DREAM STUDIES

Dream interpretation - jails,prison and imprisonment as dream symbols

THE DREAM The dream began in my parents house, which used to be my grandparents house (they are both dead). Although in this dream, my parents were not present, and my wife and I were in the kitchen. I was trying to get ashes out of a "dustpan" that seemed to have a closed box on the top of it. The ashes, I believed had some connection to dead prisoners, although I have no idea why this is.

While trying to get the ashes out of the dustpan, I was banging on the pan, but no matter what, more ashes kept appearing (apparently from inside the closed box). I then somehow dropped the pan, and the box came open, scattering some of the ashes onto the floor.

My wife in this dream was afraid of the ashes, although I remained calm. A voice said to me "Guard ye well these ashes, for they are the ashes of legends".

The ashes that were spilled then seemed to take on a life of their own (or were blown by a breeze?) across the kitchen floor and went under the sink. I wondered about how I would clean these up, but then quickly forgot about it, and gathered up the remaining ashes in the pan, and headed for the outside door. Instead of going through the door, I opened the wall beside the door and went outside onto the porch, while telling my wife to turn on the outside light and driveway light (it was night time).

I went out to the driveway, where I began dumping the ashes near my grandfather’s old car (the car was sold years ago after he died). While dumping the ashes, I noticed a flower pot full of old dried, dead leaves. The leaves seemed to be glowing, and I determined that they were smoldering.

I then picked up the pot and threw it across the driveway into the bushes. About this time, I realize that my wife has not yet turned on the outside lights, and instead is coming out the sidewalk. She tells me something is wrong, and that something smells like it is burning.

I look across the driveway to where I threw the pot, and now it appears that a large fire has erupted behind a bush. However, when we go towards it, (again, I am very calm, but she is frightened), we discover that all is burning is the remains of the flower pot. I tell her that it will be OK because the grass is wet (like heavy dew). At that time, the flower pot seems to explode into a million little sparks that (like the ashes at the beginning) seem to take on a life of their own, and scurry off into the weeds and disappear.

THE REALITY The dreamer had just quit his job of five years due to stress. The dreamer had taken on too many duties since his boss was not willing or capable of carrying them out. He also developed the store he worked in and created a music section. The dreamer has always been involved in music. He is also a big supporter of the local high school band.

DREAM INTERPRETATION The dreamer had just quite his job of five years and that is a life changing situation. Therefor its a fair assumption that the dream will deal in some way with those life changing circumstances and thoughts. Its just a matter of seeing how the symbolism works.

The main symbol that sticks out here is ashes. When we burn something then only ashes remain. That is an excellent metaphor for real life. The dreamer has severed his link with a major part of his life and he is thinking over those ashes.

The ashes are also connected with prisoners. That is clearly a symbol of being trapped. The dreamer felt imprisoned several ways. His hours were long and hard. He saw little of his wife. His boss had a lowly opinion of him even though he had taken on great responsibility and was effectively running the store.

The quote in the dream is quite interesting as its quite biblical. The "legends" that he refers to is symbolic of the major and important part the job played in this life. His involvement in the local band was an epic part of his life. This was something bigger and greater than the hum drum of day to day life.

The dream also features the garden a lot. Thats important here. Gardens can symbolise things which are important and deeply rooted in our lives. Here the garden represents the healthy and flourishing aspects of his job. His involvement with the local band and just his sense of achievement at having built up the music side of the store. The dreamer felt that both he and the community at large may lose out because of this.

The weeds are symbolic of bad growth. These represent things in his life which were flourishing but not providing any real enjoyment. That links to the long hours and low opinion his boss had of him.

The dream is also taking place at night. That symbolises the fears linked to the situation. He has made an important decision and cannot see quite what the full consequences will be.

The dream takes place in the dreamers grandparents house. Thats often quite symbolic. Grandparents can symbolise the one thing that they have lots of experience of life. They can link to something involving the passage of time. Here they capture the dreamer looking back at his experience at the store.

