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Reply To: Emotionally charged dream imagery


James – I do apologize. I’d like to keep the thread on Helpful Books on Dreams as a resource of works on dreams recommended by forum participants – so, as admin, I moved a few posts where you and Shaheda were discussing dreams in general, and not sharing helpful titles, to her thread on When Is a Dream a Future Dream. I was successful with with some of that, but this post of yours ended up a separate topic, and this is where it will stay.

You are on to something about Jung’s stress on the emotional charge of a dream image. In Man and His Symbols, a work unfinished at the time of his death. Jung describes how

… archetypes appear in practical experience: They are, at the same time, both images and emotions. One can speak of an archetype only when these two aspects are simultaneous. When there is merely the image, then there is simply a word-picture of little consequence. But by being charged with emotion, the image gains numinosity (or psychic energy); it becomes dynamic, and consequences of some sort must flow from it.” (p. 87)

Though it is possible to train oneself to remember dreams, for most people most of the time, generally only dreams with emotionally charged imagery make it across the divide into consciousness when we wake – which are primarily nightmares, and some dreams with erotic overtones.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Shaahayda’s dream of Campbell’s irritation with her questions (in the thread linked above) a full-blown nightmare, but she did find Joe’s reaction to her disturbing. That emotional charge gives the image enough energy to etch itself into her memory.