Theres probably a topic already covering this and if so you can post the link and we can continue it there. Yeah, i’m lazy.
Now, theres alot of people out there telling me that my dreams are telling me something. Some of them even suggest that not only is it telling me something about myself but whats going to happen in the future! First of all, to address the practical, anything that you need to learn or is being learned is happening while awake. How you act and the consequences of those actions in dreams dissolve when you awaken and you return to that realm with a completely clean slate. Not only that but how are you going to question the honesty and judgement of a dream? Some say that its not the symbol itself but the direction that symbol sets your train of thought in and perhaps leading you to some kind of insight. But in that doesn’t symbolism become selective? No one is going to be inclined to construe advice from a dream in which they were running with pigs through the mud which is orange much less admit they did. However, the same person believing in symbolism will probably gladly draw insight from the rare dream of flying through crystal clouds and talking to gods crisis counselor (whom is making alot of money if god is paying attention to whats going on on earth and cares), and if i’ve ever had a dream that correlated to life it was just a replay of my thoughts in a visual form, not something i hadn’t thought of yet.
People probably tend to have a few extraordinary dreams and apply it to life however it fits best; “okay, a singing donkey…hmm, maybe it symbolizes a happy workforce, but im white collar. maybe its just showing that the humans that are considered jackasses are really the happy ones, but im really depressed [then it becomes makeshift] i guess it means i should start a band called donkey” it might not be just like that but you get the idea of how easy it can be to mould things to our liking. Plus, if you’ve noticed you do dream alot about what happened or what you were thinking about the day of the dream. Really then i might say dreams could be just a erratic organiztion of thoughts summed up in a completely randomly generated world. I think dreams are a highly fascinating by product of the imagination which are being turned into this wonderful labratory of knowledge and insight. By whiich i mean what ever you retained during the dream was enough and you should refer to waking experience when your not dreaming.
Don’t get me wrong though, this by product is doing something good and if you’ve gotten advice from a dream well congrats. but you more than likely reviewed this dream while awake and applied random things in your current life to this dream; “hmm…eddie got a pet monkey on friday and has seemed unaffected by my visits since then. so thats what the dream meant by me meeting gilbert gottfried in animated form. the monkey represented gilbert and the animation represented eddies sudden change in demeanor”. See, you always have the insight first then apply it to the dream. It’s close, theres a thin line here but aren’t we kind of analyzing each bit of a dream and connecting it to a bit of life until the end of the dream. Insight is fine, but was the dream saying that for you or was it meant for it,no. It was just a dream. “yeah prob, but you’ve admitted they can be insightful thus making them symbols” no, not symbols, thoughts. which in the case of mind are two different things.
By the way, some of the above may suggest that i do in fact believe that dreams carry symbols for insight. No, i believe dreams become insightful when you apply whats going on in your life to dreams. But i can apply whats going on in my life to sitcoms or books and those were just stories.

I totally agree with you, Probobo. It’s always struck me as being faintly ridiculous the way some people are obsessed with finding meaning in the most straightforward of things. I guess it just depends on what kind of person you are. A person who believes in fate and psychics, for instance, is much more likely to attribute the fact that they ate a different type of breakfast in the morning to a scene in a dream that had exotic food in it (“OMG I predicted the future!”) when it’s really nothing out of the ordinary. It bugs me, I admit, how a few people seem to be under the impression they’re incredible psychics simply because of a few minor coincidences. That kind of thing happens to everyone, and has nothing to do with predicting the future!

The way I see it, if I get chased by a monster, I don’t assume there’s something bad going on in my life. I don’t assume something bad WILL happen in my life, either. If I feel happy in real life, then why try and find something bad in amongst it just because of a dream?

Ahem…just to interject here guys but I’m sorry, dreams can be symbolic in all sorts of ways, repressed emotions, desires, etc and you’ll notice this especially when one comes way out of left field and sticks with you something awful. No this does not happen everynight but it does happen. Also there are many, some on this very forum, who have had many “coincidences” or precog dreams, it’s like being hit by a thunderbolt and you just know. Personally I believe the dream state is similar to the state you are in when meditating or praying and you are open to higher things at those times so it makes perfect sense to me that we are given symbolic and advice-ridden dreams. Of course obsessing wouldn’t do anybody any good because it is Usually very straight forward and meaning will come to you eventually if it’s important. IMHO if it hasn’t happened to you then maybe you should wait and judge when it does.

/me coughs.
I’m over at my friend’s house now and his mom is smoking. (therefore melting my brain) Later when I can think more clearly, I’ll give a better response.
All I can say right now is that SOME dreams give symbolism, while others don’t. The ones that make a great impression on you are the ones that most likely have something to contribute. (I’ve learned a thing or two from my dreams.)

