Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Faces

Today’s guest dreamer, Symbolfinder, has worked to understand her dream, and she sent me her insightful analysis along with it. Before I read her interpretation I wrote my own reactions, so you’ll have the benefit of two slightly different slants on the dream’s meaning. The dreamer always gets the last word since she is the only one who knows what the dream's associations mean for her.

The Dream: A co-worker crosses through a doorway. He is carrying a baby that looks like him. The baby has a normal formed face, but on the back of its head is a second face. This second face is not perfectly formed yet - it is crude and incomplete. I note that the child's head is actually two heads, though meshed together. I want to speak up, but I hold my tongue. I might put my co-worker in an uncomfortable situation, where he would need to explain the child's deformity.

Carla: The mythic image of the Roman god Janus comes to mind here. With his two faces, one looking forward and the other back, he is a threshold deity; he oversees the transition from one state to another and is often placed above doors. Janus oversees the beginning and end of things; the month January is named for him.

In my version of Symbolfinder’s dream, I feel a major transition about to take place in my life.  Something is ending, and a new phase is about to begin. Since all the characters in my dream represent some part of me, the coworker is a possibly neglected aspect of my psyche that wants to play a greater role in my life. He is in a doorway (a place of transition). The baby he is carrying looks like him, but has two faces, one that can be shown to the world and another that’s not quite right. The second face is not yet fully formed; its incompleteness suggests that this emergent part of me is not ready for prime time. This is emphasized when I stop myself from speaking. Since I want to speak; why don’t I? I am concerned for my coworker, the part of me that carries the burden of this newly emergent part. I feel the world is not ready to accept me as I am, therefore I see my two-headed baby as a deformity. When I get to the point that I can accept this not-so-perfect part of myself, I predict I will be able to embrace both the baby and the coworker, and the two heads will become one.

Symbolfinder’s Analysis:
Shadow / Co-worker:  In real life the co-worker is impulsive, unreflective, and inappropriately crosses corporate boundaries. While he holds good technical knowledge, his social intelligence is sometimes weak.He represents a shadow of mine - the unreflective, impulsive part of my personality (it is there!). I am very aware of this side of myself, and that it is a shadow. I have been correcting this side of my personality. Infant/Unconscious:  The infant is symbolic of all my potential, but also my current immature state or stage of true awareness. The two faces, I believe, represent my conscious and unconscious. The front complete face is my rationality, which is strong and well developed. The backward-looking underdeveloped face is my unconscious, which is weaker.

Me in the dream: In the dream I hold my tongue, thinking if I ask about the two-faced infant, I will embarrass my co-worker. This is the practical part of the dream and its key message: I sometimes speak unconsciously, and would benefit from more conscious, regulated and filtered speaking. You see, my profession forces me to be objective about people and their actions, and sometimes the truth can hurt, especially if impulsively spoken. Additionally I must ask myself - in my well intentioned corporate maneuvering have I been two-faced? Does my dream simply show my shadow is an immature being with two faces? Thus part of my shadow is that I am two-faced! Materializing the unconscious can give you unpleasant but necessary lessons for life.

Wonder and awe:  Some browsing of the images on an  alchemy web site demonstrate the symbol of a two-headed person (often with each sex represented).  While my dream did not exhibit the hermaphrodite symbolism, nonetheless my unconscious chose to use this symbol. I am in awe that I am dreaming or projecting the same unconscious properties as my alchemical ancestors of hundreds of years ago.
My Jungian lesson: Jung wrote in 'The Psychic Nature of the Alchemical Work' :
"...he (the alchemist) experienced his projection as a property of matter; but what he was in reality experiencing was his own unconscious... as we all know, science began with the stars, and mankind discovered in them the dominants of the unconscious, the 'gods'..."

The unconscious projects its' material onto my dreams, my dreams usually focus on my day's emotions. It uses its' own language of symbols to digest my emotions; the symbols are bizarre to the laymen, but they are interpretable. The symbols are ancient and deep and have utility to the unconscious. If there was no utility, they would not have been stored in our DNA.

Making use of this dream: Dream analysis has a practical end for me - it is not idle fantasizing. This dream represents (once again) that:
  1. My impulsive, unreflective shadow still lives
  2. At work in the corporate environment, sometimes my shadowy unconscious is at work, and it/I can be two faced
  3. My knowledge of the unconscious and all its' working is still immature, and I must continue learning and leveraging its language, symbols and messages.


  1. Hi Carla, Thank you for your artwork and read of my recent dream - your concise analysis had some real insight into the dream (which I didn't see).

    My first reaction to your analysis and mine was - my analysis was too negative (the glass is 1/2 empty), Carla's analysis is half full - more positive. But that was to simple.

    On further reflection, both are right, and the dream's double meanings are astonishng and creative. The two faced baby is both a comment on my shadow, and a Janus threshold diety. Both interpretations work, not just logically, but emotionally.

    The shadowy side ties directly into some self analysis that I have been putting myself through. So the shadow analysis works.

    The Janus/threshold analysis of yours directly ties into a consolidation of feelings, thoughts, dreams and active imaginations that I've been having.

    Some of your comments were 'spot on' - they describe what I have been feeling, thinking, and dreaming. Ie:

    -'the beginning and end of things',
    -'a major transition about to take place in my life',
    -'incompleteness suggests that this emergent part of me is not ready for prime time'
    -'the burden of this newly emergent part. I feel the world is not ready to accept me as I am, therefore I see my two-headed baby as a deformity'.

    It just goes to show me that a good understanding of mythic figures + subtle reading of **all** dream details can really can help and is necessary.

    Stay in touch. It was a pleasure working with you. I'll let you know if Janus shows up again :-)

    Oh yes, funny side note - the co-worker in the dream is very Mediterranean (so my symbol making brain power really picked the right character!).



  2. Symbolfinder, one of the fascinating things about dreams is how they work on several levels at once. Often in dream workshops with Jeremy Taylor when paradoxical meanings to an image are suggested, he sums up the "correct" answer by saying, "All of the above." I think we are seeing a similar thing happening in your dream: the different interpretations don't necessarily exclude each other, but instead enrich the dream's message.

  3. What is the meaning of two headed person in my dream? Answer please. Thank you in advance

  4. If it were my dream, I would think it meant that I was of two minds about something. Which choice should I make? The important thing what it means to you.

  5. What is the meaning of same people like not twins but same face and body sitting beside and talking to each other means?

  6. What is the meaning of same people like not twins but same face and body sitting beside and talking to each other means?

  7. These past two comments (duplicates) relate to the dreamer mulling over an internal conflict. She symbolically splits into two very similar people and talks to herself.