Monday, December 27, 2010

A Kwanza Gift - Universal Perspective by Nana Baakan Agyiriwah

I offer this Gift in the Spirit of Kuumba, Creativity,the 6th Principle of Kwanzaa.

This Page is dedicated to:
My Family: Spiritual & Biological
My Friends: Close & Far
My Loved Ones: Old & New

I pray for guidance from my inner divinity to express on this page, words that reach your heart, mind and spirit, in a way that uplifts, enriches and mobilizes you towards positive growth and change. I pray that as this expression develops for you in your righteous personal and interpersonal pursuits, that the Wheel of Karma will turn your blessings over and over again and that these blessings will extend into the Universe and back again, touching me as I am giving thanks for you. I pray that it is understood that this wish goes out to you no matter your race, creed, ethnicity, nation of origin, financial status, etc. I pray that it is understood that this wish is extended to you because you have come under the umbrella of my life and have changed me for the better in uncountable ways.

Praises Be.

As I am sure we are all aware of, there are now dozens of web sites giving out information about Kwanzaa and its purpose in the African American community here in the US. Over the past few years I have sent out individual Kwanzaa greetings to acknowledge each day. This year I will take a bit of a departure and use this page to discuss each principle and what it means to me. I feel that it is important to talk about Kwanzaa. But for me there is a deeper recognition of the Kwanzaa principles that transcend the colloquial and give me the inclination that the Kwanzaa principles are universal principles that each and everyone of us can adopt in our lives. I no longer feel that it is a missionary vehicle to upgrade and uplift the African American , caught in the vestiges of the American society, but that rightly applied these principles can upgrade all of humanity who have fallen to what the contradiction of what these principles express. I believe that there is a global need to apply these principles to all conscionable human being who cares about the state of affairs of our world and who more importantly realizes their impact on every particle of existence.

So, I am duly inspired to extend an universal Kwanzaa Gift to Humanity,

What's The News?
Each day of Kwanzaa we ask this question.
The response is the principle of the day or one of the:

Seven Principles
Seven is esteemed as a powerful and sacred number. It tries to establish a philosophy by which to live and attempts to penetrate the mystery behind its existence. 7 ushers into the cycle of physical completion without apparent effort. Goals that have been long sought are now magically attained. It is used in many rituals throughout the world and holds major significance in its impact on the physical, spiritual and emotional body. As each day Kwanzaa of evolves, it is acknowledged as one of these power days, or power numbers. Each day of Kwanzaa is assigned a principle, which is supported with the eventuality that each principle well take root and be nourished due to its alignment with the number 7.

1. Umoja - Unity

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Let's reach all of humanity and understand the importance of unifying ourselves on the deepest level. Looking withing ourselves and finding shelter within the principle of oneness. A oneness that supersedes separation, one from our neighbor, but a oneness that acknowledges all of our reality as an extension of ourselves, the good, the bad and the ugly. Let's walk with what we can be proud of and learn from what may make us bow our heads in shame, in connecting with all and the few, as one, as the ultimate and eternal expression that condenses us to one dot in the Universe.

Left: Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church is proud to announce the 11th season of "Umoja," which runs April 23-25. "Umoja" is a culturally diverse stage play that celebrates the rich history of African-Americans through drama, music and dance. This year's theme invites everyone to "Catch the Spirit!"

2. Kujichagulia - Self Determination

To define, name, create for and speak for ourselves insted of being defined, named, created for and spoken for by others.

It is the design of societal traditions and custome to impart and perpetuate itself so that it can remain in existence. But when one society defames another according to its own standards of right and wrong then the boundaries are crossed which threaten the societal fiber. Additionally, if a parent culture uses intimidation, coercion, defamation and slander to incriminate its members, it is at risk of destroying its fiber internally. Human beings will always reflect their parent culture. Responsible human beings will position themselves to embrace that which perpetuates and supports self-esteem and find viable ways to dismantle that which does not. In reaching out to all of Humanity, we cannot spew onto others the bite and the sting of that which brings about self hatred, lest we become the mouthpiece of the oppressors themselves.
Adinkra symbol - One head does not constitute a council, or, one head does not constitute a jury.

3. Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and reace

The African Proverb states, "It takes a whole village to raise a child," has been repeated over and over again. There has been no limit to the universality of this proverb and its many implications. If humanity extended this effort as a force of collective work and responsibility, we can embrace our own, without guilt, but embrace others as well.  We are subsequently supported because we are in our rightful position to extend help and aid to other human beings, but we have more importantly taken on the responsibility of ourselves, to be the best human being that we can be. Then we have the right to do something for someone else and the corresponding responsibility to do it with honor, courage and integrity. We are empowered in our own right but profoundly capable of extending the rite of power to others.
Adinkra symbol: Akoko nan "Parental admonitions not intended to harm the child."

4. Ujamaa - Cooperative economics
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other business and to profit together.

Humanity is reported to have started off as an agrarian people. Agriculturally inclined they tilled and compliment the earth upon which they grew, was nurtured and supported. Somewhere along the line of what is called "evolution" human selfishness took over and no longer was it sharing equally or at least according to need, but the hoarding and coveting of goods and services. If we are to call ourselves civilized and evolved beings beyond that which our Ancestors were, then surely we can own and share, give and take, but not advantage of those less fortunate.Do we forgo our immediately desire to hoard our wealth to release our hold and share our wealth with those less fortunate? How inculcated are we that we propose to donate to a worthy cause, yet wondering and expecting our due returns? When do we give for the sake of giving, because it is needed and not because of the rewards promised? Selfishness has made our economy a hopeless competition bleeding into our everyday affairs of exchange. Let's open our hands and risking to let go, yet freeing ourselves to receive even more.
Igbo Harvest Mask

5. Nia- Purpose
To make a collective vocation the building and development of our community, in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

How is the traditional greatness of humanity identified? What determines what was great and who determines what needs to be restored? Is it not ture that at some point in the human history, some nation of people prevailed over another? In some cases, this dominance was to the point of oppressing others into slavery. Can greatness be defined through the power that is housed in bloody hands? Can the amassing of human property, chattel or material wealth determine human greatness? Are the traditional values of honor, courage, selflessness, humility, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and cooperation, worthy of being restored? Or are they simply primitive values long outdated and certainly irrelevant in our fast pace world? Let us restore our traditional greatness on the human level, with each human being reaching to collectively build and maintain a world community of human respect and dignity.

Sankofa - Adinkra Symbol. "It is not wrong to go back and fetch what was lost."

6. Kuumba - Creativity

To do always as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.

Traditionally, it has been the responsibility of the women to sustain the creative culture in the society. Then it stands to reason that the creative expression is oppressed in direct relation to the oppression of women.  Admittedly, many of us tend to call the Earth, Mother Nature, expressing the womanly principle of design and creative organization.

We are also faced with the legacy upon our birth. A legacy of a planet that needs recuperation and regeneration. Surely our Mother Earth is suffering, parallels the suffering each of us has experience in our creative beings.  We have become apathetic and reach no more to design and create but to accept as genuine the trash that has been left behind. Let's not stifle our own genius, a genius that reflects the Earth upon which we depend. If we give credence to her purpose, we affirm ourselves, and our own creativity and that of others. What else can our Mother Earth do but revive herself, be fruitful and multiply/

7. Imani- Faith

To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents and our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

This principle seals the covenant of 7 days. This is the seal of completion, the symbol of resting after so much work.  We can now rest because we know that it is through the hard work of the other principles that the out come will be just what we desired. We have affirmed eternally that we have the ability to improve and enjoy our world from the inside out.  We are now endowed with the reward of reaping all the benefits of what we have done. And so we rest, rest in peace with renewed faith and assurance that our hard work will reap long lasting benefits for generations to come.
We will leave behind a legacy of cooperative change and progression that will sustain our name into antiquity. We are imbued with the faith that our past efforts will not go in vain but by the documented in the annals of time. We believe that we have in fact, given and and will see the profundity of our gift eventuate in humanity's future.

