Jan 30

Dreams, Mythology & Symbols.



Mythological figures were an ongoing theme in many post from last year. I shared a number of photographs of sculpture. Characters from ancient mythology are often the subject of music, paintings, sculpture and other forms of art. In this article, I want to share some material to provide a little deeper understanding of how myth and dreams interrelate.

On Dreams; Joseph Campbell, known for his study of the power of myth, had this to say about dreams and myth.

“Dream is personalized myth, myth is depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problem and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.”

Follow this link for more on Campbell and his legacy. He was a brilliant scholar, an eloquent speaker and one of the great intellects of the 20th Century.

Compare Campbell’s comments relating to the symbolic nature of dreams and myth to this observation by Carl Gustav Jung, known for his work related to Archetypes

“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.”


We see manifest in many forms of art, from opera and classical music to painting and sculpture the use of mythical themes and mythological characters. These expressions of myth through art have a civilizing effect on us. They assist us to attain a level of deeper understanding of the world in which we live so that we may better appreciate our relation to it. Myth may also show us our commonality and our connectedness as members of the human family.

Further reading related to this topic;

Joseph Campbell books. A complete list.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces and Myths to Live By are two of my favorites

Carl Jung books. A complete list.

Man and His Symbols and Memories, Dreams, Reflections are well worth the time to read.


It was Socrates who admonished that, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Our understanding of dreams and the study of myth should be a part of that examination.

. .


Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/mythology-dreams/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.