Some of the dreams I’ve been having lately seem to really be saying things that could be useful in my own personal development. I’ve been intrigued by dreams for many many years, and have even at various times attempted analyzing symbols in dreams in order to interpret their meanings. Recently, this intrigue has become more prominent, and today I decided that blogging about this might be helpful for several reasons:
- putting the dreams into words and explanations may help me figure out the meaning;
- other people may be able to help me analyze my analysis or provide insight into the symbols;
- other people might find it useful to see how vague dream symbols can be translated into real ideas that can help in personal development.
I have previously mentioned some of my recurring dream symbols, and attempted to analyze them as far as I could. I would like to continue doing this, whenever something particularly intriguing comes to me in dreams. After all, what are dreams for? I highly doubt they are purely for entertainment purposes, although surely some are.
Resources for dream analysis
As a pre-teen, my grandmother had given me a “dream dictionary” in which you could look up a symbol and see what it means. I found most of the ideas very puzzling, and far too specific to possibly apply to anyone. For example: “If a woman dreams that she drinks goat’s milk, she will marry for money and will not be disappointed.” — 10000 Dream Interpretations. The book was originally written in the 1800′s, which might have something to do with how odd and superstitious the analyses sounded. What matters is that I eventually became disillusioned with the idea that anyone else could tell me what my dreams mean, because after all, the symbols originate within my memories and experiences. It’s not as if the dreams themselves consult this dictionary in order to discover symbols to use!
Much more recently, perhaps six or seven years ago, my then-boyfriend, now-husband, gave me a book on dream analysis. I was more than a little skeptical, after my previous experience with books on dream symbols, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It emphasizes the idea that dreams are highly personal in their method of communicating, and in their interpretation. Basically, the unconscious or subconscious mind is grappling with all sorts of ideas about the self/soul/personality, relationships, and future directions, and dreams can be seen as messages from the self, to the self.
This particular book does not tell you that specific symbols mean specific things, but instead describes the symbols and interpretations very generally in the hopes of sparking an idea of what the dream means to the dreamer. It explains that symbols seen in dreams are often very vague, involving analogies and plays on words and contortions of reality. However, a lot of dream themes and representations are based in reality and experiences we all have in common. This means it is useful to discuss dreams with others and/or look up common symbol interpretations in order to see if anything triggers recognition or understanding. When the conscious mind figures out what the subconscious mind was grappling with, conscious improvement and growth is surely facilitated! Sure, the conscious mind may not want to understand the message, but subconsciously the concept is bothersome and is begging to be handled.
I know I definitely feel the need to improve and grow, and I’ve been struggling for a few years now to figure out how to do it. I need to rise up to my potential, but I keep feeling like I’m holding myself back. When I recently rediscovered the abovementioned dream analysis book in a box in my basement, I decided to keep it close to me so I can use it to help me become more aware of myself and my thoughts. I can’t help but see dreams as a tremendously useful way to understand myself better, so I can draw upon all aspects of myself in order to become who I really am, who I mean to be.
The dream I just had
There were a lot of symbols in my dreams this morning, far too many to get into here. It was also, as is usual for me, a series of disjointed scenes that may be connected somehow. I suspect I’ve been ignoring my subconscious for so long, it probably has a lot of messages for me!
I started my analysis by contemplating the people in my dream. I remember reading somewhere that people often represent aspects of yourself, rather than representing those people specifically. In this dream, three people of prominence were Christines that I’ve known from various parts of my life. I misidentified two of them as other people at first, but now I’m totally certain they were all Christines. The name Christine has special meaning to me: I am occasionally called Christine when people mishear my name or misremember it. So the Christines either mean “not me”, or perhaps “not quite me”. This made more and more sense as I interpreted more symbols in the dream! But I should first discuss the story, and then the interpretation.
