Dream Interpretation Recurring symbol | Dream Meanings
Symbols in dreams generally occur because they illustrate a quality or function, or because of the association you may have with them. So if particular symbols, such as a jungle setting, theme park or castle appear in your dream, this is because these particular images express something significant about the way you feel or because they offer you a key to understanding a particular challenge.
If a particular landscape or setting of a dream reoccurs, it tends to illustrate the way something affects you or how it makes you feel.
For example, clothing that is tattered or torn may signify that you feel emotionally shredded by an experience. You may also be expressing a "poor me" attitude.
For the hero, the horse cames him to his mission, perhaps over long distances, and thus it may signify the need to travel. A wild horse can represent unleashed and untamed power. Horses may also trot into your dream to indicate the need to stand your ground in a power struggle.
The quality of water often describes the situation of your emotions. Crystal clear, clean, adulterated, calm mostly provides strong insights about the state of your feelings.
If the dream symbol (person, event, object, action, setting, etc.) exists in your real life, it might represent that actual element of your waking life. For example, your mother who was hugging you might represent a particular time she hugged you, or her affection toward you in general. Consider whether the dream symbol might represent the same thing in your current life, past, or imagined future, and whether your feelings about the dream symbol remind you of feelings you felt about something in your real life (perhaps recently).
The emotions you feel regarding the dream symbol are probably the same as the emotions you feel about whatever the symbol represents in your real life. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by a swarm of insects in a dream, the swarm might represent your to-do list that feels overwhelming in real life. (See more about emotions in the Emotions symbol category.)
Abundance or Lack
A dream symbol can represent something that you feel you have too much of, do too much of, or want less of in your real life. Alternatively, your dream symbol could represent something that you feel you lack, do too little of, or want more of. If your dream contained a pleasant experience (such as relaxing on a beach), your subconscious mind could be pointing to your desire for more relaxation in your life. If your dream was unpleasant (such as someone judging you), your subconscious mind may have been focused on trying to avoid that kind of experience in real life.
A dream symbol may convey meaning that you personally associate with it based on your experiences, feelings, and other influences (as described in Subconscious Influences on Dream Symbolism). For example, one person might associate a baby with vulnerability and someone else might associate it with growth.
A particular dream symbol may bring more than one meaning to mind for you. For example, money might bring to mind how fun it is to spend, but you might also think of money as power or a solution to financial problems. If the first meaning that comes to mind doesn’t seem to relate to anything in your real life and doesn’t resonate intuitively, explore additional meanings (TOOL: Caveman Explanation is helpful for this).
The symbols you tend to notice in a dream are often the most important ones. So a good place to start when exploring your dream is with the symbols that stood out. Symbols may stand out because they’re so huge you can’t miss them (like a boulder falling on your house) or they could be small details that happen to stand out in your mind (like the chipped rim of a teacup). Sometimes an important symbol is highlighted in the dream with a bright color, illuminated with light, pointed to with an arrow, or emphasized in some other way.
If there’s a sense of urgency involved in the dream, the dream might represent an urgent matter that you feel needs attention in your real life (or one that you fear or imagine needing attention). For example, a dream about trying to put out a fire at work could point to a real-life problem that arose suddenly at work that you feel requires quick action to avoid catastrophe.
A dream might be about you or it could represent your perception of a friend or a recent situation—even in the media, on TV, or in a movie. For example, in a dream about a girl wearing a cheerful flowered dress, the girl could represent a happier version of yourself or your desire to feel more cheerful. Alternatively, she might represent a friend who was in a happy mood when you saw her yesterday, an upbeat song you just heard, or an optimistic character you saw in a TV show last night.
A dream symbol could represent something in your past, present, or imagined future. Look for elements that bring to mind a particular time frame, either in the characteristics of the symbol itself or in the other things associated with it in the dream (people, activities, clothes, places, music, books, etc.). Time-related cues could include things like hair or clothing styles, a person appearing younger or older than their current age in real life, technologies of a different era, or personal cues such as the cowboy boots you wore at age seven.
When a dream portrays a real-life situation that’s particularly emotional for the dreamer, sometimes the situation shows up as exaggerated in the dream. In other words, the subconscious mind may amplify the real-life situation, “making a mountain out of a molehill,” expressing how strongly you feel about the dream’s subject matter. For example, if in real life you saw a baby snake in your yard, and you’re very afraid of snakes, the snake might show up in a dream as a huge serpent attacking you. So, consider whether a particular dream symbol could represent a similar but less extreme situation in your waking life, about which you feel strong emotion.... Common Dreams
The point is that if we are being given these messages for our own well-being, it would behoove us to try to understand them, to listen to the spirits.
