In the evening when the brilliance of the sun fades and the moon casts her pale silvery light, the world is plunged in gloom and darkness, we wind down the body begins to shut down. Changes take place in the body and the brain, and attention is withdrawn from the senses, hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch are all diminished and then consciousness is switched off. We fall asleep through stages and experience a mild disorientating funny confusion before losing consciousness, we also experience deep dreamless sleep, in which there is no outer or inner sensation, no memory, there may be some kind of experience but there is no way for us to know anything about it… all we know is rest. Then there is two half way states, one where we are partially conscious and able to experience the dream sequence, and another very rare state called Lucid Dreaming, in which we are more fully conscious and able to influence the dream sequence.
In normal dreaming the unconscious paints situation and experiences for us, weaving together memories, emotions and thoughts, drawn from the short term and long term, that is the ‘conscious’ and unconscious minds contents, into a symbolic dream sequence in which you are often the main protagonist. During the experience it is almost always very real to you, and you are not aware that you are having a dream, but you accept it as reality or what is actually physically happening to you, because the dream offers up vivid visuals, but also audio. During the dream therefor you are not concerned with symbolism but only with the action. What is happening, what you are seeing, where you are going, what you are doing… But when you awaken and recall the dream different aspects of the dream may have greater significance and you feel drawn to ponder the meaning of the dream. Somehow inherently intuitively you feel that there is a significance, and a meaning. Sometimes its just too strange and fantastic, or even scary and you don’t want to focus on it and can’t unravel the meaning or message. Sometimes your subconscious fears and anxieties play out and sometimes deeper unconscious conditioning reveals some of its contents using some of the contents of the conscious mind.
There may me objects in the dream, some that have personal significance and some with more archetypal or collective shared significance. There may be architectural symbolism, physical buildings used to represent other types of structures, body, psyche, history etc. There may be people familiar or unfamiliar. There may be situations or something happening, sometimes scary and even horrifying, sometimes delightful even ethereal. Sometimes the emotional tone of the dream is more significant than the action or the symbolism. The dream is giving you something to feel, so that you can feel your way back into your deeper emotional baggage… not a memory or the experience itself but a glimpse of what it felt like when something really bad happened long ago. It may also be in preparation for something similar of a similar tone that is going to happen in the near future, which is the eruption into conscious life experience of the contents of the unconscious.
During my younger days I used to have a dream of driving a car, and it just starts rolling backwards and there’s nothing i can do to stop it. Another one i used to get was the one where its exam time and I don’t know anything in any of my subjects. Another scary one I used to get was when I felt seized by some some frightful screeching entity. I loved the floating flying dreams but I don’t get those much any more. Sometimes I have had fascinating instructional dreams like the time I was very concerned about my uncle’s struggle with multiple sclerosis and then I dreamed I was in a large house, and I encountered a young nephew of his, sucking water off the floor in the upper part of the house. Someone told me that the upstairs toilet was leaking. This same water was flowing out the basement into a mall, and my uncle was riding around like a clown on a mono-cycle. when I awoke i immediately knew that the house represented his body, and the upper floors represented his brain, and so i started researching the condition and the brain to try to understand what my dream was trying to tell me, and I discovered very interesting things. Another time I was deeply concerned about my friends crack or street heroin addiction and in the early hours of the morning I dreamed a song. I woke up and picked up my guitar and played it, and wrote the words, almost the whole song. On three occasions that I can remember I dreamed future situations. They were very simple innocent every day life occurrences, and usually when this happens I don’t remember the dream, but when the thing happens in real or waking life then the dream comes back to me… kind of like dejavu but clearly related to a dream experience not a past memory.
There are certain dreams that many people have in common, archetypal dream scenarios that means many people are dealing with the same repression or complex. Sometimes you have recurring dreams, sometimes the dream is different but there is a recurrent theme. Only you can truly appreciate the personal symbolism but sometimes you would need to research or study, or consult dream interpretation books or experts especially Freudian or Jungian psychologists who can help you to understand archetypal or collective dream object or experience symbolism. It helps to keep a dream journal but it is not necessary if you have a good memory and prefer to work more loosely and in an unstructured way with your dream life. There are no rules and no best way, all it requires is your acceptance of the dream life as not inferior to the waking life, and that it allows you to experience a complimentary perspective, one that gazes into darkness and shadows by the light of the moon.
Artworks by Rob Gonsalves, Alex Grey, Salvador Dali, and Rassouli