Our dreams are a bridge between our conscious and subconscious. They carry messages from our Higher Self and our spiritual guides, usually in a symbolic form. The messages are often encrypted, and take some exploration to unlock. Yet once unlocked, they are a much more powerful teacher than words alone, because symbols activate deep emotions within us.
A symbol paints a thousand words and a thousand emotions.
Let me show you a foundation for interpreting your dreams. Learning dream interpretation is like learning a new language, but with practice and a good foundation, you will master it.
Some time ago, a friend came to me with a strange dream, and asked for my input. At first glance, the dream was very simple. She was standing in her home, and a small snake leapt from the wall onto her shoulder, and then burrowed into her ear.
That’s a great starting point, however it doesn’t give us enough detailed information from which to interpret the dream. Whenever I’m interpreting a dream, I want to explore 3 fundamental elements:
Where is the dream set?
The setting for the dream will tell you which part of your life is being highlighted.
Generally, if a dream takes place in the workplace, it’s got a message for you about your work life. If it’s set in your home, it’s got a message for you about your home life. If it’s in the bedroom, it has a message for you about your personal life, or romantic life. If it’s set in nature, it has a message for you about your spontaneous inner self. If it’s set in water, it’s a message about your emotional self (because water symbolises emotions).
There are always exceptions to this fundamentals, however that usually becomes clear as you work through the other elements of the dream.
My friend clarified that in her dream she was standing in her bedroom. However, I happen to know she works from home, so I quizzed her about whether she works from her bedroom. It turns out she does – in fact, she has a desk set up in her bedroom. However, in her dream there was no sign of her desk, so we can assume this dream is talking about her personal life and not her work life.
Who are the characters in the dream?
The second element of the dream is its characters. Recently I had a dream about my ex-husband. It was a lovely dream, and there was a great deal of fondness between us. Yet as I reflected on the dream, I recalled that his hair didn’t have any grey in it. The dream was taking me back in time to when we first met, and the lovely connection we shared that brought us together. It was showing me the past, not the present.
In my friend’s dream, there were only two characters – her, and the snake. She represented herself, however the snake was a symbol of something or someone – even possibly a part of herself.
Before we can work out who the snake represents, we need to explore the snake as a symbol.
Snakes are one of the most complex symbols that can appear in a dream, because culturally we have so many diverse connections with them. In order to work out what they mean in your dream, you need to ask yourself some questions about the context. For example:
Snakes shed their skin so they can be a symbol of positive transformation, physical healing and renewal.
The High Priestesses of Druid England were often depicted with snakes winding up their arms, so snakes can be a symbol of the Divine Feminine and her innate power.
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail, forming a circle. This symbol represents infinity, and wholeness.
The Rainbow Serpent of the Indigenous Australians is a messenger, an aspect of God, manifesting as a force of nature that can both create and destroy.
In Christianity, the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, so a snake can represent temptation and evil.
Snakes can strike and bite us, so they can symbolise attack and danger.
Because of their phallic shape, snakes are also a symbol of male sexuality.
To narrow down which meaning applies, look at what’s happening in the dream, and the associated emotions. I’ve had dreams where a beautiful rainbow-coloured serpent has slithered in front of me, and the feelings have been profoundly beautiful and uplifting.
However, in my friend’s dream the emotions were not happy ones. The snake had startled her with its quick leap onto her shoulder, and then she’d felt uncomfortable and intruded upon with the way it had penetrated her ear and made its way into her head. This alerts us that the meaning is more towards temptation, penetration and attack.
What’s happening in the dream?
This is where you start to pull the dream together. You know what part of your life the dream is referring to. You understand the characters. Now you want to understand the meaning of the events occurring in the dream.
In my friend’s dream, the snake penetrated her ear and was sliding down her eardrum and into her head. She recalls that she froze – she didn’t want it in there.
Sometimes the action will be a play on words, on a familiar phrase. In this instance, it reminded me of the phrase of something “getting inside our head” or “whispering in our ear”. Those phrases that we use in English often carry a negative connotation – of something negative trying to influence our thinking.
I asked my friend who has been whispering in her ear recently, causing her to feel uncomfortable and mistrusting of the source. It turns out that she’d received a message that day from an old flame. He’d contacted her out of the blue, whispering in her ear that he still loved and wanted to visit her.
This had stirred up some deep emotions in her. My friend’s in a wonderful new relationship, so this contact from her ex was both a surprise, and unwanted. But it did bring to the surface her fears of having to choose between the old flame and the new. Her dream was a wonderful reflection of that conflict.
Pulling the meaning together
Once you’ve covered the first 3 aspects (where, who and what), it’s then time to pull the dream together. This dream was showing my friend that despite the pretty words coming out of her ex-partner’s mouth, she didn’t trust them. She felt like he was trying to get into her head again, yet the dream had no feelings of love in it – all the emotions were about intrusion and disempowerment.
This is a great awareness for my friend to have. Something inside of her knew not to trust the words of her ex, and that was reflecting through the dream. Now she’s empowered to choose her path, to hear the truth, and to recognise that his words of “love” are in fact words of temptation, without any energy of love behind them.