A Simple Dream Interpretation Approach…
Dream Interpretation is an art, but not difficult to understand or learn. Learning to interpret dreams only takes a little effort and attention to details. To be proficient in finding the hidden meaning to your dreams only takes some basic research and a bit of journaling.
It must be made clear from the start that anyone who is interested in remembering their dreams, and understanding the meaning of dreams, is free to do so. You are not required to possess any psychic abilities, or prestigious degrees! Interpreting dreams can be done by anyone willing to simply learn how. It is not very hard to do and does not require much of your time, nor is there any really intense study to do. The dream interpretation method I am about to outline for you is perhaps one of the easiest and effective ways to remember and analyze your own dreams. As you follow this outline you will grow more effective in time, as practice increases your success rate rather dramatically. There is nothing spooky or ritualistic to do, in fact I believe you will find it quite logical!
Preparing for Dreams and their Meanings
First and foremost, make sure there is no outside stimulus such as radios or televisions on when you sleep. Why? Because this will effect your dream content, direct your mental or dream process and lead to misleading dream interpretation. Secondly, seek to achieve natural sleep. Hence, DO NOT intake caffeine, alcohol or other drugs before bedtime as they will either over stimulate your beta waves or inhibit your alpha brainwaves which are the bridge to your subconscious and unconscious mind. As a result of using these substances, your dreams will be corrupted and may also induce nightmares! Such chemicals alter the composition of the brain’s neurons.
Just like learning to drive a car, or tying your shoes hangs with you, this too will be something that in time you will be able to do quite naturally. Dreams are a vehicle in which your mind communicates ideas, warnings and health issues. Sometimes they even communicate the future! By using this technique and following a few simple rules, even the most stubborn “I never dream (grumble grumble)” types can do it. Just bear in mind that your own perceptions take precedence over any definitions in dream dictionaries. The dream dictionary contains only the most common generic definitions. Your own perceptions are always better.
Dreams are not a way to avoid facing your difficulties, in fact you hit them head on. You can choose how you want to use this new tool anyway you wish. You can use your dreams as a passing sort of entertainment, or you can elect to use them regularly as an aid to you in your journey through life.
The best way to learn how to interpret dreams is to study and know your own self. You have to be able to cultivate your own individuality and creativity as well as understand your own fears and motivations. While there are many types of dreams, most dreams are often largely symbolic which indicates an area of our awareness that is not operating in its full creative potential. Very often our depression or unresolved issues can feed our creative life and our creative life is what nourishes our self-esteem.
How to Interpret Your Dreams; The First Step & The Tools You Need…
If you are seasoned at dream interpretation I know you heard this before… Get a notebook! Lots of you do not like the idea of writing down everything you dream about, but unfortunately it is necessary. No this is not unique, but I have never found a system of remembering or analyzing dreams that did not include this step. There IS an alternative, and it is what I use.
- You can speak faster then you can write.
- More detail, less work scrawling in the dark, so you can say more.
- You can analyze your own tone of voice.
- Speaking requires less concentration so your recall is better.
Thought you were going to get out of writing anything down, didn’t you? 🙂 Not a chance! You still need the notebook because later on you need to transfer the dream content from the tape to the book so you can analyze your dream and make notes. But this way is much easier and effective then sticking with the notebook only.
Keeping a notebook beside your bed, or the handy recorder, is not enough. You must give yourself the suggestion that you will remember your dreams when you wake up. This is best accomplished by concentrating on this thought before going to sleep and making a promise to yourself to remember the details of your dreams. I would not be too terribly concerned about recording unimportant dreams when you occasionally wake up in the middle of the night. Dreams are like plays. They go through several rehearsals then in the end give you a finished product. When a dream is important enough to write down from a middle of the night awakening, you will feel it in your bones and you will know to record it. This is the first step to effective dream interpretation. Now, with notebook by the bed, (or recorder) you are ready for the next step.
Here is a list of questions you should keep with your notebook and immediately ask yourself when waking from a dream:
- What were my feelings when I woke up after this dream?
- What does this dream remind me of from my real life?
