Are you interested in exploring the meaning behind your own dreams? Keeping a dream journal* by your bedside is the first step, as you will want to write down your recollections as soon as you awaken and a dream interpretation dictionary can be helpful as you start to record your dreams, mostly as a loose guide to recall of details that might not seem all that important at the time.
There are abundant resources, yet perspectives, insights and philosophies may differ widely between them; ultimately, we feel it is best that you select what appeals most to you and what seems most consistent.
Again, we wish to emphasize that dream interpretation is in no way an exact science, nor do we suggest that you make decisions based upon any dream. Dreams which disrupt your sleep, negatively impact your daily life or lead to anxiety should be reviewed with a licensed professional.
A number of free on-line dream dictionaries and other tools are also available; again, there are no rules set in stone, but we will provide two paperback resources that might be helpful below. Please feel free to add your comments or suggestions, as we are always looking to expand our usefulness to you and this community.
Writing it Down
If you are new to discovery of the meaning behind your own dreams, and are seeking to explore these further, we highly recommend keeping a dream journal, a pen* and at least one good dream hard-copy dream dictionary next to your bed, as it can lend some immediate insight while writing down the details of your dream and often provide reassurance for any startling images you may have encountered.
Dream images tend to fade rapidly within the first few minutes of awakening and even more rapidly once you begin your usual daily activities, which is why we recommend keeping your journal at the bedside for immediate use.
Hard-Copy Vs On-Line Search
While there are on-line apps and resources, smart phones, tablets and computers have well-lit screens. The additional tasks to open them, plentiful images and pending notifications may present distractions and also potentially derail some of your immediate recall.
While using a phone or an app may not present a problem to you, it has been our experience that almost any routine activity immediately after awakening can interrupt the visual information stream and retention. As humans, we are essentially bombarded with visual images once we open our eyes in the mornings, which can theoretically displace visual images of the dreams that we hope to remember and review.
As there are plentiful resources on-line for additional information and alternative perspectives, it certainly can be helpful to look into these after your dream is already committed to paper, so that your own dream imagery is not lost in the process. Again, this is just a suggestion.
When writing down your dream, do your best to recall colors, numbers, moods, objects, people, clothing, bodies of waters, buildings, rooms within buildings, doors, windows, vehicles and your direction or motion within them, and your position in relationship to things (under, over, inside, outside, etc.). All of these details and more can provide additional insight into the nature of your current circumstances. The more you can recall, the better.
If while writing down one set of details, another scene pops into your memory that happened prior to it, simply keep writing and sort out the order later; if all the images are written down, the order will likely sort itself out and not all dreams are necessarily in sequential order anyway.
Why Keep a Reference Handy at All?
Having a plain-text reference at the ready can often serve as a reminder to nuances you still have fresh in your own memory, but neglected to capture. We are recommending plain text references without illustrations for quick reference, as they are less apt to cause as much visual interference.
For instance, suppose you were dreaming about being in a car and have written everything down then quickly glance at the referenced description, seeing notations about headlights. If glancing at the brief description gives you clear visual recollection of driving in the dark without or without headlights in your dream, it would be pertinent to add that to your journal entry.
It is important not to embellish your own dream details, but you may discover that in reading about one symbol it will provide additional details that are still fresh in your own dream memory that might have been left out of your narrative otherwise.
Hard-Copy Reference Examples
One of our favorites is entitled Dream Dictionary by Tony Crisp*.
Another good choice is The Dream Book by Betty Bethards*.
These are but two examples, but having multiple references is a good idea for better clarity and also where a subsequent on-line search can lend further insight into your dreams.
The content within both of these resources is in plain text and they are small enough to fit comfortably into the drawer of your nightstand.
We do not wish to mislead the reader by saying that on-line resources aren’t valuable tools; they can be, especially after your dream has been recorded; if you have further questions about why we recommend at least one hard-copy reference at the ready while you journal about your dreams, we invite you to reach out to us below!
Having looked into several websites available on-line, several of them have very comprehensive dream symbolism available. We are looking into current authorship and will provide links if appropriate after verification. Please feel free to comment if you have additional suggestions for us.
There is a lot of information out there, but no formal rules, thus discernment is key when it comes to interpreting your own dreams; keeping a journal helps you discover your own unique patterns and preferences.
Final Thoughts and Disclaimer
We absolutely wish to emphasize that if your dreams are causing you sleep disturbances, affecting your daytime functioning, causing anxiety or any other changes in your mood or well-being, that you seek assistance with a licensed professional. Your journal might be a valuable tool to enhance your own healing experience.
For more on why we sleep and why we dream, click here.
Again, there are no hard and fast rules for dream interpretation and what truly resonates as pertinent to you is what is most important.
Keeping these journal entries allows you to review them; you might just discover dreams you once thought insignificant have shifted in time, illuminating aspects of your circumstances and your well-being.
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