Last night, I swatted dead an annoying mosquito in my dreams. The other night, I dreamt that I saw an orange tabby cat walk through a wall, phantom-style. The night before that, I dreamed about red and yellow Starburst candies-cherry and lemon-flavored. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get when you dream at night.
Dreams come in all varieties: those that reflect what’s going on in everyday life, and those that dig a little deeper into your psyche, playing on your hopes and fears in a way that forces you to wake up and notice.
Interpreting dreams is a task best left to the beholder, but there are guides out there that can help you find some meaning in the seemingly random thoughts of your sleeping mind. For as long as there have been people on Earth, humans have tried to interpret their dreams.
Ancient shamans and modern thinkers alike have been known to give meaning to certain symbols that occur repeatedly in our dreams and nightmares. Perhaps one of the most famous of these interpreters was Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist who, arguably, surpassed even Sigmund Freud in the dream analysis department.
For some, making sense of dreams is just mumbo jumbo, and for others, it nears religion. For me, I believe that while we sleep, our minds have a way of referencing our everyday lives, tending to help us make sense out of our deepest thoughts and worries. It’s been noted that our brains tend to offer up puns in our dreams as a way of sending us a message.
Take my Starburst candy dream, for example; I dreamt about cherry and lemon flavors, and only those flavors. I interpreted this to be a dream about life in general: sometimes life brings you cherries, other times lemons, but in the end, it’s all sweet. The dream about the cat passing through the wall? I’ve been thinking about life and death lately, brought on by recent musings about my children and how they’re growing older. And so am I. A mortality dream perhaps. Last night’s dream about squashing a disease-carrying parasite? Who really knows for sure, but politics probably played a part in that one.
Although I wouldn’t say that I use my dreams as any sort of guide for waking life, I do think it’s fun to figure out if there’s any sort of message to be gained, particularly with the more vivid ones. In those cases, I have a few sources that I reference. One is a fun book called, “The Secret Language of Dreams: A Visual Key to Dreams and Their Meanings” by David Fontana and the other is an online site called DreamMoods.com that holds over 5,000 key words that you can type in and research what the loose meaning of your dream might be.
So, tomorrow morning when you wake up and wonder what the heck you just dreamed about, consider looking it up, just for fun. Will your dreams determine your destiny? Nah. But much like a horoscope, it never hurts to check.