Have you ever set an intention to record dreams, and then upon waking, had an inkling that told you, this dream is significant…so you sleepily try to jot down the important elements, knowing there are things missing but nonetheless. You tell yourself you will look at it, your dream, again later, for analysis and perhaps, enlightenment.
I believe dreams affect our choices and have the potential to give profound insight…but it seems so hard to pin them down.
As an artist, I have developed a deep fascination with the landscape of dreaming. Many of my paintings are images that have emerged from trying to make sense of their mysterious content. I have found over the years that, like building a muscle, my ability to remember my dreams becomes more reliable the more I set the intention to recall them and write them down. The biggest challenge, however, is in the interpretation of them. It’s like there is no boundaries in our dreaming world, so there are often symbols and scenarios that are weird and nonsensical. Thankfully, any research I commit to this endeavour has proven to be fruitful; from writing a dialogue with characters to consulting online dream dictionaries (based on the understanding that some signs and symbols are universal).
Lately I have made a determined decision to honour my intuition as I analyse my dreams, and after recording the dream itself, I have been adding a paragraph or two entitled ‘Interpretation’. I use thumbnail sketches when words are not sufficient to describe events or feelings. I also record them in the same voice I would use to write a story.
After my son Jordan died, my reason for remembering dreams changed and intensified. I feel like we are living in a matrix-like world where he is living on the other side and I can’t quite get to him. I associate his energy with owls, so when an owl shows up in my dream I really take notice. There have also been wonderful moments, where he has showed up in my dream all fresh-faced and happy- these dreams are so vivid that I wake having that sad realisation…’Oh, that was a dream’. But many of you reading this may think: ‘It’s not, he’s showing you he is alive and well’, and that’s what I believe on my good days.
The other day I heard a wonderful teacher and blogger talk about dreams and mentioned that it is easier for Spirit to connect with us in our dreams because our busy minds are at rest. We are not living by ‘what’s next’ or trying to assimilate the multitudes of data that assault our senses while we are awake, distracting us. In this sense, our minds are yielding and open. This is my hope, that by following the trail of my dreams , I will gain a deeper understanding of the realm of the Spirit.
I wanted to talk about the specific dream element of water because it has been recurring for me and I know it is such a common dream symbol. Water dreams often symbolise the world of the subconscious, spiritual realms and deep emotions. This is not surprising, since we are made up of about 70% water, and as a substance water behaves much like emotions. It ebbs, flows, can be calm or tumultuous. In yogic tradition, water is connected to the moon, hence, it often has a mysterious and dark quality. Here’s a recent dream I had, and my brief interpretation:
I was surrounded by deep, overcast, oceanic water, where the wind and the waves were building steadily and I had a sense of foreboding as if I would be easily overcome by them. I was on a very flimsy floating mat, and I lifted up into the dark turbulent sky for a few moments.
Because the water was dark and waves were building, I am thinking that there are deep emotions I am perhaps still unaware of. Being lifted off the surface indicates to me an encouragement to trust in God; it is akin to the story of Jesus walking on the water in the New Testament. The vessel I was in was very fragile. A vessel of any description can represent the physical body -I have been feeling really run down so it makes sense the vessel in my dream was ‘fragile’.
There are so many forms and associations for water, here are just a few to ponder:
Did you dream, like I did, that you were on a boat or other floating device? Boats are considered my many traditions to symbolise the spiritual journey, or the notion of being carried and held by God or a higher power. Some important considerations would be if you or someone else was sailing the boat, if it was drifting, the type of boat, etc. Depending on the context it can indicate safety and/or mastery over your emotions.
Did you go underwater? Being underwater in a situation like snorkelling can indicate a contemplative phase or a time where you are examining your emotions and life journey in order to grow. Conversely, if you dream of drowning, it can indicate being overwhelmed with ‘drowned’ (or unacknowledged) emotions, or something significant coming to an end or death.
If the water is dark, dirty or cloudy it can represent confusion, or frustration at not being able to see to the end or the bottom of something. If it is clear, it has the opposite meaning; truth and clarity are guiding you.
Here’s to acknowledging the ethereal, mysterious and potent messages that come through for us in our dreams….and hoping you all have a blissful slumber