Working With Dream Themes: Riding Trains and Planes

Interpreting Dreams

A Dream Scene: Hopes Rising or a New Life Phase Taking Off?

Riding in or observing trains and planes are common dream themes which suggest something about the direction our lives our heading.   In times of transition, it is common to dream of planes landing, taking off, or crashing. Being at a train station, changing trains or boarding a train are also common scenarios in dreams. Questions to ask around these dreams might be:

  • Who is riding the train or plane? If it is me, how is the train or plane an analogy for my life journey at the moment? If the person is someone else, does the train or plane may represent my hopes or expectations for that person?
  • What is happening to the train or plane? Is it analogous to something that is happening in my life at the moment? For example, a plane lifting off suggests the start of a new project. A plane crashing suggests the crashing of hopes about an endeavor.
  • If I am changing or getting off a plane or train, what are the circumstances in the dream and how do they relate to things happening in my life now? Am I changing a career or have I come to the end of a project?
  • Is there a conductor, policeman or pilot acting as a helper in my dream to help get where I am going? This person may be spiritual guide or may represent an actual person who is trying to help me get where I need to go. What does he or she do to help me?
  • Does this dream refer to an actual trip? If I travel a lot, the dream may be trying to give me specific information about a particular trip. For example, missing a plane may be a warning to tell me to double check the departure time for the flight or it may suggest that the trip will not be worthwhile because I will miss the opportunity the trip affords.

In any case, further reflection and questioning about the dream can bring about added insights for your life transitions. Let the dream speak to you and you will go far!

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How to Listen and Ask Questions When Someone Tells You Their Dream

Marks of a good listener

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When someone tells you about a dream they’ve had, you can consider it a compliment. In most cases you are being entrusted with something special, no matter if it is a nightmare or a grand adventure. Dreamers have their reasons for telling someone about a dream, but they might not necessarily tell you why. Is it for validation? For interpretation? Or do they just want a listening ear to process their own understanding of the dream? If they don’t come out and tell you why they are telling you the dream, and it is a bit awkward to ask, try to intuit the reason and act accordingly. It is important to get a sense of why someone wants to tell you the dream because then you can better help them understand it.

From listening to people’s dreams over many years, I find that most people will readily share a dream when it is something they feel is positive—such as a dream giving them great insight, encouragement or feeling. People tend not to share nightmares and problematic dreams so readily. No matter what kind of dream the dreamer has it is important to be a good listener and supportive questioner.

Listen and Then Ask Questions

The best way to listen to dreams is, of course, to listen and then ask questions that will lead the dreamer to reflect more deeply—and thereby gain deeper appreciation and understanding of the dream. Genuine, non-judgmental listening encourages the person to feel accepted and open to exploring hidden and sometimes scary meanings in dreams.   Questions may be asked that shed more light on the color, feeling, nuance of an object or person in a dream. One of the best questions to ask is to have the dreamer describe every object in the dream as representing some form of energy within himself or herself.  Asking such questions can help the dreamer find insight by considering the dream from different angles and perspectives, opening more possibilities for discovering the many levels of meaning that dreams often have.

Some people want validation for a dream because they really want to believe the dream is special. Asking questions that make them realize why the dream is special will do that. Also by saying something affirming like, “If it were my dream and I dreamed that, I would feel like things were going well.”  Using the words, “If it were my dream…” clearly indicates that this is your personal opinion and may perhaps be totally different from the dreamer’s. This is important for the free exploration of another person’s dream.

Don’t Attempt an Interpretation

Quite often people will ask you to interpret their dreams. Remind them that you can’t.  Since the dream is all about the dreamer, it is really not possible to interpret another person’s dream, as much as you want to.  As much as you think you know the meaning of the dream, try to refrain from giving a specific interpretation like, “Your dream means you don’t have a chance to get the job.”  If your interpretation happens to be right on, it might feel threatening if the person isn’t ready to deal with it. If it is wrong, the person will feel misunderstood. However, it is helpful to suggest common interpretations to a dream image, such as driving a car may represent how the dreamer is getting along in life—and then ask them to consider if this interpretation is a possibility. Or you may suggest that they look at a good dream dictionary which gives various meanings to a symbol, rather than one pat answer. By listening and asking questions, you will go far in helping the dreamer unlock the dream’s secrets. You will know when they blurt out something like “A-hah!” that they have discovered a significant meaning.