So two of the Christines and I were hanging out in my childhood home. My feelings about being there were somewhat nostalgic, and it felt like I had just returned there from elsewhere (probably from my current life at university). As a young girl, it was always my bedroom that we would hang out in, and this was the case in the dream too. Actually, one of the Christines was down in my dad’s office, at our computer, playing a game (Dragon Warrior, I was certain in the dream, even though the image of Tantagel Castle that was on screen looked nothing like the one in Dragon Warrior: much bigger and more elaborate). I said to Christine that I wanted to show her something, and I brought her to my room to join us there.
My room was messy, way messier than I remembered it being as a child. I tried to brush off the embarrassment about the mess, because I had just arrived back home, and hadn’t yet unpacked my bags. But the embarrassment was still there, as well as some frustration that I couldn’t find some things I was looking for, because of the mess. While rummaging through stuff, I did try to put things in a bit better order, but I wasn’t going to take the time to really tidy while I had company.
At some point, it occurred to us that it was time for the Christines to go home. I decided to walk them home, or partway home, which is something I did often with friends back when I lived at home, partly as a way to keep them company, and partly as a way to spend a few more minutes in their company.
After we parted ways and I was heading back to my house by bike, I saw something I wanted to check out and so I got off my bike and left it near the side of the road. My bike wasn’t really near enough to the side of the road at all, because cars had to go around it. One such car contained the third Christine, and she slowed down to see what I was doing. As she slowed, her car was approaching my bike, which was standing on a kickstand, and she almost didn’t hit my bike… but the gentle impact knocked it down, and she started to apologize profusely. I told her not to worry about it: “I’ve done much worse,” I said, thinking of the times it’s been knocked down with much more force. After I moved the bike out of the way and she smiled and I waved to give her the okay to leave, I realized I should’ve said she could make it up to me by buying me a beer, because that’s always nice. But whatever, I wasn’t concerned, and the bike was fine.
I woke up before returning home. The end. :P
Interpreting this dream
The book suggested to me that the symbol of my childhood home represents my personality, and my emotional and financial security. Buildings in general tend to represent messages of exploring personality, resolving psychological problems, making more of one’s attributes and talents, and feeling a readiness to develop or improve in some way, especially if it’s a house one knows well.
The two Christines in my house were guests that were welcome to be there, friends of mine in fact. I didn’t feel uncomfortable with them, and I liked their company. I wanted to hang out with them both, instead of one being off playing that computer game.
The computer was in my dad’s office, and an office is an obvious representation of work. The book suggests that my subconscious is concerned about my routine and pace of life, and about how I’m spending my physical and emotional energy. Playing a game in a place of work is a very clear symbol of misplaced priorities; the book didn’t need to tell me that! :P
The computer game itself has some interesting connotations too. The grandiose castle on the computer screen may be telling me (as on pg 101) “restrain yourself a little — [the] ideas or projects in your waking life are beyond your present ability.” By that, I don’t suspect it means my thesis, but rather all the other projects I keep imagining myself doing, like writing textbooks and starting my own tutoring business. Those projects need to wait until the thesis is done, and so I must draw myself (the Christine) away from thinking about it right now. Right now, I am a grad student working on a thesis, and not yet an entrepreneur. Or, this Christine might represent my playing around (or delving into projects that aren’t high priority) when there’s other stuff I’ve gotta see, such as the mess I’ve gotten myself into by not doing my work.
The bedroom symbolizes the need to feel comfortable, relaxed, and secure, both with myself and with life in general. However, the mess is interfering with my ability to invite friends in there to relax with. The messiness may relate to physical stuff I need to get rid of, mental stuff that is occupying my mind, or stuff I want to do. The embarrassment and the inability to find what I’m looking for are both surely consequences of having too much stuff. I strongly feel that these symbols are referring to the many things I want to do and inability to do any of them well, because this is a recurring theme in my dreams.
