When I first read this guide I thought it was very precise, it described the way the psychoanalyst looks at dreams, very concentrated around feelings.
With my experience and studies I found out that feelings don’t play such a vital role, if at all, in dreams. Dreams are more like Chinese signs build by symbols. The bible are filled with dreams and they are very specific, not the least based on feelings, the dream-interface is simply to complicated to transfer messages with feelings. To only look at feelings is like using a thermometer instead of a scanner when looking for cancer. There are written some good articles on Christian or Jewish dream interpretation, so look for pdf files “dream interpretation” and Christian, Hebrew or Jewish dream interpretation, eventually other religious tradition.
Guideline to Dream Interpretation.
I have just found this exquisite document about Dream Interpretation and as I can’t write it better I have put it on my blog. One additional hint, keep a Dream Journal, as it sharpens your memory and understanding through the process. If you are into spiritual work it’s always good to keep a journal over your experiences.
All dreams work to accomplish one of two things:
- To solve the problems of your conscious, waking life.
- To present you with access to new potentials and creativity. Because dreams come from all levels of your being, understanding the imagery and type of dream is the key to understanding and actualizing the messages you receive during sleep.
Symbols express those things for which we have no words. By working with them, we use both hemispheres of the brain and tap the subconscious mind more fully, which in turn opens the doors to our intuitive self.
A dream symbol could literally represent itself as well as its possible interpretations. The images and symbols may also represent aspects of your personality. When you begin to reflect on the symbols, always start by registering your first impressions but don’t stop with the obvious. Dreams are symbolic representations, not reproductions. The dream images always represent more than themselves, and so the more you work with them, the more you will understand them.
Dreams do not come to tell you what you already know. Look at the dream images and symbols as pieces of a puzzle that you can put together only by finding out what they mean to you.
[See Dream Interpretation in Esoteric Work about symbols.]
How do you relate to the dream?
- Start by looking at how the dream could be reflecting something going on in your daily life.
- Then move on to the more subtle, free association with the dream images.
- What’s the first thing you would normally think about in connection to that symbol or image, activity or person appearing in your dream scenario?
- doing more than representing themselves. They may also represent qualities or characteristics that you have “projected” on them. For example, you may dream of your grandfather, a man who was very kind to you. The quality of kindness is therefore associated with your grandfather, so dreaming of him could symbolize kindness. (You will know the difference between a symbolic representation of a quality or characteristic and a real “psychic” contact with a loved one.)
- Examine the emotions within the dream scenario. What is the predominant emotion associated with the dream? Remember that it may be the emotion aroused that is the key and the scenario is simply a vehicle to deliver the message.
- When you wake up, does a particular feeling remain? For example, are you frightened, frustrated, happy, excited?
Dreams often exaggerate emotions, qualities and situations to get a particular message across to you. This does not mean that you have that quality or will experience that situation to the intensity you experienced within the dream. When this occurs, you are often being given a strong thump on the head to pay attention! This is what nightmares do. They are dynamic calls for your attention. They show you your greatest fears, fears that must be confronted.
Dreams often come in a series. Various dreams in a single or successive nights may be different ways of saying the same thing. The subconscious mind may be communicating the same message to you in different ways to make sure that you get it. Look for relationships and symbols that reoccur and notice the similarities. Ask yourself what they have in common.
Proper dream interpretation leads towards greater understanding of yourself, but do not lose touch with your common sense in dream work. On the surface, dreams may seem to predict futures events or alarming situations, but do not jump to conclusions. With practice, you will be able to discern if a dream is precognitive (reflecting future events) or not.
Dreams use symbols to make you develop and understand your personal symbolic language. This language comes directly from your soul and uses symbols and images from impersonal archetypes and from personal experience to make a strong or subtle impact on your psyche. This symbolic language is unique, given just to you, in the hope that it will make you conscious of your real needs and problems. This language of the soul also helps you to unfold your creativity and activates the spiritual dimension within your psyche.
Painting by John Vega
A framework for dream work might be:
- Determine the dream type, issue, crisis, a block, a resolution already included in the dream.
- Make a list of the symbols in the dream.
- Find out the relationships between symbols.
- Find out the relationships between the dream ego and the symbols.
- Find out the similarities and contrasts in the dream.
- List what the dream ego is and is not doing in the dream
- Find out about the ego’s relationships with other items in the dream.
- Make a summary, and list what you have discovered.
This is a basic method of working with dreams that helps you develop self-analysis, observation, and a “conscious” and “lucid” state of consciousness. You can follow it up with different methods.