Dream analysis for beginners (first published September 2014)

Pretty much every night I have loads of dreams and yet I have never before seriously considered analysing them. I have done the looking outwards, seeing signs and cues, feeling at one with The Universe and so on, and to be honest, I thought I was kind of done. I didn’t realise that there was a whole other world to explore. I didn’t really understand about working with The Unconscious and I still don’t, but I have been reading a book* that talks about these things.

When I got into Wicca, I found out my friend was into it too, and we compared notes. She read over twenty books and made copious, beautifully written notes, studying thoroughly and buying proper ingredients before casting her first spell. I read a couple of books and jumped straight in, making spells by loosely following what was in the book, adapting according to whatever I had in the house, and writing my own words.

So whilst I’m respectful of all the literature, theories and teachings of others, at the same time I believe in a just-have-a-go DIY approach, trusting my own intuitions and responses.

I’m having a go at dream analysis, not the concrete, dream dictionary kind- if you dream of a white horse it means that the next period of life will be sinless and positive (I almost wish I had dreamed of a white horse now!). I’m just letting the meaning rise to the surface, letting it work, letting the knowledge sink in. The book I am reading said that it is up to the person having the experience to interpret it. In terms of finding the message, making sense of it, it’s the same kind of ‘knowing’ as ‘knowing’ what to do in healing.

I’ve ignored my husband’s advice this time- he suggested I write my dreams down on a pad kept by the bed the moment I wake up, but writing it down would mean it was writing, and writing is a different thing altogether. So I just think about it, them, as I’m dressing, as I’m driving. Sometimes I talk them through with my husband. Later, once I have let the meaning come, I write it down on whatever scrap of paper I have with me. I don’t even mind if I don’t remember all of my dreams, I am just trusting that the ones I do remember are the ones I need, or will suffice.

I dreamed about doing something on a computer, some kind of document with lots of different tabs, keys or sections. I kept looking at them but each time I did it I knew I was doing it in a way that was longer in the long run. As I looked at all the tabs I had to open and close them all individually, when I knew there must be a way of doing them all together. I knew there must be a better way, a way to do it all at once but I didn’t want to stop and go and find someone to teach me another way. Even though my way wasn’t as good, I would rather do it that way just because I knew it and because of my aversion to being taught new things. I don’t mind learning about new things but I don’t much like the experience of asking for help and being taught something new, especially in public. I also don’t like stopping. Pausing, realising my way might not be the best way, asking for and accepting help. These are the things I find difficult.

My lesson: be aware the next time I feel I’m doing something in a familiar but could-be-better way. Even stopping reading when I would usually carry on until I am stiff and desperate to move, hungry or thirsty, getting out of bed, going downstairs, finding my notebook, writing this, was a start, as opposed to just carrying on reading in bed and ignoring the message of the dream. How do I know it was the message? It leapt out at me, even while I was reading, it just sort of surfaced. I could have got distracted by the detail of the dream, the words or tabs or what the tabs were about; but what stood out was me: endlessly repeating a lame way of doing things because I was too stubborn or impatient to stop and ask someone to show me a better way.

I agree with those who might say, well, you could have taken any meaning you liked from that dream. It’s true, you can take any meaning from anything, depending on what you see and what you’re looking for. That’s possible for your job, your garden, your drive into town, let alone something as potentially strange and unusual as your dreams.

*The Unselfish Spirit by Mick Collins