From Robert Smallwood….
I recently took a Diploma in “Dream Analysis – Therapy” and was fortunate to gain a distinction with 98.3% rating. Some of the material in my article is based upon what I learned but this is my summary of Dreams Explained.
It has been said that we dream several times a night but often we cannot recall them. We, in a historical sense, have invested dreams with great significance. In earlier times belief that during sleep our souls left the body, experiencing dreams perhaps in a supernatural world, was a generally held belief. Tribal elders, priests, and shamans were interpreters of dreams, which were so important that Kings and Rulers would base decisions they made on the basis of the dreams they had.
In modern times we take the thoughts of Freud, Jung, Fritz and Laura Perls, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka, who introduced us to psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy. Jung differed from Freud`s psychoanalytic theory believing dreams revealed more than they concealed, indeed they were very expressive. Furthermore, Freud`s idea that we expressed taboo sexual impulses were at odds with the Jungian dream theory as a natural expression of our imagination with unconscious and conscious coming together in a process that leads to individuation, the minds quest to achieving wholeness.
Gestalt therapy is a way of integrating various aspects of ourselves to achieve wholeness. It isn`t a matter of interpretation but more a way of living the present moment, as the patient relives the dream and expresses his thoughts. Dreams, the royal road to the unconscious, occur it is said in a state of lost awareness, the body is inert and the mind acts alone without interference from the person sleeping. Dreams are usually illusions even hallucinations, but on entering deep sleep, like entering into a blank space, you will awaken feeling refreshed and alert. But, will you remember any dream you may have had? There are two important parts of the brain that deal with the storage and recollection of memory, the hippocampus and the neo-cortex. In waking state they function together the hippocampus communicating with the stored information in the neo-cortex. However, during sleep there is a disruption of this communication and the dream can appear disjointed. Falling asleep doesn`t mean we lose touch with reality as external (somato) stimuli can enter the dream such as : touch, heat, pressure, sounds and smells.
However, Jung thought that it was symbols, having unlimited potential, could only be fully understood by considering all of our psyche : senses, intuition, feelings and thoughts. He thought the meaning of dreams could vary, they might show revelation, memory or truth even a fantasy, future plans, illusions or predictions. Ultimately, the individual’s unconscious. The meaning of symbols varies dependent on the context, for instance dreaming of America might symbolise independence and freedom, or wealth, riches and commercialism. An amulet as an object with magical powers, inner strengths but could also represent paranoia and superstition. Bagpipes representing strength or listening to them can show ambition. Baptism means the forgiving of sin, guilt. Eyes have many interpretations : dreaming about the eyes of someone represents an intimate connection with that person: dreaming of your own eyes represents enlightenment, self awareness and access to the subconscious whilst bleeding eyes suggests deep emotional pain. Houses symbolise the self, cleaning the house a desire for self improvement and a new house represents a new phase in your life. Water generally represents emotion and deep water relates to the subconscious.
If you dream in black and white it means the head rules while colour means the heart rules. Red indicates impulsiveness, violence, sexual desire or rejection and shame. Pink represents girls, puppy love, a new love, happiness and affection. Yellow shows that you are intellectually stimulated or cowardice “yellow–bellied”. Gold, riches and reward, spiritually or physically, while silver means purity, protection, industry and technology. Animals in your dream can be aspects of your own personality that you try to suppress as animals are wild and unpredictable. Mythical creatures, angels, dragons and fairies can indicate love, you feel vibrant strong and fiery or help in the shape of a fairy godmother. People including relatives, friends, ancestors and strangers to aliens which signify a change and shifting relationships a feeling that your life has been hijacked by others or the demands of life. The symbolic meaning is almost unlimited but, access to a dreamer’s dictionary can show some surprising results and may explain your hidden subconscious desires and fears.