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Music in Dreams

hildemarie streich
Te musical content of dreams is not limited to the practical feld of music with its rich
variety of musical instruments and their vast range of expression; evidence of archaic
musical concepts and structures is also hidden in the unconscious depth of the human
psychewhose very origin was one issue of musical thought in ancient and medieval
times. Te psyches roots seem to be well aware of that special relationship between
musical and psychical processes and factors. In the much-varied musical imagery of
dreams, these roots draw ancient musical knowledge from the depths in order to trans-
mit that knowledge into the conscious mind where it can bear fruit. Accordingly, mu-
sic ofen appears in dreams as a kind of therapeutic agent of the psyche. So whenever
music is used for its harmonically balancing, leveling, stimulating, or calming efects,
modern peoples unconscious mind relates back to the musical-therapeutic experiences
of all humans. By activating self-healing energies, music is a remedy for the most var-
ied disturbances. Here and in other cases, music in dreams ofen seems to initiate new
phases of inner development.
Te Ancient Meaning of Music
In the musical thinking of ancient times, the word music was synonymous with the
word harmony. Accordingly, since the beginning of human thought, music has been
seen as a reality belonging equally to the cosmic and divine world, the physical-human
and psychosomatic world, and the realm of matter with all its organic, inorganic, and
instrumental components.
In Greek mythology, Harmonia is honored as the goddess who unites opposing
forces. Daughter of the God of War, Ares, and the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, she rep-
resents the harmonic force responsible for musical order in the world. Etymologically,
Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, Volume 3, Number 2, pp. 6373, ISSN 1934-2039, e-ISSN 1934-2047.
2009 Virginia Allan Detlof Library, C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. All rights reserved. Please
direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of
California Presss Rights and Permissions website at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo/asp. DOI:
10.1525/jung.2009.3.2.63.
64 jung journal: culture & psyche 3:2 / spring 2009
the word Harmonia or harmony comes from the Greek in which the syllable ar or har
means the uniting of opposites in a fruitful and dynamic whole. Tus, true music
understood as harmonycan only be found by uniting the organic realm, the psychic
realm, and the cosmic-heavenly realm, including their inherent opposites, into an inte-
gral whole whose diferent qualities manifest themselves in four main aspects:
Musica coelestis or divina (music or harmony of the heavens)
Musica mundana (music or harmony of the spheres)
Musica humana (psychosomatic music or harmony)
Musica instrumentalis (instrumental and vocal music or harmony, including
the diametrically opposed orders and structures complementing one another
in the organic and inorganic realms of earth)
In this view of music, the whole of creations deepest realms meets in a structured
world-whole that does not know of the separation among the individual realms or
aspects: Tey complete; they overlap; they complement one another. Tey can be com-
pared to the rungs of Jacobs Ladder connecting heaven and earth. Old teachings inter-
pret Jacobs Ladder as Te Tree of Life or the Sephirot Tree.
Jacobs Ladder of Music
Te concept of music in ancient times was similar to the medieval concept of the four
rungs of Jacobs ladder. According to some, Jacobs ladder between heaven and earth
was thought to possess four great rungs, which can be seen as analogous to the four
great aspects of music. Here, the rungs of Jacobs ladder are considered as four worlds,
one upon the other, which are not separate according to our human conception of time
and space but permeate and complete each other in the here and now. Te World of
God overlaps the World of Ideas, which overlaps the World of Invisible Form not yet
materialized, which, in its turn, overlaps the World of Matter.
By cooperating, the integral whole comes to be; each part can only be understood
if seen as one part of a larger whole. Only a quartette of musics four aspects is able to
give the true Musica or Harmoniatrue music or harmony.
