Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to: Interpret Dreams


I have an obsession with dreams.

Maybe it's because I have had sleep paralysis since childhood, and somehow developed the ability to lucid dream (I always thought as a coping mechanism) later in life.

This, and a slight obsession with Jung and Freud, has led to me trawling through dream interpretation websites for months on end, trying to understand the things my subconscious wants to alert me to.

My findings have led me to believe the following:

Dream interpretation websites are bullshit.


I think Jung was on it in terms of dreams showing us our latent tendencies in some way or another.

Jung worked with the idea of collective unconscious - universal symbols, myth, motif and archetypes which have been handed down as part of the narrative evolution of humans.

Archetypes/narrative evolution seem legitimate ideas. The idea of universal patterns that come from both natural and anthropocentric sources such as mythology is definitely something that I find intuitively real, though clearly the inexplicable quality of 'how' these things line up individual human psyche's as part of a whole is where Jung was lost to the critics that deemed his work too close to mysticism.

I believe that a narrative evolution is closely linked to a physical evolution, it is the same tick in our brain that causes us to jump at a cat in the night, but not a car. It is the very thing Sir Terry Pratchett described in writing the following:

"Here is a story to believe: Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human moth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we're frightened the hair o our skins stands up, jut like it did when we had fur. We ARE history! Everything we've ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are. Would you like the rest of the story?

I'm made up of the memories of my parents and grandparents, all my ancestors. They're in the way I look, the colour of my hair. And I'm made up of everyone I've ever met who's changed the way I think."

 And it is what Darwin observed in his Finches. Though where dreams are concerned, in our micro worlds, these motifs and archetypes concern our current and personal narrative evolution as it is occurring right now.

Jungian analysts tend to come to conclusion that each human is far too unique for each archetype or symbol to be interpreted in a 'one-size-fits-all' method. These symbols and archetypes will refer to the individuals situations in waking life, but perhaps the associated universal theme behind a symbol or archetype can help the dreamer more accurately interpret what issue the dream was alerting them to.

It is widely agreed by those who have studied the phenomena of dreaming that dreams often deal with thoughts of imminent danger, what each person believes to be 'danger' in their personal lives though is entirely up to them - whether this concerns a spouse/partner cheating, being abandoned or perhaps judged in some other way, lying to oneself, etc. 'Danger' in the modern sense takes on a multitude of forms.

Despite the unique meanings residing within each individuals persona dream-scape, the symbolism can be quite universal. Some of the most common dream themes/symbols include the following:


Next time you dream about chasing someone, or being chased, or having an argument, or your voice being caught in your throat, consider how you act in the dream, and what that might be telling you about your passive or latent tendencies concerning the situation in real life.