wipe my tears, instead I was the one to raise myself. I was clearly representing the hopeless, lost child archetype, by my outer appearance to the emotional rise within my character. I was innocent, vulnerable, and did not have a sense of the future. I could not see what is to come, for I lacked the wisdom needed to do so, to see past the troubles to seek solutions.

The fact that the dream was placed in the 1800s, can share that the environment I had grown up in was a place of barbarity with “filth and feces (that) covered the road.” People did what was easy and not what was needed, no matter the difficulty. It was dirty, and it was messy. Its chaos could not be tamed or placed in order, much like the life I was living.

Dreams can be seen as the melding of the unconscious and the conscious mind as our true emotions and our reality meet, especially within Carl Jung’s studies of the psyche. Whenever one is in need of enlightenment on their identity, reviewing the most current dreams may reveal the unlikely. The unexpected has the chance to uncover our now. Open your mind to the possibilities that dreams possess, you never know what may come of it.  


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2 Responses to Oh, Dreams and Their Archetypes!

  1. I liked the way you analyzed your dream so thoroughly You were able to step back and not look at the dream as a “nightmare” but instead as one that represented your situation at the time.What I liked most about your analysis of the dream is your last short paragraph. I believe that dreams reveal more about ourselves than we think, as strange as our dreams may be. You proved that is true by looking at your dream more in depth and making correlations for each part of your dream like the mob for example, who you said represented the additional pressures you were facing. Great job!

  2. w3bb says:

    What can one say? No one truly understands what another person is going through except the person going through it. I can try to understand but I know I cannot, I have never gone through the things you have, just as there are things I have seen you will never understand. What can I do? Maybe there is something in the nightmare that will make it a little less horrifying.

    The Grim Reaper is clearly a shadow archetype and represents all of your fear and pain; the mob is everyone who relies on you, constantly coming towards you begging for help or expecting you to do something. And getting mad when you don’t. Your clothing and the time period are archetypes for your economic situation. All of this you have already stated, but what if they also have double meanings?

    There are multiple versions of the Grim Reaper, and not all of them are bad, most in fact view the Grim Reaper as a courier, one who brings your soul to the afterlife safely. He, or she as many cultures view it, helps the dying with the transition from life to death, not as someone who should be feared, although death is terrifying. Maybe that is why you were scared; it was not the Reaper you were scared of but the unknown. Death has long been associated with the unknown and as something to be feared, creating the archetype of death.

    What if the Reaper wasn’t trying to hurt you, but rather protect you, it did as you said get “close enough to touch my bruised cheek” so wouldn’t it have killed you then if it had been so inclined? You said the mob was behind the reaper and seemed to be filled with the malice of the creature, but if it is protecting you then perhaps it was placing itself between you and the mob, those who actually intended to hurt you like when you ran away and they chased you into the woods.

    Perhaps your unconscious chose the Reaper as a representation of your fear because it is the Reaper’s job to help people transition through that unknown. Stay and face your fears, for the 1800s was at the end of the industrial revolution, a time where technology was changing people’s lives for the better and bringing the world into a new age, where the future is unknown.

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