According to old teachings, the ladder to heaven that Jacob saw in his dream has
become an earthly, perceptible reality (and a conscious-immanent reality) in Christ as
the incarnation of the Logos, as the creative sound of the frst beginning. In his col-
loquy with Nathanael, Jesus explicitly refers to Jacobs Ladder: Verily, verily, I say to
you, Hereafer ye will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descend-
ing upon the son of man ( John 1:51 and Genesis 28:12). Christ becomes a symbol of
the ladder to heaven, as the reconciliation of opposites, as the mediator between what
is above and what is below, as the living and healing energy triumphant over death
who has the key to hell and death (cf. Book of Revelation 1:18). With this in mind,
Hildemarie Streich, Music in Dreams 65
we are able to understand St. Hieronymus speaking of Christus Summus Musicus (that
is, Christ as the universal supreme musician), in whom, as Jacobs Ladder come-to-life,
heaven meets earth and time meets eternity.
Contemporary musical dreams show that experiencing music as an entirety is not
only a phenomenon of days long gone by, but also a psychic reality waiting to be indi-
vidually recognized and, as a consequence, realized in the lives of modern people. Te
musical content in the dreams of present-day people relates to the ancient concept of
music as harmony. Although no longer recognized by modern isolated rationality, the
deepest parts of the psyche still harbor a knowledge of music as a wholeas a unify-
ing, harmonizing, and purging force. Accordingly, dreams with images of disharmony,
musical destruction, or blockages tend to occur when one is unaware of disturbances
in the harmonic order of psychic and psychosomatic forces. Te task of these dreams is
to show these disturbances so they can be recognized and remedied, thus ofering their
dreamer a chance to regain his or her lost harmony. Ten again, musical motifs may
take the form of a musical mandalaa symbol of centrality, the goal to be achieved,
and the unifcation of opposites, and they do this either to point out possibilities of
order and harmony, hitherto unknown and now to be realized, or to serve as tempo-
rary compensation for a condition of distress and disorientation.
A distinct group of music-related dreams may be a prelude to a new phase in the
dreamers development, a kind of herald in announcing the coming changes. Ten
again, dreams may use musical imagery at any time whatsoever and focus on a musi-
cal instrument or occurrence. Closer examination of the given musical motif may be
essential for interpreting these dreams. Not always, though, do dreams place the musi-
cal motif in a central position. In many cases, we fnd it humbly and unobtrusively
in a background position. Still, paying heed to even the least occurrence of a musi-
cal motif or reference is worthwhile. Not always, yet usually to a much higher degree
than frst assumed, its analysis will enrich the conscious mind with a precious piece of
knowledge, clad in such insignifcant apparel that one might have easily passed it by
unawares.
I will now present a small selection of musical dreams with an initial therapeutic
characterdreams that opened up new possibilities of insight, healing, and growth.
Tey are taken from the series of English lectures concerning Music in Dreams, given
by the author at the C.G. Jung Institute in

Zrich.
Examples of Music-Related Dreams
Tese examples are taken from a collection of over 800 music-related dreams. For
these contributions, I am obliged to people with experience in psychotherapy and to
those with none, to colleagues, to interested circles all over the world, to members
of various nationalities, and last but not least, to my patients in psychotherapeutic
66 jung journal: culture & psyche 3:2 / spring 2009
or music-therapeutic treatment. Tese dreams came from all kinds of people, ranging
from musical experts to those calling themselves tone-deaf.
1. Te Music-Tree
Tis dream comes from a thirty-nine-year-old German Protestant teacher, whose an-
cestors were French Catholic and Jewish. At the time she had the dream, she was trying
to fnd a way to unite her diferent heritages.
I am in a church like the church of Birnau, a very famous Catholic one at the Bodensee (Lake
Constance) with marvelous ceiling fescos. I am on the gallery. Strangely, this gallery is like
the huge, large, and broad bough of a tree, which grows fom the deepest parts of the earth
and high up into the blue air, into the clouds, and beyond into heaven. Standing there quite
at ease on a strong branch of this tree, I look at the ceiling above me, where a host of angels
is busily making music. But there is no fesco-painted stone ceiling as in Birnau, in its place
there is something like a musical heaven, so close I can almost touch it. Everything is most
real and alive. Te music rendered is of an extraordinary beauty; both joyous and profound
it links heaven and earth. For the churchs nave below is not made of stone either but of farm-
land that looks like the expectant, fesh-scented soil in spring, and it seems to absorb deeply
the current of heavenly music pouring fom above in order to return it later in a transformed
variety of crop, fuit, and fowers.
