Q: I’m walking barefoot next to the freeway, following a new friend, a fluffy gray cat. She can fly and she’s bounding into the air, flying through the trees and then landing again. We’re going home; home is a new place and she knows where we are going. I am very happy, carefree, and in no specific hurry to get anywhere, not sure where she will take us. At some point, I feel the dirt on the side of the freeway under my bare feet and it seems sketchy, but I don’t seem to care. I feel sort of immune to getting my feet cut because of my way of life, meandering, happy, go with the flow.
A: Some dreams have this sweet quality to them that just evoke a smile and a little silent appreciation. This is one of those dreams. If it were left utterly uninterpreted, an untrained listener might be able to glean from this dream a peaceful, carefree inner state of the dreamer. It portrays a lovely, loving relationship, indicative of deep, intuitive listening to one’s self, as well as representing the worry-free unfolding of paths in life (“she knows where we’re going”) that come from trusting the internal voice. I read this dream and am impressed by the absolute beauty of it. You, dear dreamer, have a highly developed attentiveness to your inner life.
Cats are a frequent visitor in dreams, a common image that arise night after night for people from all demographics. The attitude one takes towards a cat in a dream says a lot, as does the cat’s health and well-being. Here, your cat is carefree and bounding and you are the same, happily following her towards your new home. There is no struggle between you two; you do not question her motivations and you do not worry if she is lost. Your trust in her is total. If this were a fairy tale, and you were one of brothers sent off to find riches for your father, your character would certainly come back with the gold. Why? Because there is no ego involved here, no ulterior motives or concern, and because the one who listens to the animals in dreams and fairy tales always fairs better than those who do not.
Animals in dreams represent elements of our instincts, our physical selves, our none-mental ways of knowing. They also represent soul, Self, or the God image, the consciousness that is greater than our somewhat constrained, overly rational form of human thinking. This is particularly true about cats in dreams and mythology. In ancient stories, they play the part of “the knower of the way” and “the soul guide.” In Gnostic, Egyptian, and Celtic beliefs, cats were also viewed as mediums, as creating a tie between good and evil, the gods and man, the inner and outer elements of life.
It is seemingly hard-wired into us that cats are symbolically female animals (while dogs are male), and cats in dreams also represent a feminine aspect, which means that there’s a vivifying quality, a life-giving energy, to being in close relationship to them. In regards to the symbolism of cats coloring, black cats, the shadow side of the cat image, is associated with witches and curses, while white cats were once believed to provide healing. Your cat in this dream is gray. The opposites are blended, not polarized or split, pointing again to a beautiful balance in your inner life. You are attuned, perhaps more than you are consciously aware, to the subtle ways of knowing in the world. A non-conscious part of you is leading you towards a new home, what may feel like a new phase of life. Be not concerned in your waking life if this feels unpleasant, your dream states that you are immune to the dirt and junk under your bare feet (another image reflecting Soul in the word-play on the soles of feet). I do not think you need to hear this from me, but I’ll state it as reinforcement: in your waking life, do not forget to trust, as you do in this dream, that a higher part of you knows where you are headed.
Have you had a dream like this? Leave a comment and share!
Satya is a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com