The study of dreams is a great realm that may be divided into two territories: that of the observation of dreams, and that of their interpretation. Plutarch and Cicero did not scorn to study it, and following them there are numerous authors from olden times to the present day, not to speak of many writers of keys to dreams, always drawn up at second hand.
Many dreams have become famous, either on account of the position of those who had them or on account of the events that are claimed to have been foretold by them.
No child who has studied his Bible will have forgotten the dream of Jacob seeing the ladder placed on his breast and rising to the sky, prediction of the high destiny of his race; the dream of Pharaoh (the seven fat Kine and the seven lean line), which Joseph interpreted as the approach of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine; and so many others in which Jehovah appeared to Moses and the Prophets. He will remember in the Gospels the angel who foretold to the carpenter Joseph the supernatural motherhood of Mary, the other angel who warned Joseph to fly into Egypt to escape the Massacre of the Innocents, and the wife of Pilate who was excited by dreams that drove her to beg her husband to save Christ.
It was in a dream that the mother of Virgil knew, by seeing laurels, that she would give birth to a poet. In a dream Brutus saw a threatening specter foretelling his defeat on the eve of the battle of Philippi. In a dream Calpurnia, the wife of Caesar, foresaw the murder of her husband. In a dream Catherine de' Medici foresaw the tournament in which her husband lost his life. In a dream Henri II of France heard a voice predicting the wound to his eye that would come soon. In a dream the princesse de Condé was present at the battle of Jarnac, in which her son was to perish. In dreams Madame Roland knew the death of her mother and Madame de la Bedollier saw the man she was to marry, whom she did not at that time know.
Are dreams in reality prophetic?
We have all known coincidences between dreams and future events that were at least disturbing and striking. Let us add that some scientists have believed and still believe in dreams as a warning, at least to some extent. On the other hand, there are certain cases in which the dream foreboding can easily be understood. How many wives of fishermen, for instance, see in their sleep their husbands being shipwrecked, when, alas, that same night the men are engulfed by a fate which is only too common to seafarers? But do the wives not forget these same dreams when nothing happens?
Nevertheless, let us remember that, if in some psychophysical condition (especially in hypnosis) the human being shows himself apt to foresee future events, it is not extraordinary that sleep should sometimes be accompanied by a premonitory sensitiveness in which images seen transform themselves into more or less vaguely symbolic forms.
On the other hand, Thylbus remarks in his Realm of Dreams that dreams are predictive barely once in a hundred times. These visions of the night are often due, as we shall see presently, to the state of the body, to a physical sensation perceived during sleep, or to a contradesire (Freud's theory). Therefore, before opening a key to dreams to the dream that disturbs you, remember that it is only in cases in which a dream seems inexplicable that it may possibly have any premonitory value.
The Egyptians called such dreams "mysterious messengers,'' for they took them to be sent by the goddess Isis, who, with the aid of Serapis, thus sent warnings and counsel.
But let us come to more serious explanations.
In the opinion of occultists, the separation of the being into the material self and the psychic or astral self takes place rarely in a state of wakefulness but more often during sleep. And if they see in dreams a kind of presentiment or telepathy, this is, they say, because the soul is freed from the heavy weight of the material body during sleep more often than during wakefulness and thus is more easily able to communicate with the spiritual world.
Scientists, on the other hand -- at least the materialists who despise every hypothesis that does not use the scalpel -- explain dreams by the rush of blood to the head, allow dreams only physiological causes, and say that they are the result of the nervous system's acting on itself without communication with the outside world. Sleep, by suspending at least in part the exercise of certain faculties (attention, willpower, judgment) releases the control of all the images and thoughts that imagination brings to mind without coordination (hence incoherence).
It cannot be denied that physiological conditions affect dreams, and the ancients were well aware of this, for before accepting signs they took into account the functioning of the organs, the position of the sleeper during his sleep (which must avoid any compression of the liver, the mirror of true dreams), the hour, the day, and the season (autumn and winter, in their opinion, being not very good times). This is why, following the Arab physician Ibn Sirin (who lived in the eighth century B.C.), Moreau de la Sarthe and Maine de Biran distinguished two classes of dreams: the intuitive, and the affective or organic (connected with special conditions, pathological or other, and caused by them, as for instance a physically cold sleeper dreaming of snow).
Let us go into some detail for each of these categories. As we said, the intuitive dreams are the only ones that have any connection with divinatory science. Even then it is perhaps going too far to believe that the gods busy themselves with our petty affairs to the extent of giving us their advice in this manner, and it may be disturbing to see the contradictions existing between the various keys to dreams that are offered to our eagerness to know the future. And besides, we know that many thousands of dreams have never seen their predictions fulfilled!
We have said that occultists saw in dreams a kind of presentiment or telepathy, which is the faculty of seeing at a distance and without the aid of the senses. By the laws of determinism, events concerning each one of us are undoubtedly always in preparation in the vast field of the invisible world; they are in some way in a condition of germination as the seed is at the bottom of a furrow. But it happens in the spiritual world as it happens in the physical world, and all forebodings do not come true, just as all seeds cast into the furrow do not blossom. Sometimes our willpower, warned by the dream, arrests or precipitates the events in their course.
We should not consider interpretations of dreams as predictions. We must be realistic and consider dreams, rather, reminiscences or the reflection of preoccupations. We must not take keys to dreams literally. Everything we can say about man's search into the future must be based solely on hypotheses and coincidences.
The ancients claimed that it was possible -- by recipes, by amulets, by prayers, and by drawings of dreams -- to procure sweet and pleasant ones and to avoid unpleasant ones. For this purpose they often advised the placing of a branch of laurel near the sleeper's head. Would you like some more advice on this matter? Good dreams, according to the ancients, result from peace of mind; the righteous man who goes to sleep with pleasant thoughts will have pleasant dreams. To avoid terrifying dreams, they wrote, one should not read at night.
The slightest indispositions as well as the most serious illnesses may give rise to dreams. Unfortunately, their semiological value is very uncertain: we do not know their connections with the seat and the nature of the various affections which they accompany. All that we do know is that during sleep the pathological labor which goes on in the depths of the organism induces dreams which are more or less in direct relation with the affected organ. This is so true that dreams may sometimes arouse suspicions about an illness which are not revealed during wakefulness. To give some instances: An organic affection of the heart or of the large veins is sometimes announced before its obvious occurrence by painful dreams or nightmares followed by sorrowful presentiments. If the dreams are frequently repeated, they may be looked upon as symptoms foretelling a serious lesion already very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent. When the lesion has become actual, the dreams are very short; they usually occur during the first sleep and are quickly followed by sudden awakening. Combined with them, there is an early death in tragic circumstances. According to the observations of various doctors, spontaneous hemorrhages are foretold by red dreams or by dreams of murder. The more these dreams are accentuated and detailed, the more they must be taken into consideration. It is especially during the prodromic period of neurosis and of mental alienation that dreams are found to be of such a bizarre and extraordinary character as to arouse the suspicions of a doctor. Madness, before showing itself definitely, very often reveals itself in terrible nightmares of the worst omens.
