The Dream Book of Self-Knowledge


  • symbolizes attachment to the world and dependencies that prevent the dreamer's free-thinking flight.
  • in some dreams shackles can symbolize family relationships, in which the dreamer subconsciously realizes their negative nature.
  • being shackled to another person: sometimes the image expresses a joint path through life, but more often traits of the shackled person are dependencies that bind the dreamer's mind; the problem is resolved if we are able to free the person and ourselves.
  • shackling another person or seeing this image: if instinctual personifications are shackled, then we are viewing a temporary image of the gradual assimilation of instinctual images by the emotional and spiritual content of the mind; if emotional personifications (sister, brother, physician etc.) are shackled, then the power of earthly living and instinctual thinking is restricting the dreamer's emotional experience.
  • freeing others from shackles: a positive symbol even if we are freeing dangerous instinctual personifications or other personifications of the Shadow archetype (usually a dragon or monster) since the dreamer's compassion has strengthened to such a point that he can handle a face-to-face encounter with the negative part of himself and assimilate it through a higher mind (emotional and spiritual level).
  • falling away, broken: can be an allegorical representation of the fact that the dreamer has completed one of his essential life tasks (usually ending a painful karmic relationship).
  • allegorically show the dreamer how human relationships, dependencies, wanting or refusing limit him and therefore it is good to rid oneself of shackles, not to bind others (except for a short period when a weak emotional person must be protected from otherwise instinctual personifications) and to free others who are bound.
  • leather: if they bind the dreamer, then his emotional experiences are restricted by sexual desire; this can also relate to past lives since this symbol is at present completely disappearing from people's subconscious (for more on the phenomenon of past lives see the Past and Future Visions archetype).
  • feeling how the shackles of the past are broken: this exceptional dream in a person's life comes once the person overcomes a strong dependency or if he settles a karmic debt (karma*26).
  • people trying to bind the dreamer with a rope: the dreamer should prepare himself for the fact that others will try to attach themselves to him; it should be realized that such forceful emotional bonds do not last long since they are not filled with emotion and therefore yield disillusionment with feelings of non-fulfillment and emotional division.
  • chained: they hold the dreamer in a materialistic view of the world, radically restrict his emotional experiences and prevent him from ascending to the spiritual level of consciousness.