I’ve been an avid dreamer for all of my life. The best tool I can recommend for dreamwork is a sharpened memory. I still recall dreams from my childhood; I recall dreams from certain places I’d been, states, countries, vacations, states of mind; so the best advice and most valuable tool for your personal Dream work is a good memory.
HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR DREAM MEMORY
How do you begin to strengthen your memory? By telling yourself you have a good one already. By far, the most popular excuse I hear from people who don’t remember dreams is, “I don’t remember, “I don’t have a good memory.”
You must, must, must affirm and believe, “I remember my dreams. I recall them upon awakening. I record my dreams when I awaken. I have an excellent recall of my dreams.” That’s it. That’s the exercise, every night as you drift into sleep, “I recall and record my dreams when I awake.”
Once you have a dream in hand, you can use any number of encyclopedic books on symbols, imagery, dream meaning, interpretations, definitions, evaluations; but the quick source I use daily is Kelly Sullivan Waldens’ “I Had The Strangest Dream. The Dreamer’s Dictionary for the 21st Century.” It is a quick reference with thoughtful explanations to over 3000 common themes and symbols. After recording your impressions, use a different colored pen, circle the key characters, situations, feelings or images of your dream, and surf through the book to gain insights. It’s the best quick reference tool from literally hundreds of the Dream Dictionaries I’ve tried through the years. It’s topical, specific, often humorous and succinct without being short on information.
The more in-depth tool that completely blows the hat off any other reference books is, Strephon Kaplan-Williams; “Dream Cards Understand Your Dreams and Enrich Your Life.” The depth of understanding you can gain with any one symbol is terrific. The insight gained by using the whole deck as explained in its process is simply astronomical. You can work for weeks on one dream with just this “Dream Card” deck as your tool. It is alarmingly accurate, insightful, cerebral and enlightening.
Often, the meaning of a dream presents itself, even as I record it. It’s as if I only needed to see something in black and white to recognize the lesson. Other times, I’ll first comb through Walden’s book, circle the key components and get that instant “aha” moment when the senses start stitching together the story. If I have a character, a color, a setting or a vehicle, I can get a pretty good understanding of where I’m at in waking life from this book. If I hold a combination of elements, I can often see the big picture of why the dream came to me, and the message I needed to know.
But when I feel it’s a really critical dream, which is often the toughest to reveal its meaning, I’ll go through Walden’s first, then get into the meaning and key evaluation using Williams’ as my guide to really flesh out all the meaning possible from the singular dream.
Some dreams will play a game with the dreamer, and make you work hard at certain elements, which just won’t make sense no matter how many books you look into, or hours spent in contemplation. I’ve discovered that like a master puzzle maker, it sometimes seems the better I become at deciphering dreams, the tougher the mind makes them to be revealed. Here, I can recommend “Man And His Symbols” by Carl Jung; or Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth.” or even some of the Carlos Castaneda books. Though these won’t give direct explanations of dreams, reading them may help unhinge a meaning that lays dormant in some dark corner of your psyche, too shy to be brought out into the light of day.