(originally from the Magical Mysteries Collection – later republished on Yahoo! Contributor Network July 30, 2008)
Dream analysis, for thousands of years, has been a function performed by magicians, sages, and prophets. In Genesis 40, the Pharaoh summoned Joseph to interpret his dreams. And in Daniel I, King Nebuchadnezzar called upon Daniel to analyze his dreams. Because incorrect interpretations might result in death, it was imperative that they be accurate.
Today dream analysis books and websites offer readers a glimpse of the subconscious dream world through universally accepted images and their associated meanings. Archetypes (universal images), mythical figures, and dream symbolism figure prominently in our psyche and relate to us messages from our subconscious. To know ourselves, we must know our conscious mind as well as our subconscious mind.
But many of us find, upon awakening, that if we remember our dreams at all, they appear in fragments that make no sense to us. Websites and books explain some dreams, but certain dream symbols may be more personal than universal. A bird to one person might signify flight and freedom, but to another it may mean fright. If we want to understand ourselves, we may benefit by understanding our dreams.
Remembering them may be difficult, however. To remedy forgetting them, try concentrating not only on having a dream before you fall asleep, but on remembering it as well. Gayle Delaney, in her book, "Living Your Dreams," invites us to explore our dreams by keeping a dream journal.
Keep the journal and a low-wattage lamp by your bed. Get in the habit of recording your dream immediately upon awakening. Even if only fragments appear, write them down anyway. As you write, more pieces of the dream may surface.
When you finish recording the dream, make a list of all the people, places, and things you remember from the dream. Next to each image from the list, describe its appearance, its form, and the feelings it arouses in you. Do any of the images remind you of anything else going on in your life, or any person?
Now describe the actions that took place in your dream and write the feelings associated with each action. Record the overall emotional quality of the dream.
Don't try to analyze your dream as you write it. Logic and analysis can wait. Sometimes enlightenment will come as you record your dream. Other times it will appear when you review your dreams. Still other times the message won't come until weeks or even months later. A dream you had in March may make more sense to you in October.
As you become adept with the process, ask yourself specific questions before falling asleep, and ask for the message to be clearly illustrated in a dream. How, what, and why questions will result in better dream answers than yes or no questions. For instance, "What can I do to improve my relationship?" works better than "Will my relationship improve?" As you record your dreams, in time, certain patterns may emerge.
Learning about yourself through dreams may open windows to your soul.