Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary

Dream Symbolism

Tom Paine’s Nightmare by James Gillray, 1756-1815, artist.

Ongoing dreamwork and consistent intuitive meditation will acquaint you with not only the dreamwork symbols archetypes we share in common as humans but will also reveal the personal vocabulary used by your unconscious mind to communicate with your waking mind. You will find certain symbols being used over and over again in a way that is unique to you. This vocabulary seems to draw on each person’s own life experiences, culture and language. For example, in waking life I have lived in Japan, Taiwan and many places in the United States. I also traveled to China and the Middle East. It was natural that I had many dreams about being in these countries or traveling to them. However, after a while, I realized that my dreaming mind presented countries overseas as symbols for the foreign and unknown parts of my own inner psyche.

Therefore my dreams presented Asia and anything connected to Asia, such as the Chinese language or a Japanese teacher, as expressions for the unconscious.  Along these lines, Chinese characters in my dreams came to symbolize intuitive messages that needed deciphering.

Traveling in Familiar and Strange Places

Because I had lived for so long in Japan and was familiar with the language and culture, Japan came to represent a new place within myself I could travel with relative ease, a place inside myself where growth wasn’t so difficult because I was already somewhat familiar with the territory. Using this analogy, a very common theme in my dreams has been trying to find my way around Tokyo, something that in waking life wasn’t difficult because I spoke the language and read the signs. So when I had a Tokyo dream, I knew I was entering new but not necessarily challenging emotional and psychological territory.

A place like Thailand was more exotic; and represented stranger, unexplored parts of myself. Because I have only been to the Middle East once and found it very “foreign” and different from anything I personally knew, the Middle East represented an even stranger place inside myself, where things began to get scary. Since I have not been to the jungles of Africa, they came to represent some of the most unknown and mysterious parts of my deepest self—places that were so totally foreign and scary I had almost no known associations with which to get a handle on them. I was quite blind to the situation and my dreams of Africa let me know it.

What is important is to recognize your personal dream themes and symbols of this interior journey you are making that oddly coincide with the outer journey of your life. You will come to know these unique expressions by their repetitive synchronous appearances in your inner or outer life.

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One thought on “Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary

  1. Great post, Fran! I can relate so much…I lived in the Middle East as a child and Arabic characters and settings are regularly showing up in my dreams, many guides in my dreams appear Middle Eastern…as if they are helping me “grow up” into dialogue with the unconscious…! I appreciate you shedding light on your personal symbolic process….as always, thank you for your insights!!

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