In the beginning of my spiritual journey around 2006, I had the following dream:
It is dark outside. A ferry man lights up a fire and gives me a sign with his hand that I need to come on the ferry. However, I have a huge bag and am still busy putting all my luggage into this bag. I am getting into panic. So much stuff! How will it fit in there? And will I be strong enough to carry it? Will the ferry wait until I am ready? I feel panic and overwhelm.
Interpretation: I have received the call for the start of the spiritual journey and need to come on board. However, I am not ready yet and still struggling with too much baggage (which at that time I interpreted as time constraints and too many obligations as a working mom with two small kids).
Guidance can come in dreams. The main challenges are to remember them and then to interpret them.
Before I go to sleep, I set the general intention that I want to remember my dreams (when I am not so angry with my spirit guides that I tell them to shut up and leave me alone, that is).
Sometimes, I even ask a specific question before sleep and expect the answer to come in a dream. This is called dream incubation.
We sleep in cycles of about 90 minutes. I find that if I wake up in between these cycles, often there was a dream just before waking up and that it is easy to remember it.
Sometimes a noise happens in the bedroom when my dream is finished so that I wake up at a time when I can best remember the dream. The noise can be my husband snoring or a window cracking, for example. I even had acoustic hallucinations of my alarm clock going off in the middle of the night. It is as if the universe takes care that I will be enabled to remember the dream.
The first challenge is to recall the dream. The usual advice is to record it after getting up. But this is not enough. There are some steps to be done before that.
When I wake up, I try to lie still if possible since movement has a tendency to eradicate the memory. Instead I keep my eyes closed and attempt to retrieve the dream while in bed. I let pieces if memory pop-up into my conscious mind.
Then I try to tell the dream to myself in my mind. The act of telling the dream to myself brings it from the sub-conscious into the conscious mind. Doing this feels a bit like playing the memory game ‘I packed my bag’, especially if I wake up and there are three different dream stories in my memory and want to be brought back to my journal.
When I am sure that I remember enough, I get up and write a few keywords down. If it is in the middle of the night, what works best for me is writing with a ball-point pen on paper next to my bed. I write in the dark and thus can’t see anything and try to write just a few keywords, but in block letters so that I can decipher them more easily later.
If I get up in the morning and want to write my dreams down, I write an email to myself from my tablet with just a few keywords. Later, I type the dream in full, using present tense, including emotions.
Sometimes I forget the dream upon waking up but then something may happen during the day which triggers a recall of the dream. For example, I dreamed about someone with a violin but forgot the dream during waking up. But when I surfed the internet, a picture of a violin came up in the news and this triggered the recall of the dream.
Afterwards, I reflect on the meaning. Is the dream merely a digestion process of stuff that I had to deal with during the day? Is the dream to be taken literally or metaphorically?
Don’t waste time on trying an interpretation of something that is meant very literally. Once I saw a girl with a teal sweater and platinum blonde hair in my dream. What a beautiful color combination! But what did it mean? Well, the very next day I saw this very girl walking past my kitchen window. That’s it. Nothing else to interpret here (except that it iis noteworthy that we can get a glimpse into the future during dreamtime once in a while).
If it is meant to be metaphorically, what is the meaning of the metaphors? I use associative writing to generate some suggestions. Dictionaries of dream symbols can be useful. But in the end, only I can know the meaning of my symbols. For example, dancing is a metaphor for communication in my dreams. I used to be a passionate competitive ballroom dancer. And I am very sad that I can’t dance anymore due to my
rheumatoid arthritis. Yet spirit brings up dancing in my dreams. Why? For me, it always means “communication” – to go and share my stories online and interact with fellow bloggers. That is a very personal symbol which is not found in any dream dictionary.
I find it very important to look at the emotions in the dream. Was it joyful, fearful, sad, or angry?
Does the dream contain the answer to a burning question? Or is it merely a description of my current state of mind and struggles? Or does it contain information about the future? If so, is it a prediction, or advice, or a warning?
For some dreams, it is helpful to step into the role of every person or animal in the dream since they can be a representation of me. For example, we have two budgies and I sometimes dream of my budgies being inside of a cage or coming out of a cage (and then maybe walking instead of flying). The meaning is usually not about the real budgies, but the budgies are a metaphor for me. And this symbolizes my progress or lack of progress on the journey towards freedom.
If I don’t get anywhere with my interpretation, then a dialog with the inner voice of my spirit guides can help.
Sometimes I get additional confirmation of dream symbols by signs appearing in the outer world.
Sometimes, I get repeating dreams with a similar setting. They continue as long as needed until I eventually get the message. I had several dreams of needing to go to a restroom, but it was always dirty, already occupied, or the door would not close so that there was no privacy. I was not sure how to interpret them (okay, a look at good dream dictionary would have helped here). Eventually, they stopped after I had reached a phase in my life with much release of grief and sadness. In retrospect, I think they signaled the suppressed need for emotional release.
During crisis or turning points in the spiritual journey, the significant dreams came more frequently for me. It is as if a very urgent need for help is answered more promptly by guidance in the dreams.
My dreams have told me many things. They have nudged me to come out of hiding and to share my story online. They have warned me of consequences if I procrastinated further and wouldn’t share. In dreams, I have received names of people whose books I should read. I have received messages from alive people (who knew me or even from those who did not know me) who wanted to tell me something. I have also met deceased relatives in dreams. I got warnings or a heads-up about things which were about to happen. Sometimes, I got announcements like that my guides would expect me for a meeting on a certain date in the future. I have also received explanations about things that happened in the past, for example what the deeper reason behind a disturbing, misfortunate event was which helped me make peace with it.
So, in summary, recording the dreams and reflecting on the meaning takes a bit of effort, but in return, I find that I get a lot of benefit.