|Rudolph the mug deer (Photo credit: Renato Pequito)|
The imagery of dreams is frequently considered in terms of symbolism. However it may be that certain recurring images symbolize different things from dream to dream depending on the context of the dream story or the circumstances in which the dreamer finds themself. Could certain flexible images be considered iconography that covers a broad spectrum of meanings?
My dreams will often feature certain people who appear in various dreams playing a variety of roles that influence my thinking in different ways. Some primary dream figures that I think of in this context would be my old friend Fred who passed away in 1995, my father who passed away in 1990, and my former employer and his son both whom I would consider to have been my bosses when I worked for them and both still living.
These iconic characters reappear in different dreams that are often very dissimilar in content. Their appearances can evoke a variety of emotions and thoughts in my mind. While the characters themselves don't appear to symbolize anything in particular their presences may be symbolic in accordance to the circumstances of the dreams in which they appear.
To use another example, let's say I frequently dreamed about a favorite coffee mug. In one dream I am enjoying a beverage from the mug, in another the mug gets broken, in another I see someone else drinking from the mug, and in another I am looking for the mug because it has been misplaced. Each dream might cause me to have different reactions and emotions. Maybe the mug symbolizes something or maybe it is a dream icon that becomes an inherent part of my emotional being and my personal history.
Perhaps the iconic people or things are merely actors and props necessary to tell the dream story. They do not mean anything symbolically in and of themselves, but they are important to give the dream story meaning and to evoke emotion from me the dreamer.
The concept of dream iconography is not clearly established in my mind and may be too involved to discuss in a short blog post, but it's an idea that had crossed my mind after a recent dream. I thought it might be worth airing in a post.
Do you have repetitive images--people or things--that seem to have different meanings and roles in different dreams? What do think would be good examples of dream iconography if there were such a thing? How many dream characters appear repeatedly in your dreams and who are they?