Last month, I wrote about several ways to record your dreams and the reasons that people decide to decipher their dreams. If you need a refresher, you can read Decoding Your Dreams: Part 1.
Through the many years of working with my own dreams, I have found that my dream interpretations are richer and more profound if I devote plenty of time to exploring the dream and gathering information about it. As I complete each step of the process, I stop and reflect on my results. Because dreamwork is a process that can awaken an individual to their true feelings and understandings of the world around them, it is something that can’t be rushed.
Also, understanding your dreams is emotional and psychological work. It is not a replacement for working with a therapist, but it is important to know that dreamwork can shake things up in your psyche, and a person needs time to integrate and appreciate these new awarenesses.
For these reasons, I will introduce the dreamwork techniques I use gradually so you get a chance to practice them and not get overwhelmed by moving too fast. The symbols and archetypes found in dreams are vast, complex energies that aren’t comprehended easily by most people. They have so many meanings; they can be perplexing tricksters to try and understand. With that said; let’s begin.
The first step in decoding your dreams is finding a dream that entices you, holds some mystery, and provides you with an image to work with. By choosing an intriguing dream, you will enhance the communication between your waking and dreaming consciousness and have a lot more fun uncovering your dream’s message.
Once you have chosen a dream, you’ll need a notebook or some sheets of paper to work with your dream. We are going to start by “expanding” the dream. When you expand a dream or dream image, you search for all its possible meanings, even if some of them are contradictory. There are several ways to expand a dream, and this post will introduce you to the initial one.
The process begins by rewriting your dream on a blank sheet of paper. We are engaging our senses here to glean more information. When you copy your dream, you are connecting to your dream not only with your mind and through your eyes, but you are also bringing a physical element to the method by using your hands. People remember things better when they write things down, and when you write your dream onto a new sheet of paper, it is common to recall more information about the dream than you did when you recorded it initially. Make sure to write down any new insights or details that came to you during this step.
Next, read the dream to yourself silently and then out loud. This allows you to hear the dream in two different ways, once inside your mind, and once through your ears. Again, we are we are using our senses to trigger additional insights about the dream. When we read something to ourselves, our mind tends to fill in missing words and skip over certain parts of the prose without us realizing it. Reciting your dream aloud catches these omissions. If you are doing dreamwork with a friend, have them read your dream to you too and do the same for them. Don’t skip this step. Hearing your dream being spoken takes your dream outside of your mind and into the world for the first time. Depending on the dream, this can be a visceral experience that breaks open the dream for you revealing a great deal of information. Be sure to write down anything that you learned about your dream in this step before moving on to the next one.
Now, go through your notes. Underline whatever that stands out to you, look for words that are homonyms like fair and fare, bough and bow, or grown and groan. Notice Freudian Slips, double entendres, or puns in your writing. The actual words you selected to record the dream and the parts of your dream you decided to document offer clues to its meaning. For example, if you used the word mourning to describe the time of day instead of morning when you wrote down your dream, your dream may be hinting at something hidden deeper beneath the surface of the dream.
For the next several days, ponder what you have discovered about this dream. Let what you have learned so far incubate. You’ll find that your dream will continue to provide information to you if you focus on it. You might even have additional dreams relating to this one. If you do, make sure to write them down, and repeat the process for the new dream. Sometimes the new dream will supersede the original one, and you will use it instead as you move forward to continue the process. This is another good reason to take your time when engaging in dreamwork, allowing for new and possibly more significant dreams to arise.
We have only just begun to expand our dream; there are several more techniques to come in the proceeding blogs that will amplify our dreams further before we learn the process of distilling all our material into a succinct interpretation.
Until next time…