Dream Meanings: Should You Use a Dream Dictionary?

 

This blog is about dream meanings. Whenever someone remembers a vivid, sometimes even terrifying dream they only want to know one thing: what does this dream mean?

 

dream meanings
Cartoon: Nate Fakes

 

Most people who remember a dream start looking up symbols from that dream in (online) dream dictionaries.

One of the easiest ways to determine dream meanings. But a lot of people who work professionally with dreams are dead set against dream dictionaries to help you discover dream meanings.

 

dream meanings
Cartoon: Mark Anderson

 

I will let you in on a little secret: Sometimes I use dream dictionaries! Among psychologist and other people who work on a professional level with dreams there is a lot of animosity against dream dictionaries.

So you can decide if you are going to use it. It is your dream, you are the only one who is able to attach meaning to it. Sometimes, a little help of a dictionary can bring new unexpected depth to a dream.

Do you use a dream dictionary? Let me know in the comments.

Dream Meanings: Shaman as Dictionary

In ancient civilizations people lived in tribes. Every tribe had a wise man/woman who used his/her dreams to guide the tribe. Towards food, away from threads. To help diagnose illnesses. Dreams were told to him/her and interpreted.

The Shaman was a walking dream dictionary. Everybody agreed on the interpretation. The Shaman had this connection with the divine world that was not open for debate.

dream meanings
Galba, the last Tuvan Shaman
Poto: David Baxendale

 

Dreams in those societies were seen as a message from another world. The Shaman was a catalyst who could intercept those sacred vibes and translate them into words. Understanding which plants to use, which rites to perform to give the tribe the chances to prosper.

Around 3500 BC there is evidence of written knowledge (source Wikipedia). This allowed for knowledge to become detached from ancestors and Shamans. It also allowed for agriculture to take root among the Homo Sapiens. People began to settle down.

When science came about (astrology was one of the first scientific calculating systems to help tribes deal with crops see here).

Dream Meanings: Artemidoros

One of the oldest dream dictionary we know of today is that of Artemidoros. Where the Shaman considered a dream to be a divine intervention, Artemidoros believed that dreams had to do with predicting the future.

 

dream meanings
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As Charles Stewart explains in his book Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece, when Freud published The Interpretations of Dreams, he put this ancient legacy on its head. Dreams did not predict the future. Dreams where whispers, no even sometimes screams from the past.

dream meanings

 

Dream Meanings: Future, Past & Present

I am positive that you, my dear Mindfunda reader, will assume, just like I do, that dreams say something about the past, about the present and about the future all at once.

In my Mindfunda Mutual research (click the link for a free download), I manipulated the variable time. I had 15 couples, who had to meet each other in a dream. One was assigned the role as “giver” the other the role of “receiver”.

I had a couple who lived on different parts of the world. It would almost be impossible to connect on a dream, because their dream time did not overlap.

dream meanings
Dali

Yes you guessed correctly: this couple was successful. The dream report of the receiver clearly stated the “gift” the sender had to give this dreamer.

What is your opinion about time in dreams? Do you think dreams predict the future? Or are dreams the voices of your past?

Dream Meanings: Collective Symbols

As I have gained more knowledge on the subject of dreams the last decades, I have come to the conclusion that there truly is a collective layer of meaning that all human beings seem to be able to “tap” into at night.

 

dream meanings
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One of the best resources for this knowledge is -in my eyes- the dictionary created by Ad and Arthur de Vries.

But I know what you are going to think now. Not every dream is archetypical. 
And yes, you are right. Not every dream you remember is a life-changing earth-shaking dream.

I would love to hear your opinion about the use of dream dictionaries. i know a lot of people working on a professional level with dreams like I do are dead set against it. What do you think?

Dream experts

When I discussed this on the Facebook page of the International Dream Association, most of the dream experts indicated that in their view using a dream dictionary is a sign of inexperience with symbols.

But don’t worry. You don’t have to become a walking around symbol dictionary. Just be blunt and use them if you ever want to be inspired outside of your own comfort zone.


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS’? Dreamfunda: 

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

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Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact...  Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream”  Midsummer Night is ...
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Dream analysis: 5 ways of looking at your dream

Dream analysis, how do you do that? What does my dream mean? Is a question many people ask themself if they wake up in amazement. This article will give you 5 possible ways that are used to unravel the message. I will mention some good books that you can use to apply the method to see if it resonates with you.

