Breath, Dreams, and the Unconscious
     Breath stimulates and reflects unconscious processes. Symbolically, breath refers to spirit, the odor of sanctity or the malodorous nature of foul energy depicted in the drama of dreams. Dreaming opens doors into a total sensorial experience of one’s inner life. Quality of inhalation and exhalation in dreams are often indicative of degree of psychic depth, the smell of breath evidencing personal character, sincere and life giving spirit symbolized by fresh breezes and cleansing winds. William James wrote, “The place of the divine in the world must be more organic and intimate. An external creator and his institutions may still be verbally confessed at Church in formulas that linger by their mere inertia, but the life is out of them, we avoid dwelling on them, the sincere heart of us is elsewhere.” Breath and its various dream symbolizations functions as an intimate and organic facet of self and the spirituality instinctual within the transpersonal self. Dream material symbolizes the nature of spirituality in one’s life by dramatizing quality of breath, sweet or repellent breath odors suggesting the positive or negative nature of individuals whom we encounter, transpersonal value of individual spirituality reflected in superficiality or depth of inhalation and exhalation, and the nature of archetypal inspiration, the breath of the gods, denoted via winds and breezes. C.G. Jung emphasized this transpersonal metapsychology of breath, from the Corpus Hermeticum, “There was a darkness in the deep and water without form; and there was a subtle breath, intelligent, which permeated the things in Chaos with divine power.” 


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Comment by Lee Lawrence on December 18, 2011 at 10:04am

Jung never really understood the concept of "true breath."  True breath is more about prana than about oxygen and CO2.

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