To learn more about dreams, visit my website at http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Working with Dream Themes: Living in a Place unlike Your Actual Residence

A very common dream is to reside in a home or apartment that is not actually the place you are living in at the time of the dream nor is it any place you have ever lived in. When I first started writing down my dreams—when books about interpreting dreams were not so readily available—I often wondered what this dwelling symbolism meant. One month I would be living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates and several months later I might inhabit a Victorian mansion filled interesting artifacts and ancient treasures.

It was not till later I came to understand that for me, my dream dwelling often represented aspects of my psychological state at the time of the dream. For example, the dream of living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates suggested I was perhaps trying to deal with too many people and their problems in my waking life. Or perhaps I was trying to take on too many parts of myself at the time!

The dream of the Victorian mansion filled with interesting artifacts suggests that there are interesting and valuable aspects of me that I’ve had for a long time but have not yet discovered or appreciated. A closed golden chest in a dimly lit room might represent something in myself I just need to examine to discover its worth.

A key to understanding dwelling dreams is to consider that every part of the dream represents some aspect or energy within yourself. So ask yourself questions about the dwelling and ask how this would relate to something in your waking life such as:

  • Where is the dwelling? Is it by the seashore or on a mountain? If by the seashore, the location suggests a place close to the ocean of Unconsciousness, a place from which life and food come. If on a mountain, it suggests a place where inspirational and spiritual insights can be gained.
  • What does the interior design of the dwelling remind you of? What is the mood of the design? When have you had a feeling in your waking life that reflected that mood?
  • How are the rooms furnished? What do the decorations and furniture remind you of in your waking life? A room of one color such as red might reflect chakra symbolism. Because the first chakra is often depicted as red, a red room might mean that this room is representing a situation your first chakra is dealing with, such as survival and getting along in the world.
  • Is there a problem or issue in one of the rooms? What is the problem and what does it remind you of in your waking life?
  • Are there others living in your house? Why are they there? What is your relationship to them? How does this scenario relate to people and situations in your waking life?

An interesting and perhaps enlightening exercise is to review your dream journal and discover how many different dwellings you have lived in over the last year.  How do they relate to the many psychological states you have experienced during that time? Have you “gone up” in the world? Have you inhabited houses from different parts of the world? Happy house hunting!

To buy my user manual on working with dreams or to check out dreamwork mentoring, please visit my website at www.healingdreamgarden.com.

 

Working with Dream Themes: Health Information in Dreams

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus

One of the important functions of dreams is to inform us about our state of well-being, and this includes information about our physical health in additional to emotional or spiritual health. It is not surprising then that when we start to remember and record our dreams we will begin to see references to health and health issues, literally or symbolically in our dreams. Two such health related dreams are those 1) warning us of a health issues or 2) telling us when things are fine. Here are two examples from my own life:

Dream Example: Blood in My Stool

An authoritative voice tells me that I have blood in my stool.

On hearing this voice, I immediately woke up. Naturally, this aural dream which presented only as a voice saying these words frightened me. I was due for my annual physical exam in a few days so I made it a point to tell my doctor about the dream. My doctor took the dream very seriously and gave me a stool sample card which I took home and over the next several days I collected stool samples. When the results of the tests came back, sure enough, it was found that I had blood my stool. I was immediately scheduled for a colonoscopy. I apprehensively waited for the day of this dreaded test but before the test was blessed with another dream:

Dream Example: Getting a Good Result on a Colonoscopy

I am in a medical setting and a doctor is giving me a colonoscopy. I can see the progress of the camera in my colon on the monitor. He says everything is OK!

