We have all done it. Had a dream that completely started us, terrified us, made us laugh, made us cry, then, later, gone to find out what it “means.” Dream dictionaries online, in bookstores. Our friends.
We want to know why we had that dream that haunts us. Maybe it is a dream from childhood, or a dream during or just after loss or trauma or change. Or that dream that made us question everything. The dreams that come in the liminal times of our lives.
From the realm where our dreams come from, every moment is a liminal moment. Whether we are midstride in a chapter of our lives or not. The dreams reach out for us, grab our attention through the experience of being in the dream, through our own experience of being in relationship to the story that the dream has plopped us into, with the characters, beings, places that we are surrounded by.
We won’t find what the dream “means” in a dream dictionary because it is not really the image in the dream that the dream is interested in. It is the experience of us, of the dreamer, in the dream that carries the “meaning” of the dream.
For it is not what the dream is populated with, it is how we respond or react that gives the dream meaning. A meaning that is unique only to the dreamer. That bear in the dream has the potential for many meanings through the symbol of bear – potency, wildness, danger. The dream, however, begs the question – what does bear mean to you. Specifically to you. Have you hunted bear? Do you work with bears in a zoo? Do you have bears visit your house? Do you have a specific memory of bear that the dream suddenly brings up in you?
A thing in a dream is not to be interpreted, but to be opened based on your own context of your own life. Not just dreams of bears, wild animals, teeth falling out, not being prepared for that test. But even the dreams that terrify us.
The dreams invite us to open parts of the dream to discover what they are to us. And how we are with those parts of the dream.