Dissected Dreams

Dream interpretation is as subjective as the dreams themselves. There is no one way to go about interpreting a dream, but there are a few good things to keep yourself reminded of in the process. 

Carl Jung began a discussion on this topic in Man and His Symbols (1964) by emphasizing that there are two different things encountered in dreams. There are signs which are always less than the concept that they represent and symbols which always represent more than their obvious meaning. 

Signs in dreams are typically things which contribute to an overall theme in the dream, whereas symbols give the dream a “point.” The tricky part is determining what is a sign and what is a symbol as relevance is not always linked to importance in the time of the dream. Arbitrary objects can be key symbols while main characters or scenarios can be just signs to continue the plot. 

In Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) he references the mystical feeling of dreams in our morning recollection of them. He continues to mention that the great majority of dreams will lead us back to our everyday life rather than release us from it. The content of dreams is determined by the personality, age, sex, education and habits of the person who dreams them. In that way it is essential to look not at the symbols as having some kind of set meaning but rather look for your own reaction to said symbols. 

What I mean to get across through all of this is that when you’re attempting the process of dream interpretation it is not the dream you’re interpreting, but yourself. Stigmas of everyday life do not apply in dreams and you should avoid applying them. If you have sexual contact with a friend from years ago in a dream try not to immediately interpret it as a fantasy and consider your own meanings of sex and that person. 

After all, in dreams and in reality not everything is what it seems. 

 

Dream on little dreamers, 

EB

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How I Take Impressions Literally

A Dream

I was in my grandmother’s house with my brother. It is a modest brown home in the suburbs. Inside the home was an old friend of mine behind a confectionary stand. He was dressed in the bright red uniform of my middle-school where I last saw him. He was offering to sell us some baked goods he had but we politely refused. In response he began to eat the treats he had for display.

I watched him in disgust, I wanted to call out that it was not very wise for him to eat the things he was selling. What if his boss were to see him now? I said to him that he should stop. He asked me to follow him and walked towards the front door. He slipped his hand between the door and the frame and pulled aside the wall as though it were a curtain. 

Outside there were fireworks in the sky. We soon found ourselves in a line leading into a neighboring home. The house was made out of glass allowing us to see inside. People were strewn about on couches in the house. At the front of the line there was a secretary calling out numbers of people allowed to go in. Next to her Oprah was signing in a choir-like voice for the entertainment of those waiting in line.

My Thoughts

Sometimes strange characters find their way into our dreams. It can be difficult to bring these characters outside of the dream realm as your mind stalls due to the inconsistencies in their assets. Why is someone from my middle-school in my grandmother’s home? Why is Oprah, a talk show host, singing choir on the street? These are the types of questions that are interesting to ask during the interpretation stage, but crucial not to ask before you’ve recorded your dream.

It is hard to use post-dream rationalization without tainting the content of the dream with your conscious input. A useful mechanism for me is to take all impressions literally, which is to say that anytime I think I may have been somewhere/done something in a dream then I accept that as true. Although I say I was in my grandmother’s house that was only an impression that I had at the time, had I tried to observe specific details in the dream to validate that assertion I would likely have been met with disappointing evidence.

Whether it’s old friends or off-beat celebrities it is a good habit to take your dream projections as they come. Trying to read too much into your dreams before you write them beginning to end can make you blank-out on other characteristics of your surroundings. Just a thought.

What do you think about taking impressions literally? Are some things better left unexplained? Or do you think there is always an explanation shrouded by imperfect recall?

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

A key to the past within

It may seem obvious that dreams would draw from the past. Many characters and objects found in your dreams are taken directly from your past experience. But what about when it is not your personal past that your dreams seem to draw from?

Freud termed this “archaic remnants,” a phrase meaning psychic remnants that lie in the human mind from ages ago. This term is used to explain why certain archetypal images seem to reoccur in many peoples dreams. Images such as an evil snake or benevolent angel could be traced back to this psychic residue. 

