Your old men will dream dreams ~ Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17
We moderns are too sophisticated to put much stock in the idea that God would communicate with us through dreams, but dream interpretation has a long and storied history in scriptures. There are numerous examples of dream interpretation and messages being sent via dreams through out the bible. Including the dream that solid, respectable Joseph had which convinced him to go through with his marriage to Mary.
Even today, odds are good that you’ve occasionally run into people claiming to have dreams about the future or which contain messages from God. For the rest of us it’s not uncommon to have the same dream repeatedly or which for whatever reason seem important and wondered why. And we’ve probably all heard some radio show where a person who is supposed to be an expert in dream interpretation blows callers away with insights gleaned from strange dreams they have had. So, although it’s not spoken about much or given much credence in “respectable” circles, dreams and their possible meanings continue to fascinate us.
Personally, I used to be prone to repeating dreams. One in particular involved tornadoes and various family members. I finally went searching for what it could mean and found an explanation of the symbolism of tornadoes in dreams that made perfect sense to me. Once I figured out what they meant, I stopped having the tornado dreams.
After that, I would frequently try to find explanations for what my troubling, repetitive dreams might mean. So I could stop having them. But most dream dictionaries were either so incomplete or so far fetched that they weren’t any help. They’d have entries with ridiculous things like, “snakes are a sign that someone is going to betray you” or “dreaming about the color red means that you have hidden sexual desires for frogs” or whatever.
A few years ago I stumbled across what is, without any doubt, the best, most complete, most helpful dream dictionary in existence. It’s the creation of a man named Tony Crisp and you can find it at his website Dreamhawk. An expanded, more complete version is also available on Amazon.
What sets Tony’s dream interpretation apart from others I have seen is that it’s grounded in reality rather than woowoo mystical ideas or Freud’s extremely questionable ideas about what’s lurking in our subconscious minds. Instead, Tony looks at the way a subject matter is used in our language, our common stories, archetypes we’re all familiar with and the like. For example, here’s part of an entry about cooking:
Cooking: Ways we transform ‘inedible’ or ‘unpalatable’ aspects of our life. This also might suggest you are working with ideas, possibilities, to create something, a project perhaps, that will satisfy you in some way. Cooking is also about nourishing oneself by your own efforts. It links with satisfying a hunger, creativity, your ability to make something new out of the varied opportunities or experiences you have. If you are cooking for others it shows you giving of yourself, but particularly giving something that you have put together, created, realised or learned to manifest in your life. If you are being cooked for, then it shows you absorbing and being nourished by what someone else is providing you, or giving you in a relationship. In some dreams cooking reflects how you feel about yourself in a relationship or in life. Do you do well or is it a burnt mess? Such dreams might reflect how people important to you criticise you, leaving you with a sense of failure. If your cooking is good but not appreciated it suggests you give the best of yourself but do not feel appreciated. If you are cooking for someone: This may show you giving of yourself to someone. See: Oven. Idioms: chief cook and bottle washer; Cook the books; cook someone’s goose; cook up; what’s cooking; too many cooks spoil the broth; cook your goose; cooking up new ideas. Useful Questions and Hints: What is it I am taking and transforming that will provide my needs or nourish me? Am I here in a caring and giving role with others, or am I being provided for by someone – if so who? Am I appreciated or appreciating in the dream?
Obviously, there’s a lot of information there, but really the entries work almost like prompts, giving you ideas about possible meanings that might resonate with you. So, for example, a few months back I had a couple of dreams about being asked to prepare a meal for a large number of people at a banquet. But at each step of the way, there was some problem. I hadn’t been given enough time. Ingredients I planned to use were being taken by others for their own purposes. Others were using the kitchen and leaving me with little room to work. At each setback, I would regroup and come up with a way to work around the problem. In my last dream about cooking, I had settled on making a one dish meal that could be made in large quantities, used simple ingredients and wouldn’t take much time. Then I discovered that the I would have to prepare the whole thing using only a 12″ skillet. At which point, I gave up and told the people I was working for that they would have to handle the meal on their own. I then went and sat down with my Grandmother, told her the story and we laughed at how ridiculous the situation was. She assured me that I had done really well and not to worry about not having succeeded in making the meal.
I looked up the entry on cooking and looked for elements which fit with my life situation. In this case, the elements that resonated with me were the attempts to transform the unpalatable parts of life into something good and nourishing, the creativity, including in my relationships with others, feeling that my creative efforts were both unappreciated and continually thwarted and finally recognizing the limits of what I was able to do in the situation.
The understanding I reached was that the dreams symbolized the ways I had used my creativity and determination to give my best to others and prove myself through many challenging circumstances. But that in the end, I was being asked to work under impossible conditions, so it was OK for me to decide that some of the challenges I had tried to overcome were just unreasonable. My grandmother was like an older, more experienced voice of reason letting me know that I didn’t have to worry about being judged as a failure. Once I had some understanding of it, the dreams became very reassuring to me. Sometimes when I’m tempted to blame myself for things that were really out of my control, I remember these dreams and let it go.
At any rate, even if you aren’t receiving messages from angels in your dreams, I know from experience that having a way to understand them can be helpful and healing. Particularly if, like me, you tend to have the same dreams over and over again. In fact, when my kids wake up in the morning talking about some dream they had, I will frequently help them look it elements of it in the Dreamhawk dream dictionary and discuss why they might have had the dream. I know my two oldest do this on their own from time to time because they’ve found it interesting and helpful.
I figured that I would pass on this valuable resource to the rest of y’all. Just in case there are any other dreamers of dreams out there. 🙂