First the principal, then the tools:
The Dream is Your Own Creation.
The first step in making sense of a dream is to own it. It isn't somebody else's or random drivel. You made a story up that reflects you. It isn't intrinsically truthful, rather the dream operates in the realm of what seems to be. Don't dismiss it as "just a dream", rather it is a picture of where you are. Your dream is your story about you. Where you were today. How today fits into your whole life, the universe, and everything. Last night's dream is a window on your psyche, where it is, what's happy, what's not and where it can be going.
The Dream Speaks in Analogic.
Dreams use figures of speech to create the images. It is as though you talk through a series of ideas and then to express each of them in pictures. That makes a collage of images taken from your history, your imagery, your reading, your life. Your dreaming mind weaves a visual story out of you and spins them up in their helter skelter non-logical all-at-onceness. From an image in your dream the whole story of your life is revealed to you. Dreaming is a self-learning feedback system that tells you about you and your mind.
The dreaming mind doesn't operate with daylight logic. Dreams do not obey the laws of physics. They are not bound, like the body to here and now. The dream mind is an analogical engine. It is a more primitive mental state.
Dreams Use Metaphor
More than any other single mental tool, the dreaming mind uses the analogic of metaphor.
A simile is a comparison between two things using "like" or "as". I feel like a computer.
A metaphor is a comparison at a higher order, without "like" or "as". I am a computer
Analogic takes off from the "computer" and goes on to reveal how that feeling is related to everything else. The dream is a picture of a sense or a feeling, and experience, or attitude expressed metaphorically in the form, "I am a ..." Your mind chooses its images with great care. The metaphors reveal layers of likeness to the topic. The dream uses fuzzy logic so things appear in the dream because they share a quality with the core issue.
Dreams Use Word Play and Puns
The dreaming mind is making pictures of thoughts. the images are often based on puns. You may groan when you figure it out. For example, I had a dream walking through a museum, past two large urns. They seemed out of place and I was moving the urns. The dream was resolved around the pun on earn. I had changed my stable employment, I was moving my earn.
A dream student reported going into a room full of guilded golden objects The dream resolved around the thin surface of guilt his mother had spread over his life.
The object image may be a pun on another idea that sounds the same. A dreamer reported an image of his head being cut open without any pain. He resolved the dream around the theme of "keeping an open mind."
Sometimes single words will take on larger-than-dream characteristics. They stick out. They are word play ways of showing an idea that is hard to picture. A woman reports the word "Carmine" standing out from an otherwise simple story. The whole story popped into place when she thought about "Car Mine" and her quest for a driver's license and her own car.
Dreams Use Symbols
Acres of textbooks have been written about symbols. Something is standing in for something else. The symbol shares some property of the source material and some difference.
Look at the image and ask what is this standing if for. What does it remind me of. These are your symbols.
You can make sense of them. It isn't as though a dream dictionary has the answer. The answer is in your life history and your imagery. The best dream dictionary is your own dictionary.
You made them up over a lifetime of drinking in images, sounds and ideas. You have a rich repository of images to go with every situation you have ever been in. The people, places and objects that populate your dreams are your personal images taken from your life to represent your experience.
Dreams Contain Archetypal Symbols
Yes, they are all your individual unique symbols or masks on the archetypal symbols. It is your great uncle, but it is the dream world's wise old man archetype behind the mask. Something is standing in for a great core concept of the culture or humanity in general. The great mother is universal, so it the wise one and the hunter and other core concepts.
A Dream is Like a Holograph.
There there is revelation in each morsel. Each image is rich and deep. Each image was chosen by your mind and drawn from your memory. It is not random and chaotic, rather it is speaking to you in the ancient language of the dream, a language more primitive than logic. Like a holograph, each turn of the image reveals more. Every bit contains the essence of the whole.
Hey! Enough Principals
What are the Tools?!?!!
Here are some things I do with a dream. These are the study questions:
· Write a headline like a newspaper headline.
· What was the theme of the dream?
· What was the main feeling in the dream?
· What are the main verbs? Are they states of being or action?
· What tense is the dream? Past, Present or Future?
· Think of each verb in the form " I have me doing _____"
· What is outstanding objects in the dream?
· Are they people, places or things?
· Be abstract with each; What categories does each belong to, What fuzzy set does it belong to? What does it stand for?
· Be specific; What are its unique properties? What makes it unique?
· What part of you does each object represent?
· Think of each image in the form, " I am a ____."
· Think of the opposite of each image. "I didn't have me _____ ."
· Are there any figures of speech: metaphor, fable, parable, euphemism, personification, or rhyme...
· What would you say to the main character?
· What would you change to make me feel better?
After a full experience with examining each part for fuzzy relationships, metaphors and other word play, go back to the original dream and put all your new ideas back in the context of the original. See if an Aha! pops out of the dream now. The key concept is to pursue alternative thoughts related to the core images and experience and see what pops into mind regarding the day world or other dreams. Fiddle around with it til something pops. If nothing pops, put it aside, It's only a dream. You get to do it again tonight.
Here are the steps:
- Get a "whole" on it.
- Take it apart.
- Focus on each image - look for details.
- Fuzzy-Up each image - ask what groups it belongs to.
- Integrate the pieces together again for synthesis.
- Engage the "whole" anew.