How Do You Interpret Your Dreams?
People love to talk about interpreting dreams. And no wonder: We’ve all been there – we have an important dream, chock full of profound-looking symbolism, where the colours are vivid and the dream feels REAL. You know, one of those dreams.
Usually one of two things will happen. You will wake up knowing exactly what the dream means, and when you know you know, or, like many of us, you will end up sitting at the kitchen table drinking your coffee and thinking “what the heck was that all about?”
It’s so tempting to consult those dream interpretation sites or to break open a dream dictionary to try to decipher the meaning, or (as I often do) sit down with friends and try to brainstorm the meaning, but most of the time, this kind of speculation only leads to more questions than when we started.
While having a dream interpreted is empowering and illuminating, unfortunately for us, it’s not something you can find on the pages of a book. If you do receive an interpretation from people – or a book, or even a Facebook meme (!) – then take it with a grain of salt.
Dreams simply can’t be generalized like that. After all, a rabbit doesn’t always represent fertility; perhaps for you, it represents your mother. A horse does not always represent sovereignty; perhaps for you, the horse is a protector spirit who stands close to you when danger is present.
When a client has a dream that they feel is profound, I advise them to stay away from dream dictionaries and their like. The reason is that, if you have an important dream, a dream in which you know the spirits are talking to you, nobody can accurately interpret that dream but you or the spirits themselves.
So how does one go about interpreting dreams?
We start by looking inwards.
What do YOU think it means, deep in your heart of hearts?
The spirits talk to us in ways we are likely to understand (if not immediately, then eventually). If a spirit shows you a castle and a deer, ask yourself what do those things mean to you personally? Or better yet, what does your instinct tell you? (I’m a big believe that our instincts are really our spirits guides whispering to us.)
I recommend you close your eyes and focus on the dream, how it makes you feel in your chest and your gut, and then pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind. What is your dream telling you? Then – and here is the hard part – trust your own answer!
After all, the dream came to you, via your dream, using symbols that are meaningful to you. Your own instinct is going to be far more powerful than anything anyone else can tell you, if you would only trust it!
When it comes to interpreting dreams, it definitely helps to subscribe to the ‘all things shall be revealed in time’ school of wisdom.
Oftentimes, I’ll have a dream I don’t understand until nine months down the road. Perhaps I’m shown objects that, at the time, are meaningless and unknown to me, but I later encounter these objects in the ordinary reality and, as a result, I’m finally able to put that dream into perspective.
This used to happen to me a lot when I first started my journey, and it was one of the reasons I was able to start trusting my dreams. The big lesson at that time was that while yes, some dreams are just dreams (you know, the teeth-falling out or standing naked in front of your boss variety), some dreams are real. They are messages from the spirit world, and they are important.
So what happens if you do your dream-inspired soul searching and come up empty?
Go right to the source: Ask the spirits to interpret your dream
You can ask the spirits in one of two ways:
If you have experience journeying in and out of the Otherworld and know how to talk to your spirit guides, then lay your offering and go for it.
If they feel you’re ready to know, they will tell you. If you’re willing to hear the answer, you will hear it. If nothing happens, don’t stress it. If the meaning is meant to come to you, it will in time, and generally not the in way you’re expecting.
If you’re not an experienced journeyer, then you’ll want to take your dream to someone who is, so that they can ask the spirits on your behalf.
In the First Nations community, bringing your dreams to a medicine person to be interpreted is a common practice, but in the non-native community, we seem to be more reluctant to do so.
I suspect that, in mainstream society, we’re rather separated from our dream-lives. I mean, how many professionals, or busy mums, or burnt out college students do you know who even remember their dreams on a regular basis?
Children remember their dreams, seniors remember their dreams, but in the years in between, we either don’t remember them, or if we do, but don’t have time to think about them.
But a shamanic practitioner or spiritual healer – someone who works with the spirits – *should* be able to ask the spirits about your dream on your behalf and relay that information back to you.
At the very least, if you ask them, and this is not something they are comfortable doing, they should be able to point you in the direction of a reputable person who can.
One word of advice if you do choose to have a dream interpreted directly by the spirits: Go in with no expectations. Even when we say we don’t know what a dream means, we do know what we want it to mean, or expect it to mean. If you’re going to ask the spirits, be ready for an answer you were not expecting, for that’s usually the way it goes!