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Dream Symbolism

“In dreams one object may be a symbol, but there is no such thing as an overall statement of dream symbolism, in which a given symbol will have a general meaning.

There are too many variations in personal experience.

Fire has one meaning if you are afraid of it, another if you consider it a source of warmth; and either of these two meanings will also be colored by any of the endless variations of personal events that any individual might have encountered with it.

It is true that in dreams you do reach some of the deepest sources of your being at times, but even there, the expression of that being is far too individualistic to assign the same kind of “unconscious” meaning to overall symbols.

It is only because you seem to expect dream experience to be like daily life that you find so many dreams chaotic.

Normally a tree does not change into a peacock, for example.  If you remember such a dream event, it seems meaningless in the morning.

Your moods and emotions have greater mobility in the dream state.

You may feel rooted like a tree at one moment and in the next experience yourself as a beautiful peacock, in which case you will perceive the tree change into the bird.

With dreams no one really knows their meaning but yourself.

If you read books in which you are told that a certain object always represents such and such, then you are like the artist who accepts the critic’s idea of the symbols in his own work.

You will feel alienated from your dreams since you are trying to make them follow a pattern that is not yours.”1



Analyzing Dreams

“Dreams are one of your greatest natural therapies, and one of your most effective assets as connectors between the interior and exterior universes.

Usually they are not analyzed according to your own current beliefs.

You have been taught to interpret them along the lines of very ritualized procedures.

You are told, for instance, that certain objects or images in your dreams have a definite meaning – not necessarily your own, but following whatever psychological, mystical or religious school of thought in which you happen to be interested.

Some of these systems do touch upon legitimate portions of reality, but they all overlook the great individualistic and highly private nature of your dreams, and the fact that you create your own reality.

Your own knowledge of dream symbols and their personal meaning is so opaque simply because you are not used to examining them with your conscious mind.

You have been taught that it cannot understand.

The great interconnections between waking and dreaming experience then escape you.

In any case, interpretation involves but one part of the task as you try to consciously assess a dreams’ meaning.

The real work of the dream is done during the event itself, on deep psychic and biological levels.”2



Requesting Dreams to Help Solve Problems

“You can go deeper into the dream condition itself, requesting certain dreams, certain solutions, and therefore shortening the time of solving problems, so to speak, that may be involved otherwise.

You may have dreams urging you to move in such and such a direction, or pointing out areas in which corrections should be made.

Often such dreams bring about behavior changes whether or not you remember them in the morning.

You may request dreams in which proper direction is given, and you will receive them.

If you ask on the one hand, however, and do not believe in the therapeutic nature of dreams on the other, you will short-circuit any such activity.

In such a case you are not being honest with the contents of your conscious mind.

Instead you are saying, “I will have a dream to help me, and yet I do not believe I can have such a dream.”

But, by suggesting before sleep that solutions to problems be given you, you automatically begin to utilize your dream knowledge to a greater extent, and to open the doors to your own greater creativity.”3



Dream Recall

“You could not physically handle anything like complete dream recall.

This does not mean that far greater dream recall than you have is not to your advantage, because it certainly is.

In important ways your dreams make your life possible by ordering your psychological life automatically, as your physical body is ordered automatically for you.

You can make great strides by understanding and recalling dreams, and by consciously participating in them to a far greater degree.

But you cannot become completely aware of your dreams in their entirety, and maintain your normal physical stance.”4



Remembering Your Dreams

“You may be trying to remember your dreams.

You may give yourself appropriate suggestions each night, only to awaken again with no memory of them.

You may say, “Consciously I want to remember my dreams, but my suggestions do not work.  Therefore what I want on a conscious level has little significance.”

Yet if you examine your beliefs more carefully you will find one of many possible beliefs, such as, “I’m afraid to remember my dreams,” or, “My dreams are always unpleasant,” or, “I’m afraid to know what I dream about,” or, “I want to remember my dreams but – they may tell me more than I want to know!”

Your reality colors your beliefs, and your experience is a direct result of your conscious attitudes.

By such attitudes as these just mentioned you put clamps upon your inner self, purposely hamper your experience, and reinforce beliefs in the negative aspects of your being.

If you believe that you do not dream, you will inhibit memory of them—but you will still dream.

Those rich experiences will not form a part of your conscious life because of your belief.

If you do not want to remember a particular dream, you yourself censor the memory on levels quite close to consciousness.

Often you can even catch yourself in the act of purposely dropping the memory of a dream.

The touch-up process occurs almost at this same level, though not quite.

Here the basic experience is hastily dressed up as much as possible in physical clothes.

This is not because you want to understand the experience, but because you refuse to accept it as basically nonphysical.”5



Coming Awake Within Your Dreams (Lucid Dreaming)

“Now, I tell you to remember your dreams.

I will tell you again not only to remember your dreams, but to learn to come awake in the middle of them and realize that you can manipulate within them.

They are yours, not something thrust upon you in which you are powerless.

In one context what you call physical reality is a dream, but in a larger context it is a dream that you have created.

When you realize that you form it you come into the memory of your whole self.

And when you realize that you form the events of your life in the same way, you will learn to take hold of your entire consciousness in whatever aspect it shows itself in this life.

Through all of this you must realize that you are not powerless.

