I’ve been having dreams lately with little mice are scurrying around. Sometimes I’m at home, sometimes I’m at school. The mice aren’t bothering me, but it seems strange to me that I keep dreaming about them! Sometimes I think they might be trying to tell me something but I’m so confused. I don’t remember the last time I saw a real mouse!
If you remember your fairy tales from growing-up, you may remember that little creatures like mice and birds are common themes of those stories too. Dreams and fairy tales often share images and story lines. Fairy tales were derived from the unconscious material of people’s imaginations, distilled over generations through oral story telling, from one person to the next. Understanding those stories can help us understand our dreams too. Do the details of your dreams remind you of any fairy tales in particular? See if you can remember more details, and notice how the dreams begin and end: what changes? Has anything shifted or resolved?
Animals in dreams provide valuable information about the dreamer, often of a prognostic nature. We can learn about our true well-being, for instance, by observing the well-being of the animals in our dreams. In the interpretation I did last year about dreams of discovering one’s neglected and malnourished pets, I pointed out that when dreams are indicating profound inner neglect they are certainly compensating for a conscious (waking) belief that “I’m taking care of myself just fine.” These kinds of dreams act as inner fire alarms, alerting us to smoke and deterioration long before we’re consciously aware of the smoke ourselves. (Don’t ever underestimate your ability to lie to yourself…)
As the great scholar and Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz stated clearly in her work, while there are few hard rules in regards to understanding dreams, there is one: if an animal speaks to you in your dream, listen. Indeed, your attitude towards the animals in your dreams says a great deal about your attitude towards those less rational aspects of yourself.
But your dreams don’t seem to include neglect or danger! Good. It’s something more subtle. Yet this information about animals in dreams helps us get closer to understanding these little creatures who are showing up for you. Remember Cinderella? Remember how the mice and birds helped her to break free when she was trapped? She couldn’t have survived without them. Again, just as in fairy tales, creatures like mice and little birds are often trying to help in dreams; they know the way through difficult situations when our conscious minds are stymied. It seems that these little mice in your dreams are trying to gain your attention to lead you somewhere. The mere fact that they’ve shown-up says something, and it seems they’re appearing again and again. Mice in dreams can be representative of your own subtle sensory awareness that’s trying to break into conscious awareness. Think of those mice as if they are information you heard throughout the day but didn’t actually hear… as sounds and self-awareness that is trying to reach all the way to your executive functioning. They’re really less symbolic than they are parts of your own connections to the world of which you’re not conscious.
Carl Jung: “What do these animals mean? They are merely representatives of lower instinctual forces in man and helpful in the same way. For example, when I do not know where water is, then I may observe the flight of birds and that shows me where it is.” (Vision Seminars, p.3) Animals have so much to teach us about how to stay safe in the world, and how to find our own migratory paths.
Think back to the specifics of these dreams and see what other information can be gleaned. Perhaps there’s more to say about how the settings of these dreams (home and school) relate to what is trying to come into consciousness for you right now. There are certain to be some greater clues within the details to give you insight. Remember for the future to watch and listen, and if those mice ask you to follow, do.
Have you had a dream like this? Leave a comment and share!
Satya is a psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their 20s and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com