Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all dream, although many of us do not remember our dreams or do not pay them any attention. Yet dreams often contain important information for us, casting light on what has happened in our lives, or what is happening and providing insights into the future. In ancient cultures dreams were considered to be messages from the gods.
In modern times Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, developed a theory of dreams which he published in his famous book, The Interpretation of Dreams. To Freud the dream was the “royal road to the unconscious” and represented a wish, often sexual in nature, that we repress because it is unacceptable.
This view of dreams has now largely been discounted, not least by a follower of Freud, the psychiatrist Carl Jung. He saw dreams as a way of the unconscious communicating with the conscious part of ourselves in order to bring something to our notice and restore our equilibrium.
However no single theory can really do justice to the variety and significance of dreams. The cartoon strip-like character of many dreams depicts a story that is best deciphered by the dreamer herself. It will help if you keep a jotter and pen by your bed to write your dream down as soon as you wake.
Then think about the characters and symbols in your dream – what do they mean to you, personally? You will find that sooner or later you will have a sudden flash of insight into the hidden meaning of your dream.