I remember first becoming interested in my dreams in my early teens. I suspect most people become more aware of their dreams during this time.  Looking back, I realize my dreams were very vivid and dramatic during this time period.  This makes sense to me.  The teen years are a time of great change, self-discovery, and extreme emotional highs and lows.  Dreams would be a great way for us to process all of the new and overwhelming information we are receiving both internally and externally.


 


I assigned more meaning to my dreams than I think they had during this time period.  I would dream often of my hopes and aspirations during this time period and would be convinced my dreams were showing me what was going to happen.  I realize now this mindset helped me- expecting what we want can certainly help us reach our goals.  I also realize that I believed these dreams were giving me signs of my future simply because I was hoping so badly this was the case.


 


I started to read about dreams and quickly became confused.  There are so many perspectives and I realized I could find one dream resource with a lot of information only to find another dream resource cancelling out or contradicting the information from the first.  In my confusion, I started to slowly reject what simply did not feel right to me.  Dream dictionaries that provided meanings such as “you will be lucky in love in the future,” “be cautious in relationships and business dealings”, “you will come into a large sum of money soon” or other vague predictions certainly provoked worry and paranoia within me but did not provide me with meanings I resonated with nor did they provide insight into my life and self.


 


Around the same time I was finding dream dictionaries less valuable, I was also learning in school that there simply comes a point where we need to apply the knowledge to truly understand the concept and the information.  Applying my classroom knowledge to my life, I began to record my own dreams and intuitively explore their meaning.  I reviewed how some symbols within my dreams could relate to a universal meaning of the symbol yet others were very personal to me and only had specific meaning to me and my life experiences.  For example, a pair of elephant shoes in my dreams relates to love and innocent playfulness.  In grade school, we found it simply hilarious to mouth the words “elephant shoes” at each other because it looked like we were saying “I love you.”  (I predict 4 out of 5 readers mouth these words in the mirror soon after reading this blog).


 


As I continued to explore my personal meanings to symbols, I realized that reading dream dictionaries added to and compounded the personal meanings I was attributing to dream symbols.  If a witch has a personal meaning for me and I read a dream dictionary that states it could be a sign of bad luck, a witch now also symbolized my fear or anticipation of bad luck!  Due to this experience, I view dream dictionaries as a double edged sword.  A dream dictionary could be a source of inspiration and discovery of angles and perspectives I have not considered.  Yet, a dream dictionary can fill my head with multiple meanings for symbols and additional symbols, complicating my dreams and producing a “heavier” dream experience.


 


Journaling my dreams over time and patiently exploring each dream’s meaning and the meaning of dreams within a series allowed me to slowly understand what personal meanings my dreams have in my life.  This journal over time allowed me to identify greater themes in my life I was unable to see at first glance.  I was able to identify themes in my life similar to themes in movies or books.  My dreams were flooded with images that symbolized transformation, embarking on a journey, and discovering new and exciting things I had no idea existed.  I left my teenage years with a deeper passion for dream studies and a deeper appreciation for discovering my own personal knowledge and insights.