“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe
Just as I was thinking about writing this post, I came across Jay’s 9 part Dream Analysis series over at Inner Noodle (I’ve linked to the latest post – 5 of 9). My version is the quick guide, but if you are looking for more in depth information about interpreting dreams, go check out Jay’s series. (It’s excellent!!)
Dreams have fascinated people for as long as we have been dreaming. Dreams can be strange, enjoyable and just plain fun to explain to someone else in the morning. I often spend time recording and interpreting my own dreams. For one, I think it’s fun, but also, I find that interpreting my dreams leads me to inspect areas of my life I am not aware of or that I am neglecting. Dreams provide me with clues about what steps I should take next and have helped me understand my waking life. Here is a simple process I use to interpret my dreams.
- Remember and record your dreams – At certain times I find it difficult to remember my dreams and at other times I am able to recall them vividly when I wake up. I find that one of the best ways to remember your dreams in the morning is to prep yourself at night. Just like you can wake up without an alarm clock by repeatedly thinking to yourself the time you need to get up, if you think to yourself “remember my dreams” you will have a better success rate. Also, make sure you have something to write down (or type) your dreams with close by in the morning.
- Notice the parts of the dream that stick out to you – Before you reach for a “dream dictionary” that lists dream symbols and their meanings, think about the parts of the dream that made an impression on you. Those are the things you want to analyze. Maybe you dreamed of a childhood friend that you have not thought of in years, or you had a certain emotion during the dream, or the color of an object stood out to you. Pay attention to these things.
- List all associations/meanings that come to mind – For all of the things that stand out to you, brainstorm ideas/thoughts/feelings that you associate with that thing. For instance, if a childhood friend shows up in your dream, ask yourself – “what was our relationship like?” “what was his/her personality like?” “what do I think of when I think of that friend?”. Don’t censor yourself. If you need some ideas, this is where you can turn to a dream dictionary, but I would brainstorm by yourself first.
- Notice how the things you picked out relate to each other in the dream – So, if your childhood friend is driving a silver car, think about the relationship between your friend, the car, and the color silver in the dream if those are the things that stand out to you.
- Ask yourself how this fits in to your life now – At this point you want to connect the meanings you have discovered and what’s happening in your life right now. Just ask yourself “how does this relate to my life now?” and see what you get. For example, maybe this childhood friend used to boss you around, and when you interpreted her that’s what came to mind first. Is there anyone in your life right now doing the same? How are the situations similar and how did you interact with this friend in the dream? This may give you clues as to what steps you need to take next.
Dream interpretation is not an exact science. A dream is a web of meanings and symbols that needs to be sifted through to get to a message, but ultimately a dream is what it means to you.
Do you believe that dreams are meaningful? What’s been your experience with dream interpretation? Let us know what you think in the comment section.