Dream Interpretation

Since ancient times,  analyzing and interpreting dreams have been part of people’s life. We rely on dreams to have a sense of direction or to take a glimpse of the future.

Dream interpretation has become a source of entertainment and self-reflection in popular culture. People refer to it to find clarity and guidance and gain insight into their subconscious.

Interpreting your dreams can be the key to creating the life you want and gaining a deeper understanding of yourself.

What is Dream Interpretation?

Dream Interpretation is the process of analyzing and providing meaning to your dreams. It looks at a dream through the elements it consists of and draws conclusions from them. Each element represents an emotion, an idea, or even a more profound concept that can enlighten, warn, or assure you.

Sigmund Freud’s Dream Theory proposes that dreams represent thoughts, unconscious desires, motivations, and even wish fulfillment.

Interpreting your dreams is a remarkable way to know more about yourself and understand your deepest emotions.

Are Dreams Spiritual Gifts?

Our subconscious communicates with us through our dreams. Dreams, as spiritual gifts, metaphorically and symbolically relay messages to us. They often communicate the issues and hardships we want to address in our waking life. 

Dreams represent unresolved conflicts, past traumas, or experiences from your life. It can also provide you with a new and deeper perspective on your surroundings and the people around you. It is a way for your soul and subconscious to process deep-rooted emotions and thoughts you cannot express. 

Your dreams can provide guidance and insights into your life if you listen and learn from them. 

The History of Dream Interpretation

In Ancient times, dreaming was considered a means of divine intervention or a supernatural phenomenon. People of the past believed that dreams contained messages that could be interpreted by those gifted with the spiritual power of dreams. At the same time, some tried to give a more logical explanation for dreams.

Early Civilization

The earliest attempt to interpret dreams dates back to around 3100 BC in Mesopotamia. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia held dreams as sacred and important parts of divination. 

Even Mesopotamian Kings revere dreams and pay important attention to them. 

An example is the Sumerian King Gudea of Lagash, who rebuilt the temple of Ningirsu because his dream told him to do so. 

Dreams also played a huge role in the ever-famous Epic of Gilgamesh, where they aided the characters through their prophetic powers. 

Classical Antiquity

In the 2nd century AD, Artemidorus of Daldis wrote his Oneirocritica, a comprehensive text containing various interpretations of dreams. Artemidorus proposed plenty of contemporary approaches to interpreting dreams. One of these is decoding an image from a dream into its component words. 

When Alexander the Great asked for the meaning of his dream about a satyr dancing on his shield, Artemidorus reported that the king of Macedonia would win against the Tyrians. Because the word satyr is interpreted as “sa tyros” or “Tyre will be yours.”

Sigmund Freud acknowledged this method of Artemidorus when he proposed that dreams can be interpreted as a rebus.

Middle Ages

For medieval people, dreams were treated as an encounter with the divine. Dreams were seen as guides for them on what course of action to follow or as prophecies. Medieval writers treated dreams as a muse or rich material where they could find inspiration for their works.


Chinese thinkers have raised their ideas about dream interpretation. They asked how we know we are dreaming and how we know we are awake. A poem by Li Po entitled Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly states the following:

“Once, Chuang Tzu dreamed that he became a free butterfly. He flew happily, quite pleased with the state he was in, and knew nothing about himself as Chuang Tzu. When he awoke, he discovered that he was very much Chuang Tzu again. Did Tzu dream that he was a butterfly, or was the butterfly now dreaming that he was Tzu?”

This poem raises the question of reality monitored in dreams, which today is a topic of interest for modern cognitive neuroscience.

Modern Europe

In the 17th century, Sir Thomas Browne wrote On Dreams– a short tract about dream interpretation. By the end of the 19th century, dream interpretation had become a part of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a therapy where patients share their dreams, early childhood, and life experiences. Sigmund Freud also worked on his Interpretation of Dreams at this time.

Psychological Theories on Dream Interpretation

From the supernatural to the use of reasoning, the continuous learning of the psychology of dreams has paved the way for these accepted dream theories.

Wish Fulfillment- Sigmund Freud

In his theory, Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams are often forms of our wish fulfillment. In our dreams, we can do everything we cannot do in our waking life. However, the problematic types of dreams (negative ones) made Freud believe that dreams can also serve as means to conquer our traumas and express our guilt. Freud’s general theory of dreams points out that dreams manifest in our brains’ unconscious workings.

Dreams as Direct Mental Expressions- Carl Jung

For Carl Jung, dreams express our unconscious state through a language of metaphor and symbol. He believed that dreams were direct expressions of the mind itself. In his theory, dreams serve two functions: to provide us with a prospective idea of the future and to compensate for the imbalance of our psyche.

Threat-Simulation Theory

Antti Revonsuo proposed that the main function of negative dreams is to prepare us for real events, so that threat recognition and avoidance occur faster and more automatically in the same real-life situation. His theory suggests that dreams are our means of practicing for the future.

REM and Activation-Synthesis

These theories suggest that the brain naturally reacts to stimuli. It also argued that dreams are just side effects of our brain’s normal activities and have no natural meanings.

Types of Dreams that Can Hold Meanings

Dreams are not the same. It has different forms and purposes. Some dreams occur naturally, while some are hard to experience and achieve. 

  1. Normal Dreams

Normal dreams are just about ordinary events, past experiences, and the people we have met. They tend to be happy or sad dreams that allow us to reflect on and appreciate our life. 

  1. Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams are dreams that occur when the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming while asleep. But everything feels so so vivid and real. When lucid dreaming, you can control your surroundings, the characters involved, and even the course of your dream. Lucid dreaming can occur naturally or by learning it.

  1. Daydreams

Daydreams are considered fantasies or imaginations while you are awake. They are often a way to escape reality. Some people intentionally daydream, while others force it. Daydreaming may be fun, but excessively engaging can harm a person.

  1. Nightmares

Nightmares are dreams associated with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. Nightmares might be about ghosts, monsters, gore, and even haunting experiences we had. 

Dreamers fear nightmares because of the dark elements it contains and the strong negative emotion it leaves them. Most of us occasionally experience nightmares, while some frequently experience episodes.

  1.  Astral Projection

Astral projection is a dream or an intentional out-of-the-body experience where the soul or the astral body separates from the physical body and travels throughout the astral plane. An astral plane can be a copy or a representation of the real world.

Some people who have experienced astral projection claimed that they could visit different places and get a real experience of it despite their bodies being asleep.

Anyone can harness the power of Astral projection by learning it and having a clear purpose.

How to Interpret Your Dreams?

Dreams do not have definite meanings. Their connotations and ideas vary between people and cultures. Flying in your dream may represent your yearning for freedom or your bird-like personality, who loves to explore. Or your dreams might want to tell you something about yourself.

But you must always remember that you must not interpret your dreams literally. Instead, look at the elements and the hidden symbolisms they want to convey.

If you’re having difficulty analyzing and interpreting your dream, you don’t have to worry because free dream dictionaries are available online. Just search for an important element or situation in your dream, and you’ll be surprised at its wide array of meanings.

You can also keep a dream journal and write down what you’ve remembered from your dream and its meaning. 


Dreams may be a normal part of our life, but they hold profound meanings that can change your life. Dream interpretation could be your tool for self-awareness and digging deeper into your emotional state. It can give you peace of mind and assurance in life. 

An important thing to remember when interpreting your dreams is to only look at them figuratively. Look at them through the meanings you want to give them. What does this dream mean to you? How does it make you feel? You have all the power to give meaning to your dreams and use them to your advantage.

Discover More About the World of Dreams


Recommended Books

Common Dreams & Their Meaning

Dreaming About Animals