Dreams Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I have this dream that I was wondering about. I'm walking down a country road. I am covered with excrement and feel quite miserable. I come upon a farm, a kind of bed and breakfast where a man and his daughter are outside. I approach them for mercy, to get a room, and they run inside.


Being vulnerable and exposed is always a messy and hard situation. Although the meaning of your dream can only be known by you, there are some comments I can make about the themes in it that are common to us all.

It is not uncommon to have dream about excrement. The meaning varies from person to person, but some famous psychologists have suggested some meanings that can be borrowed and if applied, used to enhance and improve our lives.

Freud, nearly a century ago, wrote The Interpretation of Dreams and commented on how pooping and holding poop was the first ways we really get to produce something and control that production. Thus, as our production in later life of money is similar, dreams about poop may be about money. To approach this more broadly we can look at Erik Erikson's stage of "Industry vs Inferiority", where excrement may be seen as our relationship with productivity in general. Are we constipated and full of it, or does it, like Midas, cover us and soil everything we touch?

Another approach is that of Carl Jung's who saw excrement as a metaphor for all the crap we have to work on. But it is a divine and sacred crap, which he called "prima materia", after the alchemical base substance that would eventually be transformed into a finer material. What this means psychologically is that we get to look at all our crap, all the things that stand in the way of our living empowered, whole and liberated lives. Thus the worse the excrement, the better the chance to move on to higher ground, to make gold. To attempt to move to higher places without having dealt with the crap means that no matter how high we go, we'll have that crap lubricating our slide back down.

In Hinduism, there is a three faced version to Time, assigned to Krishna (creation), Brahman (maintaining) and Shiva (Destruction). We can use this model for excrement dreams and ask ourselves three questions that shift consciousness from fear to choice:

1. What are we holding on to from the past that we need to release let go of?

2. What do we choose to sustain and keep despite the tension?

3. What are we anticipating and reaching for in the future?

Generally speaking, working with excrement dreams then show us how the Lotus blossoms from the mud.


Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.


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