Last month, we chose one of our dreams to begin working with and started expanding the image by looking for clues and new insights in the words we used to describe our dream. For more information on this process, you can revisit last month’s blog. This month, we are going to continue expanding our dream image by uncovering our personal associations with the symbols that make up our image.
Delving deeper into our dream by exploring our personal associations with the image does two things. First, it gives us an easy place to start because all we have to do is record our feelings and memories connected to the dream. Secondly, we get to clear our minds of all the thoughts we have about what the dream might really mean by writing them down. Keep in mind that our personal associations with the dream image go beyond our own ideas about the dream. These associations also include the beliefs of our families, culture, communities, friends, and anyone significant in our lives regarding the image we are working with and more specifically, how their views influence ours. This makes some of our dream images more uncomfortable than others to work with because we fear they might be unacceptable to the people around us. But these prickly dreams can be the same ones that provide us with exciting knowledge about ourselves that was previously hidden in our unconscious minds until we uncovered the meaning inside that particular dream image.
Now it’s time to take out your dream notebooks once again and begin! We’ll start by writing down the image we were working with on a new sheet of paper, and title the page “Personal Associations.” Next, we are going to break the image into separate pieces to uncover signs of why our dreaming mind constructed the image the way it did. I’ll use an example dream image to make it easier for you to follow along and mimic the process with your dream image and own set of questions.
Let’s say the dream image you are working with is a blue car, you are in the car, and it’s wintertime. The first thing you would do is look at the color blue and write down everything that comes to mind around that color. Here are some of the questions you could ask yourself.
- Do you like the color blue? Why or why not?
- Do you wear blue?
- Do you have that color in your home?
- How did you feel about that color when you were a child?
- How do you feel about the color blue now? Is it your first color choice?
- Did you ever have a blue car? When? What experiences did you have with that car?
- How old were you at the time? What was going on in your life?
- What about your family and friends, did they like the color blue?
- What about the people in your life now, do they have any associations with the color blue?
- Do you have any memories of the color blue and winter? If so, how old were you?
Depending on your answers, they could lead to more insights that create more questions. Keep following your train of thought until you’ve exhausted all the possible connections you have to the color blue.
Next, you would investigate your thoughts around the symbol of the car, and answer these questions.
- Why are you in the car?
- Do you know the model, make, and year of the car?
- Did you ever drive a car like that? Did someone important to you have that car?
- Was that car the same color it was in the dream or another color? If it was a different color, explore your associations with that color using questions similar to ones above relating to the color blue.
- What is familiar about the car in your dream? What is different or mysterious?
- Are you driving? If you’re not driving, who is?
- Who else is in the car with you? Why are they in the car, and what are they doing?
- If no one is driving the car, is it moving?
- Where are you sitting?
- How old are you in this dream?
- Are you happy, sad, scared, etc. sitting in the car?
- Is the car moving too fast, too slow, or is it out of control?
- What shape is the car in? Is it new, old, rundown…?
- Do you own the car in your dream? Who does own it?
If this car exists in real life, try and visit it either through pictures, videos, or in person. Bring your notebook and spend some time recording your impressions of the car now that you are looking at it outside of the dream in its physical representation. Again, keep working with this image until you are out of questions and answers.
Finally, we’ll explore the possible meanings of the winter setting in the dream.
- Describe the winter climate shown in your dream. Is there lack of daylight, cold, snow, and ice in your winter dream similar to the winters that happen in cold climates or is it dissimilar?
- Is this the type of winter that you experience where you live currently or does the dream take place somewhere different?
- Do you know where you are in the dream? Would this place typically have winters like this?
- What time of day is it?
- Why are you out in the cold?
- Do you like winter?
- What memories do you have of winter?
- Are you dressed in winter gear?
- Are you cold or warm?
- Are the winter conditions inviting or menacing?
Once you have followed all the possible leads for winter, look for threads and connections in the three parts of the dream image. Circle any items that are related in the three sections, and also highlight elements that peak your curiosity.
Using this technique to work with your personal associations connected to the dream image allows you to dig into the dream a little deeper. Dream images aren’t random. There is an order to why the image takes a certain shape, has a certain color, size, name, smell, or taste. You are this age, in this location, at this time of day for a reason. They are all parts of the puzzle.
You may have more than three pieces of your dream image to explore, and you can combine or separate the image into as many segments as you desire. For instance, in the example I used, you could create a separate list of questions regarding “you” in the dream. You could examine what you were thinking or saying in the dream and anything about your appearance, age, physical abilities, etc. Each piece will have its own rhythm. Some pieces will be relatively quick to explore, and others will take more time. However, focusing on individual parts of the dream is the foundation for creating your own dreamer’s dictionary. Once you know what the color blue, cars, and winter symbolize in your dreams, you can then begin applying these meanings to other dreams that contain these images.
Next time, we will further expand the image in a different direction to glean even more information. Until then…
Copyright ©2014 Lisa Finander