The Same phenomena accompany illness more often than they precede it. Fever-stricken persons sometimes feel the most dreadful thirst, and dream that they cannot shake it. People have been known to dream that they had a leg cut off or turned to stone and to wake up paralyzed, or become so a few days later. Cold in an organ or its prolonged compression are sometimes accompanied by the same sensations.
Hindu and Chinese medicine, for centuries, has been looking to dreams for information as to the diagnosis of illness. In their system dreams are divided into five classes which correspond to the five great viscera: the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the spleen, and the liver. Each class is subdivided into two normal conditions of the organ. The normal conditions induce no dreams of any kind. These principles having been stated, the following gives, as an example of this Asian science, a summing up of the various dreams which denote the malfunctioning of each viscus:
1. Dreams of ghosts, monsters, terrifying figure -- sign of malfunctioning of the heart (vessels choked), repletion. Dreams of fire, flames, smoke, light -- sign of malfunctioning of the heart: giddiness due to weakness in the blood current, and slowing down of the heart's rhythm.
2. Dreams of fights, war, weapons, soldiers -- sign of malfunctioning of lungs, repletion. Dreams of plains, sea, country, difficult roads, and journeys -- sign of malfunctioning of the heart.
3. Dreams of excessive fatigue, pain in the kidneys -- sign of malfunctioning of the kidneys; canals overly full Dream that one is swimming with difficulty and is in danger of drowning -- sign of malfunctioning of the kidneys.
4. Dreams of songs, festivities, music, pleasure -- sign of malfunctioning of the spleen, starting repletion of the canals. Dreams of dangers, battles, disputes, meals -- sign of malfunctioning of the spleen.
5. Dreams of inextricable forests, steep mountains, trees -- sign of malfunctioning of the liver, repletion. Dreams of grass, lawns, bushes, fields -- sign of malfunctioning of the liver.
Finally, dreaming of brooks, murmuring springs, or waterfalls is a sign of anemia, and dreaming of murderers, hanging, or strangulation is explained by asthmatic suffocation.
It will be seen that this diagnosis by dreams is very similar, in some of its inductions, to that made in similar cases by Western physicians, but it is a little more extended.
In any case, it is generally recognized today that painful nightmares -- of suffocation with the sensation of imminent death -- reveal a choking in the great vessels of the brain and the heart. It would be wise to remove the threats of congestion indicated, by a modification of the way of living. So, also, in the case of frequent dreams of total and partial paralysis, which indicate a defective circulation of the blood.
Here, at least, dreams offer a sure interest, and it is probable that it was this practical application of oneiromancy which formed in olden times the rightly fundamental basis of this science. We should be wrong to neglect its instructive study under the pretext that the mystics and subsequently the charlatans turned it aside from its most interesting purpose.
Here are some examples of dreams without value:
a. Dreams during the first hours of sleep during the time of digestion.
b. Dreams of a person or a thing of which we have recently heard spoken.
c. The feverish nightmares due to pain, to fright, to a book read, to something seen.
d. Dreams resulting from the manner of sleeping. from the position of the sleeper.
e. Dreams due to illness or some obvious outside cause (noise, cold, etc.).
The true oracle dream: This comes in the middle of sleep, usually between three and seven o'clock in the morning, when the digestive functions are complete, when the body is in a good state of health, when the mind has not been exposed to any excitement, and when the normal position of repose causes no trouble to any organ. According to the Arab Ibn Sirin, author of the first treatise on dreams, "the sleeper lying on the fight side will have abstained from all food or of drink. He will have gone to sleep with a light heart, an easy conscience, after having obeyed the precepts of the Koran as to prayers and ablutions.'
INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS
These are the general rules as to the interpretation of dreams:
a. The gravity and importance of the events predicted are in direct relation with the depth of impression produced in the dream by its omen.
b. The due date of the event predicted is in proportion: (1) in the case of an animal, to the time of its gestation, incubation, or the breaking of its egg; (2) in the case of a thing seen, to the distance at which it was, in the dream, from the dreamer; (3) in the case of a recurring event, to its recurrence, etc.
c. Apart from fairly numerous exceptions, the meaning is, in general, the opposite of the dream; thus dreaming of death means marriage or happiness; of murder, safety; of a mirror, betrayal.
d. Monstrosities, deformities, and ugliness are, however, evil.
e. The right is good (also odd numbers); the left is fatal.
f. All wild felines and all huge animals are evil.
g. All domestic animals, especially if of light color (except the cat), are of good omen.
h. Reptiles are the worst possible omens (slander, crookedness, betrayal).
i. Fishes mean abundance and wealth if they are fine and appear on the surface of the water; but, if they remain at the bottom, serious danger.
j. Interpretation relating to all birds seen in dreams: On the right or east -- beneficence; on the left or west, -- maleficence; flying high -- good luck; flying low -- bad luck; singing -- success; hiding the head -- bad luck; turning the head away -- an upset; head under wing -- illness of much-loved person; coming above the dreamer -- reason to beware; wounded -- betrayal.
k. Fruit means abundance unless its season is past at the time of the dream.
l. Vegetables are a deplorable omen with two exceptions: mushrooms and peas.
m. The various parts of the body indicate the persons to whom ones dreams refer: A dream of a head is related, in modern interpretations, to the dreamer; a dream of teeth is related to a near relative; a dream of a right hand relates to the dreamer's brothers and sisters; a dream of a left hand relates to his children; a dream of the right foot relates to his parents or grandparents; a dream of a left foot relates to his servants.
n. In the case of a dream of illness or pain, always consult a doctor.
o. Weapons are always omens of a betrayal or break.
p. It is never lucky to dream of an animal of the same sex as the sleeper. The opposite, of course, is a good sign.
q. All dreams of efforts foretell difficulties to surmount. If, however, these efforts are weak or crowned with success, you may expect a happy ending. If, on the other hand, the task dreamed of is difficult, this is a sign of serious obstacles.
r. A light, brilliant, new, or full article is a happy omen.
s. A dark, dull, old, used, or empty article is evil
t. Going up is always good.
u. Going down is always bad, denotes at least a de-crease.
v. It is preferable not to dream of insects (worries, cares).
w. Dreaming of enemies is unlucky.
x. Dreaming of living relatives or friends with whom you are on good terms is a lucky sign.
y. For a girl to dream that she sees herself married means "break": accident, possibly death.
z. AH dark or black shades are bad omens; light shades, on the other hand, have cheerful meaning. Any violent color indicates excessive passion; any color mixed with black has meaning contrary to that which it has when alone.
