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"Learn as much as you can about symbolism; then forget it all when you are analyzing a dream."
C.G. Jung

Ten Top Rules of Thumb Continued

Rule Number 6: (Warning: This is going to be a long, involved rule.) Danger! Danger! The Unknown Stranger!

6a - The Unknown Same Sex Stranger
When you dream about a totally unknown stranger or about someone famous whom you've never met (i.e. someone you don't know) and this someone is the same sexual gender that you are - the unknown person in your dream is most often symbolic of an aspect, attitude or quality that is a part of you.
It's a part of you which you've probably been seriously repressing (or ignoring). And this forgotten part of you is tired of being ignored and it's speaking up in your dreams! In Jungian terms, this neglected part of you is called the "shadow."

The "shadow" contains characteristics which were conscious at one time - and at some time or another during your early childhood development, you chose not to include these characteristics as being a part of who you are.

The "shadow" can be

positive
or negative
in nature.

An example of a positive shadow characteristic may be the quality of "bravery." It's a quality you admire greatly in other people, but for some reason you chose to believe it just wasn't in you to be a brave person. You didn't and don't believe it's within you to be a brave person.

Surprise!
An example of a negative shadow characteristic may also be the quality of "bravery."
It's a quality you detest in other people. You probably don't call it "bravery." It's more likely that you call it something like foolhardiness, recklessness, being too brash and/or headstrong.

Your shadow contains parts of you with whom you need to reconcile - need to make friends with... Much of the shadow can be "redeemed" and then integrated into to your daylight ego consciousness and rationality (i.e. your self-concept of who you are).
 
 

Ask yourself some questions.... Is the unknown person in your dream angry at you? Is the unknown person happy with you? What sort of qualities did the stranger have which may have made you dislike them? Or on the other hand, what qualities did this unknown person have which you rather liked and admired and you wish you had these qualities as well?

6b The Unknown Opposite Sex Stranger
When you dream about a totally unknown stranger or someone famous you've never met (i.e. someone you don't know) and this someone is of the opposite sexual gender that you are - the unknown person in your dream is also most often symbolic of an aspect, attitude or quality that is a part of you.
Like the shadow, it's a part of you which you've probably been seriously repressing (or ignoring). And this forgotten part of you is tired of being ignored and it's speaking up in your dreams! However, this part of you is even more deeply hidden away than the shadow.

In Jungian terms, this neglected contra-sexual part of your psyche is called either (if you're a heterosexual male) the anima or (if you're a heterosexual female) the animus. On the journey within, the anima or animus are traditionally encountered much deeper within the "unconscious" than is the shadow, and thus they will probably never be completely brought out (and integrated) into your daylight ego consciousness and rationality (i.e. your self-concept of who you are).

Getting In Touch
You've probably heard plenty of jokes about how guys need to "get in touch" with their softer, more sensitive, "inner-feminine" (and how women must "get in touch" with their more assertive "inner-masculine")? The mythological concept regarding the bisexual nature of the human psyche is actually quite ancient and is contained in most creation myths. However, in modern times, Jungian psychological theory (and the concept of the anima and animus) is probably the culprit most responsible for those jokes.

By anima Jung meant the unconscious feminine component in a man's personality, and by the term animus he designated the unconscious masculine component in a woman's personality. These two terms come from the Latin word animare, meaning "to enliven." This is because Jung felt that these archetypal figures functioned as enlivening souls or spirits to men and women.

If this anima or animus thing is a difficult concept for you to grasp, then let's look at it in a more practical way.

  • If you're a heterosexual male who's ever been deeply, madly, wildly in love with a woman - then you've met your anima.
  • If you're a heterosexual female who's ever been deeply, madly, wildly in love with a man - then you've met your animus.

Most often in real, everyday, external, waking life - heterosexually orientated men tend to project out their inner-feminine anima onto the real, everyday, external women in their life (and the same goes for women tending to project out their inner-masculine animus). Been there, done that... As a guy, I can still very distinctly remember telling a certain woman who was busily in the process of dumping me - "I feel like I've lost my soul!"

Like the shadow, this contra-sexual stranger in your dreams can be of a positive or a negative nature. So in your dreams of the unknown opposite sex stranger, your anima or animus is crying out, "Hey there! Don't forget me! Live out my qualities in your own life! Don't give me away to someone else. If you live me out in your own life, then your life will be greatly enriched. However... if you continue to ignore me (by giving me away to someone else), then you'll be very, very sorry.

Again, ask yourself these questions... Is the unknown person in your dream angry at you? Is the unknown person happy with you? What sort of qualities did the stranger have which may have made you dislike them? Or on the other hand, what qualities did this unknown person have which you rather liked and admired and you wish you had these qualities as well?

* (Note to any gay visitors who just felt left out when reading Rule 6: While this is "unorthodox" to strict Jungian thought, my suggestion to you is try reversing the 6a Shadow and 6b anima and animus concepts. An example of reversing the concepts be would that a gay male might view opposite sex strangers as the Shadow, and same sex strangers as the anima. That's just my best guess, and I could easily be wrong on this. If it doesn't work for you, then forget I mentioned it and use whatever seems to work best for you.)

>> Continue on to Rule 7-10 >>

Rules 1-5 | 6 | 7-10

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