The meaning of interpretation of dreams in dream | Dream Interpretation
Although mind and body may be a total unity, and the separation in language merely a convenience, despite its unity our being has a number of interacting systems.
The action of the hean on the other systems is obvious, and the influence of emotions on the organs is also becoming obvious. What is not so well established is the importance of the feedback occurring when we gain insight into our own functioning through understanding a dream. Although our being is already a self regulating system, the ability to turn consciousness inwards to make clear aspects of unconscious function appears to increase the efficiency of self regulation. This is shown in the first example of reptiles, lizards, snakes, where David finds a long-standing neck pain and goes through insight into its cause. In this way wc might be seen as a conscious organism which not only reprogrammes mental patterns or habits, but to some extent can renovate or change body efficiency as well. See dream analysis; dream processing; the Introduction.
There are thousands of symbols, and it depends upon the context of one's own personal dream as to what they all mean for him / her.
Look at it this way...a dream is like a puzzle, and although there are several pieces that are quickly pieced together because they are so obvious, the puzzle isn't complete until all the pieces are placed together bit by bit.
Then you have the complete picture...until then, you-ll only have disjointed images that don't add up to anything coherent, and you'll still be confused..
Symbols in dream interpretation are just one piece of the puzzle. Each piece / symbol fits together and makes a complete picture.
The entire dream tells the story, not just 1 or 2 symbols picked out of it, and each individual will have different nuances affecting the dream...such as daily influences perhaps integrating into the dream.
For example: let's say you saw a movie yesterday about a vicious grizzly bear and it was frighteningly graphic, and then later that night you dreamt about a bear.
This would be less meaningful than if you suddenly had a dream about a bear one night, without prior influences.
That could be entirely different.
When interpreting dreams, the first thing everyone should consider is the typical universal meaning of the symbol / dream image.
For instance, death symbolizes the end of something that's ready for change, and a new beginning.
Most people start out highly resistive to changes of any sort, and see any upcoming change in their life as something foreboding and scary.
Death dreams are usually about change.
“All dreams are given for the benefit of the individual, would he but interpret them correctly.”
Most dreams are full of images: of people dead and alive, known and unknown, animals both domestic and wild, landscapes and buildings familiar and strange, or any number of other symbolic images such as jewelry, household things, clothing, and so on. A dream usually has some kind of a story line. You may find yourself on an adventure of some kind. You may dream of celebrities or other famous people either from the present or the past.
I once had a fascinating dream of visiting the president Woodrow Wilson, who had been in office during the time of World War I, long before I was even born. During my dream visit to the president, we talked of many things of a psychic and occult nature. I wondered what it meant. When I discussed this dream with my dreamwork partner, who was a good bit older than I and very knowledgeable about matters concerning the occult, he told me that Woodrow Wilson had held seances in the White House! At the time, I was just beginning my own studies of the occult and having psychic experiences on a regular basis.
Food is another symbol that often appears in dreams. The kind of food and how it is presented and eaten (if eating occurs) are matters for the dreamer to understand. Food dreams may relate to what you had for supper—or what you wanted to have and didn’t get. Or you may have food concerns, such as being on a diet to lose weight or trying to gain weight.
The number of symbols that the dream-mind can produce is practically endless, and most of these symbols are up for individual interpretation. Some, however, have universal meaning. We’ll discuss mostly the first kind in this chapter.
PERSONAL DREAM SYMBOLS
One of the best ways to get at the meaning of the symbols in your dreams is by free association. This is the method made popular by the psychologist Sigmund Freud. In this method, you simply go with the first thing that pops into your mind when the trigger word is given. Do the exercises presented on pages 48–50 in order to begin to get familiar with your own word associations.
AMPLIFICATION OF SYMBOLIC MEANINGS
Once you have identified a symbol in a dream, you can use the free association process to get at its meaning. If you don’t immediately get an associative thought about the dream symbol, work backward through your feelings and experiences with the symbol until you hit something that fits or makes sense. Suppose, for example, that you see a tiger in a dream. Do you like tigers or are they an object of fear? Maybe you saw a nature film recently about tigers and are concerned about their survival as a species. The important thing is to discover what a tiger means to you in the present, for the meanings of your symbols can change over time.
As you begin to work with your dreams on a regular basis and gain a high level of ability to recall your dreams (which we’ll discuss in chapter 5), you will become familiar with your own personal symbolic style. Most of us are influenced symbolically by the objects we are familiar with—such as religious symbols like crosses and pictures of saints or holy people—and also by our everyday life experiences. For example, if you have a pet of any kind, you are likely to dream about that animal. Of course, you may dream about animals even if you don’t keep a pet, and you may dream about wild animals. But if you dream of your own pet, it will have personal significance to you alone.