Overall the dream captured the dreamers current feelings "I just had to quit. I know the music was a major part of my life and helped me become part of something bigger with the involvement with the local band. But my boss was always asking me to lie and cover up for his messes. He never respected my ideas and in the end the sheer number of hours left me disillusioned. "

Dream Symbols
ASHES : "the remains of his decision to quite his job"
GARDEN : "things that are flourishing - The friends and involvement that the job gave the dreamer and sense of achievement"
GRANDPARENTS HOUSE : "your experience of something - in this case the dreamers thoughts about his time spent working at the store"
PRISON : "the dreamer felt restricted by long hours and imprisoned by his bosses lack of belief in his abilities"
WEEDS : "bad things flourishing in our lives - long hours and lack of respect from his boss"

DREAM MEANING The dream captures the following feeling within the dreamer - "I have just quit my job of five years due to stress. The boss was getting me to lie and cheat to cover up his mistakes. I was trying to establish my own music section and it was working really well. That got me involved with the local school band. I have given up a lot and its been a real journey but I know I had to do it".

See how the Symbolic meanings weave together to form a key insight

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THE DREAM Last night I dreamt I was in line for a jail cell. I had a bloody gauze bandage on the lower right side of my body . I had a crumpled piece of paper in my hands and when I got to the table, the woman guard checking paperwork was a woman I used to work with. (she’s a high school secretary for the counseling office. When I worked with this woman I was in my early twenties and she was in her forties. She was intimidating. she’s blonde with red skin and aged b/c she smokes. She was also really into hockey b/c her son played. She always listened to an alternative rock station at her desk. She reminds me of my Mom when I was younger - tough and bitchy) So, when I get to the table I ask her if I can leave. It feels like she likes me and she wants to help me, but she doesn’t. She says I'd only be in jail for one night, that's not a big deal. I beg her to let me leave. I noticed that she let others leave. I stand there with my paper feeling embarrassed and unsure of what to do. In the cell, I am with a cousin,"Steve". (Steve has his own law firm and is quite successful. He is in his mid-late thirties. B/c of family squabbles, I have not seen him in five years. He’s about six years older than I am. He has always intimidated me. My dad used to say that he was like a genius.) In the dream, I’m not afraid of him. He has a pile of books in front of him. All the books are about fictional women or by women authors. I know we talked, but I don’t remember what was said. The next scene is both of us in front of the woman guard at that table. She is signing my paper so that I can leave. she’s irritated. She says "your cousin’s connections got you out of here." I am so happy. My cousin seems so cool and not worried about the situation. I tell her we should hang out sometime. [S Ramierez]

THE REALITY The day before the dream the dreamer was very hard on herself. She felt as if she had really wasted a day. She had been taking writing classes for a year and finally was begining to know what she wanted to pursue in life. Yet the day had been wasted and she accomplished nothing in the way of writing.

DREAM INTERPRETATION If something was on your mind on the day before then its very likely that the dream was about that one issue. The bigger the issue in your mind then the more likely there is a link. In this case the dreamer was dissapointed with herself. So its always best to work through the symbols and look for links to that one issue.

The character Steve in the dream is someone whom has achieved in life. This shows how aspirational the dreamer is feeling. She wants to tap into the genius inside her by exploiting her own writing skills.

The dream does seem to use several symbols which link to writing. The crumpled up piece pf paper represents her own failed writing attempts. The womens fictional books represent books which she really would like to write herself.

The second person in the dream also seems to be of major symbolic importance. Why did the dreamer choose this character? Maybe she chose someone tough and bitchey to represent her own need to be tough on herself. The woman also reminds her of her mother and so would represent someone who really has her own best interests at heart.

The prison is not an easy symbol to understand. It could represent the dreamers own feelings that she has wasted her life - in the same way prisoners waste their lives. It could represent the dreamer punishing herself. It could link to specific feelings of feeling trapped. Writers often use the term writers block and prisons a good symbol to express this state of mind.

If a dream contains strong emotions and feelings its best to look for instances where these simply mirror real life. The dreamer begs and really does want to leave the prison cell. This captures the dreamers own strength of feeling and wish to really change her life.

