If a specific gemstone or precious stone appears in your dream, try to work out what that stone means to you. Was it your birth stone or the birth stone of someone you know? You should also consider its color. The texture and any associations or myths connected should also help with your interpretation. It would be impossible to list all precious and semiprecious gemstones, but the following associations with some of the most well-known gemstones should give you some guidelines regarding interpretation; but please note that it is always worth your while to do your own research.
Purple has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence, and in dreams the appearance of amethyst suggests healing and transcendence. The gemstone is also a symbol of sobriety and remorse, due to the legend of the origin of amethyst. Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws of the tigers. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
Diamond is the symbol of incorruptibility, integrity, perfection and wisdom, so if you dream of it, these may be themes that would repay further investigation in your interpretation. But your dream may also be hinting that you need to look at various facets of a problem. There is also the association with human greed. As a symbol of fertility and regeneration, emerald in dreams suggests personal growth and a connection with the natural in life. The green of the emerald is the color of life and of the springtime, which comes round again and again. But emerald is also the traditional color of beauty and of constant love. In ancient Rome, green was the color of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. In dreams, emerald can convey harmony, love of Nature and elemental joie de vivre.
According to Chinese legend, jade is the sperm of the Celestial dragon that fell to earth; it therefore represents a union between heaven and earth. In the West, jade is more likely to bear the symbolism of its color green. It may also appear in dream word-play. Is there something in your waking life about which you feel jaded and would like to change? In gemstone therapy, it is said that jade stimulates creativity and mental agility on the one hand, whilst also having a balancing and harmonizing effect
A symbol of the inner world of fantasies and dreams, opal stands for intuitive awareness. All of nature’s splendor seems to be reflected in the manifold opulence of fine opals: fire and lightning, all the colors of the rainbow and the soft shine of far seas. Almost ninety-five per cent of all fine opals come from the dry and remote outback deserts of Australia. For ages, people have believed in the healing power of opals. It is reported to be able to cure depression and to help its wearer find true and lasting love. The fantastic color- play of opals may reflect changing emotions and moods; either your own or of the people around you. For example, the sparkling images of boulder opal, the vivid light flashes of black opal or the soft shine of milk opal characterize the colorful world of this fascinating gemstone.
Rubies are a symbol of emotion, passion, empathy and reaching out to others. The most important characteristic about this valuable stone is its color. There is of course a reason for this: the name ‘Ruby’ was derived from the Latin word ‘rubens’, meaning ‘red’. The red of rubies is in a class of its own, being peculiarly warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this color: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. In the light of this, ruby-red is not just any old color red; it is the epitome of the color: hot, passionate and powerful. Like no other gemstone, ruby is the perfect symbol of powerful feelings. To dream of a ring set with a precious ruby does not symbolize a calm and moderate sympathy that one might feel for someone else, but rather the passionate and unbridled love which two people feel for each other.
Sapphires are symbols of hope, joy and aspiration, and blue is the color most often association with this precious stone. This color is also linked to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty. These emotions are permanent and reliable—they are emotions in which overwhelming and fiery passion is not the main element, but rather composure, mutual understanding and unshakeable trust. Sapphire blue has thus become a color related to anything permanent and reliable, and this is one of the reasons why women in many countries settle on sapphire for their engagement rings. Sapphire symbolizes loyalty and faithfulness, whilst at the same time expressing love and yearning.
The most famous musical example for this melancholic shade of blue can be found in George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Sapphire’s blue color is also evoked where clear competence and controlled brainwork are the issue. After all, the first computer ever to wrangle a victory from a chess grandmaster and world champion was named ‘Deep Blue’.
In many cultures of the Old and New World turquoise has for thousands of years been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck charm or a talisman. In Asia and Europe, turquoise is often worn as protection against the evil eye and its exquisite shade of blue is associated with heaven. In dreams it can represent healing and higher aspirations.... The Element Encyclopedia
Freud, who greatly influenced the field of psychology, believed dreaming to be a ’safety valve’ for unconscious desires, but it was not until the 1950s that scientists were able to study sleep and dreaming and come to some of their own conclusions.
In 1953, Eugene Aserinsky of the University of Chicago noticed that the eyes of sleeping babies moved beneath their eyelids at certain regular intervals. This led to the discovery of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep periods, which occur at roughly sixty to ninety minute intervals throughout the night, and contain the dreams that are the most vivid and most often remembered. Since then, EEG recordings that monitor brain activity during sleep have been used to map the various stages of sleep. Scientists soon realized that the strange, illogical experiences we call dreams almost always occur during REM sleep. Whilst most mammals and birds show signs of REM sleep, reptiles and other cold-blooded animals do not. REM sleep begins with signals from an area at the base of the brain called the pons. These signals travel to a brain region called the thalamus, which relays them to the cerebral cortex—the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for learning, thinking and organizing information. The pons also sends signals that shut off neurons in the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis of the limb muscles.
If something interferes with this paralysis, people will begin to physically ’act out’ their dreams—a rare, dangerous problem called REM sleep behavior disorder.
REM sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. This may be important for normal brain development during infancy, which would explain why infants spend much more time in REM sleep than adults.
Like deep sleep, REM sleep is associated with an increased production of proteins. One study found that REM sleep affects the learning of certain mental skills. People taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could recall what they had learned after sleeping, whilst people deprived of REM sleep could not.
Some scientists believe dreams are the cortex’s attempt to find meaning in the random signals that it receives during REM sleep. The cortex is the part of the brain that interprets and organizes information from the environment during consciousness. It may be that, given random signals from the pons during REM sleep, the cortex tries to interpret these signals as well, creating a ’story’ out of fragmented brain activity.... The Element Encyclopedia
Perhaps the best way to understand sleep and dreams is to understand the brain. At the very start of the twentieth century it was found that the brain gave off electrical impulses, and by the 1920s scientists could measure brain waves. To obtain these readings, electrodes were attached to various parts of the head, the impulses being transformed onto electroencephalograms (EECs) on computer screens.
It seems that once you settle down to bed, your brain and body undergo radical changes from their waking state. The difference between being asleep and being awake is loss of conscious awareness, and once you start to doze, dream researchers believe you progress through four stages of sleep. These form the basis of a cycle that repeats up to four or five times every eight hours of sleep.
During the first stage, your body and mind become relaxed. Heart and breathing rate slow down, blood pressure lowers, body temperature drops slightly and eyes roll from side to side. You are neither fully conscious, nor fully unconscious, and could easily awake if disturbed. This stage of gradually falling asleep is also called the hypnagogic state (the hypnopompic state is a similar state when you are just waking up) and you may experience hallucinations that float before your eyes.
In stage two, breathing and heart rate become even slower, eyes continue to roll and you become more and more unaware of the noises of the outside world. It isn’t until the third stage of sleep, however, that you are sleeping soundly and it would be difficult to wake you. Finally, you enter a deep sleep state known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) when your brain is released from the demands of the conscious mind. It will now be quite hard to wake you and, although you may sleepwalk or have night terrors, you will rarely be able to remember them. This slow-wave sleep cycle lasts about ninety minutes. At the end of stage four, you move back through stages three and two and one, at which point you enter a phase called rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep.... Dreampedia
Most of the dreams you remember occur during the REM stage when the brain is fully active. After about ten minutes of REM you enter stages two, three and four again, and keep moving backwards and forwards through the sleep cycle. As the cycle continues, however, the REM phase gets longer and longer with the longest phase being around thirty to forty-five minutes. Of all your dreams during all the stages of REM and NREM (it has recently been discovered that we can dream then too), the final REM stages are the ones you are most likely to remember.
Because sleeping and dreaming are so crucial, your brain may sometimes demand the sleep it needs so that you don’t get into mental or physical overload. That’s why you may sometimes drop off for no apparent reason when you’re traveling by car or train, or watching TV.
Research on sleep-deprived animals shows that sleep is necessary for survival. For example, whilst rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about five weeks on average, and rats deprived of all sleep stages live only about three weeks. Other studies have shown that subjects repeatedly awoken during REM—which means they were deprived of dreams— become anxious, bad tempered and irritable. This suggests that sleep is vital for physical rest and repair, and REM sleep, when we are most likely to dream, is essential for our emotional well-being. Therefore, although we still aren’t sure about the whys, whats and hows of sleep and dreams, it’s possible to conclude that the reason we sleep is to dream.... Dreampedia
As I mentioned, you spend about a third of your life sleeping. If you have a life span of seventy-five years, you’ll be asleep for twenty-five of those years. Imagine! Yet, despite the prevalence and common experience of sleep, only recently did science begin to understand what it is all about.
Although dreaming and its causes are still a matter for speculation, brain wave studies provide important information about sleep itself. In a normal night, a person passes through four different stages of sleep, identifiable by brain wave patterns, eye movements, and muscle tension.
In the first stage, the pattern of the brain waves goes from what is known as beta, or normal waking consciousness, to alpha, the first step into sleep. The beta phase is 13 to 26 cps (cycles per second, the speed of the oscillations in the brain wave cycle), during which you are awake and fully functioning, studying, working, socializing. The alpha phase is 8 to 13 cps, a state of deep relaxation during which you are still aware of your surroundings, whether with eyes open or closed. It is the precursor to sleep and the stage reached during light meditation. Alpha is the sort of somnolent state we might go into on a long train ride when we have been staring out the window at a monotonous landscape for hours and are lulled by boredom and inactivity.
During the alpha stage, heart and pulse rates slow down, blood pressure drops slightly, and so does temperature. Your muscles are in a relaxed condition and you experience mental “drifting.” Images described as hypnogogic may float through your mind, seemingly unrelated to anything or else variations of what you were thinking or doing just before going to bed. These hypnogogic images can be vivid, as if drug-induced. Sometimes these images are quite meaningful and may startle you back to the beta state. When this happens, you may experience your muscles jumping back to the ready-to-go stage, a common happening that is called the myoclonic jerk.
Stage three is called theta and is represented by 4 to 8 cps, the same rate you display during periods of intense daydreaming (when you can actually forget where you are) or deep meditation. This stage of abstractedness is sometimes called a brown study. In the theta state, you are neither fully awake nor fully asleep. Yet you are in a light slumber, and, if not disturbed, you will fall asleep. The brain wave pattern of theta is characterized by rapid bursts of brain activity. Sleep researchers believe that theta is truly a sleep state, but when disrupted out of this state many subjects report that they were not asleep but merely “thinking.”
Researchers believe that it is during the theta stage that most dreams occur.
Dreams are recognizable to an observer by what is called rapid eye movement, or REM. The eyeballs move back and forth like someone watching a tennis match under their closed lids. Researchers originally discovered REM by watching cats sleep, and if you observe either a cat or a person sleeping, you will notice their eyes moving back and forth. A cat or dog may twitch as if running, but during REM a human’s muscles are virtually paralyzed. The period of REM ordinarily lasts for several minutes at a time, switching on and off. If you awaken during a REM period, you will most likely remember your dreams easily and in great detail.
“Dreaming liberates perception, enlarging the scope of what can be perceived.”
The Art of Dreaming
The last stage is delta; at 0 to 4 cps, it is the slowest and is evident during the deepest part of the sleep cycle. This is the state when you are totally out and even a ringing telephone or alarm clock may not wake you. Teens often experience this deepest level of sleep in the early morning hours, which is why they are often hard to wake up for school. Teens actually do better when allowed to sleep late: you function better, learn better, and generally feel better when you are able to “sleep yourself out.” It’s unfortunate that teens are often mandated an early rising time for school or even before-school activities, such as sports practice. It’s not only how much you sleep, apparently, but also when you get your sleep that counts.
People awakened from the delta stage of sleep will feel disoriented and only half awake, and they will want nothing more than to go back to sleep. If, for example, a need to visit the bathroom wakes you from a delta sleep, you may bump into the furniture or the walls, even though you know your way around. During delta, there are no eye movements. It is also the time that sleepwalking occurs. As most everyone knows, a sleepwalker can move around unerringly, as if awake, and should be left alone unless he or she is in danger. If not awakened, sleepwalkers almost always make their way back to bed without a problem, and when they do wake up they have no memory of their nighttime excursions.
An average complete sleep cycle lasts about three hours. For the first hour and a half of the cycle the sleeper moves from a waking state to light sleep to REM sleep to deep dreamless sleep. The cycle reverses itself in the second half, returning upward (so to speak) from the deep sleep of delta to the lighter theta- alpha stages. As brain activity rises, so do blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. In warm weather, you may be awakened by feeling hot as your body temperature returns to normal. This is always a clue that you are in the process of waking up, and it’s a good sign to be aware of so that you will focus on your dreams and be ready to take notes on them.
Every night you go through three or four complete sleep cycles of ninety minutes each. The first REM period of the night lasts five to ten minutes. During each cycle, the REM is repeated, lasting longer as the night progresses, while the time between the cycles gets shorter. Your last REM can be as long as an hour, and this is prime dreamtime with excellent chances for good recall of your dreams. What this means in practical terms is that, if you sleep for seven hours straight, half of your dreamtime will occur during the two hours before you wake up in the morning. An additional hour of sleep will give you an additional hour of dreaming! This is a powerful argument for getting to bed early enough to get eight hours of continuous sleep. Of course, these figures are based on laboratory averages and may not hold true for every person—you are an individual and will sleep and dream in your own way. I have found that I dream twice as much as the average reported by sleep studies, sometimes with less sleep than the average, sometimes with more.
None of these states of consciousness—beta, alpha, theta, delta—are foreign to us. We cycle through all four of them during the course of twenty-four hours, slipping in and out of them, mostly without noticing. For example, during normal beta wakefulness, you may drift off into a daydream or reverie, thinking about tonight’s date or tomorrow’s picnic, and enter the alpha phase for a while. The phone rings, or a friend speaks to you, and you snap back into the beta state.
Or you could be driving your car along a monotonous route with little to pay attention to and slip for a few moments into the theta phase (lots of people fall asleep at the wheel for a few seconds and then quickly recover) only to flip back into beta as you see a sharp curve up ahead or hear another car honking. Everyone has had the experience of “dropping off” for a couple of seconds during ordinary everyday activities (or, perhaps, lack of activity).
For those who want to pursue dream studies, it’s important to pay attention to these alpha-theta states. There is a twilight zone where you are neither asleep nor awake but are alert to slight disturbances. It’s here you may catch a dream as it is forming, and it is in this state that you are best able to give yourself instructions for remembering your dreams-to-come and for “programming” dreams to fulfill specific purposes.
Use the following exercise to track your own personal sleep patterns. Following the format given here, keep a record of your sleep habits for two weeks in order to prepare for the exercises throughout this book. You’ll find out a lot about your sleep needs, when you dream, and your level of recall. Over time, even from day to day, you may find differences that are worth noting. Then, if you want to continue the process, record your sleep habits in a separate notebook.... Dreampedia