The uncon¬scious, or the spirits, employ symbols with which we are familiar. They present the message using objects that per¬tain to our everyday life, the better that we may under¬stand what is being communicated. Sigmund Freud believed that the unconscious mind contains repressed material—wishes, thoughts, experi-ences—that the individual will not accept into the con¬scious mind. These things are therefore repressed and often disguised. Carl Jung called this repressed material the “Personal Unconscious.” He believed that there was also the “Collective Unconscious,” which contained elements from racial memories and experiences. Discover how to:
If you find yourself transported to the scene of a well-known fairy tale, the following tips may help with the interpretation. First of all, consider what common fairy tale motif your dream scene is depicting. For example, it could be:
A strong theme in many fairy tales is the idea that love and goodness triumph. In the animal bridegroom tale, the girl protagonist marries some kind of beast, who is transformed by love in the course of the story into a (usually handsome) prince. In your waking life, do you feel you deserve the reward of love and security for your efforts? Do you believe love can conquer all? Or is your dream urging you to reconcile your masculine and feminine attitudes in waking life?
Good and bad choice
Most fairy tales involve a moment when the protagonist is faced with a choice. These include: helpless people or creatures to be kind or beastly to; opportunities to tell the truth or lie, or cheat or be honest; a choice to stand up for your principles or betray the innocent and submit to tyranny.
If someone’s inside and outside are at odds, typically by the end of the tale the two are reconciled (as in the Beast’s transformation in ‘Beauty and the Beast’). Notice the elemental justice of this fairy tale motif and see whether you can relate any of its themes to your waking life.
A mirror that allows one to see one’s heart’s desire (or one’s loved ones); a table that sets itself with food and dishes; a stick that beats one’s enemies; a goose that lays golden eggs; a pouch that replenishes itself with gold. Consider the symbolism of these motifs. To what gift or hidden quality is your dream referring?
These would include: an old crone, a talking frog, a fairy godmother, a swan to convey one across a river, a bird that carries one in his claws. Also, and not always in a helping role, one might encounter magical creatures such as witches, ogres, fairies, mermaids, unicorns, trolls, gnomes and dragons. Consider the symbolism of any helpers, or non-helpers, that appear in your dream; they represent psychological energy or strength that you either possess or need to find. What qualities do they represent, and how will they help or hinder you?
The ‘Rule of Three’
Many fairy tales, as well as many dreams, seem to obey what might be called the ‘rule of three’. They may contain three characters (’Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘The Three Little Pigs’, The Three Billy Goats Gruff); three wishes; three tasks that a prince (or princess) must do to win his (or her) true love; three times for a request or saying to be repeated (I’ll huff, and I’ll puff…’).
If you find yourself in a story in which three is significant, see NUMBERS.
Trial or test to win one’s love
Going ‘east of the sun and west of the moon’ and bringing back a treasure; learning the answer to a riddle; spinning straw into gold (and guessing Rumpelstiltskin’s name); breaking through the 100- year-old forest to find the sleeping princess. Can you relate such tests to your waking life? What trials and tribulations do you need to overcome?
Remember that these stories have been told and retold for centuries because they have resonated with their hearers and expressed something important to their audiences. So if scenes from a specific fairy tale appear in your dream, consider the symbolism of the fairy tale motif, and see how the story and the lessons it teaches apply to your waking life.
If a specific character appears in your dream out of context from his, her or its fairy tale, for example Cinderella wandering the streets of New York on her own, Sleeping Beauty buying a house or Puss in Boots accompanying you on a train journey, consider what aspect of yourself or your life the character represents. So if you find yourself having lunch with Rapunzel in your dreams, think about the symbolism of her hair, which was cut off to punish the girl for her indiscretion. Is there something you feel guilty about in waking life or should feel guilty about? Or do you feel imprisoned in an ivory tower and long for freedom of expression?
Finally, don’t forget that, above all, fairy tales encourage you to believe in possibilities and the hidden ‘magic’ that can be discovered in the most unexpected places.... The Element Encyclopedia
Purses, according to Freud, are symbols of female genitalia or the womb; when the purse opens, this suggests sexual availability and when it is snapped shut, this suggests withholding.... The Element Encyclopedia
If it is dirty, burned, torn or trampled on, this may suggest anger against those who have attacked the country or anger against the country itself. A sea of waving flags in a crowd may suggest benign patriotism or a sense of foreboding about excessively strong nationalism.
