The annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams is this week in Berkeley, CA. One of the most pragmatic features of the conference comprises the four hour-long sessions wherein attendees can work directly with leading researchers and practitioners in the ‘field of dreams.’ For example, attendees may join Past President of the IASD, Robert Gongloff, again this year to delve even deeper into the Heart of the Dream, as he calls his exploration approach to dream material.
In previous columns,we have shared research from dream interpretation icon Patricia Garfield, Ph.D. She is co-founder of the IASD and her wealth of knowledge of dreams and dreamers from around the world forms a foundational base for understanding common dream themes as a part of our shared, cross-cultural dream experience.
We spoke earlier about four of the 12 most common dream themes Garfield identifies in her book The Universal Dream Key: Being chased or attacked, falling or drowning, missing the boat and being lost or trapped. Here are two more of the recurring themes you’ll recognize from your own nocturnal travels!
Being injured, ill or dying v. being healed, born or reborn. Garfield notes that this relatively common dream sometimes occurs at the onset of an actual illness. Further, the usual, less literal meaning of such dreams as they equate to the dreamer’s waking life could be stated as: I feel hurt emotionally. I feel damaged or wounded. Or, I’m afraid I will be hurt. These dreams may speak as a warning about a physical risk that the dreamer is contemplating, or about the emotional risks of pursuing unhealthy relationships.
Conversely, dreams of being healed, born or reborn reassure the dreamer that s/he has a restored waking ability or emotional repair. Garfield goes on to say that being born or reborn, or giving birth in your dreams can signify the awakening or reawakening of a ‘lost’ part of you.
Being naked or inappropriately dressed in public v. being well-dressed. Common among dreamers in Garfield’s study, and familiar to all of us, these dreams typically occur when we feel vulnerable or exposed in waking life. We feel awkward or without protection.
Garfield suggests starting with some guiding questions as you begin to explore the application of such dreams to your waking life: Where was I in the dream? Home? School? Work? The answer to this question will offer insights into what area of your waking life has you feeling unprotected or weak. Your reactions to your nudity in the dream can also help pinpoint the crux of the desperate or fearful emotions. In effect, how you handle your exposure in your dream is key to successful navigation of the waking circumstance!
It follows that dreaming of being well-dressed would speak to the sensation of confidence in your waking life. Perhaps your dream is urging you to act more confidently in a waking situation alluded to by the dream.
The IASD Conference is in Berkeley this week, Wednesday through Sunday. Hope to see you there!
Sweet Dreams to You!