What’s going on in your dream houses? I find that (to spin a famous Bible text) in my dream house, there are many mansions – extra stories and hidden rooms and basements, and wings of possibility.
The state of a dream house may reflect the state of the body. If the dream house is in need of repairs, or there’s a problem with the plumbing or the furnace, I’ll think about whether there are health advisories here.
The dream house may also be the house of the psyche. Different rooms may represent different functions, of body or soul. The kitchen may represent the digestive system, or the state of our family, or of our creativity (since the kitchen is the place where we cook things up and often the hub of family life).
When I’m living in an apartment in my dreams (which I have not done in waking life for 30 years) I ask myself “what am I a part of, or apart from?”
I love the sense of expanding life possibility that comes when I am in a dream house that has levels or rooms beyond any physical house I know.
I’m intrigued by how life memories help design my dream houses, which are sometimes composites of several past places where I have lived.
When I find myself moving to a new place in my dreams, I’ll ask myself whether this could be preview of a literal house move (maybe one I haven’t yet considered in ordinary life). I’ll also ask: what changes in my life situation are in store for me in a larger sense?
In dreams, we often find ourselves back in the old place, a childhood home or a home we shared with a former partner. Being back in the old place could be a journey back across time, or into a parallel reality in which a parallel self never left the old situation – and/or an invitation to reclaim vital soul energy and identity we left behind when we made a major life change.
There are dream houses that are not of this world, places of learning and adventure and initiation in the Imaginal Realm. These may be places of encounter with a second self, an aspect of our multidimensional Self. Over many years, I have found myself traveling in dreams to an old house on a canal in Europe, the home of an eccentric scholar who is something of a magus, with an extraordinary library and collection of working tools of magic. It took me a couple of visits before I recognized that this dream house belongs to me,
Jung’s dream of a “many-storied house” led him for the first time to the concept of the “collective unconscious” (and also to his rift with Freud, who refused to accept the depth of this dream). Jung found in his multi-level dream house a “structural diagram of the human psyche.” In the dream, he became aware that there was a story below the respectable middle-class environment in which he was living. When he went downstairs, he found successive stories below his previous consciousness: a darkened floor with medieval furnishings, and below that a beautifully vaulted Roman cellar, and down below that – when he lifted a stone slab by a ring – a primal cave with scattered bones and pottery and the two skulls.
An artist and active dreamer named Valerie reports an interesting twist on this theme. She had often dreamed of a childhood home. When she returned to this place through conscious dream reentry, supported by a group of active dreamers who accompanied her into the dreamscape as trackers (aided by shamanic drumming) she was able to contact and reclaim the energy and gifts of a younger self, a moving exercise in soul recovery healing. Since then, she tells me, she’s been dreaming of a house that is situated somewhere near the old place but is unknown to her in ordinary reality. In successive dreams, she is looking out the front window at the road. There’s an anomaly. Sometimes the dream house is situated on top of a hill, so she is looking down on the road. Sometimes the dream house it located down the slope of the hill, so she is looking up. “I feel I’m looking at my life road, and the dream is reminding me that I can change my perspective.”
Valerie is continuing to explore this intriguing dream house, with her artist’s hand as well as her mind. The colored drawings are from a series in her journal.