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In this information age, the more one knows the better will be his response to his

world. What better way to know oneself than through ones dreams and their

interpretations. Take Joe for example. He dreamt that he was lying in bed crying. When

his mother came in to see what was wrong they had sex. Initially Joe woke up, thinking he

was in the middle of a nightmare. Now there are two choices for Joe. He could either feel

weird, that he had feelings about his mother, or he could look at what symbols were in his


Joe decided to analyze his dream. Since he was in his own bed, it showed that he is

comfortable in his life. Secondly Joe, needed to decipher if there was a predominant color,

and yes it was deep brick red, that meant Joe was going to experience good things in the

near future. Next Joe needed to understand that he was showing signs of regression, by

sitting and crying. Once he realizes that, Joe remembers being reprimanded at work,

where he felt like crawling under a rock. Lastly, Joe needs to understand that just because

he was with his mother in his dream doesn t mean that he feels for her in that way.

Because he was having sex with his mother most likely means that, he needed to take on

some of the qualities that she possesses. Although it is a matter of interpretation, many feel

they have found the right way to understand theirs and others dreams.

Dreams have been a curiosity since ancient times. Recently psychologists like

Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung have become well known for their studies. There are many

reasons to study dreams. At dreams research laboratories, they use machines,

electroencephalographs (EEG) to tell when dream sleep occurs.

Dreams have been studied since ancient times. For many centuries dreams have

been interpreted, and each culture has its own set of guide lines. During ancient Greek

times men believed that gods used dreams as a matter of communication, so they could

speak to humans. Ancient Roman culture looked at dreams as real. They saw phantoms,

who took on many forms to convey the message. Many people, because of the ancient

Romans, had trouble differentiating between dreams and reality. They believed dreams

were as real as waking events. Theoretically ancient Oriental people didn t see a difference

between the two, either. As one moved geographically west and to more recent times,

people began to understand the meanings of dreams better. Most Westerners, as opposed

to Asians, are better able to distinguish between dream and reality.

Psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung are famous for their dream

studies. Freud s most famous work, The Interpretation Of Dreams, argues that the

unconscious drives and desires contributed to conscious behavior. Freud also felt that a

dream was the fulfillment of a wish. Psychologists like Robert Van de Castle, Ph D., have

concluded that children and adults dream in the same way. Though their dreams may be

different, they also serve the same purpose (Short 30). Oona Short, author of Sweet and

Not So Sweet Dreams from Working Mother, says that small children, mainly infants

dream more often than adults do. While adults only spend about twenty percent of their

nights in dream sleep, infants spend nearly half of all sleep time dreaming (30). Dreams are

put in two categories: good dreams and nightmares. Between the ages of three and seven,

one begins to develop good dreams (Short 30-1), which are simply characterized as what

makes the individual happy. Once they have established these dreams, they last

throughout one s life. In one year some have as many as 1000 dreams, but remember very

few. For that reason many people claim to be nondreamers (Faraday 19).

Remembering dreams can be difficult for some, but dreams are remembered like all other

memory. People only recall the things they are interested in. When trying to recollect a

dream, it is much easier to forget a good dream rather than a nightmare. According to

Ann Faraday, Ph, D., women are more likely to remember their dreams, due to the sex

roles that are placed upon one as a child. (21) She means that because much of

interpretation is based on feelings, and the nurturing side of people, which is characteristic

of females, it is easier for them to explain and recall dreams. It is also easier to remember

dreams when one is awakened during that period of sleep.

Dreams are studied for many reasons. Most dreams are, to a certain degree,

oneiromancy, more commonly known as dream deviation (Time Life 26), which is a main

reasons scientists choose to study dreams. Not a bad thing, oneiromancy is easily defined

as dreams that vary from the accepted norm. Dreams vary from individual to individual,

but some feel they understand what dreams are about. Faraday says that dreams are what

has been on one s mind, or the feelings that one was unable to pick up on, the day of and

prior to the dream (3). Basically, dreams are messages forms one s subconscious, where the

true you is defined. Dreams also let one know their real, or hidden talents, dreams show

people how special they truly are (Faraday 10). Dreams are not merely about what has

already happened. Through their dreams many feel the ability to see what will happen in

the future (Time-Life 26). Many also claim that their dreams inspire them to write, poems,

songs, etc…., and invent things (Faraday 160). Dreams are also a defense mechanism, they

help one express regression and/or displacement. (Fosshage 24). An example of showing

regression would be, to dream of lying in a bed crying until a parental figure comforts the

dreamer. Displacement can be shown in many forms, hitting or beating something, other

than who upset them, or just a yelling match for no apparent reason. Whatever the cause,

message, or interpretation style, dreams are where reality meets illusion (Time-Life 22).

