A man shared the following recurring dream: I am at my parent’s house. It is the mansion they owned after my mother inherited a lot of money, but before my step-father gambled most of it away. I used to live in the former chauffeur’s house on the property. There was also a separate servants’ quarters. In these dreams I find a treasure in the attic of the servants’ quarters.
Of course, it would be exciting to imagine that a stash of money was still waiting to be found in the servants’ house of the dreamer’s former home. However, the dreamer acknowledged that this was unlikely to be the case and, even if it was, it was probably not the message his unconscious was trying to deliver.
Whereas a house–especially one that we are familiar with–is usually a symbol of our ego, or conscious worldview, a very large house or mansion is often a symbol of the psyche or total personality. It reflects the many rooms, or dimensions of our personality, both conscious and unconscious. The treasure, in turn, symbolizes something of great value in the psyche. Many times this refers to the unique gifts and talents waiting to be discovered and developed within each individual. Such treasures come with the energy for their own development. If you accept and embrace the generous gift they offer, they become your gift to the world. Your future calling, or some other important opportunity in your life, may be symbolized as a newly discovered treasure.
It is reasonable to ask why the treasure is located in the servants’ house. Why not in the chauffeur’s house where the dreamer stayed while living with his parents as a young adult? Although a chauffeur is a servant of sorts, he is someone who drives the mansion owner from place to place. In dreams, as in life, driving is the realm of the ego. Our conscious mind tries to steer our life to its chosen destinations. In addition, the chauffeur’s quarters are small in comparison to the mansion, just as the ego is small in comparison to the total personality.
The servants’ quarters, on the other hand, serve the greater personality. The servants maintain and provide food to the psyche. They greet guests and look after the needs of all the mansion’s inhabitants. Symbolically, they assist and provide food to the soul. It is likely that the recurring dreams are saying that the treasure (joy, meaning and fulfillment in life) are to be found in serving the psyche/soul as opposed to the ego. “You’ve gotta serve somebody” as Bob Dylan says in one of his songs. Serve God and you will be served in return.
Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D.
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