Remember, also, that this life is a dimension of experience and reality even if it is, in contrast, a dream in a higher level of reality in which you have your larger consciousness.”6


“In a lucid dream the dreamer is often able to control the dream in various ways.

Researchers studying lucid dreams believe they may lead to new ways to stimulate personal growth, enhance self-confidence, promote mental and physical health, and facilitate creative problem solving.

Physicist Fred Alan Wolf believes all dreams are internal holograms.

In fact, he thinks our ability to be lucid in our dreams suggests that there may not be much difference between the world at large and the world inside our heads.

Wolf postulates that lucid dreams (and perhaps all dreams) are actually visits to parallel universes.  ‘I call it parallel universe awareness because I believe that parallel universes arise as other images in the hologram,’ Wolf states.”7



Fearing Your Dreams

“If you are afraid of your dreams, you are afraid of yourself.

As your present situation with all of its challenges, joys and problems is contained in condensed form within each of your days, so the same applies to your life.

Each night’s dreams then provide you with a rich bed of creativity.

Spread out before you in great profusion, you will find not only any problems but their solutions.

If you do not trust your waking self you will not trust your dreaming self, and the landscape of your dreams will appear threatening.

Your belief that dreams are unpleasant can make them so, or at best you will only remember frightening dream events.”8



Gaining Ease with Dreaming

“Many people are in awe of their dreams.

They are afraid of anything they do not consciously control.

Yet if you think of your dreams as extensions of your own experience in another context, then you can indeed learn to gain ease with them.

You will recall them more easily, and as you do you will be able to maintain a sense of continuity between the waking and dream states.

As this happens the contours of your own psyche will appear more clearly.

Those contours will not show themselves in terms of definite mathematical-like propositions, however, but will emerge through the techniques, symbols, feelings and desire usually attributed to creativity.”9



The Dreaming Self

“As your daily endeavors have meaning and purpose, so do your dream adventures, and in these also you attain various goals of your own.

These you will continue in the after-death experience.

The vitality, force, life, and creativity behind your physical existence is generated in this other dimension.

In other words, you are in many ways a fleshy projection of your dreaming self.

The dreaming self as you conceive of it, however, is but a shadow of its own reality, for the dreaming self is a psychological point of reference and, in your terms, of continuity, that brings together all portions of your identity.

Of its deeper nature, only the most developed are aware.

It represents, in other words, one strong uniting facet of your entire identity.

Its experiences are as vivid and its “personality” as rich — in fact richer — in context as the physical personality you know.

While you can become aware of the nature of your inner self in dreams, you cannot truly appreciate its maturity or abilities; yet they are yours in the same way that the man’s abilities belonged to the child.

In the dream state you learn, among other things, how to construct your own physical reality day by day, just as after death you learn how to construct your next physical lifetime.

In dreams you solve the problems.

In the daytime you are only consciously aware of the methods of problem solving that you learned in sleep.

In dreams you set your goals, as after death you set the goals for another incarnation.

Now, no psychological structure is easy to describe in words.

Simply to explain the nature of personality as it is generally known, all kinds of terms are used: id, subconscious, ego, superego; all of these to differentiate the interweaving actions that make up the physical personality.

The dreaming self is just as complicated.

So you can say that certain portions of it deal with physical reality, physical manipulation, and plans; some with deeper levels of creativity and achievement that insure physical survival; some with communication, with even more extensive elements of the personality now generally unknown; some with the continuing experience and existence of what you may call the soul or overall individual entity, the true multidimensional self.”10



The Dreaming Experience

“As you have memory of your waking life and as you retain a large body of such memory for daily physical encounters, and as this fount of memory provides you with a sense of daily continuity, so also does your dreaming self have an equally large body of memory.

As there is continuity to your daily life, so there is continuity in your sleeping life.

A portion of you, therefore, is aware of each and every dream encounter and experience.

Dreams are no more hallucinatory than your physical life is.

Your waking physical self is the dreamer, as far as your dreaming self is concerned: You are the dreamer it sends on its way.

Your daily experiences are the dreams that it dreams, so when you look at your dreaming self or consider it, you do so with a highly prejudiced eye, taking it for granted that your “reality” is real, and its reality is illusion.

Its reality is far more native to your being, however.

If you do not find coherence in the dream state, it is because you have hypnotized yourselves into believing that none exists.

Of course you try to translate your nightly adventures into physical terms upon awakening and attempt to fit them into your often limited distortion of the nature of reality.

To some extent this is natural.

You are focused in a daily life for a reason.  You have adopted it as a challenge.

But within its framework you are also meant to grow and develop, and to extend the limits of your consciousness.

It is very difficult to admit that you are in many ways more effective and creative in the sleep state than the waking state, and somewhat shattering to admit that the dream body can indeed fly, defying both time and space.

Now: Since your conscious memory is connected so strongly with awareness within the body, although you leave the body when it sleeps, the waking consciousness usually has no memory of this.

In the sleeping state, you have memory of everyone you have ever met in your dreams, though you may or may not have met some of these people in your daytime existence.

In the sleeping state you may have constant experience through the years with close associates who may live in another portion of the world entirely, and be strangers to you in the waking state.”11




  1. Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. Roberts, Jane, The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1979
  5. Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
  6. Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1972
  7. Talbot, Michael, The Holographic Universe, Harper Perennial, 1991
  8. Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
  9. Roberts, Jane, The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1979
  10. Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1972
  11. ibid.

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