Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
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Decapitated Women?

This is the dream I had this morning: I was driving and approaching an intersection when I came upon a woman's decapitated head. She was wearing glasses and had long light-brown hair. The head was in the way and I had to maneuver around it. Just beyond it was the rest of her body sitting in a chair and holding a sign (which I couldn't see) that I presumed to be a statement of what she'd done to deserve being beheaded. I said something to someone in the car (not sure who it was, I think it might have been my friend Cindy) wondering who could have done this. Then very quietly someone (Cindy?) said there were 2 more women who had been decapitated and that there was a group of men responsible, like a gang of religious 'moralists' who were basically criminals (like terrorists, I guess). Seemed that the women were made 'examples' of because of some perceived immoral act they committed. For some reason I remembered in exact detail the chairs the women were sitting in were yellow plastic with metal legs like the kind we used to have in school. I felt scared and doomed.

Some background information, I just moved from the U.S. to Germany in December with my husband, I took some time off from working to 'find myself' and I'm pretty unsure of what I'm doing with my life. Cindy is a friend that also moved to Germany from the US but I don't know her very well.

I have some experience interpreting my own dreams, with the help of a Jungian therapist, but this one I can't figure out. I searched some 'dream dictionaries' online today to help me but didn't find a meaning for decapitation/ headless people that seemed to fit. I was really impressed by the interpretations in this particular forum and I look forward to reading your insights.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 33 Germany

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? No

Re: Decapitated Women?

Merana,
I am in a bit of a rush so my interpretation may not be as precise as I would like. Since you do have experience with Jungian psyche let me make a couple of suggestions that may help you understand the dream.

One, look at all the symbols as being parts of yourself and specific symbols like the decapitated head being about emotional aspects. The driving {the car is you} is the direction you are going in life, in particular the emotional self. The head is in the way. You may be being too emotional, not being objective about changes {the move to Germany and all that involves}.

Look at Cindy as being as aspect of yourself. Qualities sh possesses may be something you admire or need during this time of life. In the dream 'she is a friend', a positive aspect. A good chance whatever is being done {the decapitation} is something you are doing to yourself {emotionally?}. This is cutting yourself off from those other vital 'feminine' aspects {two other women}.

The men responsible may be actual men, perhaps to do with the changes in your move to Germany {possibly generic and not a particular person}. But they could also represent your animus}. It could very well be both {Jung's position is all dreams have at least two meanings and most symbols two applications}. The animus aspect would also be something you would be doing, or a need to apply, to yourself. The moralists aspect may have something to do with what is 'right or wrong'. This too may have to do with actual waking experiences or it could have to do with what you are doing emotionally to yourself {perhaps the need to be more being objective vs being too emotional}. In that light those positive feminine aspects you normally rely on are being, or need to be subdued/commanded, by the masculine. There is an emphasis on 'examples' so look to that in your waking as well as unconscious life for meaning.
Is your husband in the military? Discipline, a masculine aspect is a quality that may be needed in this situation. The men in the dream could be symbolic of both a negative and a positive, negative in that it is the masculine/men who have put you in this emotional situation and a positive that the dream is directing you to use your masculine qualities to persevere.

Your dreams are about you. More specifically they are about your emotional self. Age is important in discerning whether dream images are focused on the current waking life or the deeper aspects.

Note: older persons, past the age of 40, tend to have accumulated more emotional baggage in life and are 'looking back', whereas a younger person is still in the process of accumulating that 'baggage' and their dreams would naturally focus on those current waking aspects. The dream will do both, the two meanings within the dream, with an emphasis on which is more prevalent at this time of your life. At 33 the emphasis would be more on the current waking emotional aspects more so that the deeper foundations for those emotions {those early life expereinecs/influences that helped form your personality/person}.

Notice how often I use the word emotions. Focus on those and your move to Germany and see if that helps clarify where you are and what the dream is reflecting.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: Decapitated Women?

Jerry,
Thank you so much for your response, rushed or not, it gave me great insight. (I'm also realizing that this dream relates to another dream I had on Tuesday.)

