I’ve been using a dream about falling in the water to review some of the basic tenets of dream interpretation. On Wednesday, I went through the steps of isolating the most important symbols in the dream. (Scroll down to my last post see that procedure.)
Unlocking the metaphors
Now comes the part that tends to cause the most uncertainty. The idea is to take each symbol and try to understand it in a context that is broader than its literal meaning. For example, this dream is about trying to cross a river. Literally, a river is a body of flowing water. But in a broader context, we use the idea of a flowing river to explain several abstract concepts: the river of life; a river of tears. One might almost think that one could go to some sort of dream dictionary, look up a word and have it give us its metaphoric meaning. The trouble is that each symbol has a personal association in addition to its more general meaning. A fisherman who earns his living catching salmon on a river will have a totally different association than someone who has a swimming accident and nearly drowns.
For that reason, it is vital that each dreamer work on his own symbols. Yes, he can have help. In fact, classes and workshops with their supportive atmospheres are excellent places for learning dream interpretation. But ultimately, the final interpretation has to come from the dreamer him/herself.
Let’s see what this dreamer came up with:
* Brother: close sibling. He’s younger, but totally mature, and lots of fun.
* River: a body of water teeming with life and activity. But it can also be an obstacle.
* Cross: We need to get to our destination.
* Ferry: Lets us get across while staying dry.
* Narrow boat like a kayak: Useful and possibly versatile, but also unstable, and you have to be skilled to use it.
* Stepped in front: One of the least stable places. It was ill-advised.
* Boat moved away: Uncontrolled.
* No oars: No equipment to steer and guide.
* Maneuver: Be in charge to make it do your will.
* Opposite bank: Where we were trying to go.
* Brooms on the ground: Used to clean and sweep, and readily available.
* Didn’t use as oar: could have been used as a substitute, but he didn’t.
* Waved in the air like a joke: didn’t take it seriously; was just playing around.
* Water: It’s the essence of life; we can’t live without it.
* Fell in: He had a mishap and did something he didn’t want to do.
* To his waist: He was half immersed.
* The shoulders: Totally in.
* Hanging onto boat: He was trying to save himself from further annoyance and embarrassment.
* Spend day in drenched clothes: It wasn’t going to go away easily; it would stay with him uncomfortably.
Simply by reading the dreamer’s comments above, one can already begin to sense a metaphoric message. Tomorrow we’ll reassemble the dream and learn what it was hoping to communicate to him.
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