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 past on for generations. It was the attitudes of how to cope with social activity or work – the external world.
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.
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.
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: ‘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.
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.