Tree of life

Thank you for reading this blog and for sharing it. I really appreciate you.  Nana Baakan

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Comments on USA Traditional Holidays and Akan Festivals

Re: Traditional Holidays

In Ghana, there are several clans and sub clans, families with various
rituals that are celebrated all around the country. With the influx
of Islam, Christianity and believe it or not, Rastafarian
spirituality, there has been an inculcation of various holidays that
were not typically home grown in Ghana.

Also, the predominate religions are Christianity and Islam, so along
with these influences comes the various holidays that are celebrated
by these two religions. More and more the "fetish" rituals are moving
into the background, primarily because the prevalent religions of
Christianity and Islam frown upon the rituals, practices, talismans,
etc. of the native people.

Many Ghanaians would be found doing all or at least two of them. That
is, you may find a "Fetish" priest, going to church on Sunday. The
idea is that if it works then why not incorporate it into the daily
routine. So, upon visiting Ghana, you will find various expressions
of these influences from holidays, to names, to churches and mosques.

It is curious to many Ghanaians that American born people would be
that interested in the traditional spiritual culture of the Akan
people. While they do find some pride in our attempt to learn their
way of life, they also wonder what would "possess" us to come from
"our great world" to do something that is mostly considered primitive
and outdated.

I am sure you all know that Kwanzaa is not an African holiday, while
it does contain the Kiswahili terms and definitions. And in some
respects, if you are not aware of this, and you present the concepts
to a native African, from any part of the continent, you may get a
puzzled look. Kwanzaa was designed for the African American here in
this country. We certainly need to embrace the seven prinicples or
Nguso Saaba, wholeheartedly. But these principles are part and parcel
of the every day life of most native born Africans, therefore, no real
need for a holiday celebration of these principles.

Throughout Ghana, you will see many different celebrations, often
known as festivals. There are also several ethnic groups with the
Akan being the largest group. The Akan include the Akuapem, the
Fante, the Asante, the Ga, the Ewe and so on. The Asante is the
largest sub group of the larger group, Akan.

One thing that is somewhat consistent is the festival called,
Akwasidae (Holy Sunday), that is celebrated every six weeks. But
there are many many others, i.e., the Yam festivals, the Grand Durbur,
along with weddings, funerals, births and puberty rites being treated
as great holidays.

Depending on the geographic location of a particular people there may
also be festivals to acknowledge the changes in the season, nature,
national heroes, etc.

On the other hand, do not be surprised to see the average Ghanaian
participating in Christmas and New Years. Typically, these holidays
tend to fall around the time of the year when the Ghanaian is involved
in a "tribal ritual" anyway. Therefore the inclusion of these two
holidays is quite prevalent.

For those holidays that have nothing to do with religion, i.e.,
Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Halloween, etc., you would find little
or no evidence of these practices among the Akan.

The Akan are a proud people. Whatever will make them stand on higher
ground, higher in social status and higher in economic conditions,
they are apt to explore its relevance and then consequently add it to
their list of days to celebrate. Drumming, dancing, prayers and
fasting are some of the best known ways that you would see these
people celebrating these events.

Additionally, they would also celebrate their own indigenous national
holidays, i.e., liberation day, Kwame Nkruma's birthday, or any such
event that is held in high esteem by the nation as a whole. The
Ghanaian person in relations to his/her culture is not much different
than any other person in relation to their culture. What is proven as
significant or important to the community as a whole would be embraced
and celebrated in some way.

As part of the Adade Kofi Bosomfie Sankofa, you are able to observe
whatever US holidays you so desire. Being born into this society, we
have all been exposed to them, and many of us use these holidays as an
opportunity to gather with our extended family members.

On a personal level, I strongly encourage everyone to seek knowledge
and understanding about the holidays and determine if they are
appropriate for your spiritual development. Because the Shrine work
we do, does not overtly include Christianity or Islam, it does not
condemn it either. That being said, I personally, try to stay away
from as many of these holidays as I can, because of my own research
study and exploration. But if any one feels that they must be
involved with them, there is no taboo saying that you should not.
Keep your eyes open for knowledge and information and understanding
concerning these practices, find a way to integrate it into your
spiritual journey and move on from there.

Quite frankly, we are the descendants of our Ancestors, and with that,
our Ancestors did observe these Holidays in many cases. In
acknowledging our Ancestors we can make a special effort to give them
homage on these holidays; particularly Christmas, and New Years.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How To Cope With Nightmares

How to Cope with Nightmares

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Nightmares are the result of the subconscious dealing with your hidden anxiety. Not pleasant, but you can calm yourself.


  1. If you wake up directly after the nightmare, take a deep breath, look at your surroundings, and assure yourself that the nightmare you saw wasn't real.
  2. If you share a bed with someone and they are awake due to sudden movements you made, tell them you had a nightmare. They will probably offer you a hug or even wake up enough to ask what it was about. Recounting it right away can help you get over the shock. If the person beside you is still asleep, cuddle up with them carefully in order to not disturb them. It may help to lay your ear on their chest, if possible, as the sound of their heartbeat will calm you. Only wake them up if you are truly terrified. They will most likely understand.
  3. Write about your nightmare in detail. Sometimes, writing can give you insights into what is happening or at least offer a sense of closure.
  4. Tell someone else about your nightmare. While they may not understand, a sympathetic ear can always help.
  5. Look up the theme of your nightmare in a dream dictionary. You can find them online or in a bookstore. While not always accurate, dream dictionaries can get you thinking about what your subconscious may be trying to tell you.
  6. If you are a religious person, seek your God and pray.
  7. Play soft quiet music to help you return to sleep.
  8. Read a peaceful book or listen to calming music before going to bed.
  9. Think of pleasant thoughts as you go to sleep.
  10. If it fits into your religious beliefs, go to a Pagan or Occult shop and buy a small piece of amethyst, it is a purple colored gemstone that promotes rest, place it on the headboard of your bed, or under your pillow or buy an uncut piece of rose quartz which is said to prevent nightmares.
  11. Try not to be in fear and look at the bright side of how imaginative it was, maybe draw a scene of it on paper.


  • Remember it's just a dream and nothing that happens in the dream is real.
  • Avoid scary movies near your bedtime. These images stay in your mind and reoccur in your sleep. Try to do something that will keep your mind off the scary movie before sleeping if possible.
  • Survival horror games can have the same effect as scary movies. Choose your gaming times carefully.
  • Take time to calm yourself before bedtime.
  • If you want to try to sleep in while having a nightmare, at the part when you die (if you die in the nightmare), you will wake up automatically and feel refreshed.
  • If you need to get back to sleep after a nightmare, the best advice is to make your room completely dark, because any light can cast terrifying shadows if you just had a nightmare. Don't sleep with the light on! It will make everything look scary! Even things like a computer can be a horrible ghost if you are half asleep!
  • Often after a nightmare, the nightmare may be preying on your mind. Try to block it out immediately, which may prevent you from remembering it too clearly. To get it out, try to think happy thoughts, such as your favorite vacation spot. It gets the nightmare thoughts out. If you are unable to do this, see Warnings.
  • Avoid telling yourself that lingering bits of fear from nightmares are irrational or silly. It won't make you feel any better if you're lying in bed thinking about how stupid you are for being scared. If you have seen something scary or disturbing in your nightmare, you have a right to be scared of it.


