Interpreting the meaning of your dreams

There have been lots of books and resources written about interpreting dream meanings and you can find fairly extensive lists on the internet of objects and experiences you might come across in a dream.

The trouble is generic meanings for dream symbols aren’t very accurate. It often reminds me of carnival fortune tellers; as long as they include enough vague words and descriptions, everyone will find something that sort of matches to them and conveniently forget about the rest.

The objects and images in your dreams do act as symbols and metaphors for something else, because this is the language of the subconscious mind. But the meaning behind a particular image is much more personal, it depends on what that image means to you. For example: If someone who is afraid of snakes see’s one in their dream that will likely mean a very different thing to someone who likes to keep snakes as pets.

It is true that people who share similar environments and have grown up in similar cultures will often find that some dream symbols do indeed have the same meanings. However this is due to the fact that their minds have built up the same (or at least very similar) associations to particular things, and not that these dream symbols have some universal meaning for all people.

If you want to accurately interpret the meaning of your dreams, it is much better to create your own ‘dream meanings book’ than to go out and buy one. Interpreting your dream symbols is a very similar process to the analysing stage of image streaming, after all both techniques involve images in the form of symbols and metaphors being communicated to you by your subconscious mind.

An iterative word association is a good way to start examining and identifying the meanings behind particular images shown to you by your subconscious:

Start by picking one thing from your dream or image stream, it can be an object like ‘a dog’, or an action like ‘being chased’, in fact anything that you experienced. Let use the dog for our example:

- Now say to yourself and picture in your minds eye ‘dog’, and then write down the very first word or idea that comes into your head.
- Then go back and say/picture ‘dog’ again and write down the next word or idea that comes to you. (Repeat this about 3 times).
- Follow the 2 steps above for each of the key ideas/themes in your dream
- Then look at all of the words together and see if you can link any of them, if there is a pattern or a way they might apply to a situation in your life at the moment
- Underline or highlight the word or idea associated with each dream symbol that you think relates most to the situation in your life you identified above.
- Finally go back to the rest of your dream content and look for meanings in the other more minor dream symbols that might relate to the situation you identified.

As you do these word lists for a few of your dreams you will notice the same symbols appearing again and again. These are your dream signs, and they will represent key themes that are going on in your life at this time. Recognising your dream signs is also an important activity in in a variety of Dream-Induced-Lucid-Dream techniques.

If you do this process for even just a few days to a week you will have a significant list of dream symbols and their associated meaning, and in no time at all you will have a very comprehensive personal dream dictionary.


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