Tis dream of the treelinking heaven and earth and music, including the root
of all thingsnot only reminds us of Jacobs Ladder or the Tree of Life, but also of
St. Hieronymus description of Christ as the universal supreme musician, in whom all
aspects of music, all chords and discords of harmony, are reconciled. Tis dream image
gave the dreamer both deeper insight into and inner experience of the essential pos-
sibilities in the relationship of spirit and matter, of what is above and what is below,
of reason and emotion, of her Protestant and Catholic and Jewish ancestors, and of
heaven and earth. Tis dream also greatly inspired her work and proved to be fruitful
and enriching in her life.
2. Te Broken Cello
A thirty-seven-year-old social worker who played no instrument whatsoever sought
psychoanalytical treatment for her severe depressions. At the beginning of her therapy,
she remembered this dream:
My cello is broken and out of joint. I cant play it anymore. Te strings are broken. Te reso-
nant chamber is damaged. I am supposed to take it to a violin-maker. Someone says to me: It
will take a long time, but given patience and precision work, your cello will be sound again.
Here, essentially, the musical instrument is used as a comprehensive visual image for
the dreamers back trouble and her disturbed state of mind, which is much in need of
healing. Te shape of the cello renders the idea of the human shape as a kind of musi-
cal proto-instrument. But, as for this woman, the instrument is not intact and cannot
Hildemarie Streich, Music in Dreams 67
follow its vocation of sounding its unique voice and fnding its place in that great, liv-
ing, breathing orchestra of humankind. It is out of jointsays the dream; it is not sound
because the back of the resonant chamber is brokensays the dream (note that the English
word sound is also synonymous with healthy, intact, reliable, stable, and so on).
And indeed, the main source of her desolation was a dissociation from herself and
her environment. Certain instances in her biography had led to the womans losing
her backing on various levels. Having a parental background of a despotic father and
a compulsive mother, she had sufered the loss of a childs initial trust, which, in turn,
broke the string linking her with her transcendental backgroundi.e., she had lost her
religio. As a consequence, she was no longer able to respond when called upon. Cutting
her connections, she grew lonely. Out of touch, she grew out of tune. With no strings
intact, the instrument was no longer sound. Visiting the violin-maker is the only way to
make the cello sound again. Tus, a way to overcome chaos and destruction in a grad-
ual process of healing is ofered.
Te dream is helpful in four ways: It unambiguously states whats wrong; it
demands that she seek help; it encourages hope of recovering; and it advises patience
and diligence for a long, protracted undertaking.
Visual dream images of damaged musical instruments can impressively indicate the
distress a person sufers from, the causes of that condition, and a suitable remedy. In such a
context, we fnd images of splits, tears, partial or complete destruction, and negligence and
soiling. Not always, though, is the chance of healing clearly indicated as in this dream, in
which case, the patient must enter a phase of consciously facing the initiated problem.
In the course of this analysis, the cello image together with other musical imagery
kept coming up, commenting on the process of gradual healing as well as on its hin-
drances. At a later stage in her development, the patient dreamed that she had obtained
a viola da gamba (a small instrument rather like a cello) and was supposed to take les-
sons. Tis dream marked the beginning of a new phase, coinciding with a change in her
place of work and renting a small fat; it also led to her obtaining a real viola da gamba
and then taking lessons. As for her inner life, she had grown to be a somewhat sounder
person, a little more at home with herself; contact with her own self had been made.
Now she had to learn how to play the instrument of her personto fnd her own
voice. Little by little, she resumed contact with the world around her. In this phase, her
dreams showed images of her making music with others, with its accompanying joys,
sorrows, and difculties.
