I have no theory about dreams, I do not know how dreams arise. And I am not at all sure that - my way of handling dreams even deserves the name of a "method." I share all your prejudices against dream-interpretation as the quintessence of uncertainty and arbitrariness. On the other hand, I know that if we meditate on a dream sufficiently long and thoroughly, if we carry it around with us and turn it over and over, something almost always comes of it. This something is not of course a scientific result to be boasted about or rationalized; but it is an important practical hint which shows the patient what the unconscious is aiming at. Indeed, it ought not to matter to me whether the result of my musings on the dream is scientifically verifiable or tenable, otherwise I am pursuing an ulterior-and therefore autoerotic-aim. I must content myself wholly with the fact that the result means something to the patient and sets his life in motion again. I may allow myself only one criterion for the result of my labours: does it work? As for my scientific hobby - my desire to know why it works - this I must reserve for my spare time.
"The Aims of Psychotherapy" (1931). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.86
The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends. For all ego-consciousness is isolated; because it separates and discriminates, it knows only particulars, and it sees only those that can be related to the ego. Its essence is limitation, even though it reach to the farthest nebulae among the stars. All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood. It is from these all-uniting depths that the dream arises, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral.
"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.304
No amount of scepticism and criticism has yet enabled me to regard dreams as negligible occurrences. Often enough they appear senseless, but it is obviously we who lack the sense and ingenuity to read the enigmatic message from the nocturnal realm of the psyche. Seeing that at least half our psychic existence is passed in that realm, and that consciousness acts upon our nightly life just as much as the unconscious overshadows our daily life, it would seem all the more incumbent on medical psychology to sharpen its senses by a systematic study of dreams. Nobody doubts the importance of conscious experience; why then should we doubt the significance of unconscious happenings? They also are part of our life, and sometimes more truly a part of it for weal or woe than any happenings of the day.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.325
The dream has for the primitive an incomparably higher value than it has for civilized man. Not only does he talk a great deal about his dreams, he also attributes an extraordinary importance to them, so that it often seems as though he were unable to distinguish between them and reality. To the civilized man dreams as a rule appear valueless, though there are some people who attach great significance to certain dreams on account of their weird and impressive character. This peculiarity lends plausibility to the view that dreams are inspirations.
"The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits" (1920). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.574
Dream psychology opens the way to a general comparative psychology from which we may hope to gain the same understanding of the development and structure of the human psyche as comparative anatomy has given us concerning the human body.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 476
A dream, like every element in the psychic structure, is a product of the total psyche. Hence we may expect to find in dreams everything that has ever been of significance in the life of humanity. just as human life is not limited to this or that fundamental instinct, but builds itself up from a multiplicity of instincts, needs, desires, and physical and psychic conditions, etc., so the dream cannot be explained by this or that element in it,'however beguilingly simple such an explanation may appear to be. We can be certain that it is incorrect, because no simple theory of instinct will ever be capable of grasping the human psyche, that mighty and mysterious thing, nor, consequently, its exponent, the dream. In order to do anything like justice to dreams, we need an interpretive equipment that must be laboriously fitted together from all branches of the humane sciences.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 527
The dream is often occupied with apparently very silly details, thus producing an impression of absurdity, or else it is on the surface so unintelligible as to leave us thoroughly bewildered. Hence we always have to overcome a certain resistance before we can seriously set about disentangling the intricate web through patient work. But when at last we penetrate to its real meaning, we find ourselves deep in the dreamer's secrets and discover with astonishment that an apparently quite senseless dream is in the highest degree significant, and that in reality it speaks only of important and serious matters. This discovery compels rather more respect for the so-called superstition that dreams have a meaning, to which the rationalistic temper of our age has hitherto given short shrift.
"On the Psychology of the Unconscious" (1953). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.24
Dreams that form logically, morally, or aesthetically satisfying wholes are exceptional. Usually a dream is a strange and disconcerting product distinguished by many "bad" qualities, such as lack of logic, questionable morality, uncouth form, and apparent absurdity or nonsense. People are therefore only too glad to dismiss it as stupid, meaningless, and worthless.
"On the Nature of Dreams" (1945). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 532
Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse.
