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The Wonder of Dreams: Symbols – Archetypes

Archetypes are symbols that represent typical universal meanings across diverse cultures. When you dream about an archetype, it can be both a clue to dream interpretation and an encounter with wonder. You can think of an archetype as a character in your dream’s story, with traits that are commonly understood across humanity. Examples of archetypes include hero, outlaw, and sage. You can play archetypical roles in your dreams, or you can observe others (such as other people or animals) appear as archetypes while you’re dreaming.

When I was in college, a few colleagues at my job internship teased me about a moral choice I made in my dating life. I was confident that God was leading me to make that choice, and I’ve never regretted doing so. But by teasing me, those coworkers still made me feel like an uncool fool, even when I knew deep down that I was making a wise decision. I had a recurring dream during that time in which I appeared as an eagle flying through the sky. I soared over all sorts of landscapes courageously, in all types of weather. Often, in my peripheral vision, I could see a giant eagle’s wings above me as I flew. I always got the sense that the giant eagle was my heavenly Father – God – protecting me and empowering me to fly high above the pressure to compromise. The wonder I experienced in those dreams inspired me to pray about them and research the spiritual meaning of eagles. Afterward, I learned that not only was God assuring me of his protection, but he was also calling me to see myself as a leader who was willing to boldly do what’s best, even when it’s not popular to do so.

What archetypes have appeared in your dreams? As I write in Wake Up to Wonder, dreams are a vital part of lifelong learning. No matter how long ago or how recently you dreamed about archetypes, you can pray about those dreams and discover some valuable spiritual insights. As the biblical prophet Daniel said before he interpreted a dream with God’s help, “there is a God in heaven, who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28). Archetypes in your dreams are more than just fun characters to ponder. They’re significant symbols that can help you unlock divine messages when you pray about them.


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