If the flag is unknown, it may be a tribal emblem of your entire network of family and friends. Do you feel supported by them or neglected? Your positive or negative attitudes towards the flag in your dream may reveal your unconscious feelings on this issue. As always, the colors of your particular flag—whether or not the flag is known to you or associated with a country you have been to—will be significant.
As far as the universal symbolism for flags is concerned, you can ascribe meaning to certain symbols, but bear in mind that your personal associations should be considered first. For example, the cross in the flags of Greece, the Scandinavian countries and Britain is a symbol of Christianity, but it may be telling you something else.
Similarly, the Arabic writing on the flag of Saudi Arabia saying ‘There is no god but God, Mohammed is His Messenger’ and ‘God is Great’ on the flag of Iraq are also Islamic messages. The Star of David on the flag of Israel is an ancient Jewish symbol.
Religious symbolism can also be expressed via color. Green is often used in the flags of Arab and Islamic countries, such as Libya, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; the flags of Kuwait, Jordan and Palestine all contain a green stripe. The flags of Turkey, Tunisia and Pakistan include the crescent moon, another traditional Islamic symbol.
Communistderived flags may include a hammer and sickle, as in the flag of the former USSR and the current flag of Angola, or a red background, such as the flags of China and Vietnam. The eagle has been used as a national or imperial symbol since the times of the Roman Empire, which was a huge and enduring Christian territory for over a millennium. Consequently, many Christian, imperial and other aspiring successors and hopefuls have adopted similar emblems, including Germany, Egypt, Russia and the Orthodox Christian Church.
Other symbols in flags can be self-explanatory, such as the ‘R’ in the middle of the old Rwanda flag, or they can be explained by the history, geography or flora and fauna of a country, such as the cedar tree in the flag of Lebanon.... The Element Encyclopedia
If a specific herb features strongly in your dream, you may want to investigate the historical, religious, medicinal and cultural significance of that particular herb to enrich your interpretation.
Angelica: İnspiration, magic
Bay: Glory, honor, reward
Calendula: Sacred affection, joy, remembrance, grief
Chamomile: Energy in adversity, patience, long life, wisdom
Chives: Usefulness, why do you weep?
Dandelion: Faithfulness, happiness
Dianthus: Dignity, woman’s love, symbol of mother’s day
Dill: Preservation, good spirits
Dogwood: Love undiminished by adversity, durability
Elder: Compassion, bad luck, zeal
Fennel: Strength, worthy of praise, flattery
Garlic: Protection, strength, healing
Grass: Submission, utility, usefulness
Iris: Wisdom, faith, valor
Ivy: Patience, fidelity, undying love, eternal life
Lavender: Housewifely virtue, acknowledgment
Lily of the valley: Contentment, return of happiness, let’s make up
Marjoram: Joy, happiness
Mint: Eternal refreshment, wisdom, virtue
Mugwort: Be not weary, tranquility, happiness
Mustard: Faith, indifference
Nasturtium: Patriotism, victory in battle
Pansy: Happy thoughts, meditation
Parsley: Useful knowledge, feast, joy, victory
Rose: Love, victory
Rosemary: Remembrance, love, loyalty, fidelity
Saffron: Beware of success
Sage: Wisdom, long life, immortality, high esteem
Sassafras: Foundation, considered choices
Sunflower: Haughtiness, loftiness, pride, pure thoughts
Thyme: Activity, bravery, courage, strength
Violet: Humility, devotion, faithfulness, forgiveness
Yew: İmmortality, sorrow
Yucca: Opportunity, fidelity
Zinnia: Thoughts of missing friends... The Element Encyclopedia
Because dream symbol meaning is subjective and personal to the dreamer, consider what the symbol means to you personally. To help yourself better understand its personal meaning, you could ask yourself:
A dream symbol’s meaning can be very specific to its context in the dream. So, think about how the symbol appeared in the dream and what that may convey about its meaning. For example, pay attention to:
A dream symbol often represents something beyond its obvious meaning. A rose could represent a real-life rose, but it’s much more likely to represent something else more symbolic (such as a feeling, characteristic, or event). So look beyond your symbol’s literal meaning by asking yourself, “What else could this symbol mean?”
Let Intuition Be Your Guide
(For more on intuition as a dream interpretation tool, see Recognizing Dream Symbol Meaning.)
Take the Winding Path
“When you start down the path of exploring a particular dream symbol, be willing to persevere even if the path is a winding one. You may not always know which way to go, but your intuition will guide you if you pay attention to it.