Sometimes you have a dream that seems to complete some unfinished business of the day—say you had a math problem you couldn’t solve and you dreamed yourself in a classroom with the solution written on the blackboard. Freud believed that dreams were “wish fulfillment” vehicles, and it is true that we can dream of things or experiences that we want (such as getting a date with a particular person) but dreams are much, much more than simple wish fulfillment. They are complex and multileveled, as you will realize by working steadily with your dreams.
“Then your I is no longer your mundane little self but the I of the Big Dreamer who is dreaming the whole universe.”
Fred A. Wolf, Physicist
Most dream symbols are not to be taken literally. You often need to do a bit of sleuthing to get at what the message of the dream symbol, or story, is for you. An example I read in one dream book was a dream of Bob Hope hopping on a pogo stick. At first, this seems nonsensical, but the dreamer was depressed and the dream was interpreted as “Hope springs eternal.” Here’s an example of a recent series of dreams of my own, concerning food.
- I was preparing to go on an eating program that required the elimination of all sugar, and as soon as I had set a date to begin I started having dreams of all kinds of luscious desserts—beautifully iced and decorated cakes, pies piled high with whipped cream, the most enticing confections of chocolate from cakes to cookies and everything in between, pastries stuffed with sweet cheese and iced with thick sugar, fancy French fruit tarts of every description.
- At first, I took this to be simple resistance of my unconscious to changing my eating habits, but I actually don’t eat a lot of sweets, and when I do have dessert I favor simple, homey things like custard, stewed fruit, or fruit cobbler. I’ve never had a taste for heavily iced cakes, plus I am one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t like chocolate! So why was I dreaming of all these fancy sweet foods that I wouldn’t even want to eat?
- My first take on the dreams—of which there were several during a week or so—was that I was feeling deprived in advance and that my imagination was plying me with these luscious images of sweets to weaken my decision to eliminate sweets. But this didn’t make a lot of sense, as the fancy confections weren’t what I’d want to eat anyway. So I looked deeper.
- What was food as a symbol to me, especially this kind of elaborately prepared party food? Well, party food means a party—or at least company for dinner. I’d been going through a period of relative isolation, partly because I was busy writing and partly because I hadn’t been feeling up to par. My social life had dropped to almost zero. The dreams were actually telling me that I was feeling deprived of—not the coming lack of sweets—but what special food, especially desserts, represents socially. Food of course represents nourishment; however, my dreams were not about nutrition! My first interpretation of deprivation was definitely a clue to the true meaning of the dreams. Yet they were a message that I needed, not sweets, but some sweet occasions and to take the time to be with people more. Can you think of a get-together that doesn’t involve food? Usually fancy food, and always, desserts.
- Using this as an example, think of what dreams of fancy desserts might mean to you. And if you’ve ever dreamed of food, try to remember what kind of food and under what circumstances you dreamed of it. Then think of what those various foods might symbolize for you.
Here’s another example along the same lines, but with a different twist—that of a lemon peel!
- A friend had been struggling with his weight, and he had decided to quit drinking his nightly martini in order to cut out some calories. He had decided to switch to a single glass of wine with dinner instead. He did this and found himself enjoying his new way of dining. But then he started having dreams about martinis. For about a week, he told me, he had nothing but dreams featuring martinis, with a twist of lemon peel. He had always put olives in his martinis, not lemon peel, so this puzzled him. When he told me about the dreams, I flashed on the standard language of a bartender, who when taking an order for a martini will say, “Do you want a twist?” After some discussion of what the word twist meant to him, he revealed that he had recently twisted his ankle and it had been quite painful, but he hadn’t bothered to see a doctor about the problem. His dream was showing him that a “twist” was in need of his attention. It didn’t relate to his martini drinking at all, except that this was a familiar picture and dreams always speak in our own language, even if they do twist it around a bit!
It is interesting to note that some types of dreams that we know to be quite common have never been reported from sleep labs (as least not as far as I have found in my research). One of these is the nightmare. It seems that people don’t want to tell their deepest fears to a sleep lab researcher. Another common type is the wet dream, so named for when a male ejaculates semen while dreaming (though females also have this type of sexual dream). It is interesting to note that most of the subjects in sleep labs are young male college students, whom one might presume to often have wet dreams. But these are, apparently, considered too private to dream when under observation.
Most dreams are not to be taken literally; just because you dream of someone dying does not mean the person will die. In fact, the literal interpretation of dreams can be dangerous and cause fear and anxiety. Also, dream books are not to be trusted. It’s worth repeating that you have your own set of inner symbolic meanings. What a cat means to me—an avid cat lover—and what a cat means to someone who hates or fears cats would be something quite different. Always remember that your inner symbol-producing mechanism is yours alone, unique. That being emphasized, there are a few symbols that can be considered universal, such as the ocean or water representing the unconscious processes.
The best way for you to learn to interpret your own personal symbol system is by continually paying attention to your dreams, writing them down, and doing your own interpretations. Dream interpretation is an art, not a science, and no scientific sleep lab can read the content or measure the meaning of dreams. Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess queen, was believed to say “No mortal has lifted my veil,” and this can well apply to the scientific efforts to penetrate the mysteries of dream in sleep labs.
