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The Basics Of Dream Interpretation

One often-overlooked element of mysticism is dream interpretation. We know very little about dreams. Indeed, the mind is often referred to as humanity’s last truly unexplored frontier, and dreams are a gateway into this exploration.

Pinning down the meaning of a dream can be very difficult. It is an abstract and ambiguous process, with little feedback to confirm or deny your interpretation. The meaning of a dream will often vary depending on the specific dreamer, as dreams are a personal message from the universe, custom-made to be explicit to you.


Most modern dream interpretation was sparked off by Sigmund Freud, who posited a theory that the day’s events preceding a dream were vital to what would be produced. He said that dreams would contain ‘day residue’, traces of memory remaining from events, and psychic systems committed to the brain while in a waking state. This day residue is then utilized as a form of raw material, which the dream is able to draw upon and use.

Freud thought that dreams were to do with the fulfilment of repressed desires, desires that perhaps we ourselves are not aware of. He suggested that everything that we experience within a dream is using day residue to communicate to us our deep and innate needs and emotions.

What Do We Know for Sure?

It is not always possible to explain a dream. We may lack the comprehension or skill to translate what we have experienced, or perhaps the dream itself is simply not attempting to communicate anything this time. Here is what we do know for sure:

  • Dreams are not literal. If this was the case, dream interpretation would be a lot easier! Generally, dreams tend to more symbolic and must be translated

  • They are also not prophetic. Dreams can tell you a great deal about yourself and your present situation, but they cannot read the future

  • Dreams access all information about yourself, from any point in your life. They know your thought and feelings, your hidden, repressed, or even unexplored knowledge that your conscious cannot access

  • Dream symbols are specifically tailored to you. This means that a symbol with a certain meaning for yourself could mean something entirely different to someone else! They are very personal

  • Often dreams will use plays on words, for example, puns and homonyms. This is consistent with other areas of spiritual communication with oneself

    While dreams may not always be trying to tell us something, that can still be learned from. Even if not premonitions, a dream gives us great insight into ourselves. Psychologists claim that examining around 100 dreams of an individual can give an accurate psychological profile.

    Are the Interpretations Consistent?

    As with many forms of psychic readings, there is much disagreement over dream interpretation. It is, after all, simply an interpretation, and as such, there is no one correct answer. Researchers, psychics, psychologists, friends, family, colleagues; all will have a different opinion on the potential meanings of your dreams.

    However, there are some constants, some common symbols that occur and reoccur within our dreams, that have generally been agreed upon to hold significant meaning, either through psychological assessment or just overall public consensus.

    There are a huge number of different websites, books, and psychics, each with their own views and opinions on how to interpret different elements of dreams. It can be overwhelming to deal with these often contradictory interpretations. As an aid to beginners who may find it all too much, below is a list of symbols from dreams that have consistently agreed-upon definitions.

    Agreed Upon Definitions

    · Falling –

    Falling is a very common dream trope, one that most of us have experienced at one point or another. Psychics and dream experts generally agree that falling indicates a lack or loss of control or support during your waking life. Perhaps you are facing a major struggle, and feel that you are not up to the task. This can be in any areas of life, be it career related, or to do with personal relationships, romantic, familial, or otherwise.

    · Failure –

    Many people dream of failure. This is quite an open-ended one, as there is an infinite number of ways to dream of failure. However, common dreams include failing a test or workplace assessment or losing a race. It is accepted that dreaming of failure signifies low self-esteem in the dreamer, and a fear of being inadequate. Someone who dreams of failure often is perhaps not applying themselves to their utmost, or are feeling a burdensome pressure to succeed.

    · Unpreparedness –

    This is perhaps the most commonly seen dream, at least in the media. The classic dream scenario is a student who has arrived to find there is a test, and they are totally unprepared! This is often combined with the other famous dream trope, of arriving at the same classroom in only one’s underwear. These two situations represent a lack of preparedness. Many agree that when unprepared in a dream, this represents a sense of anxiousness and poor confidence relating to something in your future. Potentially the dreamer believes they cannot meet other’s expectations.


    Dream interpretation is not an exact science. Often these dreams can simply be taken literally or dismissed. Many, many people have tried their hand at comprehending dreams, lots of whom are very intelligent and well respected. There has been little consensus between these people, but still, we as a group struggle to understand the deeper meaning behind dreams, the window into our subconscious mind. There certainly are dream interpretation experts out there, however, and while the term ‘experts’ is used loosely, these people have devoted their lives to the art of engaging with the meanings of dreams.

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