On a certain level, I agree with you, Probobo. I don’t think dreams are prophetic, but I do think that certain dreams can be logically interpreted and have beneficial meanings.
I believe that dreams are the way our subconcious mind sorts through everything that happens during the day and attempts to make sense of it all. If you are fortunate enough to recall your dreams, then maybe it is possible for your conscious mind to sort through them the way your subconscious mind does. This interpretation can be easy to make, hard to make, or even impossible; which is why it makes sense that these dreams can be seen as a random series of images and sounds of the past days’ events. It also makes sense that you and many other people interpret them as such. However, just because all dreams can’t be interpreted does not mean none of them can.
But as you say, when people start looking too hard and fashioning unreasonable interpretations, all interpretations be come suspect. I’m certain that this is a more rare occasion than you see it as. I’m sure that many people at this who do logically interpret their dreams only go as far as they can and don’t force meanings.

Ultimately though, this all is subjective. There are no generally accepted facts on what dreams are or meant to be, and because of that, there is no generally accepted definition on what they are or meant to be. Dreaming can be placed anywhere on a sprectrum from logic to spirituality depending on who you ask, and no answer is worse then any other.

Not to discredit what you’re saying Probobo and StormThunder but dreams are very much symbolic. It’s not to say that every dream will have something in them. But your dreams can act out emotions or scenarios that you’ve already experienced.

Lucid Dreaming for example, you are aware of your surroundings and you conjure what you want. At that time you are playing someone that you are not IRL. You fly like a bird, have powers like a superhero. These type of dreams are a symbol of what you are looking for or want for yourself. You are building a higher self esteem.

As far as predicting the future, it doesn’t happen for everyone. Is it possible? I think so. I don’t think anything is impossible is this world.

iluminada, you can debate if you like thats fine. I really see no reason to wake up and connect an experience to the dreams you just had. I never awoke from a dream thinking “oh that had something to do with my social life”. I’ve had dreams that could be RELATED to my current life situation, which is to say it had the same people and environment my day to day life has. Haven’t you noticed when you have an overly odd or just unusual day you tend to dream about the people that were involved? Thats because your still thinking about an unusual day, not because something is trying to give you a message. Why would your brain do something like that anyway? tell you the most important things while you were sleeping and knowing that most people don’t really take time to recall all their dreams or really take dreams seriously.
as you probably already know theres only a handful of people that even give their dreams a second thought. at least in america.
I truly think that dreams mean as much as whats happening to you during WILD…nothing.
I will ask the people that are into symbolism this: Why are dreams symbolic?

If dreams have no meaning at all, then why is there a growing number of psychologists using dreams and their symbolism to aid patients?
Furthermore, apart from the precognitive dreams, normal dream symbolism is not meant to explain things, but to give criticism on your daily life. It uses anything to express this symbolism, so if you saw a western last night, your subconsciousness might use John Wayne to convey certain aspects of your mind. That’s why it’s symbolism: don’t pinpoint yourself on the images, but look through them for the deeper meaning.
Why are dreams symbolic? Waking consciousness covers only the upper few inches of the sea which is the mind. Through dreams, we gain direct access to the deeper layers, the subconsciousness, which is a realm of the psyche where emotions, fears, traumas and all other streams flow continuously without us ever noticing them while we are awake. If there’s some problem growing inside our mind, it will be first seen in the subconsciousness long before it manifest near the surface of the waking mind. Imo dream symbolism is merely an expression of the inner mechanisms, the little streams of the subconsciousness. It’s actually comparable with waking life: this world too is full of symbolism, although we hardly ever really notice it; the general perception of waking life is colored by our mental model of the world, but the overall picture we get is a model for the real state the world is in as seen from our perspective. During dreams, there’s no external influence, no carnal inputs, so the focus lies on the self, the psyche of the dreamer. While during waking life, external perception can be seen as a model for the real state of the world as seen through your eyes, so during dream life, inner perception is a model for the real state of your psyche as seen through your dream eyes. And because there’s no external influences during dreams, the creative potential of the subconsciousness is fully displayed. This is probably combined with other meanings of dreams, such as ordering daily memories/perceptions. Actually, if you think about it, dreams are really one of the few ways through which the subconsciousness can vent whatever is on his/her mind :smile:

That’s what I wanted to say, except I don’t do talking real good.

I also agree with mystic. Though I feel only the dreamer can really interpret the symbols of their dream.

