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Helpful Tips for Dream Analysis

Understanding the Unique Language of Your Subconscious


We have officially entered into the eclipse portal where we will dwell for the rest of October. This is a strange and otherworldly time and the bizarre dreams are coming for us in full force! Eclipse season, and the pre-shadow period, is notorious for bringing confusing, weird and intense dreams, so let's go over some tips so we can better analyze these messages.



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Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

Types of Dreams


First thing we need to know is that not all dreams are the same. There are prophetic dreams, where we get glimpses of the future exactly as they will come to pass, and premonition dreams, which foreshadow events yet to come but in less literal or exact ways. Ludic dreaming, where we are conscious, aware and in control of our dream from within it, and then there are types of dreams in which our brain stores or processes information from our day to day lives or tackles solving a problem we are facing. Recurring dreams, in which we have the same dream over and over again, anxiety and stress dreams (these usually involve being chased as well as things – oftentimes mundane or existing things in our waking lives – going wrong) and nightmares. Not every dream is going to be significant, but often we have an intuitive sense of what dreams are important and what dreams are our brains going through the motions. When the moon is involved, such as a full or new moon and especially eclipses, we usually experience dreams that are messages or premonitions full of symbolism.


The Language of the Subconscious


Our subconscious does not speak in words for it knows no language of human design as it expands far beyond the limitation of this reality. The language our subconscious uses to speak to us is through symbols – pictures, archetypes and stories embedded within our own mythos and the mythos of the collective unconscious. The more we can learn the language of symbols the better we can understand our dreams. Equally important, however, to understanding archetypes and general symbolism is understanding our own personal meaning behind the symbols. One person's dream with a lion could mean something completely different to another depending on their own experiences, culture and beliefs connected to that symbol.


Dream Journals


The best way to begin to understand the symbols your subconscious uses to speak to you is to keep a dream journal. Not only will you remember your dreams better the more you log them, but you will begin to notice patterns emerging. The best tip I ever got about dream journaling is to just write down anything in your dream, even if it makes no sense. I used to think I had to write a story. Now I know I can just write down bullet points of nonlinear events, people, feelings, symbols and themes that I remember. It does not have to be perfect, and if you are trying to impose any sense of order onto it you will get stuck. Let it be as fluid, confusing and wild as the dreamworld itself. Don’t allow the aspect of writing it down to overwhelm you – I say this as someone who didn’t write down their dreams for years just for that single reason!


TIPS:


How Did You Feel?


The most important aspect of dream analysis is to pay attention to the way you felt in your dream. An example: I had a dream where I lived in a cave high in a mountain overlooking a sea of ice and rock. This could have been interpreted as isolation, loneliness, coldness and fear. However, in the dream I was overjoyed at being in this environment. It felt peaceful and mystical, like I was in an oasis all my own. The positive feeling of what I was experiencing in the dream drastically changes the interpretation. Now, it reads as a message of the joy and peace that can come from being alone with oneself surrounded by an untouched and ancient part of nature. (Not to mention the symbolism of the ice and water representing a mirror, reflecting through the untamed nature that which is untamed within myself.)


Symbol by Symbol


The way that I like to analyze my dreams is by breaking them down symbol by symbol. Continuing with the last example, the symbols of that dream are: water, ice, mountains, rock, isolation, untouched nature. So I want to spend time with what I know and how I feel about each of these things until I can put together a message that makes sense to me. The symbol of ice is multi-fold in that it holds the symbol of water but in a way that evolves the meaning. Rocks and mountains are connected but again, hold very different meanings and represent different stages of process, the rock being the thing or material and the mountain being the structure. Allow your understanding of previous symbols to inform symbols you’re not yet sure about. Additionally, this process benefits from creative thinking. My dream didn't present me with a symbol of an actual mirror but I can conclude through my intuition and previous knowledge that water, being the original mirror of nature, speaks to reflection and mirroring – especially because there were only two figures in this particular dream: Mother Earth and I.


Archetypes


If we are tarot readers or engaged in practices that heavily utilize symbols and archetypes, those will not only come up in our dreams but can change our interpretations as well. Additionally, I find the people who are innately gifted at interpreting their dreams are people who tend to think in symbols. People who are artists or storytellers, for example, already have a well of symbols they can draw from. The more we can surround ourselves with the language of symbols, the more we will understand it. An example to demonstrate how your knowledge of archetypes can allow your dreams to give you hyper-specific messages: I had a dream I was being stalked by the Devil, but he looked just like the furry version on the Devil card in my tarot deck. In tarot, we refer to a card that continuously comes up in readings again and again as “stalking” so my dream was not about The Devil in a religious sense or even in a frightening sense, but about the tarot card the Devil coming to me with an important message – one that I was ignoring. The message of the Devil in this case is clear because it is the message of the Devil card itself, and not the collective archetype of the Devil. That makes the meaning one of letting go of attachments that were unhealthy for me, and indeed this card ended up stalking me in real life too until I ended the relationship in question. In this case, because my subconscious used a symbol I was incredibly familiar with, when I woke up from that dream I knew exactly what it meant, no analysis even required. We can also assume if our subconscious gives us a message in a way that is super clear and straightforward that it is vital we received that message, with no time to waste. Dreams like that are the closest our subconscious ever gets to shouting.