Since your goal in symbol exploration is to intuitively recognize the symbol’s true meaning, it’s a good idea to give your mind a chance to encounter that meaning so your intuition can recognize it. Sometimes the true meaning simply comes forward within your consciousness and then your intuition confirms it. However, more often you’ll need to put in a little more effort to discover it. If the true meaning isn’t evident, you can use a technique that parades various possible meanings past your “inner intuitive eye,” giving it a chance to confirm the true one. The technique can be as simple as mentally listing the meanings you associate with the symbol or reading the symbol’s description in this book. You could also use a dream analysis tool that prompts your subconscious mind to reveal the meanings it associates with the symbol, such as TOOL: Caveman Explanation, or many others in the Dream Analysis Toolkit in the first book of this series, The Curious Dreamer’s Practical Guide to Dream Interpretation.... Dreampedia
A cigar or cigarette can symbolize a penis; even Freud admitted that his passion for cigar smoking was a substitute for masturbation, although he did once joke that a cigar is sometimes just a cigar. Cars can represent the penis—especially if the car has a powerful, thrusting motor. A weathercock in a woman’s dream is thought to be an especially powerful sexual symbol.
Darts, fingers, snakes, guns, hammers, screwdrivers, horns, icicles, javelins, spheres, engines, lorries and poles are all phallic symbols, as are spires and towers standing tall.
Quills and pens are obvious Freudian symbols, especially if they are dipped in ink. Jungians suggest that the quill can represent the archetype of the animus, the male aspect of the female psyche. Cell phones can be interpreted as phallic dream symbols as they often take the place of a loved one and can evoke sexual yearning or stand for the act of masturbation. The image may also represent frustrating attempts at sexual intimacy.
Drinking from a cup, glass or horn can represent oral sex with a woman. Socks or other items of clothing which fit the body part snugly are often interpreted as symbols of female genitalia; such items may stand for the act of intercourse if they are being put on or off. Gloves and shoes are other common images of this type. Shoes can also suggest authority and sexual domination.... The Element Encyclopedia
Acid: This suggests a corrosive, negative influence in your life.
Adder: There may be a situation in which another person cannot be trusted.
Atom bomb: Fear that someone else might destroy your happiness.
Avalanche: A destructive force in your life.
Bad: If you feel bad in your dream, this suggests that something is off balance in your waking life and that your environment is not positive for you.
Barbed wire: Hurtful remarks are preventing you moving forward.
Bed wetting: Anxieties over lack of control in your life.
Behind: To be behind someone in your dream suggests that you feel inferior to them.
Bite: Being bitten or biting someone is a symbol of aggression or hostility.
Boar: Lust and gluttony.
Brutality: The darker, more animalistic side of your nature.
Burglar: Violation of personal space.
Choke: Inability to express yourself.
Crooked line: Insincerity.
Devil: Personification of the evil side of yourself.
Dirty: Not at ease with your body, or lack of trust in someone or something.
Drowning: Feeling overwhelmed.
Earthquake: Emotional upheaval.
Empty and failure: Lack of energy and enthusiasm.
Falling: Lack of confidence.
Gall: Feelings of bitterness.
Hole: A difficult or tricky situation; can also suggest emptiness.
Ice: Frozen emotions.
Immobility: Feeling stuck.
Leak: Losing energy.
Leper: Feeling inferior or unworthy.
Maggots: Impurities that can eat away at you; fears of death and illness.
Mantis: Something devious within your life.
Marsh: Feeling held back or bogged down.
Mist: Emotional confusion.
Noose: Fear of being trapped.
Obscenity: lower aspects of the self.
Parasites: Someone is attempting to live off your energy.
Poverty: Feelin g deprived of the ability to satisfy your basic needs.
Pus: Something which is festering and has gone bad in your life.
Sadism: Desire to cause harm to yourself or others.
Scar: Old hurts that have not been dealt with.
Sick: Bad feelings you need to get rid of.
Tar: Emotions have become contaminated.
Torture: Trying to come to terms with a great hurt.
Traitor: An aspect of yourself that is letting you down.
Trespassing: Intruding on someone else’s personal space; lack of healthy boundaries.
Unemployment: Not making the best use of your talents.
Vampire: Fear of the unknown and negative energy. War: Conflict.
Winter: Time in your life which is unfruitful. Wound: Hurt feelings or emotions.
X: An error or something of which you need to take notice.
