Dreams - the result of everyone's favourite activity, sleeping.
Dream interpretation is another mystical idea that divides the population. Some think they are random, pointless and simply the byproduct of our subconscious mind while we sleep. Others view them as a powerful tool to understand our inner thoughts, eagerly reaching for dream books and symbol guides in the morning.
While we all may disagree on the science behind dreams, one thing we have in common is the fact that we all DO dream - regardless of if we remember them or not. Dreams occur during the REM cycle of sleep, with longer dreams happening right before we wake up. Considering that we all spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, researching and understanding them gives us a daily dose of psychological help - for free.
While some people out there have mastered the art of lucid dreaming and can control their dreamscapes with ease, let's take it back a step and look at the beginner's guide to dream interpretation.
Help! I can't remember my dreams...
Don't worry you DO remember them, you just need a little practice to coax the memories out in the morning. Studies have shown that while people wake up initially remembering their dream (especially if it's a bad one!) we have forgotten 90% of it close to ten minutes later. This is why when trying to build up your dream recall skills it is recommended to keep a notebook and pen by your bedside. Instead of writing out your dream in story format, work on jotting down key symbols such as themes, colours, places and people. These will be the building blocks for your dream interpretation, and you can work on linking them all together later if you so desire. Regularly jotting down symbols and pushing yourself to remember dream elements while going about your morning routine will slowly work to build stronger recall.*
*While this practice will work for most people, be mindful that some of us will still struggle to remember dreams if we are on certain medication or consume large quantities of alcohol.
Now I'm getting somewhere...
So you've got your notepad full of symbols that you forgot as soon as you wrote them down, now what? The next step in understanding your dreams is to quite simply look them up individually and then link them all together. While google is a great free tool for instant satisfaction, I recommend investing in a dream book that follows a consistent interpretation theme. Dream Reading Cards by Rose Inserra or the Dream Journal Decoder by Theresa Cheung are a great place to start and will ensure they are written by someone with more credentials than a google powered ad. Once you have explored the meaning behind each symbol, I recommend tying them all together and see if it is relevant to the current lessons and challenges in your life.
Ok I'm hooked...
The best part of dream interpretation is the feeling of validation when identifying certain themes, especially if you've finally unlocked the meaning behind that reoccurring nightmare. If you are looking to delve deeper into your dream-state, or toying with the idea of lucid dreaming why not surround your bedside with dream boosting crystals. Ruling over the crown chakra, amethyst will assist in dream recall while Angel Aura is one for those attempting lucid dreams. For assistance with interpretation malachite is useful for unlocking dream symbolism, and moonstone can help you reconnect with your subconscious mind. For those who are truly plagued by reoccurring nightmares and repetitive dreams, seeing a hypnotherapist can help to push past the blockages your mind has placed for your protection.
Common dream themes...
A quick breakdown of some of the commonly reoccurring dream themes.
Snakes - fear, particularly over what you can't control, betrayal, fear of people turning on you, insecurity over someone stealing your lover
Being Late - overwhelmed, unsure, unconfident, lacking in discipline and control
Teeth falling out - loss of power, feeling insecure or inferior, not feeling worthy
Water - emotional overwhelm, not in control of emotions, running away from problems, needing help to process trauma
Being chased - fear of confrontation, avoiding a problem, overwhelming feelings of anxiety, can't keep up in everyday life