Dream Symbols As Metaphors — How To Interpret And Use Dream Meanings


Dreams are often filled with dramatic and colorful scenarios and images, that appear to make little sense when taken at face value, particularly in conjunction with one another, or with the appropriate narrative of the dream. This is one of the curious things about remembering or counting dreams, in a dream journal or to another person — it makes so little sense, and we say things like 'and then for some reason I was at an airport instead of my old college' , and in the dream we had not questioned that at all …

What we need to understand to make use of the dream and learn from it is that the subconscious mind deals in symbols and metaphors, rather than literal representations and messages. The literal way of communicating our consciousness follows is shaped by language and other constraints, and effectively limits its potential for creativity and problem-solving. The subconscious works differently, but without the media layer of defined meanings.

So in order to benefit from these messages, we have to interpret the metaphors. It is essential that we do this in relation to our own lives and experiences, because this is what will be meaningful. A dream dictionary can suggest ranges of possible meanings and offer us possible interpretations of the chaotic images and scenes our dreaming mind offers up, but it is only by conscious reflection and integration with our rational thoughts and memories that it is likely to make sense. Above all, one must avoid the temptation to approach the matter too literally — think symbol and metaphor at all times.

Take for example suddenly finding yourself at the airport or the station, about to embark on a lengthy or complex journey. This could reflect a specific and literal bit of travel you need to undertake, that is occupying some of your mental RAM as you plan or maybe worry about it, but it could just as easily represent a more metaphorical journey — a voyage into the unknown, such as a new relationship, or a new job. A change that is taking you to new places within yourself, such as a significant learning experience or spiritual revelation — sometimes some aspect of your life that you have not even realized / acknowledged is going to create serious change and 'take you on a journey 'to somewhere new.

The thing is, only you can work out what this connection is — but using tools like a dream journal and a dream dictionary can help you to reflect on how your dreams are interpreting and presenting the issues that are challenging you. Unlocking the wisdom of your subconscious mind can solve many problems, and bring you greater contentment in all areas of your thoughts and intents.

Sally Peace