Dreams sometimes use images twice when they are especially important. This also occurs with synchronicities. Similarly, sometimes dreams use the image of twins to represent important topics for the dreamer. Not long ago, I had a male client discussing the unique image that he saw of two magnificent bull elk standing together, with no other elk around, in the center of a large mountain valley. Witnessing this was very special, or numinous for this client. He did not recall ever witnessing such a sight even though he had seen numerous elk over the years. Furthermore, he stated that it was very uncommon to see two large bull elk in this particular mountain valley.
Several months prior to seeing the elk, my client dreamed about the Battle of Thermopylae. In this famous battle dating back to 480 BC, a small Greek force fought bravely against all odds, outmatched by a much larger Persian army. The Greeks ultimately lost the battle, but because of the courage to go forward and fight while fully aware of the great odds, this battle stands out as a symbol representing great courage, and because of this, the Battle of Thermopylae has stood out in history.
My client was at a stage in his life that he needed great courage, strength and endurance, to manage the tasks in his life. Additionally, he was looking for hope against great odds (like the Greek, Spartan army needed when going up against the massive Persian army.) My client’s dream about the Battle of Thermopylae was the perfect image to relay this very important message. Additionally, my client described bull elk as animals of great strength. He talked about the male elk’s bugle in the fall, and how it reminded him of both strength and courage. Like the dream about the Battle of Thermopylae, the synchronicity of the paired bull elk amplified the traits of courage and strength.
During therapy he discussed both the Battle of Thermopylae from his dream, and the two elk from the related synchronicity, as symbols to assist him with his current phase of life where he needed these attributes to navigate the changes that he was making, and the obstacles that he was facing. An important part of Jungian psychotherapy is assisting clients with the discovery of their own custom-made images to reflect upon, and to integrate into their consciousness. Doing so can be extremely helpful in achieving needed behavioral changes.
For this client, the synchronicity and image of the two bull elk several months after the dream, helped tie together his dream about the Battle of Thermopylae. Additionally, the synchronicity of the pair of bull elk further made the case for him that this area was of particular importance. Furthermore, because there were two male elk, with no other elk around, the fact that this image and symbol was both doubled and focused upon, stood out even more for my client working with these significant issues.
In summary, dreams and synchronicities sometimes use double images, pairs, or other representations of “more” to draw attention to important issues in an individual’s life. Like a nightmare, or numinous dream, paired images are attempting to get our attention in a manner similar to the way a writer uses an exclamation point. The psyche appears to want us to pay particular attention to these “double” images in our dreams and synchronicities, in an effort to assist us with navigating our own unique life path.
© 2011, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.