If you want to understand your dreams, learn the language! The dreamscape doesn't follow the same rules as waking life. Logic is not in control. Time and space don't behave the way you might expect them to. Words take a backseat to the language of imagery and emotion. It's a bit like visiting a foreign country--you might wish for a handy translation guide. Unfortunately, all those dream dictionaries available in your local bookstore will get you no farther than surface phrases like "Where is the bathroom, please?" If you want to engage in a meaningful dialogue with your dreams, no dictionary will do. You have to feel your way into it.

The language of dreams is uniquely personal. The key to translation is your own personal response to the symbols in your dream. Let me give you an example. Suppose Jim dreams a German Shepherd is running toward him across a green field. Amazingly, Sam has the exact same dream. When Jim was a young boy, a neighbor's German Shepherd attacked him and he suffered severe trauma to his leg, which still shows the scars. To Jim, the approach of the German Shepherd is frightening. It may be warning him of approaching danger. When Sam was a boy, he had a German Shepherd as a faithful boyhood companion. He had the dog from the time it was a puppy until it died of old age. Sam has nothing but fond memories of that wonderful dog. Sam wakes from his dream with a feeling of happiness and warm expectation. Even though Jim and Sam dream the exact same thing, the meaning will be quite different for each of them. So throw out the dream dictionaries and explore your own personal response to the symbols in your dreams.

Dreams speak YOUR language. The message a dream brings you is almost always related to a current situation in your life - it speaks to your current concerns. Your Dream Self uses symbols that will mean something to you that they might not mean to anyone else. Dream Self will weave images from your waking life into your dreamscape, using the people, places and things with which you are most familiar to create a metaphor with a message meant just for you. A dream about your mother or your spouse is more likely bringing you a message about your life than about theirs. Watch for archetypes and mythological themes - birth, death, heros, villains, the dark and the light. Pay attention to puns and plays on words. Dreams are often metaphorical, but can also be literal. It never hurts to check your brakes if your dream car wouldn't stop or see a dentist if your dream teeth fell out.

Dreams have many layers of meaning. Like a set of nesting dolls, dreams may contain a story within a story within a story. Meanings may exist on multiple levels at once. A single dream may speak to you on any or all of the following levels:

*Freudian (sexual repressions and wish fulfillment)
*Jungian (universal archetypes and themes)
*Gestalt (the interplay of your many selves - each symbol in the dream can represent an aspect of your self)
*Physical (health and healing issues)
*Mental (learning, creativity and problem solving)
*Emotional (feelings and relationships)
*Spiritual (growth, direction, guides and guidance)
*Precognitive (predicting future events)
*Personal (self-awareness and personal growth)
*Cosmic (state of the world, big picture)
and more!

Author's Bio: 

Claire M. Perkins is the founder of Intuitive Journey, a personal evolution coach and author of The Deep Water Leaf Society. Claire has been teaching dream workshops, leading dream groups, and providing one-on-one dream coaching for over 10 years. Her approach to dreamwork is eclectic and includes the use of shamanic practices, expressive arts, journaling, dramatization, body movement, and dialogue with dream characters and objects.

Claire can be reached by emailing Claire@IntuitiveJourney.com. For more information, please visit www.IntuitiveJourney.com.