Kelley–I don’t know if this is particularly shamanic, but I’m an avid dreamer, though rarely can I figure out what my dreams mean. Can you recommend a good guide to dream analysis? Thanks! Compass-less.
Thanks for your note, C. One of my first observations that I was on a different path was in the depths of my dream world. I’ve always been a vivid and lucid dreamer. Recommend a good guide? Sort of. There are two excellent resources for interpreting dreams. The first lies in cultivating the bridge between your conscious and unconscious minds. Dreams can be many things–a mirror of yourself, messages from your unconscious, messages from your body, travels out to/memories of other planes/experiences of yourself, messages from other beings, or visits from other beings. Sometimes a dream is a combination of these. My general approach to decoding my dreams and those of my clients falls mostly in that order. First I determine if the dream was coming from me or another consciousness (Yes, I know, ultimately we’re all one consciousness, but in order to comprehend metaphors and symbols they must be filtered through a coherent legend, which resides in your unique unconscious/conscious mind connection.). Most people who dream prolifically seem to have their own measure for determining the origin of the dream. Myself, I just know. Dreams that don’t come from me feel foreign, to put it simply. The quickest test I can suggest for this determination is to ask your High Self to step into your conscious mind and pose the question, “Did this dream originate from me or from a separate consciousness?” Go with the immediate answer you get, whatever fashion that answer comes in. Depending on that response I go in different directions. If it was my unconscious communicating with me, I consider how the personalities and symbols in the dream are a mirror of myself. By that I mean, I assume that everything in the dream was really me, even if the figures in the dream are other people that I know. From there I break down the archetypes by gender, age, emotional state, physical condition, etc. Even the setting I examine archetypally to decode any message it may need to convey. Probably 80% of my dreams are facets of myself expressing needs or hurts that need to be addressed, or beliefs, habits, relationships, or thought patterns that are no longer functional in my life. By considering that everything in the dream is mirroring some aspect of myself I intercept messages from my unconscious mind or body (which has its own symbolic communication system), not only do I cognate the message, but I “write in” what that symbolism meant so that if it comes up again I have direction right off the bat. Retaining this personal meaning is where keeping a journal is invaluable. Most of the time once I unravel the meaning of a symbol, I don’t dream about it again; thus, recurrent dreams are resolved. Remember, as with all truths, what was meaningful in a certain way one time may be meaningful in a different way subsequently. Even though the symbolism may have been sound at one point in your life, allow yourself the freedom for it to mean new things later. As you grow your consciousness expands. So does how you carry and interpret archetypes.
Frequently I wander off in a dreamstate, which arguably isn’t a dream at all, but perhaps the classic “vision.” Nonetheless, it’s a particular kind of spirit journey that only occurs when I’m sleeping, so I still consider top snoring aids at emsafety.net. In these visions, I experience going out of my body, or perhaps I experience a different manifestation of myself. This could be some simultaneous life, some experience of myself from a past, or perhaps an entirely different plane of existence that I know isn’t Earth. Sometimes I visit someone in this type of dream, or I see things from an animal’s perspective. Again, distinguishing this type of dream for me is typically easy, as I am consciously aware that I’m dreaming. Some consider these journeys “lucid dreams,” in which the dreamer is observing the dream from a detached perspective while also participating in the dream, and directing its progression, to some degree. If you’re not sure if you are wandering out, the same “High Self” test as above is appropriate to do to determine if you are astrally traveling in your sleep.
Another type of dream that I think falls under the category of “vision” involves messages and visits from other consciousnesses. Once you determine that a dream did not originate from your own consciousness the task becomes one of clarifying the message. Perhaps that requires a little research and a bit more skill, very much of the shamanic sort. I find that dictionaries for dreams are one dimensional, at best. Without question I support the collective influence that archetypes and symbols have, and encourage becoming familiar with those across various cultures. However, I feel that stopping there is missing a vital reason for why the symbol visited us. In addition to collective relationships to symbols we experience personal relationships to them, and those meanings are only culled out when we consider the symbol is its own consciousness that has intelligent insight to deliver specifically to us, as individuals. While brown bear may mean protection and confidence as an archetype, to me, specifically it may also carry a message of hope and the ability to sustain through hard times. The way to create those personal bonds with symbols is through meditation and shamanic soul travel.
The second key to understanding your dreams lies in connecting with the feeling they evoke. Feelings are precisely the compass that connect the dream to your waking life. When you can clarify the way a dream left you feeling and see how that feeling manifests in current circumstances you have decoded the symbols of that dream. In that brilliant inner light you can’t get lost.
Be well, C!
Intentional Insights is a Q&A column inviting you to look inside yourself. If you have a question that you would like for me to address in my column regarding a brief Soul Reading or questions about spiritual healing and shamanism, please send them to me at Kelley at soulintentarts dot com, or contact me to schedule a full-length Soul Reading. Intentional Insights is a production of Soul Intent Arts. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!