Photo courtesy of humanesociety.org
Analyze your Own Dream Symbols
Today, I am going to focus on the need to analyze your own dream symbols. Lots of symbols have universal meanings. Water, for example. I suspect that, without exception, everyone agrees that water is life-giving. In that sense, the dream symbol of water is archetypical and universal.
Beyond that, attitudes about water vary enormously. For example, someone who has a chronically leaky roof causing a mold buildup in their house is going to have a different attitude about water than someone living in the Sahara Desert.
It is absolutely vital in interpreting dreams that the personal attitude of the dreamer be taken into account, even if the symbol is an archetype. The dream about women with cats that I posted two days ago is a classic example. Cats elicit a vast range of reactions depending on who is thinking about them. Only one person can accurately tell what the symbol of a cat in a dream means. That person is the dreamer herself.
The Dream about Cats
If you scroll down to the last post, you can read this dream in its entirety. But briefly, the dreamer found herself in meeting with women. Every woman had a well-behaved cat in her lap despite the fact that all the women were putting diapers on their cats. The dreamer was thirsty and saw a drinking fountain with a window over it. Just as she looked, the sun shone brightly through the window.
How to Figure Out the Symbol Meanings
Dream symbols are metaphors. In other words, they are images (usually visual) that stand for abstract ideas. The trick is to figure out what idea the image is representing. When I work with a dreamer, I usually start with a very simple prompt: “Tell me about [the symbol].” That’s what I did with this dreamer. I said, “Tell me about cats.”
To some people, cats have a mystical, psychic quality. To others, they elicit a sense of dread due to strong allergies to cat dander. As you will see, this dreamer had her own, unique take, not only on this symbol, but on all the symbols in her dream. What follows are her answers to my simple prompt.
The Dream Symbols Interpreted
Tell me about:
Women: “I’m a woman, so I have a strong sense of bonding with other women. They’re like me.”
Cats: “I am reminded of the expression, ‘catty’—like back-biting.”
Diapers: “Dealing with babies or infancy.”
Well-behaved: “Content, not making trouble.”
Thirsty: “Parched, uncomfortable.”
Drinking fountain: “A place to refresh myself and get relief.”
Window: “Transparent. It’s where you see through—both in and out.”
Sun: “It provides warmth, light and vitamins. It’s essential for growth—really growth of everything.”
In the next post, we’ll assemble those symbol definitions into a cohesive story. We’ll learn the encouraging message this dreamer was giving herself about her own progress. In the meantime, what do you get out of this dream? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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