Dreams:What's the significance?
By Jennifer Trevathan

Have you ever had a dream that was truly non-sequitor, and wondered 'where
in the world did THAT come from?'  Then, you looked it up in your trusty
little dream dictionary, and found that it meant something that made
absolutely no sense at all?  Yeah, me to.

This is why, I must admit, I have a serious problem with "Dream
Dictionaries", and people who interpret the dreams of others.  Here's why;
how can anyone evaluate the intensely personal symbolism of another?  For
instance, I've read in quite a few dictionaries that the presence of water
symbolizes something buried deep in the subconscious.  This may be true for
some.  But what if the person falls asleep thinking about the trip to the
beach they are taking soon.  Then, they have a dream of deep sea fishing.
What then?  That definition obviously wouldn't work in this case.  Not to
mention the fact that different dictionaries give you different meanings
for the SAME DREAM!

Most dreams are nothing more than your subconscious mind running amuck.
We've all had at least one disturbing dream that really bothered us, and
have wondered "Ohmygod, am I nuts!?!".  No, you're not nuts.  For instance,
everyone at some point has had an incest dream.  Freud would have you
believe that you are suppressing some sort of animalistic urge.
(Personally, I think the entire basis of Freud's work was merely an attempt
to justify his own psychotic tendencies-but that's just me.)  Just because
you dream about something that is considered immoral, does not mean that
you secretly wish it to happen.  It's just a dream, it means NOTHING!  So
don't worry, you're not nuts.

I remember having some really weird dreams when I was 6 or 7 years old,
right after seeing the movie "Yellow Submarine".  For weeks, I dreamed I
was Oblio, stuck in strange "bad acid trip universe" and couldn't find my
way back to my parents.  It didn't mean that I secretly felt unwanted, it
just restimulated a fear of loss.  There was no basis in reality for it at

So how DO you make sense of these nocturnal goings-on?  There are different
kinds of dreams.  And some of them aren't dreams at all.  Say a person is
trying to work something out, they fall asleep thinking about it, and when
they wake up the next morning, they have an answer.  Does this mean they
worked it out in their dreams?  Not really.  When you are asleep, only the
body is asleep.  Your mind does not sleep.  It's going 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.  So you may have worked it out in your sleep, but it was not a
dream.  You may have even looked at pictures of different scenarios while
you were sleeping, to come up with a solution, but that's not a dream.
That's you working out a solution while your body sleeps.

Some people have out of body experiences during the night, and wake up
thinking they had a really cool dream.  For instance, one night, I dreamed
that I was walking through a neighborhood I lived in, in Houston, when I
was little.  I walked all through the streets of this neighborhood noticing
how much it had changed.  I hadn't lived in or visited this city for more
than eleven years.  As luck would have it, about 6 months later, a friend
and I drove to Houston for the weekend.  I drove through this neighborhood,
and WHAM!  The dream came back to me.  (I had long since forgotten about
it) The neighborhood looked exactly as it did in the dream.  For those of
you who aren't familiar with Houston, it changes drastically on almost a
daily basis, it expands so fast!  So I wasn't "remembering" what it looked
like.  Besides, in the dream, I saw my old house, and when I lived in it,
there was a Weeping Willow tree in the front yard.  In my dream it wasn't
there.  When I saw the house on this trip, you guessed it, no Weeping
Willow tree.

There is also past life recall.  Say you're visiting Louisiana, and as
you're driving, you pass a beautiful pre-civil war mansion.  You slow down,
can't take your eyes off of it, there is SOMETHING about this house!  You
keep driving, thinking you probably saw it in a movie or book and forget
all about it.  That night, you have a dream about that mansion.  Only it's
a different color than you remember.  The trees are smaller and fewer,
there is a big field off to the left of the house and you see cotton and
sugar cane growing.  You wake up the next morning thinking that it was a
nice dream, and you decide to pick up a book in the hotel gift shop on
civil war era southern architecture.  You flip through the book, and you
come upon a picture of that same house.  Only this picture of the home,

There are also re-curring dreams.  This means you have the same dream over
and over.  There can be some significance to this.  It could be as simple
as.......you're a fan of re-runs!  No, I'm kidding.  Seems to me, you're
trying to work something out, and for whatever reason, it's not happening.
Like being stuck on the fence.  You can't decide whether or not to take
that job in another city, or whatever "either/or" situation you're
wrestling with.  When you make a decision, the dreams will probably stop.
(Also, sometimes these "re-runs" are caused by some kind of fear of
something or someone you're not consciously aware of, and as soon as you
confront it, the dreams stop.)

There is also what I call "Going through a crappy time" dream.  This tends
to happen when you're, duh, going through a crappy time.  Like you just
lost your job, or just got dumped, or moved to new town and you don't know
anyone.  You have really creative dreams.  They're usually quite nice.
I've always considered them "nocturnal entertainment".  However, if you
feel they are more than just entertaining, read on......

So how do you tell the difference between "just a dream" and something
significant, and figure out what they mean?

You know when you wake up from a dream, different parts of it will stick
out in your mind?  These are, for the most part, the significant symbols.
For instance, you dream you and your best friend are riding bicycles in a
park.  When you wake up, you think, "Why were we riding bicycles?"  Seems
to me the bicycle is significant to you in that dream, because that is what
caught your attention.  It wasn't the pink dancing bears, or talking pine
trees, or frosty the snowman waving at the two of you, it was the bicycles
that grabbed your attention.  So there is one thing you can do; figure out
what grabbed your attention.  I've always found it best to write it down,
because I'm one of those people who forget what they were dreaming about as
soon as they throw their clock radio across the room!  Keep a notebook by
your bed, and as soon as you wake up, write down everything you can
remember about your dreams.  After a while, you'll start to see a pattern,
and from that pattern you'll be able to see what is significant, and what
is just a "subconscious mind party".

How do you define your own symbolism?  You take what grabbed your
attention, and find the meaning.  For instance, let's take the bicycle.
We've decided that it's the one thing that grabbed your attention in that
dream.  A bicycle is hard to learn when you're a little kid.  But you
mastered it.  So whatever is on your mind now, you'll master as well.  Or,
a bicycle is a relatively simple machine, it's time to simplify your life.
You can travel by bicycle, it's time to take that trip.  A bicycle has 2
wheels, maybe you should get that front-end alignment you've been meaning
to get on your car.  Obviously, the possibilities are as endless as they
are personal!

And this is the problem I have with dream dictionaries.  This is PERSONAL
symbolism!  You can't make an evaluation like this for another person.
What is true for one person is not necessarily true for another.  (I know
If I had that dream, I would have wondered about those pink dancing
bears!;)  I'm not saying these dictionaries are evil.  I'm saying not to
take them TOO seriously.  If you have one that works well for you, great.
You don't need to throw it out.  Just remember that if a definition doesn't
feel true for you, then it's not.

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