If you are just beginning to pay attention to your dreams, begin the process of interpretation by recording the symbols that appear most frequently. This applies especially to any recurring dreams or motifs you may experience. For example, I know that when my cat Fuzz (who’s dead now) appears in a dream, it means my heart center is the subject of the dream. Depending on the story line of the dream and what Fuzz is doing or how we are interacting, I can figure out what the dream message about my heart is.
“There are a lot of people on the planet right now who don’t think that dreams are important. Perhaps it is that attitude which contributes to the ill health of the planet as a whole. If so, it depends more and more on you, the Spiritual Warriors of your generation, to weave the dreams that can heal the planet.”
Dr. Laurel Ann Reinhardt, “Dream Weaving,” in The Thundering Years by Julie Johnson
- Recently, I dreamed that Fuzz had been hit by a car, but I knew instinctively that he was still alive. My brother was waiting outside in a car and I asked him to take me to find Fuzz and get an emergency vet. He did and Fuzz was saved. The dream came on the heels of a severe disappointment (one might say I was heartbroken), but I was being told that everything would come out all right in the end, which it did.
- What is interesting about this dream is that even though I did not see the cat get hit by the car, I knew he was still alive. This told me that although I had been hurt emotionally, I would get over it. It also showed me that help was at hand—my brother was waiting in the car, and a vet was readily available. I had friends I could turn to who would help me to heal from a hurtful experience. In this way, our dreams spill over into everyday life.
The world of dream and intuition is really not divorced from our everyday reality, not a thing apart. Most people today think their dreams have nothing to do with real life, but they are wrong. We are all multifaceted beings with complexities of which often we are hardly aware. Too many people operate solely on linear thinking (the standard modern-day mode that is taught to young people in schools) and aren’t aware that there are other ways to think and to obtain information. As Seth, the “spirit guide” that Jane Roberts “channeled” in a series of books “by” Seth, says, “You must change your ideas about dreaming, alter your concepts about it, before you can begin to explore it. Otherwise, your own waking prejudice will close the door.”
All of the many facets of our personalities are operating all the time, even when we aren’t conscious of them, just like our body chemistry goes on about its business when we are totally unaware of its functioning. Dreams can speak to parts of ourselves that we are ignoring, but we can’t get the benefit from them unless we pay attention and approach their symbolic messages with an open mind and trusting heart.
While the symbolism in dreams may require interpretation, when we have difficulty with it we must realize that its purpose isn’t to mystify us. As Dr. Jung says in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections:
- I was never able to agree with Freud that the dream is a “façade” behind which its meaning lies hidden—a meaning already known but maliciously, so to speak, withheld from consciousness. To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intentions to deceive but expresses something as best it can just as a plant grows or an animal seeks its food as best it can.
In working with your own personal dream symbols and motifs to decipher the meaning of your dreams, you may need to come at them from all angles. The following mind-mapping technique is especially helpful for those who function better using pictures and images, colors and drawings, than using a strictly verbal or writing mode.
As you practice interpreting your dreams and get more deeply into the process, it will become an enjoyable habit and you’ll soon feel like an old pro at the game. You will get better and better, and your confidence will start to soar. Even if you have only a scrap of a dream to go on, it can lead to fruitful ideas. Here’s an example from my personal files:
- The Dream: A blond man speaks to me at a hotel of some sort. He breaks into French as his English fails him, and though I don’t know French well I understand what he is saying. He gives me a key, which looks like the key to the security lock on my front door in real life. I ask what it is for and he replies that I will find out. When I go back to my room at the hotel I find that the key fits into a TV set, tuning it to a higher octave or a channel, like UHF, but much higher than that. I watch something on this “TV” but don’t really understand it.
- My interpretation of this brief fragment (for there was more I didn’t remember) is that I am being given the “key” to a higher channel of myself. I don’t yet know how to use this channel, and I can’t understand what is being shown on this new type of TV. In other words, I am receiving communications in a language I don’t fully understand. This dream had great meaning for me, as I was at that time in the process of becoming “psychic,” but didn’t really know what it meant or where it would lead. Later on, I experienced the “opening of the psychic door” on a trip to Germany, became a Tarot card reader, a professional astrologer, and a psychotherapist. This dream seemed to forecast these developments. That the man was blond suggests the Sun, or Higher Mind. His speaking in French might be a reference to my own French ancestors, all of whom spoke French as their native language, yet it was not taught to me so I grew up speaking English from day one. This hinted that I already “knew” the “foreign” language from hearing it spoken as a child.
With a little skill, you’ll be able to start integrating your dreams into everyday life. We’ll get into this in the next chapter, where we discuss how you can use dreams for specific purposes. However, please approach the entire subject of your dreams, their interpretations, and how you can use them with an open mind and in a relaxed state. Getting tense over interpretation is counterproductive and will block your efforts to make connections.
Keywords of this dream: