Dream symbolism

Dreams are often parables that contain hidden treasure

if you’re willing to search for it. The condition of your heart

directly affects your spiritual insight and understanding.

Are you distracted or captivated by the gift God may

be giving you in your dreams? …It may reflect the condition of your heart.

Jesus only spoke in parables to the unbelieving because

He wanted them to have to apply their heart. He says in Matthew 13:13-15

This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14)

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ”

‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15)

For this people’s heart has become calloused;

they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

Images as Symbols


I sort of smile, when reading about something were the author goes on with his dissertation ignorant about the many issues surrounding the topic he is talking about specifically one sided explanations, that ignore the deep power of symbols, and the use the ancients had for them way before we come to lost our way around them, this a profound loss for the understanding of an issue, even the explanation of the symbol itself!

According to the dictionary





something that represents or stands for something else, usually by convention or association, specifically a material object used to represent something abstract


an object, person, idea, etc, used in a literary work, film, etc, to stand for or suggest something else with which it is associated either explicitly or in some more subtle way


a letter, figure, or sign used in mathematics,science, music, etc to represent a quantity, phenomenon, operation, function, etc

But of course there is more, a lot more than that!

As for example:

Word Origin and History for symbol Expand


early 15c., “creed, summary, religious belief,” from Late Latin symbolum “creed, token, mark,” from Greek symbolon “token, watchword” (applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles’ Creed, on the notion of the “mark” that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally “that which is thrown or cast together,” from syn- “together” (see syn- ) + bole “a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt,beam,” from bol-, nominative stem of ballein “to throw” (see ballistics).


The sense evolution in Greek is from “throwing things together” to “contrasting” to “comparing” to “token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine.” Hence, “outward sign” of something. The meaning “something which stands for something else”first recorded 1590 (in “Faerie Queene”).


In considering the effect of a symbol on the psyche, in his seminal essay The Symbol without Meaning Joseph Campbell proposes the following definition: A symbol is an energy evoking, and directing, agent.

Later, expanding on what he means by this definition Campbell says:

“a symbol, like everything else, shows a double aspect. We must distinguish, therefore between the ‘sense’ and the ‘meaning’ of the symbol. It seems to me perfectly clear that all the great and little symbolical systems of the past functioned simultaneously on three levels: the corporeal of waking consciousness, the spiritual of dream, and the ineffable of the absolutely unknowable. The term ‘meaning’ can refer only to the first two but these, today, are in the charge of science – which is the province as we have said, not of symbols but of signs. The ineffable, the absolutely unknowable, can be only sensed. It is the province of art which is not ‘expression’ merely, or even primarily, but a quest for, and formulation of, experience evoking, energy-waking images: yielding what Sir Herbert Read has aptly termed a ‘sensuous apprehension of being’.

Heinrich Zimmer gives a concise overview of the nature, and perennial relevance, of symbols.

“Concepts and words are symbols, just as visions, rituals, and images are; so too are the manners and customs of daily life. Through all of these a transcendent reality is mirrored. They are so many metaphors reflecting and implying something which, though thus variously expressed, is ineffable, though thus rendered multiform, remains inscrutable. Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them. Each civilization, every age, must bring forth its own.”

In the book Signs and Symbols, it is stated that A symbol … is a visual image or sign representing an idea — a deeper indicator of a universal truth.

Symbols are a means of complex communication that often can have multiple levels of meaning. This separates symbols from signs, as signs have only one meaning.

Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture. Thus, symbols carry meanings that depend upon one’s cultural background; in other words, the meaning of a symbol is not inherent in the symbol itself but is culturally learned.

Symbols are the basis of all human understanding and serve as vehicles of conception for all human knowledge. Symbols facilitate understanding of the world in which we live, thus serving as the grounds upon which we make judgments. In this way, people use symbols not only to make sense of the world around them, but also to identify and cooperate in society through constitutive rhetoric.

Methaphors in to wisdom

Carl Gustav Jung and the Collective Unconscious

Carl Gustav Jung ; 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, literature, and religious studies. He was a prolific writer, though many of his works were not published until after his death.

Collective unconscious, a term coined by Carl Jung, refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species. According to Jung, the human collective unconscious is populated by instincts and by archetypes: universal symbols such as the Great Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Shadow, the Tower, Water, the Tree of Life, and many more.

Jung considered the collective unconscious to underpin and surround the unconscious mind, distinguishing it from the personal unconscious of Freudian psychoanalysis. He argued that the collective unconscious had profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences.

In Jung’s 1916 essay, “The Structure of the Unconscious”. This essay distinguishes between the “personal”, Freudian unconscious, filled with sexual fantasies and repressed images, and the “collective” unconscious encompassing the soul of humanity at large.

In “The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology” (November 1929), Jung wrote:

And the essential thing, psychologically, is that in dreams, fantasies, and other exceptional states of mind the most far-fetched mythological motifs and symbols can appear autochthonously at any time, often, apparently, as the result of particular influences, traditions, and excitations working on the individual, but more often without any sign of them. These “primordial images” or “archetypes,” as I have called them, belong to the basic stock of the unconscious psyche and cannot be explained as personal acquisitions. Together they make up that psychic stratum which has been called the collective unconscious.


The existence of the collective unconscious means that individual consciousness is anything but atabula rasa and is not immune to predetermining influences. On the contrary, it is in the highest degree influenced by inherited presuppositions, quite apart from the unavoidable influences exerted upon it by the environment. The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all conscious processes back into the old paths.

On October 19, 1936, Jung delivered a lecture “The Concept of the Collective Unconscious” to the Abernethian Society at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He said:

My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.

Carl Jung

Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung believed that this journey of transformation, which he called individuation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Freud’s objectivist worldview, Jung’s pantheism may have led him to believe that spiritual experience was essential to our well-being, as he specifically identifies individual human life with the universe as a whole. Jung’s ideas on religion gave a counterbalance to the Freudian skepticism of religion. Jung’s idea of religion as a practical road to individuation has been quite popular, and is still treated in modern textbooks on the psychology of religion, though his ideas have also been criticized.

It is only through comparative studies in mythology, folk-lore, religion, and language that we can determine these symbols in a scientific way. The evolutionary stages through which the human psyche has passed are more clearly discernible in the dream than in consciousness. The dream speaks in images and gives expression to instincts that are derived from the most primitive levels of nature. Consciousness all too easily departs from the law of nature, but it can be brought again into harmony with the latter by the assimilation of unconscious contents. By fostering this process, [one comes to] the rediscovery of the law of one’s own being

“We have no symbolic life, and we are all badly in need of the symbolic life. Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul – the daily need of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of this mill – this awful, banal, grinding life in which they are “nothing but.” . . . Everything is banal; everything is “nothing but,” and that is the reason why people are neurotic. They are simply sick of the whole thing, sick of that banal life, and therefore they want sensation. They even want a war; they all want a war; they are all glad when there is a war; they say, “Thank heaven, now something is going to happen – something bigger than ourselves!”

These things go pretty deep, and no wonder people get neurotic. Life is too rational; there is no symbolic existence in which I am something else, in which I am fulfilling my role, my role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life.”

The Divine Drama of Life

My Personal Views

I never liked the word Unconscious, which in my opinion represents more a physical state, like when someone pass out by a blow on the head, or by the effects of anesthesia, rather than representing the substrata of impressions of the individual, the term Subconscious fits more my idea of things, something that it’s present in  the background, but not necessarily, an active and present awareness of it on our immediate consciousness, but nevertheless present, and can be recollected under close examination of memory, or in the substance of our dreams. I believe this slight, but fundamental differentiation on the meaning of the word, would make it more palatable, and acceptable, and would take the hocus pocus aspect of it, that rational, and scientific minds oppose.

There is such a thing as knowledge by inference that doesn’t come to the mind in an obvious and categorical way, at least in the beginning, but on reflection, and meditation subtleties come to mind, like the meaning of a dream by analogy, and relations of symbols, and constitute a revelation to our conscious mind. This may appear out of nowhere, or magical, to many, but it’s rather an Intuitive, but perfectly logical way of cognition, once this symbolic associations are known.

