For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing dream interpretation articles on various common dream experiences. In the process, I’ve received comments and messages from several dream enthusiasts and people curious about their dream experiences. Here’s a message from Tommie Sandlin, a fellow Associated Content CP from one of my articles:
Thanks for this info. It explains a lot. Maybe in your next article you can explain the dream of where all of my pets jump off a bridge! One by one, until they are all gone! Help!
This is a very short dream that I’ll use as an example of how to approach dream interpretation. Thanks Tommie for the suggestion!
Dream interpretation Step One: Determining significant dream symbols
First, look at the dream symbols or images that stand out in the dream. In this dream, it is relatively simple: pets and a bridge. Since dreams represent the dreamer’s consciousness in some way, we’ll look to the function of the dream images in waking life to determine what they represent within the mind.
We’ve all heard of animal instincts. Those of you who have pets can vouch for their repetitive actions. Animals mainly operate from memory and attention, without the benefit of creative imagination. This dream symbol mirrors the function of habitual thinking within the mind. Therefore, animals represent habitual thinking.
Bridges in waking life assist us from traveling from one place to another. It reflects the action within the mind of transitioning from one state of mind to another. Now that we’ve identified the dream symbols, we’ll go onto step two.
Dream interpretation Step Two: Looking at the whole picture
This step is where we begin to put things together by looking at how the dream images come together. We don’t know if Tommie was walking her pets across the bridge, or if she observed them jumping off from afar, or even if the pets died after they jumped off. What we do know is that they are her pets, which she probably loves very much. This can give clues to what kind of habits they represent in dream interpretation. They probably have to do with something comforting and familiar.
We also know that they did jump off, so there was a point in time when these thoughts were discarded. This is where the bridge comes in. Since the bridge represents moving from one state of mind to another, this action likely occurred when Tommie experienced moving out of her comfort zone by doing something new.
Dream interpretation Step Three: Relating the dream to waking life experience
This is where knowing what the dreamer was doing and thinking becomes the most valuable. This is also why the dreamer is going to be the at dream interpretation for their own dreams. In this case, only Tommie knows what she was doing or thinking.
From a dream interpreter’s perspective, I attempt to relate this to my own experiences, or experiences I’ve seen in others to help people relate the dream to their own experiences. This reminds me of when I used to work for a music store as a band & orchestra department manager.
My main responsibilities involved the selling of band and orchestra instruments and accessories. My degree in music combined with my experience of being a musician in these fields helped me become excellent in this department. However, the music store I worked in had several departments: guitars, drums, pianos, print music, repair, and electronics. One day, I recognized that naturally, my comfort zone was my department, and I’d get a little antsy when customers asked me questions about departments that I didn’t know about. So, I made it a point to ask a lot of questions from specialists in those other areas and assist customers to the best of my ability, until I felt comfortable with the process. While it was uncomfortable, sometimes intimidating, and irrationally scary at the beginning (like pets jumping off a bridge), over time my experiences paid off.
Dream interpretation Step Four: Applying the dream message
This was probably a shocking and upsetting dream to experience, which shows the types of emotions and feelings that Tommie might have felt when she was experiencing whatever her dream reflected. Any type of change, whether that’s a change in jobs, relationships, or going through puberty, can be disorienting or come with growing pains. Strengthening and clarifying ideals, goals, and purposes for them can go along way in making the transitions in life easier.
She could make a list of ten goals she wants to accomplish, and then systematically defining and clarifying how they relate to her ideals, or the type of person she wants to become, and her purpose for those goals or what she’ll learn in the process. The more this becomes solid within her own mind, the loss of her comfort zone (pets jumping off the bridge) will become less prominent than the positive and beneficial changes she’ll create in the process (crossing the bridge).