The 'cut-off' symbolism definitely relates to my situation. I feel very cut-off from my surroundings, I don't speak the language, know very few people, and I'm not used to the culture here. I'm also cutting myself off, as some sort of self-sabotaging behavior, from new friends here (there are 3 women I know who also moved from the US to Germany). Consciously I'm pretty sure that I'm afraid of being rejected by them since I don't know them that well and also I'm pretty self-conscious/insecure. Maybe that is where the 'examples' of public torture/execution are coming from, the headless women are like symbols of my feared rejection. The 'examples' could also be part of my way of thinking of my past mistakes as examples of failure. And the moralist aspect might have to do with how I judge myself and mistakes, but instead of being objective about it and learning from it I just think it's something I need to avoid in the future, like 'that was the wrong thing to do, next time I'll do the right thing.'(Whatever that may be...)

The disconnection of a head as a symbol is also meaningful to me because often I feel like I'm too 'stuck inside my own head', too absorbed in my own thoughts, etc.

As far as emotions, I've had some unexpected emotional outbursts lately that I usually have better control over. In general I'm a very emotional person and have been trying to develop more masculine qualities to balance it out.

Cindy does have qualities that I admire, she's introverted like me, but is still adventurous and independent.

My husband is in the military, he is disciplined and has good control over his emotions. In fact, the dream I had the other night had to do with my husband 'betraying' me, which I interpreted as the betrayal of my emotional control and lack of discipline. The previous day I had a sudden meltdown and started crying for no apparent reason, I was so troubled by it that it came out in this dream. And now with this second dream I think my unconscious is trying really hard to get a message across.

I hope my response isn't to confusing to follow.

Your input has helped a lot and I'm going to spend some time thinking this over. Or maybe not because my unconscious is telling me to stop thinking so much?

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 33 Germany

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? No

Re: Decapitated Women?

Mirana,
I was about to post a further response when I noticed your follow up post. Thanks for the detailed response. It was very legible and informative. I think we have a good handle on what the dream is saying and what is happening in your emotional life.
Too much emotional response and too little discipline with the emotions. Of course it is not that simple. Too many factors involved.
What I was about to post pretty much reinforced my original thoughts. And your response seems to confirmed a lot of what I felt the dream was trying to communicate. I'll post that response after I respond to this post.

The dream addressing two aspects again does seem to be correct. It is addressing your move to Germany and the emotional conflicts involved as well as deeper personality traits. The primary conflict would be the recent move but your personality is partly responsible for such attitudes, which ptobably has led to a more emotional approach than needed/desired. Past experiences, the foundation of who we are, should help you look at things with more objectivity. But when personality gets in the way then the emotions don't always follow what is consciously desired. This is who you are today. The underlying reasons for that is something that needs reconcilation before there can be a complete healing and that desired balance of emotions.
The very deep issues would be why you are who you are {due to childhood experiences/influences onward} and not withstanding your introverted self such influences can make a difference in your actions. But that is for another time, investigating those deeper issues to personality and attitude. It is something you would want to do if you want to really balance your personality and emotional self. Sudden outbursts of emotions just don't happen for no reason. Recent events may have caused the emotional strain but the outbursts would more likely be due to the deeper issues. What is it that make you so emotional? Going back to childhood, honestly exploring that part of you, will often provids insights to who you are at this time in space.

The military aspect is interesting. One could deduct Americans going to a foreign base 'enmase' would be military related {Cindy and the 'two' other women being with you}. But I often sense disciple, or more often a lack of it, as a constant theme in dreams and yours seemed to fit that 'general' motif. The dream turned to masculine aspects and being military discipline would naturally be an important issue. The military situation alone can be very emotional taxing and being a veteran I know of the emphasis placed on discipline in the military. Following the rules without question. Right or wrong that is how it is. Punishing yourself by being overly emotional may be a reaction to that. This is a major experience in your life and being emotional is to be expected.

Reigning in the emotions may be the primary message of the dream, as it applies to your situation at this moment in time. It will take a lot of discipline to get used to the changes as well as expectations. Hopefully your husband is someone who you can open up to and who lends you support. Perhaps the 'betrayal' dream was dealing with those expectations. That could make it even more important to rely on your own masculine qualities even though they are not your strong point. As with Cindy, a strong attitude, which is opposite the general introverted typing, is needed.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: Decapitated Women?

Mirana,
Here are other thoughts to your dream. Not a whole lot different but perhaps a word or phrase here or there will help make it clearer to understand.



