Meaning of dreams of being chased
Dreaming of being chased is a very recurring type of dream.
The idea of the dream is to have someone behind us. Tipically it is someone or something with unpleasant and frightening features. We perceive this presence as a danger, an entity from which to escape.
Psychologically, what pursues us in dreams is a representation of our “Shadow”. The Shadow, in Jungian terms, is everything that is opposed to our conscious ego and that we refuse to understand as part of our psychic totality. How is it possible to separate from one’s own Shadow? The Shadow is that part of us that, precisely because it is “repudiated” and unacceptable for the conscious point of view, lives in the unconscious, in a primitive and undifferentiated stage.
But the Shadow comes back to life in our dreams, embodying those characteristics that we so despise or fear in others, without understanding that it is a game of mirrors!
We project on the others the features of our Shadow without understanding that these unpleasant facets are “ours”. Dreaming of being chased concerns the relationship with our Shadow.
The Jungian Shadow and the Fool of the Tarot
In dreams, the Shadow manifests itself taking the form of people or animals. Our Shadow has often animalistic characteristics. Wild, indomitable, primitive features. We perceive them as external phenomena, when in fact they are psychic entities that live in us, that “are” us.
In the Tarot, there is an Arcanum that helps us to interpret the meaning of the dream of being chased. It is the Arcanum of the Fool. “Le Mat” is chased by an animal (typically a dog) that has blue color, so we understand it is a creature that has “spiritual” nature.
We could say that the Fool is “crazy” (in the sense of “dissociated”) precisely because he refuses to recognize this dog as part of his totality (the Jungian Self). In fact, the dog may appear to jump joyfully on the Fool to be embraced by him, to be recognized, to merge with him.
In a negative reading of the image, the dog seems to chase and attack the madman, tearing his pants apart. Exactly as in dreams of being chased, the more we tend to run away, the more our pursuer becomes aggressive and inexorable.
Tips and suggestions when dreaming of being chased
Here are some practical indications, when dreaming of being chased:
1) Understand what are the features of the entity that is chasing us (eg: is it an aggressive animal? Is it a thief?). In the case of animals, think of the behavioral characteristics that are specific to those animals.
2) Try to recognize how these specific “unpleasant” characteristics are hidden in yourself (eg: there is an unconscious part of me that is like a mad dog, or like a thief)
3) Stop running away. Ideally you should consider stopping and asking the pursuer: “Who are you? Why are you chasing me?” When this is the case during dreams, magic happens. We would often discover that the much feared Shadow is not at all threatening, but simply asks to be recognized, ready to hug us joyfully like the Fool’s dog.