Yawn: Boredom, but also a warning against aggression or abuse.... The Element Encyclopedia
• 8: Angelic frequency.
• 911: Emergency situation; call for help.
• 220: Changing something in the environment • 3 fetuses: Ideas that were never given a chance for completion • 3 shoe boxes: Feeling all ideas about future support are closed off • 300 pounds: Creating twinning program... Expansions Dream Dictionary
Horses, especially stallions, may be a symbol of sexuality and mounting a horse represents intercourse. Spectacular explosions are associated with orgasm. In the form of fireworks this suggests exhilaration but destructive explosions can express the desire to dominate. Water gushing from a tap, champagne spraying white foam or cascading waterfalls are also orgasmic symbols.
Dream analysts have noticed an association in women’s dreams between dreams of a plane crash and rape or fear of it. Freudians would interpret a man’s dream of a plane crash as fear of impotence. Churches with a steeple and an arched portal combine male and female symbolism and such an image may express conflict between sexual expression and moral responsibility.
Dreams in which you become invisible may simply indicate that you feel unnoticed by those around you, but they may also suggest an element of sexual voyeurism.
Disturbing Sexual Dreams... The Element Encyclopedia
I use the term “true meaning” to refer to the accurate translation of what your subconscious mind was portraying in the dream. The true meaning is usually the one that resonates with you as you’re considering various possible meanings, the one that rings true according to your intuition, and the one that your subconscious mind recognizes as the original meaning.
Intuition Is Your Dream Translator
Your intuition is your own personal translator of dream meaning. Intuition is key in understanding both the meaning of the overall dream and the meanings of its individual symbols because your intuition is the part of you that recognizes the truth.
Explore Until Your Intuition Says Yes
Rather than working in a linear or logical way (like when you’re solving a math problem), your intuition may require you to spend some time mulling over your dream symbol before an intuitive insight comes forward. So try looking at your dream symbol in different ways and considering different meanings until your intuition says, “Aha! That’s the one.” Keep exploring until you experience a flash of intuitive recognition, a sudden sense that everything within you is in alignment, or a sense of peace and completion. (You’ll learn to recognize this intuitive sense as you encounter it more often.)... Dreampedia
A cenain theme may have begun in childhood and continued throughout our life—either without change, or as a gradually changing series of dreams. It might be that the feature which recurs is a setting, perhaps a house we visit again and again, but the details differ. Sometimes a senes of such dreams begin after or dunng a particular event or phase of our life, such as puberty or marriage.
Example: ‘This dream has recurred over 30 years. There is a railway station, remote in a rural area, a central waiting room with platform going round all sides. On the platform mill hundreds of people, all men I think. They are all ragged, thin, dirty and unshaven. I know I am among them. I looked up at the mountainside and there is a guard watching us. He is cruel looking, oriental, in green fatigues. On his peaked cap is a red star. He carries a machine gun. Then I looked at the men around me and I realise they are all me. Each one has my face. I am looking at myself. Then I feel fear and terror (Anon.).
The theme of the dream can incorporate anxious emotions, such as the above example, or any aspect of experience. One woman, an epileptic, reports a dream which is the same in every detail and occurs every night. In general such dreams recur because there are ways the dreamer habitually responds to their internal or external world. Because their attitude or response is unchanging, the dream which reflects it remains the same.
It is noticeable in those who explore their dreams using such techniques as described under dream processing that recurring themes disappear or change because the attitudes or habitual anxieties which gave rise to them have been met or transformed.
A recurring environment in a dream where the other factors change is not the same. We use the same words over and over in speech, yet each sentence may be different.
The environment or character represents a particular aspect of oneself, but the different events which surround it show it in the changing process of our psychological growth. Where there is no such change, as in the examples above, it suggests an area of our mental emotional self is stuck in a habitual feeling state or response.
Some recurring dreams can be ‘stopped’ by simply receiving information about them. One woman dreamt the same dream from childhood. She was walking past railings in the town she lived in as a child. She always woke in dread and perspiration from this dream. At 40 she told her sister about it.
The response was ‘Oh, that’s simple. Don’t you remember that when you were about four we were walking past those railings and we were set on by a bunch of boys. Then I said to them, ‘Don’t hurt us, our mother’s dead!” They left us alone, but you should have seen the look on your face.’ After realising the dread was connected with the loss of her mother, the dream never recurred. Another woman who repeatedly dreamt of being in a tight and frightening place, found the dream never returned after she had connected it to being in the womb.
Recurring dreams, such as that of the railings, suggest that pan of the process underlying dreams is a self regulatory (homocostatic) one.
