Dream symbol interpretation requires remembering events before sleep and vividly recalling dreams when you awaken. Dreaming is an intimate, emotional experience, so it is no wonder that many people wonder about these images of the mind.
Dreams often bring together the past, present and what you may perceive as the future. They can create a strange world with no limits to time and space or the person's perceived power. Anything can happen in a dream. Often your dreams deal with emotions, and a day filled with stress and uncertainty will likely bring about more vivid dreams than an ordinary time, research has shown.
Human beings have wondered why we dream since ancient times. For thousands of years, people have considered their dreams to be signs of divine intervention or counsel.
Cave dwellers carved dream images in stone on the walls of their homes, and civilizations such as those of the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians had their own dream lore.
Dream interpretation has been used in everything from politics to marriage counseling. Dream books, written in every language, including Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Russian, have existed for centuries. Even the Bible contains references and passages on dreaming. Today many people continue to look to their dreams for messages, guidance, or wisdom.
The ancient Greeks believed dreams were the result of a natural process and this thinking led to a modern view of dreams. Sigmund Freud, in the 19th century, determined that dreams were a gateway to the unconscious mind and a way to access unresolved conflicting thoughts.
Carl Jung, another famous psychoanalyst, said, "Visual images have the quality of the human soul," when he discussed dreams. Other psychologists thought that dreams reflected events of waking hours and offered unrecognized solutions to contemporary problems.
For more than 50 years, scientists have known that we generally spend about two hours dreaming each night. Dreams occur during a period of sleep known as rapid eye movement (known as REM sleep). Some studies indicate that people generally have anywhere from two to nine dreams each night.
Additionally, experts have found that even babies dream and that physical or mental disabilities generally do not impair dreams. And while many people vividly recall their dreams, the majority of people either recall little of their dreams or nothing at all.
You can begin to interpret your dreams by referencing dream guides, through journaling and review, or with the assistance of a friend or therapist. Anyone can use these tools to study their dreams to identify issues, look for life themes, or make decisions if they so desire.