3. Te Black Mans Song
Tis dream comes from a twenty-six-year-old American of Jewish origin who sufered
from an inferiority complex. He had committed a criminal ofense, and he was ashamed
of his race, a professed atheist, and in his own view, an utterly unmusical person.
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In my dream, I take a walk with a black man who is singing a long song about his life and
its problems. Te song is also a religious one expressing a yearning for the return home. It is
called, Home to Moses, Home to Christ, Home to God. Deeply moved by the black mans
song, I tell him that I am his fiend.
On waking up, the song remains with the man and accompanies him throughout the
day. Tis dream initiated a new attitude to this life, to his race, and to the dark brother
in his soul. In a most impressive way, the dream complements the dreamers conscious
atheist attitude and indicates a longing to return to his roots, to the home ofered in
the religious experiences of his forefathers. Up to then, this wish had been repressed
and, therefore, unappreciated and unfulflled.
4. Musical Structures: Dream of James Kirsch
Tis is the dream of a seventy-seven-year-old psychiatrist who neither read nor played
music and up to then had appreciated music as a language of feelings only:
In my dream, I see a large sheet of music and, in this sheet of music, the profoundest roots
of music and of the psyche, an overwhelming and profound root system. Overjoyed I look at
the sheet, whose music I can hear and seesounding geometric-mathematical structures of
a deeply moving lucidity and equally of an unfathomable profunditysuch as I have never
experienced or been conscious of before. Tere is a lot more to it than I am able to grasp. I
wake up wondering: How can I access these archaic structures of music that are also the basic
structures of the psyche?
For this dream, the author has to thank James Kirsch, M.D., Jungian analyst and a
founder of the C.G. Jung Institute, Los Angeles. Born in Berlin, Dr. Kirsch emigrated
from Nazi Germany to London and later came to the United States. On the occasion
of the Eranos Conferences in Ascona, to which the author was several times invited as
a speaker, Dr. Kirsch and his wife discussed the meaning of music in their dreams. Tey
were so struck with her approach that on their following visits to Europe they brought
with them numerous music-related dreams from their patients and their trainee analysts
for interpretation, thus enriching the authors collection of musical dreams. Te follow-
ing dream told by a sixty-eight-year-old American writer is one of their contributions.
5. Te Dock Workers Dream
Te setting is the New York waterfont at night where a high-spirited union meeting cum cel-
ebration is taking place. Present are the dock workersblacks and whitesand their sons.
Ten suddenly, in the foreground one of the black leaders begins to blow his brilliantly pol-
ished trumpet. Te music is jazz, gorgeous, improvised jazz. Immediately, I hear a respond-
ing trumpetfarther away and closer to the waters edgefom one of the prominent white
dock workers. And as the music foats back and forth between these two men, I realize they
are engaged in a dialogue, that they are talking in a loving, good-natured fashion. I am
deeply stirred by this duetand suddenly two more trumpets join them: their sons. And the
Hildemarie Streich, Music in Dreams 69
colloquy foats back and forth in a vibrant jazz. And then, the black player in the foreground
lifs his trumpet to the black, starless night sky, and I see the notes literally issuing fom his
horn and planting themselves in the blackness of the night. And the phrase fashes through
my mind: written on the wind in gold . . . It is a thrilling dream.
In a musical fashion, this dream initiates a new phase in the dreamers inner devel-
opment with respect to the harmonic and highly dynamic ensemble playing of oppo-
sites so far experienced in bitter combat only; in particular
Te opposites of black and white sounding their trumpets in a wonderful and
mutually complementary way of making music. Tus, the dreamer is shown a
peaceful solution to his most urgent problem of racial discrimination as well as
to the equally pressing question of how to achieve the productive cooperation of
the conscious and unconscious and the light and dark forces within himself.
Te ensemble playing of diferent generations: In two respects, the dreamer
acutely felt the diferences in age: In his outer life, he experienced the genera-
tion gap in his relationship to his parents and to his childrenwhereas in his
inner life, interests and needs appropriate to his age frequently and vehemently
collided with urges and drives belonging to a younger and rather adolescent
stage equally alive within him.
