Category Archives: Dream Interpretation

Organic and mechanistic aspects of our lives influencing dream formation and perception

cyborg-humanDreams and dreaming are important topics of philosophy since ancient times and can be viewed in the context of external world’s influences. When we are awake, we are fully conscious of the outside world and activities we perform. But when we fall asleep, our subconscious mind shifts its gears and calls upon the inner world for introspection. Dream visions selectively reflect upon the outer world signals and generate positive or negative feelings we experience within dreams. Our mind tries to connect random experiences and images and find possibilities to explain them to us. Each dreaming experience can reveal our hidden desires, suppressed feelings or developing issues. In this article we are taking a closer look at organic and mechanistic influences of the outside world affecting our dream visions.

Organic or biological aspects of dream perception

The organs of our body with their different functions have direct and indirect effects on each other and on our mind and, in turn, on dreams that we experience. Physical events such as an overloaded stomach, a toothache or other types of pain could contribute to the dream narrative as the result of direct communication with the brain. These biological processes can therefore exert a certain degree of influence on dream generation. Many unpleasant dreaming experiences are the result of pain or illnesses, so analyzing the actual problems which affect our body in reality could help in interpreting the dreams we have. For example, it is quite common when sleeping with a full bladder can cause dreams containing water or water flow.

Aside from our organs and bodily functions, nature and environment can also have significant effect on dream construction. Natural events can influence dream narratives and our environment can also integrate natural elements into our dreams. For instance, creatures like birds, dogs, cats and other animals are very common symbols when dreaming. Each of them can convey different meanings about our health and our state of mind. Author Hugh Brody in his book Maps and Dreams (2002), says that hunters tend to have visions of hunting and killing game in a dream and soon after find the “dream trail” and the animal, eventually collecting the kill in waking life.

Another example of dreams being influenced by natural events happened during the genocide of mestizo villagers by the Maoist Shining Path in the 1990s. During this time, villagers would consult dreamers about the best times and opportunities for families to flee their camp and hide out in the forests. A more recent account by anthropologist Arianna Ciconni reports that certain villagers rely on dream visions to help them locate the mass graves of their relatives.

Mechanistic aspects of dream formation

Our body is a system of organs ensuring it is working properly and in good shape. These organs are also influenced by mechanistic contributors, which can control our mind and affect our perceptions. Our way of thinking then determines the visions and contextual aspects of our dreams. The mechanistic influence is formed through our sensory system. The sensory system takes in the external information and influences our mind which can affect our dreams in various ways. For instance, every day we use many things like smartphones, household items and books, among others. These things have tremendous impacts on our consciousness and are translated into mechanistically-influenced dreams.

The mechanistic world can have different effects on our dreams. The realities like running cars, crying babies or the routines of daily household tasks can also affect our dreams in the same way they can affect our mind. For example, we can often dream about driving or riding in a car if it happens on a daily basis. Meanwhile, lucid dreaming is the ability to recognize the fact that you are in a dream. Once you become aware that you are dreaming, you can control what happens like fly, have sex, have sex while flying, anything is a possibility. According to studies, gamers are more likely to have lucid dreams than people who do not play video games. Jayne Gackenbach of Grant MacEwan University believes that games enhance people’s environmental control and spatial awareness, which leads to the ability to control the dream environment much like gameplay.

pregnancy-chiropractic-1170x500Our responsibilities also bleed into our dreams. Almost all pregnant women experience vivid dreams in their sleep. Jill Feddersen, a first time mom to a baby girl in Massachusetts dreamt of going on a trip to Paris. In the dream, she remembered being “totally unprepared and scared” of joining a tour group and saying “I can’t go – I’ve got things to do at home and I’m not packed”, but then she would eventually convince herself to get on the plane and go. The uncertainty and anxiety of flying to a new destination likely mirrored her personal fears about being a new mother.

Organic versus mechanistic perception of dreams

Organically-influenced perception is generally associated with the organs and their current condition and functionality. If the organs are malfunctioning or experiencing problems, this will be reflected in our dreams. On the other hand, with mechanistically-driven perception, the nervous system plays the most important role in creating our dream visions. Dreams generated organically are mainly dreams related to nature, natural events or elements they have affinity with, while mechanistic dreams are based on objects, events and responsibilities we are bombarded with by everyday existence. Organic dreams reveal our connection to nature and ourselves, while mechanistic dreams are the result of routines and responsibilities we subject ourselves to after we wake up.