  • If you "see" things after the nightmare, it's time to consult a doctor. This may be a sign of more serious conditions. Sometimes, if the dream is VERY scary you tend to "see" the scary thing.
  • "Seeing" things goes with "feeling" objects from your dream, regardless of in the nightmare or not. If you "feel" anything, that may also be a more serious condition.
  • Contrary to popular belief, nightmares and simply just bad dreams have a difference. Nightmares are often warning you about something that is going on in your life, where as bad dreams simply come and go.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Cope with Nightmares. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To Fly in Dreams

How to Fly in Your Dreams

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Flying during a dream carries an amazing sense of liberty, weightlessness, and power that is hard to replicate in waking life. Being able to fly in your dreams can give you a sense of doing the impossible, and with some practice in the art of lucid dreaming, you can learn to fly in your dreams at will.


  1. Consider the purpose of flying in your dreams. Flying is a liberating feeling and not something that comes naturally to humans, so the ability to fly in a dream allows you to transcend everyday life. Flying can often be an ideal dream metaphor for release or freedom after you've experienced an emotional breakthrough, allowing you soar above hardships and mental blockages of the past.[1] Given that the sky has no limit, this can be indicative that you don't feel constrained and that you're looking down on everything from a refreshed, new perspective that lets you see things differently.
    • Flying dreams are considered to be normal dreams and they are usually associated with extremely positive and exhilarating feelings, with some dreamers reporting a "high" after a flying dream that lasts for several days following.[2]
  2. Understand that to induce flying in your dreams, you usually need to be aware of the fact that you're dreaming. This is a phenomenon known as lucid dreaming. Flying usually requires low levels of lucidity, which means that you may only be partially aware that you are in a dream, not that you fully understand that you are actually in bed and asleep.[3]
    • Flying dreams are excellent dream subjects for lucid dreaming as voluntary control of a flying dream is already a strong feature of such a dream.[4]
    • Read How to lucid dream for more information.
  3. While you're still awake, try to keep alert to the fact that you're dreaming until you fall into sleep paralysis and eventually sleep. Keeping your awareness level high before sleep can and will help you remain aware that you are dreaming once you enter REM sleep.
  4. Tell yourself that you're dreaming, and think of a story that involves flying. Your dream should mimic the story in your mind.
  5. Once you're lucid dreaming, try the following method for encouraging your dreaming self to fly:[5]
    • Jump and get a little higher every time until you can fly.
    • Step up invisible stairs.
    • Give yourself wings to fly with.
    • Materialize a jet pack or flying skateboard to use. Or, try to jump off a tall building. Visualize jumping off a diving board into the sky. [6]
  6. Use external stimuli. In some cases, it can be possible to use external stimuli to change the direction of a dream. One dream investigator raised or lowered the hospital bed of dreaming test subjects and upon awakening, some of them reported dreams of falling or flying.[7] Obviously, the reliability of this method is not certain and even the ability to do this can be challenging unless you're mechanically minded or have a dutiful friend who stays awake and tries to help you. All the same, if you can think of ways to manipulate your external environment safely, this might be another method for inducing flying dreams.
    • An easier external stimulus is imagery. Some dreamers use imagery to encourage dreaming, such as posters or pictures of objects like rockets, planes, helicopters, parachutes, hang-gliders, etc. Looking at these intently, or perhaps landscapes taken from the air or space, just before sleep, can be another way to program your dreaming mind.
  7. Interpret your flying dreams. While a lucid dream is driven principally by you, dreaming of flying generally can have myriad interpretations and the landscape and accompanying elements will have an impact on the overall interpretation. If you'd like to interpret a flying dream, then the following suggested interpretations might be of interest:
    • If you've been flying during the day, then it's probably a by-product of your hang-gliding, helicopter, or light aircraft experience.[8]
    • Flying dreams that have you stopped by power lines, or you're barely able to get off the ground, can indicate that something you're trying to get going in real life is limited by your ability, or other things.[9]
    • Flying freely and with great pleasure can indicate a wide range of emotions, feelings, and possibilities, such as: escapism; facing the future with confidence; getting in touch with your inner self (spirituality); no longer being held back by prior hardships or blockages.[10]
    • If you're using a contraption to fly with, such as a bed, chair, machine, etc., it could suggest that while you're feeling adventurous, you're still either cautious or you're wanting to keep secure ties with home and family.[11]
    • Flying dreams can indicate a compensation for feelings of inferiority in daily life, or as an opportunity to get on top of things so that you can sort your priorities and assess where things currently stand in your life.[12]


Some tips on how to lucid dream.


  • Believe you can do it, and know how to do it. Immersing yourself into the world of lucid dreams will make your probability of dreaming much, much higher.
  • Implement daily reality checks into your life. This means that during various parts of the day, keep yourself aware that you are in your waking life. Do this by looking at a clock and looking back again, because in a dream, it will never be the same. It may look distorted or have weird characteristics.
  • Look in the mirror often, in dreams and real life. In a dream, your face will almost always be distorted in various ways.
  • Be patient. It takes a lot of practice, and mostly involves immersing yourself into the culture of lucidity.


  • If you jump off a building and don't know what you are doing, you may fall and wake up.
  • To fly in dreams actually requires to believe. If you do not fully believe you are dreaming or that you can do this, you will most likely wake yourself up trying to do so.
  • Try to think of your dream as a story, not as thinking in the moment. Make up the story as you go and if all goes well, your dreams will follow that path.
  • If you're a sleepwalker, dreaming of jumping off something can be very dangerous as you may be doing it in reality. Seek medical help if you experience sleepwalking.
  • If a flying dream ends violently with a fall, it might indicate a level of insecurity in your life despite the feeling of freedom the flying brought you.[13] Flying too far and losing touch with reality is also a warning dream.[14]

Things You'll Need

  • Quiet and comfortable sleeping space
  • External stimuli if wished, e.g., posters, models of flight, etc.
  • Dream interpretation manual

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 443, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  2. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 338, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  4. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 338, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  7. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 259, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  8. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 338, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  9. Robert L Van de Castle, Our Dreaming Mind, p. 338, (1994), ISBN0-345-36435-X
  10. Judith Millidge, Dream Symbols, p.46, (1998), ISBN 1-887354-19-0
  11. Judith Millidge, Dream Symbols, p.46, (1998), ISBN 1-887354-19-0
  12. Judith Millidge, Dream Symbols, p.46, (1998), ISBN 1-887354-19-0
  13. Judith Millidge, Dream Symbols, p.46, (1998), ISBN 1-887354-19-0
  14. Judith Millidge, Dream Symbols, p.76, (1998), ISBN 1-887354-19-0

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Fly in Your Dreams. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How to Lucid Dream

How to Lucid Dream

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Lucid dreaming is being aware of the fact that you are dreaming. This awareness can range from very faint recognition of the fact (which is often too brief and nebulous to be considered truly lucid) to something as momentous as a broadening of awareness beyond what has ever been experienced even in waking life. What a dreamer does with lucidity reflects personal tendencies and levels of skill attained usually through experience and practice. Although a lucid dreamer can influence the dream's structure, characters, course, etc., it is not a given that a lucid dream is about what the dreamer wants it to be about. Seasoned lucid dreamers who are more often lucid than not will continue to encounter psychological and developmental challenges in the dreamscape. The agreeable and the distressing, the easy and difficult, beautiful and horrifying, are all occasioned much as they are in regular dreaming. But whereas a regular dream is filled with the convoluted subtleties of the subconscious mind enumerating its issues before a largely unconscious dreamer, a lucid dreamer has the opportunity to consciously explore at any level.
Lucid dreams usually occur while a person is in the middle of a regular dream and suddenly realizes that she or he is dreaming. The person is then said to be "lucid", and may enter one of many levels of lucidity. At the lowest level, the dreamer may be dimly aware that he or she is dreaming, but not think rationally enough to realize that events/people/actions in the dream are not real/pose no threat. At the highest level, the dreamer is fully aware that she or he is asleep, and can have complete control over his or her actions in the dream. However, with low mental control your decisions could be biased not by your opinion, but by your brain. You can control your dreams using the lucid dreaming methods that follow.


