Dream interpretation (n): the process of assigning meaning to dreams
Many of us have seen or maybe even own a dream interpretation book.
In fact, I own one myself.
They can be lifesavers if I’m stuck on what something might have symbolized, allowing me to tie everything together with what I find within. Many people refer to them as a tool to decipher their own dreams, which is great, but sometimes the meanings fall short.
Because the element of intuition is missing.
Our dreams often present themselves in a wide array of images, scenarios, emotions, and sounds which hold meaning as symbols and metaphors for the state of our subconscious mind. The meaning of these is entirely dependent on the individual’s beliefs, personality, and current life situations.
Though dream dictionaries can point us in the right direction, only with our intuition can we truly access the deep and personal message that is specifically for us.
In an attempt to uncover the meanings behind our dreams, Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, noted that there are some universal symbols that hold the same meaning for everyone. He referred to this phenomenon as the “collective unconscious.” While our dreams are deeply personal, they often touch on these universal themes. Jung called them “archetypes.” He believed that these archetypes, or universal mythic characters, reside within the collective unconscious and represent basic human motivations. Each archetype has it’s own set of motivations, traits, and values, and with understanding, can be a basic template when attempting to understand the general theme of your dreams.
Jung laid out seven major archetypal characters:
- The Persona/Self: This is the image you present to the world when you are awake. In your dreams, this may or may not resemble you physically or behave as you would.
- The Shadow: This is the repressed or rejected aspects of yourself. The parts that you believe are ugly or unappealing that you hide away from the world. In your dreams, the shadow may be represented by a stalker, bully, pursuer, or something more frightening like a snake, monster, spider, demon, or dragon. This type of dream often leaves one feeling scared or angry, but is a blessing in disguise. It forces you to confront the things you refuse to acknowledge. These things ultimately are for our own growth, as we cannot grow without challenging our current status quo, which is exactly what the Shadow does.
- The Anima/Animus: The Anima and Animus are two sides of one coin. They represent the feminine and masculine aspects of yourself. We all hold each, no matter our physical gender. Female energy is generative and receptive, while male energy is active and generous. In your dreams, they might show up as either a highly feminized figure, or a highly masculinized figure. One might dream that they’re wearing a dress if they’re male, or growing a beard if they’re female. This type of dream appears depending on how well we are integrating the male/female qualities within ourselves and is a reminder to fully express and show up in balanced duality.
- The Divine Child: This is you in your most pure form. The Divine Child represents innocence, vulnerability, aspirations, and potential. In your dreams, this archetype is usually symbolized by a young child or baby. This is a dream of possibilities coming.
- The Wise Old Woman/Man: The helper of our dreams, the Wise Old Woman/Man comes to your dreams as an authority figure of some sort. This could be a teacher, priest, doctor, parent, etc. They appear to offer guidance and words of wisdom, steering us in the right direction.
- The Great Mother: This is the nurturer who might appear in your dreams as your mother, grandmother, or another nurturing figure in your life. She comes to provide us with reassurance.
- The Trickster: The Trickster plays jokes, mostly to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. He might appear in your dream to shake up your ego and shed light on your vulnerabilities as a reminder of your humanity and an encouragement to let go and relax. Have fun. For him, that’s what it’s all about.
The Journey of Personal Interpretation
So, we’ve since learned about dream recall. In order to interpret our dreams, we have to have something to interpret. This is where dream journals come in handy, as we have detailed descriptions at our finger tips that we can then use to connect to the meaning behind it. If you haven’t yet, I suggest looking back at this post and first begin creating a solid connection to your dreams with the help of a dream journal so that you can get the most out of them.
- First, looking at your dream journal, consider what type of associations your conscious mind has with the images, symbols, or setting of your dream, whatever one you choose. For example, I might dream of a sunroom and have the association of my grandmother as she had one that I would always play in. This inspires a feeling of warmth, innocence, and playfulness for me. Create an awareness around each aspect and tailor it to what it means to you.
- Remember that all people or figures within our dreams are simply figments or representations of ourselves. Examine whether there were any others in your dream. What does this person represent to you? What kind of relationship do you have with this person, if they are someone from your waking life?
- Examine the emotions that came up for you in this dream. Were you fearful? Happy? Angry? Nervous? Sad? What about any disconnect between how you experienced the dream’s emotions and how you believe you should have experienced them?
- Consider the objects or symbols in your dreams. You might want to refer to Jung’s seven archetypes and see if any of it fits. This might also be where you would like to take a look at a dream dictionary and see if the meaning(s) hold any significance for you.
- Now that you’ve tailored the dream’s relationships, emotions, and symbols to you, it’s time to take a second to get quiet. Ask yourself, “What is this dream trying to share with me?” Listen. You may have to ask yourself a few times, or you might not have to at all, but you’ll receive your answer. Usually, once people get through the above steps, they tend to have a clear idea of what their dream’s message is.
That’s all there is to interpreting our dreams. It’s about making a personal connection to them in order to receive our own personal message. With practice, this will become easier and easier to do, strengthening your relationship to both your dreams and your intuition. You’ll be able to pick up on the wisdom of you dreams effortlessly and use it to inspire, energize, and catapult you to show up in the Highest way.
Next week, we’ll look at something called dream incubation! Incredibly excited to talk about this one with you all! It’s a well-loved tool in my box of spiritual hardware.
Until next time,