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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5 thoughts on “What does my dream mean? Four ways of looking at a dream.”

  1. A wonderful article, Susanne, especially for those not already convined that dreams are meaningful. I love James Hillman's The Dream and the Underworld. I record every dream along with what happened in my life the day before. I see a Jungian therapist/dream worker every other week for two hours so we can dig into the material. It's wonderful to report where I am from a conscious standpoint and then see what the dreams have to say about the matter.

    1. Yes and sometimes you can be very surprised to hear the voice of your dreams! I lost my mother several years ago and she and I had not such a warm relationship. But in a dream, after se died she came to me for warmth while she was dying. I comforted her and nurtered her. The dream moved me so much! I knew my dreaming mind told me to give her memory all the warmth that she deserved.

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