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Dream Interpretation
What Happens When We Sleep?

What are Dreams?
Dreams come in many forms, shapes and sizes. They can be precognitive and deliver messages of future events. They can be messages from the higher conscious mind to solve problems, or share spiritual knowledge and wisdom. To add clarity to an event, or help prepare the conscious mind for spiritual work.
When we dream, we are in an altered state of awareness. It's one of the best times for our higher self, our spirit guides and unseen teachers to reach out and make contact with our sometimes "thick" brains for communication. The hard part is knowing how to interpret a dream. When do you know if it was just a dream of past or current events and when is it something more?
Phases Of Sleep
When we lay down for sleep we migrate through 5 phases of awareness or sleep. These phases progress in a cycle from Alpha (being awake) to Epsilon (rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep). After REM the cycle starts over again, beginning with Beta. We spend almost 50 percent of our total sleep time in Gamma sleep, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and 30 percent in the other phases of sleep. Babies however spend most of their sleep time in REM.
William C. Dement, Eugene Aserinsky, Nathaniel Kleitman and graduate students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s discovered and documented REM. The discovery was published Sept 4, 1953. Criteria for REM sleep include not only rapid eye movements, but also a rapid, low voltage EEG and, in mammals at least, low muscle tone. Most of the memorable dreams occur in this stage.
The following is a brief description of these phases of sleep from the scientific perspective.
1. Alpha - the waking state.
Common to people who are awake and having a frequency of brain activity in the 8 to 13 Hz range. These are the alpha waves of the brain.
2. Theta - Light sleep state (Stage N1):
With a frequency of 4 to 7 Hz range. A person moves from alpha waves to theta waves of the brain. This stage is sometimes referred to as somnolence, or "drowsy sleep". This usually occurs when we first lay down and begin to drift in and out of sleep. This is the time when we can be awakened easily to light and sound. Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows. People may wake up during Theta sleep remembering small fragments of dreams or disassociated images.
3. Gamma - Sleeping state: (Stage N2)
With a frequency of 12 to 16 Hz, it is characterized by "sleep spindles" and "K-complexes." During this stage, muscular activity is measured by electromyography (EMG). The EMG lowers and conscious awareness of the external environment disappears. This stage occupies 45 to 55% of total sleep. In this phase our eye movements stop and our brain waves become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.
4. Delta - Deep Sleep: (Stage N3)
With a frequency of 0.5 to 4 Hz, this state produces Delta waves of the brain. This is considered part of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) and appears to function primarily as a transition into stage N4. This is the stage in which night terrors, bed wetting, sleepwalking and sleep-talking occur.
Here the brain becomes extremely slow. During this phase brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller and faster waves. It is very difficult to wake someone up during this phase. Up to this point there is no eye movement or muscle activity. If you awaken during the Gamma or Delta phase you often feel groggy and confused for a few moments.
5. Epsilon - REM Sleep (Stage N4)
Epsilon sleep is just a deeper progression of Delta sleep and continues to produce Delta waves within the brain. We slowly progress through delta sleep to reach the deepest state of sleep, REM sleep. When we move into REM sleep, our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises. When people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe what scientists refer to as "bizarre and illogical tales".
According to the Journal of Medicine, "The first REM sleep period usually occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall asleep. A complete sleep cycle takes 90 to 110 minutes on average. The first sleep cycles each night contain relatively short REM periods and long periods of deep sleep. As the night progresses, REM sleep periods increase in length while deep sleep decreases. By morning, people spend nearly all their sleep time in stages 2, 3, and REM."
The Importance of Dreams
Many sleep study programs have documented the effects of depriving 'dream time' from an individual. Allowing a person to sleep, but waking them as they enter REM sleep can have disastrous affects on test subjects. After a 48 hour period, a deprived subject will begin to show signs of deterioration in their reflects and responses. Continuing this pattern after 3 or 4 days, causes the test subject to begin the levels of dreaming seen in Delta and Epsilon stages of sleep, upon immediately entering Theta and Gamma sleep. Extending this pattern for longer periods, causes the test subject to begin hallucinating while awake.
From a metaphysical perspective, these occurrences are an indication of the subconscious and super-conscious minds trying to play "catch up" with the important messages delivered by these dream phases. When an individual is not allowed to enter REM, the subconscious mind tries to find other ways to deliver the dream message.
Types of Dreams
From the metaphysical perspective, you have varying types of visions and dreams during these phases of sleep. Before you reach REM sleep, your visions or light dreams are a review of your day just past. What you did, what choices you made and how they have impacted your spiritual lessons, knowledge and relationships. REM sleep is astral travel time, what we know as Out of Body Experiences (OBE). Where you can communicate with your guides and other souls you interact with during your life, especially at this time in your life. And the dreams after REM are a review of your day to come.
Now the timing, reviewing the day past and the day to come are just small measurements. You can review several days past, or even longer depending on the events that occurred months ago and how they may be affecting your lessons and karma today. And the same is true for the future.
Remember everything you do creates an energy pattern. Decisions you made 3 weeks ago created a pattern that could still be manifesting today. Things you do today can set into motion events 5 weeks from today. In dream you can feel and see those patterns from a super conscious mind perspective and see the probable outcome of that energy you've already put into motion. These visions can be messages that you're on the right track, or warnings that you may have things to do to alter the path and improve the situation.
During REM sleep when you're traveling on the ethereal plane, you may review past lives and situations you went through in the past that are affecting you today. Reviewing decisions, lessons and patterns to help you make new choices today. These are the most important dreams you'll have during the night.
Everyone has the ability to remember the images from this travel time, but some have a hard time pulling those visual images back into their alpha state of awareness. If you take an interest in remembering and working with your dreams, you're likely trigger that desire in your conscious mind allowing it to be open to receiving the images and retaining them.
Dream Interpretation. ~ Symbology
First off, you have to take the dream in the context of your day. What's happening in your life at the time. The symbology of the dream will be a means for helping you to understand what lessons your dealing with or how you should proceed with a current situation.
Next, you need to determine what images hold what meaning. All those Dream Interpretation books on your book shelf contain the interpretation of symbols as they are for the person that wrote the book. Someone else's idea of what a snake means will do little for an interpretation of your symbols. You are the one who's seeing the symbols in the dream, so it's your feeling or experience with those symbols that hold their meaning. 