Albert Einstein, now a darling of truism in quotes of many subject matters, not my favorite person to quote, not fault of his own, but for the way he has been abused in this respect by the many, plus the fact he had it’s failures as we all do, but are not dwelled on, as much as his triumphs, Einstein’s dreams and it’s conclusions lead to the discovery of his famous theory of Relativity, now there is so many versions of different dreams he had, that I hesitate to describe one as the dream that give him the key, but nevertheless point out to the usefulness of the symbolic in order to clarify, and reveal the hidden. The following quote attributed to him reveals the value he conceded to the Symbolic.



The importance of the study of Symbols as a way to access our subconscious stratus  of our minds, what the ancients use to name as Soul it’s as relevant today as it was in the past, this can’t be done without a personal effort in our part to seek clarification, to our hidden life and motivations, that propel us here, or there, ignoring the why?

Arnold J. Toynbee a historian philosopher argues:

First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force – against all right and reason – a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation – and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.

If you examine the general  state of affairs of the World, where rules, and commands are handled down from a  one percent corporate capitalistic outlook with few regards for the lower workers, the actual majority, and where the State itself is just the tool this minority uses as a machine of control for their own ends, and where a breakdown of values it’s just a constant increase, where the dispossessed, and disfranchised  majority suffers the will of this entrenched minority who do not comprehend their actions will lead to a total breakdown of society as we know it, is not hard to understand that the new creed represents liberation from oppression, and a new  form of social contract would emerge, where the rewards of the new system must satisfy not only the lower material needs of society, but it’s higher Artistic, and Spiritual needs as well, a recovery of Soul it’s specifically need it in order to bring psychic wellbeing to the individual, and therefore to society at large.

Satisfaction to the material needs of society will always be a primordial goal, but ignoring our Spiritual and hidden subjective side, will bring always a backlash of sorts, that would not take a no for an answer, and would demand it’s share, as in Mathew 22:21 “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

It’s is not hard to see, that with our way of living we are rapidly approaching  a breaking point, when now even the World Ecology of which all living beings depend it’s at risk of collapse, meanwhile our Nations States, pay a lip service, but actually do nothing to alleviate the impending crisis.

Gathering Storm

About theburningheart

This entry was posted in Archetypes, Being, Carl. G. Jung, Counsciousness, Dreams, Inductive Knowledge, Inner Journey, Mythology, Subconscious, Symbology, Symbols, Transformation, Uncategorized, Unconscious, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Aquileana says:

    Excellent post… I truly believe that Jung’s idea of unconscious collective is accurate as there are Gods and Goddesses representing same values in different cultures and same thing applies to certain symbols, for instance the mandala or the cross…. and that regardless of their meaning…
    Thanks for sharing… All my best wishes. Aquileana ⭐

  2. broodjejaap says:

    Very inspiring. thank you. After ages of running diwn blind alleys of computer tech, the AI community finaly understood that the human brain processes PATTERNS and extracts symbols out of perception by correlation. Very visual fast and parallel. Some of those sybols we recognize by the way we are wired , some we have learned in childhood play and some are culturaly reenforced by confirming eachother. Semantics are build on these. i have a personal symbol I see everywhere all day. Very strange. i will send you.

    • theburningheart says:

      Thank you for the information you provide with your comment, it’s very interesting, and sure send the symbol, I appreciate your comment! 🙂

  3. DG MARYOGA says:

    Thanks kindly for all your Likes,I feel honoured,you are a great contemporary thinker!If there were more people like you,our societies would be healthier …

    • theburningheart says:

      1 Corinthians 5:6-8 New King James Version

      6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.

      A little of new leaven can go a long way, I thank you for the compliment, no merit from my part, but the new leaven. 🙂

  4. natuurfreak says:

    very interesting post

  5. inspiring blog, I’m following

  6. I have always been a fan of Carl Jung…in my early 20’s I read his book, MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS. I was very impressionable and coming from a large rural family, and being the first to leave to attend college, the word “individuation” became my penchant. Now that I am older and grayer, I wonder if Individualism took me too far…and I misconstrued “individuation.” In any case, I think Individualism has gone to the extreme in this country—I think that is one reason for the GREED in so many…I think it is one reason we are so ready to throw our best friend to the sharks if it will save us…It seems there is little thought of loyalty and honor. I also see that racism is alive and strong—and I am so sorry to see this—then, I think, it was there all along, we just did not admit it. I think Americans tend to be isolationists and we miss so much by not expanding our view to build bridges instead of walls. I think your final quotation from Einstein is so spot on! We are hell bent on destroying the giftedness of so many…and Mother Earth is being tested to her limits! We have forgotten to be good stewards of Mother Earth and we have forgotten to care for each other. I agree with all you have written about SYMBOL—I think we need to reflect and BE…and pay closer attention in the QUIET that we continue to run from! It is in the QUIET that our intuition will be allowed to speak and if we listen well, we will hear how to love each other again…and how to love our Mother Earth! Thank YOU for helping me to think this morning…you have given a great gift! Now I am reminded of a bit more of what to do with my life. THANK YOU! and thank you for your visits to my blog!

