Into Your Dreams: Deciphering Your Unique Dream Symbology to Transform Your Waking Life, by Janece O. Hudson, Ed.D. is a comprehensive guide to unraveling the mystery of those nocturnal dialogues we call dreams.
Unlike most dream books and interpretations, here is a personalized look based not solely on science or esoteric belief systems but an integral whole of all available resources. This may sound like a daunting undertaking for the reader to embark upon and the beginning of the book does deal a lot with the various beginnings of dream interpretation, from Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974), the first Italian psychoanalyst, through Maslow, Freud and the psychic Edgar Cayce. But there is a purpose for laying the groundwork: The author borrows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to give the reader a starting point.
After having defined what dreams may be (there are several ideas put forth) and their messages, Hudson advises reader to add their own interpretations to the ones she will offer. She provides various ways to “catch” them, decipher what they are telling you and work with these messages to enhance your life experience.
This is where the book diverges from a cookie-cutter version of dream interpretation and becomes a powerful tool for personal change. At first it would seem frightening to imagine being pushed out of the nest like this: after all, if you knew what your dreams meant, you wouldn’t need the book; right? But that is not really what Hudson is trying to accomplish here. She is, at once, giving you some direction and allowing you, who know more about your life than anyone does, to utilize your specific life experiences in the interpretation.
Hudson gives ample examples of other people’s dreams and many from the experts she discusses in the beginning of the book, which offers the reader a kind of map for their own dream deciphering. She cautions that dreams are seldom literal, as in the case of the man who awoke from a dream of his wife cheating on him, and then shot her dead. The woman was, indeed, faithful and the tragedy would have been averted without a literal translation. She postulates that “if the man who killed his wife thought of her as a personification of loyalty, then his dream might have been calling his own loyalty into question.” Dreams are about us, the people, places and things are most likely projections of our inner sub-personalities (Assagioli), personifications of our inner selves or deal in metaphor, etc. which is specific to each of our singular experiences.
This process is lengthy but thorough. At the end of each chapter, there are simple exercises to help put what you have learned into practice. One could start interpreting their dreams immediately. There are also those dreams that one wakes from with the meaning completely clear. This “immediate insight” often happens when “you still have a foot in dreamland.” I found this helpful, as I used to think that when I was in that half-waking/half-sleeping stage that I was manipulating the meaning that seemed so strong to me. It was simply a very clear thought that I should trust, as Hudson writes. The author also states that the “editing” that we sometimes do in that state is also valid: we are trying to change things, and that is what dreams often there for; to give us a road out of a stifling or dangerous situation, for example.
Later chapters go into more complex information retrieval and how to access it. As Hudson states “Dreams may be about a range of needs.” They also may be very simple. “Eat more spinach” would indicate that one should look at diet and health. Many of Edgar Cayce’s dream interpretations for others dealt with this issue. Some are even predictive of a future health problem. These “prodromal” dreams (ones that serve as precursors to later events) are trying to take care of you in this case.
The back of the book contains a comprehensive list of the possible components of dreams. You can also go through this list and add your own interpretation of “Father,” for instance. Each person will have a different experience of archetypes. If you had a loving parent and someone else had an abusive one, those associations will determine the dream’s message. I would say that you might want to do this in pencil — associations can change over time as we grow. Still, archetypal players and settings will have a firm standing in many cases.
Do not worry if you cannot find a suitable listing for, say, laundry attendant. You could use maid instead, if that resonates with you, or you can pick another that seems to hit close to your feeling about the person, place or thing.
Another strength of the book is that you can always flip back to a particular chapter and deepen your understanding of the material, thereby making a worthy tool even more helpful. The book is well indexed for your exploration. If you want to go further into the minds of the people who began it all and other dream interpretation offerings, there is a useful “Further Reading” section, as well.
In conclusion, our dreams can help us change our lives and grow. By following a few simple rules like “be sure to always look at both the literal and figurative meaning of definitions and suggestions” and to remember that everything in the dream is about some aspect of yourself, the reader can learn not only to interpret their dreams, but to direct them with the exercises and increased awareness won by repetition.
Into Your Dreams: Decipher Your Unique Dream Symbology To Transform Your Waking Life
By Janece O. Hudson, EdD
Adams Media: July 18, 2011
Paperback, 304 pages
Psych Central's Recommendation: Worth Your Time! +++Your Recommendation (if you've read this book):
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Verrin, H. (2011). Into Your Dreams. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/into-your-dreams/
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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