It is quite clear that dreams compensate conscious attitudes and plans (Jung, CW 8, par. 444 - 447, par. 457 - 460, par. 464 - 466). This having been said, we can go on to make a list of the various purposes that dreams have, spelling out some of the many ways that compensation takes place.
When consciousness is too one-sided, the unconscious has to ring the alarm bell and tell us that we are off course. At other times, it may be that we are unable to live out aspects of ourselves and the unconscious has to fill in the rest for a while. As you gain experience with dreams, moreover, it will quickly become obvious that the unconscious often has to resort to exaggeration and shock tactics to get its point across. Molehills become mountains so that we notice them. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't pay any attention and carry on as usual.
A further, very important function of dreams seems to be the processing of emotional material. Feelings ignored or inadequately expressed show up in our dreams in various ways and forms. Aggressive energies often appear as ravaging animals, for example (sharks in Australia, wolves in Europe, bears and other monsters in America). Sometimes situations are "replayed" so we can relive them emotionally.
A lot of dreams seem to be aimed at preparation for future eventualities and the creation of a sort of emotional reserve with which to meet them. What we face in a dream can be horrible, far worse than what we actually have to contend with in daily life (I suspect that people go to horror movies for the same reason). Another form of preparation has to do with trying out new behaviors and attitudes; for instance, seeing how it would be with that woman that we saw or a new boy friend.
Some dreams are simply frivolous and are to be enjoyed. They are like micro-vacations that restore our good spirits and refresh our outlook on life. Some are downright outstandingly beautiful or religious experiences which uplift us and expand our horizons. On the other hand, there are dreams which warn us about dangers in some plan that we intend to follow or point to relationships we are neglecting. Sometimes, they also inform us about impending calamities and catastrophes.
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