A Tarot reader once told me that the Three of Swords represented the grit in the oyster that becomes a pearl, the creation that comes out of severe (and painful) pressure. It was how the first book I published, The Metaphysical Detective, emerged.
I'd just quit my job, certain if I didn't I'd be fired. I'd been home from overseas for two years and was floundering. Everyone wanted to interview me. No one wanted to hire me. I was desperate.
And I was having very weird dreams. Big dreams. Vivid dreams. Dreams that I can still remember to this day. They were so archetypal that I ended up weaving them into The Metaphysical Detective.
Two years later I learned that dream sequences were lame and trite and should never be included in books. (Just one of the reasons I was irrationally ashamed of my first novel). This is usually a good rule, but I still think those dreams worked in the book, driving the story forward. And I guess at the time my brain was flooded with... Something. The grit in the oyster?
There's a guiding principle to dream interpretation. Clairvoyant Edgar Cayce may have said it best when he suggested we interpret the dreamer and not just the dream.
Dreams are a tool, like the proverbial finger pointing to the moon. Don't focus on the finger or you'll miss out on all the celestial magic. Dreams point to the dreamer.
Interpreting your dreams is, therefore, an exercise in self-discovery and self-growth. Dreams almost always referring back to the dreamer. And every character, image and emotion is usually referring to various parts of the dreamer's psyche.
Riga records her dreams in a dream journal. In addition to the symbols, she looks for the of her dreams. For example:
Where does the dream take place?
How do you feel about that place?
What emotions come up as you think about it?
Does it have any relationship with a real place you know?
Who are the characters?
How are you presented?
Who is the antagonist?
How do you feel about each of those characters (including the presentation of yourself)?
How do they relate to parts of your own personality or to people you know?
How does the plot unfold?
Is there a beginning, middle, and end?
Sometimes (rarely) dreams can be literal, and these are easy to understand. There's nothing wrong with asking whether the face value of the dream may have meaning for you.
Most often, however, dreams are shrouded in symbolism that points beyond the literal image. Dreams are often messages from our subconscious mind that are resisted by our conscious mind. For this reason, the subconscious often cloaks the message in symbols so the dream isn't immediately rejected or simply avoided by the conscious mind.
Alternately, dreams can be trying to communicate a specific message that applies to your waking life. Or they may be trying to balance your emotional life. They also may be hinting at thoughts or emotions without any final resolution in mind.
Riga's not a fan of dream dictionaries. They can be helpful. But each person is different and has their personal dream dictionary, which may change over time.
Unraveling these symbols can be difficult, but it can also be fun. Dreams are the ultimate mystery, and the answer is always within you.