Leave Fear Out


My recommendation if you are new to dream analysis is to use the internet through a critical lense of what resonates for you. Sites with dream analysis explanations can be very helpful but not everything is going to fit. In fact, most things probably won't. When you read something and you feel your intuition say, yes that one, then that's how you know. Everything else you can just ignore. Dream analysis in a typical or traditional sense can sometimes exist on the fearful end of the spectrum, so don’t accept anything that doesn't feel truthful and is sending you into a state of uneasiness or anxiety. Our dreams are here to help us and inform us. They provide a necessary and meaningful window into the subconscious being of our psyche which can help inform our actions, beliefs and decisions in our conscious life from a place of deep connection to Self. Anything revealed in a dream is simply another aspect of you revealed and is nothing to fear in itself.


Animals


This next tip, from the book The Alchemy of Your Dreams: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of Lucid Dreaming and Interpretation, was revolutionary for me in interpreting my dreams. In it, author Athena Laz explains that any time we are dreaming of an animal it represents us – our wild, our instincts and our power. For me, a reoccurring dream symbol I’ve had for years is of a small, teenie tiny puppy that I have to protect with my life from some external threat. Through this understanding of the animal actually representing me, I was able to realize that this symbol represents a vulnerable part of me, my inner child and my inner sensitivity. The next step would be to analyze the symbol of the threat as well as the aspect of myself that is doing the protecting and then any other figures, feelings or settings involved.


It’s All You


Another tip that comes from dream analysis interpreter and witch psychotherapist, Naomi Sangreal, is that everyone in your dream is an aspect of you. With that perspective, how does the meaning of your dream change? What is being revealed about the layers of your psyche?


Bring Your Dreams to Life


One more tip from Naomi that I love is they recommend doing something the next day in waking life that is connected to your dream as a way of engaging with it. This can look like eating a food that was in your dream or calling someone who appeared in your dream.


Remembering Your Dreams


If you often forget your dreams in the morning, the best thing to do is keep your dream journal or even your phone close to you so that when you wake up you can immediately write it down. Upon walking, try not to shift your focus but stay in the space you just came from and try to hold on to the feeling you were last having in your dream. Staying in the same position in bed and doing as little moving and thinking as possible will help you remember where you just came from. Our ego is not super fond of the fact that it has no control within our dreamscapes, so when we re-enter consciousness often it will try to reclaim control over us by forgetting the experiences we had while dreaming. Personally, I also like to ask for assistance from my Guides to help me remember my dreams before going to bed. As previously mentioned as well, the more you journal your dreams the more you’ll start remembering them.


Recap


Dream analysis should be fun and personalized. It is a way to engage in dialogue with the subconscious – when we begin to respond to and engage with our dreams we open up a conversation. If our subconscious feels like we rarely listen to it, it will not give us many messages unless it is absolutely dire we know about something in particular. The more we begin to speak back, or rather respond, our dreams usually become more meaningful and highly symbolic. We also tend to get better at remembering our dreams. Overtime, we start to understand our specific recurring symbols and their meaning. In this way, you can become fluent in the language of your subconscious. If you’re not there yet, don’t give up. Dreams are often weird, confusing and chaotic. If you don’t understand the message it's no big deal – if it's vital you can be sure your subconscious will tell it to you again probably in another way. These are all reasons why a dream journal is extremely helpful. Sometimes we can't find these patterns or connections until we see them all laid out. It's also possible to have dreams that evolve as you grow and make changes in your walking life with these dreams following the same theme as you move forward on your path. One last example of this is that I noticed a huge pattern of movement in my dreams through analyzing them over the course of years. When I am about to experience radical growth, I begin to have dreams about transportation that follow a specific pattern. They begin usually with trains or buses and I will have multiple dreams with these symbols. The next phase begins when I begin to have dreams in planes, moving into a higher level of transportation. Sometimes the cycle ends there, but when I have had monumental levels of expansion and transformation in my waking life my dreams will next take place in outer space. Now that I know this pattern exists, the moment I have recurring dreams about trains or transportation in general I am extra alert. This is my message to myself that transformation, growth and change is upon me. Your symbols that represent this movement may be completely different then mine. What are they saying?




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