Buildings in dreams represent the constructions we make in our lives. They are attitudes and beliefs we have built from our experience, perception, and often from our family habits and customs. Where in real life we can learn a lot about a person from his personal environment, so in dreams a building can also reflect the dreamer’s character hopes and concerns. The features of the building mirror the features of the dreamer’s personality. Buildings in dreams can become composite, and therefore confusing. In understanding the dream, we should interpret the main appearance of the building first, as its main function, and the secondary appearance as qualities to be recognised. Various buildings have distinct meanings:
Boarding house or Hotel – also see individual entry in
To dream of a boarding house or hotel indicates that we may not feci secure within our living conditions.
Castle, Fortress, Citadel
The symbolism of the castlc or fortress is that of the defended spacc and therefore can be taken to represent the feminine or the Great Mother.
In dreams, the courtyard is a place of safety and often the shape will be relevant (see Shapes).
Church, temple etc. also see Church Buildings in C and Church in Religious Imagery As an environment for us to consider our system of belief, any religious building will suggest a place of sanctuary and refuge. Although we may not consciously adhere to any particular religion, most of us have principles by which we live, which will surface in dreams in recognisable images.
If we are aware that the house is not empty – that there is something in it (e.g. furnishings) it shows some aspect of the dreamer. Someone else in the house suggests that the dreamer may be feeling threatened by an aspect of his own personality. If there are different activities going on it indicates there is a conflict between two parts of our personality, possibly the creative and the intellectual. The front of the house portrays the front we show to the outside world.
Going into/out of the house
We may- have to decide whether we need at that time to be more introverted or more extroverted. An impressive, awe-inspiring house In a dream like this we are conscious of the Self or the Soul.
Moving to a larger house
There is need for a change in our lives, perhaps to achieve a more open way of life, or even for more space. Being outside the house The more public side of ourselves is being depicted.
A small house, or the house where the dreamer was born
The dreamer is seeking security, or perhaps the safety of babyhood, without responsibility.
If the smallness of the house is constricting
We are being trapped by our responsibilities, and may need to escape.
Work on the house; cementing, repairing, etc.
Relationships may need to be worked on or repaired, or perhaps we need to look at health matters. We may need to take note of the damage or decay that has occurred in our lives.
Igloo – also see individual entry Because of its shape, the igloo stands for completeness and sanctuary. It is warm on the inside and cold on the outside and therefore signifies the difference between the internal and the external.
Pyramid The pyramid is considered to be a focus for power, so for one to appear in a dream is to be concentrating on the power within.
Temple – see Church Buildings in C and Church in Religious Imagery
Tower (obelisk, steeple, lighthouse, etc.)
Any image of a tower is representing the personality, and the Soul within. While there are obvious connotations that conncct it with masculinity, it is more corrcct to perceive it as the Self within a wider context. When thought of in this way attention can then be paid to other attributes of the tower, such as where windows, doors and staircases are placed. This leads to a greater understanding of the Spiritual Self.
The warehouse being primarily a storage place has the symbolism of being a repository either for spiritual energy or for spiritual rubbish.
Components of buildings Balcony (or ledge, sill, etc.)
We all have need for support within our lives and a balcony indicates both support and protec- tiveness. It can also represent the Mother in her protective aspect. Construction or demolition of a building. We all have the abil- itv within us to construct successful lives and equally an ability to self- dcstruct. A dream that highlights construction or demolition gives us access to those qualities and abilities within ourselves. Doors also see individual entry Doors refer to the openings of the body and therefore, by default, one’s scxualitv. The front door and back door signifies the vagina and the anus respectively. Breaking down the door can be taken to indicate an inhibition over sex and an unwillingness to face the issues. It can also represent rape or abuse.
Opening and closing the door
While often taken to stand for intercourse. this can show the dreamer’s attitude to sex.
Refusing to open the door
Although the dreamer may not technically be a virgin, for this to occur represents an innocent approach to their scxualitv. A door between the outer and inner rooms shows there mav be a conflict between the conscious and the unconscious. Barring the door This highlights the dreamer’s need for self- protection.
If an animal or person forces his way in and destroys the lock
Our own protective mechanisms have let us clown. Escaping by another door indicates the dreamer needs to find a new solution to the one he thought of to solve a problem.
Someone knocking on the door signifies that the dreamer’s attention is being drawn to an external situation.
Any passage can stand for the passages within the body; for instance the vagina or the anus. Equally; on a psychological level, it signifies how we allow our personal space to be penetrated. Passages also represent the transitions between the various stages of our lives.
Lift A lift usually indicates how we deal with information. For instance, a lift going down would suggest going down into the subconscious, while a lift going up would be moving towards the spiritual. It is believed that in the sleep state we leave our bodies. Thus, descending in a lift and getting stuck represents the entrapment of the spiritual by the physical body.
Rooms in a dream can describe various parts of our personalities or levels of understanding, but often signify either the womb or the mother figure. Thus the kitchen would be the home- making part of us whereas a sitting room would be the more relaxed, comfortable side. A small room with only one door or a basement with water in it is a direct representation of the womb, and may indicate a return to the womb-like state.
A series of rooms
This refers to the various aspects of femininity and often to the whole soul. Anything in an upstairs room An upstairs room usually signifies mental or spiritual attributes, so any object will represent an idea or concept. The basement or cellar This meaning can be ambivalent, since a cellar can represent the parts of ourselves that we have chosen to suppress. It can also represent family beliefs and habits, particularly if the basement is that of the parents. Leaving one room and going into another If this is a deliberate action in the dream, then it represents a change of state and of leaving something behind. Empty rooms Something, such as comfort or support, is lacking in our lives. Stairs Stairs are often an indication of the steps we must take in order to achieve a goal. Climbing the stairs is indicative of the effort that we must make in order to have access to the more mystical, spiritual side of our being. It can more simply be the exertion we practise in our everyday life. Going downstairs Conversely, in order to have access to the hidden unconscious side of ourselves, we need to ‘go down’ into the unconscious.
A golden staircase
This is such a basic image, with so many interpretations, that particular attention needs to be paid both to other aspects of the dream, and also the dreamers spiritual state at that specific time. Largely it represents a ‘death’, but not necessarily a physical death. It is more the realisation that we no longer need to be trapped within the physical, but can move towards a more fulfilling life. It is a way out of the mundane.
Walls A wall signifies a block to progress a difficulty we have or will come up against. Often the nature of the wall will give some clue as to what the block is. For instance, a wall which looks old will signify an old problem, whereas a glass wall would indicate some difficulties with perception. Walls closing in could describe the remembered feelings of birth, but is more likely to represent a feeling of being trapped by the lifestyle we have. A brick wall, rampart or dividing wall all signify the difference between two states of reality often the inner psychological state and the exterior everyday world.
Windows Windows will describe the means by which we appreciate the world we live in, the way we perceive reality. Dreaming that we arc looking outwards through a window can suggest that we have a more extrovert view of ourselves and will tend to look at external circumstances. Looking inwards through a window indicates we are looking inwards at our own personality, and perhaps at our own motivation. Opening a window The interpretation depends on whether we are opening the window from the inside or the outside. If the former, we are dealing with our inner feelings which we may need to escape; the latter shows our attitude to outside opinion.
Breaking through a window (or glass door)
This can suggest the first sexual experience.
Stained glass windows
Because of the connection with churches, stained glass can be accepted as religious belief (also see Colour).