The Path


While vehicles are symbols for our inner opportunities of progress, the path symbolizes the external situation through which we blaze our trail. The path as future perspective or as description of the current, can contain vital aspects as well as aspects of the inner and outer problem solving.

Every (accentuated symbol-) path is not only an expression of a possible cope with life, but also inextricably linked with a specific goal. The dream then often is an experimental field in which possible solutions and approaches are being checked. The path can also be a reflection of the path that was trodden in the past. Plus the path can be a threshold symbol which means that it symbolizes the transition from one area of consciousness to another.

The condition of the track is a message that is often easy to understand. In daily usage we find plenty of path phrases such as “being off the track”, “have been led up the garden-path” or “choosing the simple way”. For a proper interpretation all detail elements of the path like the direction, course, condition, appearance and suchlike are of importance. It is also important how the goal is being presented. It can be unknown, veiled or very close.

different kinds of the paths: (future) perspectives, tendencies regarding emotions, mental problems etc.

barriers: adversities in terms of problem solving, physical discomforts


  • Path characteristics

path over water or through air: see The four Elements

path ashore: we most commonly move ashore that's why here is no symbol value

curvy: no clear and straight perspectives

narrow path (mule track): seldomly used, less evident

broad path: conscious and easy path

uphill path: can mean a) a troublesome path or b) a path which leads to a raising of awareness

downhill path: going way down to lower zones of consciousness

downhill and uphill: with the meaning of life's up and downs


  1. wasted effort
  2. hitting the wall, being stretched to one's limits
  3. coming to a deadlock, becoming obsessed by something

hollow-way: limited by walls: path without alternatives and even without possibilities to look for alternatives and the surroundings

path trough a canyon: intensified form of the hollow-way aspect (cramped, oppressed, unfree)

fork in the path:

a) crossroads of diverging wishes, goals, etc.

b) need to make a decide

c) turning point in life

Left and right are often not equal but can have the following meanings: left = feelings, right = intellect. Depending on whether one is choosing the path of emotion or mind the future will be shaped differently. That is why it is interesting what kind of future the dream offers after the decision in the dream is made.

[...] We continued our walk through the dark forest. Suddenly, we found ourselves at a fork in the path. On the left hand side I noticed a waterfall and a wobbly, yellow bridge. It seemed as if the surroundings were brighter and more friendly in this direction. On the right hand side the path was leading deeper inside the uncanny but also towards our destination. I wanted to discover the bright scene to my left before following the dark path but my companion was not willing to go this way with me. Somehow disappointed I followed my companion towards our actual destination.” (Seth)

crossroad: same as fork but with the possibility to continue as usual

river: In contrast to the road the river shows especially “forces that carry away”. Also applies to an emotional path. The flow of the water gives a hint regarding the permanent transition and is also connected to the passing of time. The spring is the source and the sea is the end of the development (of the events, the life, etc.).

  • upstream (towards the spring): A backwards time travel

  • downstream: A preview of the future

  • orifice to the sea: final years

stony: obstacles, problems

parts of the path are flooded away: emotions hinder the act of getting away

a crevice opens up: intrusion of the unconscious

overgrown: danger of getting lost in the chaotic and overgrown unconscious

morass: The act of getting away is endangered to get out of hand due to an undertow of unconscious forces. This can apply to an impulsiveness that stands in conflict with other wishes, the good sense, etc.

bridge: The crossing of a border to another area (also see Threshold Symbols)

stone bridge: a solid path with earth emphasis

cable-stayed bridge: air emphasis. Contains dangers because it is located far above the earth.

tunnel: a path which leads in or through the unconscious (also see Threshold Symbols)


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Seth