Robert L Van de Castle, PhD
Website designed by
Bobbie Ann Pimm.
(c) 2010 RL Van de Castle
"The images and ideas
that dreams contain
cannot be explained
solely in terms of
memory. They express
new thoughts that have
never reached the
threshold of
Carl Jung

"In dreams we catch
glimpses of a life larger
than our own . . .
Thoughts are imparted
to us far above our
ordinary thinking."
Helen Keller
Your dreaming mind is the richest natural resource available to you.
The incredible treasures that are yours to uncover through personal
exploration are truly priceless in value, yet paradoxically, they are
absolutely free! You don't have to buy any expensive equipment or
special clothing, and you don't even have to leave the comfort of
your own bed. The entire physical effort that you'll have to expend
to encounter these instructional nocturnal odysseys involves
simply putting your head on your pillow and closing your eyes. On
the basis of extensive laboratory research, scientists have now
confirmed that everyone dreams, everyone dreams every night,
everyone dreams for about 100 minutes and everyone has several
separate dreams during a normal sleep cycle.

During the night, you turn into an imaginative playwright who
creates a series of unique plays, decides which stage props to use,
hires the cast of characters, crafts their lines for them and
determines whether the play will have a happy or sad ending. Each
playwright, like Shakespeare, will have his/her own signature style,
just as every individual will have his/her own distinctive and unique
fingerprint. It might be said that in order to establish the meaning of
any dream, it is first necessary to become familiar with the individual
dreamer's dreamprint. Each of us develops our own associations to
experiences that have had an emotional impact upon us. That is
why dream dictionaries are of minimal, or no, use when trying to
understand the often puzzling symbols that appear in our dreams.

Consider, for example, the symbol of a snake. Freud claimed that
such an image represented the penis. A snake could also be
associated with healing, because the two entwined snakes
appearing on the staff of a caduceus represent the healing
profession of medicine. Temptation might also be associated, since
it was a snake that tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the
Garden of Eden. As snakes grow in size, they shed their skins, and
could therefore be considered a symbol of growth and
transformation. A person who cannot be trusted because he/she
behaves in secretive, sabotaging ways is known as a "snake in the
grass." Someone who engages in venomous, verbal behavior
toward others might be characterized as a rattlesnake, while some
partner who clings to you so tightly that you feel you are
smothering might be represented as a python. This list could easily
be extended. The purpose of these examples is to demonstrate that
the meaning of a snake must first be determined for each individual
before it becomes possible to work with that individual's dreams
when a snake appears in the content.

Only the dreamer can determine the meaning of any particular
dream element and you are encouraged to explore your dreams and
learn to understand what your dreams mean yourself. Anyone can
do it -- if you set your mind to do it.

Bobbie Ann Pimm has written an excellent beginner's guide to
working with your dreams --
Notes From a Dreamer ... on Dreaming:
A Personal Journey in Dream Interpretation.  

Dream groups, utilizing a "projective" dreamwork technique can
also be very helpful in determining the meaning of a dream. When
others offer an interpretation of a dream starting with "
If this were
my dream
" they are "projecting" their own associations onto the
dream, which the dreamer then has the option of accepting or
rejecting. This technique can help the dreamer identify possible
meaning and can also identify what it doesn't mean - thereby
narrowing down the possibilities. offers you the opportunity to keep a dream
journal, which you can choose to keep private or you may share
your dreams and ask for comments or reflections from other
dreamers and/or professional dreamworkers utilizing this projective
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Join Us!
International Association for
the Study of Dreams
32nd Annual Conference