Ten there is the musical relation among the colors black, white, and gold. In
their symbolic aspect, they can be seen as symbolic representations of the stages
the psycheever and anewhas to pass through in its development. From
time immemorial, black (i.e., nigredo) represents the dark, unprocessed, and
ofen chaotic initial state of all things emerging; white (i.e., albedo) represents
the cathartic phase of purgation and clarifcation; and gold (i.e., citrinitas and
rubefactio) represents the phase when we see the dawning of a new perception
and of an individually novel approach to life.
Finally, the dream shows yet another way of communing in a more religious
way: the musical communication of the dreamer with what is above him,
planting his music into the nocturnal darkness of the divine presence.
Like a musical sketch of the next phase to come, the dream preludes the tasks and themes
that the dreamer will now have to elaborate in his life, patiently and perseveringly.
Dreams of Professional Musicians
Te musical dreams of professional musicians tend to take on a professional character.
Sometimes they are musical nightmares concerning the loss of sheet music or musical
instruments. Tey may also be admonishing the dreamers in times of too much stress or
when on the verge of losing their musical balance. Te two dreams that follow are taken
from a dream series covering more than forty years, which were given to the author by a
70 jung journal: culture & psyche 3:2 / spring 2009
then sixty-seven-year-old musician who never experienced psychoanalysis in any form.
But, in the course of his life, he was so favorably impressed by musical dreams helping
and inspiring him that he took to recording them for further refection.
6. An Encounter with Johann Sebastian Bach
At the age of 35, I was writing a book on musical ornamentation. Before I could hand
in the manuscript to the publishers, it was destroyed in a bomb attack. About this time
I had the following dream:
I was walking along by myself, when I suddenly noticed a companion by my side. When I saw
his fiendly, broad, and pink countenance, his pink coat with its characteristic silver buttons,
the idea dawned on me that this was Johann Sebastian Bach as I knew him fom the pastel
drawing fom the collection of Philipp Emanuel Bach (today at Tiengen in the Upper Rhine
Valley). It was but his ghost, yet quite real and fiendly in the fashion of Turingians. I was
overawed. We kept walking in silence while I tried to make up my mind on the proper way of
addressing him: organist in Weimar, concert master in Kthen, choirmaster in Leipzig, and
ah, yes, Royal Polish Composer (Hofompositeur) at the Dresden Court! At last I gathered the
courage to speak to him and said, Herr Hofompositeur, about this ornament in your Eng-
lish Suite in d-minor, may I ask how you used to do it? You see, I am rather at a loss at how to
get it right, and really so glad of this chance to ask you! To my infnite amazement and with a
marked Turingian-Saxon accent, Johann Sebastian simply answered, Ah well, actually, Im
not sure myself. Sometimes like this, sometimes like thatand then he walked of.
7. Talking with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When I was about forty years old, I once dreamed that I was going for a walk in
Vienna:
I found myself in the street called Auf der Widen. Suddenly Mozart was right next to me.
I was taken aback and overjoyed at the same time. I could feel a fux of communication
between us, yet tried to think of the proper way to address this beloved, incomparable mas-
ter. Salieri was Leader of the Royal Orchestra, whereas Mozart was known by Hofomposi-
teur (i.e., royal Composer). I noticed that reading my thoughts, Mozart was amused. And so
I said to him, Look Herr Hofompositeur, look, this is where you used to live! Tere was a
sign on the house saying Schwarzspanienhaus (the actual house had long since been demol-
ished, andas I remembered on waking upin fact, it was Beethoven not Mozart who
used to live there) together with an old-fashioned plaque shaped like a weather vane, say-
ing in golden bronze letters, Former Home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Te Mozart
Society. Open fom 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Almost overcome by his having lived in this house, I
said: Herr Hofompositeur, here is the very house you used to live in! To my utter surprise,
Mozart answered in a marked local accent: An Schmarrn hab i da gwohnt, das war ja im
Haus nebenan!What rubbish, its not there I used to live at all, its next door! Eagerly
I said to him that one ought to inform the Mozart Society of their mistake. But Mozart
replied, Ah was, s Mobiliar is eh nit echt, unds is ja eh wurscht, wo smich verehrn, in dem
oder in dem Haus.Ah, what the heck. Te furniture isnt genuine anyway. And whether
Hildemarie Streich, Music in Dreams 71
they honor me in this house or that, I couldnt care less! And afer this amusing piece of fip-
pancy, Mozarts spirit disappeared.