A famous philosopher said, “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters”. We sleep because this state allows us to rest while our mind consolidates and stores the information we collected during our waking hours. As we sleep, our consciousness actively processes the myriad of information bits in our head by rationalizing links between them. As our brain interprets all those external stimuli during sleep, dreams are created. In essence, all of these organic and mechanistic aspects become part of a “clean-up” or “recycling” process during which our mind removes unnecessary clutter to be ready to take on a new day.

Dreams containing imagery of self-reflection, own likeness and their connection to the dreamer’s personality traits

reflectionWhen awake, we are bombarded by external forces and stimuli which influence how we behave and project ourselves to the world. As we sleep, we carry all this information into the dream world, so that we can process and reflect on the events that happened during the day. During waking hours, our mind is constantly aware of the surroundings and the outer world, but when we dream our subconscious shifts its attention to the inner world for introspection. It is the time for internalizing all the information we absorbed and finding possible connections in seemingly random images. This is why so many people see images of themselves or their reflections in dreams.

Could self-reflections be a projection of existing psychological issues?

When it comes to self-reflection, it can be a case of too much or too little. Why? Seeing a reflection of yourself on a glassy surface or a mirror in a dream can often manifest as a projection of the dreamer’s need for self-examination or as a result of being too self-conscious. The former propels the dreamer into action towards increased self-awareness, while the latter warns against the possibility of spiraling into vanity, narcissism and even crippling self-doubt. Either way, scrutinizing your reflection serves as a critique of your current state. It suggests an imbalance that needs to be corrected for the dreamer to live in harmony with others.

Are fragmented and distorted reflections within dreams valid and analyzable?

Self-reflections and mirror images are oftentimes benign and merely gentle prodding of our subconscious to put us into tip-top shape emotionally and psychologically. It becomes more concerning, however, when the images appear distorted, fragmented or broken. These types of manifestations are usually associated with nightmare scenarios and should be analyzed more seriously to get to the root of the issue. A fragmented reflection, maybe seen in a broken mirror in a dream, could portend illness, accidents and even death. These cases would require a careful evaluation of critical aspects of your existence to help counteract the bad omen conveyed by the vision.

Do common interpretations of seeing your own likeness reveal your personality flaws?

Among the most common self-reflection themes in dreams are an absence of reflection, a blurry image and having someone else instead of your own reflection or image. In these cases, dreams about the absence of reflection could be pointing to a loss of identity. There may be incidents in which you could be coerced to act against your principles or perhaps you would behave according to the will of others in order to be liked or to please them. Meanwhile, a blurry self image depicts a lack of conviction. Some dreamers who experience this dream scenario end up getting passed over for a promotion or not getting hired because of their erratic nature and inconsistent behavior. Finally, when someone else is looking at you from your reflection or image in a dream, it means you are insecure and afraid of being judged. In certain instances, this type of dream depicts an upcoming social gathering or event which would put you into the spotlight or require you to have your best foot forward.

Dreams could reveal our hidden desires, suppressed feelings and developing issues. In rare instances, they can give us a glimpse of what is to come. They can provide solace or add to our trepidation, depending on the dreamer’s state of mind. In the case of visions with self-reflection, identity comes to the fore. To unlock the message of these dreams, a follow-up self-examination is essential. While it is easy to disregard dream symbols and consider them mere distractions from daily existence, there is merit in interpreting their meaning to help identify and anticipate issues that may have been buried in the busyness of day-to-day life. Who knows, understanding how your mind works may unlock insights and aspects of yourself you never even thought existed.

Dreaming Slim: Forced fixations on weight loss and their effects on our subconsciousness

abrbyThe self-obsessed selfie culture propagated by social media has put even greater pressure on people to look their best for fear of being rejected or ridiculed. Among the latest vanity trends and excessive focus on beauty is the dieting and exercise bandwagon. Role models, exacerbated by peer pressure and media scrutiny, further legitimize this trend touting hip terms such as “fitspiration” and “summer bod” which put a premium on unattainable and impractical body image. While proper diet and exercise are good for health and wellness, some people tend to overdo it for the sake of appearances and quick gains. The stress of losing weight and gaining six packs can sometimes be psychologically taxing that these images find their way into our dreams.

The preoccupation with self-image and buying into the stereotypical model ideal of fitness can result in dreams of gaining excessive weight. Weight gain alludes to added burden. The added weight could represent whatever is weighing you down in reality or causing you to feel down and out. Then again, gaining weight in a dream also has positive connotations, especially if you are perfectly happy and confident about yourself. In that case, instead of liabilities and worries, the excessive heaviness may portend financial gain.