"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.317
As in our waking state, real people and things enter our field of vision, so the dream-images enter like another kind of reality into the field of consciousness of the dream-ego. We do not feel as if we were producing the dreams, it is rather as if the dreams came to us. They are not subject to our control but obey their own laws. They are obviously autonomous psychic complexes which form themselves out of their own material. We do not know the source of their motives, and we therefore say that dreams come from the unconscious. In saying this, we assume that there are independent psychic complexes which elude our conscious control and come and go according to their own laws.
"The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits" (1920). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.580
In sleep, fantasy takes the form of dreams. But in waking life, too, we continue to dream beneath the threshold of consciousness, especially when under the influence of repressed or other unconscious complexes.
"Problems of Modern Psychotherapy" (1929). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.125
The dream is specifically the utterance of the unconscious. just as the psyche has a diurnal side which we call consciousness, so also it has a nocturnal side: the unconscious psychic activity which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.317
The dream shows the inner truth and reality of the patient as it really is: not as I conjecture it to be, and not as he would like it to be, but as it is.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.304
The view that dreams are merely the imaginary fulfillments of repressed wishes is hopelessly out of date. There are, it is true, dreams which manifestly represent wishes or fears, but what about all the other things? Dreams may contain ineluctable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, anticipations, irrational experiences, even telepathic visions, and heaven knows what besides.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.317
As against Freud's view that the dream is essentially a wish-fulfillment, I hold that the dream is a spontaneous self-portrayal, in symbolic form, of the actual situation in the unconscious.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 505
The primitives I observed in East Africa took it for granted that "big" dreams are dreamed only by "big" men - medicine-men, magicians, chiefs, etc. This may be true on a primitive level. But with us these dreams are dreamed also by simple people, more particularly when they have got themselves, mentally or spiritually, in a fix.
"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.324
Never apply any theory, but always ask the patient how he feels about his dream images. For dreams are always about a particular problem of the individual about which he has a wrong conscious judgment. The dreams are the reaction to our conscious attitude in the same way that the body reacts when we overeat or do not eat enough or when we ill-treat it in some other way. Dreams are the natural reaction of the self-regulating psychic system.
Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice: The Tavistock Lectures. (1935). In CW 18: (retitled) The Tavistock Lectures. P. 123
Though dreams contribute to the self-regulation of the psyche by automatically bringing up everything that is repressed or neglected or unknown, their compensatory significance is often not immediately apparent because we still have only a very incomplete knowledge of the nature and the needs of the human psyche. There are psychological compensations that seem to be very remote from the problem on hand. In these cases one must always remember that every man, in a sense, represents the whole of humanity and its history. What was possible in the history of mankind at large is also possible on a small scale in every individual. What mankind has needed may eventually be needed by the individual too. It is therefore not surprising that religious compensations play a great role in dreams. That this is increasingly so in our time is a natural consequence of the prevailing materialism of our outlook.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 483
I would not deny the possibility of parallel dreams, i.e., dreams whose meaning coincides with or supports the conscious attitude, but in my experience, at least, these are rather rare.
Psychology and Alchemy (1944). CW 12: P. 48
To interpret the dream-process as compensatory is in my view entirely consistent with the nature of the biological process in general. Freud's view tends in the same direction, since he too ascribes a compensatory role to dreams in so far as they preserve sleep. . . . As against this, we should not overlook the fact that the very dreams which disturb sleep most-and these are not uncommon-have a dramatic structure which aims logically at creating a highly affective situation, and builds it up so efficiently that it unquestionably wakes the dreamer. Freud explains these dreams by saying that the censor was no longer able to suppress the painful affect. It seems to me that this explanation fails to do justice to the facts. Dreams which concern themselves in a very disagreeable manner with the painful experiences and activities of daily life and expose just the most disturbing thoughts with the most painful distinctness are known to everyone. It would, in my opinion, be unjustified to speak here of the dream's sleep-preserving, affect-disguising function. One would have to stand reality on its head to see in these dreams a confirmation of Freud's view.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 485
Much may be said for Freud's view as a scientific explanation of dream psychology. But I must dispute its completeness, for the psyche cannot be conceived merely in causal terms but requires also a final view. Only a combination of points of view-which has not yet been achieved in a scientifically satisfactory manner, owing to the enormous difficulties, both practical and theoretical, that still remain to be overcome-can give us a more complete conception of the nature of dreams.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 473