  1. During the day repeatedly ask 'Am I dreaming?' and perform some reality checks whenever you remember. With practice, if it happens enough, you will automatically remember it during your dreams and do it.
  2. Keep a dream journal. This is perhaps the most important step towards lucid dreaming. Keep it close by your bed at night, and write in it immediately after waking. Or you can keep a recording device if you find it easier to repeat your dream out loud. This helps you recognize your common dream elements (people from your past, specific places, etc.), and also tells your brain that you are serious about remembering your dreams!
  3. Learn the best time to have a lucid dream. By being aware of your personal sleep schedule, you can arrange your sleep pattern to help induce lucid dreams.
    • Studies strongly suggest that a nap a few hours after waking in the morning is the most common time to have a lucid dream.
    • Lucid dreams are strongly associated with REM sleep. REM sleep is more abundant just before the final awakening. This means they most commonly occur right before waking up. (Sleep-onset REM is a symptom of narcolepsy. If you have lucid dreams right after falling asleep, you may wish to consider seeking medical advice from a sleep medicine specialist. However, there are studies which show people can recall dreams after being awakened during non-REM sleep).
    • Dreams usually run in 60-minute (Weiten Psych book 2004) cycles during sleep. If you are working on dream recall, it may be helpful to try waking yourself up during one of these cycles (interrupted dreams are often the ones we remember).
  4. Try Stephen Laberge's mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming (MILD) technique.
    • Set your alarm clock to wake you up 4 1/2, 6, or 7 1/2 hours after falling asleep.
    • When you are awakened by your alarm clock, try to remember the dream as much as possible.
    • When you think you have remembered as much as you can, return to your place of rest, imagining that you are in your previous dream, and becoming aware that you are dreaming. Say to yourself, "I will be aware that I'm dreaming," or something similar. Do this until you think that it has "sunk in." Then go to sleep.
    • If random thoughts pop up when you are trying to fall asleep, repeat the imagining, self-suggestion part, and try again. Don't worry if you think it's taking a long time. The longer it takes, the more likely it will 'sink in,' and the more likely you will have a lucid dream.
  5. Attempt the WBTB (Wake Back To Bed) Technique. This is the most successful technique.
    • Fall asleep.
    • Set your alarm clock to 5 hours after you fall asleep.
    • After you wake up, stay up for an hour with your mind focused on lucidity and lucidity only.
    • Go back to sleep using the MILD technique.
  6. Try attempting the WILD (wake initiated lucid dream) technique. Basically what it means is that when you fall asleep you carry your awareness from when you were awake directly into REM sleep and you start out as a lucid dream.
    • The easiest way to attempt this technique is if you take an afternoon nap or you have only slept for 3-7 hours.
    • Try to meditate into a calm but focused state. You can try counting breaths, imaging ascending/descending stairs, dropping through the solar system, being in a quiet soundproof area, etc.
    • Listening to Theta binaural beats for an amount time will easily put you into a REM sleep.
    • See the warnings at the bottom, as these are very important.
  7. Another technique for overall "dream awareness" is the Diamond Method of meditation, which can shortcut the overall learning curve, of Lucid Dreaming.
    • When one meditates, try to visualize your life, both awake and dream-life as facets on a diamond. Some choose to call this "diamond" the Universe, others God, and even "your Spirit." The point here is to begin to recognize that life is happening all at once. It is only our "Perception" that arranges our dramas into linear or "timed" order. So just as a diamond just is, each facet if viewed as an individual experience, still is going on at the same time the "Dream Body" experiences as well. This method is also known by Remote Viewers. Remember it is just a slight shift in awareness that this exercise calls for.
  8. Immerse yourself in the subject of lucid dreaming. For example, you can look on lucid dreaming websites, watch movies with lucid dreaming (eg. Waking Life, Vanilla sky, Inception), read books about it, etc...
  9. Try marking an "A" (which stands for "awake") on your palm. Every time you notice the "A" during your waking hours challenge whether you are awake or asleep. Eventually you may see the "A" in your sleep and become lucid.
  10. Get into the habit of doing reality checks. Do at least three reality checks every time something seems out of the ordinary, strongly frustrating, or nonsensical, and that habit will carry on into your dreams. In a dream, these will tell you that you are sleeping, allowing you to become lucid. In order to remember to do reality checks in dreams, you need to establish a habit of doing reality checks in real life. One way to do a reality check is to look for "dream signs" (elements that frequently occur during your dreams, look for these in your dream journal), or things that would not normally exist in real life, and then conduct the reality checks. When these actions become habit, a person will begin to do them in her or his dreams, and can come to the conclusion that he/she is dreaming. Frequently doing reality checks can stabilize dreams. This is also known as DILD (Dream Induced Lucid Dreams). Some tactics include:
    • Looking at a digital clock to see if it stays constant;
    • Looking at a body of text, looking away, and then looking back to see if it has changed;
    • Flipping a light switch;
    • Looking in a mirror (your image will most often appear blurry or not appear at all in a dream). However, your figure can be horribly disfigured in a mirror, frightening you into nightmare or a dream.
    • Pinching your nose closed and trying to breathe;
    • Glancing at your hands, and asking yourself, "am I dreaming?" (when dreaming, you will most often see greater or fewer than five fingers on your hand);
    • jumping in the air; you are usually able to fly during dreams
    • Poking yourself; when dreaming, your "flesh" might be more elastic than in real life; a common reality check is pushing your finger through the palm of your hand;
    • Pinch/poke your arm. In a dream, you shouldn't be able to feel your pinch/bite. However, this may not work since in a dream, actions can still have effects on your body.
    • Try leaning against a wall. In dreams, you will often fall through walls.
  11. Prolong lucid dreams by spinning your body in the dream (suspected of prolonging REM), and rubbing your hands (prevents you from feeling the sensation of lying in bed). Take care while spinning. Remind yourself even as you spin that you are dreaming, as you will find yourself in a completely different location when you stop spinning and may lose lucidity otherwise. If you feel a dream 'shakes' or is about to fade out, look down to the ground and visualize your surroundings, reminding yourself you are dreaming.
  12. Be Pro-active about your dream. Have a goal in mind and try to accomplish it.
  13. Listen to Binaural Beats. Binaural Beats are often used to induce lucid dreams, and many assure this method dramatically improves success rate. Theoretically, listening to Binaural Beats lowers brain frequencies, triggering different effects such as relaxation and dream induction. Look for Theta binaural beats, as they use the same brainwave frequency used in dreams. You may also want to listen to Alpha and Delta binaural beats as they help you relax and fall into non-REM sleep.
  14. "'Look through previous dreams in your Dream Journal"'. if you start to notice patterns in your dreams, you will notice dream-signs, or certain things that continue to reappear in your dreams. this may be as basic as all dreams are in your backyard, or all your dreams have fans in them. get into the habit of doing dream checks every time you see your dream sign, and eventually you'll see your dream sign IN a dream, do a check and realize you're dreaming..