Dream analysis way #1: Shamanism

Shamanism is the oldest religion in the world. Living in small groups, Homo sapiens had one or two wise men or women whose function was to be a bridge between earth and sky. They were selected in prescribed ways: chosen by the other shamans, called for in a dream. It was an innate quality.
Shamanism has gotten a new vibe: people want to go back to human nature and get callings in dreams. The trend is now to be your own shaman.
A shaman uses dreams to get in tune with the rhythm of the earth. A way of finding the Schuman resonance. The extended knowledge of ways to induce psychedelic experiences using herbs and vegetables is described by Paul Devereux in his book the long trip.

dream analysis
The long trip Paul Devereux

A good introduction to shamanism is the book of Tom Dale Cowan. Inn this intelligent, clear written book he explains about the basic principles of shamanism. Traveling to the different realms of reality, tuning into natures vibes, exploring your inner imagination to enter the different realms.

dream analysis
Shamanism Tom Cowan

Dream analysis way #2: Gestalt

Gestalt focusses on the images of a dream. It does not want to analyse an image to pieces, it wants to look at the whole image, the Gestalt. Frits Perls became one of the prominent spokesmen for Gestalt and his “Verbatim” a collection of his workshops. Perls was not very easy on his workshop participants, he made sure that they came out of their usual way of acting. In his dream analysis he was always looking for the “top dog” and the “underdog”,  a way that many people still use when they interpret the content of their dreams.. If you have not read it, you might want to add it to your list of dream classics.

 

dream analysis
Gestalt Therapy Verbatim Frits Perls

Dream analysis way #3: Jung

Carl Jung broke all the rules of science when he treated day dreams and fantasies as realities. He drew on ancient mythologies, shamanism, and science, pouring them into a tasteful appalling sauce. The book that will tell you most about how to apply his method of working is his book Man and his symbols:

 

dream analysis
Man and his symbols Carl Jung

If you really want to understand the ideas of Carl Jung and enjoy all the notes in the Red Book you might want to buy the readers edition:

dream analysis
Carl Jung Red Book

The readers edition will be so much easier for you to read and handle because it is so much smaller. Reading the Red book has led me to so many good relevant literature that has opened my eyes to a new perception of mythological stories and if Jung his life.

Dream analysis way #4: Dream Tending

Steven Aizenstat focusses on four ways of dream analysis.  The psyche is multidimensional. Just like a shaman, Steven distinguishes three realms of consciousness: personal unconscious, the collective unconscious and the world unconscious.

The heartbeat of dream tending is that dreams are alive. A dream is not static, written down in words and brought to an therapists’ office. A dream is alive. Dream characters are more than symbols, they have a mind of their own (something we all have experienced).

Another shamanic oriented notion in dream tending is that everything dreams. Not only creatures with spines like science says, but rocks, trees, plants, insects too. It is the same presumption as Anne Baring takes when she asks the thought-provoking question: What is the dream of the cosmos? In an animated world, everything is dreaming says Aizenstat.

The last presumption of dream tending is that dreams happen now. You could be dreaming, or being dreamed as you read this.

 

dream analysis
Dream tending Aizenstat

Last year I heard Steven speak for an enthusiastic crowd at a dream conference of the Iasd.  I think dream tending is a pleasant mixture of old insights in a new coating, with a foreman that has an appealing charisma.

Dream analysis way #5: Content Analysis

Content analysis has been around since the late ’50s early ’60s. Especially the ground work of Hall and van de Castle is still the leading way in current dream research. Whenever someone wants to graduate using dream work, using this method is the way to gain respect in the community of dreamers. Dream texts can be qualified and analysed using the categories distinguished by Hall and van de Castle.


Untill Milton Kramer’s work Dream research, contributions in clinical practice” gets published at the end of May 2015, you can get more information from the master himself: Robert van de Castle wrote Our dreaming mind. A classic, filled with research about dreams. Here is a link telling more about content analysis.

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

Fiction and dreams are closely related. "The dream's essence lies in its storytelling capacity. Dreams are autobiographical fictions that tell ...
Read More

Dreams that Guide You on Your Life Path

Finding your life path. It can be quite a journey... To my great enjoyment I saw that the International Association ...
Read More

Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact...  Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream”  Midsummer Night is ...
Read More

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What does my dream mean?

Imagine this: you have a dream. An actual dream not a phantasy about how life could be. Now you want to know What does my dream mean?. This article will give you a head start.

What does my dream mean?

Question-Mark
What does my dream mean?

 

First of all there are, in general, four ways of looking at a dream: dreams as “messages from the gods”, dreams as signs from the body, dreams as random neurological chit-chat from the brain and (my personal favorite) dreams as an invitation to get creative. I explore this subject into depth in this post.
If you look at the history of dream sharing and dream interpretation the first category was the most popular.

In “An Encyclopedia of Shamanism” Volume 1, Christina Prati shares with us: Traditionally, shamans and “grandmothers” were the respected specialists in dream interpretation and enactment. The most frequently consulted dream interpreters were the “grandmothers”, older women past menopause  who were respected faith keepers and clairvoyants. Traditionally, they might use scrying with water or fire to help divine and clarify the meaning of the dream”.