Leading the Christines out of the house to walk them home might have to do with overcoming some aspects of myself that are “not me”, or not the me I want to be, or not who I can be yet. Using the symbolism of the building as the dreamer, I was removing these “not me” aspects from my personality. They aren’t unwanted aspects at all, as they were represented by pleasant people. It was just time for them to leave. Maybe it’s time for me to stop goofing around (well, duh! :P) or to kindly escort away the temptation to play, because that doesn’t help me be the best me I can be right now: I need to ensure my financial security, and so I can’t just play all the time. The friendship with these playful-influences will surely endure, and they will be welcome to come again some other day.
Walking has interesting meaning too: that I’m taking everything in stride. I was passing through the pleasant neighbourhood of my childhood, and the weather was also pleasant, both of which imply that my subconscious supports the change I’m portrayed as making in the dream. There’s really nothing hindering the removal of the “not me” aspects!
The bicycle was the same white mountain bike I have now, and it is very important to me as my primary means of transportation. The book describes (on p.117) how a bicycle “may allude to your own private means of progress in waking life: it can carry no one else and is sensitive to balance”. This has me puzzling over what it may mean that my bike got knocked over, and that it didn’t bother me much! Maybe it means that I will just pick myself up and not worry if something goes wrong with my personal progress through life. Perhaps it’s more significant that I got off the bike, leaving it in an unsafe place while I went to go check something out at the side of the road. Or, the fact that I said “I’ve done much worse.” Yikes! I wonder what I really meant by that?
Now, what it was I was checking out on the side of the road? (/racking my brain..) OH! It was probably a cat! I just remembered that this incident took place in front of the house that had a bunch of cats when I was growing up. I had started writing a story about these cats when I was in Grade Three, and I know that in the dream I was thinking about something I wrote a long time ago… I thought the writing was about the Christines, but now I suspect it was about the three “Baker’s Cats” as I called them. I love cats, and am not superstitious about them at all, so I believe that has more impact on the meaning of the dream than the traditional spooky witchcraft association that cats tend to have (which is all this book has to say about cats). The cats, and remembering my writing about them, were a happy nostalgia, but may have represented a distraction from my purpose.
Three Christines, three Baker’s Cats, and a book written in Grade Three. Hmm, numeric symbols may be interesting to consider as well, particularly because I also encountered the number “fifty-four oh nine”: my mother was telling me someone was on the phone, someone using their online handle which happened to be suffixed with 5409. For some reason, the 54 made sense to me for that person, but not the 09, unless it is a hint to divide 54 by 9 to get 6. Either way, the section on numbers has some interesting things to say about all these numbers:
- 3 represents indecision, and may be prompting me to make up my mind about something. (I picture a fork in the road, with one path leading back to where I came from, and two leading forwards. Total options: three.)
- 4 represents passion, determination, obsessiveness, but a balance of emotion and feeling. (I picture a square, which makes me think of steadfastness and right angles and balanced lengths of sides.)
- 5 represents study and learning, as well as optimism. (The pentagon is, after all, the shape of some “School Crossing” signs! And a five-pointed star has always seemed like a positive sign to me.)
- 6 represents stable, sensual emotions, and long-lasting relationships. (It is the first “perfect number”, in that it is the sum of its proper positive divisors: 1+2+3 = 6.)
- 9 represents “inventiveness, originality, optimism, and independence of mind.” (It is the largest single digit, and numbers such as 999 promise new and exciting things when just one is added.)
So the 54 could mean passion and determination (4) with respect to study and learning (5), and if I “divide and conquer” that in my own inventive and original way (9), I will obtain a stable emotional state (6) and be able to relax and enjoy my relationships with others — especially people with whom I play computer games. :)
Of course, this numeric analysis may be borderline nutzoid, because my mind wouldn’t have known the numeric representations beforehand, but … you never know, right? ;) I do believe that some kind of interpretation can be derived from just about anything, and that for dreams, it’s especially important for me to come up with my own interpretation. So if something seems to ring true, or some idea makes me think, I may as well enjoy it!
I have enjoyed sharing this analysis, too. Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!