“Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.”
― Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams
"My dream was grey and foggy. It started off at the beach with my 2 year old son and boyfriend. The beach was in a glass box. My son then had an identical twin and they were getting washed away by the water. I yelled for my boyfriend to help me but he refused to help. I finally was able to save my son and the twin from the waves. I Then take my son and walk out of the glass box. I no longer have my son and there is a black spiral staircase. I was walking down it with blackness around me. Then a little doll in a white nightgown was below me on the steps. I felt so afraid that I jumped over the railing and into The darkness."
If it happened while you were awake, you may have some serious problems, but, most likely this scenario, or one like it, would arise in a dream. So what do dreams mean? Well, that depends on who you ask. A Freudian analyst would tell you that the dream represents a subconscious wish. A Jungian analyst would most likely tell you that the characters in your dream represents archetypes. However, psychology is not the only field that studies dreams. You might talk to a proponent of the Activiation-synthesis model of dreaming, a recent biological approach, who would assure you that the dream was nothing more than random firings of neurons in the brain stem, and that it carries no significance at all. Of course, if you are religious you might want to speak to your spiritual leader. Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist or Jewish, to name a few, your faith may lead you to look deep into your dream for signs of communication from higher sources. For the more New Age thinker, there are many books to interpret what each element of your dream symbolizes, which are based on an amalgam of ancient Western and Eastern beliefs. So where does this leave you? At one time or another you will be wondering, "what did that dream mean?". If there are so many different answers to the same question, how will you ever figure out which one is right? Don't be under the impression that you will find a right answer. Thinkers dating back to Aristotle have grappled with the issue in one way or another. Experimentation has been preformed, both psychological and biological, yet no one can definitively state what purpose dreams serve, or what they mean. Since there is no one answer to the question of dream interpretation, the best you can hope for is to learn about several of the existing approaches and determine what you will choose to believe.
All of the approaches to understanding dreams reflect the movement of societal thought. The initial beliefs involved gods, temples, and faith. At the times when the cultural beliefs on dreams were established the explanations for most worldly events involved these elements. As time passed society, particularly Western society, became more individual oriented. With this came the psychological...