- How does this dream relate to who I am?
- Is this dream based in memory?
- Is this dream related to past events, situations or people?
- Is this a problem solving dream?
- Is this a dream about a change I have to adapt to?
- Is this dream trying to awaken a new potential within my Self?
- What do the colors in the dream mean to me?
- Is there a reason I needed this dream?
- What am I trying to avoid in this dream?
- What am I trying to confront in this dream?
- Who are the people in my dream? (real, imaginary or aspects of self)
- What do I like about this dream?
- What do I dislike about this dream?
- Is this an emotional dream?
- Is this a physical dream?
- What is this dream suggesting I do to take action?
- What does this dream remind me of?
- Is this a healing dream?
- What is the positive message or lesson of this dream for me?
- Is this dream really from God and/or prophetic?
The Proper Way To Sleep…
As with everything else in life, there is a right way and wrong way to go about sleeping in a manner that is productive in dream recall. Relaxation is a must. And following good, steady sleeping habits is also a must. There is a thing called “sleep debt” that occurs when you regularly do not get enough sleep. When you build up your sleep debt, you sleep so deep it is almost impossible to remember your dreams, so follow regular habits. Before you leap into bed, hell bent on remembering your dreams, take a moment and review these preliminary steps:
- Relax yourself completely. This can be done with nothing more then peace and quiet. If you choose, use your favorite relaxation tapes, or just some peaceful music. (pre-set to turn off)
- Pay attention to the main issues on your mind. As you start to go to sleep, pay attention to the main theme, or train of thought running through your mind. This will give you a clue as to what your dream may end up being based on. Also, by keeping your mind on what you want to dream about is a good way to dream about one particular issue. Don’t over concentrate though, or it will keep you awake.
- Give yourself a suggestion to remember your dream. You must want to remember your dreams in order to do so. Giving yourself a suggestion is simple. Just keep in mind, and randomly bring to surface a little thought like “I will remember my dream”. Don’t just think the words like a child reciting “I will not write on the wall”, but mean it, and feel the conviction.
- Plan on waking up slowly and peacefully. Being rocketed out of bed by a big dog landing in the middle of your chest and licking your face is NOT the stuff that dreams are made of! Try to wake up naturally. Regardless what anyone may have told you, it is a fact that adult human beings NEED a minimum of eight hours sleep in order to be fully rested. Some, in fact most really need more. Not getting enough sleep is the number one reason for not remembering your dreams! Don’t overdo it either, or the reverse will be true. A good rule of thumb is you should wake up naturally without an alarm clock, and without someone (or something) waking you.
- Your health is very important! Take your vitamins, and chelated minerals every day! Eat a well balanced diet. Poor nutrition is also an extremely common cause for failure to recall dreams.
Keeping those steps above in mind (and following them) will kick start you to remembering your dreams and help you achieve meaningful dream interpretations. These steps are the key to remembering your dreams, if you practice ALL the above, you WILL sooner or later start to remember them. (I am betting “sooner”)
Analyzing the dream: Basic Dream Themes…
Identify the main “theme” or “concept” of the dream. Perhaps the most important thing about dream analysis and interpretation is identifying the basic theme sets the tone for the interpretation. It is done like so: First, write down the dream (or record it). Look at the dream from a different perspective. Take away the details and look at it as a whole. Here is an example:
You have a dream of a beautiful hall with shinny marble floors and incredible works of art on the walls. The pictures are framed in solid gold. There are flowers in the corner, and they are breathtaking. The ceiling is cathedral style, with graceful arches with ornate carvings. You get the distinct impression that you are alone, and in charge of it’s upkeep. You here a faint scratching sound from the other end of the hall. You hurry down there and zero in on the sound. To your horror a mouse is chewing on the corner of a magnificent painting. You realize if you do nothing at all, the work will be rendered worthless and ugly. But you know if you catch the mouse you can save the painting since little to no damage has been done. You are uncertain you can get the mouse in time. You wake up feeling disappointed and remorse, as you do not want to see something so important to you destroyed.
So here is the dream theme when you take away the details.