The dream process tries to present troublesome emotions or situations to the conscious mind of the dreamer to resolve the trauma or difficulty underlying the dream.
An obvious example of this is seen in the recurring nightmare of a young woman who felt a piece of cloth touch her face, and repeatedly woke her family with her screams. Her brother, tiring of this, one night woke her from her screams and made her talk about her feelings. His persistence gradually revealed that she associated the cloth with the burial shroud of her grandmother. This brought to the surface grief and feelings about death she had never allowed herself to feel before.
The nightmare never returned. See nightmares; dream processing. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
• If a dream continues to repeat itself, it is worth exploring it’s meaning as it needs your conscious understanding and action in order to resolve something in your emotional make-up.
• Recurring dreams can be a trauma relieving response to the original event that triggered them.... The Premier in Dream Dictionary
Women tend to report recurring dreams more than men. For example, the thing young children fear the most is abandonment, as without the love and protection of their parents or carers they would die. Later, as they begin to crawl, then walk, then run, they fear bodily harm. Some dream analysts believe that these two issues—fear of bodily harm and abandonment—recur again and again in a person’s life. A forty-year-old woman who discovers her husband has had an affair may, for example, dream of an earthquake and her inability to find a place of safety. This relates to fears of being abandoned.
Recurring nightmare dreams may be an indication that the dreaming mind is trying to present troublesome emotions or situations to a conscious mind that is somehow stuck in a habitual feeling state or response. The dream is encouraging the dreamer to find ways of resolving the trauma or difficulty underlying the dream.... The Element Encyclopedia
If a particular landscape or setting of a dream reoccurs, it tends to illustrate the way something affects you or how it makes you feel.... The Element Encyclopedia
In dreams, hotels, inns or guesthouses are symbols of the short-lived nature of some relationships, although hotels can also suggest that your relationship may be heading towards a new level of intimacy. Pay particular attention to the view from your hotel room. Is it beautiful and bright, or dark and gloomy? A harmonious serene landscape bathed in gentle light is always a comforting image and may suggest nostalgia for a lost friend or lover.
Fire gives both heat and light, and is the symbol of strong emotions such as love and anger and self knowledge. In dreams, the appearance of flames or fire may therefore be suggesting some kind of resolution or compromise with your partner. Bear in mind, though, that flames flicker and can be extinguished, so you need to act quickly before they go out.... The Element Encyclopedia
Pyramid: Symbol of power, wonder and regeneration. Rainbow: Symbol of hope and redemption. Summer: Symbol of good times in life. Yes: Occasionally in your dream you may become aware that you are saying‘yes’, and this is an instinctive acceptance of the need for personal growth; Yin Yang: Symbol of balance and harmony.... The Element Encyclopedia
Teeth falling out, a house being burnt, a winter storm, a foreign country, your sister, a child, a stranger, a painting, a werewolf, a church and a ballet are some of the limitless number of images or symbols you can find in dreams. Most dream symbols are not to be taken literally, but rather metaphorically. A metaphor is where the meaning of one thing is transferred to another thing—a ‘happy ship’, for example, might mean a good-humored family or workforce. In most cases, to fully understand the message in the dream you should interpret your dream symbols as metaphorical rather than literal references to your thoughts and feelings. For instance, a burning house might contain references both to yourself (the house) and to your passion, anger, desire or bodily fever (the fire).
Symbols and pictures predate language. They point to the emotions and instincts, many of which are hidden or repressed; these are stored in the unconscious mind, where they reside until some stimulus brings them to consciousness. Jung tells us that dreams speak in the language of symbols and these symbols can have more than one meaning. This has to do with the personal and collective unconscious. The former refers to the dreamer’s ego life, where those things that have been repressed or rejected from consciousness reside. The collective unconscious, which is rich in symbol and metaphor, is older than the individual and indeed older than consciousness itself. It consists of ‘the whole spiritual heritage’ of mankind’s evolution born anew in the brain structure of every individual. The representation of a symbol in the personal unconscious points to the anxieties of everyday life, whereas the collective unconscious addresses the deeper sense of who we are. This is the true self that is often disguised in the ego-life, a spiritual and creative being that inhabits our psyche. Jung tells us we cannot be fully whole until we recognize these ‘collective’ aspects and make them a part of our everyday lives.
Dream dictionaries fill shelves in bookstores and each one will tell you what the symbols in your dreams say about you. The trouble is that most of them contradict each other; in many instances they can also contradict you. The language of dreams is above all personal and symbols cannot have fixed meanings. However, this does not mean that a dream encyclopedia such as the one you are reading now has no useful role to play; quite the contrary.
