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A dream is often a window to the soul; shouldn’t we try then to glimpse through into understanding? Understanding dream language isn’t easy – dreams often speak in bizarre, paradoxical, ridiculous, tortuous, impossible symbolism. So, how do we learn this fascinating language?
All language is based on symbols. However, in dream language, a symbol must yield its meaning. Meaning is not something that can be gleaned through a superficial reading of someone else’s study or by rote learning – which may be helpful as a map, but doesn’t define the country. Dream symbols are unique to the dreamer and depend on culture, nationality, creed, upbringing and personal appraisal of intervening events. For example, dreaming of a totem pole will not have the same meaning to you or I as it might have to a native American.
Unravelling a dream’s meaning involves indwelling each symbol – literally, meditating on it, entering inside it and asking the symbol what it means. Approaching dream symbolism armed with philosophical or intellectual questioning has the effect of causing psychic congestion. It just won’t yield meaning. Meaning needs to be felt. The dream world is feeling, transpersonal, though often personified as a feminine entity because of its fluidity. Through it, we are enabled to connect to sentient reality.
The right question is the key to open the dream world’s door. Only a feeling, meaning question yields a feeling, meaning answer. Releasing the will-driven voice of analysis to pause awhile and indwell a dreamed symbol will allow meaning to emerge. What does this symbol/image mean to me? How do I feel about it? What does it remind me of in my life right now? Asking the right question is the key that allows the dream to speak its message and help connect us to underlying feelings.
Copyright 2013 Niamh Clune