Research article
Issue: № 3 (141), 2024


The article discusses collective bird images, represented in books of dream interpretations written in the Russian and English languages. The basic structural unit of the collective ecological unconscious is an ecological archetype. On the individual level ecological archetypes are realized in oneiric images, among which a collective image of a bird plays a prominent role. The analysis of dream interpretations reveals the reflection of such ecological archetypes as the archetype of the Universal law and the archetype of the unity and cyclic nature of being, which is due to, on the one hand, functioning of birds as couriers, connecting the heavenly world and the earthly world and providing guidance on the spatio-temporal axis of the existential continuum. On the other hand, a bird serves as a messenger, giving in an oneiric image information about future positive or negative changes in the life of a dreamer.

1. Introduction

The concept of the ecological unconscious, first formulated by Th. Roszak, represents the phenomenon as the core of the mind, the repression of which is “the deepest root of collective madness in industrial society”, while “open access to the ecological unconscious is the path to sanity”

. The basic structural unit of the collective ecological unconscious is an ecological archetype.

Ecological archetypes (ecoarchetypes) have been studied by different researchers

and identified as archetypes of the unity of man and nature (V.V. Florenskaya) or universal archetypes (E.M. Shchepanovskaya). In fact, all the variety of ecoarchetypes can be reduced to six realizations, which is proved in the research based on paroemias containing bird images
. Here belong the archetype of the Universal law, the archetype of the unity and cyclic nature of being, the archetype of belonging to clan, the archetype of home, the archetypes of manhood and womanhood.

Ecoarchetypes reveal themselves both on the social level (for instance, in paroemias and weather prognostic rules) and on the individual level (in dream interpretations). The contents of dreams are created by archetypes of the collective unconscious revealed in forms of mythological themes, shaping archetypic dream images. And these images speak the language of nature

. Actually, archetypic symbols show themselves in any dream, independent of its individual refraction. Dreams need interpretations, which decreases the degree of uncertainty and, thus, brings the dreamer closer to the universal code, capable of deciphering the unknown symbols.

The purpose of the given article is to define those ecological archetypes that are realized in dream interpretations, containing a collective bird image, and to interpret messages that a bird image may carry. The analysis is performed on the basis of Russian and English collections of dream interpretations


2. Main results

Archetypes can manifest in different forms, including animals. The architype of spirit in the shape of a bird appears in dreams when understanding, good advice, determination or planning are needed but cannot be mustered on one’s own resources

. Generally, a bird symbolizes portents and predicting the future, that is why the main function of ornithological images in dreams consists in messengerism. Below one can see dream interpretations of a collective bird image systematized in accordance with its presence and action or the action of the dreamer aimed at the oneiric bird image.

The oneiric image of a bird:

1) the presence of the ornithological image signifies guests or news;

а) for the poor implies many friends;

b) for the rich implies the loss of property;

c) of white colour represents good news;

d) of black colour represents bad news or intrigues of enemies;

2) the presence of a large number of the ornithological images signifies a trial or meeting, which the dreamer will have to take part in;

3) the presence of the ornithological image with bright and beautiful plumage indicates:

а) luck in love;

b) promotion;

c) for a woman implies quick and happy marriage or new love;

4) the presence of the injured or dead ornithological image may:

а) portend deep sorrow;

b) warn of the danger;

c) indicates bad luck which turns into a positive period in life;

5) the tail of the ornithological image:

а) implies the termination of some business or the end of a relationship;

b) represents consequences;

6) the presence of the particular groups of ornithological images:

а) migratory ornithoimages symbolize changes;

b) predatory ornithoimages signify the appearance of enemies or life changes.

The action of the ornithological image in a dream:

1) vocalization portends:

a) joy and well-being;

b) good news;

c) love and a quiet and happy life;

d) home fun and guests;

2) the ornithological image in flight:

а) portends wealth;

b) of white colour refers to good news; of black colour refers to bad news;

c) for the rich implies sad changes in business; for the poor signifies changes for the better;

d) a flock of ornithoimages flying in a wedge represents distrust and gossip wedged into the relationship;

3) the flying up ornithological image symbolizes losses;

4) the sitting ornithological image:

а) portends sorrow;

b) ornithological image, sitting in a cage symbolizes trickery towards other people.

The action of the dreamer:

1) to hear birds “talking” implies that the dreamer cannot cope with the task;

2) feeding represents a meeting with funny friends;

3) catching:

а) (with birdlime) signifies an unfair victory over enemies;

b) portends good news and lucky business;

c) implies winning or profit;

d) (for a girl) indicates that she will meet a boyfriend;

e) symbolizes that what is lost will be found, and aspirations will come about;

4) clipping the wings signifies the destruction of happiness;

5) killing portends:

а) catastrophes, natural disaster;

b) losses;

6) flying together with birds suggests the dreamer’s communicating with people from afar.

As a whole, the oneiric image of a bird aims at favourable change. Exceptions will be made by the presence of a dead bird image or its killing in a dream, which can serve as a warning against undesirable and sometimes fatal life situations.

3. Conclusion

In summary, it is important to emphasize the following:

1) information contained in dream interpretations is marked by multilayered character and can be represented as

a) common cultural or universal human meanings;

b) ethnospecific cultural meanings and

c) personal, individual meanings.

Universal human meanings are comparable with archetypes of the collective unconscious and are closely connected with the mythical perception of the world. Ethnospecific cultural meanings are based on the rituals, traditions, beliefs, life experience, that is why they are diverse and can be adequately interpreted, taking into account the realities of ethnicity. Individual meanings depend on both life experience of a person and his or her psycho-emotional state. It is at this level that archetypic and ethnospecific meanings are refracted through personal experience as through “a semiotic mirror”

, evoking all possible associations and interpretations;

2) as a rule, books of dream interpretations offer symbolizations of isolated oneiric images, while a dream interpretation itself, being a cultural text, aims at verbalization of archetypic or ethnospecific meanings in language units;

3) oneiric collective images of a bird function as translators of the archetype of the Universal law and the archetype of the unity and cyclic nature of being because birds serve as couriers, connecting the heavenly world and the earthly world, and form existential boundaries on the spatio-temporal axis;

4) a bird represents prophecy, swiftness and impermanence, so the main archetypic message is connected with changes in the life of the dreamer that will not be long in coming, and also with important news (the idea of messengerism) that can be positive or negative, depending on the current state of affairs (for example, wealth or poverty). Favourable or unfavourable news can also depend on the colour symbolism of a bird oneiric image: for instance, a black colour is traditionally connected with negative circumstances. In Christian symbolism a bird represents a soul, respectively, an oneiric ornithoimage may point at the beginning of the psychic transformation of a person;

5) oneiric collective images of a bird may indicate person’s thoughts and reflect mental preoccupation about a certain sphere of life (search for a partner, achieving well-being, etc.). Finally, when interpreting oneiric images it is important to consider the individual character of dream metaphors because they may stand for people from real life, who are associated by the dreamer with particular bird species or birds in general.  

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