What Do Your Dreams Mean?

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I make no claim to be an expert in interpreting dreams or knowing what dreams mean.

Even C.G. Jung, who dedicated much of his life to interpreting dreams and symbols, thought that we should be careful in assigning absolute meanings to dreams or accepting any methodology for interpreting them. Nevertheless, he recognized that they were important.

The psychological context of dream-contents consists in the web of associations in which the dream is naturally embedded. Theoretically we can never know anything in advance about this web, but in practice it is sometimes possible, granted long enough experience. Even so, careful analysis will never rely too much on technical rules; the danger of deception and suggestion is too great. In the analysis of isolated dreams above all, this kind of knowing in advance and making assumptions on the grounds of practical expectation or general probability is positively wrong. It should therefore be an absolute rule to assume that every dream, and every part of a dream, is unknown at the outset, and to attempt an interpretation only after carefully taking up the context. We can then apply the meaning we have thus discovered to the text of the dream itself and see whether this yields a fluent reading, or rather whether a satisfying meaning emerges.

-- C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (1944).

Understanding what dreams mean depends upon the individual and the context of the dream. I would think that this would apply to our agreed-upon concepts of reality and the spiritual and psychic realms where we live our lives. What my dreams mean for me -- in the total context of my life -- may mean something else for you.

Even so, learning how to explore and understand what our dreams mean may have very important results.

Jung points out that "the result means something to the patient and sets his life in motion again," as he more fully expresses in the following quote:

I have no theory about dreams, I do not know how dreams arise. And I am not at all sure that - my way of handling dreams even deserves the name of a "method." I share all your prejudices against dream-interpretation as the quintessence of uncertainty and arbitrariness. On the other hand, I know that if we meditate on a dream sufficiently long and thoroughly, if we carry it around with us and turn it over and over, something almost always comes of it. This something is not of course a scientific result to be boasted about or rationalized; but it is an important practical hint which shows the patient what the unconscious is aiming at. Indeed, it ought not to matter to me whether the result of my musings on the dream is scientifically verifiable or tenable, otherwise I am pursuing an ulterior-and therefore autoerotic-aim. I must content myself wholly with the fact that the result means something to the patient and sets his life in motion again. I may allow myself only one criterion for the result of my labours: does it work? As for my scientific hobby-my desire to know why it works-this I must reserve for my spare time.

-- C.G. Jung, "The Aims of Psychotherapy" (1931).

I have no intention of delving into deep psychotherapy on this site, but many people have spent incalculable hours studying dreams, meanings, symbols, and how they affect our sleeping states and our waking lives. The results of their labor are available on the Internet and in hundreds of books written about this subject.

"Dreams" can mean several things.

One of those is the experiences we have, most times out of our conscious control, while we sleep.

Another meaning for "dreams" is the combination of ambitions and aspirations that we would like to accomplish, but for which we have not yet set out concrete goals and plans for making them real.

It is the second of these meanings in which I am most interested for AYearFromNow.com. However, understanding our sleeping dreams may have great beneficial results for helping us to accomplish our unformed aspirations.

So, I'll link to some resources that may help you understand and take control of your dreams in this section of the site.

I'll be exploring what dreams mean in both contexts and I hope you'll find the resources I link to helpful in your quest to understand what your dreams mean and how to go about achieving your dreams.

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