Fairytale dreams buried in the database

Today I discovered a treat of the imagination. I have been meaning to use the databases available to me at the University of Florida to find dream research that I could review for the sake of interest. Yet, as I began my first forays into searching the digital collections database I was quickly sidetracked by this curious piece from 1890: Dreams by French Firesides by Richard von Volkmann and translated by J. Raleigh.

Essentially it’s a book of fairytales inspired by the dreams of a bored German soldier stationed in a fort during the long siege of Paris in the Franco-German war.  I read the first four tales, fruitlessly trying to maintain a semblance of professionalism, enraptured by the wonderfully woven stories that seem to be there just for stories sake. The preface of the book doesn’t seem to differentiate between the final product of the book and the direct dreams of the author but I have some reservations about believing that someone could dream so intricately.

Despite the likelihood of some creative liberties being taken with the original dreams, I think the author did a great job of illustrating the wacky characters with great detail. One story in particular that I have read so far would be The Invisible Kingdom. Here’s a quote that had me rolling with laughter as the author described the dream-kobold, a trick-playing creature from the land of dreams:

“He runs into the nearest house, picks up the first man he sees out of his featherbed, sound asleep, carries him to the top of the church tower and throws him over head first. Then he leaps down the tower stairs like lightning, reaches the bottom first, catches him, carries him back home…Then he [the sleeping man] rubs his eyes, looks about in great surprise, and says: “Good gracious, I felt exactly as if I were falling down from the top of a church tower. How very lucky that it was only a dream!” (Volkmann, 1890, p. 23)

I would love to be able to utilize my dreams in such a way. It seems wasteful to have so many diaries of dreams past without drawing some sort of inspiration from them. While the child-like fantasy format seems very appropriate for some dreams, I think that others would have to be given very careful transcribing to be translated into full-fledged stories.  It could be a long time before I’d be able to write so elegantly, but hey a guy can dream. 😉

So I’d like to ask you all, potentially using this book as an example, what do you think of stories written from dreams? Do you think they would help or hurt an individual trying to forge into the world of lucid dreams?


Dream on little dreamers,


Interpreting a dream

First and foremost I’d like to say that making an effort to interpret your dreams is NOT NECESSARY to the skill of lucid dreaming. Nonetheless I feel as though its pretty fun to try to predict the messages of your subconscious, I imagine I’m speaking to an audience that feels similarly seeing as you’re all reading a blog about dreams anyway.

So if its not obvious I’ll readily tell you that dreams are not very consistent with their ease of translation. Some dreams seem to drag on in a way that suits a fiction series whereas others flash by your subconscious mind like a crazed bat. Telling the difference between logical and illogical dream plots is a good first step to interpreting your dreams.

Illogical dream plots often consist of little to no permanent characters (including yourself) and a blatant inconsistency of setting. Not that dreams have to be bound to a single setting but when the settings seem to flash by faster than you can count them it usually signifies a less logical plot. Just because a dream is illogical does not mean that they are uninterpretable.

Interpreting a illogical dream becomes easiest when you stop looking for a moral and start looking for themes. Themes can consist of anything in a dream such as a theme of darkness, a theme of being watched, a theme of silence, or a theme of strangeness.Don’t look too deeply into the details of your dream to find a theme, pay more attention to how YOU feel about the scenario that played out (however odd it might seem).

I once had a dream where a small child stood outside a decrepit hospital then I was suddenly transported to a slum where I was running from two ravenous German Shepard dogs and lastly was  groveling in the dirt apologizing to my suddenly dead dream-father. At first I could see no relation between these things but felt as though everything had an apocalyptic overtone. Using the apocalypse as my theme I was able to interpret that the dream may have had something to do with not living up to my fathers expectations and an over-dramatized fear of the results of my failure.

Logical dreams are a little easier to interpret but overall much more rare. The signal of a logical dream is of course the opposite of everything that would make a dream illogical and also a sense of finality by the end of the dream. What I mean by finality is that you wake up feeling as though you got something accomplished in your sleep as opposed to emerging half-dazed as though from a wild carnival ride.

Interpreting a logical dream is usually based on your ability to characterize those that you met within the dream. Who was in the dream? Who are they in your everyday life? How was the dream-projection of them different from the real version? All characters in your dreams are derivative from people that you have met before, so although it may be difficult try and figure out who that person you met may have been (it could have even been a random passerby) make a serious effort to do so. Characters in your dreams are very much representative of your own psyche more than the psyche of the person they represent. Try to figure out how the dreams’ end-result (such as a death or infatuation) to those characters represents your relationship with that side of yourself.

There are many methods of interpreting dreams, what is most important is whatever satisfies you. Some sites like to give definition based interpretations of dreams. I recommend http://www.dreammoods.com/ and http://www.mydreamvisions.com. They are definitely helpful when just beginning to interpret your dreams although I would advise against becoming too dependent on them as they are just as scientifically based as any guess you would make is (and guessing is just more fun).


Dream on little dreamers,