I of course am no expert – I am merely a novice with an interest and so what I share is my own experience of dream interpretation, from reading around the topic and journeying with a dream group.
This is how I work with my dreams though.
First of all, I write them down, in as much detail as I can remember. Dreams have been described as letters to yourself from yourself and so if you don’t interpret your dream or at listen to it, it’s like ignoring a message from your soul (alternatively read: ignoring a message from God).
I had a friend recently ask me, which dream to pick because she has so many and my experience is that dreams are generally trying to convey one particularly burning message, so unless you have lots going on in your life, it’s safe to work with one dream and let the others go – pick the most vibrant, the most memorable and work with that one. Work with as many as you like, or work with just one. You will know which one!
Once I have written the dream down. I look for the theme – the common thread. I try analyse the feelings I had in the dream, was I frightened, happy, sad, anxious, at peace? It’s also important to remember the emotion from the actual dream and not the feeling that you associate with it afterwards. For example if you dream about snakes and in the dream you are not frightened, but attribute a feeling of anxiety to it afterwards because you are afraid of snakes in real life, then remember the feeling from the dream, not your associated feelings.
Look for symbols, commonalities, write them down and try understand what meaning they hold for you. There are common myth and archetypal symbols which are sometimes helpful to me when trying to come up with a meaning, (understanding archetypes is a topic for another post) but Jung said that a dream belongs to a dreamer and so only you can really know what a symbol means to you – having said that, the ego is a strong animal and can try and dictate to you what it wants certain things to mean in order to override the message from the true self – in this instance I find it helpful to talk to someone who can help me to be as objective as possible in trying to understand the symbols. And of course, just be aware that your ego might be trying control you – awareness is the first step to not allowing that to happen.
- Write the dream down (go to bed with a pen and paper next you, that way you can catch the dream as soon as you wake up)
- Note the theme/s
- Analyze the symbols
- And ask the question – what message is this dream trying to convey to me?
If you really want to understand yourself and what’s going on inside, look at your dreams – they tell a story that might surprise you …