are more than random fragments spun from your waking life. Pay them
proper respect and they will reward you with a greater understanding
of yourself and your world as you see it.
I began paying attention to my dreams
some years ago. I had been dreaming all my life, of course, but
my dreams always seemed to fade from consciousness within an hour
or so of waking (except for the occasional vivid or tiresomely repetitive
dream). You know the ones.
But something important happened to
me. I began to pay attention, to listen, and to record
my dreams. In the middle of an intense change in my waking life, my
dreams became glittering jewels strung across my confusion, leading
me somewhere new. I considered them a special, if mysterious, gift,
and still do.
Many of you are probably hoping for a quick interpretation of last
night's amazing visitation. Dream dictionaries are fun and sometimes
helpful when you are stumped about the meaning of an image or symbol
in your dreams. However, there's something even more important than
that. You need a method more than a dictionary, an attitude more than
an answer, when you work with your dreams.
If you see life as a process of growth,
then your dreams can be viewed as guideposts along the way, pointing
out something you may have overlooked in your haste. Contemplation
is certainly in order!
A dream may highlight a conflict or decision you need
to resolve. A dream may sometimes alert you that there is
something important for you to do or think about right now, but the dreamspace can be amazingly difficult to navigate when you want to apply it to your waking life. Dreamtime is not your usual linear time.
Perhaps your dream is reminding you
that there is a thread of life and meaning running deeper than your
daily routine that you need to grab hold of for a time. One of the
most satisfying type of dreams is a message that you are finally ready
to hear. Up it floats from your unconscious, ready to be integrated
with your waking life.
There are different types of dreams, of course. Prophetic or telepathic
dreams, problem-solving dreams (aha!), recurring dreams, lucid dreams,
nightmares, and others. However, a good general rule is that the majority
of your dreams, over time, are about you: your worldview, conflicts,
fears, loves, and progress through life.
Your dream may be very specific and
down-to-earth about something going on right now in your life. Or
you may have a dream that requires a bird's-eye kind of perspective,
as if you are looking at the events from a great height or with the
perspective of a lot of human history behind it (or a lot of your
history behind it). As you follow your dreams over time, you'll begin
to see your personal patterns and symbols moroe clearly.
people, animals, and objects
in your dreams
Often, the people in your dream represent qualities, not the literal,
actual people represented. If you dream about a particular movie star,
should you assume you have a crush on that person? Not necessarily!
Some movie stars play a particular type of character over and over
again, so your dreaming mind can point to that person symbolically
and you know what personality, character trait, or situation is being
Animals or favorite pets may begin appearing
in your dreams and may represent a part of yourself in the action
of the dream, a way of being. Some of us identify strongly with our
beloved pets! Animal symbols
have been important in every human culture, from heraldry to astrology
to totems. We have even created mythical animals like unicorns or
griffins or the phoenix to help us understand our lives more fully.
Again, think in terms of qualities or character traits symbolized
by the animal.
Pay close attention to the setting of
your dream. It offers a context for your dream and provides valuable
clues to its interpretation.
Is there activity in the dream relating
to an object? An ordinary, everyday object may symbolize a more complex
concept. Think about it!
a dream journal
So, how do you begin listening to your dreams? Like most profound
acts, it begins with something simple. Keep a paper and pen by your
bed. Be prepared to write, draw or jot notes about what you've seen
or experienced as soon after you wake up as possible. If you experience
a kind of half-awake, half-asleep state when you first get up, so
much the better. Take advantage of it! You are halfway into that other
When something doesn't make sense, keep
writing anyway. Keep fleshing it out as best you can. Sometimes details
will come forward that you thought you had forgotten. In interpreting the
dream, ask yourself questions, and then answer them. Allow your imagination
to guide you here, not your intellect. Usually, the first thing that
comes to mind is the most valuable. Write it down. Make associations.
Be prepared for the unexpected, the illogical, the humorous, even
If you can remember what was said in
the dream (if anything was), write it down, word for word. It may
hold an important key to your interpretation. If you hear words as
you are waking up, be sure to write them down!
I use the margins to add my own remarks
and interpretations that come up while I'm recording the dream. That
way, I have an accurate record of the dream events AND separately of my first interpretations.
There may come a time when you will interpret your dream differently.
Remember, dreams are slippery things. You are not in the land of one-to-one
correspondences and literal interpretations. Symbols are open to interpretation
and context is highly important.
You are always the best authority on
the meaning of your own dreams. But if you're having trouble understanding
a dream and you have a trusted friend to talk it over with, do so
within the first few days of the dream while it's fresh in your mind.
Sometimes, the very act of talking the dream over will help you break
through a block you've had in understanding it. Pick a friend who
thinks like you do and who's a good enough listener to let YOU work
up in this area
- Why dreams
are important to the creative process and how can you use them.
What various people and cultures have to say about the origin of
dreams. More about Freud and, most especially, Jung.
poetry and other works based on dreams.
more about symbols
Melissa Osborne/ Lyrica