"It came to me in a dream."
Poets and prophets have been so rocked by the emotional force of their dreams that they have gone on to create books that shocked their readers or inspired the dreamers to fight for justice, bringing changes in society even since Biblical times. Prophetic dreams were believed in ancient Egypt, so Joseph's gift of prophecy was welcomed. In old Rome, Caesar's wife dreamed of her husband's death, but he ignored her warnings to his agony and death. In more recent years, passengers who avoided doomed flights or voyages because of nightmares are the stuff or urban legends.
When it comes to dreams, there is what can be judged scientifically-- the length of dreaming, the body's reaction, and so forth, but what fascinates most people is what appears to them as they sleep. Dreams are personal and creative outlets of the mind. Do dream symbols have the same meanings to different people? Some believe they do and have created dream dictionaries to make an easy reference for dream interpretations. According to one dictionary, a polar bear means a reawakening and dreaming of a movie theater means you are protecting yourself from experiencing your emotions.
Two 19th-century psychologists, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, worked closely together for many years, but went in different directions when it came to the meaning of dreams. Freud adhered to a sexual interpretation for most dreams while Jung believed that humans share a common dream vocabulary, one whose origins date back to the beginnings of mankind itself.
Most modern dream books, even those offering dictionaries, stress that what is going on in a person's life is the biggest deciding factor as to what the dreams mean. A long and winding road might be symbolic of a desire for travel, or it could mean that a goal will take a long time to reach. If dreams interest you, try keeping a dream notebook, perhaps a simple pad of paper, by the side of your bed to record the dreams as you awaken, while the details are still fresh in your mind. Some believe that this increases your ability to control your reactions in your dreams and understand that you are dreaming which is a state called lucid dreaming.
Interest in dream meanings has not slacked off a bit during our modern age. The library has many books on the subject, and here are a few recommended ones as well as some Web sites. CRRL patrons can click on the following recommended titles to find them in our catalog and place a reserve.
In the Library
All About Dreams: Everything You Need to Know About Why We Have Them, What They Mean, and How to Put Them to Work For You by Gayle Delaney.
Dreams have been interpreted by the peoples of ancient Egypt, China, and Greece. Around the world and into the realm of relatively recent science, dreams have been studied for their deeper meanings. The author gives a tour of the history of dreams and goes on to explore how modern methods such as dream study groups and the self-interview method can expand the possibilities of dream interpretation.
The Art of Dreaming by
Carlos Castaneda reveals ways to obtain spiritual enlightenment through dreams as learned from the sorceror, Don Juan.
Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac.
Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, a classic of the Beat Generation, kept a notebook from 1952 to 1960 in which he recorded his dreams as recorded upon awakening. Recently reissued to include Kerouac's complete manuscript.
Dream Animals by James Hillman with paintings by Margot McLean.
Jungian dream interpretation meets inspiring watercolors of the significant dream animals in this stimulating book.
Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind by Owen Flanagan.
Are dreams the key to creativity? This new theory of the reasons for dreams is highly illuminating.
The Dreaming Universe: A Mind-Expanding Journey Into the Realm Where Psyche and Physics Meet by Fred Alan Wolf.
Wolf, a physicist, argues that dreams are a vital aspect of evolution, enabling an individual to develop a concept of self. The dream, in his formulation, is a map of possibility, a realm where synchronistic (i.e., noncausal yet meaningfully connected) events occur, producing self-awareness.
Sleep and Dreams by Andrew T. McPhee.
This short book discusses sleep patterns, the stages of sleep, what happens to the human body when it sleeps, and what happens when the body is deprived of sleep. Includes relaxation techniques and methods for remembering and interpreting dreams.
What Your Dreams Can Teach You by Alex Lukeman.
Dr. Lukeman gives a step-by-step method for understanding and working with the dream process.
Writers Dreaming interviewed by Naomi Epel.
Epel, a talk-show host, writer, and dream researcher learned how dreams influenced the creative processes of numerous famous writers. Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, and William Styron were among the 26 interviewed.
Zolar's Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Dreams.
Offers interpretations for more than 20,000 dreams.
On the Web
20 Dream Techniques
There's more than one way to find the meanings to dreams. David Jenkins, a clinical psychologist, offers a toolbox of techniques to aid the dreamer's understanding.
Best viewed with Internet Explorer.
The Dreamresearch.net Dream Library: Useful Articles on Dreams
An online archive of psychology papers concerning dreams whose target audience is undergraduate and graduate students as well as dream researchers.