If used correctly, it can be incredibly helpful. It can spark your imagination and can give you inspiration to help you to interpret your dream.
Although there is often confusion and difficulty surrounding symbols, not helped by the fact that many sources of information come from ancient texts, distant cultures and far-off periods of history, kernels of truth often reside in what might be called a clichéd reading of any particular symbol; this is because we all share common needs and therefore share common experiences giving rise to common dream symbols. Bear in mind, however, that one interpretation can never have a universal application and the specific meaning will differ from person to person. As stressed throughout this encyclopedia, the only way to get a satisfactory interpretation for your dream symbols is to consider your personal associations in conjunction with the universal symbolic meanings. See also ARCHETYPES; COLORS; SHAPES. ... The Element Encyclopedia
We sleep sleep and dream, your inner mind is busy as a bee (and your body’s chemical factory is also active producing dozens of substances that affect your growth, your brain, your emotions, and everything else about you).
This deep mind is called the unconscious, and it never sleeps. Entire books have been written about the unconscious mind and its activities and processes, and more than a few books have been written about dreams and their connection to the unconscious mind.
However, when all is said and done, dreaming remains a mystery. That’s the complex part! The truth is that nobody, but nobody, really knows why we dream, where dreams originate, exactly what they mean, or much else about this most complex of human characteristics.
A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.
The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, although they have been a topic of scientific, philosophical and religious interest throughout recorded history. Dream interpretation is the attempt at drawing meaning from dreams and searching for an underlying message. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.
Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.The length of a dream can vary; they may last for a few seconds, or approximately 20–30 minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven; however, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten.
Dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, most dreams occur in the typical two hours of REM. Dreams related to waking-life experiences are associated with REM theta activity, which suggests that emotional memory processing takes place in REM sleep.... Dreampedia
A name on the label of goods may depict quality to us.
A face can represent love or brutality. In the struggle towards human awareness, and its increasingly subtle use of symbols such as language to think and express with, there must have been stages of development. This is a side of ‘history’ seldom given attention, yet very important. Perhaps our dream thinking’ is using an earlier form of using symbols, one which might have been more an everyday event prior to language.
Even though we exist as an individual integrated with today’s world, our earlier levels of thinking still exist. Unconsciously we still see the thermometer as temperature; the car as status, independence or ease in getting to work; inside our house as an expression of ourself—if we didn’t we would not take pains to make it nice for guests. Through these unconscious feeling connections or symbolic views we have of things, dreams create their store of images and scenes. Processing a dream is an attempt to discover what values we ourself unconsciously place upon the people, animals, objects and situations around us. See unconscious. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If a chalice does appear in your dream, pay attention to its appearance, as it is also a symbol of your destiny and reflects how you see yourself. Is the chalice encrusted with gold and jewels, or is it simply a humble cup?
If your dream contained a message delivered from a pulpit or altar, this suggests that the dream comes from the highest authority or the highest part of your inner wisdom. Dreams that feature other well- known symbols of faith, such as the cross or a crucifix, serve as reminders of your faith if you are religious.
If you are not religious, they may be an indication of the need for some kind of faith or spirituality in your life.
If crucifixion figures in your dream, this may be a reflection of some area of your life in which you feel you are being crucified or making a huge sacrifice. It may also represent your need to sacrifice yourself through passion and pain. To dream of the Resurrection is a good sign, as it is a powerful symbol of hope and renewal.
An eagle soaring to the heavens is a common dream symbol of religious aspiration; if the eagle is falling to earth this may be a warning against mortal pride. Incense is a form of prayer through perfume and smoke, and if you are aware of its presence in your dream, it suggests a need to raise your consciousness or improve yourself or your environment in some way. To dream of a third eye— whether it is on your own or someone else’s forehead, is a sign of the developed awareness and intuition that comes from spiritual development; it may represent the third eye of the Buddha and suggests unity and balance.
If you dream of the Tree of Life, symbol of the divine union of heaven and earth in the Kabala, it suggests that you have developed the ability to live life successfully on both a spiritual and a material level. Dreams of fish may be related to Christianity or may symbolize the depths of the unconscious.... The Element Encyclopedia
For example, if you are undecided about whether to commit to a person, dreams in which bells feature or you hear bells chiming appear to be hinting at marriage or a deeper emotional commitment. You may, for instance, have a dream in which the door bell rings and your prospective husband, wife or partner is at the door. Bear in mind, however, that dreams are not always so literal; dreams of love are more difficult to understand than overtly sexual dreams, since almost any symbol can be associated with this area of your life.
