Dreams Part 4, What Do They Mean? How To Recall Dreams

Hello friends!  Welcome back to artful Living with Lynda Anne. Thanks for joining us today as we continue with part 4 of our series on dreams, what are they, why do we dream, what do our dreams mean? In previous episodes we’ve talked about how I began dream interpretation, we’ve discussed what dreams are, we’ve taken a historical walk down dream lane, and we’ve examined some different types of dreams in the first 3 episodes of this series.  Today we’re going to talk about how to remember your dreams, so that you can interpret them. 

But before we dive in, I want to take a moment to thank my monthly sponsors.  I really appreciate you and your support. Thank you so much!

Ok So let’s talk about why we want to bother remembering our dreams.  Well, most people remember very little of their dreams, yet in the last 3 episodes we’ve already talked about how dreams help us in so many ways.  Why would we not want to remember all that learning, healing, and inspiration?

Recalling your dreams and learning to interpret them can save thousands of dollars in self help books and therapy.  That’s a joke in a way because it doesn’t have to be one or the other we can do both.  But the process of self discovery and acceptance will go much faster and much farther if we learn to listen and trust our subconscious, or inner self, our intuition, which I believe communicates to us through many ways including dreams.  Dreams are not the only way our spirit, subconscious, guides, gods whatever you call them, communicate with us, but they are a profoundly powerful way.

Once you begin to understand dream ‘language,’ you will find this process almost automatic.  Just like learning any new skill, it takes a bit of effort and time in the beginning but as it becomes second nature, it needs very little effort. So give it time and be patient with yourself.  Remember there is no test, there is no wrong answer, there is no deadline.  Learning is fun.  Dreaming is fun.  So the first thing you need to start this fun hobby of dream interpretation is a dream tool box.  That means any thing to write your dreams on and anything to write your dreams with.

That can be as fancy as a dream journal with blank pages and pages for narratives, a set of colored pencils, markers, or paint, and writing instruments.  Or it could be the Notes app on your phone.  I really don’t recommend this as the light from the phone will bother your eyes.  Better to do it something like this:

Prepare your dream journaling space before you go to bed and find the way it works best for you to keep it as consistent as possible.  You’ll be able to find your journal in your sleep eventually.

Include in your dream space, soft night light, something to write on and with, a clock. Include things that help you sleep, for example a lavender plant nearby, peaceful sounds like rain or water playing, a glass of water, if you need them, your eyeglasses (you want everything you need to journal at hand so that you do not have to get out of bed).  Don’t get it too cluttered though, keep the water separate and preferably with a lid.

When you first begin try to avoid things like coffee, high energy video games, shows or music.  Try to give yourself a routine for a season while you learn this. If possible. If not just go at it with grace and patience the best you can. So let me set a scene for what your bedtime routine might look like.  After a warm shower (don’t go to bed with wet hair that isn’t wrapped, momma always says…), uh ok after a warm shower, you put on your most comfortable sleep attire perhaps it’s flannel jammies perhaps it’s a birthday suit.  You tell yourself you are going to remember your dreams tonight, and you are looking forward to it. You turn on soft music or soft background noise to sleep with like rain forest or thunderstorm, crackling fireplace, or city traffic – whatever feels like home and gives you the best rest. Your sleep area smells pleasant, perhaps with herbs like lavender or eucalyptus, to help you sleep. Then you light a soft candle like nightlight.  But not a real candle because you and your bed are flammable. The light needs to be really soft.  You don’t want it to compete with you night vision.  It just has to be enough light for you to see your dream journal/napkin/envelop/whatever your dream journaling on – and the writing instrument. Just one.  You don’t want to wake up and try to recite the entire dream, you just want to roll over, jot down any details that come fresh to mind, and then roll right back over to sleep.  This middle of the night journal is more like shorthand or notes for the real interpretation you will do when awake.  These little details you jot down can and should be a simple as possible one word or two that can remind you of the greater dream.  For example: swimming water ocean rough scared sinking ok breath water.

Or you could even draw a stick figure under a squiggly line representing rough waves.  Do whatever you can to recall the most with the least. Jot down the time and date (you’ll need this later to analyze recurring themes). Tell yourself with intention I will remember this dream in great detail when a wake fully refreshed. Then get right back to sleep. And repeat.