Is it true or is it theory? I couldn’t say at the moment. I would like it to be true as it would give justification for a future fantasy like that found in Frank Herbert’s science fiction series “Dune.”

In the story of Dune there is a guild of characters known as the Bene Gesserit who essentially use a perfected recall of the memories of their ancestors. This allows them to have super-intelligence and become almost immune to the turmoils in the large scope of the series. 

If we are to ever truly learn from history it is important to internalize its lessons on a personal level. Personally, I’d like the human race to reach the level of the Dune series for a lot of respects (they are really fantastic books by the way). 

In “Man and His Symbols” edited by Carl Jung these “archaic remnants” that we find in dreams are the link between the rational world of consciousness and the world of instinct. 

It would be an interesting future to say the least if we all became better at observing and learning from these instinctual lessons of our subconscious. 

 

That post was a little bit rambled. I hope you don’t mind. What do you think we can learn about the archetypes of our dreams? Do you think dream’s images have the potential to speak from our biological past? 

 

Dream on little dreamers, 

EB

Memory on the fritz? Don’t give up!

I’ll say this as much to you all as I do to myself: When it seems like the dreams just wont come, keep trying! Even if you get one bizarre sentence into your dream journal every morning it’s better than nothing. Every little bit counts.

It’s hard to teach something like dream recording where the results do not always match the effort. It can be discouraging to even try when memorable dreams are rare.

Supplements like Fish-oil and multivitamins can be used to help improve memory recall. Also in Thomas Yuschak’s book “Advanced Lucid Dreaming The Power of Supplements,” Piracetam is said to increase the vividness of dreams if taken in low dosages immediately after experiencing a lucid dream. I’d say that seems like a tough moment to pinpoint to take a pill, but I figured I’d mention it for the sake of intrigue. 

I’ve never been one to take any kind of supplements. I find it important to learn how to deal with the “lows” in your relationship with your dreams. When frustrated, I often begin to dismiss dreams as “meaningless” and slack on my recording routine. 

It’s important to avoid letting this kind of burn-out thinking lessen your faith in dreams. Remember that no matter what every night you have a dream. It can be long or short, vivid or faded and even just wacky but they all mean something. 

If you haven’t remembered last night’s dream, that’s ok. Try again tomorrow! Trust me that your unconscious mind won’t be silent any time soon. 

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

Learning from a master: My first foray into a book edited by Carl Jung

I realize that my prior post have been a lot of conjecture with not so much of a research backbone. I’d like to change that, but unfortunately my lucid dreaming education is limited to my own experience along with brief sections in my psychology textbooks.

So a friend of mine loaned me “Man and His Symbols” edited by Carl G. Jung, which I hope will expand my knowledge on the subject.

My first impression (within the first 50 pages) is that this is a book I could really sink my teeth into. I’m really excited to hear how he elaborates on his understanding of a “dream language” for the unconscious mind.

In dealing with dreams Jung had this to say: ” First, the dream should be treated as a fact, about which one must make no previous assumption except that it somehow makes sense; and second, the dream is a specific expression of the unconscious.”

This quote gets to the heart of what it is to record a dream. The fact is that the lessons you experience in dreams are just as substantial as those found in reality, at least subjectively. The only difference being from where those lessons derived.

One thing Jung had to say gave me a lot of relief as a lucid dream enthusiast who is often asked to interpret dreams.

“No dream symbol can be separated from the individual who dreams it, and there is no definite or straightforward interpretation of any dream,” he said.

This is something that makes dream recording so important. In my opinion there is no such thing as a single interpretation for any symbol in a dream. It entirely depends on the person who has dreamt it and what that symbol means to them.

What can be extrapolated from this is that dreams are a personal kind of treasure.  They’re something you can use to learn about yourself, but never an accurate way for others to judge you.

This is why I tend to be open with my dreams to friends. They always make for good conversation and in the end the true meaning of your dreams can only be known by yourself.

Well that’s all for now, I’m really looking forward to reading more of this book. I’ll definitely have more post as I delve into the realm of the Jung.

Dream on little dreamers,

EB