Most people who do dream work have found it helpful to establish a system that allows them to jot down the initial interpretation of the dream quickly. Such a system makes it easy to refer back to their dreams.
The system should include the following:
1. Which persons in the dream could represent the animus (the masculine side—primarily in women but also in men) and / or the anima (the female side, primarily in men but also in women) ?
2. Are there people in the dream whom you reject, whom you fight against or hate? Particularly when they are of the same gender, they are likely to represent your own dark and rejected side, the shadow.
3. What is the main symbol, and what is your attitude toward it? It is possible that there is more than one “main” symbol. Access to a clear understanding of the symbol is possible when you characterize it in one sentence.
4. Which objects are important in the dream? What is their objective function in your daily life? What is their subjective function?
5. Try to determine what, in yourself, each symbol refers to.
6. Go over the sequence of actions or situations in your dream once more and ask yourself: Where in my everyday life have such behaviors or situations occurred?
Only after going through these steps, should you attempt to interpret your dream in its entirety. Summarize each interpretation in two or three clear-cut sentences.
This type of system is for those who have very little time in the morning for any extensive and detailed dream work. It could well be called a system for the stressed-out city dweller, which however doesn’t mean that it cannot be an effective and precise way for dealing with your dreams.
For those with more time, here are a few additional suggestions:
1. Before each interpretation, ask yourself: Where have I come from and where am I going? Examine your dream in that connection.
2. Look closely at each detail of your dream.
The small things give important suggestions that are easily overlooked.
3. Look very closely to see if there are objects that appear in an unusual combination. Look for magical and fairy-tale elements: for instance, transformations, breaks in time, or other unusual incidents. This is often the case in short dreams that sometimes seem composed like a still life and where natural objects combine unnaturally to create a certain atmosphere. Arbitrary combinations of familiar things always create unusual images or special atmosphere, and that is significant here. Begin your interpretation with this atmosphere.
4. At the end of each interpretation, ask yourself: Can I transfer what I have learned in the dream to my everyday life? It is best to have a plan on how to immediately integrate these “lessons” into your life.... Little Giant Encyclopedia