Dream Symbols
BEG : "Showing the dreamers own strength of feelings. Her real wish to change"
BLONDE : "A woman who reminds her of her mother. Her mind chooses someone who is caring (like her mother) yet will intimidate her and so push her into achieving "
CRUMPLED PIECE OF PAPER : "Fairly literal symbol - representing failed attempts at writing"
FICTIONAL : ""
ONE NIGHT IN JAIL - NOT A BIG DEAL : "The dreamer is aware that she is being hard on herself. One wasted day is not that big a deal. "
PRISON : "The dreamer feels as if she is wasting her life away."
PRISON : "The dreamer is punishing herself."
PRISON : "The dreamer feels trapped,restricted and unable to achieve."
FICTIONAL WOMENS BOOKS: "A wish to write books"
STEVE THE GENIUS : "The dreamer is trying to access the genius inside her. She is trying to tap into her own writing skills."

DREAM MEANING The dream captures the following feeling within the dreamer - "I really want to show my talents as a writer yet again I wasted a whole day sleeping and accomplishing very little. I am being very hard on myself but its something that I do really want".

See how the Symbolic meanings weave together to form a key insight

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DREAM TIP : Normally we see words like prison as referring to physical places where people go because they have done something bad. Yet dreams will always use symbols in their widest sense. Its often best to translate a dream symbol into words in the English language that are the equivalent. In this case a prison could easily translate into the words "imprisoned","trapped","restricted", and "excluded". Try think about thoughts in your mind as you wake up. Think of what happened yesterday and think of these words "imprisoned","trapped","restricted", and "excluded". How do they feature in those emotions.
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THE DREAM I am in some sort of factory-turned-prison. I seem to be some sort of prisoner. There are a lot of people, all dressed in a gray uniform, and with no particular leader. Most everything is gray except for some countertops which have red tile running along the edge. Something to do with coffee. Maybe this was a coffee roasting plant in the past. I have a friend who is my guard. He is trying to find a way to set me free without getting himself in trouble. He manages to "lose me" in some sort of hallway, but to keep from getting in trouble he eventually has to alert the others and a chase ensues. He captures me and everyone is very proud of him. Next we (everyone - me, my friend, all the people in gray) go into a flooded part of the facility, where some sort of punishment is planned for me. My friend the guard manages to "lose" me again, in the water. I dive under, and he dives in after me. Apparently everyone else is either afraid of me or afraid of the water, because no one else jumps in to chase me. My friend tries to direct me to a safe spot, but is worried about air. He goes up for a breath, while I remain underwater. I swim through a gate, and start to get a little worried that I won’t be able to stay underwater much longer. I am a smoker, so I know my lung capacity is not that good. But somehow I stay underwater for quite a long time, swimming away from the crowd and toward my freedom. Then I realize that I am breathing underwater, that I don’t need to come up for air because I can breathe underwater. Then I wake up to the sound of my own breathing. This is the second time I have dreamed that I could breathe under water.

THE REALITY The dreamer had been having problems at work. The dream took place during a saturday afternoon. She felt very tired at the time and emotionally drained. She felt this strange pressurized feeling like she was screaming inside. The pressure seemed to be caused by work stress. She felt the urge to escape from the crowd during the dream. This was very similar to her real life need to escape from the pressures of work. The dreamer also felt the pressure to do the right thing and make the transition as smooth as possible for her employers.

DREAM INTERPRETATION Prisons are symbols often of the restrictions placed on us. If we feel trapped in a job then its often likely to generate a dream with a prison in it. So since this was the case with the dreamer at the time of this dream its worth following this line of thinking. What could the other other symbols link to? In short dreams symbolise our thought processes so its necessary to look at her exact feelings on this issue and see if we can find other connections.

In understanding this dream its necessary to know how dreams work. Dreams are a safety valve. When we go to sleep we maybe feeling all kinds of terrible feelings and immediate stress. When we wake up we manage to distance ourselves from these. Yet here the dreamer has gone to bed on Friday and is still stressed out on saturday morning. Its only after a nap on the afternoon that she starts to get to grips and forget put a sense of perspective on things.

