Major psychologists have studied how dreams work and why they appear, and whether they may be meaningful some way or other. Carl G. Jung, Medard Boss, Calvin Hall, Montague Ullman and others conclude that dreams do carry meanings, but we need to understand that dreams functions on their own terms. Through the basics of dream interpretations we may aspire to get a hold on many of them.
Some dreams reflect mind content that pertains to tasks and problems and other issues the mind gets deeply involved in. Decode and interpret the flows of various icons, images, scenes, actors, happenings, concomitant feelings or outstanding ideas or episodes within the dream flow. Perhaps there is a pattern. We can take notes of dreams and learn to draw special illustrations that serve us in a log book, but it may be time-consuming work, and we also need to develop a sense of what is important dream stuff as we go on, so as not to get entangled in the dreams.
There are some dream manuals that can offer a little help in this life-time project. Jung statements on dreaming are here: [Jung on dreams and dreaming]
Clippings from the Bible
Yhwh [Jehovah, etc.] came down in a pillar of cloud and said,
In the Bible scenario there are also deceiving spirits and also false prophets to reckon with.
"I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, "I had a dream! I had a dream!" How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? [Jeremiah 23:25-26] . . . "I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, "The Lord declares." Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the Lord. "They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies . . .," declares the Lord. [Jer 23:31-32]
Many famous scientists have treasured dreaming, they too. "Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, and then perhaps we shall learn the truth," said August Kekulé. And "To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream," said Anatole France.
One may explore whether and how far dreamt encounters show any possible reality. Many try to do that.
The best development of the human family is to give the greater increase in knowledge of the subconscious, soul or spirit world. - Edgar Cayce
In the Edgar Cayce heritage many of these things are proposed for analysing dreams:
If you receive an unusual message, reduce it to common terms. You can work on analysing your dreams every day.
Hints for understanding
Recurrent dreams, as well as serially progressive ones could illustrate progress or failure or deeper things to be faced in time.
If you note and interpret your dreams fairly well, and not just casually, it should help health in the sense of wholeness, avoiding repressions perhaps. There could be many benefits from treating your total self with sound respect.
In life, there is room for many warnings. If you carry too many groceries for long you end up feeling weighed down. However, to carry groceries up to one's capacity, could still help. It is fit to relax in a good many cases. That is quite easy to tell, and may be difficult to carry out.
Rudolf Steiner is the founder of Waldorf edication. About 1227 Waldorf schools operate in about 67 countries (WP, "Waldorf education", Feb. 2010).
Through dreams we perceive - but dimly and without firm definition - single fragments of our inner, organic conditions. Through dreamless sleep we come to know our organization in its totality, although dimly and obscurely. Thus we have already considered three stages of knowledge: dreamless sleep, dream-filled sleep, the waking state.
Then we come to the three higher forms of knowledge: Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition. These are the stages which lie above the waking consciousness. - Rudolf Steiner, 1917a.
A dream ... is mostly connected with ideas [someone] had already acquired in his life, with reminiscences. These are however only the garments of what really lives in the dream or during sleep ... for in dreams is revealed what actually takes place in the soul during sleep ... (And the dream) is [also] related to the future ... the soul is a prophet during our sleep ... while we are asleep we do have to concern ourselves with the future. - Rudolf Steiner, 1917b.
