The human imagination is seemingly limitless. What we can conceive of, regardless of whether it's real or made up, far surpasses the happenings of our lived experience. Imagination is not held back by the impossible; there is no requirement to have previously seen something in order to conjure an entirely new image in our mind. This ability to imagine varies from person to person, and it is the cornerstone of how we understand symbols and abstract concepts.
When taken to the realm of the unconscious mind, which holds many times more volume of thought than our everyday conscious mind does, we can see why it is that our dreams can create such fantastical plot lines and imagery that sometimes leaves us in awe after waking. We can get an enormous amount of insight into ourselves and the world around us from these dreams, but how does one go about interpreting the elusive and enigmatic stories played out in our wandering minds?
The key, Alchemist, is in the collective unconscious. We may believe that our imagination knows no bounds. However, when merged with the collective wisdom of humanity as a whole, certain patterns begin to emerge. These patterns are best described as Archetypes, the summation and limitations of humanity's view of a specific symbol.
When stretched to their absolute limits, all of our imaginations reach similar conclusions on what symbols mean to our mental experience. For example, driving a car in a dream symbolizes the directin you’re moving towards. Getting in an accident or being unable to navigate properly means you feel out of control in your waking life. Bodies of water in dreams tend to represent our emotional state; a tsunami can indicate that one is being overwhelmed by their emotions. Choking in a dream could mean that something has happened that you can't accept. In other words, you can't swallow it.
Then there is a hoard of common dreams that everyone occasionally has. Seeing your teeth falling out represents insecurity in one's appearance. Dreaming that you are back in school could mean that there was something you feel you need to learn again.
The list of symbols is endless, and there are some discrepancies, but most of the time, they are congruent from person to person.
Alchemist, understanding your dreams can be a tremendous help in uncovering the hidden mysteries of yourself. What we've described here is only the tip of the iceberg that dream exploration has to offer.
A good place to start is with a dream journal. Every morning, as soon as you awake, write down everything you remember about your dream. In time, you'll begin to remember more and more until all your dreams become much more vivid. Then with a dream dictionary, you can begin to excavate your psyche for all the magic that is sleeping within you.