Understanding the Meaning of Dreams

Reviewer's comment:

"A knowledgeable and entertaining read from start to finish that you will find fascinating and hard to put down"

From the Publisher's website:

"This work of non-fiction/analysis is written to help people better understand their dreams.

From the beginning, the book is structured so that the reader is gently guided through practical explanations and simple techniques to expand their knowledge on dreams and the reason we dream.

The author explains that dreams are really the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and feelings, thus we can come to a higher level of self-understanding when facing difficult issues or situations.

Dreampower is simple to follow with a wide range of issues and situations relating to dreams that can assist the reader to analyze their own dreams.

There are also techniques used by psychotherapists that can expand the understanding of dreams".

About the Author

Margaret Penhall-Jones has practiced as a counsellor and psychotherapist in Sydney for over ten years. Specialising in Jungian psychotherapy, her practice has always emphasised dream analysis and other imaginative techniques, including sandtray therapy.

Dreampower - use your whole mind, live your whole life

is available online from Zeus publications or order through your local Angus and Robertson's bookshop or local bookstore or book retailer.

RRP - $AU 23.95

Online price - $AU 22.95 pph

A5 paperback, 174 pages

Link to Zeus Publications to review and purchase online



Extracts from the text

The importance of the dream setting

"....(I)magine yourself in each dream situation listed below.

Note the different impressions and feelings involved in each scenario or possible setting for one of your dreams. Begin your dream narrative with 'I am ...'

I am ...

  • at home, watching the news on television;
  • in a busy, crowded shopping mall. People keep bumping me with their parcels;
  • in the desert, in Central Australia. There is nobody around;
  • at work, but my work is on a spaceship. The outside of the ship is shiny metal and the interior is made of a translucent glass. I can see galaxies from the observation deck;
  • in a jungle, at night. There is thick undergrowth and our path is obstructed by branches and vines;
  • on an ocean liner, facing huge waves;
  • visiting my childhood home;
  • in a sleazy hotel room in a dangerous part of the city;
  • in a museum filled with fascinating exhibits and priceless antiques;
  • on a beach watching a beautiful sunset.

What is your reaction to each of these dream settings? How does each make you feel? Do you feel comfortable, threatened, excited, frightened or anxious? Is the setting alien to you or can you see yourself dreaming this? "

The role of feelings in the dream

"Sometimes...the dreamer's feelings in the dream are different to their feelings on waking...

I dream I am lost at night on a lonely road winding through dense woods. I can hear wolves howling. I come to a house which appears to be abandoned. I stop the car, intending to stay in the house for the night. I remember this house is said to be haunted, but I get out of the car and approach it enthusiastically. For some reason this all seems to be quite normal to me and I am not afraid.

This dream is the stuff of horror stories and most of us who are actually in this situation would feel some element of anxiety or fear ...Not only is the dreamer not afraid in the dream, it all seems quite normal."

There is no "one size fits all" interpretation, even on the same dream

"We can grasp different nuances of meaning, depending on the identity of the dreamer.

I get into a sports car with my former boyfriend. We drive very fast along the highway and he takes a lot of risks as he darts in and around the other cars. It is dangerous, exhilarating and a bit scary.

Now imagine the dreamer of this dream is:

  • Eryl, a young woman who has just left the boyfriend in the dream for another boyfriend;
  • Cheryl, a wife and mum who has taken a few years off work until the children are of school age;
  • Meryl, a woman whose wedding is approaching. Her fiancé is an accountant with an assured income and steady job;
  • Beryl, an older woman who has been happily married for many years and is facing a personal crisis as she approaches mid-life. The former boyfriend ... liked to drive fast and take risks. A mutual friend recently told her he had died in a car crash some years ago; or
  • Neryl, a professional woman, is thinking about taking a voluntary redundancy and using the money to establish her own business....

The importance of not acting on the obvious

"(S)uppose you have the following dream:

I dream my partner is having an affair.

This dream highlights why it is so important to be aware of the dreamer and their situation before acting on a dream. If you miss the symbolic meaning and go for the more obvious, objective meaning, you may damage your relationship as well as missing the warning about a betrayal of yourself..."

Common themes, different dream renditions

"Flying in a small plane, helicopter or even a hot air balloon might indicate that you are trying to get a bigger picture, or a fuller perspective on your life...."

"There are other 'flying' dreams, in which the dreamer finds they are flying through the air, hovering over a scene, or transported to another place without any assistance. These dreams often are accompanied by a feeling of energy, elation, exhilaration or fear. The understanding of these dreams depends very much on what is happening for the dreamer in their life at the time. Some of these dreams may reflect the dreamer's temporary feelings about something good that has happened to them. In reality, people cannot fly without assistance...."

Embarrassing dreams - lets deal with them and get on with it

"There are two common and usually embarrassing dream situations which most of us dream about eventually:

  • Being naked, not fully clothed or dressed in nightclothes in public; and
  • Having to go to the toilet.

These dreams do not have much subtlety or nuance about them, but are important for you to consider...."

What's going on here?

"You stay up until midnight finishing a Report for your company so that an important deal can be closed the next day. As you enter the building at 8.40 the next morning, ten minutes late, you meet the Human Resources Director who knows nothing of what you are doing. She is carrying a take-away coffee and says 'I wish I had your job and could wander in at any old time. I've been here since seven this morning and I've only just had time to slip out to get a coffee.' You smile and mumble something in response. Whereas you know you should just brush off her comment as only making conversation or, at worst, misdirected 'point scoring', you find you are extremely angry.

That night you do not dream about the successfully closed deal which brought your company many hundreds of thousands in revenue and earned you praise and bonuses. Instead, you dream:

I am coming to work late and my mother is there. She scolds me for being lazy. I feel very angry because I have been working hard to study for the exams. "

Dream Partners?

"Rarely are our dreams about sex anything but awkward, inconvenient, disturbing or even shocking. Rarely do you dream about being seduced by your favourite celebrity movie star while you are between relationships. Often, our unconscious presents us with partners we would rather not have just now, thank you very much."

Sex and death in dreams

"Life requires all of us to deal with the issues of sexuality and mortality. Many of us only consider these issues privately, and some avoid them altogether. It is not surprising that our unconscious then selects these topics as the material for dreams. When this occurs, it is important that we know how to understand these dreams, if we are not to cause ourselves unnecessary distress. At the same time, when we actually face issues in our sexual relationships, or when we are confronted with the death of a loved one, dreams can provide some assistance to work through these issues."

Comment from the author's introduction

Dreams are stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives. Yet it is these stories concerning ourselves about which we understand so very little. When you begin to work with and understand your dreams you access your own innate story-telling ability. You open a door to self-understanding and you set in train an internal system designed to support and sustain you through life’s difficult situations, to anticipate your achievements, to celebrate whatever is good about you and to guide you. You will be able to identify patterns of thought, belief and behaviour which have helped you and work with them, or those which have held you back so that you can move beyond them.

I am consistently surprised and in awe of the human capacity to, through dreams, pinpoint not only an issue for the dreamer, but a solution. Dreams support, reassure, remonstrate and temper with humour our conscious activities, so that we keep them in perspective. If we are taking ourselves too seriously, our dreams will make us laugh. If we are not taking an issue seriously enough, our dreams will scare us. If we can’t break out of an attitude or behaviour, our dreams will send us a helper or a warning – sometimes even an explicit warning in words – which will make us take notice.



DreamPower Dream interpretation book new from Zeus Publications

Margaret Penhall Jones, author