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The magical world of dreams

June 16, 2009

dreaming

I’ve always been interested in dreams and their deeper meanings and over the last decade have spent some time studying dream analysis in more depth. Dreams are a great way of gaining insight into the workings of your unconscious and analysing them can be tremendously useful in the process of emotional healing. Some people are convinced that they never dream, but I’ve often found that following a discussion about dreamwork, the ‘non-dreamers’ will excitedly report back to me soon after that they’ve spontaneously started to recall them. Here, then, is a brief glimpse into the mysterious and magical world of dreams…

Dream Symbols

Some dream symbols are archetypal which means that they represent similar things for everyone. For example, water usually represents emotions. If you dream of being caught up in a tidal wave or a flood, you are probably feeling emotionally overwhelmed, whereas if you dream you are bathing in a tranquil lake you are probably feeling emotionally balanced. Houses represent your inner self and different floors represent different parts of your psyche. Cars, on the other hand, represent your life – what state is the car in? Is it functioning properly? And perhaps most importantly – who is in the driving seat?

However, some dream symbols differ from person to person, which is why many of those dream dictionaries can be fairly useless. I love cats, so if I dream of one, then this is probably a positive symbol for me. For someone who thinks that cats are the work of the devil, however, it would probably represent something entirely different. You may also find that characters from your waking life represent different aspects of your psyche in your dream world. For instance, I often have dreams which star my daughter, my mother and myself, representing the child, parent and adult aspects of my inner self.

If you’re interested in learning more about dream symbolism, then the following books are worth a look: Giant Book of Dreams by Pierre Daco, Dictionary for Dreamers (Language of the Unconscious, Vol 1) by Tom Chetwynd and Dream Dictionary: An A to Z Guide to Understanding Your Unconscious Mind by Tony Crisp.

Animus/anima Dreams

Jung developed a theory that each of us has both masculine and feminine components of the psyche. For the male, the feminine component is the anima, while for the female, the masculine component. In waking life, the anima/animus can be projected on to someone who represents the aspects of our opposite self which we unconsciously feel are lacking within us. For example, a very masculine man may be attracted to a very feminine woman, simply because she psychologically represents those parts of him which he refuses to acknowledge within himself.

We can learn more about our animus/anima – how healthy this aspect of ourselves is, which in turn affects how we relate to the opposite sex – through the recurring male/female characters which appear in our dreams. The way you relate to these animus/anima representatives in your dream world will tell you a lot about how much you have assimilated these aspects of yourself into your waking life. I have a number of different positive animus representatives starring in my night time reveries. One is a former classmate of mine who I always admired for his authenticity and originality – had I been born a boy, he is the type of boy I would have liked to have been. Another is Jack White (of the White Stripes) who started turning up in my dreams a few years ago when I rediscovered my creativity. I admire him for his dedication to his craft, his discipline and his ability to vividly and accurately portray his emotions through his work, all qualities which I myself aspire to in my own creative expression. .

(This is an extremely brief and basic summary of this theory, for the purpose of this particular blog. I will go into this in more depth in a future blog, as knowledge of how the animus/anima work can be a useful tool in improving our most intimate relationships.)

Lucid Dreams

These are dreams where you are aware you are dreaming and are therefore able to manipulate the events occurring in the dream. This can be a useful way of dealing with difficult situations in your waking life which may have been having an emotional impact on you. For example, a close friend has had some issues recently which have been beyond his control and very frustrating for him. I know that it will ultimately work out okay for him but I also understand why he feels so overwhelmed by his circumstances. My desire to reassure him of this is evident in this particular dream:

The two of us were travelling in his car up a very steep and winding road. Suddenly the road became so steep it actually began to bend back on itself (similar to a corkscrew rollercoaster). My friend began to panic as he realised he couldn’t hold the car on the road any more but just as we both thought that it probably wasn’t going to end well, I turned to him and said ‘No, it’s fine, this isn’t real, it’s just a dream’ – and quick as a flash, we were no longer in the car, but instead were sitting outside a coffee shop, relaxing in the sun with a cappuccino, with me smiling at him saying ‘See? I told you it was just a dream.’

Lucid dreams can also help you deal with recurring dreams. Recurring dreams usually represent a longstanding emotional issue which you have been unable to resolve in your conscious mind. By taking control of the dream, you can change the outcome and consequently heal the emotional wound. I had a recurring dream for many years about being back at school – a time I associate with great unhappiness – but these eventually stopped after I was able to take charge of the dream one night and place myself in the role of willing and able teacher instead of  confused and discontented pupil.

Prophetic Dreams

As you become more in tune with your inner guidance, you may find yourself having dreams which predict future events or give you some insight into what’s occurring in the lives of people around you. Prophetic dreams are real favourites of mine – it’s always a little spooky but very exciting when I have one. Here are some examples:

My friend Tom was bemoaning his lack of funds to me on the phone one evening. I jokingly said that I would manifest him some cash. That night I dreamed that I was given two cheques – one for £500 and one for £125. I told him about my dream – and a few days later he sent me a text saying that his grandparents had unexpectedly sent him a cheque for £500. And the £125? Within a week of the dream, I received a rebate cheque for exactly that amount…

Another friend of mine is in an on-off relationship with a man I have very bad vibes about. On more than one occasion when this relationship has been ‘off’ for a while – and she’s sworn that she’ll never get back with him – I’ve dreamed that she’s taken him back on the very day it has actually happened. Once I text her to tell her about the dream, only to have her text back to me ‘OMG, here’s sitting here next to me right now!’ It was the first time she’d seen him in two months.

