Symbols are the stuff that dreams are made of, and a good symbol dictionary is an important tool for dream work. Any symbol dictionary is meant to be a guide as the dreamer is the ultimate authority where meaning is concerned. Learning to recognize and listen to the voice of your own intuition is crucial. A good symbol dictionary shows common themes and symbols and is meant to be a starting point.
Symbol dictionaries can be used in at least two ways: decoding symbols in dreams, and gaining additional insight when a particular symbol stands out. A symbol dictionary can also be used as a tool in free association, hypnosis and active imagery techniques. Adding your own personal interpretations and emotional responses is vital to a meaningful understanding.
Because dreams are usually personal but contain both universal and individual symbols, augmenting a more generic symbol dictionary with your own personal Dream Dictionary is a great way to deepen your dream work. You can accumulate the pages of your personal dictionary on sheets of paper that you insert into a binder, an index card file, or as a computer file. Convenience, accessibility and ease of adding entries in alphabetical order are the key ideas. Make your personal symbol guide a resource you can add to and draw upon frequently. Decorate your Dream Dictionary with pictures, drawings and images.
The important thing is to create something you will feel motivated to interact with. Your Dream Dictionary should become a treasure that beckons. The ongoing activity sends a signal to your subconscious that you’re serious, and then more information will flow into your conscious awareness. Later you can add categories and subdivisions that seem to emerge as special points of focus. An example of ways your Dream Dictionary will expand involves how family members or friends will become personal symbols. Usually if we dream of the parent of the same gender this represents the older wiser part of us. Here the voice of experience speaks. Likewise if we dream of a child of the same gender the message might be that we are acting immaturely in the area the dream addresses. As we look deeper into the characters in our dreams we perceive how we are using the people in our lives to represent facets of ourselves. The more we play with this the more the language of dreams will speak to us.
Weather conditions illustrate how our personal feelings impact the meaning of dream symbols. Weather symbolism can reveal the emotional background of the issue. Weather indicates the condition of the emotional nature and the potential for storms or smooth sailing in waking life. As you journal your dream describe the weather. Is it day or night? Is the sun shining or is lightning flashing and thunder crashing? How do you feel about the weather? Do you love the power of a good storm? Does the sound of thunder excite or terrify you? Is a rainy day cozy or depressing? Your response is critical.
Another example of how collective and personal symbols can be used together can be illustrated by the signs of the zodiac. Regardless of our open-mindedness and objectivity we all have biases. Where our own sign is concerned we may have strong feelings about how to do it “right.” As a result, if a zodiac sign shows up in a dream our feelings about that sign will color and shape what the dream symbol is trying to convey.
What follows, as an illustration, is a positive characteristic of each zodiac sign paired with a more judgment-laden or negative stereotype. If we’re honest, we all fall prey to stereotyping or turning others into caricatures of archetypal energy. Observe your responses or feelings as you read these. Dream symbols give clues to our true feelings and biases if we open our minds to listen.
Aries – active or rash; Taurus – determined or stubborn; Gemini – curious or nosey; Cancer – sensitive or emotional; Leo – proud or arrogant; Virgo – discriminating or nit picky; Libra – balanced or indecisive; Scorpio – passionate or controlling; Sagittarius – generous or spend thrift; Capricorn – ambitious or power hungry; Aquarius – independent or detached; Pisces – compassionate or mushy.
How objective was your response? You might create an astrology category in your personal Dream Dictionary that will grow as you identify your own response and biases. Then watch for these Sun Sign characters to appear in your dreams.
About The Author: Julie Loar is the multiple award-winning author of six books and dozens of articles. She has a BS in Psychology, has done postgraduate work, and has been certified in numerous professional training and development programs. Julie was a Human Resources executive in two major corporations, and an independent training consultant, working with large companies. Her latest book, Goddesses For Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World, (available at Satiama) has won three national awards. Her popular astrology feature appears in ATLANTIS RISING magazine, and she is a featured contributor on John Edward’s web site, InfiniteQuest.com where she has her own internet TV show. She has traveled to sacred sites around the world, researching the material for her books and teachings. Each year she leads a sacred journey to Egypt. Visit her at http://www.julieloar.com