Both his composer dreams helped and inspired the musician greatly, for they
encouraged him to strive for the optimal in his synthesis of a formal academic approach
to music with free artistic interpretation. His performance thus gained an unusual live-
liness and transparencydrawn right from the sources one might say, which won him
international fame.
Dreams on Death and Dying
In some dreams music seems to play the conductor of the souls role in helping the soul
to enter into life afer death. In such instances, the music heard is of an indescribable
beauty and leaves the dreamer feeling comforted and certain of timeless forces that ex-
ist beyond death. Tus, some of these dreams render an intense experience of music as a
messenger of realities invisible to us. Ten there are other dreams in which doors open
that lead into a hitherto shut-of land.
8. Heavenly Music
Tus, in a dream shortly before his death, an eighty-six-year-old man, fatally ill and
grown wise with age, heard wonderful heavenly music of indescribable beauty that
convinced him there was some great benevolence surrounding, embracing, and sup-
porting the universe. In this dream, music serves as a messenger bearing tidings of a
force that transcends empirical knowledge and human capacity for understanding so
that, for the sake of more subtle experiences, the senses of perception adapt to those in-
visible realities of the world.
9. Music, Word, and Light
Te inner kinship of sound, word, and light is one of psyches earliest experiences. Te
dream of a modern woman shows the lasting relevance of this experience. In her dream,
music, word, and light work together, heralding her immanent death and the opening
doors to a hitherto locked world. As bearer of the word, her late husband fgures as
conductor of the soul. In her dream the day before her death, this ffy-nine-year-old
woman heard wonderful music of such an overpowering beauty that it exceeded the
power of speech. Along with the music and a current of light pouring in, a large door
opens, through which her husband, who had passed away recently, steps toward her.
With a radiant smile he says to her, I have not come for you today, but tomorrow I
will. And indeed, the day afer the woman died, in peace and with a joyous smile.
Both in dreams during our lifetime as well as in the dreams dreamed on the thresh-
old of death, music may appear as the psyches conductorin the frst case, opening
72 jung journal: culture & psyche 3:2 / spring 2009
doors in our mind leading to new stages of inner growth, in the latter leading the way
to existence afer death, thus spanning the gulf between life and death like a bridge.
Tis is obviously quite in accordance with the ancient meaning of music as harmony,
as the force thatagainst all oddsconnects apparently incompatible contradictions
into an integral whole. Tus, music-related dreams can be seen in context with the four
great aspects of music and harmony (discussed at the beginning of this article) that
possess no fxed outlines but overlap and permeate each other.
Most of the musical motifs in dreams make use of the rich and almost inexhaust-
ible store of imagery supplied by practical music. When we take a closer look at this
element in the world of matter, though, we fnd psychic and cosmic-divine musical
forces intertwined into practical music waiting to be recognized and to infuence our
lives. By pointing out either harmonic possibilities or disturbances of the harmonic
order, musical motifs in dreams refer to music in its ancient meaning as harmony
which, in fact, seems to reveal a deep need for compensation with the psyche: In times
of disunion, dispersal, discord, destruction, and horror, the healing force within the
psyche seeks images representing the integral whole. Te loss of these images does
much harm. Regaining them can help remedy this harm. Here, as in other cases, as we
have seen, music may serve as the psyches therapeutic agent, initiating and conducting
new phases of development.
