Interpreting Your Dreams
Interpreting your dreams can be a lot of fun. As we’ve said, it can also give you valuable insight. Dreams are like coded messages from your unconscious mind. When you decode them, you gain access to a wealth of intuitive wisdom. Remember that only you can interpret your dreams. Many people have published "Dream Dictionaries" that describe what each part of the dream symbolizes. Actually, the same dream can have infinite meanings, depending on the person who dreamed it. The important thing is, what does it mean to you?Interpreting dreams isn’t something you can pick up and become an expert at right away. It takes time and practice.
First, keep the following things in mind: dreams are the reaction of the inner self to daytime activity and often show the way out of the dilemma. So relate them to current activity, because dreams may be retrospective as well as prospective. Observe carefully recurrent dreams, as well as the serially progressive ones. These often illustrate progress or failure. Be practical in your interpretations. Always look first for a lesson. What have you refused to face or been ignoring? Dreams come to guide and help, not to amuse. They direct your attention to errors of omission and commission and offer encouragement for right endeavors. They also give us the opportunity to pray for others and to help them bear their burdens.
Look for past-life experiences in your dreams. These manifest themselves not only in color, but in the proper costume and setting of their period. They come to warn you against repeating the same old mistakes; to explain your relationship and reactions to certain people and places; to reduce your confusions; to enable you to better understand life. Dreams that are unchanged through the years indicate the dreamer’s resistance to change. The difficulty most people have with interpreting their own dreams is that they aren’t objective enough. Their familiarity with the people and places in their dreams obscures the dreams meaning. Experts have come up with the “I am and I need” formula, devised to overcome this. Here’s how it works.
Once you have your dream written on paper, get two different colored pens. Using one color, underline every negative word or phrase in the dream which indicates limitation, disrespect, containment, avoidance or damage. Using the other color, underline every positive word or phrase. You now make two lists. List the negative words and phrases under a column titled I am. List the positive words and phrases under a column titled I need. You are almost ready to interpret your dream.
Determine the subject matter of the dream. The location where the dream takes place is one of the best methods for doing this. When you have determined the subject matter take each of the phrases or words in the ‘I AM’ column and fit them into the following sentence.
When it comes to my (subject matter) I AM (phrase or keyword)
Change the phrase or keyword slightly to force the sentence to make sense. If you cannot determine the subject matter apply the keywords to yourself in general. This exercise tells you how you feel or react to the subject matter of the dream. When you have done this read through the ‘I NEED’ column to learn what you must do to correct the problem. To get the meaning put each of the phrases or keywords into the sentence,
When it comes to my (subject matter) I NEED (phrase or keyword)
Let’s take an example. Using the sentence ‘The dead woman lay on the cold hard slab’. The negative keywords are; dead, cold and hard. Women, in dreams, can represent emotions so in this case the sentences constructed would be
When it comes to my emotions I am dead.
When it comes to my emotions I am cold.
When it comes to my emotions I am hard.
The meaning is obvious. With analyzing just one sentence from a dream we have learned a lot about the dreamer. Using this technique you now have all of the information you need to start interpreting your dreams. However it takes practice to be able to apply what you have learned. Be patient with your efforts. Not all dream interpretations will be that cut and dried, but it is a way to remain objective when you are analyzing what your dreams mean and how best to put the messages they are conveying to good use in your life. Keep in mind that Most dreams are * not * precognitive, and once one learns the subtle differences between a precognitive dream versus a regular dream, they are easily discernable and will put your mind at ease.
The first thing everyone should consider is the typical universal symbology of the dream images. For instance, death symbolizes the end of something that’s ready for change, and a new beginning. Most people start out highly resistive to changes of any sort, and see any upcoming change in their life as something foreboding and scary. Death dreams are usually about change. The symbols and what they represent is the most fascinating part of dream interpretation. There are literally hundreds of them. We don’t have the space to address all of them, but we will touch on some of the most recurring themes in dreams as well as the symbols of those dreams and what they mean.
Most Common Dream Images
One very important thing to keep in mind is to interpret symbols within the context of the dream they appear in, rather than piece by piece which would leave too much room for error. There are thousands of symbols, and it depends upon the context of one’s own personal dream as to what they all mean for him/her. Look at it this way…a dream is like a puzzle, and although there are several pieces that are quickly pieced together because they are so obvious, the puzzle isn’t complete until all the pieces are placed together bit by bit. Then you have the complete picture…until then, you’ll only have disjointed images that don’t add up to anything coherent, and you’ll still be confused. So please remember that and try not to piecemeal a dream…it needs to be fully interpreted or it will most likely be totally wrong. Let’s look at some of the more common dream images and what they could mean.