Looking at the symbols a second time the glasses could symbolizes a need to see things more clearly. The sign in the dream is something you couldn't see and that may reinforce the notion about the eye glasses. Both would fit in that context, a need to look at things with less emotions and more objectively. That is what dreams do, an objective observation of the waking life void of the ego bias with its primary subjective perspective {other than the consideration of its influence on the life as a whole}. Maneuvering the emotions may be what needs to be done to cope with the changes you are experiencing at this period of time in your life. The ego self is deserving of the turmoil that it suffers because the emotions are in conflict. This would be the view of the waking conscious self through the dream.

I get the sense the dream is speaking to the deeper emotional issues, likely involving the move to Germany, as well as personal experiences involving actual people. Cindy {note your ?} could be herself as well as representing an aspect of yourself {friends in a dream are often represent positive aspects of the dreamer}. Unknown people in a dream most often would represent the dreamer. Cindy may be after thought, an unconscious one at that, that point to associations to her and/or aspects about her you note that would benefit yourself.

The conversation with the 'someone' would be a conversation with yourself. The dream, having therapeutic properties to help resolve emotional conflicts, is attempting to balance the overload of emotional conflicts with a view of the true situation. There is an attempt by the dream to start a 'conversation' between the unconscious and conscious, making the dreamer aware of what may not be known or realized about oneself. The two other women would be related aspects of the self perhaps denoting strong feminine influence in/on the personality. The need for a more masculine injection into the self could point to a strong 'feminine' personality.

Note: I often see aspects of personality in dreams. Since the dream is about the dreamer, personality would be a major player in the emotional attitudes. The foundations of personality, experiences/influences in early life/childhood, are often addressed in a lot of dreams also. At least this is my 'perspective' on the dream.

Now we get to the men. As I stated in my original interpretation, this is probably also to do with both waking life experiences as well as 'animus' aspects. This is common in dreams. You would not be in this 'emotional fix' if not for men {in 'general' and possibly a male in particular}. What prompted your move to Germany? Was it a decision that involved men?
As an animus aspect it may be pointing to masculine attitudes or aspects. I am very much a 'discipline' person and often see dreams as pointing to this aspect. Being objective would be masculine, being emotional feminine. A life without emotions would take away our humanity but objectivity without discipline is like a Christian not being Christ like.

Mahatma Gandhi: I like your Christ but not your Christians. They are so un-Christ like.

Are there moral issues related to your move to Germany? They may be cultural. In the dream this is associated with the masculine. Women being made examples. Look for any waking associations/experiences here. Casting a dim light {yellow} on the feminine. Most all Western religions as well as Hinduism look at women as inferior to the male. The deeper aspect would be an emotional self and not being objective whereas a recent waking experience may involve the position of the female in social roles or some other aspect. This move is a new learning experience for you {school} and strong legs are needed. Being sacred is natural with major changes in life, being doomed perhaps a 'too' emotional attitude.


Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: Decapitated Women?

Jerry,
Your last posts brought up some additional things for me to think about. In particular, that I wanted to move to Germany, but now that I'm experiencing all these adjustment difficulties I've become conflicted within myself. I'm not sure if that relates to my dream, maybe more to the betrayal dream, but it's something that just occurred to me. If I didn't have a say in moving at all it would seem much more understandable that I was having these problems.

Feeling 'doomed' was maybe overly dramatic, I couldn't quite find the word to describe it. I was thinking about the dream again before falling asleep last night, resisting the urge to push the imagery out of my mind. I remembered how dark and grim everything looked in my dream, details like blood around the woman's head, the way the women's bodies looked (like they were dead, decaying). So to face all this when I would normally avoid thinking about it and thinking about it objectively instead of reacting emotionally it is one small step towards being more courageous.

Another layer of meaning to the women in the dream might be my feelings about women who are persecuted in male-dominated, theocratic countries, which brings up a whole host of new topics, but actually answers another question I had been asking myself about what causes I wanted to work for, what kinds of issues are really important to me, etc.

I really appreciate the Gandhi quote. I have recently begun to switch my spiritual "paradigm" from Catholic-based discipline through guilt and shame to Buddhist-based discipline through self-knowledge and compassion. Even though I basically abandoned the catholic church about 20 years ago those mental habits of self-blame die hard.

Thanks again for your thoughtful insights and taking the time to write. This website provides such an excellent service to those of us searching for meaning.

-M

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 33 Germany

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? No

Re: Decapitated Women?

