5 Types of Dreams According to the Ancients
1) Daily Life Dreams: about our daily concerns, bodily sensations, conflicts, mostly mundane remnants from the day without any deeper meaning. These are the type of dreams that make us think that dreams are just random memories and sensations being sorted in our brains. Ex. You are very thirsty and grab a drink, you enjoy it and are very satisfied. You awake thirsty. The sensations of your body made it into your dream-state. This is a kind of wish fulfillment dream in a sense, and also an example of dreams as “Guardians of Sleep”. This term refers to the psychological theory that dreams occur to distract us from awakening, and allow us rest. So if you’re so thirsty and your body is signaling you to awaken, but your mind wishes you to continue to sleep, it conjures ways to satisfy that desire in your sleep. The Tibetan Tradition calls these dreams “Samsaric Dreams” or dreams of the mundane reality of the animal life where our desires and aversions are paramount. 2) Dream Vision: these kinds of dreams are not exactly what we think of as pure dreams. They involve all types of fantastical perceptions from the in between sleep-wakefulness phase. These includes “open eyed dreaming”, sleep paralysis hallucinations, visions of ghosts and figures. These tend to be very emotionally charged states Ex. You are in a state of sleep paralysis where you cannot move your body, but you can feel surges of tingling and see and hear things that you cannot see. Divinatory Dreams: These types of dreams are ones where interpretation is of most use. These dreams foretell future events, give us important guidance and teach us lessons 3) Symbolic dream: This is typically a type of dream that is very difficult to understand upon awakening. They contain archetypal images, metaphors, symbols and allusions to things about our lives, others and the world at large. These dreams can be about the dreamer, about another person, dreams about a community or even dreams of humanity and universal themes. These are the dreams we wish to find out what/who they refer to and what the symbols mean This is done through a technique we’ll call “symbol association”. This is a simple technique yet one of the most crucial for dream interpretation. It involves taking note of details of the dreams, and finding associations. Ex. You have a dream of a man that is walking down the road, glances at you and walks over to give you a handshake. In his hand is a small green rubber duck which you squeeze and get startled. When you squeeze the duck it makes the noise of a siren. You awaken confused Technique: what key objects/people are in this dream and what do they mean to you? This is what Jung says is the great proof of dream meaning. He tells us dreams may seem random but why did we dream about THAT GREEN DUCK rather than another toy animal, why a man instead of a woman, why a siren noise and not a squeak. The answer is that these seemingly random details have deeper associations. The psyche/spirit speaks in metaphor so the great question for each detail is “what is the significance of x to me, what does it remind me of, what do I think of when I think of x?” and so on. IT IS CRUCIAL TO JOT DOWN THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF, ESPECIALLY IF YOU FEEL A RESISTANCE TO THAT Ex. Duck: they remind me of childhood, playfulness, silliness and fun. Green: this color reminds me of money, emeralds, poison. Man giving a handshake: greetings, positions of power, professionalism. Siren: warning, alarm, danger. Interpretation: The green duck is not what you thought it was, and your startled by what it really is, which is a danger. You feel as if you’ve lost some aspect of your playful child self. This dream may indicated that you’re in danger of losing your fun playful way of life in pursuit of money, which is something of a poison for you. You awaken confused because you feel tricked and don’t understand how you lost your way. This is an example of how a dream is interpreted from the details, this was not a dream but a conjured story of the type the psyche loves to show us. Namely that the dream seems random and pretty ordinary in meaning, but that it conceals a deeper truth. One that has an emotional effect. This is KEY to determining if a dream is meaningful, if it has any strong effect on your emotions and a KEY to interpreting dreams because when you come to the truest meaning you will know it through it’s emotional impact on you. If the interpretation doesn’t move you, it isn’t the right one. 4) The Oracle Dream: this is a dream about an important person who gives us guidance. This person can be a parent, a person we look up to, a deity, or any being who we respect in some way or has authority over us in any way. This dream shows us what to do and what not to do through the form of a respected individual. Ex. You are not sure about your career path and are in a state of endless doubt and can’t come to any conclusion. You go to sleep one night and a wise witch appears to you. She tells you to follow her to her home so she can show you a secret. You walk with her to her house in the woods, and she lets you in the door. She seems very cheerful and good natured, and you trust her. She tells you she’s going to grab your secret surprise and takes a long time to come back. You are becoming frustrated and unsure if she will come back. You make up your mind that you’ll stay for one more minute and then go back to your home. Just as your about to walk out the door she pops out and says “aha! I found your secret surprise, it’s in this wooden box”. She leaves the box saying that it will show her a great magician, one who can grant all her wishes. You reluctantly open the box and inside the box is a mirror, and you see your own smiling face. Interpretation: the guide is the witch, a figure of magical power. She has the answer to your uncertainty about your career. The dream is filled with constant doubt about what you should do. The guide is giving you an answer to your conscious question of what should I do for my career. She tells you that the secret to finding out is to be patient, trust in yourself and don’t give up, and the person who can grant you any wish is yourself, you are the witch you has the magic to control your life, the secret is yourself. You already are on the right path, you simply need to look in the mirror (reflect). 5) Prophetic Dreams: These are dreams of something that is to happen These dreams are some of the most important and rare of all the types. These are the dreams that later come true, or foreshadow a future occurrence. A bad event or good even, a success or a defeat. They can even indicate the death of someone you know. It is a strange but not altogether rare occurrence that someone will have a dire dream of a loved one or friend only to find out that they died that very night, even though the dreamer has not been in contact with them for years. It is important not to worry oneself about these kinds of ominous dreams however as much of dreams are symbolic and do not necessarily refer to literal events, but have metaphorical meaning. That is why it is crucial to understand the types of dreams and how to interpret their symbolism, because it’s often hard to know if a dream is prophetic or symbolic. Ex. You have a dream that you’re having a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend and it leads to a harsh fallout. In the dream they are distant and won’t make eye contact with you. You realize that the relationship is over, and you awaken crying. Interpretation: some factors are at play that may spell the end of the relationship as it is foreshadowed by the dream. This is where it gets interesting. If it is truly a prophecy of what is to come, can the knowledge of that alter that event? Meaning if the dream points to an argument leading to a breakup, can you avoid any arguments for a while. I believe so, I think our fates are not entirely written and our choices influence the future greatly. With that being said it is many times the case that trying to avoid what happens in the dream is EXACTLY what makes it happen.