What Dreams May Come

I’ve always had a very active imagination, and it hasn’t been limited to my consciousness.  I enjoy the dreams that take me on adventures on par with novel story lines.  The nightmares not so much.  Then there are the ones a little too close to real life, but not quite, or the very strange ones.  Why did I dream I was melded into the trunk of a tree?

A friend suggested I check out Betty Bethards’s Dream Book on dream interpretation.  I was curious, so I went ahead and got it from the library.  Dreams are a way for us to process events in our lives and work through issues.  This makes sense.  Growing up, I had a recurring dream of being trapped in my backyard.  I would try to climb the fence to see the world beyond, but it was too high to climb.  I’d try flying, but would get caught in the power lines.  Night after night, I would struggle against the prison of my little world, until one night I finally broke through.

It makes sense that those dreams were my subconscious working through feelings of being stifled, whether from the limitations of health problems or the emotional domination that made me feel trapped in my physical body.  Dreams provided that escape.  They still do.

So what about the ones where my mind is still trying to process issues?  Well, frankly, I’d rather my subconscious didn’t.  I prefer to have fun in my dreams, not work through stress using weird symbols.  I have to admit, though, Bethards’s dream analysis has been mostly correct.

Take, for example, the dream where a tree wrapped its branches around me and melded me into the trunk.  (It wasn’t nearly as creepy as it sounds writing about it.)  According to the Dream Book, a tree is a symbol of personal growth.  The roots represent the foundation/support.  Is it strong or shallow?  The trunk represents the backbone and strength.  Branches are talents and abilities; leaves are the manifestations of your gifts–the fruit of your life.  A scrawny tree means not recognizing your self-worth.  An old gnarled tree means “the storms of life have taken their toll.”

Now, according to the book, being a part of the tree “represents aliveness that can be molded or shaped into new form.”  Since I’m working on personal growth and trying to take care of myself, this makes sense.  Yet, my tree was old and gnarled.  So while I’m in a state of transformation, I am apparently at the same time not learning my lessons in order to prune my tree.  It seems somewhat paradoxical, but the mind is a complex place.

As fascinating as all this is, I’d still rather dream of warrior women and men cursed to be dragons, flying ships and sword fights.  And in case any of you are thinking those symbols can be decoded, I checked, they don’t fit.  They’re simply the muse unleashed.

What do you think about dream interpretation?  Have you tried it?  Do your dreams help you work things out?  Or are they a refuge from reality?  Have a weird one you want to share?  I love hearing from you!  I’ll have the dream book for another week if anyone wants me to look up a specific symbol for them.  🙂

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32 comments on “What Dreams May Come

  1. I liked your post.

    I don’t actively analyze my dreams as I once did, but I do detect patterns that relate to situations in my life.

    Often when I am stressed over deadlines or responsibilities, I have dreams where I fail to make appointments on time or leave out important tasks that need to be done. Those appointments and tasks are unlike any in my real life but the connection is obvious.

    I also find that if I think about things I want to attract, achieve or resolve before bedtime, often solutions will occur to me the next morning. It’s sort of like releasing my hopes, dreams–even fears–to the universe and trusting they will be resolved in a way most beneficial to all.

    • Hey Sharon, I hate dreams like that. I dream I’m late to school or work, or forgot a homework assignment. Hehe, not fun. The book says thinking about problems you want resolved before bed is a good habit because the solution will often come to you. That’s great. 🙂

  2. Love the post. Dream interpretation is facinating! I love it and have often looked up dreams on the internet to understand their hidden meaning or guidedance!
    I believe often our dreams are our ways of working through and sorting out issues deep without our subconscious.
    It’s a lot of fun and I think can provide us with a more indepth look into our psychological well being and needs.
    ENJOY! Can’t wait to hear more on this!

    • Thanks Natalie. I never put much thought into it before, but I trust the opinions of the friend who suggested I try it. Still, some of the manifestations I’m working through I’d rather stay quiet. 😛

  3. Angela, this is so fascinating. I love the interpretation of your tree dream. I haven’t been giving a lot of thought to my dreams for years but I remember these two from my childhood. Both of them were recurring dreams: in one I sailed in a small boat on peaceful water, possibly an ocean or a sea, with no other boats in sight. The wind blew in my sail, and the sail was white. The other dream was about me falling from a tall building and even in that dream I knew I have to fall — there was no stopping it. So I kept falling, kind of patiently, and I also knew that once I hit the bottom it will hurt but only for a moment. I had both of those dreams quite a few times. Weird, isn’t it.
    I haven’t thought them for so long but now your post made me remember them — I need to research what they mean!

