Very often, especially in women’s dreams, the gorilla represents the woman’s father. At least, the aspect of him she may not be able to come to terms with. In particular sexual urges that she has not really accepted and integrated.
But the gorilla can also be used for powerful instinctual forces that we either struggle with or learn from. As such it confronts us with the feelings and drives that lie underneath our conscious personality and may sometimes erupt or confront us in a variety of ways. This is because the mammal is part of our heritage. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/brain-levels-and-dreams/#mammalbrain – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/animals/
Example: My 16-year-old daughter is under some tension as 0-levels loom. She has dreamt that she is in our living room looking through patio windows. In the next door neighbour’s garden she can see a huge gorilla rampaging up and down. She is terrified it might get over the fence, particularly when she realises that it is trying to reach a baby gorilla which is in our garden. Eventually the parent finds a way out into the street but the baby tries to get into the house and cannot because of the patio window.
This dream shows that your daughter is heading towards mature sexuality and parenthood, not suffering pre-exam tension. In the language of dreams, anything moving towards you, such as the baby gorilla, shows a part of yourself rising into consciousness. At adolescence the procreative urge, connected with both sexuality and parenthood, moves from obscurity into the main living area of your life. That’s why your daughter is in the living room witnessing animals in a parent/child relationship. The restraining patio glass indicates that she’s holding off these natural urges. Learning to deal with ourselves at such a time of change is similar to learning how to drive a car. When we start we may feel anxious that the power we are handling in the car may run us into a wall. As a maturing personality strapped into the driving seat of our body, we meet waves of sexual impulse, storms of emotional reaction, and avalanches of ideas and sense impressions. The social pressures to compete in school exams and make decisions about career and future are a considerable load to hear. Some young adults suppress their inner urge to mature in social and sexual relationships, because they feel they cannot deal with them as well as the demands of schools. Perhaps that’s what your daughter is doing unconsciously. There is a suggestion that your daughter has no opportunity at home to discuss the biological and emotional changes she’s experiencing. Figuratively speaking, why not help your daughter to let the gorillas into your house?
Example: I had a very unusual dream the other day. I was outside somewhere with my dad when I spotted a guy. I thought he was very nice but my dad said or did something which upset him. He was misunderstood. Suddenly I was trapped in a room somewhere with this boy who had morphed into a gorilla. We were both very upset and he was distraught because we couldn’t be together for some reason related to my dad’s behaviour. We were affectionate towards one another it was a very happy feeling but also sad and frustrating at the same time. Suddenly this guy/gorilla embraced me and I could see that the top of his head had suddenly morphed back into that of a guy. I could see his brown hair and I stroked it for a few minutes. In this dream I was in love with him. There were strong sexual feelings involved but it didn’t go any further than that.
I have a strong feeling that the dream is about the unconscious influence your father’s opinions have on your way of relating to and being with guys. Usually we do not realise how our own views express what our parents feel until we meet exactly what you are meeting now. It isn’t that your father really means to influence you – or even if he does, you need to honour your own growth. That means you will gradually find the strength to have your own life – at least I hope you will. The beauty and the beast is the fairy story you are enacting in your dream. The young girl has to transform her love for her father to what seems – or is judged to be – raw sexual impulses – the beast. We have a crazy educational system that does not really honour the fact that young people are going through a tremendous change, and it needs to be recognized, and it happens during a time when we are pushed to study for school.
Useful Questions and Hints:
What is my relationship with the gorilla in the dream, and what does this suggest about the way I am relating to my own primal urges and responses?
If I am afraid of the gorilla, what exactly am I trying to get away from in life?
Is the gorilla communicating anything to me – if so what?
If I imagine myself as the gorilla, what do I feel and know?