    Here's an example: You and I dream about walking down a path and a snake crosses in front of us. I associate snakes with healing, like in the medical symbol. For me the dream might mean I'm on a path of healing, or a healing will be needed on this path. As a child you had a bad experience with snakes and you're frightened by them. So for you, the dream could mean, be cautious on this path, or taking this path could be dangerous for you. In addition, the color of the snake might be important, the type of path could have meaning..was it a dirt road, a small path in the woods or desert, or was it a paved road. All these little details give meaning to the entire dream.

Dream Interpretation. ~ People
People often say "I had a dream about you last night". When you dream of other people, you are dreaming of a reflection of yourself, a mirror of you within that person. The symbology is in the characteristics you would use to describe the person you're dreaming of.
For instance: you dream of your best friend Judy. Pick 3 things that describe Judy: caring, overly cautious and always into something. In the dream Judy was afraid to move forward and jump out of a burning plane. So the symbolic message might go something like this. "Currently in your life, there is a great deal of trial and tribulation. Things feel like they're coming down around you and although you care about these situations, you're being overly cautious in how your dealing with them. You need to focus on one thing at a time in order to move forward through these issues."
Other Dreams
   ~ Precognitive Dreams
Precognitive dreams are just that and you can't mistake them for symbolic dreams. They are a little more overwhelming and hold a different energy pattern. When you wake up, you just know that the experience you've dreamt of will take place. The key is, what are you going to do with the information. People can laugh at you if you tell them to watch out for red cars because you "saw" them have an accident. So let them laugh. What they do with the information is not your choice and your mission to tell them was complete. From there on, the responsibility is theirs.
Some people have dreams of disasters and don't know who to tell, for fear of being labeled crazy. If they happen often, then call a reporter. Tell them you know they won't believe you, but you just feel as if you have to tell someone. If you continually tell the same reporter over and over again, sooner or later they're going to start believing and perhaps there is a way they can help.
Can you imagine what might happen in the future if airlines actually use someone's proven precognitive dreams as a last check for take off. How many plane crashes could be avoided, and how many lives could be saved?
      ~ Lucid Dreams
Lucid dreaming is a method of becoming semi-conscious during your dreams. Where you can take conscious control of your dreams and direct them to your desired outcome. This kind of practice is especially helpful for discovering the underlying issues in a night mare; or a recurring dream. You can read more about Lucid Dreaming here.
Creating a Log
The best thing to do when you have dreams is to write them down. The sooner the better. The longer you wait to record a dream, the more chances you have of forgetting some of the finer points and details. You can then use this log as a review when a situation in your life has concluded. This will help you understand how your sub-conscious mind tries to communicate to your conscious mind. Through this understanding, you interpretations will become easier.
You might also think about creating your own Dream Symbology Encyclopedia. Keep a list of the symbols you see in your dreams and what they mean to you. In the future when you dream about one of those symbols, you need go no farther than your own encyclopedia.

Sources: 1, o2
Created: 10/5/1996        Updated: 04/07/2008