As a psychology major in college I learned about Carl Jung.
Carl Jung, protege of Sigmund Freud, believed that dreams were a way we could become acquainted with our subconscious. He believed they could provide a window to solutions to our problems, subconscious or not, and assist us in achieving wholeness. I believed I would love learning about dreams and their meanings. I have had bad dreams that have come true, brilliant and bright dreams that I have turned into children's books and illustrations, and nightmares that have shocked me awake to a dark room and rapid heartbeat.
Some dreams seem prophetic, and certain individuals gained notoriety due to dreams coming true. For example, Joan of Arc predicted her death in a dream, Abraham Lincoln dreamed of his death only a few days before his assassination, and Einstein's theory of relativity came to him in a dream.
Jung believed, as do many others, that dreams can represent feelings, relationships, fears or any one of many situations that are occurring in your life. But unlike his contemporaries, he did not believe that each specific dream represented the same thing for every dreamer.
For instance, if I dream of fire and look it up in the Dream Dictionary on the web http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/ you will see several interpretations, but each of these would be the same for any dreamer. Jung believed many things had to be taken into account if one were to interpret their dreams. He thought there was not one single correct way for a dream to be described. Personal judgement is heavily relied upon, how the person feels, and the most significant interpretation of the dreamer is more important than what a book of dreams may say or another person.
To help a dreamer reveal the true meaning of his dreams, Jung developed and believed that certain symbols were present in all the dreams of men and women, and had universal meaning. These are ancient symbols, recognized across generations and locations, and derived from the collective unconscious called archetypes.
The main archetypes Jung considered were:
Jung did not believe there was a limit to the number of archetypes. He believed they were endless, and some other examples are the joker or trickster, the Mother or Crone, the wise Old Man or Wizard, the child or divine child, and the hero--or these days, the Superhero. Any and all can appear in dreams.
There are also many types of dreams. We discussed the prophetic dream, and if the dream is good we hope it comes true, but another type of dream we can have is a nightmare, or night terror. We have nightmares because of anxiety or fear, and it is said up to 10% of adults can have nightmares every month--or more. These dreams can cause rapid heartbeat, sweating, vocalizations, sleepwalking and waking up with an intense feeling of fear. Seeing a scary image, reading a frightening book or watching a horror movie or television show can all cause nightmares. Children can experience night terrors and moan and thrash while experiencing the dream. They may hallucinate and think they see the creature that is horrifying them in their dreams.
In a lucid dream the dreamer is aware they are dreaming and the waking mind gains control. Please visit The Lucidity Institute to learn to control dreams, remember them, and do experiments like the The Light and Mirror Test: www.lucidity.com
I have a friend who has dreams that cause her to experience a real medical phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. (Click below to read a bit about her experience when a book caused it to rear its ugly head: http://www.amazon.com/review/R28NG4E7W82B9R/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B009WR2BFO&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text
This is almost the opposite of lucid dreaming because the dreamer wakes but can't move a muscle. They are conscious but cannot do anything about the weird events taking place around them. My friend saw an evil man in her room during one of these dreams and could not breath. She knew he was evil, but could do nothing.
And he began to move closer. She was awake in her own nightmare, helpless.
Read more about sleep paralysis here in one of my favorite magazines, WIRED: www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/sleep_paralysis/
I remember as a child someone told me if you dream of blood someone will die. Not too long after I dreamt a girl I went to school with cut her father with a knife, and blood poured from the wound. Within two days a relative of a friend passed away, and I was SOLD on dream interpretation.
I read that water means anxiety, and the darker and deeper the water the worse the problems. I read dreams of the devil mean you are sneaky and underhanded, and daisies mean a happy day will follow.
I bought a dream book and spent many afternoons looking up my own dreams and dreams of friends.
Although I do not look up my dreams any more, I sometimes try and interpret some dreams that are recurring.
Read 15 Interesting Facts About Dreams below--bet you didn't know that not everyone dreams in color...