    • Hey Angela! According to Bethards’s book, a Sailboat or Boat represents your emotional self learning to navigate and stay on course through change. Wind is change, the stronger the bigger the change, but White is “truth, purity, light of God, protection, and guidance.”

      I’m not sure about the second one. A Building is an energy source, enhancing your life or fulfilling a destiny. But Falling means lack of control. Or, it may also be a “bad landing.” The book talks about actually leaving the body to travel while dreaming, and sometimes reentering yourself can be rough. Not sure I buy that part, but there you go.

  4. Cool post! I don’t really try to analyze my dreams anymore. I use to. But, they get so weird these days, I’m sort of afraid of what they might mean. LOL However, I often wake up in the middle of the night (usually right about 2am) with an idea for a book, a scene or a solution to a problem that’s been messing with my head. I usually don’t remember dreaming about anything right before that, just the thought that’s there when I wake up. It’s so awesome when that happens!

  5. asraidevin says:

    I have the strangest dreams and I recall them quite often (well more often than it seems most people). Most of the time I just wake up knowing I was dreaming something insane! I do also get ideas from dreams, although not all of them pan out when I try expounding upon them.

    • I wonder if a study has ever been done on writers and their dreams. It seems like many of us have wild dreams and remember them well. I’ve turned a couple dreams into short stories too. Thanks for stopping by, asraidevin!

  6. Learner says:

    Oh, I think we have mythological architypes imprinted in us at birth. As you mentioned though, sometimes we need someone to guide us into realizing what they mean. I try to use architypes in my writing.

    My favorite dreams are definitely the ones where I’m living without any aches and pains. There’s such freedom and bliss in really good dreams.

    • Hey Learner. Sometimes I have dreams where I know it’s a dream, and there’s a huge buffet table of donuts and cakes, and I pig out because I know in a dream gluten can’t hurt me. 😀

  7. Katy says:

    I love the interpretation of dreams! I think it’s important to pay attention to them too, as they may tell us things we won’t admit to or face while we are conscious. My recurring dreams are always about being chased or hunted. I read somewhere that it represents fleeing feelings of anxiety in my waking life. Apparently how I respond in my dream parallels how I’d respond in life, for example if I run or hide. I don’t deal well with stress, so I try to avoid it at all costs even if it means repressing an issue or a worry, so I guess that interpretation is pretty accurate!

    I find the most fascinating dreams though, are the ones where I’m semi conscious, where I know that I’m dreaming and am given the opportunity to consciously direct it where I want it to go. It’s the strangest feeling!

    All said and done though, I would also ather dream of warrior women and men cursed to be dragons, flying ships and sword fights!

    • Katy, yep, that’s what my book says about running. I’m the same way about conflict. It’d be cool if you could reach that semi-conscious state during a chase and change it. Sometimes I’m able to stop and rewind and do-over part of a dream. Dreams are cool. 😀

  8. There were a couple of dreams that have changed the direction of my life — so yes, I do listen closely to my dreams. That said, I don’t try to interpret the majority of them.

    As a young mother, I constantly had a dream of getting distracted with something and leaving my child only to return and she was gone. It was horrible and one that I would have to force myself to wake up to get rid of the panic.

    Ick. Even thinking about it now makes me uneasy.

    • That sounds like a horrible dream, Bridgette. Apparently, figures in our dreams aren’t literal, so you’re not really losing your child (though it sure still feels horrific!). According to the book, your children reflect your beliefs and attitudes, and dreaming of losing them suggests you’ve forgotten your own inner child. I don’t know; sometimes the interpretation sounds right, other times I think it might be over-complicating something. But what do I know. 😉

  9. I think I’m kind of afraid to interpret my dreams, but if your tree dream was actually a good sign, maybe I should. I have some bizarre dreams!

    I’m with you, I like the fun, flying high as a dragon, sword fight and mythical dreams. Those are the best. I used to tell my kids when they were little and had nightmares to remember to use their magic. Since it was their dream, I told them, they controlled what happened and every child was magical in their dreamworld. As far as I know, it always worked.