Someone sees something precious being senselessly destroyed. There is a chance to put an end to it, if acted upon quickly.
If you had this dream wouldn’t it be much clearer with a theme? Creating a theme is very easy and usually only requires common sense.
Let’s do one more.
The Dream – Biblical Dream Interpretation Example:
(From the Book of Genesis 40:09-11)In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
The Dream Theme: Something good comes to fruition. This something is refined, and given away.
As anyone who cares to look up this passage can see, the meaning was that the King would restore the Chief Butler to his former position in three days. A theme is NOT the whole dream interpretation or meaning of the dream, as you can see. But it does point you into the right direction. For instance, “something good comes to fruition “IE he gets his job back. This “something is refined, and given away” does not seem to fit, however we don’t really know from the passage whether or not changes to his job were required, or if held his job long afterward. Add the symbolism that Joseph used, and you get 3 “day–3 vines” “pressing grapes into Pharaoh’s cup–preparing to serve Pharaoh” “Giving the cup to Pharaoh–returning to the service of Pharaoh as he had in former years.”. The symbolism Joseph used was very logical! Add to it a theme, and it fits perfectly! This was a tough example as this dream was a prophetic dream and they are rare. I only used this to show you two very important things;
- Themes help you find the big picture of your dream.
- Themes in dreams alone are too vague to be useful as a whole dream interpretation!
TIP: The secret behind your dream themes, are take away all the details, names, things places etc. and leave ONLY the action. As you can tell, that does give a great clue, but not the whole. So do not stop on your journey of dream discovery after you master dream “theme interpreting”, as it will not be complete.
Analyzing The Dream: Theme-to-life…
Match the Dream Theme or Concept of your dream to a specific area of your life.
First off, MOST dreams are NOT prophetic. To instantly assume this, will lead to many faulty dream interpretations! Your dreams are usually selfish, meaning that they are about you specifically, a good 90 percent of the time. With that in mind, you should be able to tie in the theme to some particular area of your life. Here is a good tip: When you ask yourself, “What specific area of my life is this dream about? “- as opposed to asking “What’s this dream meaning?” you will arrive at a conclusion faster. Always assume, at least to start off with, that the dream is about you, and a message to you. Since you made the theme, you should be able to place it into some aspect or condition present in your life. A real good sign that you thought up the right area of your life it is addressing, is when you get that “Ah HaH, THAT’S IT!” feeling. Sometimes, if it is a bad dream, the feeling is more like “oh no, that’s it!”. Either way, when the connection is made, you feel it and you know.
If you were indeed correct on finding thed dream theme, then finding the area of your life it fits into should come quite easily. How exactly though, do you go about matching the theme to an area of your life? If you had the first dream (the one about the hall above) and you decided that the theme was:
Someone sees something precious being senselessly destroyed. There is a chance to put an end to it, if acted upon quickly.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What element in my life seems very precious to me? (search for the ah-hah feeling)
- Is there a possibility that it could be damaged or hurt in any way?
Note that if you had that dream, found the element in your life that was precious to you, and you know it could be in danger, yet you do not see a solution, your mind does! Re-examine the situation and the solution might just reach out and grab you! If it were hopeless, the dream would have been different. Sometimes your sleeping mind can arrive at conclusions far better then our normal thinking processes. As you can tell, theming-to-life is best done through emotion. Only by examining your own emotions as you try to fit the theme into a given situation can you know you hit the mark. Our lives are sometimes so complicated that we many have so many things going on that could fit the theme, our emotions are our best clue to pin pointing the exact application. Emotions are a very good clue to the dream itself. Pay strict attention to “your emotional state” while in the dream. For example if you were happy through-out the “hall” dream, it would have a far different meaning then if you were sad!