Teeth Falling Out
This is probably the most prevalent dream image that people report. Common dream scenarios include having your teeth crumble in your hands, fall out one by one with just a light tap, grow crooked or rot. It is disturbing There is something very disturbing about these dreams – not only because tooth loss affects vanity and personal appearance, but also in the content & the emotion that comes along with them. Tooth loss dreams may also symbolize a fear of abandonment, of being left behind with no recourse.
One theory is that dreams about your teeth reflect your anxiety about your appearance and how others perceive you. but a dream about one’s teeth falling out usually symbolizes that the dreamer is having a challenge getting their voice heard, or feelings acknowledged. This may be referring to their conversations with a particular person such as their significant other, boss, or friend; or can be generalized for people who are shy, to include almost everyone they come in contact with. The dreamer needs to brush up on conversational skills, believe in the value of their own opinion, and learn how to be less intimidated by aggressive people, and become more assertive and make their voice heard. Once they do that, this dream (which is a common recurring dream) should evolve & show improvement…or disappear altogether.
These dreams may stem from a fear of your sexual impotence or the consequences of getting old. Another rationalization for these falling teeth dream may be rooted in your fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself in some specific situation. These dreams are an over-exaggeration of your worries and anxiety. Are you lacking power in some current situation? You may be experiencing feelings of inferiority and a lack of self-confidence in some situation or relationship in your life.
There are cultural interpretations of this type of dream as well. In the Greek culture, when you dream about loose, rotten, or missing teeth, it indicates that a family member or close friend is very sick or even near death. According to the Chinese, there is a saying that your teeth will fall out if you are telling lies. It has also been said that if you dream of your teeth falling out, then it symbolizes money. This is based on the old tooth fairy story. If you lose a tooth and leave it under the pillow, a tooth fairy would bring you money.
Many dreamers describe the ability to fly in their dreams as an exhilarating, joyful, and liberating experience. Dreams about flying usually represent freedom from the physical body, as we experience it, in sleep & while dreaming, where we don’t use our physical bodies but instead use our mental & spiritual bodies to experience our dreams. Everybody seems to have a natural inclination to want to fly, unless that is changed by a fear of flying due to a frightening incident in their waking lives. Flying = freedom; either a desire for freedom, an "escape" from restraints in your physical life (like a mini-vacation for the mind) or any number of possibilities.
If you are flying with ease and enjoying the scene and landscape below, then it suggests that you are on top of a situation. You have risen above something. It may also mean that you have gained a different perspective on things. Flying dreams and the ability to control your flight is representative of your own personal sense of power. Having difficulties staying in flight indicates a lack of power in controlling your own circumstances. You may be struggling to stay aloft and stay on course. Things like power lines, trees, or mountains may further obstruct your flight. These barriers represent a particular obstacle or person who is standing in your way in your waking life. You need to identify who or what is hindering you from moving forward. If you are feeling fear when you are flying or that you feel that you are flying too high then it suggests that you are afraid of challenges and of success.
Tie it in with the context of your dream…what were you doing in your dream besides flying? How did it make you feel? Also, the type of flying here is the person flying on their own without an airplane or any aircraft at all. (This dream signifies that you feel proud of your accomplishments and that you expect and get recognition and support from those around you. You are not soaring into the clouds on your own yet, but you feel the freedom that success and respect from others brings..) In reality, we do not have the ability to fly. Thus such dreams may represent that which is beyond our physical limitations. In your mind, you can be anybody and do anything. Another way of interpreting flying dreams is that these dreams symbolize your strong mind and will. You feel undefeatable and nobody can tell you what you cannot do and accomplish. Undoubtedly these dreams leave you a great sense of freedom.
In ancient times, a person who dreamed of flying was considered to have entered the realm of the immortal gods. The Native Americans, the Babylonians, the Hindus, the Tibetan Buddhists and many other traditions claim that we all have a light body that can leave the physical body during sleep. The light body can travel great distances and even into other dimensions that mystics call the astral planes. Here we can talk to our friends who also travel the dimensions, communicate with the people of the spirit world, or learn from the advanced souls the men once called gods and angels.
Being Caught In A Tornado
Tornadoes are massive funnels of air and in dreams air represents the thoughts and the thought processes. This spinning action could be symbolic of spinning around, not knowing which way to go since one’s thoughts are running amok. This symbol also points to emotional turmoil, as in a "whirlwind of emotions"; and/or rapid or sudden changes in your life. It is a sign to "get a grip" on what is possibly spinning out of control & deal more effectively with your emotions. In dreams tornadoes can symbolize feeling that some form of destruction or ruin is imminent. Is there some situation in your life that you fear will cause you to lose it all? Meditation and finding some private "think time" for yourself would be a good idea.
