Are dreams just random electrical signals in the brain or was Carl Jung perhaps right about this one thing, yet in the end we wonder: What do our dreams mean?
Mimi Young, a healer and communicator of the spirit, helps people connect with their dreams to access their inner wisdom. For one goop editor, a dream session with Young revealed how specific elements recurring in her dreams – like flying in long jumps, doorless public bathrooms, and characters she knew were one person but emerged as another. – represented recurring themes in her awakening life. Once Young loudly recognized aloud the meanings of each of these elements, they made a lot of sense. Some posed barriers to relationships and work. Other, personal gifts and talents.
While the guidance of a professional can be helpful, the basic practice of working on dreams is to build a personal dialogue with your dreams, which you can do yourself at home. Young translated her interpretation process into four steps, which she describes to us here – along with her bedtime ritual to inspire meaningful dreams. (If you want to explore more, Young will host a dream interpretation course April 6th.)
Finding meaning in your dreams
Mimi Young, as she said goop
First let me define what a dream is: a dream is any form of communication that comes through your dream. It doesn’t have to be a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. It doesn’t even have to be visual. Some dreams are based on sound; others are more like impressions, feelings or sentiments.
Some important notes before we get started. The dream work process is about research, not perfection. No dream has a single meaning and there are no right or wrong answers. The practice of working in dreams refers to developing your relationship with dreams and learning to believe in them as a form of spiritual, intuitive wisdom. You did it right when you think it has given you value or helped you in some way.
A simple framework for Dreamwork
1. Remember and reflect
When you wake up while you are still in bed – that is, before you interact with anything that might distract you – adjust if you feel strong emotions or sensations in your body. You may recognize stress or you may feel good. Is your body particularly comfortable or uncomfortable?
Then go through any dream memory. Do you remember any key pride, feelings or characters? What details did you keep? Repeating your sleep in your mind while it is still fresh can help you keep the details, which will be important in the next step.
However, you prefer to keep them on record, write down the key points of your dream. Although some people recommend keeping a notebook and pen by the bed and writing things down by hand, this is usually not the most effective way. Most people type faster than they type. So feel free to reach for your phone and take notes digitally. Or record a voice memo.
I work with several key categories, including below:
Was there a narrative structure? What kind of story was that?
What feelings did you experience?
What symbols popped up? Any element you recognize from previous dreams?
What are your initial thoughts on what this might mean?
You may find that other categories make sense to you, depending on the nature of your dreams. Absolutely add those in.
In the spirit of efficiency, I have another recommendation: Make a dream spreadsheet. Over time, it is easier to recognize patterns when all your information is organized in front of you.
3. Provide space to connect during the day
Dreams can act as feedback or a warning or they can help you answer questions or find a solution to a problem. They can also be a form of divination – looking at what might happen in your future. Seek some kind of communication from your spiritual guides or your inner wisdom.
It may take a while for the message to stand behind your dream. Think about your dream throughout the day, knowing that you could have a moment of insight at work or while walking or shopping. It could take a few hours or an entire day for something to click. For a very deep sleep this can mean a week or even a month. Be patient and get back to it. This is another good reason to keep a dream diary in your phone; it is usually with you when these eureka moments occur.
All in all, not every dream means something deep – or anything else. As a rule, a dream is worth exploring further when you think it might contain something valuable. If you walk away from that feeling like you have more insight, great. But if you wake up knowing you dreamed nonsense last night, you can believe that feeling as well. Sometimes we have what I call the dream of cleaning, which I consider your mind rinsing the pipes.
4. Let the dream guide you
We were supposed to be in touch with our dreams – they are our built-in prophecy. Let your dreams guide you.
As you add information about your dreams to your diary or spreadsheet, you may begin to recognize patterns. Let’s say you’re dreaming a certain dream in which you’re being chased, but you’re not running. You walk. You look calm, as if you don’t want anyone to know that this chase is happening. Perhaps you would interpret that dream as something that is socially acceptable. Then you can start asking yourself relevant questions. Do you feel the need to adapt? Are you afraid that people will reject you if you show more of yourself?
Or you may have dreams that differ in content but revolve around one idea. For example, I dream about not getting enough rest. At first glance, I could dream those dreams twenty days from the last month. I can ask what could happen if I rest. And maybe I would cultivate more rest for myself that day or that month.
A simple ritual for meaningful dreams
Before going to bed, light a candle and fall silent. If you like working with plants, I love mug, sage and laurel for rituals like this. (I make a mist with these plant extracts, which I spray around my space and my aura.)
Adjust. Send a request or set an intention for your dreams. Narrow that intention until the focus becomes very sharp. If your request is too open, you may end up with a similar open dream.
Write this request or intention on a piece of paper. Just one or two sentences – keep it slim. If by chance you are already working with a spiritual guide, whether it is an angel or a certain ancestor or someone else, you can even ask them to appear and talk to you through your dream. Blow out the candle, put a sheet of paper in the pillowcase, and then go to bed. Now you go to bed open to a message that can pass.
Know that that night may not pass. Sometimes that sheet of paper stays in my pillow for days, a week, or even a full moon cycle. (Remember, the moon and dreams are closely related.) If you want to catch it around a particular lunar cycle, like a new moon, that’s especially great.
Mimi Young is a spiritual communicator and founder CEREMONY, a brand that intends to ignite, sharpen and deepen our connection with ghosts and the invisible through magic, fundamental shamanism and occultism. Young offers themed courses, mentoring, private distance reading, and aura and skin potions.