It’s that time of year again and everywhere you turn, you can’t help but bump into Christmas. In that spirit, I share with you the term Santa Claus from my upcoming book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide To Interpreting Any Dream, coming from Llewellyn Press February 8th, 2001.
Universal Landscape: Innocent belief in the magic power of love.
Dreaming Lens: What was Santa Claus doing in your dream? Were you dressed as Santa? Was the Santa Claus the real thing or a man in a costume? Was the dream pleasant or punitive? Were there presents involved? Was it Christmas?
Personal Focus: Christmas come with the Winter Solstice, the time when the days are shortest in the Northern Hemisphere. During this darkest time of the year, we reminisce about the bounty of sunshine with a tree that is decorated with the symbolic fruits of spring. Santa Claus is the icon at the foundation of this mythology. He represents the magical power of love to transcend all darkness. This power is associated with the innocence of childhood, for once the belief in it is abandoned, it can be very difficult for people to fully believe in magic again.
There are two developments around the idea of Santa Claus in modern times that are worth mentioning. Somewhere along the line, parents began to use the promise of what Santa might bring to a child in order to manipulate them toward good behavior. If a child is good, they receive presents. If bad, they get a lump of coal. To solidify this notion, he was bestowed with the power to see what was occurring during the year as a sort of moral compass. This was popularized by the famous lyric, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
While on the surface this is a charming notion, Santa’s voyeurism is a falsehood, so the spirit behind instilling this sort of fear into children is manipulative and judgmental. Look to see where in your life you may be overly concerned with whether you’ve been bad or good and what the consequences might be. Conversely, the appearance of Santa in a dream could indicate a desire to exert control over someone else’s behavior (or to be feeling controlled by another) in a way that is indirect or passive aggressive.
If your Santa Claus is in any way dark or menacing, look to where your consciousness may be reflecting the misuse of love or magic. When an archetypal character aspect is reflecting shadow material, they might be engaged in behavior that is contrary to what is expected of them. Are you manipulating some situation to get what you want by being over-generous or giving too much? Sometimes the impulse to be generous comes with a hidden hook of trying to snare what you secretly want in return.
The concept of the “secret Santa” is a prominent modern day way in which this archetype is fully present. While an adult knows that there is no Santa Claus, we refresh our workplace spirit by agreeing that not only does Santa exist in our own hearts, but the best way to keep that energy alive and equally experienced by all, the identity of the giver must be kept secret. In this way, the essence of this energy is that yes, with apologies to Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus; but he exists within the heart of all human beings just waiting for an organic moment to express love through the generosity of giving.