Your dream and its symbols speak through the language of dream symbolism. Although that language shares similarities across dreamers, each dreamer’s subconscious mind speaks in its own personal “dialect” of dream symbolism. So in this book you’ll learn about the “standard” language of dream symbols (to the extent that there is a standard one), plus you’ll learn how to decipher your own subconscious mind’s personal symbol meanings (your personal “dialect”). The following three sections introduce the primary considerations about personal dream symbol translation to keep in mind as you explore the symbol descriptions in this book.”
TOOL: Dream Dictionary
1. “Choose a symbol from your dream that you want to explore, perhaps the one that stood out the most.
2. Find that symbol in the dream dictionary and consider the possible meanings listed. Notice which (if any) resonate with you intuitively.
3. While keeping the dictionary meanings in mind, consider:
Personal meaning: What the dream symbol means to you, what it brings to mind for you, and feelings it triggers within you.
Because dream symbol meaning is subjective and personal to the dreamer, consider what the symbol means to you personally. To help yourself better understand its personal meaning, you could ask yourself:
What thoughts and feelings come up when I think of this thing?
How would I describe this thing to someone who has never seen it before?
TOOL: Caveman Explanation
The following technique can help you to deep-dive into the meanings that your subconscious mind associates with the symbol:
1. Choose a symbol from your dream, and imagine that you are explaining what it is to someone who is not familiar with it—such as a caveman, young child, or alien from another planet. The person has no idea what the thing is, how it works, what it does, what it’s known for, or anything else about it. Start from the beginning with the most basic explanation.
2. Write the meanings that you used to explain the symbol.
3. Consider which meaning resonates intuitively with you as the meaning of your dream symbol, or which meaning relates to a matter that you’ve experienced in your real life or that’s been on your mind.
• How would I feel about this thing if I actually saw it in real life?
• What would I say if someone asked for my impression of this thing?”
Context: How the dream symbol appears in the dream. For example, in a dream about a bird, consider what the bird was doing, how and where it was doing it, and how you felt about that. (See more in Context.)
A dream symbol’s meaning can be very specific to its context in the dream. So, think about how the symbol appeared in the dream and what that may convey about its meaning. For example, pay attention to:
· Where was the object?
· Was there anything unusual about its location or position?
· What was it near or surrounded by (objects, people, etc.)?
· What was its environment (indoor or outdoor, lighting, mood, weather, etc.)?
· (If an inanimate object) What was happening to it?
· (If a living being) What was it doing, how, where, and with whom?
· How were the characters (including you) viewing or relating to it?
· How did you feel about all of the above?”
Look beyond the obvious: A dream is often about something other than its obvious meaning. For example, physical events in the dream can represent mental or emotional matters.
A dream symbol often represents something beyond its obvious meaning. A rose could represent a real-life rose, but it’s much more likely to represent something else more symbolic (such as a feeling, characteristic, or event). So look beyond your symbol’s literal meaning by asking yourself, “What else could this symbol mean?”
4. Using what you discovered in Step 2 and Step 3, explore what the symbol represents on some level of your real life physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and so on. If a particular dictionary meaning resonated with you, explore it further by looking for more clues in the dream that point to something parallel in your real life.
5. Write your conclusions about the symbol’s meaning in your dream journal, along with any other realizations about the dream.”