I approach dreams as if they are sacred myths. To me, the dream is a part of world making. A dream establishes the symbolic sense of the cosmos and my connection to it. To that end, I keep notes to consult for interpreting the current dream. Later, I will compare these notes to on-line dream dictionaries.
When I approach images in dreams, I free associate first. Why this dream at this time with these images? I look at each image separately, and then as a part of the whole dream. There could be layers of meanings between the images in the context of the dream. My notes and the dictionaries often spark deeper meditations on the images.
Mind mapping and free association helps me to dive further into an image. For example, the other day I dreamt of “farting manatees.” I was feeling low about myself because of my brain injury. At first, I felt terrible since the manatees were obnoxious blimps, who were being most rude. Then I realized that “farting” was my family’s slang for “puttering about.” Furthermore, in actuality, manatees are loved for being who and what they are as they putter around eating and swimming. The image was telling me that I was loved for who I am as I am.
After mapping out the image, I see how it fits into the context of the dream. I check to see if I had dreamt it before or is it a part of a recurring dream image. In dreams that involve my brain establishing new neural pathways (Note 1), rivers are a feature. Also, the directions of “up” or “down” are often featured in these dreams. The directions indicate which of the four lobes are being worked in. (Note 2)
Note 1: After an injury, the brain recreates new neural pathways. It is how it resolves the parts that are damaged beyond ordinary repair. This is referred to as neuroplasticity.
Note 2: I have all of the lobes of my brain damaged – frontal (judgment), parietal (handwriting), occipital (vision), and temporal (memory).