Unlocking what our dreams mean

Every dreamer has asked questions about why we dream, and what those dreams mean. While every dream is unique to the person who dreams it, the world of dream interpretation is a rich, fascinating and exciting one.

Dream interpretation is one of my favorite aspects of utilizing our intuition. Dreaming was often looked upon by indigenous peoples as a way to commune directly with Gods and Spirits, and dreams are still used in this way by cultures around the world. Many people believed, and some still do, that during dream sleep the soul leaves the body and communes with the spirit world.

Anyone may dream of something good or bad happening to someone else or even to themselves. But some dreams are just dreams. It’s important to know the foundation of dreaming before moving on to how to interpret dreams. I have included here some of the most commonly asked questions about dreams and their analysis.

What is the significance of dreams?

Dreams have significance in the real world. Dreams are told in a symbolic language, and the images in dreams tend to contain hidden meanings and hidden messages. When analyzing and interpreting dreams, it is important to understand that the stories told in dreams are symbolic and not meant to be taken literally. The significance of dreams for each dreamer is a personal matter related to each person’s experience and emotions.

Why do recurring dreams happen?

Recurring dreams are among the most common types of dreams. Most often, recurring dreams indicate that the dreamer has some issue that is not being confronted in his or her waking life. Examining these recurring dreams, and understanding what triggers them, can often allow the dreamer to resolve the underlying issue and banish the recurring dream.

Do most people dream in color?

Most people do dream in color, but many may not notice the colors in the dream world. Since color is such a natural part of our normal day-to-day experience, color may be overlooked in the dream world. In addition, because dreams fade so quickly, the sense of color may be the first thing to leave the conscious mind.

Do animals dream as well?

All mammals studied have exhibited the same brain activity that humans exhibit during dream sleep. Many scientists see this as proof that animals do in fact dream, although what they dream about is likely to remain a mystery.

How are dreams affected by our daily lives?

Any feelings or thoughts repressed during the day are likely to make an appearance in your dreams during the night. For example, if you wanted to show your anger to someone but were unable to do so, you may express anger to that person or a similar figure in a dream. In addition, those who have experienced traumatic events are often troubled by nightmares in which they relive that trauma.

Do men and women dream differently?

Men and women both experience the same brain wave activity during dream sleep. The content of the dreams of men and women do differ, however. Studies of dream content have shown that men tend to dream more about other men than about women, while women tend to dream about men and women equally.

Why do I remember bad dreams more than good ones?

One reason is that the most vivid dreams tend to be those that are remembered, and nightmares are generally more vivid than good dreams. In addition, sleepers are often awakened by a particularly vivid nightmare, and waking during dream sleep means that the dream will most likely be remembered in its minutest details.

What does it mean to dream about dreaming?

Experiencing a dream within a dream may be a way to deal with items from the subconscious mind. A dream within a dream may prevent the dreamer from waking up prematurely, and they often are reflections of a critical issue that the dreamer needs to confront and gain control of.

Will I really die if I hit the ground during a falling dream?

The many people who have described hitting the ground during a dream about falling are proof positive that hitting the ground in a dream is not a terminal experience. It is true, however, that dreams of falling often wake the dreamer, and that is probably where that old legend got its start.

What is Lucid Dreaming?

A lucid dream occurs when a person is asleep but aware that they are dreaming. In this state, a person can take control of their dream’s narrative to some degree, essentially guiding and directing the course of their dream.

During most non-lucid dreams, people are not aware of the fact that they are dreaming. A common characteristic of these dreams is that even when truly strange things happen within the dream, it seems real. It is only after people wake that they realize that it was only a dream.

When having a lucid dream, however, there is a recognition that what is happening is not real and that it is taking place within a dream. This often allows the dreamer to exert some degree of control over what is happening.

Interpretation of dreams

There is a guiding principle to dream interpretation, and Edgar Cayce said it best when he called for us to interpret the dreamer and not just the dream.

Dreams are a tool, like the proverbial finger pointing to the moon. Don’t focus on the finger or you will miss out on all the celestial magic. Dreams are the finger and they are pointing to the dreamer. Interpreting your dreams is an exercise in self-discovery and self-growth.

The primary purpose of dreams is to attempt to bring to our attention things that we know subconsciously. This could be things about yourself or information your subconscious is aware of due to your connection to the universe.  Keeping this in mind will help you understand the meaning of your dreams and prevent you from getting way off track in your interpretation.

Trying to understand one dream in isolation is like trying to understand a person by spending one day with them. By recording all of your dreams in a dream journal you will, over time, find it easier to understand individual dreams you have in the future.

Dreams are sometimes like plays or movies because they have structure. It can be helpful to look for this structure when trying to understand your dreams:

Location: Where does the dream take place? How do you feel about that place? What emotions arise within you as you think about it? Does it have any relationship with a real place you know?

Characters: Who are the characters? How are you presented? Who is the antagonist? How do you feel about each of those people (including the presentation of yourself), and how do they relate to parts of your own personality or to people you know?

Plot: How does the plot unfold? There is usually a beginning (where the story is established and begins to build), a middle (where a crisis peaks), and an end (where the crisis gets resolved though sometimes dreams don’t provide the solution and end in the middle of the story because it is up to you to provide the resolution).

Sometimes (rarely) dreams can be very literal and they are easy to understand. There is nothing wrong with asking whether the face value of the dream may have meaning for you.

Most often, however, dreams are shrouded in symbolism that points beyond the literal image. They can be trying to communicate a very specific message that applies to your waking life, they may be merely trying to balance your emotional life or they may just be hinting at some thoughts or emotions in progress without any final resolution yet in mind. For some, dreams are their connection and form of communication with those on the spiritual plain.

Dreams are often messages from our subconscious mind that are resisted by our conscious mind. For this reason, the subconscious often cloaks the message in symbols so the dream isn’t immediately rejected or simply avoided by the conscious mind.

Sometimes the answers are as simple as consulting a dream dictionary for the meaning of common symbols and archetypes. However, each person is different and those who are really interested in dream interpretation should build their personal dream dictionary, adding to it as the meanings of dream symbols become clear.

The definitions of the symbols would be based on what meaning something in your dream has to you.

Here are a few examples from my personal dream dictionary:

  • The number 100 signifies a coming blessing. Something good is coming. I’ve defined 100 in this way because in the past I’ve found that good things happen to me shortly after dreaming that number.
  • Seeing any form of water in a dream signifies rejuvenation to me.
  • A mud hut means a place of energetic healing, not medical healing, to me.
  • Hawaii is an island, that is also an American state, where it’s said that the natives walk alongside the gods. Being a state my brain sees it as being a practical place, so meeting with divine beings is considered practical too.

Sometimes I’ll come across definitions from others or online of what a symbol in a dream means and it will sit so well with me that I’ll add it to my dictionary. By doing so I basically instruct my subconscious to show me this “thing” if I need to receive this “message”.

Interpreting dream symbols can sometimes be difficult. It may feel like the ultimate mystery and the most elaborate puzzle, but please know that the answer is always within you.

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