In the 20th century, Jung and Freud wanted to use  the “New divinity” that emerged scientific. They wanted to study the “divine messages” given in the dream and interpret them through scientific methods they emperically developed. Like the ancient grandmothers, they interpreted the dream for you. All you had to do was to relax on a sofa and listen to your doctor, who told answered for you the question: “what does my dream mean?”

Now it is very common to tell a dreamer that he/she is the only one that can interpret his own dream. I remember how disappointed I felt when a friend told me this. I had no clue how to start. Let me take you back in time again to explain how this “you are the only one that can explain your dream” originated from those therapist that told you what your dream meant. There was a lot of emancipation going on. The therapists of the old days were the authorities, but in the 70’s of last century much more people could attend college. And a lot of them became therapists. Now what is meant by: “you are the only one that can interpret your dreams?”

First: write down your dream. it will give you the opportunity to distance yourself from the story. A distance that you need to clearly analyse the story.
Second: write down all the symbols of your dream story. Everything that stands out, everything that does not stand out, everything that has emotion in it.
Step three: look at the list and write down the first thing that jumps in your mind.
Step four: re-write the dream with those associations and see what this story has to tell you.

This is just one way of looking at dreams. If you are ready for some advanced methods you can read this article. Of course I know there are a lot of other ways to look at dreams. I am not against looking in dream dictionaries. If a dream dictionary gives you another idea about a dream, then that is perfectly alright. Anything you do with a dream that enhances your creative thoughts, anything that gives you a different perspective on who you are and on what you can be is a gift. The gift of the dream.

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

Fiction and dreams are closely related. "The dream's essence lies in its storytelling capacity. Dreams are autobiographical fictions that tell ...
Read More

Dreams that Guide You on Your Life Path

Finding your life path. It can be quite a journey... To my great enjoyment I saw that the International Association ...
Read More

Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact...  Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream”  Midsummer Night is ...
Read More

Comments or suggestions? Share your thoughts:

We hate Spam as much as you do, your information is safe with us and we will not provide your data to others. To authenticate you are human, you are kindly asked to opt-in on periodic updates as the Mindfunda Monthly.

Please check the appropriate boxes below.

keep me posted on newsno mail please

What does my dream mean? Four ways of looking at a dream.

“I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”
– Albert Einstein

Is in our modern era the question “What does my dream mean?” still a valid one? Let’s explore.

The latest scientific research of our dreaming minds states that dreams are just images our brains construct out of the continuous firing of neurons during the night.

But having worked with dreams I want to invite you to put that notion aside for a while and dive into your dreams. See, after you played with your dreams for a while, if you still think that they are just random electric impulses.

James Hillman, psychologist, gives in his book: The dream and the underworld” a list of approaches to dreams that is still valid today.

James Hillman: The dream and the Underworld

There are three dominant views of the dream:

    1. Romantic: the dream contains a hidden but important message from another world. In today’s world, this view still pertains in films and television series, where a character receives important warnings through dreams and visions. For example, in the series Merlin (BBC) the Lady Morgana has several precognitive dreams and in Once upon a Time,  an American fairy tale drama series about a contemporary vision on Snow-white, Prince Charming has this dream about his daughter. (Yes, in this series he and Snow White have a daughter)
    2. Dreams are a worthless jumble of nonsense (however interpretable by a good psychiatrist). Because psychotherapy becomes out of fashion, analyzing dream on the canapé, like Freud once did, is not regularly used anymore.
    3. A dream reflects the physiological process going on while the body is asleep. This approach has been researched thoroughly, most of all by Vasily Kasatkin who collected data from all of his patients. Kasatkin was a psychiatrist working in several hospitals in and around Moscow. He analysed the data and wrote a book about it: A theory about dreams.
Vasily Kasatkin: A theory about dreams

4. Dreams are an invitation to get creative. This one you can not find in James Hillman his terrific book. It is my own. If you do remember a dream, write it down, draw it up, google it, associate symbols, re-write dream-stuff. There are so many cool ways of working with dreams: music, dancing, acting, painting, writing haiku’s… It really does not matter so much if they are nonsense, as long as you have fun with your dreams. They can give you a new sense of self. Dreams have led me into new ventures:

  • I studied the tarot because of a dream I had.
  •  I once dreamed about a one-eyed wanderer, and years later I discovered there is a one eyed God called Odin in Norse Mythology. This opened up a new way for me to explore Norse Mythology, and helped me to dive in ancient stories telling me more about the archetypical challenges life has to offer.
  • I made a couple of real nice clay works inspired by my dreams.
  • I had several real remarkable precognitive dreams about important things months and sometimes years before they manifested in my life: for example about meeting my husband.

So my advice to you is: dreams can be a guide into your own creative depths if you allow them to mean things.

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