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J.M. DeBord on 'Dreams 1-2-3'

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Interview with J.M. DeBord

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself background wise and also what inspired you to create your new book Dreams 1-2-3?

My professional background is in journalism and marketing, though I branched off many moons ago and went into fitness training while writing on the side. I self-published a novel in 2009 that took ten years to write and kept alive my dream of being an author. Then I joined Reddit Dreams, the main Reddit dreams community (, where I’m known as RadOwl, and discovered that I have a knack for explaining and interpreting dreams in a way that just about everyone can understand. I took on the job of moderating the community and it grew into the role of de facto Reddit dream expert. So I switched gears and started writing Dreams 1-2-3.
Too many books about dreams are either too scholarly or too New Age-y – or too general, or too specific. They don’t really explain step by step how to understand your dreams or what to do with the information you gain. I made the connection between the idea of “living your dreams” and literally living my dreams as part of my daily life, and I found that you really can “make your dreams come true” if you turn to your dreams for guidance. It’s knowledge I had to share. And I had to present it in a way anyone can understand, filling the need for a dream book that really explains the subject without going overboard.
Ultimately, Dreams 1-2-3 grew out of my dream life. I didn’t have a dream that told me directly: “Write a book about dreams.” But I had many dreams that told me to “follow my dreams,” and the dream or goal for my professional life I’ve had since high school is to write a groundbreaking book. So I took the plunge and I’m very happy I did! Mission accomplished.

2. What are dreams in your perspective and opinion?

The simplest definition of dreams is they are the product of your imagination while you are asleep, what your mind produces when it is not occupied with waking thoughts and sensory information. They are little stories about your life, told from the perspective of the unconscious side of the mind, where dreams originate. So why dream? For several reasons. Sleep science tells us that dreams are necessary for healthy functioning of the person. They sort memories. They run subconscious processes for the regeneration and regulation of the body and mind. They bring to your attention information that was missed or overlooked during the day.
But ultimately the purpose of dreams is union or “marriage” between the conscious side of the mind and the unconscious side. I like to say that dreams are akin to nightly marriage counseling sessions. They prepare us. They spur us. They challenge us to grow and develop. They make us better people and draw us closer to our psychological and spiritual roots so that we can be truly whole. People who unite their conscious mind in harmony with their unconscious mind are what we call “holy.”

3. I rarely remember my dreams but when I do they always seem to be pretty weird and crazy. What are some ways to help me remember my dreams?

Remembering your dreams is step one of the Dreams 1-2-3 approach. Many people have difficulty remembering their dreams, especially weird, crazy dreams that seem so disconnected from waking reality. In chapter one I give many specific tips and techniques for remembering them, but in a nutshell it comes down to time and desire. Dream memories scatter easily and are most readily recalled when you first wake up. If you stay still and keep your mind clear of everything except dream memories, you will probably remember them. But if you hit the ground running every morning you are not likely to remember much. The other major factor is desire. Once you discover that dreams are meaningful and beneficial, you will want to remember them. Otherwise, why bother? I also give tips for keeping a dream journal.

4. Just this morning I had a dream with lots of snakes everywhere and in the dream I was afraid of them biting me and me and family members had to clean them up. What does that mean to you?

Snakes are most commonly associated with treachery or sexuality, but they have a wide variety of interpretations. To whittle down the possibilities, look at the actions involving the snakes and your reactions to them. Think about what snakes do and how they are perceived. Snakes bite. They constrict. They stalk. They poison. They transform when they shed their skin. They are perceived as deceitful, like the snake in the Garden of Eden, or dangerous. Do any of those ideas feel right when compared to your dream? Snakes are also something that people commonly fear, and in the dream you fear being bitten. So maybe the dream is about something you fear, symbolized by the snakes. Something you are trying to keep away from you. Something that feels comparable to being bitten, not literally but figuratively. My first thought, since your family is involved in the dream, is you’ve been “bitten” one too many times by a family member’s comment or treachery.
The part that really sticks out to me is your family members had to clean up the snakes. It means they are somehow involved in the big picture. To interpret the dream without knowing you personally I would ask if something about your family situation is comparable to feeling surrounded by snakes, and if you are expecting your family to clean up the situation. For all I know you could come from the most loving, caring family ever and my suggestion is totally off, but it’s where I’d begin interpreting the dream. In dream interpretation you throw a lot at the wall and see what sticks.