Modified Look at Hand Method

A Modified Version of Castaneda's "Looking At Your Hands".
  1. As you prepare for sleep each night, sit in your bed and take a minute to relax. look at the palms of your hands for 30 minutes, and repeat to yourself, "I will dream about", "your own dream"
  2. Continue to repeat this phrase, "I will dream about", "your own dream" as you look at your hands.
  3. After the thirty minutes, or once you feel too tired or sleepy, turn off the light and go to sleep.
  4. When you wake during the night, Look at your hand, and say the same phrase. If you did not see your hands, remind yourself of your intent to see your hands in the next dream.
  5. With consistent practice of this phrase each night before sleep, you will suddenly see your hands pop up in front of you when dreaming, and consciously realize, "My hands!" Oh my gosh! This is a dream.



  • Lucid dreaming may be helpful for people who frequently experience nightmares, as it gives them a chance to take control of their dreams.
  • It is fun to fly in lucid dreams. To start flying try bouncing higher and higher after each step (while "walking" in the dream.) You can also try walking on walls or the ceiling, as flying for the first time can be intimidating if you are not totally convinced that you are dreaming. Many people experience flying as being very natural and very exhilarating.
  • It is also cool to teleport. Close your eyes, spin your dream body, and envision a brand new landscape and open your eyes.
  • You can also try shape-shifting. It is hard to do it on command, but you can also make an 'excuse' to transform by making a transformation machine or a magic assistant that can change you into an animal.
  • These aren't the only things you can do. You can create anything you want, be whatever you want, do whatever you want. Of course, you need experience in lucid dreaming, or else it will be more difficult to dream.
  • Performing reality checks upon awakening can help you to detect "false awakenings" within dreams, wherein you dream that you have woken up, and thus lose lucidity.
  • If you want to dream about something or someone specifically, as you slip into a light sleep, think about that person or that object. The way it feels, the way it looks, the way it smells, etc.. This will cause your mind to focus on that object or person and chances are your dream will reflect upon it.
  • If you have recurring dreams, then aspects of these dreams can act as reality checks. If you notice something happening that is part of a recurring dream, think to yourself, "this only happens in my dreams, I must be dreaming."
  • If you notice something happening that is impossible in real life, such as being able to breathe underwater, this can act as a reality check to alert you to the fact that you are dreaming.
  • If you ask people in your dream "Am I dreaming?"... most of the time they'll say "No."
  • When recalling a dream upon waking, try not to move. Activating your muscle neurons can make it more difficult to access the parts of your brain that allow you to recall your dream.
  • If you cannot remember the dream, focus on the feelings that you felt. Trying too hard to remember the dream will only take your mind away from it. Chances are your mind will think of everything but the dream.
  • When you wake up naturally - that is, without an alarm - focus your gaze on the first object you see as you open your eyes. Look at the object; focus on it. That object will most often take the vague recollection of your dream to a placemark in memory where it is easier to recall details. A doorknob, a lightbulb, a set of car keys, or a nail in the wall, for example, will quell your urge to begin your day, and will help you to settle into memories of what you had experienced while sleeping.
  • Do not use a radio alarm clock. If you hear talking or a song, it will distract you and may clear the dream out of your head. If you have to use a radio alarm clock, don't think about what is playing and quickly turn it off. Alternatively, change the radio setting to a non-assigned frequency so the alarm creates static (white noise).
  • To end sleep paralysis (which is not dangerous) try wiggling your toes or swallowing. When you are in sleep paralysis, your brain is sending a signal to the rest of your body to immobilize your muscles so you don't thrash around while you sleep. The larger muscles are usually more affected than the smaller ones. So trying to wiggle your toes tends to wake you up during a state of sleep paralysis.
  • Pre-determine what you want to achieve in a lucid dream while you are awake. When you become lucid in a dream, you will already know what you want to do.
  • It is a good idea to purposely wake a few minutes after becoming lucid, once you have experienced what you wanted to experience. This way, you can wake up with the dream very fresh in your mind, and have excellent recall. If you do not wake up, the dream may simply fade away into the night, and could be forgotten.
  • Some people find it helpful to take a low dose of caffeine (a caffeinated tea, for instance) shortly before sleeping. They claim that this keeps them mentally aware while the body is going to sleep. For other people caffeine may postpone or disrupt sleep.
  • Do not drink any fluids for one hour prior to sleeping. The last thing you want is to wake up from successfully lucid dreaming just because you had to use the bathroom.
  • As you get older, it will be harder to lucid dream, and it starts getting difficult during the teenage years of puberty.
  • Before you go to sleep, think really hard about getting up without actually doing so. You will be able to lucid dream at the beginning of your dream.
  • If you find the dream is not going how you want it to, "close your eyes" for a bit and then open very forcefully. It might not work the first time but you will eventually end up actually opening them.
  • Be careful about looking in mirrors - it can often help you determine that you are asleep, but be prepared to see how you feel about yourself.
  • Try not to worry about what might happen in the dream. Try to remember it's only a dream, and nothing there can hurt you. If you worry a lot about the people in your dream attacking you, for example, quite likely they will.
  • Write down what you remember when you remember it. Most people remember dreams from nights before If you write down whatever you remember, your brain will get used to remembering instances from your dreams.
  • When you are aware you are dreaming, make sure you know it is a dream at all times. Remember, there are no social consequences, everything, even the characters are just part your imagination, you cannot get hurt, you need make to keep your dream stable, and you have total control of everything, including your actions, other characters actions, the environment, even physics with a few thoughts. Remember that and you will have total control over dreams at all times.
  • Galantamine used with Choline bitartrate or Alpha-GPC can dramatically increase your odds of becoming Lucid.
  • An Amino Acid Blend made up of 2000mg L-aspartic acid, 4000mg L-glutamine, and 300mg L-theanine can substantially increase your odds of having a Lucid Dream.
  • 5-HTP is the immediate precursor of serotonin, and can increase your odds of having a Lucid Dream greatly.
  • Vitamin B6 can increase dream vividness.
  • Fish Oil helps recall dreams.
  • Ginko Biloba may also have a similar effect to B6.


  • Please note that attempting WILD will cause you to suffer from sleep paralysis, rapid vibrations and noises that don't really exist, floating and other out-of-body experiences, and hypnagogic hallucinations/images, and anxiety. There is no reason to be afraid, as Sleep Paralysis happens every night - you just sleep through it. Hypnagogia is just your mind being overactive. Remember that with lucid dreaming you are aware and can always wake yourself up if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Remember if you get very excited during your lucid dream, it might cause you to wake up suddenly. At this point, focus on your dream, rub your hands, or spin around and concentrate

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Lucid Dream. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license

How to Remember Your Dreams

How to Remember Dreams

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Theories abound as to why we dream, how we dream, and what meaning we can assign to our dreams. Many people believe that dreams can provide insights into our lives and feelings, but for most of us, it's notoriously difficult to remember our dreams. With conscious effort, however, you can remember more of your dreams and recall them in greater detail.


