A friend posts on Facebook. “I had this dream last night.” They then go on to describe their dream. “There were six penguins that were dancing, suddenly they began to fly. They circled around me and as they flew to the sky, a rainbow appeared. Then I saw my mother”. Everybody starts to weigh in.
“Cool images” says one person, “Penguins mean (whatever)” says another. “Clearly this represents an issue with your mother and freedom” says a third. On and on.
What is wrong with this picture?
I see this at least twice a month and it represents the greatest ignorance that society, even “spiritual people” have about dreams. They are not free floating.
The first great rule of dreams, what you must understand above anything else, is dreams are a commentary on the waking life and what you are thinking, feeling, responding to at the time of the dream. Furthermore, they are most likely triggered by something that happened the day of the dream.
I have worked with dreams for 25 years and very, very few people are aware of this. You might as well say “I felt bad yesterday”, any comments?” Without the conscious life back story, unless a person is extremely psychic, it is virtually impossible to understand the dream’s meaning, With the proper context, the dream becomes far more accessible. Every dream worker worth their salt will emphasize this point.
Dreams express and clarify the waking life. Unless they come from what I call “Higher Self” energies, nothing can appear in a dream that is not internalized in in our daily “regular” existence
Moreover, dreams change only as the waking life changes. This is why recurring dreams are almost exactly similar, until a life change affects them.
A man has a recurring dream. He is in college but he continually finds himself in a labyrinth. (maze). He is looking for the Student Union where a fire burns at the hearth , bratwursts are plentiful with beverages, and there is warmth and fellowship. But he wanders lost and can never find the way to his friends.
What is this dream about?
The dream changes. It still opens up with him wandering in the labyrinth. But this time, over and over, the way opens up and he finds his way to his friends, the food, the warmth, the fellowship.
Why did the dream change? What is its meaning?
Can we see the absurdity in trying to understand the dream, or any dream, without the context of waking life?
With a quick back story, all becomes clear.
This man’s first marriage was not working out and his emotional life and feelings throughout were similar to feeling trapped in a never ending maze where access to the good feeling and warmth of life (primal associations in college) were always out of reach. When he divorced and remarried, and had a successful second union, the dream kept recurring but reflected his life changes. The warmth, good feeling, sense of release, and pleasure he now felt directly made their presence available in his dream as he no longer felt blocked.
It should be clear from this example that knowing the life story is crucial to understanding the dream. As important as this is, and it is foundational, it is but one component in being able to know our dreams. But if one does not create this “bridge”, as Gayle Delaney (yoursleepinggenius.com) calls it, then almost all attempts to know the dream’s meaning are fruitless.
It helps to read my drop box, “What IF” but I will post a simpler explanation of what dreams do. I suggest the next time you share a dream, especially on Facebook, if you want any meaningful feedback, you have to share what was happening to you at the time of the dream also. You will be surprised at the leap in knowledge and insight.
But beware of dream dictionaries.
However, that is a tale for another time