I have extremely vivid dreams. I don’t know whether to consider myself lucky or not because of this. On one hand, I feel like I can experience a whole new world where I can fly, lucid dream, and experience things I couldn’t do in real life. On the other hand, there have been times when my dreams have exhausted me, when I’ve woken up in the morning feeling like I haven’t gotten an ounce of sleep.
Truthfully, even if I could, I wouldn’t change my ability to dream in this way. My dreams have inspired numerous creative endeavors, helped me solve problems and have clarified confusion in my life.
Recently at the Ranch I attended a dream interpretation talk with Neal Caldwell, which featured an enlightening group discussion. I wish I could have attended all six talks that were scheduled throughout the week. Each one had a different topic:
Session one—Introduction to Poetry, Fairy Tales, and Myths.
Session Two—Metaphoric Content of Dreams. Discussion with video examples followed by questions.
Session Three—Dream Symbols, Signs, and Motifs. Discussion 0f symbols and signs with examples, followed by dream telling.
Session Four—Dreams and Waking Life Associations. How to relate what goes on in a dream to what’s going on in your life. Dream sharing discussion.
Session Five—Recurring Dreams and Nightmares. Discussion of recurring themes in dreams and “what is a nightmare?” Plus the telling of dreams.
Session Six– Active Imagination. Discussion of what Active Imagination is, followed by examples and telling of dreams.
I attend Session Five about nightmares and recurring dreams. I don’t normally have nightmares, but we discussed one recurring dream I have. I was surprised by what I found out.
In my recurring dream, I’m on a mission to find lost ruins in the hills behind my hometown. I had been to them once in a dream long long ago, but now I can never seem to get back to them. I’m always excited to be on this adventure, hiking up into the hills, usually leading a group of my friends. We’ll hike and hike, but the ruins always seem to be out of reach and I wake up (to my dismay) before finding them.
I’ve always loved this dream and I’m always disappointed when I wake up from it. It reminds me of playing pretend as a child and looking for adventures. Neal accurately said it was based on my childhood, but what I didn’t realize before is that it suggests that now something is missing in my life that I’m trying to find. I’m searching back in time for a place that doesn’t exist anymore. Now when I think about it, it makes perfect sense. The dream always takes place in my hometown and it does seem like I’m searching for a piece of my childhood and the freedom and creativity that I experienced back then.
Neal then gave me suggestions to help me find the ruins in my dream which I’m truly excited about. Hopefully I will find them and they can give me some insight to what I’m searching for!
Neal Caldwell has been studying and helping people understand their dreams for the last 15 years. He conducted a weekly dream group at the Greenhouse Spa for eight years until its closing in 2010 and three day dream seminars at Lake Austin Spa in Austin Texas for the last seven years. He also enjoys a rewarding private practice of therapeutic dream interpretation.