Dreams and Ambiguity: There are Two Sides to Every Dream
Whatever you think your dream means, don't forget to consider the exact
opposite. If you are sure your dream means just one thing, stop! Take
Almost all methods of dream work have a built-in "warning" system to remind
you to consider the alternatives. In ancient Greece it was believed that
dreams were sent by the gods. On their way to you they passed through one of
two gates, either horn or ivory. True dreams passed through the gates of
horn; false dreams passed through the gates of ivory.
In other words, dream meanings are always tricky; they can flip flop.
This is particularly important when your dream "suggests" taking some
critical action in the waking world. If your dream seems to clearly tell you
to change your job, or that your boyfriend is having an affair, think
carefully before quitting your job or accusing your boyfriend.
I dream that I wake up and find that I have got a terrific new job to go to.
That's nice but, flip it around, and it may well mean you had better wake up
if you want a terrific new job.
Shakespeare offers a perfect example of the way in which a dream can be
understood in two different ways. In the play "Julius Caesar," Calpurnia,
Caesar's wife, dreams that a statue of Caesar was flowing with blood and
many Romans wash their hands in the blood. She is sure it means Caesar will
Caesar tells the dream to Decius. But Decius (who is part of the plot to
kill Caesar) says it means Caesar is so great that Rome shall be nourished
by his blood; that Rome will be revived by Caesar. He adds that it would
look bad if Caesar gives in to Calpurnia's fears.
Both interpretations are feasible. Calpurnia's judgment was good. Decius was
lying. But Caesar, swayed by his own pride, followed Decius' interpretation.
He went to the forum and the rest is history.
The problem with all dreams interpretations is that they have this
ambiguity. There is no final way to resolve the matter.
Interpreting dreams always leaves room for opposite conclusions. Pride and
vanity will often push you in one direction. "Bad" dreams can have a "good"
interpretation and vice versa. If you are dealing with practical matters in
the waking world, be wary of simply taking action based on a dream.
By and large, Dream RePlay avoids this issue because we wait for the next
dream and watch the progression. A good rule of thumb (unless you have to go
to the forum today) is to wait for two more confirming dreams.
In next week's column we'll discuss dreams of infidelity: what do you do
when you dream that your lover is cheating on you? You'll see that there are
many possible interpretations.
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