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Dream Interpretation: The Beginner’s Guide, Part Three

Thea Euryphaessa concludes her series of articles in which she helps decipher the obscure depths of the dream world

Written by . Published on December 19th 2011.

Dream Interpretation: The Beginner’s Guide, Part Three

I’M fast realising I could write a book on dreams, let alone a series of articles. Trying to condense years of dream tending into a series of pieces is proving nigh-on impossible.


As mentioned in Part Two, when establishing the overall context of the dream, the mood is one of the main areas you’re looking to identify. How did you physically feel while in the dream? Did the mood change depending on the particular dream landscape you were in at the time? How did the dream leave you feeling on waking?

If two of anything ever appears in a dream (called a ‘doubling motif’) for example, it may be a strong sign your dreaming psyche is trying to call your attention to something in particular.

There’ve been times I’ve woken feeling deeply content even though I can’t remember the rest of the dream – that in itself is gift enough. I don’t feel the need to analyse or interpret it. I felt good and that’s that.

The setting is another important element of the dream when it comes to establishing context. Where exactly does the dream take place? For example, I’m currently working with a client’s dream which took place in an old-fashioned, open-air shopping centre. I asked him whether he knew the shopping centre or had seen one like it before. He said it resembled one from his childhood. So, in one fell swoop, the setting has transported him back to a specific time of his life and I was able to do further association around his thoughts/memories/experiences of that particular shopping centre and link it into the rest of the dream.    

If your dream takes place in a house for example, is it a house you know? One you grew up in, perhaps? If so, what are your memories of that house? Or is it one you’ve never seen before? Does the dream take place in the centre of a city? If so, which one? New York and Manchester feature heavily in my dreams. For me, as the city in which I was born and raised, Manchester symbolises the centre of my deep Self, the place I ‘come from’. New York is a variation on the same theme in that, for me, it’s the archetypal city of cities in much the same way Rome and Athens once were. My dream ego likes to flit between the two, so whenever I find myself in either I get a sense of what’s potentially going on.

Where did your dream take place?Where did your dream take place?Pay attention to the words of places/people/objects too, as dreams are fond of wordplay. Take Liverpool: as well as your associations of the place, look at the words within the word – ‘liver’ and ‘pool’. Exploring the etymology of a word or place name can be just as important when excavating the underlying symbolism of your dreams. So, say you dream of Kanye West – look up the origins/meaning of the name ‘Kanye’. Also, associate around what ‘west’ means to you. Leave no stone unturned.

The dream’s characters are another element to identify. Is/are the characters recognisable? Or do they have a quality reminiscent of someone you know/knew? Do you even get a proper look at them, or do you just feel their presence? As you associate around each of the characters in the dream, think about how they make you feel. What qualities do you like/admire/ associate with them? Or do they irritate you, push your buttons? If so, what is it about them that pushes your buttons? Are they associated with a specific time of your life? Your dreaming psyche has chosen that particular person because they personify specific qualities you associate with them, so keep circling around what they mean to you. What Daniel Craig means to you and me, for example, will be completely different.

Another element to draw out is the action in the dream. Are you being followed? Swimming in an ocean? Cooking in a kitchen? Flying down the street on a plastic seat? Does the action follow a structure or storyline? Does it have a beginning, middle and end? Or does it fail to have a resolution (you wake up suddenly, for example)?

Numbers are important.Numbers are important.Finally, what objects in the dream attract your attention? The other night a man was playing a guitar right in front of my face. The next morning, I associated around the kind of music he was playing (punk rock – a genre which developed around the year I was born) and the guitar itself. You may, for example, spot a bunch of red flowers. If so, don’t dismiss them (were the flowers blooming or dying?) or their colour – colour symbolism is incredibly important; as are numbers.

If two of anything ever appears in a dream (called a ‘doubling motif’) for example, it may be a strong sign your dreaming psyche is trying to call your attention to something in particular. In a recent dream, I bought a flight to New York for £322. To the untrained eye those numbers may not seem particularly significant, but Columbo, here, was all over them like a rash; just as I got excited about the appearance of three chefs in another dream (three is symbolically regarded as the number of mounting momentum and transformation).   

As you record your dreams and associate around the themes/people/objects that appear, you’ll find recurrent themes and characters emerge. This is where creating your own unique dream glossary comes in handy. Having tailed my dreams for five years, I’m now seeing recurring patterns evident of my psyche’s inherent cycles that I’d have missed had I not recorded them.

The Book Of SymbolsThe Book Of SymbolsSo, if you’re ready to get serious about your life in 2012, want to align with your innermost purpose, and live a fulfilling life according to the unique shape and configuration of your psyche, as opposed to trying to make yourself fit in with what the world ‘out there’ thinks you should be doing and how your life ought to look, I suggest you buy an A4 page a day diary and start writing down and following your dreams – literally.

Finally, I highly recommend The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. This is not a dream dictionary, nor does it pretend to be; rather, it’s a wonderful reference book for further exploring symbolism including mythological motifs that may crop up – a beautiful book that’s proved a worthy companion when it comes to tending dreams.

Urban DevaUrban DevaFor more mind, body, and soul tips, follow Thea on Twitter @UrbanDeva

Visit her Facebook page facebook.com/urbandeva or website at urbandeva.com/blog

Read how following her dreams changed Thea’s life in her book, Running into Myself, available from Amazon.


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