Ever since I was a little girl, I would run to my grandma after I had any sort of dream, whether it be good or bad, and have her read the meaning of it to me from her old dream dictionary. Throughout my life I’ve sort of accepted everything that I read in this “magic book” to be completely true. If I dreamt of fire, that meant that some sort of destruction or anger was brewing in my life. The time that I dreamt about living in a castle, the book assured me that meant that I was destined to a position of power, wealth, and prestige. What was even more strange was that these dreams and what the dictionary defined as their meaning came at the strangest, most non-coincidental times. Once, I kept having dreams about being an acrobat in a circus. They kept coming back over and over again and when I finally looked up what acrobats symbolized, the dream dictionary told me that it meant that I needed to better balance aspects of my life. It also meant that fears prevented you from achieving your goals. During this time of my life, I was extremely stressed out and dealing with school and family problems. This got me thinking; can it be true that the things that we dream have a meaning that predict and describe the events that are going on in our lives?
I became extremely skeptical about whether or not a book could actually tell me what my dreams meant. Even early civilizations of Greeks and Romans believed that dreams were special, going as far as to say that they were the medium between humans and the gods. They even believed that dreams could predict the future (dreams.co.uk).
Although there isn’t a 100% correct answer to this question, many theories have been proposed that correlate dreams and symbolism. Two psychriatrists at Harvard University, Robert McMarley and John Allan Hobson, proposed that dreams don’t actually mean anything, and that they are merely brain impulses that pull random thoughts and images from our memories. They state that the only reason we remember some of what we dreamed of is because our brain is trying to make sense of it all after we wake up. Professional Dream Analyst and author, Lauri Quinn Loewenberg. disagrees. Loewenberg says: ‘It’s easier to dismiss something as nonsense when you don’t understand it than it is to try and figure it out” (thedreamzone.com). She explains that dreaming is a continuation of your thoughts from the day, turning them into symbols and pictures that describe the feelings and emotions that you had felt that day. For example, if you got fired from your job you might dream of a storm, but if you got a bonus on your salary soft clouds or a rainbow is likely to appear in your sleep.
When it comes down to it, though, you really need to pay attention to credibility when reading about theories and opinions because neither of these things have been proven. With that being said, I would much rather trust the opinion of professors at Harvard University than a woman on the Internet who’s entire income comes from “analyzing dreams”. It’s just like psychics; we go to them because they claim that they can tell us our future, but we have no way of knowing or proving that they actually do. I found an interesting article, which you can read here, about one of America’s top psychics being a self-proclaimed fraud.
Although the idea of our dreams predicting our future or giving us some sort of message is incredibly enticing, it is most likely untrue, or at least hasn’t been proven yet. Still, though, I don’t think I’m going to be getting rid of my dream dictionary just yet. Sometimes it’s fun to believe that a book can tell you what that cool dream you had last night really means.