Our Collective Dreaming: zombies

Jungian analyst James Hall speaks of zombie dreams. He tells a story of a man who had a dream. There were “zombies-like figures emerging from where they had been buried.” (p. 60) He added: “possibly indicating that they had been buried in the unconscious.”  This dream foreshadowed a change in the man in which he “began to take a different attitude… a period of improvement.”

Our collective dreaming of zombies could be an archetypal symbol indicating that something new is emerging from the collective unconscious. Change is emerging: ‘a different attitude’. Possibly our collective dreaming of zombies foreshadows a ‘period of improvement.’


Jungian Dream Interpretation: A Handbook of Theory and Practice By James Albert Hall


2 thoughts on “Our Collective Dreaming: zombies

  1. But isn’t the Zombie a symbol of morbid entrancement, a souless energy animated only by it’s want for consumption, like the opening scene of ‘Sean of the Dead’ humourously portrays the zombieism of modern life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZmjsWAfn14 this is a rampant factor in today’s society.

    The Zombie is a sign of our soul-numbing passivity/addiction/other patterns that supress aliveness… so the symbol confronts us with a reflection of dire lifelessness, and the challenge to choose to risk the vibrancy of aliveness..!!

    We either stay stuck in a living death, or choose spectacular enlivening change!!

    1. Hello Wonderfeel,

      I believe that you are correct to say that zombies represent “morbid entrancement… want for consumption… of modern life.”

      One of Jung’s core insights is that the unconscious works in a compensatory relationship to the unconscious. The unconscious offers a perspective that is different but similar, providing new ways of seeing. Dreams work through things on a different plane than our waking thought. Dreams show the soul’s path toward integration. It is the soul’s capacity to dream (and imagine) that begins to show us the path… “into the vibrancy of aliveness.” Jung has said: “the anima (soul) wants life.”

      Artists, film makers, musicians, and writers are collective dreamers, working through the unconscious intensities of our collective struggle. Through their concrete imaginations they offer us insight into the soul’s perspective: that we are all moving toward self-realization. Historically, zombies were the return of the (un)dead. The old school zombies would emerge from the ground where they were buried. Zombies can be seen as shadow figures of the collective unconscious, emerging forms of those things we have collectively buried. They express our “soul-numbing passivity.” And simultaneously, the return of the undead may represent a collective working through of the shadow elements of our culture.

      Thanks for writing.

      p.s. I just checked out your website. I am delighted by you creativity!


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