Heaven above, Heaven below: what the soul foretells

“Everything psychic has a lower and a higher meaning, as in the profound saying of late classical mysticism: ‘Heaven above, Heaven below, stars above, stars below, all that is above also is below, know this and rejoice.’ Here we lay our finger on the secret symbolical significance of everything psychic.” (CW 5, para 77)

In the above passage, Jung is referencing a mystical text titled the Oedipus Aegyptiacus. Jung  borrows from this text to express the tension of opposites within psyche life. The psyche has an urge, aim, a desire: part an expression of base instinct and part spiritual instinct. Fantasy holds the potential to express both of these instinctual urges.

Jung explains his point of view: the [Freudian] “sexual problem” is “only one half of the meaning, and the lower half at that. The other half is ideal creation as a substitute for real creation.” (CW 5, para 77) Here, Jung recognizes the spiritual instincts of the soul. Such instincts modify base instinctual urges into the spiritual through the creation of spiritual symbols and ‘ideals.’ Through spiritual symbols the soul expresses a capacity to dialectically integrate the tension of opposites within the Self.

Jung goes on to say that such symbol creation may hold a ‘presentiment of the future,’ guiding the individual in the process of psychical transformation. Jung says:

“With personalities who are obviously capable of intellectual effort, the prospect of spiritual fruitfulness is something worthy of their highest aspirations, and for many people it is actually a vital necessity. This other side of the fantasy also explains the excitement, for we are concerned here with a thought that contains a presentiment of the future-one of those thoughts which, to quote Maeterlinck, spring from the “inconscient superieur,” (the higher unconscious) from the “prospective potency” of a subliminal synthesis.” (CW 5, para 78)

The ‘higher unconscious’ or soul’s imagination appears to hold the instinctual and creative ability to create a subliminal synthesis of opposites. Such a synthesis may offer ‘visionary clarity’ into the ‘hidden meaning’ of one’s life. Jung says:

“I have had occasion to observe, in the course of my daily professional work [that… ] a dream, often of visionary clarity, occurs about the time of the onset of the illness or shortly before, which imprints itself indelibly on the mind and, when analyzed, reveals to the patient a hidden meaning that anticipates the subsequent events of his life.” (CW 5, para 78)

Here, Jung is beginning to apprehend the teleological nature of psychic life. The soul expresses teleology within dreams, asserting ‘hidden meanings’, pointing to ‘the subsequent events of his life.’  In a footnote Jung goes into further detail:

“Just as memories that have long since fallen below the threshold are still accessible to the unconscious, so also are certain very fine subliminal combinations that point forward, and these are of the greatest significance for future events in so far as the latter are conditioned by our psychology. But no more than the science of history bothers itself with future combinations of events, which are rather the object of political science, can the forward-pointing psychological combinations be the object of analysis; they would be much more the object of a refined psychological syntheticism that knew how to follow the natural currents of libido. This we cannot do, or only badly; but it happens easily enough in the unconscious, and it seems as if from time to time, under certain conditions, important fragments of-this-work come to light, at least in dreams, thus accounting for the prophetic significance of dreams long claimed by superstition. Dreams are very often anticipations of future alterations of consciousness. (fn 18)

The soul creates symbols which are ‘forward-pointing psychological combinations’.’ Such symbols ‘follow the natural currents of libido.’  Dream symbols, guided by libido, may anticipate “future alterations of consciousness.”


  1. Symbols of Transformation (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.5): C. G. Jung, Gerhard Adler, R. F.C. Hull: Books.

Zombie Apocalypse: a symbol of collective transformation

 Gajda, Tegning af en Zombi. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
Gajda, Tegning af en Zombi. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

What cannot be worked through at the conscious level is often worked through at the unconscious level, in dreams and fantasy. cf. Carl Jung  (CW 5, para 4-45). When encountering that which we cannot dream, we confront the limits of sense.

Film and art may present an unconscious attempts to work through collective transformation at the limits of reason and sense. In zombie movies and the growing zombie apocalypse movement, we may be seeing an attempt to dream ‘apocalyptic’ change.

Continue reading “Zombie Apocalypse: a symbol of collective transformation”

Dreams may act in a compensatory manner to waking thought

Awareness of dream consciousness is of central importance to the process of integration and Self-realization. Carl Jung offer great insight into the nature of dreams, in particular their role in psychic integration.

Jung postulates that dreams compensates for the one-sidedness of conscious thought. He says:

“those thoughts, inclinations, and tendencies which in conscious life are too little valued come spontaneously into action during the sleeping state” (CW 8, para 466)

Continue reading “Dreams may act in a compensatory manner to waking thought”


Dreams of a Vehicle

Four headed sun god, Sūrya- 19th Century. US public Domain
Four headed sun god, Sūrya- 19th Century. US public Domain

A vehicle can represent “a mode of traveling the road of life.”

“Vehicles of often certain folk tradition to symbolize an attitude to life. Thus, the two major groups within Buddhism are popularly termed the Mahayana and the Hinayana, words which mean ‘great vehicle’ and ‘lesser vehicle’, respectively… The specific image ‘car’ has no fixed meaning, but must be interpreted in the light of the dream story.” (Broadribb, 1990)


  1. The dream story by Donald Broadribb – 1990

Dream Yoga: transformation processes announce themselves mainly in dreams

Illustrations of practitioner of ancient Tibetan yoga. US public domain via wikimedia
Illustrations of practitioner of ancient Tibetan yoga. US public domain via wikimedia

Carl Jung understood that psychic transformations presents itself in dream form. He says: “Natural transformation processes announce themselves mainly in dreams.” (Carl Jung 9i para 235)

For Jung, dreams are coincident with the process of psychic transformation. Such transformation is a “long-drawn-out process of inner transformation and rebirth into another being. ” When Jung speaks of this ‘other being’ he is speaking of ‘the other person in ourselves-that larger and greater personality maturing within us, whom we have already met as the inner friend of the soul.” (ibid)

Continue reading “Dream Yoga: transformation processes announce themselves mainly in dreams”