The electroencephalograph is used to monitor when dream. Since ancient times,

psychologists have come up with alternate ways to tell if someone was dreaming. Thus

inventing EEG s. At sleep laboratories doctors hook up patients, to EEG s which detect

eye movement (REM) and brain wave activity. Once that information is taken, the doctor

then interprets when dreams have occurred. REM, rapid eye movement, or light sleep, is

the point in sleep when the brain becomes very active, it alternates in occurrence with deep

sleep (Altered State 50). Usually beginning an hour after falling asleep, REM sleep

lengthens each time it occurs, on that particular night.

Not everyone agree on what dreams mean, so many things have more than one

meaning. Colors can give a great deal of insight into a dream, sometimes more so than the

dream itself. The shapes in dreams can have several meanings, depending on who I

interpreting them.

The colors in one s dreams may be more informative than the actual dream.

Certain colors can lead once to have a reaction to or memories about a particular dream.

Colors can dominate dreams, and each color can represent a different feeling or action.

Bright red has many meanings. One is a forewarning, for people to control their tempers,

but deep red is also a sign that good news is in store for the dreamer. Some colors are very

specific, like brown mean financial success, and white leads to success with other and/or

society, and pink just hints towards success in general. Tony Hazzard author of, Dreams

and Their Meanings, says that green signifies either travel, or news from foreign places

(42). Shades of purple predict happy times, but lilac, forecasts temporary bad times

(Hazzard 42). Black is a hard color to interpret, and is only good to have in a dream if one

is in mourning, during that time, it shows, …triumphs over problems and eventual

success (Hazzard 42). Usually happy colors can have totally opposite connotations when it

comes when it comes to dreams. Bright colors like yellow, and orange symbolize delays,

that for every step forward, one has to take two steps backwards (Hazzard 42). Although

orange and yellow predict delays, they are only temporary. Blue has many significant

meanings, it shows one that they are close to overcoming difficulties, but for them to be

completely successful in that endeavor, they must seek help. Though colors are significant

in trying to understand dreams, there are two other factors that must be addressed here,

the next one being shapes and figures.

Many shapes and figures have several meanings also. Not everyone agrees on the

meanings behind certain symbols, and some even consider dream dictionaries to be useless,

but there are common themes that do have similar meanings in dreams. One figure in

particular has been around since ancient Egyptians, yet still has the same two connotations

today that is the snake. The snake has a duel meaning; one is that an evil temptation is

near, while the other is that the dreamer will show a more nurturing side. Seems like the

two opposite ends of the spectrum, but dreams are like that, they don t always make sense,

it is up to the dreamer how to react to the information given in the dream. The symbols in

a dream, are a form of displacement (Fosshage 24). Dreams about houses can explain a

great deal about the personality of the dreamer. Each room of the house represents new or

different feelings or actions, that the dreamer possess (Hazzard 28). Telephones are

another popular topic, especially ones when the caller can not get through. This type of

dream may mean that the dreamer and who they are trying to call are having a

communication breakdown (Faraday 213). Water in a dream can have more than one

meaning depending on how it is depicted. If it is rising, then the dreamer usually feels

overcome with uncontrollable emotions. However, diving into water, is usually showing the

dreamer diving into the unconscious (Hazzard 30).

There are other factors in determining the meaning of a dream, than colors and

figures. Sex is another main topic of dreams, according to Freud, everything that we think

about is related to sex, and repression. When people dream about sex they are not limited

to feelings of unfulfilled desires. Another common thought with sex dreams is that the

dreamer needs to be more unified with their partner. A sex dream can meant that the

person should try to take on the characteristics of the person who they are with during

their dream (Hazzard 29). Things that have a negative meaning in conscious life, are not

always taken as bad omens in dreams. Death is one that can be both good or bad. Death

in a dream can mean that something is going to come into one s life, it may signify a birth,

or just good luck approaching. On the other side of the spectrum, it can also mean that

