Friday, 6 December 2013

Interpretation of TB's Dream - Recurrent Dog Attack

These are two very similar dreams I have interpreted for TB, my best friend's elder brother who is a trainee solicitor living in my local area.

The dreamer is in an outside location, but the details were vague. It was daytime and bright outside. A dog (a black Labrador type breed suddenly attacks him by jumping on his back. He manages to force the dog off him.
The following night, he dreams he is in a pub in a nice metropolitan area, which he assumes is a high-class part of London. He is in a pub which is decorated in a classy way, with a green border and pink flowers in hanging baskets outside. It is daytime again. He is enjoying drinks and socialising in the pub when he is again attacked from behind by a dog - this time a white bull breed, which he describes as a vicious-looking Staffordshire Bull Terrier type breed. He manages to force the dog off his back once again, but this time fights it, forcing it to the ground and punching it many times.

To dream of daylight or daytime symbolises clarity and that the dreamer is seeing something clearly. It may also mean the dreamer has a clear conscience. 

To dream of being in a city represents community and social environment - if the city is large and very urban it may symbolise a need to make closer ties and relationships with others, suggesting a sense of alienation. As TB indicated a sense of happiness and enjoyment of his location, the negative aspects of a city symbol can possibly be rejected. 

Public House/Bar
Dreaming of being inside a pub or bar refers to a wish for deliverance from daily anxiety and a need to move towards more enjoyable, pleasurable activities. It may also mean the dreamer is seeking approval/acceptance for something. Some interpretations suggest it may be a pun on being 'barred' from something or being held back/excluded by circumstances outside of their control. 

Flowers typically symbolise beauty, success, compassion, pleasure and gain - especially if they are colourful as in TB's dream. They may also represent the dreamer's latent talents or potential, particularly if they are in bloom. The dreamer's efforts are likely to be rewarded. Pink refers to happiness, joy, affection and kindness. However, if the dreamer dislikes the colour pink, it is said to symbolise dependence and issues with parents.

The symbol of the dog represents a talent or gift the dreamer has neglected in some way. Dogs typically refer to notions of loyalty, protection, faithfulness, intuition  and security. Strong values and good intentions will bring success to the dreamer. A dog symbol in a dream is also said to refer to natural instincts - the dreamer may be well socialised and able to tame these drives, but it is easy to revert back to a state of spontaneity and wildness very easily. Thus, the dog may symbolise aggression or sexuality and generally, energy. In some interpretations, the dog is symbolic of the line drawn between the conscious and the unconscious, the real /perceived and the hidden.

Jungian dream interpretation suggests that dreaming of a dog shines the spotlight on the dreamer himself - the subconscious state or psyche of the dreamer. Meanwhile, Freudian theory tends to point to vicious animals as representing the masculine - in particular the father figure. They also symbolise the rampant libido (or id) which is feared by the ego, and combated through repression. Thus, a dream of a dog attacking would be a resurfacing of these elements of the dreamer's subconscious. 

If the dog is fierce or angry, the dreamer may be suffering from internal turmoil or stress. The dog may also relate to an individual in the dreamer's waking life - typically a masculine character - and if angry, this is likely to be the person putting the dreamer under pressure or manipulating the dreamer in some way. Note what traits the dog is exhibiting - this is a clue to whom the symbol represents. The dreamer may be taken advantage of by this person if the dog is unfriendly or vicious and also, may relate to the dreamer's own habit of controlling others around them and making demands on people. An attack from a dog is likely to be a sign that the dreamer must elevate their current efforts in order to succeed at a certain goal and is also a symbol of some form of internal conflict within the dreamer. It can represent feelings of betrayal or untrustworthiness. The dreamer may feel they are being unfairly persecuted and an attack from behind would typify the fact that the dreamer's attacker is being underhand or snide in some way - take for example, the pun 'back-biting'. Being bitten by a dog would symbolise the dreamer's frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed. If the dog represents a person in the dreamer's life then this indicates feelings that the dreamer has been wronged in some way; alternatively, the dreamer may lack balance in their life. To dream about killing a mad dog is a sign that you will succeed at your chosen goal and achieve fortune and status. The dreamer will also overcome the negative opinions others hold of him. 

A black dog symbolises the shadow aspect of a friend. The dark side of someone is being revealed to the dreamer, who is able to see their true intentions. Additionally, a black dog is also thought to be symbolic of depression. A white dog is representative of good, clear intentions. A bull-breed dog symbolises protective forces which are helping the dreamer progress in their waking life. 

TB is in the process of leaving one job and starting a new one - in London, where he will have to find a new place of residence in a short space of time. He is also preparing for his final law school exams. This dream seems to point to the fact that his goals seem to be within reach - the location being a pleasant area of London which made him feel content at the start of both dreams indicate a sense of aspiration of achievement. However, he also has been under stress and pressure, academically and in his current workplace, where he feels his boss has been burdening him and causing him some grief. The cumulation of these strains on him may have been combined in his subconscious mind, forming the dream symbol of a ferocious dog, which is trying to bring him to the ground and overcome him. I perceive the dog in the dream to be representative of either his current mental state; or his boss - who is on his back, burdening and 'attacking him'. The second dream tends to be more positive than the first, as TB was able to describe the dream location/scenario more clearly than in the first dream, which was hazier and difficult to recollect. He is able to assert his own strength and triumph over the attacking dog. I suggest the second dream, which appeared to be more threatening to TB than the first (also because he told me he was surprised and shocked by the recurrent dream theme appearing on two consecutive nights), is a more positive dream, as TB is able to recognise the stresses he is under and has maintained some degree of perspective and insight on how to resolve them. This is symbolised by the fact he is able to remove the dog forcibly from his back and bring it to the front of him, where he is able to see it clearly on the ground at his feet. He did not recall any specific injuries caused by the dog during the attack, but was able to maim it by his punches. By fighting the dog in the second dream, he is not letting these burdens bring him down, but will 'attack' the negative or troublesome aspects of his current waking-life with energy and vigour. 

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