Merana,
Thanks for the further details. It does provide insights to the dream and your current situation. I think you are on the correct path in your spiritual search, the discipline you speak of being a corner stone of Buddhist philosophy. I too abandoned my Christian roots in favor of a more accepting and 'inward' approach to spirituality. Although I still hold Jesus as an example for a spiritual life {living WWJD is the achievement of Buddha consciousness}, Eastern philosophy and nature based spirituality are the foundations of my spiritual beliefs. We need not bring God into our lives, we merely need to bring him/her out {we must note the feminine since that inherent power within the psyche is the proper lead to true spiritual life}.

As to your comments. The blood around the woman's head may have in fact been a note about your spiritual upbringing. Blood, symbolic of life's energy force, would represent the decaying 'feminine' aspect of the patriarchal church, a denial of the feminine power within the psyche and the treatment by the church {we must include most all Western religions in this approach}. You coined in right in your wording, 'women who are persecuted in male-dominated and theocratic'.

This male domination may also apply to feelings associated with your move to Germany. The male dominated society of the military. The 'group of men' responsible could fit both the spiritual and the physical/military. Women are excepted in both instances to 'decapitate' themselves of thinking on their own. Follow the rules blindly without question. The 'moralists' are the powers in charge and all women suffer because of this patriarchal ideology. Eve could identify with the dream statement, 'Seemed that the women were made 'examples' of because of some perceived immoral act they committed'.

So we do have at least two applications to your dream, standard fair according to Jung. The current waking experiences having to do with your forced' move to Germany and the deeper aspects addressing the spiritual. Your feelings of being 'scared and doomed' would be a natural reaction for most any woman who dares think for themself.

A word on the search for meaning. Joseph Campbell, my spiritual mentor who first led me to my inner search had this to say about meaning:

People say that what we're seeking is a meaning for life.
I don't think that's what we're really seeking.
I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive,
so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.


To further explain this quote I guide you to the conversation of Campbell with Bill Moyers in the 'The Power of Myth':

Bill Moyers: Myths are clues?

Joseph Campbell: Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Bill Moyers: What we are capable of knowing and experiencing within?

Joseph Campbell: Yes.

Bill Moyers: You changed the definition of a myth from the search for meaning to the experience of meaning.

Joseph Campbell: Experience of life. The mind has to do with meaning. What's the meaning of a flower. There's the Zen story about a sermon of the Buddha in which he simply lifted a flower. There was only one man who gave him a sign with his eyes that he understood what was said. Now, the Buddha himself is called "the one thus come". There's no meaning. What's the meaning of the universe? What's the meaning of a flea? It's just there. We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about.

Bill Moyers: How do you get that experience?

Joseph Campbell: Read the myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts - but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message. Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with this experience of being alive. It tells you what it is. It's the reunion of the separated duad {A unit of two objects; a pair}. Originally you were one. You are now two in the world {duality}, but the recognition of the spiritual identity is what marriage is. It's different from a love affair. It has nothing to do with that. It is another mythological plane of experience. When people get married because they think it's a long-time love affair, they'll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity. If we live a proper life, if our minds are on the right qualities in regarding the person of the opposite sex, we will find our proper male or female counterpart. But if we are distracted by certain sensuous interests we marry the wrong person. By marrying the right person, we reconstruct the image of the incarnate God, and that's what marriage is {physically and spiritually}.

Powerful stuff.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: Decapitated Women?

Jerry, thank you again, great insights.

I recently started reading Joseph Campbell's "The Mythic Image" and it's true that reading another culture's myths do provide a whole new way of seeing things. I was particularly taken with the Hindu story of Vishnu, the dreamer.

I also recently studied the myth of Psyche and Eros. In school when we read Greek mythology our teachers treated it like reading fairy tales, but reading it again with a Jungian-type interpretation brings much more relevance to it and actual practical insights, like how to deal with different relationships with father, mother, mother-in-law, women peers/friends, husband, etc. Not only that, but nothing else I've learned has made me feel so rooted and connected to this earth and my heritage in Western Civilization.

I really liked what you said about not bringing God into our lives, but bringing him/her out... He/she has been there all along. I'll share a quote that I like by poet Kalil Gibran, paraphrased, God is not in our hearts, but we are in His[/Hers].

Thanks again!

-M

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 33 Germany

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? No

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