Personally, I think that dreams can be very symbolic at times, not all the time however. There are minor coincidences, but I think that oftentimes dreams reflect how you are feeling in real life. There have been many symbolic things that have related to my life in my dreams, and they’re not ‘in the left field’…they’ve been pretty obvious.
Obsessing about them is pretty pointless really, just like hunting down your meanings of dreams in dream dictionarys. I think that the meaning of one’s dream is for the dreamer himself to interperate… I beleive that everyone can point out symbolic things from their dreams, but it doesn’t make you ‘physic’ :grin: [/i]

I didn’t say we didn’t feel emotion or didn’t think at all. im saying thinking of john wayne was thinking of john wayne. I don’t think that movie is manifesting as guidance in anyway though, nor do i feel it symbolizes a problem within the mind. I feel this way because of the sporatic nature of dreams, alot of the time the story is shuffled and non sensical. thats why i feel that its just lazy thoughts and images. However, a person who pays attention to dreams has more energetic dreams. One time i had a dream where i had to carry a guy that was just a head with a worm shaped body. he was clothed and wearing a hat and i carried him over a puddle. something like that doesn’t seem symbolic, it seems more like randomness. Its a brilliantly generated madhouse of distorted thoughts but in a fun way! Not always severly distorted, but they jumble around in a way thats too random for interpretation. When you beome lucid and seek out symbols its basicly like thinking while awake except with hallucinatory images.

Not necessarily. I’ve heard people tell of detailed and very high energy dreams and they don’t pay particular attention to their dreams. They’re skeptics, like you.

I think everyone pretty much agrees that obsessing with a dream is a problem or spending three hours finding a definition that suits their mood. That obviously takes away from any symbolism of a dream.

True, though I believe some symbols are pretty universal, because they stem from archetypal sources. After all, the blueprint of your current mind can be seen as the result of four types of evolution: your personal evolution, the cultural evolution (meaning the mental evolution of the human mind as a whole), the physical evolution of the brain, and the social evolution (your place in the social hierarchical structure). While the influence of the social evolution is rather unclear, the physical evolution permits us to have dreams in the first place. Cultural evolution places our dreams within the context of the collective unconsciousness, and allows universal symbols to show up in dreams all over the planet. For instance, water, oceans and seas are usually seen as a universal symbol for purification, diving the deeper realms of the subconsciousness or simply the vastness of the unknown mind. But it’s the personal evolution which gives dreams its unique characteristics. Imo you need to look at both the common symbols and your own dream language to come to a full interpretation of a dream. The problem with common dream dictionaries is that they almost seem to pretend that EVERY symbol is universal, while this only counts for a part of the symbolism.

Suppose you put together a whole scenery where almost every element represents a symbol which can very often not be seen from the surface. Furthermore, suppose there’s no one-to-one relation between symbol and its meaning, meaning that a particular meaning can be represented by different symbols and the other way round. And finally, suppose the depth (and meaning) of each symbol varies along with the context and its relation with other symbols. If you construct such a scenery based upon images which the brain collected from the previous day(s), don’t you think you’ll come up with a bunch of what seemingly appears like randomness, but which cán make some sense if you look beyond their randomness and discover its hidden connections with your inner psychological state of mind?

I find there’s often more meaning in the emotions you experience in a dream then in the “madhouse of distorted thoughts”, so to speak. This is because the context might be without symbol (although I would say, not always), the feelings you have come from within your (sub)conscious. Although in a dream sometimes they are blown out of proportions, but that is why dreams are useful, it can show you hidden/supressed fears, angers, etc (but of course also positive emotions).

Every event/feeling/object brings up different things to mind for different people. No matter how universal something is personal experience will change the symbolism further. For example someone who has never seen the ocean in person and a sailor would have different perceptions of ‘ocean’. I feel that no symbol is truly universal due to this experience, it may be similar in some ways among a few groups but never exactly the same. Archetypes are built into the SC but are only one factor of the symbolism but are still important and should be considered as part of interpretation. Even though I still feel those ‘Dream Symbol Interpreter’ books are garbage.

yes our brain evolved and so did culture. we weren’t born into social hiearchies and they aren’t natural, hiearchies are created by humans. No, i don’t believe there are ubiversal symbols either. one guy that thinks of the ocean might think of the time he almost drowned, or the sky may just seem like a temptation always out of reach. Even more simplistic it could just be seen as something to swim or fly in or just drink and breathe. when i think about the ocean i think about, tidal waves, surfers, boats, salt water (which isn’t pure), sharks , fish, waterspouts, squalls, storms etc. And if a person is giving it unique characteristics then hes creating not recieving. also, saying “you never know what the symbol is going to be or they sometimes manifest as the opposite or different” is just the thing giving you room to say its symbolic. How can an ocean be a symbol for purity one day then a symbol for fear the next is its so archetypal? If my dream used an ocean for fear one day why would it use an ocean for courage another? Whatever is sending these so called “symbols” better check itself before it confuses us into chaos. Yes, i believe imagery is determined by emotion, but that emotion is just emotion and when you dream its accompanied by whats easiest to remember at the time, like the john wayne movie. our personal evolution is always being examined while awake anyways. our trials and tribulations force our evolution as a person and all that monkey crap doesn’t mean a thing. i gotta go now. im sorry i just believe dreaming is your brain still running while asleep. thats not to say im any less impressed by this though. i think dreams are amazing and our capacity to create such places is no less than awesome. and now we have Lucid dreaming which turns this into something so much better and fun.