These are the chief color meanings:
Bright red -- strong love
Red and black -- furious hatred
Dark red -- violent passion
Light red -- affection
Dark yellow -- low desires
Light yellow -- material ease
Dark green evilness, a threat
Light green -- serenity, cheerfulness
Dark blue domination
Light blue -- purity, happiness
Warm purple -- power
Purple and black -- intrigue, treason
Deep purple -- sorrow
Light purple -- gentleness, wisdom
Orange -- happiness in love
White -- family joys
Black -- mourning, death
Chestnut -- melancholia, danger
White stones -- happy omens.
The complete process of dream analysis involves the following steps:
1. the recording of the dream;
2. the dividing of the dream into its parts or elements;
3. the discovery, by ordinary memory, of the recent dream material;
4. the discovery, by free association, of the more remote
subconscious dream material;
5. the identification of the instinctive wish or fear that is the emotional power of the buried complex and the fundamental cause of the dream.
After a little practice, you will be able to analyze simple dreams merely by a brief free association from the most significant scene or event of the dream.
But if you wish to learn any new art or process thoroughly, it is desirable in the beginning to perform each step of the operation with detailed care. Then you will become more experienced and proficient, and you will be able to omit many of the details, go at once to the heart of the matter, and get results more quickly.
A mind experienced in dream analysis can almost immediately pick the significant element of the dream and, with a few links of the chain of free association, pull up from the subconscious mind the fundamental causes and meaning of the dream.
For illustration: An acquaintance of mine who is quite expert in dream analysis recently related to me his analysis of a dream that he made in a few minutes that morning while dressing.
The dream was a complex one, but the significant element was the taking of his niece to a disreputable resort under circumstances that to others would have looked very suspicious. To a person less familiar with dream analysis, such a dream would have been rather horrifying, as it appeared to involve the dreamer's attempted seduction of his own niece. But the dreamer knew from previous analysis that he had no such subconscious attitude toward the girl, who is rather plain and not in the least the type that would arouse his sexual instinct, even if she were not a relative of his.
The process of free association quickly solved this dream riddle. He had recently been urging his nephew, brother of the niece in the dream, to come to New York City. This invitation of his had the boy's parents, who lived in a small town and considered New York a very wicked place, worried. The dreamer had written to his sister saying, "If he [the nephew] were a girl you might have cause to worry." The nephew is as handsome as his niece is plain, and the subconscious thought of the dreamer had been "My kinfolks are worried for fear that this wicked old New York will ruin their boy. If he were a girl I wouldn't dare ask her to come here, for they think I am a wicked sinner because I live in New York and might even suspect me of having designs on the girl."
This thought becomes the idea which is dramatized in the dream. Without analysis the dream seems to be quite shocking, but analysis reveals the cause to be nothing more offensive than the dreamer's wish that his relatives would quit worrying over the wicked city corrupting his nephew.
Such short cut analyses are safe enough after you have considerable practice; but in the beginning you will do well to give attention to the five steps as outlined. I will therefore discuss these steps in more detail.
There is a very humorous line in an old English cookbook. The recipe is entitled, "How To Bake a Hare," and the instructions begin with this important item: "First you must catch the hare." Presumably one might buy a hare in the market, but I take it the cookbook writer considered it better to go out and catch it so as to be sure to have it fresh.
The same advice is good in our recipe for dream analysis, for a fresh dream is better than a stale one. By stale dreams I mean dreams that you remember having had some time ago, and which you thought peculiar or clever and so remembered. Likely you have told such dreams several times; and dreams, like gossip, frequently get changed in the telling. Dreams that have been written down at the time you dreamed them will be free from fault.
But there is another reason why the dreams should be fairly fresh when analyzed, and that is that in the analysis you are going to delve into the subconscious by free association, in order to find what is back of the dreams. Therefore, the more recently the dream has occurred the more readily you can discover the things that prompted the dream.
It might seem, because of the above consideration, that one ought to analyze the dream immediately. In practice I find this does not always work well, especially when one wakes up in the night and tries to analyze a dream he has just had. The mind is still too sleepy, or in case of a dream of strong emotions, too emotionally wrought up. The same thing applies to a dream one remembers on awakening in the morning if one tries to analyze it while lying in bed. It is better to go over the dream in your conscious memory and get it more safely recorded. Better still is to have a pad handy and write it out, then to go to sleep again if it is in the middle of the night or get up and dress if it is in the morning.
Then, any time during the day (that is before you go to sleep the next night) when you have the leisure for it in undisturbed circumstances, recall or reread the dream and analyze it. The one exception I would make wherein you might analyze the dream more promptly is that of a dream you have while napping in the daytime. Such dreams may be properly analyzed as soon as you have stirred about a bit to be sure you are thoroughly awake.
Ordinarily you will probably analyze in the evening the dreams you had the night before. If you wait the passing of a second night, there is some danger of the analysis being more difficult because of interdream memories from one night to the next. During the single day some minor details may be lost; but not essentials, for they are important to the subconscious mind and will be retained. In fact, they may be retained for years or a whole lifetime, as dream analysis itself will show. I have made these suggestions regarding the best time only because I want you to have everything favorable. Stale dreams can be analyzed, but the fresh dreams of the night before will be easier.
The suggestion for dividing the dream up into its elements is needed chiefly to avoid the danger of overlooking some part which may not seem particularly important in the dream but which may prove to be of importance in the analysis.
No hard and fast rules can be laid down as to this division. The elements of the dream are essentially the same as those of a story. They involve the setting, the characters, and the action or incidents.
The setting simply means the place where the dream story seemed to be happening. It may be a familiar place which you can indicate with a few words, as "I seemed to be in a living room in my uncle's house." Later on the dream scene may change: "And then we seemed to be on the shore of a lake, and there was a sailboat coming toward us." These places or prominent objects are elements of the dream. They may be either familiar places or objects that need only to be named in order to be pictured, or they may be strange places and objects that you will have to describe.
The second type of dream element is the dream character. This means the people of the dream, and animals and sometimes objects also assume characteristics of humans, as they often do in fairy stories. "My uncle was in a room, and he wore a full beard as he used to do when I was a child." The character in this is the uncle, but he should bo considered with the distinctive feature that at once suggests that the events of the dream are related to some childish experience of the dreamer. "We were fishing and I caught a fish, and when I tried to take it off the hook, it seemed to have changed into some kind of furry animal." The fish and the furry animal are true dream characters, and likely to prove significant as elements of the dream. "And then the boat came up to the shore and a beautiful girl with long golden curls stepped out of the boat; I did not know her and am sure it was no one I have ever known." Here we have a dream character, and the description of her should prove important; perhaps in the analysis her identity may be revealed.
The action, or incidents, of the dream is of course closely related to the settings and characters and often can hardly be separately stated. "I caught the fish," as given above, is action; so is "The fish seemed to change into a furry animal." "A beautiful girl stepped out of the boat....Then she came up to me and jerked the rod out of my hand and threw it into the lake." These items will sufficiently illustrate action or incident.