Analyzing the Dream – Universal Symbols…
You’ve developed good sleeping habits. Then you got on a regular schedule of taking your vitamins and chelated minerals. You learned how to relax, and you are dedicated to writing things down or recording them. Giving yourself the suggestion to remember your dreams, you are now doing so quite frequently. Themes come easily and you can fit them into your life accordingly. Are you done? Somehow you don’t think so, as you seem to be missing a large part of the picture. The details – This is where symbols come in. Symbols in a dream, are actually the elements that make up the details. Even specific actions are sometimes dream symbols (such as falling). In the dream above about the hall, the pictures, ceiling, arches, paintings and even the mouse, are all dream symbols. All the little details mean something. Dream symbols, for the most part, are a very personal thing. The meaning of your dream may not be found in a “dream dictionary” may not necessarily have the correct definition to the symbol in your particular dream. Why? Because we associate meanings differently from one another at times. For example, I might associate a candle with pain, hardship and poverty if I spent enough time with no money living in the dark and lighting my home with a candle. But, I might associate a candle with God, if the only time I ever see one is in church! Two dramatically different definitions of the same thing. When you read a dream dictionary, it is usually not bogus, it merely gives the most “common” definition for that particular item. If you were unaffected at all by an item in your life, then the dream dictionary definition would most likely be valid. However, there are a certain amount of symbols that seem to always mean the same thing for people all the time. These you would do well to write down, memorize or at the very least, bear in mind while interpreting your own dreams. Why exactly these symbols are universal is a mystery to a certain extent, though I am sure there is a good reason.
Dreams symbolize our own traits, good and bad. When you see an animal doing something in your dreams it usually represents a bad trait. As it is far easier for us to accept and watch an animal doing something negative then to take the credit for it ourselves. Here is a good example: A woman on a diet and really wants to loose weight but is prone to binge eating. She has tried and failed many times, but this time has resolve. That night in a moment of weakness, she eats a big slice of cake, and a bowl of ice cream. That night she dreams of being on a farm on a cloudy day, and watching in disgust as a big manure covered sow eats and sucks non-stop at her sloop. She is astonished and ashamed when she noticed what the sow was eating! (cake and ice cream). It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what that dream means, or what the animal symbolized! Her dream was telling her she would feel about as good about herself as she felt about the sow if she did not control her eating.
Automobiles or vehicles
Vehicles that you ride in usually reflect two things; the direction you are heading in life, and your body. (the thing you travel or “ride” through life in) This might vary if you are a mechanic or designer of vehicles. Unusually over exposure to a specific vehicle type may easily change the meaning. The condition of the vehicle might give you an idea of your health. Driving an old beat up car down a muddy road on a stormy night would be considered a pretty bad dream! However flying a Lear jet through blue skies with a song in your heart and the wind at your tail would be a rather good dream.
A child represents to most of us, something new, different and joyous. Using this logic, it is easy to see why a child represents a new phase in your life or a new project as well. How well the child gets along and fares in the dream is an indication as to how well what it represents is doing. Also, a child symbolizes innocent parts of yourself sometimes, and at other times, immaturity and childishness. It all depends on the theme and emotions used in the dream.
When you get into different moods you tend to choose different clothing, so clothing, for this reason best symbolizes your mood or state of mind. They also signify attitude. We wear clothing for all sorts of different reasons including, work, dating, play and social occasions. Attitudes and moods are similar to clothing in this regard, they are the camouflage we hide behind, our face we put on for the world in various situations so we can better cope. Take a look at what you, or other people in your dream are wearing to get even more clues to the dream’s meaning. Also, a commonly overlooked clue is sometimes you see clothes on a clothes line, or lying around. It would be a good idea to take note as to what style and condition the clothes you see are.
Nearly any dream you have that refers to death, dying or attending a funeral, or the like, pertain to change. Most all the time this change is very dramatic and major. It can be change in your life attitude or emotional balance. These types of dreams can also symbolize confronting fear, usually fear of death or change. Since most of use will agree that death is the ultimate change, and many people fear it. Death dreams are generally big changes and should never be ignored. Sometimes they really do signify death! Another possible symbol of a death dream is threat. Whichever suits the dream depends on how well the theme was arrived at. Most death dreams are about major change and not about literal death though, so don’t panic if you have one. Just patiently go through the analysis process, and make sense of it.
