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Notes about dream dictionaries.
The problem with many dream dictionaries is that they don’t have a clear conception of what a human being is when dealing with the dream symbols. Human beings have two natures, one spiritual and one material. I often refer to them as the true self and the ego. The true self is a positive figure that is represented in the hundreds of possible virtues and capacities that people can have. The ego is the animal heritage that tends to be selfish and protective. It is where the negative emotions are. The two nature work in harmony with each other so that when you experience a negative emotion, it is a signal to you that your true self is lacking in a specific virtue or capacity. When you unleash the virtue from inside of you, then the negative emotion goes away. Many symbols have two sides, a negative ego one and a positive true self aspect. For instance, a dog can vicious, aggressive and territorial and it can be friendly and loyal. A cat can be aloof, disconnected and it can be independently minded. A human being in a dream can similarly represent both sides. The major belief one needs to have is that your being is always trying to develop a new quality. This is because it is the nature of human beings to grow and develop.
Since human beings are mostly the same with some small diversities, most symbols are universal. They are the same for all of humanity. When you want to figure out a symbol’s meaning, you can sit with the symbol in your mind and let it reveal itself to you. Since dreams are trying to motivate and inspire us to change in a positive direction, it is good to be conversant with universal principles and values, but not superstition and dogma. When a symbol comes to you in a dream, you can ask yourself what are the distinguishing qualities of that thing and then find the corresponding spiritual equivalent. For instance, if you have a thief in your dream, you could say that a thief is trying to not be noticed and has a bad intentions to take what does not belong to them. Those are some of defining attributes of a thief. It lets you know that in the real world someone is trying to take from you something that belongs to you, but does not want to be seen. It could be taking your authority away, your position, or your standing in the community.
All negative dreams are like a puzzle waiting for a solution.
Recurring Dreams: Recurring dreams happen when there is an unresolved issue in one’s life. Most people seem to have at least one major internal challenge that keeps coming back to them for most of their lives. The dream happens as a reminder that the issue is still there and needs to be faced. As you deal with the issue, it will fade for awhile and then return at a higher level of change work if needed.
Snakes: As with other animals a snake in a dream can either have a positive or a negative meaning depending upon the context of the dream. Generally speaking snakes appear at the beginning of a change process because they have two unique qualities that need to happen if you are to take on a new change. One is that they shed their skin which is like letting go of past hurts and sufferings, and the other is that they take the shape of the object they move over by being extremely flexible which is what you need to be if you are doing something new. A constrictor is a different symbol than a poisonous snake. Poisonous snakes often mean that there is insidious backbiting or gossip in the environment while a constricting snake could mean that you are not allowed to do the new changes.
Flying: Flying happens in the air. Air is one of the 4 elements which symbols the environment of the spirit. It is usually goes with such virtues as enthusiasm, optimism, hope, believing the impossible. When you fly, it teaches you that you can break the rules of convention (gravity) to do the impossible, the things you thought were not possible before. Flying allows you to feel free like a bird. The purpose of the freedom is to do be able to act on new ideas or new ways or with freedom of action so that you can accomplish goals. Often the problem with flying is running out of gas, starting to fly and then not being able to sustain it, or having a hard time getting off the ground.
Mountains: Mountains are symbols of majesty and challenges. If you are hiking up a mountain, it is about having the virtue of determination, but if you are on top of mountain skiing down, then it is more about courage. Sitting on top of mountain is about vision and sacredness. The highest mountain in most cultures is considered the most sacred spot because that is where you get the most vision. It is in the element of the earth which are virtues like perseverance, generosity, responsibility, reliability, trustworthiness, the solid virtues.
Animals: The important thing to remember about animals in a dream is that represent qualities of both the ego and the true self. For instance, a dog can be vicious and tear into things causing destruction or it can be a loyal companion representing close friendship. Often when you are in the early stages of a change, an animal will come in, such as a cat letting you know that you need independence. It first often is negative and then later positive. The key to analyzing a symbol that is an animal is to have the self discipline to analyze the distinguishing characteristics, that is, what sets it apart. The distinguishing characteristics allow you to know what qualities you need. Here are some examples.
Bear: strength empowerment Shark: ability to bite into or go after new experiences Ants: working as a team, sacrifice for the whole Dolphins: playfulness, joy Lions: courage, cunning Birds: freedom Turtles: patience with others Fish: teaching Monkeys: agility
An extinct animal like a dinosaur means that the quality is no longer useful in today’s world. For instance using power to make your way to the top is a destructive dinosaur like quality. It needs to be replaced with a new animal like a rabbit that has the power of gentleness. Gentleness in the corporate world was thought to be extinct, but it is making its way back in, while power mongers are become like dinosaurs.