It is not necessary in dividing your dream into its elements to rearrange the dream material, as I have done, into three groups of setting, characters, and action. But it will help you to divide it up more completely if you remember these three kinds of elements of the dream story. You can simply go through the dream as it is told in the story form and note these elements without disturbing them from their natural order in the dream. If you are working with a written copy of the dream story, you can simply underline the significant word or phrases.
You are merely one of the dream elements, but your own characterization in the dream is so important that I want to call special attention to it. So note carefully whether you are in the dream yourself and whether or not you are an actor in the dream drama or an observer. Nine times out of ten you will be in the dream scenes. But you may be as you are now, or you may seem to be in some past period of your life or experience. More rarely it will be you in a condition or state in which you have never lived but in which you have in past thought of being. Women, find, frequently dream "I was married to so and so, or such a kind of man." Men are more likely to dream of love or sex relations without dreaming about marriage.
Occasionally you may be the actor in the dream but living, as it were, in the body of someone else. The transference of your personality comes from the thought, "I wish I were so and so," or "If I were so and so..."
There is no sharp distinction between the recent and the more remote dream material. We make the distinction because it helps us, in the analysis, to do so. As you have learned, most, perhaps all, dreams are set off or released by the action of some memory of what has been experienced or thought of during the previous day, or at least very recently.
This material may be discovered merely by going over the dream elements one at a time and asking yourself what recent event or thought could have caused that element of a dream.
Not all dream elements will have such recent events as causes; sometimes only the elements representing events that trigger the dream will be so easily explainable. But strange to say, significant elements do not always appear at the beginning of the dream tale as it is related. In the case of the man who dreamed he was guillotined by the board falling from his bedstead, it seemed that a very recent event started the dream but that the element did not appear in the dream until its end.
This was an exceptional case, but you will often find that the recent event that set off the dream will appear fairly late in the completed dream tale. Hence, if you wish to make a thorough analysis, it will be wise for you to go over each element in the dream and see what recent event or idea might explain that element. This analysis is proper, for which the other steps are only preparatory, and is accomplished by free association.
Take up each element of your dream, and from that scene, character, or action let your mind freely associate back into your subconscious store of memories and experiences. You will be surprised how quickly you will get results and how very clear it will be that the dream was motivated, or its driving energy supplied, from these deeper subconscious sources.
You will usually find a similarity in kind between the more important recent events that have set off or released the dream, and these may have a surprising resemblance to events that have happened many years in the past, even going back a whole life span.
It does not always follow that you will unearth very old memories in this step of the dream analysis, for some dreams, which seem wholly caused by fairly recent events, include some long-existing subconscious elements, which will explain why recent events, represented in the dream, were significant to your subconscious mind.
I will not give illustrations of this step of the operation here, because I am presently going to give you the complete analysis.
Frequently, this instinctive emotional wish or fear will be recogaized at once from the recalling of experiences and thoughts back of the dream. At other times this will not be so obvious. The point I wish to make is that the mere recognition of the intellectual elements of dream memories does not in itself constitute the scientific analysis of a dream. Until the more fundamental wish-fear emotion that binds the dream material together and forms the complex of the subconscious is unearthed and comprehended, we have not fully analyzed the dream. When this core of the dream structure has been discovered, the whole dream at once becomes dear and meaningful, and your analysis is complete.
Those dreams which go, for their material, back into your past and which reveal purely subconscious wishes or fears are the ones that will prove of the greater importance in the psychoanalysis of yourself. But it does not follow that all dreams are of this order. It is true that all dreams are wish or fear dreams, but some of them may take all the dream material from your recent life and the wishes and fears that prompt them may also have been recently conscious wishes or fears.
None of these dreams are to be disregarded as unimportant, for they all help you to understand yourself. But the wishes or fears that are the oldest are most fundamental in your nature, and because you are less aware of them, they are the most likely sources of conflict with your conscious thoughts and actions.
I have detailed these five steps of dream analysis as if they were all to be performed separately. But in practice you will combine them to a greater extent, and you will be able to do this even more as you become more expert and experienced in the analysis of your dreams.
As you recall or write down the dream, you can note or mark the elements, and as you note these elements you will often, without effort, recall the recent dream material. Sometimes you will also associate and so discover the more remote subconscious material at the same time, and that usually reveals the instinctive wish or fear. In the following related dream analysis, I give the thought processes approximately as they occur in experienced practice. As I get further on with these examples, I will condense more and omit some of the intermediary details.
The dream: I dream that I meet a man on the street whom I do not recognize. He catches my arm as I pass and calls me by name, and then I realize that it is my old friend Orvis, whom I have not seen for several years. He looks strange, seems younger and more energetic than I would have expected him to be. He asks me to come with him into his office. I do and find that it is a lively place with evidence of his busy prosperity. When my friend removes his hat, I see that his head is covered with a heavy growth of black hair. This seems strange, as he was, when I last saw him, almost wholly bald, and the little fringe of hair he had was turning gray.
Recent dream material: Davis called on me a couple of days before the dream, and we spoke of Orvis and wondered how he was getting along. We remarked that he was getting old, and we feared he wasn't doing well.
Analysis by free association: I didn't recognize Orvis, he looked younger, he had a heavy growth of black hair; but he is bald, he is the baldest man I know. I suppose I will get bald too, as I grow older (wish-fear element suggested). Only a week or so ago I happened to look into a mirror while a beam of sunlight fell on my head, and it revealed that my hair is getting decidedly thinner than it was. (Recent dream material by association and wishful fear element becoming rather obvious.) Orvis's bald head not only had a growth of heavy hair, but his hair, which was really gray, had become black -- my wife pulled a gray hair out of my head the other day (more recent dream material and a secondary wish-fear element suggested). Orvis was doing nicely in business, was younger and more energetic looking than I had expected to find him.
It is not necessary to follow the detailed analysis further, for the whole dream is now apparent and its analysis obvious. The fundamental fear of the dream is my fear of growing old. And this fear of the general decay of age is the emotional element of the complex which draws to it the specific ideas of baldness, grayness, loss of youthful energy, and failure in business.
More specifically, the cause of this dream is my fear of becoming bald. Yet I did not see myself as bald in the dream, but saw instead my baldest friend with an astonishing growth of black hair. Hence, the wish element (which is merely the reversal of the fear) is that baldness can be prevented or cured when it comes. There are minor wishes in the dream, one of which I had never been conscious because of its futility: it is that I might have black hair. Evidently, this has been a subconscious wish all my life, for I have always remarked on the handsomeness of black-haired men, my own hair being an indifferent brown.
