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6 Simple Steps for Interpreting Your Dreams

Carl Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) He was one of the most influential people in the forming of what we think of as modern psychology. Many of his theories like archetypes, Meyer’s Briggs personality types, anima/animus, and the shadow self inspired the New Age Movement. He also wrote many works on the art of dream interpretation and how it could be used for psychoanalysis and for bringing guidance to patients lives. Who was Jung? He was a psychiatrist by training and worked with the severely mentally ill in hospitals and his private office. His view of psychology was meaning based and took into account the spiritual and mystical aspects of experience, who his mentor Freud thought were nonsense as he was a scientific materialist in many ways. This led to a very big fallout where Jung and Freud ceased to be friends and colleagues, and Jung formed a school of psychological theory called Analytical Psychology Dream Interpretation Analytical Psychology Applied to Dreams: Based on the premise that dreams are a manifestation of unconscious psychic processes, the same ones that lead to negative mental states that we are unable to control. Carl Jung was a psychiatrist by profession and his primary goal was to discover and work with the psyche to relieve human suffering. Dream Analysis: “the dream describes the inner situation of the dreamer, but the conscious mind denies its truth and reality, or admits it only grudgingly…the dream shows the inner truth and reality of the dreamer as it really is, not as we think it is, or as we would like it to be, but as it is.” Jung talks about Childhood dreams being of a special significance because they come from the depths of the personality as it is being formed: Why should we care about our dreams? 1) Dreams carry out an unconscious goal, they have a purpose for the well being of the psyche, and according to Jung, they compensate and balance the ideas, aims and desires of the conscious mind. 2) To truly understand the ARCHETYPES and SYMBOLS in dreams it is necessary to be acquainted with ancient myths, folk stories, literature and the like because they are an expression of unconscious human symbols with their stories shedding light on psycho-spiritual processes occurring within us. 3) Dreams can show a conflict between the conscious drives and the unconscious desires. 4) Dreams are expressed from the psyche as stories, therefore it is crucial to look at all the elements of the dream as if analyzing a movie. What is the setting, who are the characters, what is the general plot, what is the climax and what is the resolution. It is amazing that dreams have this “movie-like” quality and it surprises me constantly the intricacy of references and plot lines that we encounter when experiencing dreams. Some dreams have more complicated plots and side stories than an episode of GoT. Now that we have some good background on why our dreams can be a great source of meaning in our lives and one of the key psychologist that developed many of the ideas of dream work as it would later be practiced. Let’s dive into the world of dream divination, or how to find the meanings of dreams with a practical method. At the end of this is an attached **FREE dream journal sheet** so you can record your dreams in a way that makes for easier interpretation and understanding their deeper meanings.  If you’ve ever had a strange dream that left you very curious as to what it meant you’ll find this quite useful. 6 SIMPLE STEPS FOR INTERPRETING THE MEANING OF YOUR DREAMS 1) Write down all the details of the dream: ideally this has been done for a series of dreams in a dream journal. This is the most important part as dreams are easily forgotten and without details there is nothing to analyze for meaning. It also helps dream recall in general, and makes one more lucid in their dream state Focus on details such as thoughts had during dream, characters, events, feelings about what is occurring, and symbols that are strange yet resonate with you somehow. 2) Analyze the dream as if it is a movie, and determine what type of dream it predominantly is: Determine the setting, character roles, plot line, reversals (plot twists), climax, resolution, general theme, and overall feeling 3) Go through the details of the dream and find associations with them: Associations are best explained by the technique of “what’s the first thing you think of when you think of THAT specific word”. The quicker and less thought that goes into the association the better, this expresses something from the subconscious rather than the analytic rational mind. 4) Write down everything that has been important to you in waking life, what occupies your mind, what worries you, what are your hopes, any conflicts occurring, struggles, confusion etc. This allows one to see the dream in context of waking life, which it is almost always tied to deeply. This is what your dream is “telling you” about what’s going on and suggesting a possible solution in many cases. Carl Jung believed that dreams had a balancing effect on the psyche, even without being interpreted, but interpretation allows one to better understand oneself. Ex. Someone who’s very stressed may have dreams of being on a vacation in some relaxing beautiful place. This is the psyche attempt to balance out the stress and fulfill wishes that may not be possible at the time in reality, but help soothe the wakeful issues. Ex. Your heart beats without you knowing anything about it, and all the complex physiology, anatomy and biochemistry that is occurring are never fully understood by us. HOWEVER, knowing about how it functions may give you clues on how to heal it. This is the same with dreams, they have a certain natural function, but interpreting them helps us to learn about ourselves and find solutions to our life’s problems. 5) Tie everything together and determine what the meaning of the dream is, you’ll know you found it when the interpretation resonates with you, brings up strong emotions or you have an “aha moment”. “Correct” dream interpretations are very often like revelations to us. This is the art of dream interpretation, there is no formula here as it all depends on what the meaning is to us, which we can only ascertain through reflecting on it. It is helpful to study up on mythological themes and archetypes related to the dream symbols, and see if our dreams are referencing these themes. It is an amazing fact that people who have never read ANYTHING about mythology often have incredibly specific mythological dreams that they cannot understand. This is where study in the area is helpful. STAY AWAY FROM SIMPLE “if you dreamt of this, then it means this” type interpretations that are found all over the internet. These are not usually accurate as they do not take into account what THAT SYMBOL MEANS TO YOU. Sometimes these types of interpretations have some significance because they’ve been had so many times and are such common symbols that the general meaning has been found. Ex. The someone is chasing you dream, the naked in front of a public group dream, etc. Still we wish to see what that means in reference to your life. General meaning is just that- general and not specific to your life, and the meaning of your dream. 6) Practice! Interpret your own dreams, your friends, your families. Even Carl Jung who studied dream interpretation for many decades said there was no one way to properly interpret a dream as the psychic processes are so mysterious and so individual. That also means there’s no WRONG WAY TO INTERPRET DREAMS, if it has meaning/stirs up emotion it’s a good INTERPRETATION. Dreams are best interpreted in clusters as they often elaborate on certain themes. #1: keeping a dream journal is a crucial aspect of this. **Check out the dream journal template below to get you understanding your dreams and having them be a useful guide in your life. Thanks for reading, leave comments in discussion if you have any questions or had insights! Feel free to print them out to help you in tracking your dreams. If you write your dreams down you’ll remember more specific details that will allow you to find their deeper meaning and it will improve dream recall! Dream Journal Entry # Date: Setting: Characters: Plot: Reversals (twists): Dream details: Thoughts: Feelings: Specific details: Symbols: Associations: Interpretation:

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