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What are Dreams?

Dreams are the language of the unconscious part of your mind and they are capable of conveying deep hidden messages that you would not perceive in the waking state. The ancient Egyptians and the Greeks considered dreams as the language used by the Gods to communicate with humankind. Every dream was considered to be significant, containing messages from the divine.

Dreams can provide powerful insight into your personality and desires. Every dream is in some way or another connected to your conscious as well as unconscious mind. Interpreting the intent of your dreams can be a journey that includes both self-realization and soul searching.

Freudian Theory

Sigmund Freud is considered to be the first modern theorist of dream research. He wrote a book called "The Interpretation of Dreams" in which he stated that all dreams are motivated by unfulfilled wishes. Each dream is based on the fulfillment of wishes. This is a pretty basic concept. If you crave a particular thing to be in your life, you are likely to dream about it. So far so good. But what complicates matters is that some desires and wishes are unacceptable to the conscious mind. The unconscious therefore attempts to express these repressed wants and needs in a roundabout way via dreaming called "projection", through symbols and allegory, which is why dreams must be analyzed to make sense of them.

Freud also claims that each dream is based on the events of the day in which the dream occurs. He refers to this catalyst of dreams as "day residue".

Why do I have Nightmares?

A dream is intended to fulfill one's wishes. When the resistances that the human mind faces in the conscious state penetrate into the dreams and prevent the wishes from being fulfilled, it is construed as a failure of the dream work. According to Freud, when the dream process fails, the outcome is a nightmare.

Carl Jung

A protege of Dr. Freud, Jung expounded on the former's dream theory. He said there were two approaches by which dream material can be analyzed, the subjective and the objective. Going by the objective approach, every person who appears in your dream plays a role similar to the one in their real life. With the subjective approach, each person who appears in your dream represents a certain aspect of your own personality. In this approach, the characteristics exhibited by the characters in your dream are a projection of your own behavior and belief system, though you might not have acknowledged it before.

Dream Archetypes

Another element of dreams are archetypes. Archetypes, according to Jung, are unconscious ideas, thoughts, images, etc. that belong to humanity as a whole. They represent unconscious attitudes that the conscious mind is generally not aware of. This website will provide you with major archetypes found in your dreams. These are common themes that appear in everyone's dreams and so represent universal heritage and shared experience.

Jung was of the opinion that dream symbols should not be interpreted based on their face value. Instead, the personal significance of the symbol to the dreamer should be understood first before ascribing a meaning to the dream symbols. Therefore when you are told the meaning of symbols in your dream it is important to add the personal significance such symbols may have in your journal entry, to help you gain better understanding of what the dream event is trying to convey to your waking mind.

Do Dreams Predict the Future?

Dreams as Warnings

Some dreams are capable of acting as warnings to things that might happen in the future. If you are engaging in risky behavior you may dream of a disaster that befalls you resulting from such behavior. Perhaps you are suppressing this knowledge because you enjoy the behavior in question, so this would be a way for your unconscious mind to provide a message that you should reconsider your actions.

Dreams as Biological Functions

If you dream of a bathroom, you may very well have to use the bathroom. Pretty cut and dry. Your body's state can influence the dream. If you are hungry you might dream of eating. Not a whole lot of analysis is required for such a dream, so consider that as well before diving in for a deeper meaning.