Dream symbols: Word association

Dream Symbols Word Association Jane Teresa Anderson

Bust the meaning of a weird dream symbol by playing the word association game. For this, you need a piece of paper, a pen, a few minutes of uninterrupted peace, and a timer.

Write your dream symbol at the top of your page, set your timer for two minutes, and jot down the first word that comes into your head when you think about your symbol. Quickly follow this by the next word that comes into your head, and then the next, and so on. Don’t think, don’t pause, and write fast. It doesn’t matter whether the words you write all spring directly from thinking about your dream symbol, or whether they follow on from some of the other words flowing onto your page. Keep going until your two minutes is up.

Imagine your dream symbol is ‘hairpin’, for example. You might start something like this.

Hairpin, hairpin bend, mountain road, treacherous, treachery, treason, Guy Fawkes Night, fireworks, explosions … continuing for two minutes.

When your two minutes is up, look over your list and see if anything significant jumps out at you. If you’ve really written fast, your unconscious mind will have come up with some surprising connections. This method teases the meaning of your dream symbol from your unconscious mind. Think of it as a kind of surprise attack.

In the example, you might look back over the words and suddenly remember being eight years old and taking a hairpin from your hair to dig out some of the explosive from a firework. Your parents didn’t notice the firework had been tampered with, they lit it, and it exploded sideways, narrowly missing burning the family dog. Your hairpin dream symbol suddenly feels right as a perfect symbol for guilt.

This example may sound silly, but when you do this exercise, you’ll know when you’ve identified your symbol correctly because it will feel so right and your dream interpretation will suddenly make sense.

Give it a go. It takes just two minutes, it’s fun to do, and it usually yields surprising results.

[Extract from 101 Dream Interpretation Tips, Jane Teresa Anderson]

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