Interpretation of Symbolic Dreams

 

Note: yes, there are also dreams, where you meet not symbols but real creatures, but this article is about symbolic dreams.

Frankly speaking, I don't know how to begin this article to avoid these banal words: "Even the ancients knew that our dreams contain a profound sense..." - I don't want to start the article this way... Also I can't bear a thought to write the commonplace: "We spend a third part of our lives dreaming…".

Let me begin another way. A few days ago my mother called me: "I saw you in my dream. You were sad. Anything happened? Are you all right?"

This is usual for our family. When one sees another in a dream - it means that there is a need to call and ask if everything is fine. Actually, if the dream left of itself a light feeling that everything is all right, there is no need to call. But if the person in your dream is complaining, you have to inquire about it.

I have no intent to dedicate my article to "prophetic dreams" or telepathy. I just want to demonstrate that in order to interpret dreams one has to take them naturally, without all that strained "mysterious power of dreaming". When I say "naturally", I don't mean "offhandedly". It's just impossible to practice dreaming, to interpret dreams taking them as something external, like they aren't a part of yourself but something alien to you.

In the Tarot practice there is a presumption that a person always knows an answer to his or her own question. This is some inner part of ourselves that is always connected to the Universe, no matter how hard we try to hold our conscious aloof of it. "Subconciousness" - that's how some authors call this component of ours. But as for me, the term "subconciousness" is not quite right here, because subconciousness is usually loaded (even overloaded) with a lot of programs, and negative programs as well. So, it isn't always possible to take subconciousness as a "source of truth". I suppose, the term "Deepest Self" would be more appropriate. But even better I like the term "the Source of Dreaming". This exact term I will use in this article hereafter.

Often we don't let a lot of our problems into our consciousness in our everyday life - this is the strange way, our subconciousness protects us from fear, shock or pain. It looks as if information about the real state of things is blocked in the approaches to consciousness, hiding in the distant corner of our soul. We are denying some sides of ourselves that we consider "bad". We are pushing to the depths of ourselves those subpersonalities that don't comply with social values. But in any case they return and state: "We do exist!" Oracles often tell us things that a person already knew, but was afraid to admit. The unconscious, subconciousness talk with us through dreams. They let the person know some information that he or she refuses to perceive, usually doing this with the language of symbols. As for symbols, usually they are taken from the everyday life - your everyday life.

This is why it's considered so important having woke up to recollect the dream; call to mind the symbols, that have been there, even if in broad outline. And it's useless to look at the Dream Books, because every symbol coming from your unconscious goes through your prism of associations. Yes, also there are some images that came from the collective unconscious - archetypes (a term, known to everyone already, I think). The dream uses them for making a picture too. But Dream Books rarely interpret them correctly. It's better to open the book of Jungian trend of dream interpretation, read it (believe me, these books happen to be much more interesting that Dream Books). Generally speaking, actually all this literature on Dream Interpretation is based on Jungian analysis: Great Mother, Death, and Shadow.

Perhaps, nightmares and frightening dreams are the most productive in respect of information: they demonstrate things, which you are running, and hiding from. Also very interesting dreams come while you're thinking over a problem. Sometimes in these dreams information is given in the ordinary sense, and sometimes it is coded. But if we encode it, we'll understand, what the source of dreaming was trying to tell us.

It's going on like this: when you woke up, try without opening your eyes to refresh in memory your dream. Even better - write it down (in time a lot would be forgotten, even if in first minutes you think that you remember a dream very well, and will remember it always - this is an illusory impression). But even if you managed to bear in your mind just the main plot, and key symbols, try to think, what could they possibly mean to you. Go over and over your senses. For example, you dreamed that you don't have enough money in a grocery store. Let's think. In this case money could be:

a) Real money, that you don't have enough of in your real life, but you keep delaying going to the further training courses, which you are thinking about for a long time already, and finding yourself a better job with a better salary. The dream is telling you, that it's time to make up your mind, and drop your habitual idleness; otherwise, there will be nothing for you to eat in a short time, in the straight meaning of the word.

b) Again, real money, but this time money shortage in a dream grocery store can be a symbol of prestige for you. You came to a store (to some people, society), where one is supposed to come with money, but you don't have money, and that's why you feel lost. By the way, it could mean the real state of things - you are in a wrong circle, and feel yourself a stranger. It could mean an imaginary situation as well - everyone should despise you, because you don't have a bank account, for example.

c) Some general resource. Energy, power, for instance. Money - as equivalent of energy, expended resources. This time such a dream can mean that you should rest, take a vacation ASAP, because the resource - buy-buy, is over.

d) You need to feel safe. Money is an equivalent of safety for many people. The more they have, safer they feel regarding the vicissitudes of tomorrow. Bring to mind Scarlet from "Gone with the Wind"; she tried so hard to raise a strong wall of money between herself and the rest of the world.

A lot will depend on your senses during the dream, you know: what did you feel, when you found that there is no money? Encumbrance? Fear? Everybody is despising you? Or you felt easiness maybe? If the latter, perhaps, the source of dreaming is telling you that you are worrying about providing for tomorrow too much, always trying to plan your every step, but it's perfectly possible to do very well without that (the feeling of easiness). Etc, etc.
But how you will know if this association is really yours? Easy. You just have to go over and over them, until one certain association clicks. Clicks, exactly, you just can't call this differently. Suddenly you understand, this symbol is meaning precisely that, and nothing else, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant is this to you. Go through associations, until it clicks. The only thing you aren't supposed to do - making a chain of associations. For example: closet - your parents' house where this closet was - country house, and you there with your parents - summer - sun - etc. Just in line of this little poem "The House That Jack Built". You can go very far with this, but without any point. Interpret the "first derivative" of the symbol.

Oh, a lot of people ask how do they find out if the dream is prophetic or not? Usually (usually, but not all the time) a dream is giving information regarding present time, and not the future. Or it could give information about something in present that would affect the future. Information about some processes, going on in the depth of yourself. However, dreams about future or present, you don't know of, really do exist. For those, you just have to get into mood that you certainly can, that it's natural to obtain information regarding things, you know nothing about (note, things, you really don't know about, but not those, you're trying to push deep inside subconsciousness) from a dream. In the beginning of this article, I already said that this has to be perceived as something very natural, information will come easily, then. Having gained experience, you will be able to distinguish between the dreams, in which you see your parents because of some unsolved problems, you have with them, and those, when it really is something happening to your parents, or they are just calling for you. When I dream about my dear ones, I, for example, have a criterion of their need of my help or advice - it is some unpleasant, painful feeling as if the whole world is going to cry. And they are complaining about something in those dreams. So I call and ask how they're doing.

But it's difficult to elucidate this subject within the limits of one article. It's necessary to study yourself, study the dream symbols. I would suggest the books by Jung, Freud, "Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa P. Estes, "Dreams and Fantasies" by Robert Johnson. Skills and experience come with practice. Joint discussing of your own and other people's dreams would be of great help in making practice. "If I saw this dream, I would say, and interpret it this way..." Because your associations - they are only your associations, and the other people have associations of their own, different from those of yours. Nevertheless, such discussions more often than not are helping people to understand the information, coming to them. Read, practice, discuss - and you will be able to use those valuable advices and information, source of dreaming is giving to you.

(с) Zau Targiski

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