Do you look for messages in dreams?

Two crows perch in a tree
Freud is famous for (possibly) saying, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Dreams don’t always mean something.

But my favorite game is to ask, “If there were a message for me here, what would it be?” With dreams, you have to play right away, or the details will be lost. I’ll often narrate the dream to my cat upon waking, because speaking it helps me remember.

Why I don’t rely on dream books for interpretations

Dream dictionaries seldom help with this game because symbols in dreams are personal. For example, a dream featuring a baby. To an artist, it could represent a new creative project that needs nurturing. To an overworked manager, could represent a time-consuming responsibility. To a hopeful mother, it could represent a promise of pregnancy, and to a grieving mother, regret and loss. Etc.

My murder of crows

Last night, I dreamt of a tree full of crows. The tree stood between me and a place I visited often. As I approached the tree, crows flew toward me. I dropped to the ground and covered my head to protect my face. But the crows flew right on by.

Seems the crows were saying, It’s not about you.

Turning big symbols into personal tools

I should have known the crows weren’t a threat to me. Earlier in the dream, I’d shared coffee and conversation with someone at a table beneath that tree. So why the paranoia? And perhaps the more interesting question, why was “saving face” my primary concern?

(You can see why I’m a fan of narrating dreams and listening to the details I choose. That’s how things like saving face show up, along with other personal symbols unlikely to be in a dream dictionary.)

And connecting the dots

I’m reminded of my real-life crow visitation, about a year and a half ago. I saw that as a call to find magic in everyday things. But I used a book for that interpretation. If it happened today, I might see my food-carrying crow as a prompt to pay attention to juicy opportunities.

Could having dream crows fly past me indicate great opportunities I’ve failed to notice? Perhaps I tend to miss seeing opportunities that don’t mesh with my precious self-image (to bring saving face back into it).

Lots to think about.

You say you don’t remember your dreams?

A couple of things you can do to get better at it:

  • Before you turn out the light, set an intention to remember
  • Before you get up, spend your muzzy-headed minutes fishing for dream memories
  • Anything you get, speak it out loud. Write notes ASAP
  • Keep a notepad, pen and small flashlight handy for mid-night captures
  • Practice

Once you’ve nailed one, play the game. Bring friends.

A couple of my friends make great dream sounding boards. They catch things like saving face if I miss them. Maybe you’ve got similarly perceptive friends who can listen to you describe your dream and help you play the “if-it-had-a-message-for-me” game.

Have fun. Dream big.


Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot

7 Replies to “Do you look for messages in dreams?”

  1. How very interesting, Sally! Since the time I was a kid, I’ve had very vivid dreams that played out like books and movies as I dreamed them. I’ve never actually wondered about the symbolism because they always seemed so complete. Beginning,middle and end. I can see I’m going to have to study this a little more. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m interested in “but the crows flew right on by. It seems they were saying…it’s not about you”.
    then what was it about? what did you witness?
    I have reoccuring dreams of lions, sometimes tigers, sometimes bears(yes, I know!) coming into my house. I’m trying so hard to protect myself but they just walk on by me, brushing me as they pass. I’ve felt it has something to do with their wild, strong, potentially ferocious energy that I needed? Your comment that “it’s not about you” makes me wonder about that. hmmmm…

    1. Hi, Judy. I think my crows were headed someplace. They’re clever birds, and opportunistic. The fact they were headed in the direction I was leaving behind makes me wonder if I missed something. If so, might I still be able to take advantage of it? Makes me want to do a quick review of what’s been active in my life, looking for resources I might have overlooked.

      Maybe there’s a source of help I’ve been too embarrassed to tap. Or something I feel I haven’t earned. Dunno.

      As for your animal dreams, you say they’re coming into your house. I always consider my house in a dream to represent me. Your mileage may vary, of course, but from that standpoint, you may be right on the mark with your interpretation. These critters weren’t invited, so perhaps they’ve been sent (by Team Judy) to get you accept the wilder, more ferocious, aspects of your nature–the aspects that frighten you.

      Or even more interestingly, perhaps rather than being sent, they belong in your house. They’ve lived there all along, but you’re somehow maintaining denial. So, in a way, it’s not about you, it is you. We (read: I) can get pretty attached to what’s safe and appropriate to include in our range of expression. Just because we don’t want to see the beasts within doesn’t mean they’re not there.

      Rawr!

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