The most recent prophetic dream was about another friend, who I’ll call Louise. Louise had been offered a place at a public school, similar to a local all-girls school, except there were boys there too. I went with her to look around and was very impressed but she seemed too scared to stay there on her own. However, I felt that it would be beneficial for her to stay so I tried to sneak away when she wasn’t looking. The dream ended with me driving away with Louise chasing after me, screaming for me to come back. This was a very vivid dream and struck me as a tad bizarre, so I mentioned it to Louise in one of our e-mails. The next time I saw her, she told me that it wasn’t as strange as I thought as she actually was ‘going back to school’ – she’s applied for a place at college – and the only thing making her feel somewhat reticent was the thought of having to go there on her own…

Prophetic dreams are not always just about the people closest to you. It’s also possible to tune into the collective unconscious, or ‘universal energy’. I dreamed one night that my partner and I were being attacked by two young boys with bricks and knives – the next day the story broke about two boys aged 10 and 11, who had been charged with attempted murder after attacking two other boys with bricks and knives. And on a lighter note, I had a rather disturbing dream about Jeremy Clarkson  dancing around in a yellow lycra bodysuit(!), singing ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ – later that day, it was revealed that in his inimitable fashion, he’d called Gordon Brown a ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot’.

I hope this brief look at dreams has inspired you to consider your own dreamscapes and symbols. If you’re interested in exploring them some more but find that the details elude you the following day, try keeping a notebook and pen by your bed and jotting them down as soon as you wake. You can also contact me via my website for a one-to-one session to analyse any significant dreams you may have. (currently unavailable)

Sweet dreams!:)


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6 comments

  1. Crashing my car – always.

    Don’t tell me it’s about my life, please…!

    X


  2. The prophetic dream you had about that cheque still amazes me; not only for the accuracy of the amount but because at the time there was no indication that they would send me any money.

    Dreams are truly fascinating and my mother’s been having interesting dreams recently about finding extra rooms in her house but being scared to go into them because of an unfamiliar presence. Having read some Jungian interpretation of dreams it seems the ‘house’ imagery is reflective of self and that the extra rooms are symbolic of unexplored parts of the psyche that she is hesitant to explore.

    Keep up the good work!


  3. Years ago I kept a journal of my dreams, with probably about 1000 or so described, maybe 15 to 20% lucid (though I didn’t know the term ‘lucid dream’ then, I called it ‘dream aware.’) I would experiment in my dreams, and it was pretty interesting. I realized that if I had doubts about being able to do something like flying, I couldn’t. I actually borrowed from “Hitchhiker’s guide” to learn how to fly by falling backwards. Once I learned, no problem. Lesson: we create our own limitations! I also would be chased by dogs and would be scared and wake myself up — only to be mad that I couldn’t have controlled the dream. Once I turned and stuck my hand into the dogs faces, they bit it off, I felt a twinge of pain, but then my hand was back, the dogs laid there peacefully, and didn’t bother me again. Lesson: face your fears! I would ask people in my dreams about the meaning of life, but they’d never give me a straight answer. I’d fly as high as I could until I was disembodied in a field of what seemed like white dots, until I’d get afraid I was too far from my experience or reality, and I’d jolt myself back.

    I tried to have out of body experiences, but failed — some dreams seemed to be that way, but as I explored, they were only dreams. I even wrote a spiritual fantasy about a woman who would visit the dreams of others and learn about life, but never published it. I should get back to dream exploration. The one thing that sticks with me is the overwhelming feeling upon waking that “OK, this is a reality…but so was my dream world…this reality operates under different rules and principles, but is it truly more real than my dream reality, or different.” I’d ask myself that in my dream too. Maybe this reality is a shared dream of sorts where we have to agree on the rules, where our individual dreams are more personal. I don’t know, but my dream studies — done without use of a dream dictionary or analysis book, it was my own exploration — made me feel that the material world isn’t what it seems. (My own blog yesterday talked about particle physics in that regard).


    • Wow, your dream experiments sound really interesting – I bet there’s a book in there somewhere too.

      I’ve also kept dream journals, especially when I’ve been going through a particularly tricky phase of my personal development and found it a useful exercise, although I always find it easier to interpret other people’s dreams than my own – something about being too emotionally involved with the ‘material’, I think. Sometimes our unconscious tries to make us see things that we’re just not ready – or willing – to see. That’s why it often helps to explore them with a detached third party, even if that person doesn’t know much about dream analysis – the retelling of the dream can often bring about that ‘aha!’ moment when the previously incomprehensible suddenly makes perfect sense.

      I will check out your blog, Scott, and thank you once again for your comments on here 🙂

      Warmest wishes,

      Sharon


  4. […] 20, 2009 by The Empathic Guide Back in June, I wrote an article about dreams in which I briefly touched on Jung’s theory of the animus/anima. I mentioned that I would […]


  5. […] also have prophetic dreams which you can read about in my blog entry The Magical World of Dreams. Empaths are often fascinated by dreams and we are natural dream analysts, due to our ability to […]



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