Dream Images and Revealed Wisdom

     Doing business under the banner Exploring Paths to Cosmic Wisdom, I try to include as many different ways of accessing that Wisdom as I can. There are many, many modalities for which I have no facility, and several others which are as natural to me as breath.
     Dream Interpretation is one of those services that I offer to some of my clients: those for whom the intimacy of self-revelation is not too uncomfortable, for dreams reach to depths that are often concealed from others.
     As dreamers we are often too close to, or confused by, the images we have seen, and it is helpful to have an outside, objective view.  Dream images are most often symbolic, and can provide clues about waking life, when a dreamer hears the *correct* meaning of a dream image, recognition is usually immediate and complete.
    There are many books and websites dedicated to classifying the meanings of dream-pictures. They make interpretations from an impersonal distance. It has been my experience that these generalizations rarely offer genuine insight without further exploration.
     A few years ago, I was on the periphery of a church group which was following the example set by Joseph and his interpretations of dreams for the Pharaoh, [Genesis 41]. They gathered weekly, and took turns describing their dreams, the other members having the opportunity to suggest the meanings that might be ascribed.
     At one gathering, a visitor, Robyn, spoke of a dream where she was in a Dickensian sort of a shop: the shopkeeper behind the counter; the whole room filled with shelves of jars and cans from which the grocer could draw items. Arranged in front of the counter were hessian sacks of potatoes and bins of apples. The people present were clad in long Victorian garb, aprons and shawls that were more grimy than not, and shoes that had seen better days. The whole atmosphere was dark and dull and oppressive.
     Then a snarling dog arrived threatening to bite Robyn, at which point she awakened.
     Group members offered many suggestions that did not satisfy.
     In the end, the group realized that the parish where Robyn was worshipping was resisting change; she found their ways very old-fashioned and restrictive, and her attempts at making progress were always turned away and punished.
     Dream Image books often claim that the dog is the image for loyalty and friendship: in Robyn’s case it was a representation of the anger that congregants had turned on her progressive ideas.
     This is not to say that a dog in someone else’s’ dream is not there to signal loyalty, it is simply to say that there is no one-size to fit all the impressions that inspire or haunt our sleep.
     Dora, dreamt of ants. They were crawling on the walls and furnishing of her home. They were horrifying. They were indestructible. Dora was disgusted and appalled.
     Ants are described variously as symbols of feeling insignificant, or of hard work and orderliness. Dora revealed in conversation that she was soon to host some rather unwelcome guests. She was performing a family duty rather than offering a genuine welcome. She was feeling the invasion and infestation of her home, and the dream made her conscious of those feelings. Naming and acknowledging her feelings of emotional and territorial threat let her relax and perform her duty with minimal disruption.
     Understanding what our dream images are showing to us requires very individual interpretation of that they are. A boat is said to be a symbol of travel, and that may be the case. Yet a motor boat and a yacht and a dory are each likely to have a different place in the psyche of the dreamer. A barge and a paddle wheeler are very individual and likely to be processed in different ways from sloops and ferries and sampans or kayaks. For one who grew up on a houseboat, it might be a depiction of security and comfort. For someone who is a lifeguard there will be different interpretations, and to an inhabitant of a fishing village who has lost family out on the water, it has an entirely other texture and meaning
      Understanding dream messages can help with improving life and growing the soul. It is best gained through examining the dream-parts and their significance in a relationship of trust and caring and which fully honours the dreamer as unique.

     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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