This dream brightened my spirits. A little while later, I had the colonoscopy and was awake enough during the procedure to see the monitor, reminding me of the dream and test result. At that point, I was quite sure I would get a good result. And sure enough, I did!

I found it interesting that my dreams coincided with both test results, even though they showed different outcomes.

For more information, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Working With Dream Themes: Snakes in Dreams

The commonest dream symbol of transcendence is the snake.  -- Carl Jung

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The commonest dream symbol of transcendence is the snake. — Carl Jung

Much has been written about snakes in dreams because their appearance is very common. The snake can have many meanings, and the dreamer needs to sift through the various possibilities. From a health perspective, the snake is often portrayed in mythology as a healing animal perhaps because a snake’s venom could be an antidote for certain ailments or the bite of a snake. Snakes were kept as sacred symbols in the aesclepian temples of ancient Greece for of their reputed healing powers. They were considered a symbol for the Greek god of healing, Aesclepius. The long association of snakes with healing can be seen today in the caduceus, a common symbol for the medical profession, which is made up of two snakes wrapped around a pole.

So let your snake dreams grab your attention, just as finding a snake in front of you would, especially if you dream of snakes coming to you or you are being bitten by a snake. The bite and release of venom can represent a transfer of healing power. If you have a dream of this sort, or dream of being bitten by any animal such as a spider, dog or bear, you should pay attention. It may be a symbol of this animal’s unique healing power or wisdom coming to you if it doesn’t have any association with a bite you may have received in waking life.

The snake is also a common symbol for kundalini, the powerful healing energy latent in everyone’s body at all times which, according to Hindu legend, releases its power in small amounts to keep us all healthy. It can be activated in larger amounts to bring significant healing and transformation at all levels of the mind, body and spirit. The symbol of a yellow or golden snake coming to or wrapping itself around the dreamer is common in dreams for persons experiencing kundalini releases. The following is a powerful and hard-to-forget dream I had in 2003 which presaged my own kundalini event in 2007.

DREAM EXAMPLE:
Two huge golden snakes are entwined about my waist and abdomen.

Even though this dream was full of numinous energy and the snakes literally glowed, at the time I had no idea what this dream meant. I only knew it was so important it shocked me awake. These snakes were as big as pythons. I wrote the dream down. Only after my kundalini release in 2007 did this dream make sense. That’s when I received much healing in the second and third chakras which are located in the areas that the snakes coiled. My dreams seemed to be telling me that I had literally become the caduceus! My body was the pole and two snakes were wrapped around me. I don’t think it was an accident that the gift to work with energy healing came along with this kundalini experience.

Other symbols that portray healing kundalini energy are lightning bolts, volcanic eruptions and the number 66. As mentioned before, it helps to have a good dream dictionary which gives many possible meanings for a symbol rather than a cut-and-dry single definition. Get to know your snakes. It may save your life!

To learn more about dreams, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Working with Dream Themes: Dreams of My Father

Dreams of the Father

Dreaming of One’s Father

The appearance of the father in a dream is one that is loaded with significance because of the rich and deep associations, perhaps very negative or very positive, with our experience of having a father. My own long relationship with my father was one of the richest (full of ups and downs) and best and most supportive in my life so this week when I had the unusual occurrence of two dreams about him around the 8th anniversary of his death I decided to take a closer than usual look at this powerful dream symbol.

Look for Personal Associations

I first looked at my personal association the father symbol. Reflecting on this symbol made me realize first and foremost the supportive and caring association I had with my father. So his image in the dream represents for me caring and supportive energy that is near me now, even though he has passed.

Look for Conventional Associations

I next perused various dream dictionaries for the usual explanations of the symbol of the father. Depending on the dream dictionary, there were often many and varied meanings ranging from the father being a symbol of power, authority, and the law to being a harbinger indicating difficult times were coming and that one should seek wise advice.

