Dream Images and Projection (Why we can’t know what someone else’s dream means.)

  
This exquisite image is from the Lynn Andrews Power Deck cards and painted by Rob Schouten. I use it to demonstrate why it is so dangerous to ever assume we know the meaning of someone else’s dream. Frequently as someone is sharing a dream, we will be creating theories about what it could mean. I encourage you to keep this information to yourself.

I ask participants in my workshops to consider the image and tell me what it is saying. The answers are myriad, contrasting and on occasion in violent disagreement. Some see a tranquil, passive scene, others see an image full of the energy of change and transformation. One person saw the image as threatening and full of dark, ominous elements. Another found it irritating and unreal.

How can a single image create such diverse opinion? When we derive meaning from an image like this we view it through a very unique and personal lens. At this point we are projecting ourselves into the image and what we see is as much about ourselves as it is about the image. 

The same applies to dreams which are basically a series of images projected from the unconscious of the dreamer. What you see in another’s dream is nothing more than a projection of yourself into their dream. It is what the dream could mean to you if it had been yours.

The symbols and characters belong to the dreamer and must be treated with respect and honoured as part of a sacred contract. It is only human to create an interpretation as we listen to the dream, however it may be more considerate to keep it to yourself,

Part of my Spiritual Guidance training was to find a dream partner and twenty-one pairs teamed up from our group. After three months only one pair was still functioning. The others had all disbanded due to the irresistible temptation of telling the partner what the dream meant.

A client once shared that she had recently lost her purse. It had impacted her more than usual because a month earlier she had dreamt about losing her purse. She hadn’t paid any attention to the dream because she had been assured it was a trivial anxiety dream and not to worry about it. 

She asked me if I thought the dream had been a premonition. I considered that indeed that was possible as dreams can sometimes concern events that have not yet happened. However another possibility was that the loss of the purse was a synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) to remind her of the dream. 

I asked if she would be interested in dream partnering and we explored the dream and its feelings, energy and symbols. When I asked her what losing her purse could represent as a symbol, there was an immediate reaction. It was about loss of identity. Her “trivial” dream had become an opportunity for meaningful exploration that another person’s inaccurate projection could have caused to be missed.

Today I had an encounter that provided another perfect example of projection. I was sharing a dream that involved me being bitten by a skunk. When I shooed it away, it was replaced by an ominous tiger walking toward me. The response was immediate, “well that means you should deal with the small problems before they get replaced by larger ones.” It was a logical thought and almost seductive in its simplicity but was not my truth. Too often we can give our power away rather than wait for our own inner wisdom to emerge. 

So next time someone tells you a dream, hold back and wait a moment – your interpretation may be all about you. 

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