5. Another dream I had recently was of me finding out I had cancer again. Which frightened me and made me feel blah all day. I am a testicular cancer survivor of 17 years. What could this mean?

To get a clear picture I’d have to know how the information was presented to you, mainly the setting you were in, the characters that were present, and any symbols you remember. In my experience references to illness are usually symbolic. For example, a thought about the recurrence of cancer might have crossed your mind just before the dream, even if briefly. Or maybe cancer is being used in the sense of something growing on you in a bad way. Bad influence can be described as a cancer, as can negative attitudes and stressful situations. Dreams love to play with word meanings like that.
The first rule of dream interpretation is to consider the obvious. Dreams do sometimes deliver messages about the body and its health. It would be wise to rule out the possibility of cancer recurrence by getting a check up. Just please keep in mind that the odds are greatly in favor of the dream being symbolic.

6. How should we approach nightmares and what makes them different from a dream?

Actually, what makes nightmares different is the person. Nightmares are just dreams with more intensity, dramata and/or emotion. In adults it means, usually, that something is out of balance in the person or their life. Nightmares are essentially attempts at balance by blowing out of proportion – if you are one-sided in some way, your dreams will be one-sided the other way. So for example if you are an overly serious person you will see yourself in your dreams as a clown, or if you are prideful you will see yourself humbled . In children, nightmares are mostly the result of overblown fears or something that isn’t right in their lives, like getting bullied at school or not enough attention at home. I devote a section to nightmares in Dreams 1-2-3 and break down a number of them to show the symbolism and underlying connections to the dreamers.
You approach nightmares like other dreams except with more urgency, because if dreams have to resort to nightmares to get your attention, you know the underlying message must be important and you aren’t getting it. Look first to situations or feelings that have turned chronic through neglect, stress or anxiety. Students report more nightmares around the time of big exams. Adults tend to have nightmares about stressful job or life situations. There are always connections between nightmares and the lives of the people who dream them. Throughout Dreams 1-2-3 I show how to make those connections with all your dreams.

7. This is a wild card question. What would you like to share with us about dreams from your book?

Dreams are not as hard to understand as they can seem. When you put together certain facts about dreams with techniques for making associations with their content, you have a tool that can uncover the personal meaning of most dreams. There is some learning involved, and I make it as user friendly as possible, realizing that most people don’t want to slog through chapters about dream theory to get to the part about understanding their dreams. I spent the better part of two decades studying the big names and many smaller names in the field of dream interpretation: Freud, Carl Jung, James Hillman, Ann Faraday, Robert Johnson, Robert Moss, Edgar Cayce, and dozens more. I could go on for chapters making connections between what I learned from them and how I interpret dreams. Instead I just show the reader how it is done, using dozens of example dreams to illustrate the subject.

8. What are you up to next book wise and any links you’d like to share with us or departing words?

I’ve been doing a flurry of media interviews, and some of the common questions have given me ideas for approaching the “strange” side of dreams: dreams that predict the future, dreams about God, dreams that communicate hidden information. George Noory at Coast to Coast AM was particularly interested in these subjects. For now I’m really focused on getting the word out about Dreams 1-2-3, but soon I’ll get to work on the next book. I also have a fiction series that is waiting for me to finish writing it.

Readers can get a taste of what I’m offering by dropping by the book’s website,, or by visiting my blog at You can also see my work at

Thank you for your interest in my work!



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