    • Tameri, I think my dreams are so rich now because that’s exactly what I did when I was a kid. It was like a mental workout, but the more I worked at it, the more control I got over my dreams, including the nightmares.

  10. Alina Sayre says:

    I’m jealous that your dreams are so much more interesting than mine 🙂

    I’ve never known what to make of dream symbols–sometimes I think they are just a collection of images from the day put through a salad spinner; other times I think God gently prods us at our most vulnerable there. Occasionally they’re the basis of my stories (one of the few moments when I can soar on flights of fancy without my rational mind getting in the way.)

    Your dream of the tree is a neat one, though. I believe there are many things we don’t understand. Cool to see such parallels with your life.

  11. Debra Kristi says:

    I used to try and interpret my dreams, I even have an old book on the subject around here somewhere. I don’t anymore. I few years ago I struggled heavily with insomnia. The doc finally put me on Ambien CR for a while to teach my body how to go to sleep. I had some of the craziest hallucinations while lying in bed then. I have filed them away in my writer’s brain. LOL Since I learned to sleep after that, I hardly remember my dreams. I sleep fast and hard most of the time.

    Glad you are back and feeling better! I have been waiting for a post to show up in my email and they never did. There is something wrong with a lot of my follows. So I have un-followed and added you to my RSS list. Glad I came to check up on you and found this great post!

    • Hey Debra! My craziest dreams have come after taking a Benadryl before bed. They’ve been like epic novels. One even was complete with an ending. The bad thing about my epic dream experiences is it has led to a kind of insomnia for me. I spend most of my sleep cycle in the dream state and less in the truly restful deep sleep.

  12. Susan A. says:

    You have some interesting dreams, Angela. Mine get weird, but not quite that much, lol. I have flown (without any aid) in many dreams over the years. Never got caught in anything. It just felt good to be free! Those ones usually last awhile because I like them and hold onto them as long as possible. Unfortunately, in dreams with water, I usually end up panicking and drowning until I realize I can breathe under water. Then I’m fine but usually wake myself up from it. No idea what that means. I’ve never tried to interpret any of these things, but it does sound like a fun way to discover various aspects of yourself!

    • Ah yes, breathing under water! Unfortunately, the dream book deals in single symbols. Water represents emotional self, and breath represents life force. I know when I dream of breathing under water, it’s very slow and steady because I’m concentrating. Slow and steady means you’re centering your life force. But if you’re under water, does that mean centering your emotional self? I don’t know how to interpret the combination of symbols.

      • Susan A. says:

        Angela, it’s too bad it only covers single symbols, but still sounds somewhat helpful. You have some interesting ideas for what the combination might mean. No idea if you’re right, but you could be! I go back to breathing normal under water once I realize I can. No idea what that means, lol.

  13. Oh this is all so interesting! I dream all the time but rarely can recall them. I just know they happen. I rarely have a disturbing dream and am told I often laugh in my sleep … if only I knew why! I envy all of you who have such clear recall of your dreams.

    • Susan A. says:

      Patricia, it is funny that this topic was brought up. I fell asleep for an hour and a half last night before waking up. In that time, I can recall parts of three different dreams I had. They were all very different. I enjoy them and sometimes manage to go right back to them when I fall back asleep, but it is rare that happens as I have to concentrate really hard to manage it.

    • Patricia, this has been very interesting for me too! Not just looking up my dreams, but other people’s.

  14. Lena Corazon says:

    Oooh, I love dream interpretation, even though I think I learn things about myself that I’d rather not know when I look things up. I have the tendency to suppress my emotions, and so they manifest themselves in my dreams in sort of disturbing ways. When I’m angry, I become physically violent in my dreams; when I’m stressed, I dream of being gunned down (?). Worse, though, are the nightmares where I’m blind and can’t see — either my vision is too blurry and I can’t find my glasses, or I can’t physically open my eyes. The latter usually occurs when I fall asleep face down, so I think it’s the discomfort I’m actually feeling that gets translated into weird nightmares.

    • Hey Lena! I suppress my emotions too, so sometimes I dream of yelling and screaming at people. It’s not even a cathartic experience, but makes me feel worse.

      The book says blindness means you’re not making the right decisions. Not sure how you’re supposed to figure out which decision. Being killed means “you are losing energy. Your own thoughts, actions, or others in your life are taking your energy.” Sounds right if you’re stressed.

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