I agree :smile: I never said there were truly universal symbols, yet some symbols are found to have more or less the same meaning in lots of different cultures. Sure there’s some variety among them. That’s just the beauty of it, because even universal symbols depends on your personal context for their correct interpretation. The best dream dictionaries are those which give a list of possible interpretations for universal symbols while also saying that it’s really up to you to form your own meaning about a specific symbol. Unfortunately not many dream dictionaries are like that… Most of them just try to give explanations for truly anything… I’d say no more than 50 universal symbols are enough to fill a dream dictionary. The rest is up to you.

Highly depends on the context of the whole dream. Last night for instance I dreamed about a tsunami which, considering the context, is likely to be a symbol of overwhelming emotions. Faith in your personal judgment is something else which is quite important while finding meaning behind the symbols. Don’t trust too much on textbooks or dictionaries, but try to use your intuition. Feel what seems best for you, and one way to find out is to search for correlations with waking life. As I said before, dreams are a criticism on our current mental state during waking life. So suppose you’re living the happiest days of your life and you feel you’re transforming spiritually, then dreaming about diving oceans is more likely to represent a purification of your subconsciousness or alike, instead of a deadly fear. But then again, that all depends on who you are and what you’re mentally going through at that moment.

Oceans as symbol for courage? Lol, never heard of that, but I guess it’s possible :smile: It’s not that a specific object/situation could have a truly random meaning. It may count for some things, but really not for the majority of symbols. Most dream objects have a meaning which flows out of the natural symbolism of the image (like, oceans, which is water, and water usually stands for purification) and usually the personal context might switch this meaning a little to the right or to the left, but rarely will it radically change its natural meaning. But as I said, that doesn’t count for all symbols. So if one day it has this meaning and then next day it has that meaning, then you should be able to deduce it from the dream’s setting and overall context. I cannot stress the importance of context strong enough. Same objects have different meanings in different context. That applies for the real world as well as the dream world. But that’s only my humble opinion. In the end I may be right or wrong. If you believe dreams are nonsense, you may be right or wrong. Whether or not all this is actually true doesn’t change the fact that I keep finding an awesome lot of priceless information hidden inside my dreams, and they help me a lot. That’s all that matters to me :smile:

in fact, im not using any books for this opinion. another thing, you know darn well that i was just conveying an opinion and i didn’t see oceans as courage. besides what if an ocean was my own little symbol huh? as you suggested everybody has their own symbols and now your laughing at them. when i go to bed tonight im going to be thinking about alot of things and its going to manifest itself as images. Anything i learn or retain is done while awake. im not going to use my dreams as guidance, its nonsense. This is just another way of attaching meaning to the meaningless. its a way of making something that isn’t important important. sorry for sounding like this big joykill for questioning what so many people find “magical” about this stuff. But if you begin expanding on something to make it seem more interesting your eventually going to miss whats actually interesting about it. The way the word “symbolism” is being used here by most almost gives me the right to call anything symbolic. the keys on this board are symbolic of my need to express, that empty plate over there is symbolic of my satisfied hunger. When in reality its just an empty plate and a keyboard and without someone using it it’d just be nothing. Wanting everything and making everything so grand is clouding our judgement. Think about it like this i could look down at a fork and say “this fork is sent by the gods. its symbolic of a hungry person and my inner need to eat. its sparkling appearance is a like a latern in the dark guiding the hungry” after about 10 minutes of that it becomes a symbol and not just something you use to dig food.

I’m not laughing at it. I just said I never saw oceans as symbols for courage, even if you just used it as an example. Sure, everyone has their own symbols, yet oceans are one of those rare “universal” symbols with more or less correlated meanings in different dreams.

Sure, but remember that’s YOUR truth, in the same way as my belief in the value of dream symbolism is MY truth. You clearly feel good with your truth, so yeah, I also wouldn’t use dreams for guidance because that would just not feel good I suppose. I also don’t claim my truth is THE truth. Thát would be nonsense… So it’s really not a joykill, as long as you keep in mind that everyone has their own relative truth. Whether or not it’s also an absolute truth is truly not important.