This dream was simple and very easily analyzed because its material was recent and therefore readily available to the conscious mind. Yet it did require some analysis, for the dream itself, instead of picturing me as bald, showed my bald acquaintance as having hair. The direct meaning of the dream was that Orvis had grown a new crop of hair and was young looking and prosperous. I had consciously wished, when talking to Davis, that Orvis was doing well in business; but I had not thought or cared consciously about his looks or his baldness. My subconscious thoughts were about the danger of becoming bald myself, as revealed by the association of the discovery of how visible my scalp was getting when the sun shone into my hair. The speed with which this memory came into my mind is pretty good evidence that it is my baldness, not my friend's, that my subconscious was concerned with. Yet it is Orvis that gets the new hair in the dream. This is the element of dramatization or symbolism of the dream. My subconscious wished to express itself on the subject of baldness and picked out Orvis as the man who could best play the role. To put heavy black hair on his bald head was good dramatic or symbolic expression of the wish that I would not become bald myself.
Though simple, obvious, and not of great importance, the dream illustrates very nicely the typical dreaming mechanism and the method of dream analysis.
Several writers on psychoanalysis, following in the footsteps of Freud, have made it a business to collect numerous cases of dream symbolism. From these cases they have worked out and published fascinating lists of dream symbols. While it is no doubt true that many symbols have been in the same dreams of different people, there is no reason to believe they will always mean the same thing. Your dream and its analysis will reveal the symbols that you use.
Here is a case in point. The mere statement of dream and its analysis seems a farfetched case of symbolism, yet when all the facts are available, including that of a previous dream, the symbolism ceases to be mysterious.
The dreamer, whom we shall call Smith, dreams he is in a canoe with a man we shall call Jones. Smith and Jones are paddling the canoe, and another, empty canoe is tied on behind.
Now, when I tell you that the canoe the men are paddling is a certain young lady, whom we will call Miss Brown, and that the empty canoe behind is Mrs. Smith, the dreamer's wife, you may say "Bosh!" Yet that is correct, and here is the analysis as Smith worked it out.
"I dreamed that Jones and I were paddling a canoe, and that an empty canoe was tied on behind. This is the only dream, or rather all of the dream, that I recalled on awakening. When I come to analyze it I do not connect Jones with any experiences of canoeing or recall that I ever wished to go canoeing with him. I only know that he is with Miss Brown. But I am rather fond of Miss Brown myself, and I recall that on my vacation last summer I wished she were there and that I could be paddling up the lake, with just her in the canoe. At this point I suddenly remembered another dream, which I must have dreamed earlier in the night, and forgotten when I woke up. In this dream I was in a canoe with Miss Brown, and Jones was in the other end of it, we men paddling.
"I would like to share Miss Brown's love with Jones; that is, I want her for myself, but I recognize him as a fine fellow whom I have no right to cut out. It would be nice if we could both have her. But I am married, and my wife would make trouble. If I had Miss Brown, my wife wouldn't have anyone. She wouldn't stand for that and she wouldn't give me up, she would come along too. The empty canoe tied on behind is my wife.
"The wish of this dream is that I would have Miss Brown, but I would have to share her with Jones, and my wife would have to tag along without anyone. The women were evidently in the canoes to start with but got lost out some way, or rather the canoes came to represent the women. Evidently my subconscious desire to possess Miss Brown is rather ridiculous, considering the circumstances under which I would have to accept her..."
The analysis of this dream was rendered easy by the memory, recalled in analyzing the first one, of the earlier dream in which Miss Brown was in the canoe. The second dream gives us positive evidence of the symbolism of the canoes as the women, and shows how easily this came about by the continuance of the dream after the women which caused it faded from the picture or were fused into and symbolized by the canoes. In neither dream memory does the dreamer's wife herself appear, and yet her part is obvious enough when the rest of the dream is analyzed.
The psychoanalytical value of this dream analysis is apparent. Smith would probably not have consciously admitted that he was in love with Miss Brown and would have insisted that such a love was ridiculous, as he was married and she had another lover whom he admired and would not wish to cut out. The dreamer was still in love with his wife, yet subconsciously he had developed a secondary love complex. He was splitting his love impulse, and some of his instinctive sex energy was going to the other woman and subtracting that much from the love for his wife. Bringing this subconscious fact into consciousness will naturally have the effect of diverting all his love to his wife, because it is so evident to common sense and reason that his love is wasted on the other woman.
THE DREAM OF THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING
This dream may not prove to be what you expect from the title. It was dreamed by a girl the night before her intended marriage, and its analysis and what it let to read like a movie thriller. The dream itself was simple, but the way its analysis revealed her subconscious life was important.
She dreamed that a cat and a dog, which she used to have at home when she was a little girl, were having a fight. The cat licked the dog and was chasing him, and the dog was howling dreadfully. She thought how ridiculous it was for the dog to be whipped by the cat and felt that he wasn't much of a dog.
She was to be married the next afternoon to a man whom we shall call Henry, whom she had met only a few months before. She wasn't sure that she loved Henry a great deal, but she was sure that she was doing a wise thing in marrying him. The reason she gave herself was that he was prosperous and very much a gentleman, refined and quiet. He thought the world of her, and she felt sure he would always be very tender and kind. But Henry was a little man, an inch shorter than she was; she had taken to wearing low-heeled shoes since she had met him. How different from Albert, the man she had gone with before she met Henry. Albert was so big and rough and a little uncouth; she loved him, but they had quarreled and she was afraid of him, afraid to marry him.
Then she thought of the dream of the cat and dog fighting. And the cat had licked the dog. She could see them now as she used to play with them when she was a little girl. She had called the cat Mama and the dog Papa before she understood sex; and she remembered how embarrassed her mother had been when she had announced in the presence of callers that the dog was the papa of the cat's little kittens....She remembered how her mother and father had quarreled and how small and frightened her mother had seemed.
Now she saw the meaning of the dream. She had wanted her mother to win those "fights," and yet how ridiculous the dog in the dream had looked running and howling in fear of the cat....And how ridiculous a man would look who was afraid of a woman. It was evident that she had refused to marry Albert because she was afraid of him, for he was a big rough man, like her own father. But was it possible that she had decided to marry Henry instead because he was little and gentle and meek and she could "manage" him? In that moment she felt that she would be a fool to marry a man she could not respect because he was afraid of her.
It was all very clear now. She had never before admitted it to herself, but she had refused her big manly lover and come so near to marrying the little man just because in her childhood she had resented seeing her mother bulldozed and browbeaten by a big man. The complex so formed in childhood had prejudiced her against the big man, and this complex was in conflict with her natural instinct of love, which was naturally directed toward that type of man.
These subconscious truths being revealed made it evident that she could not go on with the marriage to the little man, even if he was more wealthy and refined than the man she now realized she really loved more. So she rose and sent a message to Henry breaking off the engagement that had come so near to being a wedding; and when she had removed to another part of the city, away from prying eyes, she sent a note to Albert and asked him to call.
A WIFE'S GUILTY CONSCIENCE
The dream: "It seemed as I was married to my husband and Mary X was also. We were all three of us at home [the dreamer's home on the old farm]. He was painting and I was holding the paints for him, but Mary X was making suggestions on the painting. I wanted to help, but she knew more about his art and he didn't pay any attention to me. So I told Mary X to go out and drive the cows from the pasture. And when she was gone, I said to him, 'Now let's run away before she comes back.'"
