How To Interpret Dreams For Yourself As Easily As Possible

Interpret the dream, and you’ll understand if it has a spiritual meaning.

Put away the dream dictionaries, close the browser window with the dream interpretation website, and forget about sending that e-mail to a psychic to help you get at the meaning of that weird dream.

None of those methods work well, even if the dream in question is a common dream.

Only you can interpret your dreams, analytical psychology founder Carl Jung believed. Read on, and you’ll see why.

Follow this three-step dream interpretation method, and you’ll often have success with any complete dream.

Step 1: Write the dream down.

Don’t worry if the dream doesn’t make complete sense; you’re writing a dream, not a story. Dreams often don’t. The rules of logic don’t apply. Putting the events in a sequence that’s as close to how they happened in the dream supplies organization to them.

Organization allows you to see the relationships that uncover the dream’s meaning.


I was standing above an icy mountain roadway with my family next to me. Snow was falling. Most cars were making their way slowly down the roadway. Some cars weren’t. They’d speed up and take out the cars in front of it, plunging them down the embankment. Many of the passengers would get internal injuries.

The dream featured an icy, treacherous road.

Everyone could have made it safely if they had paid attention to the road conditions.

I’d reach down the embankment and pick up the car, take out the passengers. Some would live, some would die.

Step 2: Write each object or person under the narrative.

You’ll list the different things and people featured in the dream underneath the narrative.

Next to the list of objects, write what each of these objects and people represent to you.

If your dream was interrupted, you still might have many questions about it. Do what you can with it, but if you end up flummoxed, try asking for a clarifying dream.

Ice/snow Cold, frozen conditions. Tricky to drive upon.
Family The people I love who are closest to me.
Roadway A way to get from one place to another.
Internal injuries Injuries that aren’t always visible on the outside
Embankment Cause of injuries in the dream something the cars fell down that, resulting in injuries to the people in the cars
Cars Transport vehicles

When you write what the object means to do, do so within the context of the dream, not in general.

For example, ice and snow would mean (to me) something cold and frozen. If it appeared in a dream about playing, it would mean cold and frozen fun (like a snowball fight or skiing). This was ice and snow on a roadway, so it’s a sign that the dream is more concerned with driving safely.

The embankment is something that changed in the context of this dream too. If it was a snow-covered embankment and it was a dream about having fun, the meaning would have changed.

Step 3: Consider objects and feelings in relation to each other

This is where you consider the first possible meaning of the dream.

This doesn’t mean the final meaning, however, though often it is.

Sometimes you’ll think about the dream some more and realize there’s more to it, another relationship you didn’t realize at first. That’s because your dreams can be very profound. You’ll remember something from your real life that the dream was a reaction to that must be considered to interpret the dream accurately.

Sometimes the particular dream was part of a theme in a group of dreams over a group of nights; sometimes, it was an episode in an ongoing dream; sometimes, it was a slice of your life with or without changes.

In the ups and downs of daily life, people should proceed carefully under adverse conditions. Every car could have made it safely if they only paid attention to the conditions. They didn’t. Because they didn’t, they sometimes died of internal injuries. The coldness that gets into the human heart can be deadly.

Ultimately, I understood that this dream was inspired by a movie I saw the night before about living conditions in Nazi Germany, The Book Thief. In the movie, people had grown cold to each other and forgot their basic humanity. It was winter, and there was a lot of snow at times in the movie.

When you discern the meaning of a mildly complex dream, you’ll fully understand why Carl Jung and other experts believed that dream interpretation was something nobody else could do as well for you as you could for yourself.

With dream interpretation, you can learn a lot about yourself, others, and life itself. Knowing yourself is an important boon to your mental health.

An easy way to remember this framework

When you close this browser window, you may forget this process.

Here’s a trick to doing that.

The easiest way to remember this is by remembering “-som,” the prefix for sleep. Somnolent. Somnambulism. Insomnia.

S – Story

O – Objects

M – Meaning

When you’re writing the story, try to remember every feature by using the PACTREPS memory aid.

Follow these steps while sincerely trying to apply them, and there’s not a dream you won’t be able to understand.

For further reading:

How to keep a dream journal.

What is the spiritual meaning of dreams?

Visions are more complicated to interpret and understand: What makes a dream a vision?


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 


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