The other manifestation of the symbolism of weight in dreams is losing weight. Scenes in dreams which involve shedding weight could bear negative interpretations. If you are feeling inadequate and rejected in reality, losing body weight in the dream world likely refers to a loss of wealth or the respect of your family and friends. Remember that symbols manifesting in a dream vision are heavily rooted in the dreamer’s personal issues and waking-world fixations. Weight loss may be a metaphor of the dreamer’s shortcomings that are in turn causing or feeding into the lingering feelings of ineptitude and rejection.

This obsession with fitness and weight loss can also manifest in different ways while dreaming. In extreme cases, these imagery can regress into nightmares. You may find yourself in situations where you feel weighed down by a heavy object causing difficulty in breathing. Other scenarios may involve endless running, as if being chased by a threatening force. The subconscious can also magnify your insecurities about your weight, so that you could appear distorted in your dream while being heckled by nameless, faceless people because of your true or perceived-to-be appearance.

As we sleep, our mind sorts through the various experiences and information we gather while we are awake. Anything that is bothering us and the salient issues we contend with bleed into the realm of dreams as a way of making sense of all these facts in our head. The more we fixate on something, the more amplified they will be in our dreams. Letting other people’s perceptions of perfection and the ideal image erode our self-confidence and brainwash us into thinking that we are not good enough cannot be healthy for our physical and mental health. Not only does it cause anxiety while we are awake, they can also cause fitful sleep and even nightmares.

Being constantly bombarded by images of perfectly toned physique on our social media feed makes self-acceptance and healthy body perceptions all the more harder to preserve. However, instead of focusing on the facade and the physical aspects of working out and losing weight, a change of perspective is in order. Instead of looking at this fitness revolution as a pressure cooker to eat less and exercise constantly to achieve that summer ready body, think of it in terms of health and wellness. Instead of looking at appearances and external factors to motivate you, think of your well-being and motivate yourself from within. Do not aim for the abs, but for the healthier lifestyle. Gaining a little weight is fine, it is obesity that is unhealthy and that is what you should strive to avoid. At the end of the day, it is your body and it is you above anybody else who can say whether it is functioning perfectly and makes you feel great.

Colors of dream visions: Bridges to metaphysical states and palettes of perception

Bridges to metaphysical statesWithout jumping in stormy waters of attempting to answer questions like “Can visually-impaired people have  colored dreams”, let’s consider the effects of colors on our subconscious states and the most commonly-interpreted meanings of these dreams. Colors in dream interpretation are usually closely associated with parallel symbolic elements of a dream and, generally speaking, it is common that certain colors add to the emotional charge of a dream, thereby detailing and making dream recollections more saturated and prominent, but not necessarily easier to interpret. Rather than trying to focus on particular colors or colors in isolation, it is more interesting and thought-provoking to outline some of the most frequently recalled and discussed color associations, combinations and patterns in dream interpretation.

Black and white dreams. Based on traditional dream interpretation sources, black and white dreams are indications of mundane and uneventful existence the dreamer is immersed in. Having colored dreams has always been explained as the fact that a dreamer who experiences color-saturated dream visions is still developing emotionally, physically and spiritually. A person who has colorful dreams could also be living a very active lifestyle with a multitude and great variety of people he or she is surrounded by in everyday life. Some sources indicate that inability to recall any colors from a dream points to accelerated aging, problems with cognitive perception and even memory deficiencies.

globeWhite and pale colors. Although arguable, the dominance of whiter and paler color combinations in dream visions are often referred to and interpreted as aspects more characteristic of physical body functions, bodily fluids and the like, especially if the colors accompany anatomical details, metabolic processes or similar scenes. Colors of white, if they stand out from the background or grab attention in a particular dream, represent notations and tendencies to create fences and build walls inside the dreamer’s mind protecting and safeguarding the person from the outside world. A ballerina with ambitious, but reclusive attitude; white and snowy Christmas landscape with the feelings of complete isolation from the rest of society for the time being; or a hospital setting when all we can think about is our own body and possible threats to its well-being; are some of the most characteristic examples of these dream visions.

neonNeon and screaming colors. Depending on details and settings experienced within these dreams, these color schemes are indicators of mechanistic pressure, subliminal reflections of overexcitement and urban buzz, projections of existing or growing anxieties and feelings of being out of place. The transformation of human race into urban-dwelling homo sapiens desensitized these visions almost to the point of being perceived as ordinary dreaming experiences compared to say, imagery appearing in a dream after attending a circus or a local fair or traveling by train half a century ago. Interestingly, glowing and pulsating colors, especially when contrasted with dark backgrounds, are often referred to as innate affinity to magic, supernatural and cosmic, whether these attributes are cultivated in the mind of the dreamer in reality, or just a subconscious manifestation of some dormant undiscovered abilities and predispositions.