The analysis: The dream shows a clear case of substitution of one person for another. Mary X was an art student whom the dreamer and her artist husband had met only a few days before the dream. The wife was slightly jealous, as she was likely to be of any woman artist. There was no real ground for this, as the husband was much in love with his wife and did not care for the women artists he knew but said they were "a silly bunch." The wife had no real occasion to be jealous of Mary X.
The key to the deeper significance of the dream lay in its location at the old home and in the seemingly polygamous relationship. Mary X was a substitute character for the dreamer's own sister. The action of the dream was a dramatic condensation of what had really happened. The two sisters had lived on the old farm, both bright, pretty girls deserving more intelligent husbands than the rural community afforded.
A young man, raised in the neighborhood had gone away to a large city and become an illustrator. He came back to visit the old home community, and his interest in the two sisters was at once apparent. The older girl (the dreamer) had realized that he was really hunting for a wife and that she felt that her younger sister ought to have him, for she was the more artistic.
But she, the dreamer, wanted him for herself. He was handsome and clever and to marry him meant an opportunity to get away from the drudgery of the old farm. So she managed the affair to her own ends and married him, but with the feeling deep down in her heart that she had cheated her sister out of an opportunity that was rightfully hers.
The younger sister had later married very well and was perfectly happy. There was no occasion for a feeling of regret. The artist's wife now realized from his scornful treatment of women artists that, had he married her sister, the latter's slight artistic ability, instead of being an element of happiness, would have made trouble. Consciously she had nothing to regret, as affairs turned out nicely all around, but subconsciously she still suffered from the complex of guilt based on the feeling that she had taken the man that her sister had won. The feeling had lived on in the depths of her mind and had become the source of her own unreasoning fears and jealousies.
Such a dream tightly understood and interpreted should (and presumably did) do much to free her of the inner sense of guilt and make her own married life more wholesome and happy.
THE DREAM OF A BASHFUL YOUNG MAN
A young man relates this dream and its analysis.
The dream: He seemed to be in a pen with a lot of white rabbits. He was eating with them, drinking milk out of a saucer and eating lettuce. He didn't seem to be one of the rabbits but was another kind of animal, a "kitten or puppy, or something." Then the pen seemed to be surrounded by a lot of dogs, which were all barking and laughing at him.
The association: (Recall of some childish feeling): When he was small, the young man had some white rabbits which had to be kept shut up in a pen to keep the dogs from hurting them. Dogs were rough and cruel Animals; rabbits were pretty and tame. Nobody ought hurt white rabbits. Boys were rough and mean like dogs, and little girls were nice and tame like the white rabbits. The little girls' mothers were afraid to have them play with the mean and rough boys. But no mother objected to his playing with the girls, he was such a nice little boy. The other boys ridiculed his playing with the girls. They called him "fraidy cat" and "sissy."
When he grew older he moved to a new town and here refused to have anything to do with girls. He grew to be mortally afraid to be seen with them. Lately he had taken lessons in dancing. He could dance fine with the instructors, but the moment he went to a social dance and offered to dance with a girl, the old terror came back to him and he danced so badly the girl wouldn't have him for a partner.
The analysis, now apparent, reveals the retention in young manhood of a subconscious complex of childish fear of ridicule. He was still afraid to be seen playing with girls though he was a fine, handsome fellow with nothing that was sissy about him, in looks or manner. He had overcome his childish sissiness but had retained subconsciously the fear of ridicule.
A DREAM OF DANCING ON A GRAVE
The following dream of a girl stenographer has a double substitution of personalities and the blurring of a name that would seem a pretty clear case of the work of the dream censor. The dreamer is too fearful and ashamed of the real thought back of the dream to permit its more direct expression. Although I do not believe in the universal working of the dream censor or of dream symbolism, I admit the evidence of such an explanation of dreams is very good in certain cases. I can only say that the analysis must determine whether the real thoughts back of the dream are the more evident ones or the more obscure ones that are clarified only when interpreted as symbols.
The dream: "I was in a cemetery with my father, and we were putting flowers on a newly made grave. There was a tombstone freshly put up, and I started to read the name on it. The first name was Elizabeth, but the last name was blurred so I could not read it. I turned to my father; he was smiling and holding out his arms to me. He said, "There, that's done, little girl, now let's dance.' We began dancing on the grave; but the scene soon changed and I was dancing in a hall with George D."
Recent dream material: She had walked through the cemetery the Sunday before with a girlfriend. There were people putting flowers on fresh graves, but she paid no particular attention to anyone. There was no man with them on that trip. She had never walked with her father in a graveyard. No one had died in her family. Her father and mother got on all right. She had never wished or feared particularly about her mother's death -- and her mother's name was not Elizabeth. She did not know anyone by that name to whom the dream might refer. George D. was her friend, and she often danced with him as she was doing at the end of the dream. Dancing with her father was quite unthinkable, and dancing on the grave was "awful."
The search for dream material in the recent experiences does not seem to solve this dream; on the other hand, the dream suggests no particular childhood experiences. Under these circumstances, we have reason to believe that the dreamer's mind is holding back, and that tendency would lead us to suspect that the obvious characters of the dream are substitutes for someone else. Further associations reveal nothing that would help toward a solution. But about George D. we get these comments: "I don't care much for him, he is just a silly kid." This gives us our cue, that the dreamer does care for some other man, an older man, for whom her father is substituted in the dream. To the question whether her father called her "little girl," we get a negative answer. To the next question, "What man old enough to be your father does call you 'little girl'?" we get the revealing answer, "My boss does sometimes; but he doesn't mean anything by it."
Obviously, we have hit upon the clue to the real analysis of the dream. Elizabeth was the name of her employer's wife; the girl at first denied knowing this fact, and yet she recalled that when the wife had been away on vacation the summer before she (stenographer) had taken dictation of her employer's letter to his wife. Consciously the girl may not have known the wife's name, but subconsciously she did, and she blurred the surname in the dream.
This whole dream, put badly, means, "I wish my employer's wife would die, so then he and I could dance on her grave."
As you have seen by the way I have told it, the dreamer had help on this analysis. Without help she might not have been able to analyze the dreams; but on the other hand, we suspect her of holding back in the analysis and of lying because she did not want to admit the truth. The dreamer lied to herself in her dream, and she lied to herself and me a little, I think, in the analysis. If she had really wanted this analysis to come out, I think she could have analyzed the dream more quickly by herself than she did with my help.
I am quite willing to admit that some of you may have a little trouble with dreams of this sort -- if you have them-but I insist that if you get over the foolish tendency to be afraid of your own thoughts you will be able to analyze such dreams better by yourself than you could with help. The practical point is that there is nothing of which to be afraid. The young lady in this case did not wish to admit to herself that she was in love with her employer; she wouldn't admit it openly in her dream. But with the analysis before her she is better off than with the love hidden in her subconscious mind; she is more likely to get over it. If she can't, she can change her job; or if she wants to do it with her eyes open, she can go on and have an affair with her employer.
