Dream Interpretation: The Basics of Dream Analysis

How does dream interpretation identify our unconscious fears and desires?


Each and every night, we have access to our own personal psychotherapist - who understands us better than anyone else in this world.

You can interpret the meaning of dreams to change your core beliefs, your relationships, your hopes and fears. The more importance you place on your dreams, the more you will remember, and the easier it will be to interpret your dreams every day.

Why are Dreams so Weird?

When you dream, the unconscious mind takes over. The unconscious is like an inner child. It thinks in primitive feelings and urges. It doesn't use logic and isn't able to plan ahead like the conscious brain.

That's why dreams are so weird.

The unconscious makes all kinds of strange connections that don't make sense to the logical brain. But you can interpret those connections and apply their resulting insights to everyday waking life...

To begin your dream interpretation, first look for dream symbols. Start a dream journal and aim to write down at least one new dream per day. (This is also excellent practice for lucid dreaming.)

In your dream journal, underline everything you think might be a dream symbol - such as a pig riding a bicycle, or a talking baby. These are illogical symbols that have a deeper meaning inside the unconscious mind.

How to Interpret Dream Symbols

The basis of dream interpretation is to identify important dream symbols and translate their true meaning in dreams.

Look out for recurring concepts. Breaking a promise is a concept. Running away from something is a concept. These ideas are all based on your past experiences of life and your interactions with the world around you.

Every "rule" or "concept" understood by your unconscious was set by your own life experience. You taught it everything.

In dreams, your unconscious shows you how it perceives the world in this conceptual form. It shows you its fears and its desires - but not necessarily as you would expect to see them! Let's look at the common example of flying dreams.

What do Flying Dreams Mean?

Flying DreamsFlying dreams usually represent your own personal sense of power over yourself or a situation.

The unconscious is taking a concept, and showing it to you masked as a dream symbol. If you are soaring up high and enjoying the landscape below, it is likely that you are in control of your life.

However, if you are faltering or falling, your unconscious is telling you that you lack control or are vulnerable in life. Trees, power lines, buildings or gravity may obstruct your flying dream. Do you see the concept showing through?

If you have recurring flying dreams like this, try to identify who or what is at the root of your fears. What are you afraid of? What can't you control in life? Is someone making you feel worthless or vulnerable?

If so, take charge of the situation! You will soon start to soar in your dreams...

Are Dream Dictionaries Worthwhile?

You have a unique understanding of the world around you. As you grew up, your unconscious learned about friendship, love, loneliness and betrayal. It made up rules about every human emotion and how you should feel about life. These "rules" are reflected in your dreams each night. They are yours and yours alone.

So don't rely on dream dictionaries exclusively, because there is no way that your mind conforms to all the same "dream rules" set by the author.

However, dream dictionaries can provide some value based on the fact that we have all grown up in the same culture, the same era, and we are all human. So it's no coincidence that we can make similar conclusions about life, unconsciously, and a dream dictionary makes a good starting point for the translation.

Cloud Nine: A Dreamer's Dictionary is a comprehensive dream dictionary for beginners, which provides thousands of dream symbols and definitions to help you translate your dreams. It also teaches you how to identify dream symbols, remember more dreams, gain insights from nightmares and invoke healing dreams.

Dream interpretation is not essential to lucid dreaming but the two concepts do tend to go hand-in-hand. Getting to know your own unconscious mind better is also a key element of lucid dreaming - and it will help you master trickier aspects of dream control in the sometimes bizarre backyard of your mind.

About The Author

About The Author

Rebecca Casale is a lucid dreamer and a science writer with a special interest in biology and the brain. She is the founder of World of Lucid Dreaming and Science Me.