Pay attention to your feelings in the dream as they can help you see your potential partners and your feelings for what they really are. So if you have a feeling of dread when the door bell rings, this probably is not a good sign.
Bear in mind, too, that dreams that contain symbols closely related to home life, such as a beloved family object or a much-used room, are more likely to relate to a family member and your feelings towards them than to a potential lover. It may also be helpful to see how the feelings of love are being represented in your dream.
If the emotional bond and closeness is more important than the sexual, this may be related to baby love.
If great sexual drive and the fulfillment of your own needs is the theme along with a desire to explore and experiment, this suggests adolescent love. Adult love is represented by a dream sense of recognizing the needs of the partner and putting them before your own without losing your sense of direction or independence.... The Element Encyclopedia
Dreams Are About You
Because dreams occur within a deep part of yourself, it’s not surprising that most of what they convey pertains to yourself and your life.
Dreams Tell About You and Your Life
Dreams very often portray a snapshot of some part of your daily life or something on your mind, presented from the perspective of (and in the language of) your subconscious mind. As you examine each dream, you can often find a parallel between each element in the dream and a certain element of your waking life or mind.
Dreams Show Your Perspective
In most dreams, everything in the dream (all the elements, people, settings, etc.) pertains to you personally. More specifically, most dreams portray your thoughts and feelings about things, rather than portraying the things themselves. Each dream symbol tends to represent your perspective of something from real life, rather than the actual thing. For example, your sister in a dream likely portrays your experience of her (rather than her, herself), your perception of something she said (rather than what she actually said or meant), or your assumption about what she was thinking (rather than her actual thoughts).
Dreams Convey a Distorted Reality
Because dreams portray people and things the way you view or interpret them, you can’t rely on a dream for an accurate representation of reality. Every dream has been filtered through the distorting lens of your subconscious mind and often infused with subconscious fears, desires, and imaginings. Therefore, it’s unwise to base a decision solely on a dream, which would mean blindly following the whims of your subconscious mind.... Dreampedia
The theme of missing an exam, to take one example, commonly begins during college years, when the stress of performing well may be more intense than ever before. However, this theme may then carry forward as a recurring dream for many years, even as one moves on to a career.
The “missing the exam” dream may reappear the night before an important job interview or an evaluation at work.
The circumstances may change, but the same feelings of stress, and the desire to perform well, can trigger the relevant recurrent dream. Theorists suggest that these themes may be considered “scripts” (Spoormaker, 2008) or perhaps “complexes” (Freud 1950); as soon as your dream touches any aspect of the theme, the full script unfolds in completion. Dream theorists generally agree that recurring dreams are connected to unresolved problems in the life of the dreamer. In a previous post I discussed the idea that dreams often portray a Central Image, a powerful dream image that contextualizes a certain emotion or conflict for the dreamer.
The Tidal Wave dream is an example of a Central Image that represents overwhelming emotions such as helplessness and fear.
The Tidal Wave dream is a common dream to experience following trauma or abuse, and often becomes a recurrent theme that reflects a person’s struggling with integrating and accepting the trauma. Resolution of this theme over time is a good sign that the trauma has been confronted and adaptively integrated in the psyche. Empirical research has also supported findings that resolution of a recurrent dream is associated with improved well-being (Zadra, 1996). This is one way that keeping track of your dreams can be extremely informative and helpful in a therapeutic, or even self-help, process.
The dream repeats because you have not corrected the problem. Another theory is that people who experience recurring dreams have some sort of trauma in their past they are trying to deal with. In this case, the dreams tend to lessen with time. Nightmares are dreams that are so distressing they usually wake us up, at least partially. Nightmares can occur at any age but are seen in children with the most frequency. Nightmares usually cause strong feelings of fear, sadness or anxiety. Their causes are varied. Some medications cause nightmares (or cause them if you discontinue the medication abruptly). Traumatic events also cause nightmares. Treatment for recurring nightmares usually starts with interpreting what is going on in the dream and comparing that with what is happening in the person’s life. Then, the person undergoes counseling to address the problems that are presumably causing the nightmare. Some sleep centers offer nightmare therapy and counseling. Another method of treating nightmares is through lucid dreaming. Through lucid dreaming, the dreamer can confront his or her attacker and, in some cases, end the nightmares.... About Dream Interpretation