As I got more interested in dreams, read about them, went to a dream course and investigated the hows, wherefores and wheretos, I also began teaching understanding dreams. There are, in fact, countless ways to work with dreams and those who teach understanding dreams also have their own views on how to work with dreams. If you’re interested in dreamwork, have a look on the internet and see what draws your attention or what interests you. Work out how you personally want to work with understanding dreams.
My one proviso is that you don’t become dependent on a dream dictionary as often these are very rigid interpretations of symbols. Each symbol is unique to the person. For instance, if you like dogs and one appears in your dream, you might consider it a positive sign. But someone who is scared of dogs or doesn’t like them, would feel quite differently about them.
These are my ideas for understanding dreams and I hope you find them useful. I personally believe that working to understand our dreams can be a richly rewarding experience for our body, mind, emotions and spirit as it leads us deeper into the unseen realms and opens us up to to rich perspectives on our lives.
- Dreams are generally messages from within, “postcards from your inner to your outer self”.
- Dreams are likely to relate to your daily life generally.
- Ninety percent of dreams are about yourself and what’s going on in your life.
- People in dreams are most likely aspects of yourself even though they may seem to be about people you know, i.e., friends, relatives or workmates.
- Some figures in your dreams can be spiritual energies, such as angels or spirit guides or spiritual individuals who have a meaning for you.
- Some figures in dreams – if they are family members who have passed into Spirit – may have loving, personal messages from the world of Spirit.
- Some (a few) dreams can be predictive (look to see if you are detached from the dream); or about past lives (are you viewing a scene as if through a lens or telescope?); or have spiritual significance (are you in a foreign country with people speaking a language you don’t understand?).
- Dreams can be multi-layered. Sometimes, if you return to your dreams later, you’ll see that they may have an additional meaning or relate to additional things happening in your life as well as your initial interpretation.
- Listen to your intuition when considering dreams and the “aha” feeling when you’ve made a connection about the dream or some symbol within it.
- Pay attention during the day to the subject of dreaming.
- Read books about dreams.
- Start a dream diary.
- Use affirmations during the day.
- Practise meditation.
- Practise relaxation.
- Stay reasonably healthy.
- Drink lots of water.
- Go to sleep at regular times.
- Try to get in the habit of setting your internal alarm.
- Drink half a glass of water before going to bed and the rest on waking to jog recall.
- Ask for guidance dreams from Spirit, your Higher Self, spirit guides or angels.
- Make an affirmation to dream and recall your dream before you go to sleep.
- Take time to lie flat, relax and focus on dreaming.
- I use the following affirmation:
I am a child of the Light. I live in the Light. I love the Light. I serve the Light. I am supported, sustained and protected by the Light. And I bless the Light.
- Use aromatherapy oils for relaxation or use a drop on your pillow – clary sage, lavender, etc., can help, but try a few to find what suits you.
- Work with crystals – moonstone, chrysoprase, Herkimer diamonds, or again, tune into the crystals in your care and listen to whichever calls to you to help stimulate your dreaming during the night.
- Keep a notebook by your bed. If you wake up in the night, jot down notes on your dream or use a mini-recorder (depending on your sleeping arrangements and partner relationship!)
- On waking, keep your eyes shut, lie still and go through any dreams you can recall.
- Even if you can’t remember all the details, jot down the bits and pieces you recall, even if it’s one image.
- If you have difficulty, go to the last scene and work backwards.
- Write your dreams down when you get up, don’t try and remember later in the day.
- Keep a dream diary and daily journal so you can relate dreams to the day’s events.
- Jot down your emotions when you woke up and recalled your dream.
- Give the dream a title if you can.
- Write the dream down in the present tense.
- Say the dream out loud as you write it down.
Having said all this, don’t get obsessed about remembering each and every dream. It’s been my experience that the ones that you remember most clearly or which leave you emotional when you wake up are the ones you need to work with.
- Give the dream a title, the first one that comes to you.
- Simplify and make the story break up into beginning, middle and end.
- Does the story line relate to anything going on in your life?
- Work out the symbols – remember, symbols need to have meaning for you, so be cautious in using dream dictionaries.
- Make up a dream map – put symbols in middle and then put meanings that come to you around them until one “clicks”
- Look for puns, ie, a symbol of a ram could relate to Aries and whatever you associate with this sign.
- Become the symbols and talk as if you were they; alternatively talk to the symbols and see how they respond.
- Talk to the people in your dreams – what do they mean to you?
- Men and women figures in your dream usually relate to your male and female energies. What qualities do you associate with those figures?
- Try word association.
- Trust your interpretation.
- Ask for help from a friend who knows you and what’s going on in your life, but again, trust what feels right for you.
- Do a waking dream. If you were interrupted in a dream, take time to relax, go back through the dream until you reach the point of interruption, and then continue in a waking dream to see how your inner vision resolves the dream.
Here are names of some nifty blogs on working with and understanding dreams:
And here’s a list of useful books:
I like Signposts as Ms Linn gives suggestions about symbols which are quite useful for prompting your own ideas. I also particularly like The Dreamcatcher’s Handbook which takes a Gestalt approach to understanding dreams.
Signposts Denise Linn
The Language of Dreams Patricia Felesco
DreamCatchers Handbook Helen McLean & Abiye Cole
Pocketful of Dreams Denise Linn
Animal-Speak Ted Andrews
Animal-Wise Ted Andrews
Medicine Cards Sams & Carson
Animal Dreaming Scott Alexander King