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Tip sheet for Interpreting Dreams

February 7, 2014

[The following is a shorthand guide to getting the most out of your dreams. For more information on dreams and dreamwork, see my books Pocket Dream Guide and Dictionary and Dream Messages from the Afterlife. I’m not able to do indepth dreamwork via email due to the time involved. I do offer consultation dreamwork via phone or Skype, and via email as a Dream Oracle at]

Dreams speak in symbols.  Everything in a dream — action, places, other people, even objects — represent the dreamer in some way.  Other people, even people you know, also represent something about you. Dreams relate to issues and emotions in life — even dreams that replay the movie we just saw prior to going to sleep.  Some dreams are “big” in that they relate to spiritual issues.

Dreams are like onions — they have multiple layers, and each layer contains a different message. There are no right or wrong interpretations of dreams.  And, your understanding of a dream can change over time, as you learn more about dreams and how you in particular dream.  When you feel an aha, then you have hit the mark.

Take a dream that you have written down in as much detail as possible. Everything is significant. Then follow these steps:

1.  Give the dream a title that expresses the action.  For example, “Driving Around Lost.”

2.  Describe the high concept of the dream, that is, its overall theme.  For example: “I am in my own car trying to figure out how to get home.”

3.  Analyze all the elements: people, objects, action.  Note the gender of dream people, and whether or not you know them in waking life. Identify repeating symbols, story lines, patterns, emotions, and so on.  Make note of colors (which are connected to emotional responses), and of numbers, including ages and addresses.

4.  Interpret as many symbols in the dream as you can.  Consult a dream dictionary. Use your intuition.  For example, a frog on one level is a fertility and good luck symbol.  Your own emotional response is, “I love frogs, they are so cute.”  So, within the context of the dream, the importance of the frog may be that it evokes a happy emotion, or reminds you of something that happened to you in the past.  For every symbol, follow every association that comes to mind.  Some will be stronger than others.

5.  Determine how all elements and symbols represent yourself.

6.  Describe your emotions, within the dream; upon awakening; and now as you work on the dream.

7.  Describe as best as you can what the dream is telling you about yourself.

8.  Conceive of a plan of action based on the dream. A plan of action may be simply an acknowledgment or realization of a part of yourself.

Sometimes the meaning of a dream unfolds over a few days.  Many dreams have several messages that address different components of life.

[For more on dreams, including dream journaling, interpretation and chat board discussion, visit, where I work as a Dream Oracle.]