The dream appears to imaginative perception as an emanation of the human head. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
There would be a certain amount of truth in painting man's spiritual appearance as follows: a countenance comparatively wise looking, perhaps even somewhat aged; hands and feet small and childlike; wings to indicate remoteness from the earth; and the heart indicated in some form or other reminiscent of the physical organ. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
The brain actually seem to contain, in a withered form, deep secrets of the world's structure. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
We must proceed to a highly differentiated mode of perception when we begin to study man's physical organisation imaginatively. We must become clever, terribly clever, when we study his head. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
On passing through the gate of death man gazes, to begin with, at his life in mighty, luminous, impressive pictures. This constitutes his experience for some days. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
On attaining imaginative consciousness, what ordinary consciousness knows already, really vanishes. Whether a man is being helped or injured is for ordinary consciousness to recognise; but the effect of a deed, be it good or evil, wise or foolish, in the spiritual world - its warming or chilling, lightening or darkening action (there are manifold effects) - all this arises before imaginative consciousness and begins to be there for us. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
When we have progressed and attained a sufficient intensification of imaginative consciousness we do not only gaze at the panorama of our experiences, but become perforce aware that we are not complete human beings until we have lived through this other aspect of our earthly actions, which had remained subconscious before. We begin to feel quite maimed in the face of this life-panorama that extends back to birth, or beyond it. It is as if something had been torn from us. We say to ourselves continually: You ought to have experienced that aspect too; you are really maimed, as if an eye or a leg had been removed. You have not really had one half of your experiences. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
This feeling of being maimed comes before 'inspired' consciousness and one says to one's self: I must make it possible for myself to experience all I have failed to experience; yet this is almost impossible, except in a few details and to a very limited extent. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
Life, chiefly the life of the stomach and all connected therewith, takes care that we take a cookery book more seriously than a mere theory. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
We must begin to experience what we have left un-experienced; and this holds for every single deed we have done to other human beings in the world. The last deeds done before death are the first to come before us, and so backwards through life. We first become aware of what our last evil or good deeds signify for the world. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
In undergoing all he has previously left unexperienced, man feels all around him beings far higher than himself. They unfold their sympathies and antipathies towards all he now lives through as a consequence of his earthly life. In this experience immediately after death we are within a kind of 'spiritual rain'. We live through the spiritual counterpart of our deeds, and the lofty beings who stand above us rain down their sympathies and antipathies. We are flooded by these. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
Now when we understand these things in this way, we can again turn our attention to the world of dreams, and see it in a new light. Perceiving man's experience, after death, of the spiritual aspects of his earthly life, his deeds and thoughts, we can again turn to the dreaming man, to all he experiences when asleep. We now see that he has already lived through the above when asleep; but it remained quite unconscious. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
Now a man who is not a 'sleepy-head' will spend about a third of his life asleep. During this third he does, in fact, live through the spiritual counterpart of his deeds; only he knows nothing of it, his dreams merely casting up ripples to the surface. Much of the spiritual counterpart is perceived in dreams, but only in the form of weak surface-ripples. Nevertheless in deep sleep we do experience unconsciously the whole spiritual aspect of our daily life. So we might put it this way: In our conscious daily life we experience what others think and feel, how they are helped or hindered by us; in sleep we experience unconsciously what the gods think about the deeds and thoughts of our waking life, though we know nothing of this. It is for this reason that one who sees into the secrets of life seems to himself so burdened with debt, so maimed - as I have described. All this has remained in the subconscious. Now after death it is really lived through consciously. For this reason man lives through the part of life he has slept through, i.e. about one-third, in time, of his earthly life. Thus, when he has passed through death, he lives through his nights again, backwards; only, what he lived through unconsciously, night by night, now becomes conscious. - Rudolf Steiner 1924, Lecture 8.
Lack of sleep with a related lack of dreaming periods for many weeks on end can make a person insane. The sleep researchers have established that humans go through several stages of nightly sleep, and that dream sleep that is characterised by rapid eye movements (REM sleep) peak about every ninety minutes. During sleep deprivation, REM sleep is sacrificed first, and later deeper sleep too, depending on the deprivation, how long it is every night, and how many weeks and months it lasts.
We usually do not remember many of our nightly dreams. They appear as a cavalcade of videos in our mind's eye, so to speak, and we may remember nothing. Still, being deprived of sound sleep and the nightly dreaming that goes along with it, soon enough makes mad.
So, whether we remember our nightly dreams or not, they can help in keeping us fine or sound. "Dream on for health," is proper advice.
