The message of dreams
What is the message or meaning of dreams? How do I interpret my dream? Why do we dream and why are our dreams so often bizarre?
One moment, a person or an animal chases us, and the next, we are standing in a kitchen. Some dreams take on a surreal quality; with people, creatures or the environment shown in such vivid colors, as we have never witnessed in daily life.
Some dreams are prophetic in nature, while others are “lucid”, in that although we are dreaming (an unconscious state), we are simultaneously conscious that we are dreaming, which allows us to control and/or explore aspects of the dream or play with different outcomes.
What is the meaning behind dreams and dreaming?
Dreams, similar to Tarot cards, intuition, or psychic abilities are emanations from the nebulous unconscious mind, which in my opinion, are all essentially illuminations or guidance. What labels we choose to give this guidance or illumination is up to us: God or Guiding Force, the Universe, Higher Self, Over Soul or Guides. Or, we might choose to believe that psychic abilities are phooey and dreams are just meaningless dreams.
Generally speaking, dreams are all about YOU, even if there are other characters involved. Often, these characters are extensions of our self—sides that represent our goodness or those we wish to deny, talents or abilities that we aren’t acknowledging, or ways in which we can express them, or feelings we carry about people or situations, including those we are suppressing.
Dreaming helps us to find answers and allows us to understand more about ourselves. Since they are emanations of the unconscious, dreaming can bring conscious awareness, if we are willing to look into the message that our dreams impart.
Dreams are symbolic or metaphorical in nature and the reason why they can seem so bizarre or mysterious, but once you get the hang of symbolic language, it becomes easier to decipher the meaning. The variant symbolic nature of dreams gives way to a similar variance of purpose for the guidance received.
Dream interpretation: how do I interpret my dreams?
To unravel some of the mystery, start by breaking down the various components of your dream: first by the type of dream and then by the symbolism.
Dreams of a more “garden variety” type; such as, being chased, losing teeth, standing naked before a group of strangers or wandering from room to room in a house, share a more psychological aspect, in that these dreams may be helpful in understanding aspects of the psyche: emotions or thoughts and sometimes our physical bodies or environment.
Dreams that take on a more surreal quality; such as lucid dreams or prophetic dreams tend to have more of a spiritual and/or collective unconscious quality. In other words, these dreams tend to go deeply into the consciousness of self or beyond the self and include the All.
In dreams, details are extremely important; such as:
- Manner of speech, facial expressions, your thoughts and emotions, as well as others.
- Directional factors: is it above or below, to the right or left, etc.
- Specific colors, animals, numbers, people, places, or things.
- Environmental factors: in the jungle, at a schoolhouse, etc.
- Condition of what you see: dented, old, new, incomplete, shiny, etc.
- Who is doing what? Who is saying what?
Keeping a dated dream journal will help the deciphering process and put the meaning and purpose of your dream in perspective. For instance, rather than just “car”, describe the car in as many details as can be recalled; such as, a red Ferrari with a big dent on right side or a dilapidated blue house against a field of bright yellow flowers or the numbers 6,12, and 9 were written on a piece of paper, etc. Overlook nothing, as every bit of detail has significance.
Deciphering the symbolism of dreams is subjective; however, much is also universal in nature or easily understood, such as to be chased is equal to running away from, whilst to be chasing, is to ardently pursue. The symbolism of butterflies or moths is universally accepted to mean “transformation” or babies can indicate “the beginning of something new”; such as a creative idea or business venture.
In chase dreams, who or what is doing the chasing is important (tiger, big man, child) as are the feelings of the one being chased (terror, anxiety, annoyance, trying to find shelter, etc.) For instance, if being chased by a tiger, which symbolizes courage or power, and you felt terror or fear, this could mean that you are running away from your own power in a situation; fearful of what might happen if you stood up for yourself.
If being chased by your Aunt Betty who is wielding a rolling pin, once you have stopped laughing at the absurdity of it, you would have to ask yourself what Aunt Betty represents to you. Is she loving and generous or angry and bitter? Are you running away from or trying to avoid these feelings for some reason? Does Aunt Betty bring back memories of a particular time in your life that you would rather avoid now? Next, what does the rolling pin represent to you? Does it remind you of a time when kindhearted Aunt Betty, who normally made you feel nurtured (baked you goodies); suddenly turned on you, or are you feeling flattened and pushed around by Aunt Betty or someone like her?
Much of dream symbolism is common sense and some requires a bit of digging. There are several dream interpretation books or websites that offer a list of symbolism and meaning; however, it’s your unconscious speaking to you in a language meant for you to understand, therefore it’s important that it make sense or feel right to you.
It’s also important that you be as objective as possible. Be open to taking a deeper look at those aspects of yourself that you don’t like and don’t judge yourself or others in the process. Dreams are to illuminate, not denigrate.
Some common dream symbolism:
Houses usually represent the self and individual rooms in a house are aspects of the self, such as:
- Kitchen: nurturing, warmth, comfort, or what we are feeding ourselves spiritually, emotionally or mentally.
- Bathroom: what we are eliminating or need to eliminate, how we care for ourselves or what might need a cleansing: our emotions or thoughts.
- Bedroom: physical rest or replenishment, sexual thoughts or emotions, or our sexual relationships.
- Den: family relationships and time spent (or lack thereof), or relaxation.
Car: A car is also an aspect of the self and may indicate how we propel or move ourselves forward (or the lack thereof) or how we see ourselves within the world at large.
Driving: If we are doing the driving, we are in control of our thoughts or actions or taking responsibility. If someone else is driving, we are giving our power away and/or trying to escape responsibility for our self or choices.
Air: our mental process (thoughts, ideas, reason or logic), intellect or communications.
Water: emotions, subconscious or unconscious (note how the water appeared in your dream, was it calm, rushing, swirling, hard rain, shallow or deep, etc.)
Fire: to burn away or purify, the Spirit, energy, power, transformation or enlightenment.
Earth: the physical body and health, environment, our material needs (money, possessions) or service to others.
Left: the subconscious and/or unconscious mind (right brain), the past, feminine energy, negative or receptive (inward).
Right: The conscious mind (left brain), the future, masculine energy, positive or outward.
Note: when referring to positive or negative (as in feminine or masculine energy), this does not mean woman are negative and men are positive. This refers to polarity, duality or opposites. Given that we all have a left and right brain, we also utilize both.
Up: mastery of consciousness or understanding, emergence of subconscious or unconscious thoughts or feelings, progress, possibility or potential, achievement, goals or confidence.
Down: the emotions, deep, buried or hidden subconscious thoughts or feelings, fear, lack of self-esteem, wrong direction or depression.
If you have trouble recalling your dreams, put your dream journal next to your bed. Before going to sleep, look at it and visualize yourself writing in it upon waking. Also, quietly affirm to yourself that you remember your dreams with great clarity and detail. It might take a few nights of doing this, but don’t lose patience. It will work.
Dreams, similar to intuition, psychic abilities or using Tarot cards all share a commonality. We are never truly alone. An always present Presence is forever whispering gently into our ears and hearts, I am here with you and I am here to help.