So now we have a crucial clue to the dreams meaning. The flooding suggested that she was becoming overwhelmed by the whole issue and was ceasing to be in control. Yet after the dream she felt a sense of emotional release. When you breathe you are in control and when you are unable to breathe it means that you are experiencing immediate anxiety and unable to make any real sense and actn in any meaningful way. Overall the dream captured the feeling that "I have managed to calm down and move on from a terrible week at work. When I woke up this morning I was still overcome by the stress of the previous day. Now I feel in control and able to make decisions."

The dreamer connected the breathing with these thoughts "But, I would also have to say that the major feeling of being able to breathe under water was one of success and of finally opening myself to possibilities that I had previously only dreamed of. It felt like I had opened myself up to things I had considered possible for other people but not for me. Now it was possible for me. This might have been the message of the dream – that I need to believe in myself, and believe that I can do things that I thought only other people could do."

Dream Symbols
BREATHE UNDERWATER : "able to think clearly about your situation"
DIVE : "Explore your true feelings and deep feelings"
FACTORY : "the dreamers workplace"
FLOODED : "unable to escape the immediate and ever present stress from nthe day before"
GUARD : "The dreamers own guardian who protects her. Her own need to extricate herself from the job which is causing her unhappiness"
HALLWAY : "The dreamers feelings about the transition."
PRISON : "The dreamer feels trapped in her job and in the immediate feelings of stress"
PUNISHMENT : "The dreamer thinks that there is a right and a wrong way of doing things."
SWIMMING : "A wish to get to some new emotional situation"

DREAM MEANING The dream captures the following feeling within the dreamer - "I have been so stressed at work recently. I still cannot get rid of all the tension and anxiety. When I woke up I thought it would have gone but I still cannot get rid of it. I just want to be able to think clearly and not be worn out"

See how the Symbolic meanings weave together to form a key insight

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DREAM TIP : When you are deciding on any definitions of dream symbols its always worth bearing in mind that all definitions should in some way include either the words THOUGHT or FEELING. Dream symbols relate to the mind and are produced by the brain. So think how the emotions within our brains work. The mind sees restrictions where there are none. We feel like we should not open our mouths in certain situations because it is insensitive or out of place. There is no good reason why we cannot physically say things yet we feel that we should not. Humans constantly block each other and place restrictions on how they can behave. It is often these restrictions which will be the source of a dreams meaning. Always try to get yourself inside the human mind. The mind is a factory of our thoughts. Try to understand the production process.
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THE DREAM I stabbed Jesus in the heart and had to spend the rest of my life in prison. A feeling of total despair stayed with me. I remember that I couldn’t believe I had stabbed anyone much less Jesus and in the heart to boot. I remember that I was trying to talk my way into just serving three years but to no avail. There was such a finality about the dream. My life was lost because of what I had done.

THE REALITY The day before the dream the dreamer had a discussion about Catholicism. The dreamer loves to go to mass but has a real problem with organized religion. However, she loves the formality and grandeur of the Catholic church.

DREAM INTERPRETATION This dream above all captures a sense of being trapped and imprisoned. The previous days conversation about religion does seem relevant in this case. The crux of this probably comes down to the nature of religion. You cannot be a bit of a catholic nor a bit of a Muslim. The great faiths in our world simply do not allow for any form of negotiation. Its not like a sweet shop where you can pick and mix the things that you like and dislike.

The dreamer stabs Jesus in the heart. That symbolises the extreme rejection of Catholicism in its pure form. Yet the dreamer is then intent on negotiating a jail sentence. But the truth is when you exclude yourself from a religion there is no going back.

The jail sentence is for three years. THREE : Three is a synonym for the word "FREE" and that often links with issues of freewill. So that links with the dreamers belief that she can freely accept certain portions of catholic belief yet walk away from others.

DREAM MEANING The dream captures the following feeling within the dreamer - "I was talking about catholicism yesterday. I do like catholic churches and the splendour within them. But I just do not like organised religion. I would feel trapped being a catholic".

See how the Symbolic meanings weave together to form a key insight

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DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : The fact is that dreams represent your thoughts. So work things in reverse. Instead of trying to see what your dream means think instead what issues could give rise to a dream. If you were very stressed about something on the day before the dream then look for symbols that can link to stress. If some nagging problem was on your mind then think if the symbols could link in any way.

DREAM STUDIES