Dialogue with the Dream

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‘The two fundamental points in dealing with dreams are these: first, the dream should be treated as fact, about which one must make no previous assumption except that it somehow makes sense; and second, the dream is a specific expression of the unconscious’. C.G. Jung (Man and his Symbols).

 To approach the depth of the dream requires dialogue with it in order to discover its underlying dynamic. Dialogue would be done in the light of day but by putting aside one’s egoic way of looking at things. It means having a conversation with one’s self and any images presented. Questioning what appears to be a dissonance between how one perceives one’s self in real life and the data in the dream is not straightforward. It requires a descent towards its depths, bringing an attitude of unknowing towards it, quite different to our usual linear and logical one.

 Often, we’re in a dilemma in the dream and our defences are down. The dream is of course a direct expression of the unconscious. One can ponder, what is this dream saying to me? In what way can I relate my present situation to it? If I were to give this dream a title, what would I call it? Who are those others in the dream and in what way are they representative of me, in both their positive and negative qualities? Why this unknown landscape?

Yes, we can feel hugely disadvantaged when looking at the dream in the light of day because of the difficulty of decoding it. We play detective to try to decipher. Like a diver into the depths of the sea discovering the unknown all around, so too can we descend into deep waters.

The dream as daimon, sometimes daemon, as guide, waiting in the wings, wanting your dialogue –

 Thanks to google image for graphic above

50 Comments on Dialogue with the Dream

  1. I began with reading one of your post and got hooked to your blog and went on to read the previous ones, very enlightening post, thanks for sharing

  2. I remember doing dreamwork many years ago with a woman who encouraged me to have a dialogue with different aspects of my dreams–with which ever elements evoked the strongest emotional reaction or felt important. She’d have two chairs facing each other, and I would move back and forth from one to the other–I’d ask a question of one aspect of the dream, then I’d move to the other chair and answer from the perspective of that aspect. So, for example, if I’d dreamed that I was flying, surrounded by birds, and then plummeted to earth, I’d have a dialogue with myself, my wings, the fields over which I soared, the rocks onto which I crashed. It was very powerful.

    I’m loving your posts, Susan, and they’re encouraging me to take a bit more time before springing out of bed in the morning (although, to be honest, that’s usually more a stagger than a spring, but you get the point…).

  3. I’ve never thought this deeply about my dreams, other than the reoccurring ones, and those you pay attention to. It does make me want to consider the fleeting ones that randomly happen for no reason.

    • Thanks for coming by Sharon. Those recurring ones are especially important. Those that are fleeting may well provide clues too.

  4. I always seem to know everyone in my dreams and yet upon waking I wonder who they are. Sometimes dreams make no sense at all but I guess they do eventually another day.

    • Thanks for coming by Suzy. I also often know those people in my dreams though wonder what and why they’re there. I take it that in some way they’re a reflection of me good or not good!

  5. I really ought to read more Jung I smile a lot when I read his quotes. Your own words come at an appropriate time for me too. Now I’m wondering if there is a correlation between a big ego and re-occuring dreams. The dreams people had after my mother died were easy to decipher, and so obviously directly linked to their own behaviour and how they treated her… but I have been deciphering dreams for decades. It seems the ego has a great foe in the unconscious.
    Reflex Reactions

    • Thank you for your comment Ida. That’s a thought to ponder whether there is a correlation between a big ego (which if too big does not serve anyone) and the unconscious, which knows. Deciphering can take forever – I’m still trying to work out some dreams …

  6. I love how you phrased this 🙂 And very true. Sometimes it is easy to tell what they mean – when my brain keeps working on problems and solutions while I sleep – and other times I keep wondering…

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  7. Hi Susan .. I’ve never had a dialogue with a dream or thoughts that might be a dream. It must be a very interesting subject to understand more about .. Dare to Dream – I guess … Hilary

    • Hi Hilary, that is a lovely phrase ‘Dare to Dream’ – book title maybe. Thanks for coming by – about to pop over to yours.

  8. Susan, Dissonance… definitely…difficult…daunting…diadactic


  9. In years past most of my dreams centered around finding myself naked in the middle of a public place. Now, that I’m aging and not afraid to be ME… those types of dreams have stopped. Typically, I processes from my subconscious, I think. Dreaming is a fascinating topic. Thanks for the education. Have a loving and blessed Easter Dear Susan!!

    • You can tell dear Gwynn that I’m here at my desk typing away. I’ll get to yours in a minute. Good on your UNconscious (different to the sub) assisting in this way. Being naked in public is a not uncommon theme and can certainly indicate one’s fear of exposing one’s self or being exposed..

      Hope you’re having a lovely time over Easter!

  10. To Samantha Mozart & others interested: I have CDs of the Chopin E Minor, pianists Pollini, Perahia, and Jorge Bolet with Charles Dutoit of Montreal. I find the Bolet & Dutoit performance the most rewarding, though all of the pianists and conductors are world famous and outstanding.