Do this throughout the night each time you realize you have dreamt, or if you get out of bed to go to the bathroom, write down whatever is on your mind as it is likely what you were just dreaming about. But not if your thinking about the toe you just stubbed that isn’t going to be relevant for dream recall. Unless you just dreamt a prophetic dream that you stubbed your toe…..oh my a screwy rabbit hole.  Let’s stay on track.

Finally, before you get out of bed in the morning, journal whatever you are thinking about when you awaken.

After a few days, you should have something on your nighttime dream notes.  Hurray! Congratulations!  You did it.  You recalled something.  Anything…? No?  Give yourself time and don’t forget intention. You might find that with intention comes cooperation.  Your mind will suddenly pop out a memory of a dream as your driving, or doing something entirely inappropriate for journaling.  That’s ok.  Just say out loud everything you remember.  You can whisper, but the point is for your ears to hear the words and your tongue to feel the words, thus giving you other routes for the memory to be recalled. As soon as possible get to a writing medium and recall everything you can just as you would if you were doing it in the middle of the night.

Also, when you get out of bed in the morning, don’t jump right up.  Lay in bed and become aware of your thoughts, let them wander, or unfold.  Are you feeling anything?  Do you see anything? Anyone? 

Don’t stockpile these notes.  Interpret them as they come.  So you need to create a real journal entry as soon as you can do so uninterrupted.  Now you can break out your big dream tool box.  Any medium to record you want, and colors you may need.  You can draw, and write – most common, but some people will prefer a song, or a watercolor, or an oral reciting.  You can record right into your phones voice notes app, even. You do you.

Recall, recall recall, based off you notes, compile greater details, including colors, mood, atmosphere, characters, animals, location(s), draw pictures, stick figures are ok, it’s not for an exhibit, but once you start drawing you may recall more details.  Drawing makes you focus on any given aspect a bit longer than a word.  It also helps discern the mood.  Color of the sky, room, ceiling, etc.  The more you document, the longer you soak in the details, the more will emerge.  Don’t force it.  If it feels forced or at all stressful, you’ve done enough.  If it is very little that’s enough.  Start with that.  Just keep building the habit and the process will become natural.  Even the smallest detail can be enlightening so don’t feel frustrated if it is slow going at first. 

It can really help to use a specially designed dream journal.  DreamMoods.com and Aisling Dream Interpretation (links in blog form see description box) helped me develop my own personal version that I shared with my children.  When they were very young, I made them each books with resources, and journals.  I’m looking at one now, and the date I printed it says August 18, 2004.  Seems like yesterday and forever ago at the same time. 

Here are the detail prompts I found most useful:

Dream date: day of week and date which you can write before you go to bed.

Dream title : which you will make at the end, it should sum up in one sentence the gist of the dream.

Colors – all any, so not just a car, but a —green — car, or a blue sky, or a grey cloud. Every color of every object, a person – wearing? What color?  The color may come before the item worn.  If you don’t see in color, you already know when I say color replace that with shade or pattern.  Likewise, if the dream is in black and white or sepia. These colors may have meaning, so recall any color you can.

Look for numbers, patterns – 3 dogs, 2 men, 45 minutes, etc. Numbers have meanings so write down any references to numbers.

Look for characters, people, guides. 

They may be in the form of human, animal, spirit, etc.

Look for word plays or metaphors.  Think puns.

On a separate sheet, at the same time, draw an illustration, map, outline, or an abstract of your dream to help random details emerge.

We’re going to cover what to do with all this data you’ve accumulated next time.  I said I would interpret a dream for you today but nobody has been brave enough to submit.  Don’t be shy.  Use today’s tools to help you recall and send it off to me on my website at www.LyndaAnne.art go to Consulting page, click Free Dream Interpretation and get your free interpretation.

Meanwhile, meet back here next time for episode 5 in the Dreams series, where we’ll learn what to do with all that fabulous journaling and data you’ve acquired.

I’d like to thank my monthly sponsors for their support.  You mean the world to me.  I can’t thank you enough, from the bottom of my heart thank you!

Until next time, so long!

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