The building in a dream usually points directly to a specific area of your life. Dreaming of being in an office complex, or factory can pertain to your working environment. It does not need to specifically pertain to your exact line of work. In other words, an office worker dreaming of a loading dock still can relate the dock to work, because that’s the association made in his mind. A bathroom, may pertain to your general health and hygiene habits, and a kitchen might be about your eating and nutrition. What you associate different locations to mean in general, usually points to what the dream was getting at specifically. To dream of your childhood house, tends to be a reflection of your life today though. A dream of mass chaos in your childhood home can indicate great disturbances in your life either now, or coming shortly. These kinds of dreams are often prophetic. You should always write down and deeply analyze dreams of your childhood dwelling. Dreams of great buildings like cathedrals and large churches usually indicate the dream has a great meaning, and should be taken seriously, as well as any applied association.
People most often portrayed in dreams are actually reflections of your own personality traits, provided the dream is not prophetic. These traits are ones that you need to enhance or develop, or if negative, work on eliminating or reducing. You should immediately ask of yourself, what traits do I like, and what traits do I dislike in the characters I dream about? Then look for those traits in yourself. You may be very surprised to find a match up! People in dreams work most commonly to reflect, or mirror important aspects of your personality. You do well to always make this association.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Dreams are very efficient. Meaning, they can address multiple issues on multiple topics all in one story line! A dream can warn you of health dangers, predict the future, point out personality flaws (or credits) and solve a current problem all in one dream! Some dreams are worthy of repeated analysis, and just because you can come up with two or three interpretations, does not mean that only one can be right, in fact they could all easily be right. The very fact that a dream may be recurring indicates that there is a pattern in your life decisions or actions that needs attention and corrective action. Attitude or thought adjustment is necessary. This points to spiritual growth unseen and personality adjustments which is ones own responsibility. This usually is a message that you need to pay attention! If you make the proper changes, than you will be amazed at the simplicity and rewards life offers by overcoming these specific characteristics your subconscious is relating to be aware of. Matters such as this will deepen your insight and the understanding is a spiritual reward.
Analyzing the Dream: Personal Symbols…
All symbols in a dream create some sort of reaction in you. Look for the symbols that get the most reaction, they are usually keys. Since all symbols are not universal, in fact most aren’t, before you pull out your dream dictionary, you need to decide if the symbol has a personal meaning or not. Here is an example: A knife might symbolize happiness to a woman who dropped the knife on her wedding day, and if was a big joke because it stuck handle up in the floor. This is associated with joy because it was humorous at the time and was a fond memory she shared with her husband. However, the next woman might cringe in fear over dreaming of a knife because she was attacked by a knife wielding thug in her teens. There are countless examples that could be given, but I think you get the picture. But how does one know what something means in a dream? How do we readily decode the symbols? There are several methods, lets explore:
A traditional psychological method of looking at something and taking note of the first thing it reminds you of. After you think of something it reminds you of, do it again with the next association. Example I say “Cat”, you associate “dog”. Then I say “dog”, and you associate “fire hydrant”. I say “fire hydrant”, you say “Fire”. You see how this works? You have been lead in this example from cat, all the way to fire, two unrelated subjects! You can play this game with yourself with your dream symbols until something “clicks” and you get the ah-hah feeling.
Instead of associating, you list what each symbol means to you. Different from the association method, amplification can sometimes work were association falls short. For instance, I dream of a candle, instead of associating I make a list of what a candle means to me personally. Example: candle means happiness, love, romance, mysticism and light. Though it seems similar to association, it varies because you are approaching it from a different point of view.
Dream symbol defining is very easy, and you know when you hit the mark by the ah-hah feeling. There is one factor you should also keep in mind, and that is the laziness factor. You must devote some time and thought to the analysis of your dream to get a clear picture. If you go about it in a half hearted way, you will get bad results and feel disappointed. If you relay solely on dream dictionaries to do your symbol defining you will have lost quite a bit of the meaning your dreams were trying to share. It is my hope that you will try to define as many meaning of dreams as possible with are free online dream interpretation tools. Also review common dream symbols and themes below.