Navigating the Symbology of Your Dreams

8 Apr, 2016

Navigating the Symbology of Your Dreams

I arrive at a house that reminds me of a childhood home. As I walk up to the house, I notice that there are a mother and baby elephant standing in the driveway being hosed down by a person whom I can’t make out. I walk through the house and out the back door, onto a large deck where a man is standing and looking up at the night sky. Curious, I look up and immediately notice comets shooting across the sky. I point to the comets and say to the man, “Are you seeing this?”

Just then I notice lights in a circular formation-a small circle of lights inside a larger circle of lights-and I realize that it is a UFO. I walk over to the man, take his face in my hands and direct it toward the UFO. “Look!” I shout. He sees the UFO and we stand in amazement for a few moments; then the dream ends.

Dreams are such odd things… and yet, as strange as they can be, they can be a wonderful tool to help us understand what is going on within – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and physically. Dreams offer us insight into the subconscious; however, in order to translate their meaning, we must first learn to speak the language, the language of symbolism and metaphor.

Interpreting dream symbols is complicated because dream images and symbols must be placed within the context of the dreamer’s life. For this reason, books that focus solely on dream symbol interpretation and “dream dictionaries” prove nearly useless in getting to the bottom of dream messages. What a UFO symbolizes for me could be completely different than what it means for you. Uncovering the messages latent in our dreams can be challenging because it can be difficult to not to fall into the trap of literal interpretation.

This is also why it is not a good idea to ask others to interpret your dreams for you. A simple practice that myself and others use in our work, is to say, “If it were my dream, this is what it would mean to me.” No one should push their interpretation onto your dream.

In his book Radical Dreaming, Use Your Dreams to Change Your Life, John D. Goldhammer, Ph.D. outlines a technique for understanding dream messages in which you navigate the dreamscape from the perspective of the dream symbols themselves, then asking such questions of these symbols as:

* Who or what are you?

* What is your role in my life?

* Where have you come from?

* What do you need from me?

Using my UFO dream as an example, I would apply the Radical Dreaming technique by seeing myself as various objects in the dream. As the UFO I would ask myself the above questions. In this process Goldhammer stresses the importance of asking what your life is like when you imagine being the object of the dream. In addition to exploring the various symbols within the dream, Goldhammer suggests that the dreamer thoroughly explore the setting, landscapes, and geography of the dream. An unknown landscape can be just that, an unknown area of the psyche. Applying this approach to my UFO dream might include imagining myself as the night sky and asking:

* How would you describe yourself to someone who did not know what a night sky is?

* How did you become who you are as the night sky?

* What is it like to be you?

Having kept dream journals for years, I found the Radical Dreaming approach to be an insightful and helpful way to gain new and deeper insights into my dreams. When embarking on your dreamwork journey, the first step is of course recall. So often the important messages brought to us through dreams are lost upon waking.

If you have difficulty recalling your dreams it can be helpful to set the intention of remembering your dreams as you get into bed each night. Because we tend to remember the dreams we have just awakened from, it can be helpful if you wake a few times in the night. I have a friend who drinks a large glass of water before bed to ensure that she will wake in the night to use the bathroom so that she can write down her dream upon waking. Keeping a journal next to the bed is important, as is giving yourself a few moments to lay still to transition from the dream world to waking; dreams tend to evaporate once we place the body in motion.

The personal insight and growth that can be achieved through the exploration of dreams is invaluable, and the ways in which this work can be done is almost infinite.

In addition to Radical Dreaming, I have found books such as Dreamwork for Visionary Living, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, and Conscious Dreaming: A Spiritual Path for Everyday Life, by Robert Moss, to be extremely helpful and recommend them for anyone interested in embarking on a journey into the beautiful and mysterious world of dreams.

As valuable as dreamwork can be, it is of course only one of many ways to gain deeper personal insights. Getting a reading from an experienced psychic reader can be extremely valuable, especially in deciphering precognitive dreams, so be sure to try our live online psychic readers here at


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