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by Arastorm the Golden

In every well-rounded book of divination and in several specialized books, you are given lists of symbols with which to interpret your dreams. Unfortunately, most of this writing is derived from Freudian dream analysis, which is excessively involved with sex. As Piet Hein put it,

"Everything 's either concave or -vex,
so whatever you dream will be something with sex."

Then, to be sure, there are the people who expect every dream to be precognitive, telepathic, or at least profound (an inspiration for a million-dollar invention, at least). The current theory welcomed by psychologists is that dreams are no more than the computer of your brain doing the backlog of filing and cross-filing. The problem is that all of these theories are right; they are just not exclusive, and there are other types of dreams as well. As there are many types of thinking you do while you are awake, so there are many types of dreamwork you do while you are asleep- each would require a different approach to analyse it.

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To start out, you have to remember your dreams. The process is really quite simple. First, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual, and, if necessary, go to bed 15 minutes early, too. Then put a pen and paper beside your bed to record your dreams on. When you go to bed, get relaxed with deep breathing or whatever works well for you, and tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. If you already do remember your dreams, you can use this same technique to exert a modicum of control over them: tell yourself that you will dream the answer to your problem, that you will contact your oversoul, higher self, psychic partner or whoever, that you will in some way retain conscious control over whatever aspect of dreaming you are working on. Then go to sleep. Don't keep yourself awake trying to reinforce your self-suggestion. When you wake up, you have that extra15 minutes to lie quietly and remember your dreams and record them. (Don't go back to sleep.) Jot down the basics --a full recounting could take hours after you start to remember. It is important that this time is fully devoted to dream recall: nothing can banish dreams more thoroughly than planning the day's activities. You may take a few days to begin remembering your dreams, but it shouldn't take more than a week.

The last dreams you have are the ones you are most likely to remember, and generally the least likely to need interpretation. These are what I call recreational dreams. They tend NOT to be precognitive, astral traveling, or even problem solving - they are recreational. This is still vital work for your psychic well-being. In the last sleep cycle before waking, your mind takes a break and indulges in fun and fantasy. These are the dreams in which SCA men fight great armies single -handed, the ladies are romanced by romanntic princes, and so on. I like to fly a lot, and explore underwater where I can breathe water. I would no more interpret that type of dream than I would interpret a day at the beach. Enjoy it. Learn to control it and indulge yourself. One thing this type of dream is good for, is that it's a great source of inspiration for writers- lots of great plots abound. But it doesn't really "mean" anything.

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The second most easily remembered dream is the nightmare. Part of the cause of the nightmare may be physical: "A piece of cheese, a spot of mustard", as old Scrooge said. Your body and mind work together in a wonderful way; if you lose your blankets, you dream of winter; if you fall out of bed, the dream situation will probably justify the pain with the internal image of a fall or blow; and if you have indigestion, the sensation is very like that of fear and your mind will throw you into a terrifying situation to retain verisimilitude. Before you get too worried about deep psychological fears, make sure it's not overeating leading to the clenching of your stomache. Even so, nightmares are quite interpretable, not by symbols but by the emotional feelings you are having in the dream.

Suppose, for instance, that you dream you are fleeing a knife weilding murderer and hide in a gutter because you can't find any good hiding places in your house. Gutters, culverts, and all concave water-carrying holes are generally interpreted as the womb. The murderer would probably be identified as your father or some authority figure, and since he carries a blade you might be accused of castration anxiety.

I would accept the suggestion that you are feeling threatened in your daily life by something and that perhaps you don't feel as though your home provides protection against it. However I would first examine last night's menu rather than hostility feelings toward your father or boss. (It's an especially good hint if you remain queasy even after you wake up.) What you CAN derive from this dream is that in whatever situation you are in currently in which you feel threatened, you tend to attempt to hide rather than to fight back. This may or may not be very useful to whatever is making you feel threatened in your waking life.

The basic technique is nearly the opposite of most dream books- ignore the setting, the actors, the props- what is the emotion? How do you feel in the dream? Once you've identified that, ask yourself if you feel that way in your waking life. A common dream symbol for one's life is a car. Are you driving (controlling your own life) or are you trying to steer from the passengers side or even back seat? You haven't got a problem with your car, you have a problem with controlling your life. (When I had lots of little kids, I once dreamed that I was having trouble driving because I had too many kids in my lap. THAT was easy to interpret!)

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