The workings of your mind seems to solve or resolve problems without us being aware of it. Consider the amount of nightly dreams we are not aware of. We may not be able to deal with all of them full well if we are able to recall them. There are perhaps psychological depths and riches to deal with in addition to reactions to the last day's impressions, or meals. Many dreams are not recalled, and still help. That is quite an ignored fact of life. [Related sleep research]
From the Old Testament
Genesis 20:3-6; Genesis 31:10-11; Genesis 31:24; Genesis 37:5-6, 8-10; Genesis 40:5, 8-9, 16; Genesis 41:5; Genesis 41:7-8, 11-25, :32; Genesis 42:9; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13, 15; 1 Kings 3:5, 15; Job 33:15; Dan 1:17; Dan 2:1-9, 16-30, 36; Dan 4:5-9, 18-19; Dan 5:12; Dan 7:1; Jeremias 29:8; Joel 2:28.
The last passage is considered important in reborn-sects. Compare Acts 2:17.
From the New Testament
Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:12-13, 19, 22; Matthew 27:19; Acts 2:17.
Most people on a farm may be "suspected" to hold views and notions that it is OK to keep animals tightly under control and use them. They are not better than that; they don't see better than that.
Innocent ones may be unaware of the hidden agenda beneath much else that is thoroughly accepted in the society.
Why not look at what scepticts think too, although the insights of sceptics could be somewhat biased, they too? [◦Link]
Blass, Rachel B. The Meaning of the Dream in Psychoanalysis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Boss, Medard. "I dreamt last night ... " Gardner. New York, 1977.
Bulkeley, Kelly. Dreaming in the World's Religions: A Comparative History. London: New York University Press, 2008.
Freud, Sigmund. Dream Analysis: Psychology for Beginners. New York: James A McCann, 1920.
Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. 3rd ed. New York: MacMillan, 1913.
Hall, Calvin: The Meaning of Dreams. New ed. McGraw-Hill. New York, 1966.
Hall, James A. Jungian Dream Interpretation: A Handbook of Theory and Practice. Toronto: Inner City Books, 1983.
Hark, Helmut: Religiöse Traumsymbolik. Lang. Frankfurt am Main, 1980.
Hobson, John Allan. Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction. Paperback. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Jung, Carl Gustav. Dreams. Tr. R. F. C. Hull. Bollingen /Princeton University Press, 1974.
Jung, Carl Gustav. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Fontana, 1995.
Krippner, Stanley, Fariba Bogzaran, and André Percia de Carvalho. Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Nell, Renée. The Use of Dreams in Couple Counseling: A Jungian Perspective. Toronto: Inner City Books, 2005.
Pick, Daniel, and Lyndal Roper, eds. Dreams and History: The Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge / Taylor and Francis, 2004.
Snowden, Ruth. Exploring Your Dreams: How to Use Dreams for Personal Growth and Creative Inspiration. Oxford: How To Books, 2011.
Steiner, Rudolf. 1917. "The Bridge Between Universal Spirituality and the Physical Constitution of Man: Soul and Spirit in the Human Physical Constitution." (Schmidt Number: S-4317). Lecture given December 17, 1917a. https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA202/English/AP1958/19201217p01.html
Steiner, Rudolf. 1917b. "Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses: Lecture 4: Morality, as a Germinating Force." (Schmidt Number: S-3346) Lecture given in Berlin, 27th February, 1917.https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA175/English/GC1989/19170227p01.html
Steiner, Rudolf. 1924. "Anthroposophy, An Introduction. Lecture VIII. Dreams, Imaginative Cognition, and the Building of Destiny." (Schmidt Number: S-5602). Lecture given 9th February 1924. http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA234/English/RSP1931/19240209p01.html#sthash.Fif9XvWs.dpuf
Taylor, Jeremy. Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams. Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1983.
Ullman, Montague, and Nan Zimmerman. Working with Dreams. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee, 1979.
Harvesting the hay
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