The Freud Museum


Birth Dreams

"A large number of dreams, often accompanied by anxiety and having as their content such subjects as passing through narrow spaces or being in water, are based upon phantasies of intra-uterine life, of existence in the womb and the act of birth.

"Here is a pretty water dream dreamt by a woman patient: ‘At her summer holiday resort, by the Lake of..........., she dived into the dark water just where the pale moon was mirrored in it.“Dreams like this one are birth dreams. Their interpretation is reached by reversing the event reported in the manifest dream; thus, instead of ‘diving into the water’ we have 'coming out of the water', i.e. being born. We can discover the locality from which the child is born by calling to mind the slang use of the word ‘lune’ in French [‘bottom’] [cf. ‘mooning’]. The pale moon was thus the white bottom which children are quick to guess that they come out of.

"In dreams as in mythology, the delivery of the child from the uterine waters is commonly presented by distortion as the entry of the child into water; among many others, the births of Adonis, Osiris, Moses and Bacchus are well-known illustrations of this."

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