We launched on Product Hunt! Visit the page for more info
Visit our Product Hunt page
Dream Interpretation​

Dream interpretation 101

Share This Post


Dreams have always fascinated humans, and we have always tried to interpret the meaning of this weird phenomenon that populates our nights. But after centuries of philosophy and psychology, what do we know now about the meaning of dreams?

What we don’t know

Despite all the theories and research, it’s still unclear what’s the real meaning behind dreams. Although there’s no scientific evidence, many people from eastern and western cultures believe that dreams contain hidden truths or even that they can predict the future.

The truth is that there’s still a lot we don’t know and can’t demonstrate about dreams interpretation because it is not an exact science; otherwise, it wouldn’t need interpretation. Nevertheless, science, psychology, and philosophy agree on some main elements we can get from dream interpretation.

What we know

Dream content

We all know that dreams are often weird and seem to have no sense at all, which makes them so complicated to understand. As we explained in our article “What happens to us during sleep and dreams?” much of dreams’ weirdness depends on the activation or deactivation of some brain zones. Thus, everything we live in our dream is exaggerated and often dramatic or twisted; that’s why it should never be interpreted literally to find the meaning.

What it’s sure is that dreams are a way to “digest” important events that happened during the day or the days before. The content is related to the person’s experiences and thoughts of the present and the past, like childhood memories and traumas. But what does this content tell us?

Benefits of dream interpretation

Dreams can reveal a lot about someone’s identity and experiences. The interpretation and analysis of dreams can help better an understanding of the psychological profile and state of someone; for this reason, they are often used in therapy.

The main benefits of dream interpretation are bigger insight and receiving another person’s input. People tend to attribute dream meaning to their already existing beliefs about elements in waking life and then act based on those interpretations. For example, religious people will perceive their dreams as sacred and then use them to help feel better about stressful life events related to dreams.

A look on the inside

Every dream content is based on a person’s culture, background, experiences, and psychology, and so does its meaning. We are the same person in waking life as in our dreams, more or less, and this continuity is the key to interpreting dreams.

Sometimes what we dream it’s simply related to what we have seen, though, and lived during our day, and sometimes it’s related to our deepest fears and feelings. For example, if you dreamed of a dying dog, it might be because you merely saw an old dog on your way home or because your beloved dog is sick and you fear and worry it will leave you.

So, since we’re all different, it’s nearly impossible to interpret an element in a dream without connecting it to the person. To analyze the dream, you need to know the dreamer, and no one knows you better than you do. For this reason, it’s essential to have an excellent insight to understand what our dreams want to tell us, even though sometimes it’s more complicated. That’s why in Oniri, you can find some important tips that can guide your self-reflection to interpret your dreams.

To go further

Hall, C. S., & Nordby, V. J. (1972). The individual and his dreams (Vol. 451). Signet Book.

Hill, C. E., Diemer, R. A., & Heaton, K. J. (1997). Dream interpretation sessions: Who volunteers, who benefits, and what volunteer clients view as most and least helpful. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 44(1), 53.

Jacquemont, G. (2020). La science des rêves: S’en souvenir – Les interpréter – Les piloter. Paris: Flammarion.

Morewedge, C. K., & Norton, M. I. (2009). When dreaming is believing: The (motivated) interpretation of dreams. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(2), 249.

Phillips, R. E., & Pargament, K. I. (2002). The sanctification of dreams: Prevalence and implications. Dreaming, 12(3), 141-153.

More To Explore