one s ego is having trouble dealing with a change. Travel is a very general theme to have in

a dream, as it refers to the journey through life. The type if transportation can be

significant, as well. If they are operating a car, or train or plane, then it is usually means

that the dreamer is in charge of their lives. It can also represent whether or not one is

going to crash (Hazzard 30). A dream of trying, unsuccessfully, to get somewhere, is a way

of expressing frustration. More often than not dreams are usually full of weird

characteristics, or strange images. Generally the images in ones dreams are not going to fit

together like a puzzle, but may be connected in a more disjointed form. Dreams are bound

to be filled with puns (Faraday 111). Though they may seem to be abstract, dreams often

act as advisors about everything.

For many years people have wondered whether or not they should interpret dreams.

There are many advocates for the interpretation of dreams. As well, many feel dreams are

better left uninterprated.

Many have wondered whether or not one should interpret dreams. There are six

main types of dreams, instinctive, digestive, integrative, creative, true-dreaming, and lastly

big dreams (Wilde 14). An instinctive dream is usually associated with primary life

functions, digestive dreams related to remembering the previous days. In some dreams one

learns how to cope with conflict, dreams such as these are called integrative dreams. In

such dreams one may struggle with a decision, in the dream however, it is the conflict that

would have been greatly dramatized. Creative, true, and big dreams are easily explained,

there is not much more to them than what their name implies. There are two ways to

interpret dreams, literally and symbolically. Taking a dream for what it is, waking up in a

strange place, that is all it is, but one could also understand that to mean that something

new or interesting is going to happen. When people interpret dreams they should try to

understand what face they are using, because there are three faces of dreaming

(Faraday 139). Looking outward is making the topics of ones dream, relevant to their life,

through the looking glass means that one is looking at their dreams subjectively, and to

look inward would be to interpret the dream, try to understand each characteristic of what

happened during their dream (Faraday 139). Psychologists, though they feel children and

adults dream for the same reason, as previously stated, believe that children s dreams are

more significant. Children are just small people living in a big world Van de Castle

stated there fore causing children to vent their anger, fear, or resentment in dreams

better, because they feel powerless (Short 30).

Many feel that dreams should be analyzed. Like an urgent fax from your

subconscious, a recurring dream contains an important message (Graves 191). If not

understood, one could miss a lot of vital information about himself, through dreams. One

can learn his true feelings, and thoughts through the understanding of the dreams he has.

But, to make dreams relevant to one s life, they must look inward (Faraday 139).

Recurring dreams are basically reinforcing the significance of a particular there in the

dream. In the Hebrew Talmud, it is written A dream not interpreted is like a letter to the

self not read (Time-Life 23). The ability to learn from one s dreams is there, it is up to

the dreamer to follow certain guide lines about how to interpret them. Short says that to

be able to learn from dreams one must, share dreams….don t judge dreams…….don t

impose your interpretation [on others]…….encourage dreams as a road to understanding


Yet others feel dreams are better left uninterpreted. Many people feel dreams are

better left alone. Although there is a great deal of information on how to, these people

don t try to understand theri dreams. Many people feel that they don t have enough time

to read about dreams, and others just say it is too confusing. Dreams are a matter of

interpretation, but many seem to think they understand dreams. They are na expression of

a person s inner self, a window to the soul. Proper interpretation of ones dreams can lead

to a sense of fulfillment. However, reading too much into ones dreams can be as destructive

to one s psyche as any real episode. Dream interpretation can be and should be a tool

modern man can use to better understand himself.

Works Cited Page

Altered State Of Awareness. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1972.

Faraday, Ann, Ph. D. The Dream Game. New York: AFAR, 1974.

Fosshage, James L., Ph. D., and Clemens A. Loew, Ph. D. Dream Interpretation: A

Comparative Study. New York: Spectrum, 1978.

Graves, Ginny. What Your Dreams Are Trying To Tell You. Glamour, Aug. 1998:

190-191, 136.

Hazzard, Tony. Dreams and Their Meanings. UK: Ward Lock, 1994.

Short, Oona. Sweet and Not So Sweet Dreams. Working Mother. Feb. 1997: 30-32. New


Time-Life Books, editors. Dreams and Dreaming. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1990.

Wilde, Lyn Webster. Working With Your Dreams. UK: Blandford, 1995

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