Irregular and misplaced colors. Sometimes dream visions can contain scenes and images painted with distorted, out of place colors, which could evoke mixed feelings after they occur, a stir in emotional state and the resulting worries, concerns and curiosity to find out why these colors were perceived this way. The answers offered by dream interpreters usually include notions of accentuating subconsciously and focusing dreamer’s attention on a particular person, object or act, assigning a completely different value to something following a shocking discovery or less than pleasing information contradicting previously held personal opinions or beliefs. More often, misplaced colors in a dream are viewed by interpreters as voids in the logical progression of a dream, markers which highlight something left out of the whole picture by the dreamer and, therefore, serve as a more concentrated substrate for interpretation of these dreams.

What is your personal experience with colors in your subconscious state?

Dreaming about rats: Symbolic aspects hidden in commonly-described dream scenarios

Dream interpretation about rats abounds with theories and explanations related to these animals based on their affinity to famine, poverty, unsanitary conditions fed by the fear and disgust expressed by many in regards to these creatures lurking in the dark corners and suddenly crossing our paths.

Rats as dream symbolsBut let us take a closer look at the symbolic representations and some details contained within dream related to the images of rats. Apart from their physical characteristics and features which can evoke deep feelings of repulsion and disgust both inside the dream and afterwards, some commonly-experienced dream visions can reveal interesting, if not unusual associations and imagery, especially in the context of a particular dreams scenario.

An interesting detail often described by dreamers who happened to dream about rats is the environment and surroundings in which the dream took place. Often, it is a place characterized by the presence of water, dreamers refer to “muddy”, “rainy”, “slippery” locations as places where the contact with rats had taken place. The combination of these two symbols, “the rat” and “the water” suggests that dreamer’s mind could be subconsciously reflecting the existing struggle between two contrasting personal positions or attitudes in reality: admittance of guilt, wrongdoing or inappropriateness versus readiness (but quite possibly reluctance) to repent, cleanse or change for the better. By closely examining more predominant details of this dream scenario, one can analyze to what extent this situation can be applied to this kind of interpretation.

Another prominent aspect commonly remembered and described after having dream visions involving rats is their appearance or small physical details pertaining to what they looked like. Often, these are associations and chimera-like images related to the features of a human body: little humanlike hands, human faces or other parts of human anatomy morphed with the image of a rat. Common dreams about rats also include coming into physical contact with these animals, for example stepping on them, being bitten by them and so on.

Scared of ratsFor people who are naturally afraid of rats in wake life, these dreams could be either a confirmation of their phobia and repulsion directed at the animals, or a subconscious attempt to examine or question the nature of such fear. The symbolism of encountering a rat is quite often accompanied by the scenes of dark, untidy and unpleasant surroundings transposed into the dream from reality. Therefore, it’s a good indication of the dreamer’s preoccupation with cleanliness, purity or natural aversion to chaos and disorder. However, it could also be quite possible that the person experiencing dreams about rats spends some portion of his or her wake life in unclean, cluttered and messy environments, e.g. as a warehouse worker, a head of a large household which is difficult to manage, and the like.

It is probably artificial and far-fetched to relate symbolic representations of rats in our dreams to certain personalities and aspects of behavior of human character (a traitor, a person capable of deceit and betrayal), as many dream interpretation sources infer, because the image of a rat in these dreams is heavily dominated by the physical features of the animal and immediate surroundings which evoke, before anything, sensory reactions and responses, both on subconscious (dreams experienced) and conscious (dreams remembered) levels.

When trying to interpret dream visions containing a rat or rats as a central symbol, it would probably be more beneficial to explore tangible physiological reactions to the outside world in order to find a more meaningful interpretation of dreams about rats.

Dream symbols over the span of human life: evolution of symbolic representations about reality

We spend one third of our lives in a state of sleep (unconscious existence), which is referred to as a natural mechanism for restoring energy and giving our bodies much-needed rest at night. As we get older, the duration of such rest tends to become more and more prolonged in order to maintain our vital functions at an appropriate rate as we age. But what about the subconscious side of brain activity? Does it go through a completely different set of transformations compared to the young age and how do symbolic visions change over the span of our life?