  1. Make a conscious decision to remember your dreams. You’ve got a better chance of remembering your dreams if you really want to remember them. Assuming you do want to, tell yourself that you’re going to remember your dreams and conscientiously follow the steps to make your desire to remember your dreams come true.[1]
  2. Put a pad and pen or pencil within easy reach of your bed. It’s best if it just has plain paper with no designs or other distractions. Use this pad only for recording your dreams. Before you go to sleep, make sure it is open to the next page on which you can write so you don’t have to search for a blank page when you wake up. Always put the pen in the same spot so that you don't have to search for that, either. An alternative to writing your dreams is to keep a tape recorder near your bed or under your pillow so that you can verbally recount what happened in your dream.
  3. Place your alarm clock close to your bed. When you wake up you want to be able to focus on remembering your dreams before you perform any other activities. If you can wake up without an alarm clock, you won’t have to worry about turning it off, but if you do need an alarm, make sure you can turn it off quickly and easily, preferably without even moving in bed. Don’t use a radio alarm clock, as the ads or chatter on the morning show will likely distract you from your task.
    • If possible, try using a gentler way of waking up. Wake up on your own, ask someone to wake you gently and without talking to you, or hook up a timer to the lights in your room. Many people find that they are able to better recall dreams if they don’t use an alarm clock.
  4. Place a post-it note on the alarm clock, with the words "What did you dream?" or similar in large letters, so that it's the first thing you see when you open your eyes (and turn the alarm clock off).
  5. Get to bed early enough to get adequate sleep on a consistent basis. If you wake up too tired to think, you’ll find it hard to recall your dreams. Too little sleep will also limit the number of dreams you have. People who sleep less than six hours have a hard time remembering dreams. [2]
  6. Think about a major problem or emotional concern right before you fall asleep (nothing that will spark too much of a negative feeling). Think deeply about the situation without pressing for solutions or coming to conclusions. Just thinking about the problem "opens the door", in a sense, to more vividly remembered dreams, and the dreams may even offer more insights regarding the problem at hand. [3]
  7. Concentrate on recalling your dream as soon as you wake up. Typically you can remember only the last dream you had before waking. Don’t move and don’t do anything. Stay in the same position as the one in which you awoke and try to remember as much about your dream as possible before you think about anything else.
    • Focus your gaze on the first object you see as you open your eyes. Look at the object; focus on it. That object will most often take the vague recollection of your dream to a place mark in memory where it is easier to recall details. A doorknob, a light bulb, or a nail in the wall, for example, will quell your urge to begin your day, and will help you to settle into memories of what you had experienced while sleeping.
  8. Record your dream in your dream journal. Jot down as much as possible about your dream, starting with a basic sketch that includes such things as the location of the dream, the basic plot, the characters, the overall emotion of the dream (i.e. were you scared or happy in the dream?), and any prominent images you can recall. If you can remember any dialogue, you may want to write it down first, as words in dreams are easily forgotten. Record everything you can, even if you can only remember one image. As you get the basics down, more of the dream may come to you.
    • If you can’t remember anything about your dream, write down the first thing that comes into your mind upon waking. It may be related to the dream in some way, and it might trigger recollections. Also write down how you’re feeling when you wake up. The emotions you experience in a dream typically remain, at least for a brief period, when you awake, so if you wake up anxious or elated, ask yourself why.
  9. Increase the number of dreams you can remember by writing in your dream journal every time you wake up throughout the night. You dream several times while you're sleeping, so if you only record the last dream you had before you get up in the morning, there are more dreams you might not be remembering. It’s always tempting to go right back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night, but take the opportunity to remember what you were dreaming before you do—in all likelihood you will not remember it in the morning.
    • Since you usually only remember the last dream you had, you can remember more dreams by waking up several times during the night. We go through a complete sleep cycle approximately every 90 minutes, so you may find it productive to set your alarm to wake you at some multiple of 90 minutes (such as 4.5, 6, or 7.5 hours) after you expect to go to sleep. Dreams in the later half of the night are typically longer than those you dream soon after going to sleep, so you probably want to wait until at least the 4.5 hour mark to intentionally wake yourself.
    • This is only recommended for people who get adequate sleep and who can fall back asleep easily. Otherwise, skip this step.
  10. Keep a notepad or voice recorder with you throughout the day. Often something you see or hear later in the day will trigger a memory of a dream from the night before. Note these recollections without delay, and think about them to see if you can remember how they fit into the rest of the dream.


  • Keep a table lamp on your nightstand. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you’ll need to turn on a light in order to record your dreams in your dream journal. As with the alarm clock, you want to be able to reach your lamp with as little movement as possible.
  • As an alternative, you can also use a small flashlight solely for recording dreams at night. Cover the lens with three layers of masking tape so you can still easily see your journal at night, but it's not so bright that it makes you want to close your eyes.
  • Better yet, don't use any light at all, as it can make it harder to remember your dreams. Just have your pen and paper where you can reach them easily, and you won't even have to open your eyes (be careful not to fall back asleep though). With practice you'll get better at writing without seeing the paper.
  • Some people keep a small voice recorder by the bed and talk into it instead of writing down the dream. It's easier to remember when you're only half-awake!
  • If you have the same dream the next day, or next week, jot that down also. A dream that repeats itself is a dream upon which we should all concentrate. It might have a special meaning.
  • When recording dreams, remember that the recording is personal. Don't write it to make sense for others because you may find yourself altering things to make it easier for outsiders to understand. Always write what you believe to be true, not what would make sense.
  • Record exactly what happened without necessarily trying to make sense of it yourself, either. For example, if your dream starts inside a house and you then find yourself in a forest, avoid the temptation to assume you walked out of the house. Dreams that are foreign to everyday experience could be lost by trying to apply waking logic to the events.
  • When recording the dream, it may be easier to remember if you write (or speak) it in present tense (i.e. "I am going to" instead of "I went to").
  • Some songs actually make the dream stick in your head for a little while longer. Try listening to some music before you hit the hay, and see what happens!
  • If you have a computer or mobile device nearby, try logging onto a dream publishing website like Uprophecy or Dream Moods that you can use to log your dreams and keep a record of them.
  • After you have managed to remember a few dreams think of them before going to sleep, It can help spark recall.
  • After you've remembered most of your dream, try and put it into the right order. This will help, because it's easier to memorize things if you know what happened first, and always write that down first.
  • If you have already dreamed a dream and want to remember it, don't worry. When you're dreaming, you are in an entirely different set of mind. Try lucid dreaming. When you are in this set of mind and you are lucid dreaming, sometimes you have the ability to recall your past dreams! Think of it like if you had a part of your brain that stores dreams that you have, and you can only access it by dreaming.


  • Be careful about interpreting dreams. The interpretation of dreams is not science, so don’t jump to conclusions, and don’t place too much importance on a dream. For example, a dream about death does not mean that someone will die, or that something bad will happen.
  • If you have trouble sleeping or difficulty getting enough sleep, don’t try to record dreams in the middle of the night. Just go back to sleep.

Things You'll Need

  • Something to record data
  • Something to wake you up (preferably gently)
  • A voice recorder (optional)

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams, By Ernest Hartmann, p142, ISBN 0738203599
  2. Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams, By Ernest Hartmann, p142, ISBN 0738203599
  3. Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams, By Ernest Hartmann, p142, ISBN 0738203599

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Remember Dreams. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How to Interpret Your Dreams - wikiHow

How to Interpret Your Dreams

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

A dream is an answer to a question we haven't learned to ask. ~ Fox Mulder in The X-Files
Since ancient times, the Greeks and Egyptians believed that some people had the power to draw meaning from dreams, and as long ago as the second century, works were being created on how to interpret our dreams.[1] In modern times, we understand better that the world of dreams is another reality with which we can interact, and yet, as we grow older, it can be all too easy to dismiss the value of dreaming, especially in an age given to sidelining anything that touches on mysticism and Freudian overtones.
Nonetheless, dreaming deserves to hold a special place in our lives because it is an important part of who we are, providing us with signposts and differing perspectives on our waking problems, all offered to us nightly, free-of-charge, if we only care to stop and take note of them. Interpreting dreams is for everyone, not just those already attuned to spending time exploring the psychic and subconscious self - decoding dreams can enable you to gain access to a wealth of intuitive wisdom.