Dreams are often anticipatory and would lose their specific meaning on a purely causalistic view. They afford unmistakable information about the analytical situation, the correct understanding of which is of the greatest therapeutic importance.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.312
It is only in exceptional cases that somatic stimuli are the determining factor. Usually they coalesce completely with the symbolical expression of the unconscious dream content; in other words, they are used as a means of expression. Not infrequently the dreams show that there is a remarkable inner symbolical connection between an undoubted physical illness and a definite psychic problem, so that the physical disorder appears as a direct mimetic expression of the psychic situation.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 502
Considering a dream from the standpoint of finality, which I contrast with the causal standpoint of Freud, does not - as I would expressly like to emphasize-involve a denial of the dream's causes, but rather a different interpretation of the associative material gathered round the dream. The material facts remain the same, but the criterion by which they are judged is different. The question may be formulated simply as follows: What is the purpose of this dream? What effect is it meant to have? These questions are not arbitrary inasmuch as they can be applied to every psychic activity. Everywhere the question of the why" and the "wherefore" may be raised, because every organic structure consists of a complicated network of purposive functions, and each of these functions can be resolved into a series of individual facts with a purposive orientation.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 465
The prospective function, on the other hand, is an anticipation in the unconscious of future conscious achievements, something like a preliminary exercise or sketch, or a planroughed out in advance. . . . The occurrence of prospective dreams cannot be denied. It would be wrong to call them prophetic, because at bottom they are no more prophetic than a medical diagnosis or a weather forecast. They are merely an anticipatory combination of probabilities which may coincide with the actual behaviour of things but need not necessarily agree in every detail. Only in the latter case can we speak of "prophecy." That the prospective function of dreams is sometimes greatly superior to the combinations we can consciously foresee is not surprising, since a dream results from the fusion of subliminal elements and is thus a combination of all the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings which consciousness has not registered because of their feeble accentuation. In addition, dreams can rely on subliminal memory traces that are no longer able to influence consciousness effectively. With regard to prognosis, therefore, dreams are often in a much more favourable position than consciousness.
"General Aspects of Dream Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 493
Another dream-determinant that deserves mention is telepathy. The authenticity of this phenomenon can no longer be disputed today. It is, of course, very simple to deny its existence without examining the evidence, but that is an unscientific procedure which is unworthy of notice. I have found by experience that telepathy does in fact influence dreams, as has been asserted since ancient times. Certain people are particularly sensitive in this respect and often have telepathically influenced dreams. But in acknowledging the phenomenon of telepathy I am not giving unqualified assent to the popular theory of action at a distance. The phenomenon undoubtedly exists, but the theory of it does not seem to me so simple.
"The Practical Use of Dream Analysis" (1934). In CW 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy. P.503
Anyone who wishes to interpret a dream must himself be on approximately the same level as the dream, for nowhere can he see anything more than what he is himself.
"Marriage as a Psychological Relationship" (1925) In CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P. 324
Dreams are as simple or as complicated as the dreamer is himself, only they are always a little bit ahead of the dreamer's consciousness. I do not understand my own dreams any better than any of you, for they are always somewhat beyond my grasp and I have the same trouble with them as anyone who knows nothing about dream interpretation. Knowledge is no advantage when it is a matter of one's own dreams.
Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice: The Tavistock Lectures. (1935). In CW 18: (retitled) The Tavistock Lectures. P. 122
On paper the interpretation of a dream may look arbitrary, muddled, and spurious; but the same thing in reality can be a little drama of unsurpassed realism. To experience a dream and its interpretation is very different from having a tepid rehash set before you on paper. Everything about this psychology is, in the deepest sense, experience; the entire theory, even where it puts on the most abstract airs, is the direct outcome of something experienced.
"On the Psychology of the Unconscious" (1953). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.199
The art of interpreting dreams cannot be learnt from books. Methods and rules are good only when we can get along without them. Only the man who can do it anyway has real skill, only the man of understanding really understands.
"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.327
It is obvious that in handling "big" dreams intuitive guesswork will lead nowhere. Wide knowledge is required, such as a specialist ought to possess.' But no dream can be interpreted with knowledge alone. This knowledge, futhermore, should not be dead material that has been memorized; it must possess a living quality, and be infused with the experience of the person who uses it. Of what use is philosophical knowledge in the head, if one is not also a philosopher at heart?
"The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man" (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.324