The neck may indicate the way you connect your thinking (your head) with your feelings and sexuality (your body). Your neck is also the weak or vulnerable part of you, unlike the chest or head that is protected by bone, so any attack to the neck shows being influenced through your vulnerable feelings.
A woman who experienced a lot of neck pain and explored the underlying causes of this wrote:
Over the past few weeks and last weekend I got an opportunity to spend an extended period of time alone and relaxed during which I was able to tie the threads together, and understand what the throat and neck symptoms are about. I had been thinking along the lines of suppressing my inner creativity due to fear of censorship and that is one element, but I think the more fundamental is that the throat is constricting my experience of the environment, because I am scared stiff of what it will do to me. If I experience the outside world “raw”, it will evoke such strong emotions in me that I will be blown apart, annihilated, so I cut down what I experience of it and I try to manipulate it so that I cut out anything that will evoke painful emotions. S.
As the throat is the narrow channel through which we express or repress our emotions and reactions, it can become a site of great tension or pain. What S. is realising is that she is causing her neck pain through her ‘constriction’ in her throat. When S. tried to drop her controlling attitude she described what she met as follows:
I guess it’s a process that needs to occur bit by bit: you can’t turn over ingrained belief patterns all at once. The other day my neck tension became very painful and wearing and I felt very demoralised because I thought all my progress was an illusion. The next day I woke in a state of terror and anxiety but the tension had gone. “Good,” I thought, “I would rather have the terror”. And I have been trying to keep the terror and investigate it. It is the terror that I will not know how to deal with what life brings, or how to cope, and the resulting emotions will be overwhelming and ultimately blow me apart. So there are issues of self-trust, but I think that is because I am assuming that I’ll be using my father’s rules. I have to convince myself that if I use my rules, life will be a beach!
Problems with the neck often refer to the way the neck can act as a bottleneck, or of traffic jam for deeply felt emotions. In such a case you need to examine what feelings are persisting, what emotions or words you haven’t allowed yourself to say. As the neck connects the head-thinking, with the body-feelings and sexuality, the neck may refer to a split or non connection between these two main areas of your being.
To be strangled in a dream may be due to difficulty in breathing, feelings of being unable to express easily or say what you really feel. Some relationship situations leave people feeling that life is being choked out of them. To have your head cut off, is to have thinking divorced from feeling.
You can stick your neck out, which means to take a risk; have a lot of neck, or nerve or audacity. These meanings have arisen possibly from the head being severed in execution, or hanging, or strangulation. The neck is a weak point, and to offer it suggests confidence, fearlessness. So the neck may depict a certain attitude, such as confidence or caution. The neck is also the point up to which we can be easily immersed in water. Beyond that point there is danger. So it can depict what we can take in life, and what is more than enough.
Because the throat holds our organ of speech, the neck sometimes depicts our will, our ability to ask for what we want, and also our confidence, as when we use the idiom, ‘stick my neck out.
Back of neck: This suggest emotional energy that is largely unconscious and may be blocked. Our biological energy not only flows into movement, sex, digestion, etc, but also into being aware, feeling, expressing who we are and our potential. As described by S. above, this can be held back for various reasons. If it is not is flows up the spine into the head. It may then express through the mouth, or be experienced as an uprush of understanding or insights.
Head hanging off: Dolls sometimes lose their heads because they have been so abused by their owner, so this may link with feeling that life has so harshly treated you that you feel like a helpless doll being dismembered. See: Dismembered body.
This can also suggest ‘losing ones head’. See: head.
Held by back of neck: Some dreams show someone being held or carried by the back of the neck. This is probably a link with how we see cubs being carried, suggesting helplessness and dependence, along with being cared for.
Hung from neck: Quite a few dreams show someone, or yourself, hung by the neck. There are many possible things this might indicate. For one thing it definitely links with death or the possibility of death. Such a death might be the result of self sacrifice, as show in the Tarot card of the hanged man, or it might be as the result of social action – a cause and effect of things done; a punishment because of feelings of guilt.
However, many hangings are due to suicide, and so might in a dream reflect depression, loss of any pleasure in life, a retreat from pain, or feelings of hopelessness or guilt.
In some dream however, there is a different sense of the hanging. It suggests not a death but an almost complete suppression of the life in one. A strangulation of the flow of pleasure and creativity that would otherwise stream through one. In such a case the rope needs to be removed and a new way of relating to oneself developed. (For help doing this see carry the dream forward.
Gripping neck or strangled: This has connections with strangled the creative flow in oneself or another. It is a way of repressing or controlling ones natural responses and feelings. But it may be shown as being gripped or strangled by somebody else, and might therefore show how another person’s influence in your life has a strangle hold over how you express yourself, what you say, and what you do.
Idioms: Breaking one’s neck; breathing down ones neck; dead from the neck up/ down; neck and neck; neck of the woods; pain in the neck; put ones neck on the line; risk one’s neck; stick one’s neck out; up to one’s neck. See: throat.
Useful questions or hints:
Is the neck in any way threatened or attacked – if so what am I feeling vulnerable about or attacked by?
Is something or someone gripping the neck – if so am I, or my responses to someone else, causing me to hold myself back?
Is something stuck in my throat – is so what is it I am having difficulty saying or expressing – maybe in asking for what I want or need?