A while back I wrote about a dream in which my dream ego was determined to kill some weeds. I couldn’t tell if this was a good thing or not. It was the words killer and poison that got to me. I was used to thinking of killing as wrong, so how should I decode this perplexing message? This is an important question that needs to be asked. You can’t just go around willy-nilly believing everything your ego wants to believe about your dreams. Most egos are deluded; some dangerously so. So here are some things to consider when working with your dreams.
First, look at the symbols. Everything in a dream has meaning for you: objects, words, people, colors, sounds, animals, trees,shapes, the setting, weather, who’s driving the car, who’s walking. Even the absence of something you would expect to be present means something.
Symbols have three levels of meaning: archetypal (the universal meaning expressed in myths and fairy tales throughout the world); cultural (the meanings your family and society assign to them); and personal (your own likes, dislikes, and personal history). Consult a good symbol book for archetypal meanings. Look for cultural clues in the films, books, plays, art, television shows and music you grew up with. I understood the meaning of the weeds when I realized my culture sees weeds as undesirable and I usually do too. They must have represented something about myself I didn’t like.
People and animals show you aspects of yourself. How or when are you like that admired teacher or controlling relative? What part of you is a wounded puppy, soaring eagle, Nazi guard, wise elder, vampire, priest, intense perfectionist, helpful taxi driver, seducer/seductress, artist, singer, lonely child?
Emotions in dreams are very important clues to your unconscious emotions. What is your dream ego feeling? Is it hurt, angry, happy, worried, embarrassed, self-pitying? What event in your dream instigated this feeling? When was the last time you felt like this in waking life?
Dream events are usually metaphors about the way you’re living. Running from something suggests you’re trying to escape an aspect of yourself. A fear? A disowned quality? If your car runs out of gas or you’re frantically trying to find food for your guests, in what ways are you depleting your energy? If you’re trying to find a clean bathroom to use in private, what inner feelings are you trying to find an appropriate outlet for? If you’re mortified to discover yourself naked in public, when in waking life did you recently expose the “naked” truth about yourself? If you’re enjoying levitating or flying, what’s making you feel so wonderful, light and “high?”
Finally, consider what’s been happening in your life and look for connections with the dream’s feelings and imagery. Then wait for an internal “Aha!” It may not come, but if it does, you know you’ve hit pay dirt, regardless of what your ego or anyone else thinks. You may not always be able to trust your ego, but you can trust the wisdom of Sophia. She speaks to us still, across the ages, from out of the depths. Hear her timeless words from the Wisdom book of Ecclesiastes:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal.”
The end-goal of every psyche is to become more conscious and self-aware. You were made to want oneness, a doable antidote to the divisiveness that plagues today’s world. Self-awareness — by which I mean the acceptance of the opposites within ourselves — when combined with a sincere desire to bridge the divides between them, is the bridge to consciousness. And consciousness is the bridge to psychological and spiritual oneness. Your purpose in life is to do whatever you can to build these bridges. You’ll never be happy if you don’t at least try.