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Dream analysis - problems and difficulties

Many people take a highly simplistic approach to dream analysis. For instance a dream about a soldier may represent the way you "impose your feelings on others". That is true to some extent and there maybe a dream about a soldier which does indeed revolve around this symbolic meaning.

However, the symbolic meaning of soldiers in dreams is much more complicated and the same goes for any other dream symbol. For a start this simplistic approach revolves around YOU imposing your feelings on others. A dreams meaning may also link to that exact theme, but the dream may not be about you it maybe about others. You may, for instance, be worried or annoyed that your father imposing his opinion on others. Dreams need not just be about you, they can be about anyone you are thinking about.

So we now have two feelings that the dream about a soldier may link to:
- "I am imposing my opinions on others"
- "I am worried that he is imposing his feelings on everyone"

Yes the dream may link to the theme of "imposing your views on others." However, the dreams meaning may feature a context which is quite sophisticated. Think of all the ways in which this theme may appear. You maybe worried that you are imposing your views on others and you do not want to seem like a dictator! But you may also think "I will impose my opinions on that committee and they will be forced to bow to my will." So your dream about a soldier may link to very opposite views.

It is best to think of dream symbols as words. The symbol soldier might link to words and phrases like "teamwork", "discipline", "struggling" and "hardship." A handy way to understand a dream is to think how you might use these words to describe a current feeling. Try to see which themes appear in your thoughts. If you were thinking how "you enjoy being part of the team at work then a dream about a soldier may represent that exact thought.

But remember that dream analysis is difficult not easy. There are no simplistic rules which apply. Lets go back to the example of the soldier dream. It is best to think of a soldier dream linking to the words and phrases that we associate with them. But just think of all the contexts in which these words appear. A dream about a soldier may link to any one of these feelings.

"I hate having to be disciplined"

"My Nephew needs a bit of strong discipline"

"My new boss seems to not believe in disciplining people. I just worry tat the company may go bust because he is so relaxed"

"I want to encourage people at work to form a team which supports each other"

"I enjoyed being part of that team yesterday"

The list of feelings that we could link to a soldier dream is very long. It maybe so long that it becomes of no value.

The trouble about dream analysis is that the dream could be about you but it could be about someone close to you. It maybe about the future or the past. It maybe about your personality! It maybe a a specific emotion from yesterday. Dreams can link to paranoias and fantasies.

Dreams symbols are very much like words. However, when we use a word we try to convey the precise context in which our feeling appears. If we have a feeling which is about yourself then when we construct a sentence to convey that feeling then we will indicate that clearly. However, a dream never thinks to indicate the context in which it is using that dream symbol. So we just have to guess what the context is.

This is seemingly an impossible task as a symbol could mean so many different things. However, there is one thing in our favour. A dream may contain several symbols and so we can guess what the dreams meaning is by looking for connections.

Here is how the process works. A dream is made up of several symbols. Lets just make up a dream:"A man dreams of a long fierce battle taking place then suddenly everything is peaceful. All the soldiers have disappeared and. It is a complete transformation." We discussed the symbolic meaning of soldiers earlier and the symbolic meaning of battle is often similar, if not the same. A soldier dream could link to the words "discipline", "struggle" and "hardship" to name a few. Lets say that the dreamer was "struggling" with a tough work schedule the day before. Therefore the dream could link to that issue in some way.

To check the meaning of the dream we would then try to see if other symbols had a relevance to this issue. The dream deals with a transformation as warfare gives way to peace and tranquillity. How could the dream link to this issue about his work schedule?

Think of all of these feelings as they could all have relevance to this issue of a heavy work schedule.

"I am looking forward to getting over this busy period"

"The thing I hate about work is that one minute we are rushed off our feet and the next we have absolutely nothing to do"

"It will seem strange having nothing to do next week as we have been busy for so long"

All of these feelings seem consistent with the symbols in the dream.

Now let's pretend that you have just had a dream which includes the following symbols :A "witch", a "monster" and a "village". To help understand the dream we might list the symbols and any words which are linked by association (we have compiled these words and phrases through studying each type of dream).

WITCH: "bad luck", "feeling cursed", "Evil", "mother in law", "manipulative", "interfering", "scheming"

MONSTER: "too much to handle", "Out of control", "going to any lengths", "gone too far".

VILLAGE: "stuck in their ways", "remote", "super friendly", "excluding people"

To interpret this dream pick one of each of these words and phrases associated with each dream symbol. So you could pick "mother in law" (witch), "gone too far" (monster) and "stuck in their ways" (village). Try to think of a phrase which captures your feelings. If you cannot think of a phrase pick a different associated word. Concentrate on one symbol and try to see which is the most relevant associated word. Let's say the dreamer choose "manipulative" with the "witch" because the dreamer was sick of her manipulative mother. So it seems that "manipulative" is definitely the best symbolic fit for "WITCH".

Now the dreamer should concentrate on the other dream symbols "monster" and "village". Clearly the phrases "Out of control", "going to any lengths", "gone too far" could have relevance. Let's say that the dreamers "manipulative" mother had "gone too far" this time and that the dreamer was extremely angry at her. Next we try to mix in one of the phrases which link to the symbolic meaning of "village". This one seems more difficult. Villages can link to people who are "stuck in their ways" because people who live in villages are cut off from normal society and they can develop some very strange ways of thinking.

So now look at the list of dream symbols and the particular words we have associated with them:
- WITCH: "manipulative"
- MONSTER: "gone too far"
- VILLAGE: "stuck in their ways"

See how the dream links to this exact feeling "This time my mother has gone too far. She is so manipulating. She is so stuck in her ways you just cannot change her."

Lets reword this so it makes the symbolism clear "This time my mother has gone too far (her behaviour is monstrous). She is so manipulating (like a witch). She is so stuck in her ways you just cannot change her (she is like one of these people stuck up in the hills who has her own particular way of thinking and you just cannot change them)."

Using methods like this then you can start to understand how dream symbolism works. Try to translate dream symbols into these key words and phrases that we associate with them e.g. witches are associated with words like "evil", "scheming" and phrases like "mother in law".

But remember that this process is not easy. Yes a dream symbol can translate into a word like "scheming" but think of the immense amounts of ways you can use that word and all the differing contexts that it may appear. That is why the process of dream analysis is so difficult.

Let us go back to the previous example dream of a witch, monster and village. The language of dreams just says "manipulate, gone too far, stuck in their ways." Yet when we translate that into real English we find it could mean "This time my mother has gone too far. She is so manipulating. She is so stuck in her ways you just cannot change her."

This website features hundreds of examples of dreams all of which use this self same method of analysis on real dreams. The method is tried and tested. If you were only thinking of one thing yesterday then its easy to see what the dream means. We can guess that the dreams you get will link in some way to that issue on your mind. All you have to do then is work out how the symbolism works.