  1. Consider why it is worth interpreting your dreams before proceeding. Even if you're already convinced of the value of interpreting dreams, it's a good idea to understand the importance of dreams in general, and why taking note of them and interpreting what they are telling you can help you in both practical and intuitive ways:
    • Dreams can help you in a very practical way. They are a means by which you can solve problems that have been dogging you throughout the day, week, or month, even where your worries are not conscious.[2] If you're receptive to your dreams, answers are there for the finding. History is filled with the inventions begun in dreams, from scientists to fashionistas.[3]
    • Dreams help you to learn as you process the day's experiences. They layer down the things you've learned during the day and smarten up your learning so that on awakening, you ought to be a little cleverer at whatever it was you learned the day before.[4] Many studies by sleep researchers have shown that we perform tasks better after sleeping on them.[5]
    • Dreams help to connect you with feelings that you're having now and feelings that you've had in the past, in similar circumstances.[6]
    • Dreams can provide you with inspiration and insight. They can show you the doorway to greater fulfillment, happiness, and health if you're prepared to listen to them.[7] Sigmund Freud said that dreams are "the royal road to the unconscious activities of the mind".[8]
    • Dreams can heal and be cathartic, acting as your "internal therapist". They can serve as a way of closing a door on a very difficult part of your life, allowing you to move on from loss, hardship, and sorrow by releasing you to move to the next phase of your life. People who are able to dream, and recall those dreams, have been shown to heal better from traumatic experiences than those who seem to have no dreams.[9]
    • Dreams can allow you to act out and dramatize. They allow us to be creative, insane, aggressive, strong, manipulative, etc., in ways that we might never dare be in waking life, and often we take the leading role.[10] It is of interest that our pre-frontal cortex shuts down during dreaming (the cautious, organized part of us), to allow our emotional side to take over.[11]
    • Dreams can diagnose something that is wrong with you. For example, depressed patients have a complete lack of activity in their dreams.[12] And it is possible for health problems to be brought to your attention through dreams, such as a pain you've been ignoring being related to something that might be wrong with you and need of a check-up.[13] Recurrent dreams are also a very good indicator that something underlying is wrong, often emotionally, with studies on recurrent dreamers revealing that they score lower on well-being scales.[14]
    • Dreams can warn you of threats. In caveman days, the threats were real and translated into a short lifespan. It's possible that dreams (which place you in a very vulnerable state) were not weeded out by evolution because they gave us insight into recognizing and dealing with threats.[15] One study has shown that dreams tend to be more often about threats and negativity on the whole than "sweet dreams".[16] Perhaps this implies that a deeply negative dream is either a prehistoric warning to "be ready", or just a way our minds clear out the worst of what's in there!
    • A few people believe dreams can be prophetic or precognitive.
  2. Learn how to remember your dreams. Obviously dream interpretation requires that you remember your dreams. Things that can impact your ability to remember a dream include not focusing on remembering it, poor sleep habits, being so tired that you sleep deeply, alcohol or drugs, and being a new parent. These problems aside (all of which have their own remedies), it is possible to train yourself to remember your dreams:
    • Read wikiHow's article on How to remember your dreams.
    • Keep a dream journal next to your bed and write down everything you remember of your dreams on waking. Make this a daily morning ritual before doing anything else.
    • Write down everything, even if it doesn't make sense. The things that don't make sense or seem out of place may end up being the most valuable insights.
  3. Begin interpreting with the right frame of mind. It is important to realize from the outset that your dreams are reflections of yourself and belong to you. Hence, while dream dictionaries and dream interpretation aids can be of some assistance in a very general way, the real nitty gritty of understanding what your dream means will always come down to you, your personal circumstances and the context of the dream and your waking life. Keep in mind too, that the sleep researchers can't agree with one another on the purpose, extent, or value of dreams,[17] so you're not expected to get this perfect or even to find that every dream has a meaning!
    • Don't dismiss the worth of dream interpretation aids - they can be helpful on a general level, still taking in your personalized situation and the other contextual elements of the dream. Use your common sense and your intuition when seeking to draw in generalized dream interpretations of colors, objects, animals, nature, etc.
    • Be prepared to ask yourself questions, all the while trusting your intuition and being patient.[18]
    • In each case, be sure to write down the answers in your dream journal. In doing so, always write down the first thing that comes to your mind. This will likely be the real situation in your life that is symbolized in the dream. If this is the same feeling represented in your dream, you're on the right track. When there is more than one part to your dream (more than one story line), that usually means your subconscious is trying to tell you two or more things and each of these strands needs attention.
    • If some of the details don't make sense, keep practicing until it becomes much easier to decode your dreams. Write down the meanings you discover for each detail. Then you can put them all together to see the big picture.
  4. Look for the obvious. Before delving any deeper, always analyze a dream at its most basic level first, and that is done by looking for the most obvious meanings. Some questions to ask of your dream include:
    • "What is this dream trying to me on a literal level?" - for example, you might have misplaced your car keys the night before and your dream shows you that you left them in a bowl on the umbrella stand instead of your usual hook on the wall. In this case, there is probably no need to wonder what keys, umbrellas, and bowls mean!
    • Reflect on what real life situation your dream reminds you of. Are there particular events going on in your daily life that have elements of concern, or that lack resolution for you? Even the most niggling of thoughts might be worth reconsidering in the light of your dream.
    • Have your had this experience or dream before?
    • When dreaming about something you have forgotten, it's a good idea to keep revisiting the dream because it is probably trying to tell you something that you need reminding of.[19]
    • Be alert for distortions of unreality in your dreams. Sometimes we dream about a TV show, or something we've read online or in a book, and our subconscious is bringing it to life in technicolor (basically, a free show!). The meaning behind this is probably simple entertainment as your mind sorts through the daily chaff.
  5. Look for representations of your feelings and emotions. Dreams often come to us by way of metaphor, like a puzzle awaiting us to piece it together. When looking for this level of a dream, the questions to ask yourself include:
    • "How did this dream leave me feeling?"
    • "What are the principal emotions arising out this dream?"
    • It is likely that your emotions in the dream are replaying emotions already impacting you during your waking hours, such as being angry with somebody, or feeling down about not meeting a deadline, or feeling happy that a good friend is coming to visit.[20] This means that it is important again to check on what is happening in your waking life.
  6. If you have analyzed your dream from both the obvious and emotional perspectives but you still don't think it's telling you much, consider looking for deeper, hidden meanings in a dream.[21] These can actually be very commonplace dreams shared among many of us, and that have fairly standard interpretations available but also still very much depend on your own self and context. For example, regardless of culture or gender, commonplace dream themes include teeth falling out, flying unaided, the first day of school, falling, being chased, and a cheating spouse.[22] Interpretations of these commonplace dreams many of us experience could range from a deep-seated fear of not being attractive enough, or simply that you have a dental appointment that day, to the fact that you watched a TV show the night before about a cheating spouse. You will need to consider your waking reality to work out what the most applicable interpretation is.
    • Look for key images that stand out in your dream. For example, if you dreamed about a red alligator swinging off your boss's lamp and leering at you, a dream dictionary might tell you that red is the color of anger ("seeing red"), that an alligator is about ferocity or stealth (those teeth!), and that your boss' lamp is a source of light or exposure (or just your boss' lamp!). You might conclude that you are angry that your boss has taken the limelight and is crowing about your work as his own. Or, you might see this as your boss being angry with you for not throwing light on something ugly that has reared its head at the workplace. Or, you might have a morbid fear of the red alligator figurine on your boss' desk because the only time you're ever in your boss' office is when you're in trouble, staring at that darned thing to avoid his gaze! While the "symbols" of the dream can be fairly broadly interpreted from the nature or type of those symbols, you still need to fill in the details.
  7. Practice honesty. Not only do you need to be willing to put in the effort to try and interpret your dreams, but you also need to be honest about your feelings and emotions. In reality, your dreams will hardly ever tell you something that you don't already know on some level – it's just more likely that you have been repressing or pushing something aside.[23]
  8. Consider some possible dream scenarios as ways of learning how you might go about interpreting your own dreams. While dream interpretation is fairly intuitive and self-directed in nature, it can be helpful to have some generalized examples to guide you in ways that people choose to interpret their dreams. Some examples to give you an idea are provided next:
    • Let's say you're stranded on a desert island in your dream. If you've recently broken up with your partner, this could easily make sense. Maybe you feel guilty about the break-up and think it's partly your fault. Or maybe you're still angry about it. Sometimes the feelings you have as you're drifting off to sleep spill over into your dreams.
    • You have a dream in which all of your hair falls out and you are walking into town naked. In real life, you've just left your boyfriend of 4 years, and nabbed yourself an amazing new job. The symbols in the dream in this context could very well mean that you are shedding the old ways and are ready to expose yourself fully to what's ahead of you, and you're not afraid of anybody holding you back now. It may be that you've had some unresolved feelings of guilt or uncertainty about the path ahead but your dream is telling you to go for it. Alternatively, it could mean that your hair has started falling out at the stress of both good and bad things all happening at once, that you need to book a hair appointment fast and get some rest before starting your new job or you'll be vulnerable to not keeping up with everyone else because you're already worn down.
    • You dream you're back at school again trying to pass exams that in real life, you passed ages ago. And no matter how hard you try to pass them, the pencil keeps snapping, or the exam paper flies out the window, or you're just stumped for answers. Swing back to everyday life and you're doing really well, successful at all you have undertaken. A dream like this can simply be telling you that you don't need to worry about something that's worrying you right now because you got over that hurdle in the past; alternatively, it could be warning you that you're skating on thin ice and can't rely on winging it this time, and that you need to stick your head in the books and learn something new - and fast!
  9. Know when your dream interpretation is correct. The key thing to remember is that there are no rules to dream interpretation and so there are no rights or wrongs to the interpretation process. It's all down to your self-honesty, self-knowledge and willingness to apply your dream knowledge to your waking life situations. A successful dream interpretation really comes down to the following elements:[24]
    • Your interpretation resonates with you and the path you're following in life.
    • Interpreting your dreams adds something positive to your personal growth and emotional or spiritual fulfillment.
    • You enjoy working dream interpretation into your daily activities. There isn't much point continuing with it if you're not but if you are, it is a sign that you're growing more and more aware of your inner self through dream interpretation.
    • Interpreting your dreams improves your day, your activities, your life in general. It's an activity that brings you personal satisfaction.
    • You are able to find your own interpretations rather than simply accepting someone else's interpretation of dream symbols at face value, and you only rely on generalized interpretations as a building block on which you do most of the work.
    • Acting upon your dreams is not only becoming second nature, but is giving you good, positive results.
    • If it's not working for you, are you allowing yourself to get over the initial hurdles of confusion or skepticism before finally tossing in the towel on using dream interpretation as a means of self awareness?
Keep in mind, dreams are a subjective thing; murky at best, but always entertaining.


