Recalling and Recording Dreams for Dream Interpretation
by Val Tobin
Originally published May 9, 2010 on Suite101
Republished on SNGS October 4, 2013
Some dreams, such as nightmares, are easy to remember. Other dreams are more elusive. You wake up knowing that you had a dream, but can't recall any of it. Some people claim they do not dream at all. But with consistent practice, anyone can kick-start the process of dream recall. It just takes some training and self-discipline.
Tools for Dream Recall
Some tools necessary for dream work include a notebook or dream journal, a pen, and a flashlight within easy reach of the bed. The flashlight helps you to see what you're writing without disturbing anyone else in the room who is trying to sleep. A digital recorder can be used to record dreams instead of a notebook, but the noise of speaking into the recorder may disrupt another's sleep.
When turning in for the night, it is important to set the intention to remember any dreams. If you work with guides or angels, ask them to help you have and remember dreams. You can also state the intention to dream by saying an affirmation, such as "Tonight I will dream and I will remember my dreams."
Dreams dissipate quickly, so write about the dream immediately upon awakening. This is why it is important to keep the dream tools within easy reach of the bed. Sometimes, while one dream is being recorded, other dreams or further details about the dream, will come flooding back.
Goals for Recalling Dreams
Initially, the goal will be to simply remember dreams. As you become experienced at dream recall, you can set secondary goals for dream time. When stating the affirmation to have and remember dreams, include a question you would like answered or request specific guidance on a problem that you are trying to solve. Use dreams as tools to connect to the higher self and take advantage of the messages contained within them.
Sometimes when dreaming, you may become conscious of the fact that you are having a dream experience. When this happens, there is an opportunity for you to influence the course of the dream. This is referred to as "Lucid Dreaming."
Some people are quite proficient at this, but for others, it takes practice, as most people will wake from their dream when they realize they are dreaming. The ability to lucidly dream is particularly helpful when you are having an unpleasant dream. You can quickly change the dream from bad to good by manipulating the dream. This manipulation encompasses more than your own dream actions to include the actions of others or events in the dream that you want to change.
Dream Dictionaries and Books on Dream Interpretation
Books exist that are designed to help you interpret the symbols and messages received from dreams, but they should only be used as a guide. Sometimes the interpretation is one that is personal and specific to the dreamer; the personal meaning may vary dramatically when compared to the traditional interpretation or symbolism of a particular dream.
Some dream interpretation handbooks provide methodologies for interpreting dreams, thereby guiding you toward a deeper understanding of dreams. Many will present the idea of archetypes, a term made famous by Carl Jung. Archetypes refer to representations of different aspects of a person's personality. The Hero is an example of an archetype.
Reviewing the Dream Journal
Regularly review dreams recorded in your dream journal in order to see if there are any obvious themes. If you repeatedly dream that your house is flooding, you should investigate what this represents. Some believe this is the unconscious mind's way of attempting to bring attention to an issue. Some dreams may have been prophetic, but you might only realize that upon reviewing the dreams after the predicted event has come to pass. Some dreams may even be a glimpse into past lives or events.
Dreams can provide a glimpse into the unconscious, and the effort and practice it takes to recall and record them is worthwhile. Anyone interested in personal development and growth may wish to consider taking the time to set the intention to remember any dreams, and record the experience immediately after having each dream. Then you can begin to interpret the dream to learn what messages are emanating from the subconscious mind.
Andrews, Ted. Dream Alchemy: Shaping Our Dreams to Transform Our Lives, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1991.
Ball, Pamela. The Illustrated Dream Dictionary: What Dreams Reveal About You and Your Life, London: Arcturus Publishing Limited, 2008.
hkoppdelaney, Image: Solitude-Dark Muse
Hamilton-Parker, Craig. Remembering and Understanding Your Dreams, New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., 2000.
Johnson, Robert A. Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1986.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is not intended to substitute advice from your physician or health-care professional. Before beginning any health or diet program, consult your physician