The Wonderful World of Dreams
In my psychology class we are currently studying varying degrees of consciousness. This week’s assignment was about dream interpretation. I had such a fun time writing the paper, I’m going to share it here…
Chapter 5 Assignment
I have been fascinated with my dreams and have been tracking, recording and analyzing them for at least a decade. I have a binder full of dreams and I am glad that I have kept track of them because when I go back, I feel excited by the information that is there. As a visionary, I have had to learn the difference between and have grown accustomed to deciphering the difference between a “dream” and a “message.” While I believe all dreams are messages from the subconscious as it tries to process information from my waking life, while sleeping I also receive direct messages from other realms of things that are to come. These messages, while they come to me in my sleeping hours and seem like they could be dreams, have a very different feel to them while I am witnessing them and they will linger with me for a very long time afterward. Then, when I activate the process in my life that was linked to that particular dream, it will come back to me full-force in a waking dream to remind me of what I am meant to do or say.
Dream interpretation, at times, is very difficult for me because I have a strong propensity to think about everything in literal terms. Therefore, I have had to really strive to develop an understanding of the language of symbolism. Being that I have been in the practice of dream interpretation for several years, I have a theory that this paper will be difficult to write. I am imagining it will be difficult to eliminate my own patterns and practices, symbols and defined meanings while looking at the dream strictly from the viewpoint of the four theorists stipulated for this assignment. Even as I read through all of my dreams to find the one I wanted to use for this assignment, my mind automatically started interpreting them as I am wont to do. This will be interesting!
I went back through my dream binder and searched for some of the shorter dreams to interpret. I chose this particular dream because I do not remember having it but, in reading it, it feels like it might be a “message.” It jumped right out at me when I flipped through the pages as The One that needed to be interpreted and now I feel excited…
Just had a flash – a memory of a dream I had last night… All I remember is that I was dressed all in white, long, flowing material and I was with several other women dressed similarly. We were walking down into the depths of an ancient stone building on a winding staircase without a handrail. I was in the front with another woman who said, “This is it. This is where you’ll find him.” I nodded as a chill ran through me. The place was drafty and I could hear water dripping and the golden light from the torches danced in the wind. “Yes,” I said,” I see him. I see them.” I could see figures of indefinite shape, black and misty, moving about. There were three of them…
That was the snippet of the dream I recalled and recorded. According to our text, Sigmund Freud believed the purpose of dreams is wish fulfillment. (Weiten, 2008, p. 166) In light of that, I imagine Freud could interpret my above dream as simply as I was receiving my wish for finding a mate. Or, given the appearance of “him” amongst three beings, it could be as grand as my desire to meet The One man – Jesus – whom I hold to be of significant power and about whom I am immensely curious.
Rosalind Cartwright viewed dreams as a way of working through problems in our lives. (Weiten, 2008, p. 167) If I take her theory into consideration for analyzing this particular dream, I feel a bit stumped, mostly because when I think of working through problems, it kicks on my literal brain. I stare at the dream above and all I can see is a group of women in white dresses performing an ancient ceremony with three beings. I cannot find the problem within and so, then what happens is my own mental symbol dictionary and interpretation patterns kick on and I begin cranking out what MY interpretation would be of this dream.
As I continually read through the dream, attempting to look through Cartwright’s eyes, the only “problem” I could conjure is that I must have lost or misplaced something that was of great significance and now my mind was trying to help me find it. When I look at it through that lens, I find it to be fitting because it was around that time in 2005 that I seriously began considering the formal process of leaving my religion. I had been inactive for quite some time and had been searching for my own link to God outside of religion so that seems quite fitting, especially given the ceremonial feel of the images.
According to our chapter notes for this assignment, Carl Jung believed that dreams had personal and universal meanings. Given that he was a contemporary of Freud, I have a tendency to go back to the intensely personal interpretation of my desire to find a partner who matched me in the physical and spiritual realm. In addition, on a universal level, I believe this speaks to each person’s desire to have someone who matches them on every realm.
The final theorist whose theories we are using for dream interpretation is Fritz Perls. In doing further research on Perls’ practices, I discovered that he believed that all symbolism is unique to the individual person and cannot be interpreted by anyone else because of that. (Fritz Perls and Gestalt Dream Interpretation, 2003-2011) It is important to note that, according to this same website, gestalt therapy is:
“…looking at the moment – the whole moment and nothing but the moment. Rather than hide behind intellectual analysis, gestalt therapy emphasizes direct perception of what one is feeling at the moment and how one is behaving… A major goal of gestalt work is to live fully in the present and in doing so to gain insight into ourselves and hence stimulate growth.” (Fritz Perls and Gestalt Dream Interpretation, 2003-2011)
I think the important aspect of Perls’ theory is the “in the moment” portion of his philosophy. Taking that into consideration and looking back at that time of my life in combination with my own personal symbols, the interpretation of meeting my heart’s desire to have a match show up for me in partnership is the closest. It was at that time in my life that I really began exploring my spiritual connections, my divine gifts and I was longing to have someone who could partner with me and match me powerfully on many different planes. I also take into consideration the symbolism of going downstairs as being a trip into the deep recesses of my subconscious mind. The fact that we were in an ancient building with torches instead of electric lights would indicate a link to a past life experience that is waiting to be reignited in this life.
I usually record my emotional state upon waking, but with this dream, I did not so I am now very curious as to how I was feeling when I woke. When I read through the dream now, I feel peaceful, hopeful and excited. And, although this dream has yet to manifest itself, there are indications that it will and now I feel all the more hopeful.
Fritz Perls and Gestalt Dream Interpretation. (2003-2011). Retrieved February 19, 2011, from http://www.here-be-dreams.com: http://www.here-be-dreams.com/psychology/perls.html
Weiten, W. (2008). Psychology Themes & Variations. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.