  7. theburningheart says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment! 🙂

  8. Jung’s anima and animus became important to me in a recurrent dream that I finally analyzed correctly (according to a friend who was a Jungian psychiatrist) and made a difference in my life. His symbols and collective unconscious are guidelines for all of us. Thank you for this informative post and kudos to Jung.

  9. omega says:

    Very interesting summary and it feels true. My science buddies would love that statement. I followed my heart call and went from a connection to nothing, to feeling a part to play in saving ourselves. Symbol and meaning indeed. I have continued to find explaination of what I am feeling after the fact, which only encourages me further. I have been exploring the depths of my soul and it feel boundless. Carl Jung is a modern day Shaman to me, showing us the way.

  10. Excellent post. Strange enough, I started an abstract artwork, lots of symbols. Some sentiments can be best expressed through symbols.
    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  11. The archetypes – not only a collective conscience but one that transcends time.

  12. Kev says:

    Reblogged this on Kev's Great Indie Authors and commented:
    Anyone who loves symbols, dreams, or psychology in general must love Jung. 🙂

  13. Fascinating post. Jung brought so many interesting concepts to the forefront of psychology and spirituality that persist today. He pushed paradigms regarding the human experience and created a whole other way to interpret experience.

  14. twiggietruth says:

    Really enjoyed this. Many thanks.

  15. omega says:

    I begin to discover the archetypes beneath the symbols in my dreams and visions and expressed in my life. I always try to go back to the source and first principals. I will not take anyone’s word for it. I realize I have always known these core themes in myself and others’. Jung brought so much back to us. Is it true that maybe we only have 1% of the original knowledge? I begin to meditate on the ancient Hermetic mandalas and try to let the symbols connect with my thoughts in balance. I have never known such peace. I wonder where this path will lead. Thank you for your great wisdom and willingness to share.

    • theburningheart says:

      An old Teacher of mine liked to say: Answers exist before the questions, to believe otherwise it’s a mistake, part of the human condition.
      Keep doing whatever brings you to discover those answers, ironically mostly consist in putting aside thoughts or what we call the mind, and just experience Being, and that is true meditation.

      Thank you for your comment. 🙂

      • omega says:

        I write my Zen poetry moving without knowing or thinking. I have been exploring my soul through spontaneous creativity. Something all should incorporate into their practice IMHO and you are naturally drawn to create if you are dancing with yourself I think.

      • theburningheart says:

        Great! 🙂

  16. Special K says:

    Three cheers for Jung (and others of course, but he’s closest to my heart)!

    Thanks for stopping by and liking a post on The Expositrix!

  17. Christy B says:

    Ah yes, symbols. I enjoyed reading your personal thoughts on the words unconscious versus subconscious, and why you lean toward the subconscious usage. Symbols point us toward deeper meanings and I find that more and more people are craving seeing symbols, which is shown by, for example, the trend for tattoos of ancient symbols. Perhaps it is because people want to think deeper about life and, if that is why, I am happy, as so often I see those who live only at surface level. Thank you for a post that has sent my mind into play! 🙂

    • theburningheart says:

      I am grateful to you for reading, and commenting my post, yes meaning can be transformed into something else, by the wrong use of words.
      Symbols are a language that talks to our subjective Self, about a deeper meaning hidden from ordinary consciousness.
      People have a need for meaning expressed by Symbols, and I guess tattoos it’s a permanent reminder of the particular symbol people want to wear in themselves, being these symbols, positive, or negative, according to the symbol itself, and the meaning they convey.
      I am glad you this post was mind stimulating, for you! 🙂

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