Reflect More Deeply

When I research various meanings like this, I consider it a form of brainstorming. I am not ready to accept the answers I find at face value. I just want to see all the general associations with the father out there, perhaps coming across some I haven’t seen before. While doing this, I look for any of these to have a meaning that resonates with me, an association that might feel like it has a meaning tailored for me in my specific dream. I ran across one such meaning I hadn’t seen before and it resonated. A dream about the father, in Arabic and Islamic traditions, and found at http://dreamingthedreams.com/meanings/Father/ means help for a waking issue will come from sources one doesn’t anticipate.

Stick to the Feelings in and Generated by the Dream

This meaning was valid specifically for me because it connected the feelings in the dream and those generated by the dream with what has been going on in my life. In both dreams, my father was feeling confident and happy. He wasn’t trying to warn or help me, which means that part of me in the dream that is represented by my father is apparently happy and satisfied! This is odd because recently I have made a risky career choice my father wouldn’t necessarily have approved of when he was living, which is resulting in a situation where I need help but from sources I can’t imagine. I have tried all the usual solutions and sources I know of and none have yet worked; however, other dreams of mine indicated that help will come—even though the source was not revealed. When I read this last interpretation of help coming from unexpected sources, it tied all the meanings and feelings together and comforted me.

Working with Dream Themes: The Loss of Identity

Okau Road tunnel

Passing Through a Tight Place

One of the messages that Edgar Cayce had to say about dreams is that they point out the difference between how my higher self sees me and how my ego self sees me.  Dreams are always trying to get us to let go of ego and grow into our higher selves.   Nightmares are often caused by this clash between these two parts in each of us.   The ego just doesn’t want to let go to that higher self and the results show in fear, anger or depression!  Loss of identity dreams especially seem to be related to this issue of ego letting go.  When we worry too much about things like money, status, job opportunities and people loving us, “loss of identity” dreams often kick in, reminding us that there is more to us than our ego identity.

How we think of ourselves is something that seems to be very important in dreamtime.  I say this because so many of my dreams and those of my friends, students and colleagues who have shared their dreams with me note the theme of personal identity, or the loss of it, showing up in dreams—especially when we come to recognize our unique symbols or the commonly occurring symbols for this event.

I have to admit it was a long time before I recognized the symbol for what it meant in my dreams, even though I had the dream repeatedly over many years.   In the dream I would lose my purse or have it stolen, usually by a bunch of bratty kids.  I was aware enough to realize these nightmares usually occurred when I was worried about finances so I just assumed that’s all there was to it.   Having the dream repeat over a period of time should have clued me in that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the dream.  Here is a typical dream:

Dream:
I go through a tight place but make it through.  I realize I don’t have my purse.  I go back to the tight place and see a lot of women have left their purses here going through this tight place.

Reflection:
Going through a tight place evokes the feeling of going through the birth canal, the transition to a new level of being or awareness.  At the time of this dream I was just about to undergo a major spiritual event, a kundalini awakening.  After doing this, I would realize I don’t have my purse.  At the time, I had just come into an inheritance so money wasn’t an issue.  So what did the purse mean?  Sandra A. Thomson in Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary notes that it is related to identity. The purse holds one’s identity in the form of ID cards such as a driver’s license or passport.  Going through such a major transition would cause me to lose the way I look at myself, my identity—which indeed happened to an enormous degree.  The kundalini awakening had me undergo such physical, emotional and spiritual changes that I no longer recognized my “old self” on any of these dimensions.  However, eventually I was led to  experience the fact that at the core I am a being of energy and light, able to receive and transmit healing energy.   I was being transformed.  What a new spiritual identity!  The dream was telling me that it wasn’t just me but there are many other women who experience this loss of identity when undergoing major transitions.  The many women could be other women or other parts of myself.  As it turned out, I ended up making many changes which totally changed my waking life identity as well.  I left my career in IT consulting, moved to Hawaii, and became a writer, educator and life coach.

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: An intuitive teen dream detective mystery novel using dreamwork methods to solve a case. See http://tinyurl.com/MyBook4U

The Traveling Sketchbook: An American Kid Discovers Japan, a coming of age story set in Japan.  See http://tinyurl.com/readJapan