Characters, places, objects… do the images we encounter during our nights have a meaning? Yes, if you know how to read these symbols and make them the triggers for personal reflection. First steps to get started.
An animal, a car, a wad of banknotes… Each of our dreams revolves more particularly around an image. Drawn both from the unique story of the dreamer, but also from his cultural environment – “the collective unconscious”, according to Jung –, these “dominant” images symbolize his strongest desires, needs or concerns of the moment.
The writer and journalist Hélène Renard, a specialist in dreams, has developed an original method of interpretation nourished by psychoanalysis and symbolism. As a working basis, she offers the dreamer to say to himself when he wakes up: “I had a dream of…” Spontaneously, answers are needed: “animal”, “money”, “tunnel”… This will be the dominant image. When several strong images overlap, she recommends to see more clearly to title the dream. For example, you dreamed of a cat, a car, and a trip. What title would you choose? If it’s “Le chat qui part”, that’s what will dominate in your interpretation.
These dominant images are keys offered to the dreamer to gain self-knowledge, to better understand the emotions and desires that run through him. They give the “the” of each dream and the fundamental direction of interpretation. We have chosen to present to you the seven most recurring themes according to Hélène Renard, and the questions that may arise from them. These are only leads to question you, but you will be able to find others, more personal and related to your news. Because everyone knows intuitively which areas of his life “his” images come to illuminate.
Symbol of our inner life, it represents both the body and the psychic life of the dreamer. Its dream representation therefore corresponds to the way you perceive yourself overall. Dilapidated, messy, it may indicate that you are going through a “messy” period of life, and that you should perhaps question your habits, your relationships, your lifestyle…
Evolving in an unfamiliar house can reveal a certain lack of self-knowledge: what parts of your history, what facets of your personality do you leave in the shadows? Similarly, empty rooms can evoke personal resources that are not yet explored. Each piece also corresponds to a particular symbolism. The kitchen is the place par excellence of transformation and evolution, it is in this room that the raw material is worked and refined. She suggests that a change may be needed to move forward. We can also read in this image an invitation to be more active and more enterprising in his personal life.
The appearance of toilets can evoke a need to break free. What in your life becomes suffocating and needs to be let go? What belief, what emotion, what relationship? The bathroom, a place of cleaning and purification, can express in the dreamer the desire to cleanse part of his life to gain vital energy. Is it a way of life to be arranged differently, a relationship to be clarified?
The bedroom evokes, unsurprisingly, marital and sexual relations.
Apparitions, omens… Our dreams reveal what seeks to emerge in us and help to question us. Find our interview with Anne Dufourmantelle: “Dreams are like a problem-solving machine”
More than the whole body, it is usually one of its parts that is staged in a dream. The first question to ask is very basic: what is this part of the body for? Some of the most common dominant body images include hands, legs, teeth, and throat. Hands are both a communication and contact tool (from a simple hello to a caress), and a creative tool.
When we dream them mutilated, damaged, tied, dirty, bitten, they can be an invitation to question the quality of our relational life: do we multiply conflicts? Do we feel mistreated?… But also about our own creative abilities: do we ignore them through ignorance of ourselves? Are they inhibited by lack of confidence?… Legs generally symbolize our ability to progress and find balance. Blocked, refusing to move forward, they reflect a difficulty in making choices in one’s life, in moving forward or even in being independent.
To dream that one loses one’s teeth is as distressing as it is frequent. This can reveal a lack of “healthy” aggressiveness, to defend oneself, to assert oneself, to undertake. The fear of loss referring to the lack of self-control can also reflect excessive emotionality. Finally, the throat concentrates our emotions and our anxieties, do we not speak of a “knot in the throat”? What prevents you, in your life, from breathing freely? The feelings of suffocation, embarrassment, blockage, are an invitation for the dreamer to question everything that can hinder his emotional well-being.
The first key to a dream dominated by the image of an animal is given to us by the main characteristic of the animal. The dog evokes fidelity, but also instinct, whether maternal, survival and defense, or sexual. A friendly dog indicates that your instincts are not suppressed or dominating. If he is aggressive or threatening, perhaps these instincts are too dominant or too repressed. Dreams about being chased by disturbing animals are, in general, a way of drawing our attention to a problem that we don’t dare to face.
The cat, meanwhile, is often a symbol of the feminine, whether you are a man or a woman. It can invite you to open up more to the feminine dimension of your personality. It also evokes sexuality. When it is aggressive, it can mean that sexuality is experienced unconsciously as aggression.
A little more disturbing, the spider and the snake frequently invite themselves into our dreams. The first, weaving its web and watching its prey, suggests the idea of a trap. Observe your behavior towards the spider: are you running away from it, are you trying to get rid of it? Your attitude, passive or active, will give you food for thought on how you handle difficult situations. The snake is one of the main figures of our unconscious. It can evoke change (the moulting snake): are you starting a new personal cycle, or do you feel the need? It also represents sexuality and, more broadly, the libido, that is to say our vital energy.
Coffin, burial, cemetery, deceased… These very strong images are, contrary to what one might think, positive, because for our unconscious, death is a sign of rebirth. They must therefore be interpreted as incitements to change, to evolution, even to metamorphosis.
Thus, dreaming of one’s own death is often a sign that the dreamer is evolving. Some parts of him are losing their vitality to give way to new dimensions of his being. If these images can generate anguish or anxiety, it is simply that change, even when it is positive, is frightening. In the same perspective, the cemetery represents a place of regeneration. But before tasting the “new”, we must regress one last time towards the old, it is this in-between that the cemetery represents.
It symbolizes the self, that is to say our essential being, the one who is beyond our ego. Thus, dreams of childbirth can announce the birth of this essential being. It can be, for example, an important personal project that sees the light of day, a new, more fulfilling relationship, but also a new way of being in the world, freer, more conscious.
If beautiful babies, smiling and chubby, symbolize our ability to take care of our essential being, dirty, sad, neglected babies, on the other hand, suggest that the dreamer mistreats his deepest being. What essential do we neglect, what needs, what desires do we not listen to? The baby can also evoke the couple relationship: depending on his appearance and the stake he represents in the dream, he can evoke a satisfying or problematic bond. When he dies, his death may indicate a transformation of this relationship. Finally, the metamorphosis of a baby into a small animal can reflect the dreamer’s difficulty in letting his instincts express themselves, which may have been stifled by an education that was too rigid or too intrusive.
It symbolizes the way one conducts one’s life, as well as the way one conducts oneself in life. Are we more inclined to caution or to danger? Is the car associated with accidents? Are we the cause or do we suffer from them? All of these questions can help you think about how to lead your life and behave with yourself and with others. Do you drive? Is the car driven by someone else? How do you feel as a passenger or driver? The place we occupy in the car reveals our degree of dependence or independence.
Notes, hard coins, safes… These dreams speak of our inner wealth. If the dream strongly emphasizes images of gold or silver, then one should read in it the tendency of the dreamer to devalue himself. What value do you place on yourself? Do you know how to use your talents and skills? It is important to pay attention to what you do with these notes, coins or precious objects: do you spend them, do you hide them? Their use reveals the way in which one neglects or, on the contrary, exploits one’s inner resources.
Little Method to interpret your own dreams by Hélène Renard, with the collaboration of Nicola Otto.
The complete interpretation process developed by this dream specialist (Albin Michel, 2004).
We would like to give thanks to the author of this post for this incredible content
Dreams: images with messages
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