Exploring the Unconscious World of Dreams
Personal Dream Analysis/Group Presentations

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Contents:     Tools & Aids   /  Getting Started   /  First Dream to Interpret   /  Page 1 /  Page 2 /  Page 3
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How To Interpret Dreams
My Methodology of Interpreting Dreams
By Jerry Gifford

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” C.G. Jung

Summary Outline How To Interpret Dreams

A summary outline of how to interpret dreams. A point by point outline of the most vital aspects to analyzing dreams.

General Rules in Analyzing Dreams

Dreams and the Emotions: First and foremost dreams are about the emotions. In particular dreams are about unresolved emotional conflicts and/or emotional experiences that possess enough energy to be retained within the unconscious.

It was Carl Jung's belief that humans were meant to have wholeness in life and dreams are nature's device to create a balanced psyche by 'exposing' unresolved emotional conflicts.

Dreams are to the psyche as is the immune system is to the body.

Dreams are like a play or drama, about the dreamer's life. Much like a drama there is an opening statement, a developing plot, significant actions, and an ending that offers a result or possibly a solution.

Dream are like puzzles. You have to determine exactly what the pieces are and then put them together to create a picture.

Dreams are reflective of the dreamer's true condition. Whereas the perception a person will have of the world is tainted by ego desire, the dream is without bias and presents things 'as they really are'.

Language of Dreams: Generally 'speaking' dreams have a language of symbol and metaphor. The images and phrase of actions are what make up the language of 'symbols'. The phrases of action create motifs or patterns, which are reflective of 'waking' patterns of emotional behavior.

By symbol we are referring to the images in dreams. Phrases of action also create 'images' of actions which define a pattern of behavior.

Images in dreams are references to the dreamer, the image has to do with the dreamer's emotions.

The images are 'metaphorical' of the various aspects of the dreamer's emotional life. By metaphorical we mean 'the same as'.
       *A house in a dream is a metaphorical symbol of the dreamer. The dreamer is the house, the house is the dreamer.
       *A car is also the dreamer and usually symbolic of the 'tendencies' or focus of the dreamer.

Actions in dreams. The occurrences or actions in dreams reflect the actual waking life experiences and/or influences.

       *Driving you car in a reckless way is reflective of how you are living life or some aspect of life.
       *Climbing a mountain is a statement about having to overcome some obstacle in life.

People in Dreams: People in dreams are either aspects of the dreamer or/and in relationship to the dreamer.

As with images, unnamed/unknown people are metaphorical references to the dreamer's psyche. The unnamed/unknown person is the dreamer.

Named or known people who are acquaintances will either represent the same aspects as unnamed/unknown people and/or possess traits or aspects the dreamer identifies with. Named/known people can be literal representations to do with their relationship to the dreamer

Close relatives will normally represent their actual relationship to the dreamer but can also represent the same aspects as unnamed/unknown people. Often it is both

       *A unknown/unnamed person of the opposite sex will represent the dreamer's animus {masculine/feminine aspects}. Named/known people can apply here also but would likely fill both roles.
       *A known person of the same sex can represent same gender tendencies. In certain cases same sex people will represent the dreamer's shadow.

Famous people usually will possess qualities that the dreamer admires and wishes to possess. Alternately, what the famous person represents may be a part of your personality or behaviour patterns that you have refused to acknowledge {a shadow quality} - for example, aggressiveness or a will to dominate.

Specific Applications in Dreams: There are certain actions in or aspects of dreams where you pretty much apply a definition to.

All dreams have at least two meanings or applications. This can apply in several ways.

       *All dreams will reference emotional energies to do with the deeper issues in life. The underlying experiences/influences that cause emotional conflicts in later are a primary focus of the dream with an intent to help resolve the 'emotional baggage'. This deeper aspect is more likely to be the primary focus in an older person's dreams {after the age of 40}.
       *Most dreams will also reference current waking life experiences. Younger people's dreams will tend to focus on current life experiences. Not only do they have very little emotional baggage their focus in life is still ahead of them whereas an older person has already 'been there done that'. The 'primary' focus of a particular dream depends on the dreamer's age and/or emotional issues and experiences.

       *Symbols and actions in dreams will address both aspects. Each symbol/action will apply to both and depending on the person's age there will be a primary focus on one aspect with the second a lesser focus.
       Example: In an older's person's dream, where the dreamer is carrying a big load, it will represent both a big emotional load {deeper issues} in life from accumulated experiences as well as an emotional overload in their current waking life {usually one has to do with the other}. But there will be a 'primary' focus on one or the other. If there is an 'overload' in the dreamer's waking life the dream will be focusing on those issues also.

Dreams of a child, childhood houses/homes and or childhood experiences. Whenever there is the presence of childhood homes/experiences or a child, particularly in the opening of a dream, the dream will have to do with that experience or time frame in the dreamer's life. Often the child is unknown or not recognizable but is in fact the dreamer. An example of such a dream can be seen in the dream from the Dream Forum Childhood Pet. The language in these type dreams are as follows: 'I was with my dog from childhood' or 'I was walking through the neighborhood that I grew up in' or 'I’m in my childhood home standing in a spacious kitchen that used to be tiny, dark, and dingy'.

Archetypal Dreams. These dreams are what are called 'big dreams' and usually occur during major changes or experiences in life. Although all most images have an archetypal association these 'big dreams' usually have images that are often recognizable as motifs found in mythology. The definition of an archetype is 'an original pattern' or patterns of behavior. They are instinctive forces or instinctive strategies or ways of behaving. Archetypal images come in many forms. Some common 'archetypal' images are the 'hero' {champion; defender, rescuer}, the trickster {the magician, clown, a coyote}, the wise old man {sage, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars}. When these type of characters appear in a dream you know something important is taking place. For more on archetypes read Major Archetypes.

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