  11. Thank you. I can see how stimulating this blog challenge is for you as a writer. Yes to dream dialogues. I had a new dream figure in February: a giant white bear emerging out of my stream bed with elephants all around. I dialogue with active imagination, painting, asking questions about this bear since I’m more familiar with elephants in my imagery. Still don’t know who she is or what she’s trying to tell me, but back to A for archetype. She’s becoming part of me and will reveal meaning or promise in time.

    • How lovely Elaine to have a white bear and elephants as your companions in your imagination and conversing with them! Amazing how the image becomes clearer, and the archetype of bear and elephant speaks ..

    • Wow Marsha thank you! I’m going to take your, Carol and Patricia’s encouragement seriously. Somehow though, my reservation is about a smallish book hardly doing justice, but if it serves as an encouragement to others to pay attention and seek further in the field of dreams then this is good …

      Thank you again.

  12. Great idea from Patricia about a dream handbook, Susan. This dream observing and decoding is fascinating stuff. I can put myself in the position of all the secondary dream characters and elements in the setting; ah, but when I put myself, the subject, in the position of the object, this opens doors to new vistas.

    • Thank you Samantha for your encouragement! You say it so well and concisely: ‘ah,but when I put myself, the subject, in the position of the object, this opens doors to new vistas’. It opens up so much doesn’t it. Vistas to be explored, no maps it seems – until we discover the greatest journey is using the map within.

  13. Dear Susan;
    A forgotten dream is like an unopened letter, email or text. Makes us want to open it up…

    • Thank you Susan.

      An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter: Talmud. Thank you Susan… the forgotten dream is especially enticing …. I think I have The Talmud quote in one of my posts. Maybe for Q.


  14. Very, very rarely can a gifted individual make others have a clear experience of reverie, of softly daydreaming.

    October 11th, 1830, Frederick Chopin first presented his E Minor piano concerto to the public. The press reported that connoisseurs regarded the E Minor as one of the most sublime of all musical works.

    Chopin left his detailed description of the Second movement of this concerto, “It is a Romance, calm and melancholy, giving the impression of someone looking (backwards in time) at a spot which calls to mind a thousand happy memories. It is a kind of reverie in the moonlight on a beautiful spring evening.”

    I suspect that Chopin was amazed by his composition inducing dreamy reverie. Amused after, and not before, he finished thinking and writing.

    Can we imagine what creative ideas sprang to life while Carl Jung may have been listening to this E Minor concerto?

    Susan, I am sure you have many times wished to DIALOGUE with Carl Jung about questions such as the one Illustrated here.

    • Lovely Joseph thank you. Reverie, where time stands still for a moment. Or goes backwards as Chopin says.

      Thank you for the image-filled post. It would have been wonderful to make Carl Jung’s acquaintance! But his works are available to do dialogue with, and many have stood on his shoulders. He’s alive and well …

  15. Sometimes I forget what I had dreamed about. I know it was something good, but I just cannot recall what I had dreamed.

    • Thank you Varsha for coming by.

      I’m adding a link here for you or for anyone … if you use it and all comes up, go to blogs for January (on right hand side) and you will see a post from Jean Raffa on ‘Six-Step Method for Working with Dreams’.


      Before meeting Jean, I had more or less approached my own dreams over many years in the way she describes and honours them in the way she clearly does. I found her guide-lines extremely helpful for myself and I would think for anyone wanting to honour their dreams.

      I’ve asked her permission to use it.

  16. My Friend,

    It would be so nice if you were to write a handbook on dreams. I know I would buy it immediately.

    I like how you pointed out that you have to forget your logical way of thinking and I would say, any other defences that you used to hide yourself with, when dealing with the meaning of your dreams.

    Dreams demand that we approach them as if we were little children ready to explore the unknown within us.

    Each of these articles about dreaming are enriching my own understanding.
    Thank you.


    • Thank you so much Patricia for your affirming words.

      And to be like children in their freshness, openness and curiosity is the ideal way to approach the dream. Thank YOU for pointing that out!

      I have vaguely thought of doing a brief ebook/hand book or something. I’ll see elder son in Plett later this month and will ask him how to go about it. Thank for very much for the prod 🙂

      And thank you again dear Patricia.


  17. Succinct piece with the letter D
    DAUNTING, these dialogues, with a tiger or snake or rat or spider, yet always DELIGHTFULLY surprising.

  18. My sister somewhat recently pointed out to me that everyone in one’s dream is an aspect of oneself. It seems so obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation. Thanks for the insight, and I hope you have a Happy Easter! 🙂

    • Thank you Sara and for saying about your revelation when your sister pointed out to you’…that everyone in one’s dream is an aspect of oneself. It seems so obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation’. It is indeed and it is particularly important… more on this in a later post!

      And Happy Easter to you too! 🙂

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