If some of you object to my mention of this latter possibility, I can simply say that there is actually less danger of such an ending with the thing out in the open than there was by her going ahead and lying to herself. The boss was calling her "little girl" and had dictated letters to his wife to her, evidently not minding revealing to her that there was no great love for him in his home. From such a situation it would be very easy for the girl to drift on, pretending that "he didn't mean anything by it" until the subconscious passion grew to a stage where it would take control regardless of further efforts of conscious suppression. I am holding no brief for illicit love but merely stating that I consider it safer to know what our feelings are than to go on lying to ourselves about them until they rebel and overpower our rational conscious minds.
A DREAM OF LOVE WITH A BROADER SIGNIFICANCE
A middle-aged and happily married friend had told me many of his dreams relating to various subjects, most of which we had been able to analyze with benefit and profit to him. There was one dream, however, or rather a series of dreams, relating to the same person, that for a long time seemed to both of us to be merely memories of puppy love affairs of his childhood and without significance to his present life.
These dreams were of a girl he had known in his early teens back in his home village. They seemed to indicate that he had worshiped from afar and never been able to make much headway with his youthful love affairs.
At my suggestion that these dreams might have some significance with his present love life, the dreamer always scoffed, declaring that he was very much in love with his young, beautiful, and cultured wife and that the other girl was probably married to some farmer or grocer and had a dozen kids.
Then one day he brought me another dream of his first love. "We were having the time of our lives," he said, "and what do you think we were doing? We were running around with torches setting fire to all the churches in town."
The pleasure he took in telling this dream I easily understood, for I well knew that the man was a hater of churches and religion and that this animosity greatly distressed his wife. This was in fact the one sore spot in their otherwise happy married life.
A little questioning brought out these facts. In the strict village life of his boyhood everybody went to church; and the old standby phrase "May I see you home?" at the church door was the accepted, and practically the only way, in which a lad ever got himself a girl. Now the boy had been obliged to go to one church and the girl he was smitten with to another, stern parental authority forbidding even temporary absence from the family place of worship. And so he had come to hate churches, not became, as he had later come to believe, of any genuine lack of religion in his nature, but merely because the rigid church system of the little town had kept him from the girl he loved.
"Well," he admitted, when I offered this explanation, "I guess you have pretty near hit it. I don't know that I have any grudge against churches if they would let people be natural and happy." Needless to say, this discovery to his conscious mind of the complex against churches based on the thwarting of a boyish love led to a happier state of affairs in his own home.
A DREAM THAT FURNISHES PROOF OF SUBCONCIOUS REASONING
The following dream furnishes a curious example of subconsciousness reasoning:
A New York woman dreamed that she was in a subway station. In the space where the trains come through, there appeared a series of long platforms somewhat like a train of flatcars. People were stepping across from the main platform and crowding on these flatcarlike platforms. A gong sounded. People stopped stepping across the platforms, and little protective rails rose from the edges of the main platform, which kept the crowd back. Then a full-length subway train came rushing down the tunnel, its front end open. It ran right on without slacking speed, telescoping over the crowded flatcars and carrying them on with it.
Now another train of empty platforms rolled into place, and the dreamer stepped on with the crowd. As before, the train came through at full speed, running right over them, or rather, the shell of the train running around them; and the dreamer found herself in the full, moving train, which had thus picked up the crowd without stopping speed.
She marveled a little over this new system. She couldn't seem to understand how it worked, but it evidently did work, and she thought it fine.
Before giving the analysis of this dream, I want to call your attention to the evidence it furnishes of subconscious reasoning powers. Fortunately, the dreamer first told me of the dream while the causes that led up to it were still fresh in her memory. Thus I was able to sound her thoroughly on the subject and secure one of the finest proofs I have come across of the power of the subconscious to reason.
First, the dreamer assured me that she had (at the time of the dream and as far back as she could then remember) very little interest in mechanical and engineering problems. She was not in the habit of reasoning consciously on such subjects or of attempting to solve such problems. Her reasons for not doing so were, as you shall see later, subconscious ones. But consciously, that is, so far as she was aware, she had no such ability and no such interest. On the contrary, she distinctly lacked such ability and was bored and annoyed by such reasoning and by all consideration or discussion of such problems.
More specifically, she had positively not taken any interest in the problem of subway congestion; that is, with an inclination to think out a remedy. "I knew that the subways were congested," she said, "because it delayed me, because I had to be packed in with a lot of crude people while the subways often stalled and that made me late for my appointments. But that is all I have ever thought about it. As far as trying to figure out a solution, I never did, and I know I never could and would never try to."
Now, from such a conscious attitude toward the problem, we jump to the dream in which a finished scheme of an effort to solve subway delays and congestion is all figured out. The dreamer does not figure it out in the dream but finds it in complete operation. She marvels at it, wonders how it works, and thinks it rather clever. Certainly she is not in the least aware that it is her own invention.
The fact that the invention in subway operation that she saw working in the dream is a ridiculous and impossible one by no means proves that she did not subconsciously reason, though it does prove that she reasoned rather badly. The very impossibility of a train at full speed picking up the waiting platforms of people further proves that it was not a remembered idea she had heard someone describe or had read about or seen pictured in a newspaper. But impossible as it was, her scheme was rather complicated and ingenious. Not only did she reason subconsciously, but she reasoned upon a mechanical problem and worked out mechanical details, all of which she could not and would not have done in her conscious mind.
Here is the interpretation of the subway dream: In the first place, the recent dream material is quite obvious. Her attention had been turned to subway congestion by the new turnstile, and she was annoyed by the crowded and slow subways and wished they could be improved.
That is interesting but of no great importance to her life. Yet the riffler analysis of the dream by free association unfolded a tragic life story and saved the threatened happiness of a home. This analysis revealed that the real deep-lying wish motive of her dream was sexual in a broad sense and that she wished for more peace, love, and happiness in her married life. This was a conscious as well as a subconscious wish.
A more specific wish, closely related to the dream, was strictly subconscious; she wished that she could be interested in, understand, and reason out engineering problems. Her reason for so wishing was that her husband was an engineer, and such interest and capacity on her part would have enabled her to understand his work and, by so doing, make him more happy and more efficient and prevent his attention to a woman scientist who did understand his work and to whom he went for sympathy and admiration. Now, it would seem that this wish would be conscious, but it was not, for it had been repressed; and she consciously maintained that she was disinterested in and bored by his engineering. She believed that she was sorry she had married the engineer and that he was narrow, mechanical, and uncultured; that she should have married an artist or musician.
Now the dream analysis takes us back to her childhood, and we find the little girl in a refined home with a rather silly old-fashioned mother. The girl is a normal bright child and well endowed with all human instincts of construction: the instincts that lead boys to build things and be interested in machines. The nice little girl with the nice mama, who is trying very hard to make a lady out of her, has a playmate, in the shape of a boy in overalls, who has a good mechanical bent. He is building things in the barn. The girl becomes interested and wants to help. She does help and does so very cleverly.
