Do you keep a dream diary? Do you try to interpret your dreams? If so what methods do you use? Do you make decisions based on your dreams?
When I was a teenager in the 90’s it was rather fashionable to have a dream dictionary. I was given one as a present and read it both to look up dreams I had had and also just from cover to cover as a topic of interest. Even as a young child I have remembered dreams and all my life have made decisions based on dreams fully as often as I have made decisions based on gut feelings and feelings of deja vu (which for me has been quite as often as using boring old logic). I have also always interpreted my dreams in my own way and when I was using the ‘Dream Dictionary’ I often found that my thoughts on my dreams conflicted with what I read. I cannot remember the author of said ‘Dictionary’ nor do I know if it was a reputable one and although I didn’t always agree with it I probably did learn things from it certainly I would have learned something about symbolism from it. However, as I say I have always interpreted my dreams in my own way and have always paid close attention to when other people tell me about their dreams so that I can attempt either overtly or, probably more often covertly, interpreted their dreams to and/or gain an insight into their personalities and lives. Sometimes indeed in telling me about their dreams people have given me sensitive information about themselves completely unknowingly.
To me, this dream interpretation comes quite naturally, as I say I have done it since I was a child and it always surprises me that others can be seemingly totally unaware of what their dreams can mean or symbolise. It is similar, in my mind, to interpreting novels or poems, something else that I enjoy and that comes quite naturally to me.
Despite the title of this piece I think, and certainly in my experience rarely do dreams correspond directly to reality let alone come true in the literal sense. However, dreams can I believe give us insight into past, present or future events and help guide us into managing them in a positive way or warn us so that we can prepare for something or start making some changes.
To me interpreting a dream starts like this. First I have to remember the dream. Secondly I have a ‘feeling’ as to whether it is what I would class as an ‘important’ dream. The two are not mutually exclusive sometimes I can feel frustrated for days if I know I had an ‘important’ dream but cannot quite remember it, it lurks offering an exciting insight just out of range. Other times I can remember dreams very clearly but know that they are more about my mind just ordering and sorting recent events.
The third most important aspect of dream interpretation to me is the feeling or the general sense of the dream. This can mean many things from how I feel within the dream, a dream about monsters or scary things can be a real positive if I am reacting well in the dream, not scared but tough and brave, to how I feel when I awake, I can awake from a dream that seems on the surface to be benign but with a nagging feeling of something that needs to be acted on as a result of it, to the weather in the dream, or the state or quality of something with the dream. If it is a dream about water, for example a swift clean stream means something very different to a rough, dark, deep sea. A clean well is different to a stagnant pond. Similarly, running fast and feeling fleeter of foot than you ever could in real life will mean something very different depending on whether you are running to or from something and whether the thing you are running to or from is a positive or a negative. Running but going nowhere is, again, something quite different. Once broken down and looked at in this way the meaning behind dreams start to emerge.
Another important aspect of dream interpretation for me is hindsight. There is a conversation between two characters regarding prophesying in one of my favourite series of books, which I have discussed in Witchy Fiction, The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb which illustrates my point.
‘No one truly understands a prophecy until it comes true. It’s rather like a horseshoe. The smithy shows you a but of iron stock and you say, it will never fit. But after it’s been through the fire and hammered and filed, there it is, fitting perfectly to your horses hoof as if it would never fit any other’.
‘It sounds as if you are saying prophets shape their prophecies to be true after the fact’
He cocked his head. ‘And a good prophet, like a good smith, shows you that it fits perfectly’
I will demonstrate this with some examples of dreams I have had and that others have shared with me. See if you can get this one quicker than I did. A fluid, flowing dream, I swam with tadpoles we swam and swam I was them and they were me. I did a pregnancy test a few weeks later and was like ‘oh yeah so that’s what that was!’. Someone else I know kept dreaming about kittens and baby rabbits and when she saw the positive pregnancy test only knew at that point what her dreams had been trying to tell her.
When I was no more than 10 years old a friend told me of a nightmare she had in which her parents had each given her a doll, but she could not let the dolls be close to each other or something terrible would happen something that could kill her parents and make her house blow up. She had spent her dream running around trying to keep the dolls far apart. As she was telling me about this ‘horrible nightmare’ young as I was I knew it was important. Sure enough they were separated within the year. Of course the events showed how accurate, although of course in metaphor or symbolism, the dream was even though I couldn’t have said at that point exactly what it was all about, it stuck in my mind and I recalled it immediately when she told me about their separation.
A year or so after that I was deciding on which secondary (age 11-16) school I wanted to go to as I was lucky enough to have that choice and be trusted to make that decision mostly by myself. During this time I had a dream that I was looking out of a window watching a cat. We had cats and so they are a positive sign to me, giving me a sense of home of belonging, the dream felt significant but I did not really know why. Then a few weeks, perhaps months later I was visiting potential school when bam, in a science class room there was the window I had looked out of, there was the view (minus the cat) but it was it. I explained to my wonderfully spiritual parents who of course saw it as being as much of a sign as I did and so that was where I went to school, where I met some lifelong friends and learned so much both academically and otherwise.
I made another life changing decision about pursuing an otherwise completely ill conceived relationship after dreaming about the person in question. In the dream they rescued me from a dark, dangerous and scary situation, they literally stepped into my dream even though they were not a part of it and took me through a window into calm, quiet and sunlit safety. As it happened it was through that relationship I met my husband and the father of my child.
Is it a chicken and the egg scenario here? Would I have made those decisions without the dreams seeming to point me in those directions or are they just foreshadowing these events.
I wrote recently in Re-remembering about a dream I had that told me of an event that was happening, perhaps warning me of an emotional response I would have to it or perhaps just giving me evidence to trust my dreams, to listen to what my dreams are trying to say. In a similar way that psychic medium give ‘proof’ or provide survival evidence when doing readings for people.
I have never really spoken much about this to anyone apart from close family members and would be very interested to do so one day or to hear from any of you reading this if you would like to get in contact with me to let me know your thoughts on dream interpretation or let me have a go at interpreting yours I would love to try.