Dream Elements – How to Interpret Them
Recently someone sent me an interesting dream about a bridge, asking for help in understanding its meaning. I can’t really interpret other people’s dreams, especially when I don’t know them or their situations personally. Also, I believe the dreamers themselves are in the best position to interpret their own dreams – if they have some help.
So how do we come to the best conclusions and the correct interpretation? Maybe this dreamer’s dream can serve as a model to answer that.
The Bridge Dream
I dreamed I was getting ready to walk over a bridge. Before we set out my wife said, “Are you sure that you are ready to do this? There are a lot of things out there.” Along the way certain parts of the bridge didn’t have guardrails that were very high and the bridge was very high in the air. Beneath it was a beautiful blue lake, and at certain stages you could see the bottom that had rocks or pebbles at the bottom. I almost fell off of the bridge, but held onto one of the guardrails and was able to get back on. My family was with me in this dream.
We first ask, what is the central theme of the dream? Some dreams are confused and multi-faceted but in this case it is simple: a bridge and a journey across it. Always try initially to remove as many elements and details as possible from the dream in order to bring it down to its simplest form and then attempt to interpret that.
Bridges are often symbolic of faith, trials, a way or path or even joining two things together. Now think: is that what a bridge means to you? Does the general interpretation feel solid or do bridges have a particular meaning in your life or family? Go first with the personal meaning of the element before applying the general meaning.
Now it is time to add back in details. Why do certain details show up in a dream and not others? Because those are the important ones so pay attention! This dreamer did not see what was at the other side of the bridge. That may indicate the dream is about the process of crossing, not the end result.
There were guardrails on the bridge and that may indicate safety or protection on the journey but sometimes they were missing or not very high which may represent danger. Indeed, a warning was called out by the dreamer’s wife: “Are you sure you want to do this?” That may represent choice in the matter. If this is a dream about a walk of faith or trial in the offing, the dreamer may have options before beginning it.
Detail by detail; use good old common sense in evaluating what each might mean. Also, it is significant who is in the dream and even who isn’t. For instance, this dreamer had his wife and family along. Does that represent support and help during a coming trial? If he would have been alone, that might have been significant too, indicating going it alone.
After reviewing the central theme, all the details and who was included in the dream it is time to step back and ask yourself how you felt – both during the dream and afterward. The emotions of a dream are probably the most significant elements and are most often overlooked.
In this case the dreamer didn’t say. But he must ask: was I scared or confident, was I excited to start off or filled with self-doubt? Was I relieved to wake up or did I enjoy the dream while it was on?
I leave the best and most important help for last. What about God and the dream? What is HE saying if anything? When Joseph was warned in a dream to take Mary and the child to Egypt after Jesus was born he had no doubt what the dream meant or what to do about it. Of course all dreams aren’t so clear. God speaks to us all the time in dreams and we don’t always recognize it. But there is always the chance afterward to ask.
“Lord, did this dream come from you? What does it mean? What should I do with it? Please help me understand.” Never omit this final step because his answer is the only thing that really matters.
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