Trash CanUndeniably, during the younger formative years, when the very foundation of memory and cognition is shaped, our subconscious reflections capture a great variety of new imagery, visual and sensory aspects of the everyday life. No wonder, adolescents experience very diverse, if not chaotic dream visions comprised of interwoven symbolic elements accumulated during the wake hours. It would probably be a complicated task for a young person to sort out distinct and discernible visions contained in their dreams in order to interpret them in a meaningful way. The exploratory nature of human mind causes us to retain important moments of our lives, but in a very erratic and disorderly way, so their analysis as far as dream interpretation is concerned, becomes difficult, if not impossible altogether. At this stage we could draw an analogy of subconscious brain activity resembling a computer file system which is being constantly updated without a whole lot of sorting and categorizing of the individual files within that system.

Old recordsAs we age, we gain more experience and start to separate discrete events in our “file system” into more stable and recognizable elements, which are often compiled, coded and stored based on their importance to us. Over the span of our lives, we increasingly attribute more significance to some events while forgetting or even completely ignoring those that seem mundane and unworthy of remembering to us. Figuratively speaking, the subconscious retention at this stage could probably be compared to an old vinyl record etched with certain well-defined and vivid symbolic visions coming alive during our sleep and leaving lasting recollections long after we wake up and go on with the conscious existence.

Therefore, it is clear that only discrete and isolated symbolic dream visions become more profound and prominent as we go through the process of maturation. And the biggest questions for any dreamer who is experiencing these recurring symbols and visions later in life are why do some certain symbolic dream elements take over less important ones and how could they be interpreted in a meaningful way, since they were “distilled” by the memory and recorded as distinct marks in our subconsciousness.

Would it be fair to say that older people are capable of finding and identifying much more relevant meanings for the dreams they experience because the “search terms” of their inquiries are considerably narrower, more precise and more defined? Does the number of years lived matter in symbolic dream interpretation just because our long life experience helped us keep only the most memorable life moments and important milestones retained as symbols and visions of our dreams?

Symbols of rain or rainy weather in dream interpretation and possible ways to analyze these dreams

Generally speaking, weather-related dreams offer little insight as far as dream analysis and interpretation are concerned with the exception when dreams include symbols and vision of rain and rain-related events. The main reason for having a multitude of interpretations for dreams about rain is its direct relation to water, which has been strongly connected to the fertility and abundance, which are characteristics of prosperity and happy life in many of the world’s cultures regardless of their geographic location. Presence of rain in dreams serves as a linking element between availability of favorable weather conditions and personal well-being and feelings of security. Similarly, dreams containing threatening or even catastrophic events and involving rain events, can be a representation of insecurity or fear reflected at a subconscious level.

Hiding From RainMany dreams are inherently related to emotions and feelings experienced while dreaming, for example soothing and comforting feelings of warm summer rain, feeling secure and protected while observing rain falling outside in bad weather from inside the house, or expression of loneliness and discomfort while being caught in the cold rain on the street and so on. For some people, while experiencing dreams about rain, the visions can evoke feelings of stressful and worrisome existence, some kind of disturbance or effects which result in excessive introversion, low self-esteem and depression projected into wake life. Psychological aspects of experiencing these kinds of visions can add to formation of complexes and states negatively affecting person’s life, especially if dreams are recurring in their nature.

The composition or the way rain was observed in a dream as well as its various degrees of intensity can provoke different emotions and reactions following the dream. The color or even the size of rain drops seen or felt while dreaming are explained and interpreted with a surprising variety of meanings and symbolic connotations by dream interpretation sources. Additional elements (i.e. thunder, lightning, wind) can add to or completely reverse the original meaning about rain symbols, creating ambiguous or contradictory interpretations of rain-related events experienced while dreaming.

Summer RainAs it has been mentioned before, dreams about rain are closely related to symbols and visions of water, therefore there are a lot of similarities in the way these two type of dreams are interpreted. Often enough, the notions of clear or dirty water are approximated to explain similar dreams about rain. Many sources regard clean and fresh rainwater as a symbol of personal rejuvenation and renewal, the ability to start life over and expect to be favored by the destiny that lies ahead.

While trying to find a meaningful explanation of a dream about rain, try to recall details pertaining to the situation: were you alone or with other people in the rain, what was rain’s intensity, was it accompanied by some environmental conditions such as thunder or lightning, what was the feeling you experienced in this dream? Other recollections could be related to the impact which rain had on you in your dream. Interpretation of a vision when you did not feel comfortable in the cold rain could be quite different from an event when you happened to notice other people or kids enjoying a light summer drizzle. The negative or positive outcome of such experience can change dramatically based on details you bring back from your subconscious visions related to rain or rainy weather.