General positive: Your father is often the authority figure in your early life, and may represent this influence or power in you as an adult. Your dream father is a link with the patterns of survival behaviour passed on for generations. It was the attitudes of how to cope with social activity or work – the external world. But he is part of your creation.
He therefore also depicts the ability to be productive in the external workaday world. Depending upon what level of relationship you have developed with him, your dream father is the power of creative life in you, the power to do, to create, to transform; the power in you to grow and unfold your potential. It has to be remembered that the dream father is not an image of your external father, but of what you carry of him inside you; what you have managed to develop of a working relationship with the power he represents. So you may, because of difficulties with your external father, be in conflict with your internal father, and so be lacking your full power to transform and create. See Integrating Parent of Ex; Power Dreaming; Family.
The dream father may depict family or social conventions along with physical strength and protectiveness; the will to be and to do, and so your outgoing energies. As such he represent your confidence as you go out the door of your home into the arena of public life. A poor relationship with your external or internal father leaves you somewhat crippled in that area. But by working with your dreams on your relationship with your internal father this can be changed. See: Using Symbols to Change Life Problems; working with dreams.
General negative: Introverted aggression; dominance by fear of other people’s authority; uncaring sexual drive; feelings of not being loved, inability to be creative in the world, in your outer activity; inability to relate well to men. See: archetype of the father; man.
If there are feelings of abandonment then it can feel very emotional. Please see abandoned
Either represents the feelings you have about your father, or the characteristics in your nature that have arisen from this relationship; or can represent an authority figure. Can also stand for a teacher, or person by whom you are much influenced. Or else your own positive, protective qualities. How you relate to the ‘doer’ in you; physical strength and protectiveness; the will to be.
Example: Began to go into the back pain again. Words came about carrying feelings about on my back all these years. Get of my back. It’s my father. I wanted my father to be perfect like God. I wanted a strong, perfect father, not a human being.
Then I saw how I was trying to be the perfect father with my own children, instead of the human me. “It’s too much of a bloody burden being a perfect father.” I could see how this idea of drive to be the perfect father has directed a lot of my relationship with my children. In the early days I hated them at times because they showed me so often how human I was. Recently I still planned things out of that desire instead of letting what I want. Although lately there has been a swing to the human me. Yesterday I took them for a walk instead of a sauna. I do want to take them to a sauna some time, but yesterday I did not have enough cash, and to go would have been out of the perfect drive. Instead we went for a walk.
Hurting, burying or killing parent: In the example below Audrey’s height shows her as a child. She is releasing anger about the attitudes and situations her father forced ‘down her throat’.
To be free of the introverted restraints and ready made values gathered from our parents, at some time in our growth we may kill or bury them in our dreams. Although some people are shocked by such dreams, they are healthy signs of emerging independence. Old myths of killing the chief so the tribe can have a new leader, depict this process. When father or mother is ‘dead’ in our dream, we can inherit all the power gained from whatever was positive in the relationship.
Seeing parent drunk, incapable or foolish: Another means of gaining independence from internalised values, or stultifying drives to ‘honour’ or admire father or mother.
Dead parent in dream: Either the beginning of independence from parent; repression of the emotions they engendered in us; our emotions regarding our parent’s death; feelings about death. See: dead people.
Example: Dreamt that while talking with my wife I remembered that my son and I had murdered someone years before, and buried the body under a great slab of cement. After the murder the guilt – or rather the fear of being found out – was awful, but as each period of time passed, we gradually managed to lose memory of what we had done. But now I had remembered and felt the anguish of the guilt and fear of discovery. C.R.
When exploring his dream, he says: “I was led to a direct feeling link with my mother as the dead body. I saw, or felt, that when I cut off from her at 5 and attempted independence of my need for her, because of the pain she brought about in me, I had killed her as an inward figure in my life, and buried my feelings of need for her. The cement represented the energy I had used, the decisiveness, to bury her, to get her out on my life. I went on to recognise that killing and burying my mother, or my relationship with my mother, in that way was not in my own best interests. It was really an expression of my own lack of love and awareness of my best survival direction. So imagined I took the bone’s and carefully and reverently buried them, along with my father.”
Example: ‘My father was giving me and another woman some medicine. Something was being forced on us. I started to hit and punch him in the genitals and when he was facing the other way, in the backside. I seemed to be just the right height to do this and I had a very angry feeling that I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me.’ Audrey V.
Sometimes a dream about our family is a literal statement in symbols, of what we sense is happening in the family.
Example: I was on a train with my family – wife, and two daughters. The train was derailed but nobody was hurt and we got off the train. I was walking in a field near the train. I thought my wife and daughters had got back on the train. Then suddenly another train smashed into the rear of the derailed train making it concertina into a heap. I wasn’t sure if my family were still on the train.’
Roger associated the theme of derailing with a change in direction – the change that was coming about through his children becoming independent. Some months later his wife and daughters left him. Divorce followed.
Example: The movements gradually led to feelings. These expressed a living connection existing between my ancestors and myself. This surprised me because I had years ago gone through the realisations of what I carried from my father and his fathers – the subjugation by church and state. But this was different. It was not that I was still carrying the attitudes and fears, rather that because I dared to step out of dependence and subjugation by authorities, deeper levels of influence of a transpersonal nature were being called out of my body. I experienced the sense of our family having lived for generations under fear – fear of death – fear of what people would do to us if we didn’t conform. My breaking away from such conformity was the activity that was squeezing it out of my body. It felt like changes had occurred in my body to adapt to that way of life.
Inner Father: Many people do not realise that they have an inner father equally as powerful as an external father. You have taken in millions of bits of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with your father, and they are what makes you the person you are. This is true even if your father was never there for you – you still have all the memories of him not being there for you filed under ‘Father’. The memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. Such an inner father can appear in dreams because you are still deeply influenced by what you hold within you.
Useful questions and hints:
How is my father portrayed in the dream – dominating – caring – distant?
What does this say about the ‘father’ influences I carry inside me?
Does my dream show what impact on my present life my father has?
You can go back into the dream and become your father, and have a conversation with him.