We all have mornings where we wake up after a vivid dream, confused, scared or excited. But have you ever wondered what dreams mean and how we can interpret them? There is a whole host of books about dream interpretation, and we’ve chosen the best ones for you to refer to on those mornings that start with a story.
Where it all began
The study of dream interpretation started academically with Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He introduced the theory of the unconscious in relation to dreams. Freud described the practice as ‘the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind’. He believed that repressed thoughts or feelings would manifest in dreams in an abstract way. He also explored the idea of symbols within dreams. Freud discovered that the symbols that appear in dreams are personal to the individual who dreams them.
If you want to start at the beginning of the dream interpretation movement, Freud’s book, The Interpretation of Dreams is a great one to read. It outlines Freud’s theory in detail, providing examples and case studies for you to explore. Probably the most famous book regarding this subject, you may find the content to be a little out of date. However, if you want an introduction to the possible reason for dreaming and the explanations behind your dreams, this is a good start.
For a quick reference guide to interpret a dream that you may have experienced, dream dictionaries are the best and easiest way to go. They provide a list of symbols with short explanations as to what they may mean.
Dream psychologist Ian Wallace’s book, The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert helps you to analyse the hidden messages and meanings within dreams by interpreting the images presented in them. You can decipher what it is that is going on in the back of your mind, meaning you can help figure out what you really want in life. You can also browse a wide range of subjects in this easy to navigate book. Whatever image or object appears in your dream, you simply flick to that word and find out the meaning, exactly like a dictionary. It discusses over 12,000 dream symbols, so almost anything you dream about will be covered in the book.
If you’re brand new to dream interpretation or want to learn more about how to read your own dreams, the Dream Dictionary for Dummies by Penney Peirce is a great reference book. As with all the ‘for Dummies’ books, this will provide an easy to read guide with step by step instructions. With the help of this book you can learn how to decode your dreams, understand and remember them. Similarly to Wallace’s book, this will also provide an A-Z list of dream symbols and what they mean. If you want to improve your dream interpretation skills or are a beginner, this book is a great introduction.
In order to interpret your dreams, you first have to remember them. Dream journals are a great way of recording what happened in your dream, what you saw and how it made you feel. You could do this simply with a regular notebook, however there are now dedicated dream journals on the market with sections for different aspects of your dream. The Knock Knock Dream Journal is a brilliant one, with sections to record your dream, categorise it, say how it made you feel, draw sketches and also write your interpretation. It’s an ideal gift for anyone interested in dream interpretation as it makes the process extremely easy and accessible for all.
Filling out your dream journal is a lovely way to wake up as it clears your mind but also forces you to use your brain productively. The University of Rochester Medical Centre say ‘When you have a problem and you’re stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.’. This also applies to dream interpretation, as if you have a recurring image or theme to your dreams, you could figure out what in life is troubling you and therefore fix the problem.
Do you record or interpret your own dreams? Let us know in the comments!