Exploring the Unconscious World of Dreams
Personal Dream Analysis/Group Presentations

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How To Interpret Dreams
My Methodology of Interpreting Dreams-Page 2
By Jerry Gifford

"The sight of a child will arouse certain longings in adult, civilized persons, longings which relate to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality which have been blotted out of the total picture in favor of the adapted persona." ― C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

The Structure of Dreams & Life
The first dream focused on the images and their symbolic meaning and application. This next dream will do the same but I will also make comments about the structure of dreams. Understanding the structure of dreams will help in following the dream as if it were a play, with an opening, a plot, important actions and changes and then a final comment. Dreams are very much like a drama, a drama of the dreamer's life.

What is interesting about the structure of dreams beyond the actual layout and form is they tend to have a starting point in the past and then progress to the current time. The following childhood dream begins with a statement of place where current experiences had their origins, a 'protagonist' {in the following dream it is a 'soft voice'} and inner influences in the form of the inner {her true self} and the initial situation that is in conflict; a need to release stored up emotions to the world.
In the first dream the dreamer is in the back seat of 'her' car {her psychological direction in life}. The dream begins with a statement about where she is in association with the relationship with her boyfriend as well as a statement about her animus, its inferior position in psychological terms.

Structure in most dreams can be recognized although there will likely be a need to interpret the symbols to determine their application. Just as with childhood descriptions in the beginning of dreams being a statement about childhood experiences and/or influences, I tend to believe dream structure has a lot to do with the structure of a psychological event/experience and/or the structure of the dreamer's emotional life. When walking through a childhood neighborhood the dream is not only commenting about experiences/influences of that time frame but also the motivations that will form later in life. Because of the 'earth shaking' childhood experiences the sky {future horizons} turns red {anger, pain, frustration}, an indication of unconscious motivations that will affect the later life.

If a person early in life can identify psychological tendencies they could alter, control or even eliminate the motivation factors. That is the benefits of understanding dreams. Of course it would require a psychological examination from someone who is well versed in Jungian dream psyche. The structure of a dream is very often the structure of the dreamer's psychological life at the time of the dream. And can provide insights to the future. That brings us to the question 'do dreams predict the future'?

Dreams do not predict the future, they compensate what we already know, consciously and unconsciously. But dreams can 'predict' future possibilities, what is unconsciously known about what could happen due to the tendencies and personality of the dreamer. That would be a future event. Jung told of a dream of the mountain climber who dreamed he was climbing higher and higher and then gaily stepping off into space. Not so very long after he was killed in the mountains, a friend actually seeing him step off into the air. Was this dream predicting a future event or was it a commentary of what could happen, and did happen, because of the man's tendencies? Logic would tell us the latter is true. The structure of a person's psyche is depicted in the dream, a reflection of who they are and who they could or will be depending on if and when the structure of the dreamer is ever decided.

The Dramatic Structure of Dreams

Carl Jung listened to and interpreted thousands of dreams. In the course of this work, he found the structure of many dreams to be similar to the dramatic form of fairy tales, Greek tragedies, and Shakespearean plays.
Jung laid out the four stages of dreams:

1) Statement of Place/characters and the situation that the dreamer will face
2) Development of Plot
3) Culminiation/Something significant happens, the main character responds
4) Resolution/Lysis/The dream creates a solution or result for the dreamer

Foldout          Further Description of the Four Stages in Dreams
  • Click to unfold & fold

Analyzing a Dream by Stages
Dream: 3 dogs {click on 3 dogs here to see dream original post at the Dream Forum}

First Stage {Statement of Place/characters and the situation that the dreamer will face}
Dream-Was on the other side of the block (our street is divided by a busy main road, I was on the opposite side). I was walking and am approached by 2 dogs. One has pink and purple in its hair and is curly like a poodle and the other has straight hair (they may be like representations of the dogs my sister has, she has a curly haired dog and a smaller straight haired one, but these two dogs in my dream looked different) they are across the street and walking and I yell ?hey are you lost?? and they stop walking and look at me. they have no leashes on and it looks like they are abandoned. I figure if they have no leash, I?ll check to see if they have an owner, but if they do not, I?ll keep them.

  • Analysis Stage 1

Second Stage {Development of Plot}
Dream-I brought them back to my house and I was in the process (as I am now) of packing and sorting my things. My stuff is all over the driveway, clumped in piles. There is a lot of orange coloring around ? like many items are clumped together and orange in color. That sort of thing. Its warm and I am wearing shorts.

  • Analysis Stage 2

Third Stage {Culmination/Something significant happens, the main character responds}
Dream-I seem to go between my house and this house on the other side of the street that ends up being the home of the dog owners. At their house there is another dog. This one is older and a bit more grumpier. I take a liking to all three dogs. The older dog is much more shaggy with long hair and looks like a certain type of dog I can?t place now. It?s coloring was washed out like a murky grey. He acts like an angry old man who mumbles a lot. In my dream he doesn't care for the other 2 dogs which I learn are puppies. I know the older dog is 14, and the 2 smaller ones are 9 and 7 or 8 months. They play a lot. These puppies are white and a light brown, respectively.

  • Analysis Stage 3

Fourth Stage {Resolution/Lysis/The dream creates a solution or result for the dreamer}
Dream-I remember talking to the owner on the phone and she told me the older one doesn't like the younger ones and is unhappy a lot. She laughs and tells me if I want to keep him I can. She said he?d probably be happier with me. I don?t take her too too seriously, figuring she adores all three dogs but I do remember the old one asking me to have him put outside and when I did he was grumbling (he definitely had a personality!)
  • Analysis Stage 4


Although dream structure can be very useful in analyzing a dream there are limitations. Very short dreams often lack enough dialog to contain all the stages or stages at all {the dream merely being a very brief description}. Some dreams have enough language to cover two or three of the stages {more often three stages} with the third and fourth either non-existent or combined. Often it is difficult to determine where stages three and four begin and and. The opening is usually easy to ascertain as is the final ending stage. And it is important that the dream structure follow established grammatical sentence and paragraph structure. Otherwise it is a continuous flow of sentences that make it difficult to determine the stages as well as establishing discernible patterns of emotional behavior, which of course is what dreams are trying to communicate.

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Another childhood dream that fit with the dreamer's childhood experiences is Red Bats. This dream uses the term 'walking through my childhood neighborhood' in the first sentence, a clue the dream is focusing on childhood experiences and very likely influences that become motivations in adult life