There are literally thousands of books out there that have been created to tell you what your dreams mean. The problem is, they’re almost all worthless.
In fact, the very concept of a generic book that can interpret your dream is inherently flawed. The crux of the reasoning is that there are symbols in dreams that are somehow so universal, they apply to anyone who picks up the book, but, hidden enough that you need to read the book to find out the universal meaning.
Don’t get me wrong, I think dreams hold important messages from our unconscious, but unfortunately, the interpretation of your dream is never going to be as easy scrolling down an index to find what ‘witch’ means. To some, witches might be massively scary. To others they might just represent magic or the occult. To others, they might be the epitome of feminine power and mystique.
Hopefully, you get where I’m going with this. Specifically – you should abandon the notion that your dream can be interpreted through a book that has no idea of what the symbols in your dream mean to you.
Some books are less problematic than others – some only talk about the contents of dreams in a really general way that align with most people’s understanding or responses to those contents. For example, ‘if you’re flying, you want to be more free,’ or, ‘if you’re being chased, you’re stressed,’ or, ‘if you dream of getting lost, you’re feeling lost.’ This kind of thing is fine in a very generic sense. It’s when things get more specific that I have a real issue.
A witch doesn’t have to represent evil like a lion doesn’t have to represent a predator, like killing someone doesn’t represent homicidal tendencies, like having great sex with your father (in your dream) doesn’t make you incestuous.
I encourage people to talk about their dreams because I do genuinely think they have content that’s there specifically to help. I might even go so far as to say that there are some dreams that can be trying to tell a person what conflicts are going on unconsciously as well as containing a clue to how to resolve them. The thing is, this is a massively personal experience – no book is going to be able to get it right for even a majority of its readers.
Instead, what is required is an individual who knows about you, that can ask you a few pertinent questions and potentially make an interpretation/link/connection that isn’t immediately there for you. When you have someone trained to interpret your personal experience of a dream, then doors can be opened for you.
If I can provide a defense for generic dream interpretation, it revolves around the fact that within cultures, it is common for certain things to have fairly uniform connotations. If then, you’re familiar with the common symbols or archetypes that have run through a culture for generations, then you have a base to work from with which to interpret a dream. And this can be quite powerful for an individual who has been trying to interpret a dream literally, instead of looking at the symbolic nature of the dream contents.
Again though, I feel like I have to emphasize that these archetypes are a base for an individual to work from. This is because the symbols by themselves are only containers for meaning – meaning that your personal experience supplies. So while the containers are important, it’s important not to see them as anything close to the whole story, or, as meaningful in themselves.
So next time you have a dream that really stands out (because after all, some dreams don’t have a whole lot of meaning behind them), please don’t reach for a book that tries to tell you what certain contents mean to you. If you have to reach for a book, reach for a book on myths from your culture. For those in the “Western” world, this might be Greek, Norse and/or British. At least then you can get an idea of the archetypal images being presented to you.
My preference, however, is that you treat yourself like a client. If you were talking to someone asking for advice on a dream, what links to traditional symbols come to mind? Ask the client how the dream and its contents made them feel. Is there a link to basic human desires and fears? And then, bringing those things together, what conclusion could you make about what their unconscious mind is trying to tell them about?
Good luck and sweet dreams.