A less common interpretation of a tornado dream comes from the Wizard of Oz. In that story, the tornado is the portal to another world, carrying Dorothy far away from her Kansas home and off into the Land of Oz. If you associated strongly with that story as a child, ask yourself if you are wishing you too could be carried away by the tornado that appears in your dream. Alternatively, ask yourself if you are getting carried away with your thoughts or fantasies. Remember, as much as Dorothy desired escape, she realized that happiness was in her own backyard!
Dreaming that you are completely or partially naked is very common. Nudity symbolizes a variety of things depending on your real life situation. The feelings associated with the nakedness may also vary somewhat. Sometimes there may be feelings of freedom associated with nakedness, at other times the nakedness may be accompanied by feelings of embarrassment, as occurs in dreams wherein one is naked in public. Metaphorically clothes are a means of concealment. With clothes, you can hide your identity or be someone else. But without them, everything is hanging out for all to see. You are left without any defenses.
The dream may telling you that you are trying to be something that you really are not. Or that you are fearful of being ridiculed and disgraced. If you are in a new relationship, you may have some fears or apprehension in revealing your true feelings. Nudity also symbolizes being caught off guard. Finding yourself naked at work or in a classroom, suggests that you are unprepared for a project at work or school. With all eyes on you, you have this fear of having some deed brought to public attention. You fear that people will see through your true self and you will be exposed as a fraud or a phony. Dreams of this type typically fall into two categories. They are either symbolic of feelings of guilt over something one has done that one wants to keep secret or they are symbolic of hypercritical thinking. Many times, when you realize that you are naked in your dream, no one else seems to notice. Everyone else in the dream is going about their business without giving a second look at your nakedness. This implies that your fears are unfounded; no one will notice except you. You may be magnifying the situation and making an issue of nothing. On the other hand, such dreams may mean your desire (or failure) to get noticed. Dreams of public nudity accompanied by feelings of shame, fear, guilt, or some other less than pleasant emotion can symbolize fear of rejection, fear of exposure, fear of disapproval, etc.
For a small percentage of you, dreaming that you are proud of your nakedness and show no embarrassment or shame symbolizes your unrestricted freedom. You have nothing to hide and are proud of who you are. The dream is about a new sense of honesty, openness, and a carefree nature. If you are having dreams of being naked that are not accompanied by some unpleasant emotion, then this is a wonderful sign that you are feeling complete, whole, and able to completely bare yourself to the world around you. These kind of naked dreams are usually symbolic of feelings of freedom or similarly, a feeling of a return to innocence.
Dreams of being chased are second only to dreams of falling as far as being the most universally experienced dream scenario. What is doing the chasing – be it a monster, a mugger, or an animal of some sort – is quite a personal thing and varies widely from individual to individual, so do make note of it because your pursuer will definitely turn out to have unique significance for you. Is it a huge monster, a little spider – something unknown? For huge monsters and the unknown, it’s likely you are feeling the urge to get away from something, but you may not be able to put a finger on exactly what it is. If it’s a bug, snake, spider, etc., it may represent anxiety about some level of your life compounded by your innate fear of this particular creature, or it may be simply that you have recently had a close encounter with this particular creature and are working through your fears in your dreams. If you are being chased by someone you know, look at your relations with this person. Do you owe them money or are they making some sort of demand on you that you don’t feel you can fulfill? These dreams don’t occur if you have faced and dealt with whatever it is you fear during waking hours.
Chasing dreams very often signify vulnerability, and the reason these dreams often recur over a lifetime is that certain situations trigger memories of childhood vulnerabilities. They often stem from feelings of anxiety in your walking life. The way we respond to anxiety and pressure in real life is typically manifested as a chase dream. Running is an instinctive response to physical threats in our environment. Often in these dream scenarios, you are being pursued by some attacker, who wants to hurt or possibly kill you. You are running away, hiding, or trying to outwit your pursuer. Chase dreams may represent your way of coping with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, you are running away and avoiding it. Ask yourself who is the one chasing you and you may gain some understanding and insight on the source of your fears and pressure. The pursuer or attacker who is chasing you in your dream may also represent a part of yourself. Your own feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, and possibly love, can assume the appearance of threatening figure. You may be projecting these feelings onto the unknown chaser.
Next time you have a chase dream, turn around and confront your pursuer. Ask them why they are chasing you. One may be consumed by their own anger, jealousy, love, or self-destructive behavior. For example, you may be drinking too much or exhibiting open hostility toward others around you. You may subconsciously be threatened by these actions which have been jeopardizing your relationships and/or career. Your dreams are a way of calling attention to these self-destructive actions. A more direct analysis of chase dreams is the fear of being attacked. Such dreams are more common among women than men, who may feel physically vulnerable in the urban environment. These dreams are inspired by fears of violence and sexual assault to which we are so over-exposed from the media. The violence that the media portrays magnifies our fears and how at risk we all are.
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