A very broad coverage on ways that you might interpret several of the most commonly shared dreams.


  • Practice is key. Each time you do this, you will get better at it.
  • Trust your instincts! If something seems important, it probably is. Try not to let your logical side take over.
  • Read the experts and understand their many varied approaches to dream analysis and interpreting strategies. Jungian analysts, in particular, have published a lot on dreamwork. Especially recommended are the works of Marie-Louise von Franz (see 'The Way of the Dream', 1988). It is important not to get too caught up in one way over another, however, as the jury is still out on what dreaming is all about. Which really means, that you're free to develop your own methods, theories and preferences!
  • Try not to focus on what actually happened during the dream too much, focus more on what it symbolizes. As an example, if you dream about something like being raped, it doesn't always literally mean that you are worried about being raped. It most likely represents the feeling that you have lost control over something.
  • Sometimes dreams really don't have deep meanings, they could just be about something that happened recently. If you have dreams about going to school or college during the summer and nothing unusual happens, for example, then your brain may just be getting used to not going to school or college every day.
  • Professor William Domhoff has been keeping an online database of dreams, which you might like to browse through to peek into what other people are dreaming about.[25]


  • Do not use this technique if you'd rather remain uninformed about what's going on in your subconscious mind. Some people prefer it that way, and that's a choice as valid as any other.
  • Trying to live in a dreamworld is very different from trying to live out a dream. When you act upon your dreams after interpreting them, you do so consciously, and with determination, purpose, and a clear head. On the other hand, living in a dreamworld is pretty much giving yourself over to imaginings, and waiting for something to happen instead of instigating it yourself. That's a sure recipe for letting life pass you by and you definitely need to wake up!

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Sources and Citations

  1. Ann Catherine Pawelczyk, In Your Dreams, Subconsciously Speaking, Jan-Feb 2008 v23 i1 p17(1)
  2. Science Today, The Importance of Dreams,
  3. Marianne, Szegedy-Maszak, What Dreams Are Made Of, U.S. News & World Report, Vol 40 Issue 18, (2006), p.54
  4. Randy Dotinga, Dreams could give learning a boost,
  5. Marianne, Szegedy-Maszak, What Dreams Are Made Of, U.S. News & World Report, Vol 40 Issue 18, (2006), p.54
  6. Science Today, The Importance of Dreams,
  7. Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 22, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  8. John F Marscalck III and Jane E Myers, Dream Interpretation: A Developmental Counseling and Therapy Approach, (2006) Vol 28 (1), Journal of Mental Health Counseling, pp. 18-27
  9. Marianne, Szegedy-Maszak, What Dreams Are Made Of, U.S. News & World Report, Vol 40 Issue 18, (2006), p.54
  10. Daniel Williams, While you were sleeping, Issue 14, Time International, (2007), p.p. 38-45
  11. Marianne, Szegedy-Maszak, What Dreams Are Made Of, U.S. News & World Report, Vol 40 Issue 18, (2006), p.54
  12. Marianne, Szegedy-Maszak, What Dreams Are Made Of, U.S. News & World Report, Vol 40 Issue 18, (2006), p.54
  13. Judith Orloff, Your Inner Doctor, (2010), Vol 15(3), Personal Excellence, p. 6
  14. Paul J. Fink, Fink! Still at large: a Canadian study of preteens suggests recurrent dreams might reflect underlying emotional difficulties in boys. How have you used patients' dreams to advance their psychotherapy?, Clinical Psychiatry News, August 2009, v37 i8 p6(1)
  15. Daniel Williams, While you were sleeping, Issue 14, Time International, (2007), p.p. 38-45
  16. Valli, Standholm, Sillanmäki, Revonsuo, Dreams are more negative than real life: Implications for the function of dreaming, 22(5), Cognition and Emotion, (2008), pp. 833-861
  17. Daniel Williams, While you were sleeping, Issue 14, Time International, (2007), p.p. 38-45
  18. Sandhya Nankani, Unlocking the dream code, 58 (11) Read (2009), p. 22
  19. Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 38, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  20. Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 38, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  21. Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 39, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  22. Sandhya Nankani, Unlocking the dream code, 58 (11) Read (2009), p. 22
  23. Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 37, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  24. The following elements are adapted from Andy Baggott, Dreams: Transform your life through the power of your dreams, p. 80, (2000), ISBN 0-8069-3625-8
  25. You can find the database at

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