After a happy afternoon so spent, she comes home with a dainty dress torn and smudged in the boy's machine shop while her mother thought she was over at a nice neighbor's playing with a wax doll. Her mother scolds her and tells her she is unladylike. The mother gossips to a neighbor woman and worries over the tomboy tendencies of her child and the degradation of playing with boys in the barn. The gossip gets to the children, the little girl is called a tomboy, and there are vague, naughty, childish suggestions about being with boys in barns. So by social disapproval and childish ridicule the instinct of mechanical construction is suppressed in this girl child, as it is in practically all girl children, because that is an instinct society has seen fit to assign to men.
Now we skip a dozen years and find a typically well-bred and rather narrowly educated young lady, ignorant of science and mechanics and with little ability to think along those lines but with the native instinct to do so still alive and buried under a heap of acquired ladylike culture.
She meets a young man, and he is an engineer. He is too well bred to "talk shop" while in society (one of the silly restrictions of so-called good breeding). Moreover, he is not yet taking his profession very seriously and is interested in dancing and social life.
So they fall in love. Little is said about his engineering and his chance to rise in the world. Yet the fact that he is an engineer revives for a time this suppressed constructive instinct, and she hopes to take an interest in and help him with his work.
So they marry. One evening the young husband comes home full of enthusiasm for a problem in engineering he is working on. The wife is interested and talks about it, but she is ignorant and unskilled in this sort of mind work, and the husband laughs at her lack of knowledge and understanding. He says "Of course, I couldn't expect you to understand this, pardon me for mentioning it."
So again the instinct is snubbed and suppressed and forced back into the subconscious. This time the suppression, with the resentment of wounded pride to aid it, creates a direct conscious antagonism to the subject. The wife actually cultivates a disinterest and inability to think along mechanical lines. But the husband grows more engrossed in his profession and ignores his wife and her social life. They begin to drift apart in sympathies and interests; she seeks compensation by following artistic lines of thought and culture, and he seeks womanly admiration elsewhere.
Such is the state of affairs when the subway dream occurs. Its analysis reveals to the wife her original instinctive interest in this broadly human passion of devising mechanical things, and she sees how that instinct was twice suppressed and how foolish and unfortunate that suppression was. The analysis of this dream, explained to the husband, shows what an unfair brute he was to kill his own joy in life by snubbing his young wife's first efforts to understand his work. He sees, too, the humor and cleverness of this dainty wife as a tomboy building things in an old barn, and also her remarkable feat of attempting to solve the subway congestion by subconscious reasoning. They laugh at that and laugh, too, at many of her other impossible inventions and impractical solutions, but he is now laughing with her, not at her. And they are going to live happily ever after.
HOW ARE YOU TO KNOW WHEN YOUR ANALYSIS IS RIGHT?
This is a natural question for you to ask when first getting acquainted with the subject. After you have had considerable experience in the analysis of your own dreams, you probably will not ask that question, though someone else to whom you might explain your work or tell one of your analyses would be very likely to ask it.
In the first place, you have the same advantage that you would have in thinking out any other kind of problem. That is, if you follow the methods that have been tested and proven by others and reach certain conclusions, the chances are that you will be correct
But in the analysis of your own dreams you have a very much more important fact to help you. The answer you are looking for is already in your subconscious mind, so when you work back toward it and find it there is a distinct sense of recognition. You think, "Oh, that's it," and there is a feeling of relief, a feeling that the search is ended. After you have become reasonably practiced in the work this recognition will be sufficiently convincing.
To explain by an example, suppose you are trying to think of some forgotten name that has slipped from your mind, that is deeply buried in the subconscious vaults of memory. You may try rather desperately to remember it and to no avail, but if someone suggests the correct name to you, ninety-nine times out of a hundred you will say, "Oh yes, that's it." The name suggestion immediately reaches the buried memory and is identified.
The correct analysis of the dream reaches the subconscious wish or fear, and is likewise identified.
Here we see another advantage of self-analysis. The professional analyzing another's dreams does not have this advantage except as his patient chooses to give it to him, Psychoanalysis is one of the few instances in which the patient or client knows more than the doctor or expert.
CAN ALL DREAMY BE INTERPRETED?
Yes, if they are completely remembered and you have had sufficient experience in interpreting your dreams. But do not worry, especially at first, if you cannot find a satisfactory interpretation of all your dreams.
If after reasonable effort you do not get on the track of a revealing interpretation, lay the dream aside. Later, after you have interpreted other dreams, you can probably come back to the one that gave you trouble and find that it now has revealing associations. If not, it is probably that you have lost some essential part of the dream in transferring it to the subconscicus mind. Hence, to force the interpretation of the fragment that is left would mean to get an inaccurate interpretation.
You can rest assured that you will have plenty of dreams to interpret, for the more interested you get in this work the better you will remember your dreams -- and you do dream them, plenty of them, for you dream all the time you are asleep.
Neither should you worry lest you lose some essential messages from the subconscious because of the dream you lose or fail to interpret. If we had to depend on any particular dream our chance of success would be small; for even though we remembered so many dreams that it would keep us busy all day long interpreting them, we would still be getting but a small fraction of the total number of the dreams we dream.
But the subconscious will repeat its fundamental wishes in dreams again and again.
MAKING USE OF YOUR DREAM ANALYSIS
We interpret our dreams to find out what is going on in our subconscious mind, but the purpose of psychoanalysis is not merely to find out what is going on in the subconscious mind but to make use of the subconscious forces to gain our conscious aims and ideals in life.
When you have analyzed your dream and have determined the subconscious wish that prompted it, here are some questions you might ask yourself:
1. How does this wish apply to my present life?
2. Is the subconscious wish also a conscious wish?
3. If so, what forces within my own nature, or in the world outside, stand in the way of realization of that wish?
4. If the subconscious wish is one I cannot consciously approve, what conscious wish can I offer to my subconscions which would serve as a substitute for this wish that cannot be realized?
NEW KEY TO DREAMS
After having given these general rules, there remains for me only to draw up my own key to dreams at once synthetic and reasonable (as far as this is possible) -- only by way of information, of course, as my very skepticism does not prevent my being conscientious.
For this task I have consulted the best ancient and modern sources. I have adopted the triple rule:
1. not to waste too much time on dreams which are too vague, too rare, or too bizarre;
2. to broaden the meaning of these images, for here, more than in any other divinatory art, would detail run the risk of landing in a very morass of charlatanism;
3. to neglect explanations which are silly for the very reason that they seem plain, or which have an unpleasant aftertaste, such as that threading pearls in a dream means a love affair.
I shall in the main give those meanings which have unanimous opinion in their favor, this being a sign of tradition and moral value.
f0 Copyright © 1985 by Zolar