Our world is full of disharmonies and dissonances as yet unresolved. Te archaic
concept of music, according to which dissonance is but the helpmate of consonance,
must once again become a part of human experience. In dreams, the unconscious
makes use of the most varied images to make this clear and to enable the soul to grow
healthily.
Te concept of music as harmony also helps us understand medical men of ear-
lier times when music was considered a purging force, a harmonizing energyand
used accordingly as a remedy in the healing process in which therapy strove for musi-
cal cooperation of the forces of the mind and the juices of the body. Insofar as our
therapeutic eforts aim at harmonizing peoples diverging inner forces, which are ofen
responsible for disassociation, they are in accordance with a deep musical intention and
confrm harmony in its ancient meaning as a condition necessary to life and death.
In our time of acoustic and optical fooding of the senses, little leeway is lef for
developing the more subtle inner powers of perception, such as inner vision and inner
listening to natures wisdom. Exposure to excessive demand blunts the ear and clouds
the eyes. Musical dreams show the unconscious in the attempt to help us regain the
lost capacity for inner perception. Tey admonish us to listen to the forces deep in
the organic, psychic, and cosmic realms, and call for obedience to the divine. To quote
from the fourteenth century Adam of Fulda, Musica applicabilis est ad omnia, etiam
ad divina, which is to say, Music is connected with everything, even the divine.
Hildemarie Streich, Music in Dreams 73
note
An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2nd World Congress for Psychotherapy,
July 48, 1999, in Vienna, Austria.
endnote
1. Biographical statement prepared by Joerg Rasche, Berlin, January 2009.
dr. hildemarie streich,
1
was born in Berlin in 1922 in a very cultivated and democratic
family. Her father, working as an archivist, was a thoroughly educated man, co-founder of the
Vershnungsbund (a European peace-and-reconciliation movement during World War I) and
translated the cabbalistic book Sohar into the German language. Te family was engaged in
the Christian resistance against the Nazi dictatorship; one uncle was therefore sentenced to
death in 1940. Hildemarie started to work in hospitals very early. She was musically gifed
and afer 1946 studied music as well as music therapy, musicology, and psychology in Berlin,
Freiburg. and London. She received a Ph.D. in psychology. Her analytical training began
in 1960 with Dr. Kthe Bgler as her training analyst and was completed in 1965. She gave
lectures at the Psychological Club in Zurich, the C.G. Jung Institute, and at several Eranos
conferences from 1973 to 1979. Dr. Streich published several articles about her work, most
of them connecting music and analytical psychology. Some of them can be found in the
relevant Eranos yearbooks. She wrote the introduction of Atalanta Fugiens, by Michael
Maier, an alchemicalmusicalartistic masterpiece from 1618 (Ed. Joscelyn Godwin,
Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks #22, Phanes Press, 1989). Correspondence: D-14052
Berlin, Preussenalle 38. She was in close contact with Dr. Riklin and James and Hilde Kirsch,
who used to send dreams to her and asked for her interpretation. In spite of her growing
reputation, Dr. Streich did not become a member of IAAP and the DGAP because she had
no theoretical study in a training institute. Nevertheless, she was for decades very important
for the analytical and personal development of many trainees of the Berlin Institute. She
is now eight-seven-years-old. She can no longer see, but her capacity for intuition is still
remarkable.
abstract
Tis article is a distillation of the work of musician and analyst Hildemarie Streich, who collected
over 800 dreams with musical themes. She underlines the signifcance of music in dreams
through an exploration of the ancient meanings of music and through illustrations from the
dreams of people who have and who have not undergone analysis. She introduces the medieval
theme of Jacobs Ladder of Music in relation to the dreams of contemporary peoplemusicians
and non-musicians, suggesting roles that dreams with musical themes may introduce, including
the harmony of the soul, a source of nonrational creativity, and preparation for death.
key words
Adam of Fulda, Aphrodite, Johann Sebastian Bach, death, dreams, Harmonia, Jacobs Ladder,
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, music, musical imagery, musical instrument, tree
Reproducedwith permission of thecopyright owner. Further reproductionprohibited without permission.