Dreaming about the past often reflects a period of our life and important experiences we encountered. Or if it is an historical setting it often is about what you see in that setting – is it reflecting a romantic scene, a war scene, times of hardship and struggle. Whatever it is ask yourself what it reflects of what you are thinking or feeling.

The past isn’t something we need to look back on or try to remember, it is a living thing inside us and influences our every decision through habit patterns, fears, hopes and words we have taken in. It is alive because we are alive, and what we have experienced is part of our living system.

You might repress it, but then you have blocked out a great lump of your learning – for we learn by everything we experience – pleasure, pain, longings and fears are all ways we learn important lessons, but only if we digest them. See Digest

But much of our past is not recognised. As Carl Jung wrote, “I am referring to the biological, prehistoric, and unconscious development of the mind in archaic man, whose psyche was still close to that of the animal.  This immensely old psyche forms the basis of our mind, just as much as the structure of our body is based on the general anatomical pattern of the mammal”.

For we are an animal that has developed self awareness. See Programmed; Animals in your Brain

Running or walking past someone or something: Everything we pass even casually has an influence on us in our dreams. To find out what it is ask yourself what you associate with it.

 Example: I’m feeling as if I am holding onto something. And that holding on shuts out the growth of many of the possibilities I had developed in the past. As the feeling strengthens I have the image and sense that I have built a thick wall, or a doorway against it. I set my mind against something a long time ago and in some way I am still standing behind that decision.

What is the decision though? It seems to be long buried though because it was something that I put into place a long time ago. Because such decisions were made a long time ago they gradually become built into the structures of my personality that developed later. I have the image of a reasonably simple piece of structure put into a building that gradually was added to and disappeared under other pieces that were built upon it. The original design is no longer visible. It has got lost because it is buried underneath what has come later.

This is fascinating because what it suggests about our personality is that once we have put something in place, a firm decision, a fear, something remains in us creating a response to what is going on in our life, and other structures develop around it to preserve it, to enable it to work, and so on. Then we lose sight of what the original was. It becomes what we call unconscious.

Example: As this emerges into my awareness I realise that most of what I have been taught is that our present-day self, our reasoning mind, past to us from the Greeks, through the Romans, with influence from the Moorish culture, and this gives us our rational self of today. But what I see in these dimensions of the deep mind, are things that are never mentioned. I see that as well as this bright transcendent ability to reason, we also inherited and carry with us the memory of times of torture, of hatred and violence, of fiendish human life. We know deep down that you could be hung for taking a piece of bread because you are hungry and starving – starved because of the dominance of those who have too much money, too much to eat.

I was born in a country town, Amersham, where not so very long ago seven people were burned at the stake for daring to read the bible for themselves. Their names were, William Tylsworth (Joan Clarke his married daughter was compelled to light the faggots to burn her father), James Morden, Robert Rave, John Scrivenor, Thomas Holmes, Joan Norman and Thomas Barnard. All four were excommunicated and subsequently burned up on Rectory Hill overlooking Amersham. See Amersham Martys

I have, in my psychological past, that history. For many people, life in the past meant being subservient to the ruling class. But for some, God-fearing, God loving, may have meant recognising the threat, and remaining submissive. But for some it meant a sense of personal stature and quality despite one’s social status or class. For many, the martyrs represented the strength of human dignity, the power to stand up against oppression. It was the strength enabling people to challenge and change the world. It was a strength that could create a new path, strength to continue even when faced by death. They maintained their direction even though their bones formed part of the pathway that we now tread.


Useful Questions and Hints:

How is the past presented in your dream?

Is it a past you have lived or is it one from fantasy?

Do you recognise the past that has shaped you?

See Working with associationsUnconsciousThe Conjuring Trick

When you mention the unconscious, what do you mean?

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved