Your dreams are a direct link to your subconscious. They contain remnants of your waking life mixed in with unresolved emotional and psychological conflict. If you’ve always experienced them as vivid or intense, or if they’ve recently become that way, there may be something in your life that warrants closer examination. Dream interpretation is a good way to uncover those issues. Here’s how you can interpret your dreams for emotional and spiritual growth.
Review Your Dream
The biggest challenge with dream interpretation is actually recalling what you dreamed about. The first step is to practice reviewing it. If it seems a bit fuzzy, think about how you felt during the dream and when you woke up. Even if you remember just one thing. Focus on that, then branch out from there. Good habits to develop while you’re remembering and reviewing the dream are:
- Write it down. The easiest way to forget a dream is to go right back to sleep after having it. Instead, take out your laptop or a notebook and write record it.
- Use first person and present tense, as if you are experiencing the dream right now. And be descriptive. For example, instead of writing, “A monster chased me” try “There is a monster chasing me. I am running as fast as I can because I am terrified that it will kill me.” Include colors, thoughts, feelings, conversations, or anything else you can recall.
Notice What Stands Out the Most
Are there portions of your dream that stick out to you more than others? Chances are good that these pieces point to one of two things:
- Your current state of being.
- Issues you need to deal with most urgently.
For example, in one recurring dream from my childhood, am sitting in the back seat of my family’s Ford Aerostar minivan when my mother drives it off the side of a local bridge into the river. What is worst than my family drowning is the fact that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t free my little sister or baby cousins from the seat-belts that hold them down. I am devastated as I watch them drown. Yet, in another dream, I watch carefully as a menacing murderer walks through a crowded entertainment hall. And I am not afraid. I am confident and calm.
As you see, I’ve underlined and put in bold some of the things that stood out to me the most.
Interpret Your Dream
There’s a lot to look for when interpreting a dream, but here is a quick guide to help you along. I’ll use the above dreams to help illustrate them.
Feelings and emotions either point to your current state of being or a state you experienced at another point in your life. They may even be amplified in your dream state. So, the devastation I mention in the dream where my family is drowning is akin to the disappointment I feel in some portion of my waking life. The confidence and calm in the second dream are self-explanatory. Feelings are the simplest part of dream interpretation, as long as you can pinpoint where they are coming from.
Actions & Place
Actions and Places in dreams can represent our sense of pace and control. Where you are located and what you are doing saying a lot about the way you live your life on a daily basis, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, in the first dream, I am sitting in the back seat. My mother is driving. I (as my siblings) am also stuck beneath the seat-belt while drowning. Good questions to ask myself are:
- Where in my life do I allow myself to sit in the backseat while someone else is driving?
- What is going on in my life to contribute to the feeling that I am drowning?
The of the actions and the place as metaphors for what is going on in your life. In my dream, sitting in the back seat points to complacency and inaction while drowning points to overwhelm. What metaphors can you pick out from your dream?
Objects & Symbols
To keep it simple, objects and symbols in your dreams are best interpreted by what you personally and the culture at large associate them with. For example, water often represents change or transformation. A vehicle is a method of transportation or transition. So, in my dream above, I was driven into the water.
Of course, as they say, the devil is in the details. The car was my dad’s aerostar minivan, which I loved with a passion. And I was drowning in the water. Together with the actions, the place, the people, and the feelings, the symbols provide the overarching theme of your dreamworld. Common symbols include:
- (Giving Birth to) A Baby
- (Losing) Teeth
- (Driving or Running down) Winding roads
- (Climbing, Falling or Flying off) A tall building or steep cliff
When in doubt, seek out a professional with experience in dream interpretation, such as a therapist with a background in spirituality or a Spiritual Guide. You can also look for group that practices projective dream-work, so you can have your own dreams interpreted and practice interpreting dreams of others.
Happy Dreaming <3
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