People: When you are closer to manifesting a quality and it is ready to be applied fully into daily life, people start coming into your life the same way animals do in the dream. The key question when a person comes into a dream is,” What quality does that person have that is really important for me to manifest in my life right now?” If you have been working on being enthusiastic along with empowered, you may have had dreams about horses and once you are feeling the two qualities working together, someone will come into your dream with those qualities. How they act in the dream and how you feel will be the key to understanding what to do? The advantage of people over animals is that they also have an association with time. For instance, you may have a friend from when you were a teenager come into a dream. The qualities that they have and the issues you were facing at the time are key to where you are going right now. So you can pay attention to the qualities of the person and the time that person was in your life.
Water: Water is a relational symbol. This means that when you get water in your dream, it is about developing your relationships to a great extent. What is important in water dreams is to analyze what type of water it is. A tsunami is a lot different than a calm, clear mountain lake. Here are a few examples. Brook: having your relationships flow gently clear mountain lake: reflecting with oneself ocean: relationship with the Divine large river: flowing with others bathtub: healing one’s relationships Huge waves like a tsunami: inappropriate use of power in a relationship Surfing on waves: Being on the edge of human growth. Developing the qualities most needed by humanity right now. Muddy waters: impurity in relationships
Air: Air symbols have a lot to do with the future. Flying: Freedom to go for your dreams/goals. Running out of gas or not being able to get off the ground: symbols related to not being able to go after goals or running out of energy. Floating: Belief that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Falling: not relying on grace, bounty.
Light/Fire: Light and fire are symbols of the mind. Enlightenment is the term we use for inspiration. Seeing the light means allowing inspiration to come to you. Too much light like getting too close to the sun or having your house on fire in a dream means that you are overusing your mind to try to force a solution. Enlightenment requires patience and the realization that ideas come from the non-material to the material. A candle allows the mind to calm itself, but a raging fire is too much heat in the brain.
Earth: Earth symbols are about the qualities that we generally label as solid. Reliability, responsibility, trustworthiness, generosity, and determination are a few qualities that are called for in earth symbols. The desert, prairies, and mountains appear when you need earth qualities. Desert: reliance on oneself in the face of being alone Prairie: generosity Mountain: determination in the face of obstacles
Transportation: Cars, planes, boats, trains, and bikes or by foot are symbols of how you get from one point to another in your life. So when you have a goal, the means of transportation will give you clues about how to get to the goal. Cars: usually about short term goals and their challenges. For instance, if you are passenger and the driver gets into an accident, it means that you have a lack of control about where your life is headed. Someone else is determining your life and causing it problems. Trains have the advantage of being a single track which are good in some circumstances unless you need options. Planes are about the future, longer term goals. Running out of gas could symbolize not having enough energy to get to long term goals. Boats are how you get to the goals of a relationship, e.g. how to get closer to others. You may be on a journey from one island to another meaning from having a relationship with another distant to getting closer. Traveling by foot or by bike is about how to get the immediate needs met. If you go to a country like Vietnam, they used to all have bikes because the country was just about getting basic needs met. Now they are largely on motorcycles because they have moved to things like infrastructure and need for better schools. Soon they will be flying more which is how they connect with the rest of the world to get higher needs met.
Houses: Houses symbolize the self and the various things about the self in the various rooms. Bathroom is where you purify yourself. Window is where you get vision of possibilities. Living room is where the self socializes with the family. The bedroom is where you take rest. The kitchen is where you feed yourself. The basement can be about your lower nature and stairs could be about going to your higher or lower natures depending on the direction. The back door is a symbol that means that being open and truthful are not available in the current situation. The roof is your protection.
Lucid Dreams: To be lucid while dreaming means that you are aware of dreaming while you are dreaming. Some people use it so that they can change the dream as they are having it. I have always found that I am more lucid after I wake up so I go back into the dream when I am awake. One of the dangers of working with a dream as you are having it is that you don’t get the full message of the dream. However, it is analogous to trying to change a bad situation as you are living it. Most of us are not very lucid when we are going through trying times like when a relationship is going sour.
Bugs: bugs mean that something is bothering you. When you have bugs in your dream, the question to ask is, “What is bothering me?”