Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dream Interpretation and Symbology

There are many different opinions regarding dreams and their interpretation. Some swear by the various dream dictionaries that can be found, both online and in the bookstore. Others consider these frivolous and limited in their helpfulness. The best approach is probably somewhere in between.

Interpreting the Symbols in Dreams

Even with the most respected of dream dictionaries, almost all of the symbols found within its pages have various meanings and interpretations. Some symbols will even have contradictory meanings, leaving the seeker perhaps even more confused than before they picked up the book.

This being the case, it is perhaps not a good idea to rely solely on any type of dream dictionary. In the end, the interpretation of dream symbols can only be done by the dreamer. The most important factors are the dream, the symbol itself, and intuition.

Beginning with a dream dictionary is probably a good idea, at least to start. Look up the interpretation of a particular symbol. However, instead of taking this information literally, it is perhaps best to use this as a jumping-off point, so to speak. Take the book’s definition and, if it doesn’t seem just right, adapt it to suit what does feel right; this feeling is intuition, and should be obeyed when interpreting dreams. If the book definition goes completely against intuition, it's generally believed that it's best to go with one's intuition instead.

People in Dreams

Seeing people in a dream — even familiar people — does not necessarily indicate that the dream is about that particular person in terms of its meaning. In general, principle characters in a dream actually represent an aspect of the dreamer's personality, tendencies or another aspect of self.

In this manner, an argument with another person, no matter who it is, usually represents an inner conflict. On the other hand, interactions with people in dreams can also indicate inner harmony. It is the form of interaction that is important here, not necessarily the individual people involved.

Types of Dreams

Dreams are a combination of extremely complex symbols, both connected and independent. For the most part, dreams are analytical in nature, meaning that they are a way for the higher self to give its input on everyday life. These dreams analyze interactions with the world, including, but not limited to interactions with the environment and other people.

Some dreams are therapeutic. The percentage of therapeutic dreams varies from person to person. Those people suffering from an inferiority complex will, of necessity, have more therapeutic dreams than a truly strong, confident person. Of course, someone with a feeling of superiority will also have therapeutic dreams, though of a different sort. Therapeutic dreams are the higher self’s way of attempting to overcome character defects.

Prophetic Dreams

Most dreams are not prophetic in nature. The percentage of dreams that are directly concerning the future in a prophetic fashion is perhaps 5% for most people. Many people assume that a dream that seems to concern the future is a prophetic dream. Generally speaking, this is a mistake.

There are a number of ways to determine if a dream is perhaps prophetic. Some of these are:
  • Dreams that are in full color and exceptionally clear;
  • Very easy to remember; if the dream is easily forgotten, then it wasn’t likely prophetic;
  • Clear messages are delivered, perhaps even dates; and
  • Dreams are structured, with a definite beginning, middle, and end.
Dreams that follow this pattern should be recorded in detail. It can later be determined if they were, indeed, prophetic in nature. It's believed that prophetic dreams are often a communication from the "higher self" that's intended to prepare the dreamer for what is to come. For instance, a prophetic dream can lessen the shock of a potentially traumatic event.

Recording Dreams

The most important part of interpreting dreams is probably recording them in the first place. It is difficult to attempt a thorough dream interpretation if there is no source, and dreams tend to fade with time. Therefore, it is best if the dreamer keeps a journal next to the bed. Immediately upon waking, the dreams should be recorded, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Interpreting dreams should be mainly a matter of intuition. While book definitions can be helpful in the matter of dream interpretation, it is important to remember that these are merely suggestions. They are not rules.

The Modern Use of Flower Essences

Flower essences work on basically the same principle as Bach Flower Remedies. This means that they are designed to combat emotional or spiritual difficulties, such as stress, depression, fear, anxiety, anger or confusion. The idea behind the flower essences is simple: emotions change thoughts, thoughts change behavior, and behavior changes lives. The flower essences target emotional difficulties, the first step in this change.

How Are Flower Essences Made?

Like many other forms of natural medicine, including Bach Flower Remedies, flower essences are preferably prepared using the sun-infusion method. This involves allowing the plant to soak the flowers in spring water, making sure that the water and plant are in direct sunlight, allowing the sun to pass through them. This is typically done over the course of at least an entire day.

If there is insufficient natural sunlight, it is permissible to boil the flowers for several minutes. Do not heat the flowers dry (without water) on the stove, as this could cause a fire.

Even better than both methods would be to collect the morning dew off the particular flower, but this is impractical. Instead of attempting this, both the sun-infusion and boiling methods are perfectly acceptable. These essences are then consumed in small quantities, usually two to three drops, up to four times per day.

How Flower Essences Can Be Beneficial

Anyone and everyone can benefit from the use of flower essences. Male or female, young or old, flower essences can help to reduce stress and ease emotional loads. Flower essences can provide many of the following benefits and more:
  • relief from emotional stress
  • feelings of clarity and peace
  • insight
  • inspiring confidence
  • dealing with change
  • enhance self-image
  • relieve fear or anxiety
  • increase motivation
Effects of Individual Flower Essences

The following list is far from comprehensive. It does, however, give a brief overview of the most common of the flower essences in use today, and their general effects.
  • bilberry — calms and brings peace and clarity
  • camphor — removes toxicities, allowing other remedies to work more effectively; activates meridians
  • chamomile — emotional balance and easing emotional tension; mental clarity
  • columbine — inspiration; enhances healing and integration; activates higher chakras
  • daffodil — align to Higher Self; useful during deep meditation; helps in the passing of information to the conscious mind
  • daisy — clear focus and intuitive understanding, especially spiritual understanding
  • dandelion — increased energy; relieves tension; good for high-strung individuals
  • forget-me-not — awareness of spiritual connections; increases reaction time
  • gooseberry — sense of ease and relaxation; improves attitude; increases the desire to be a part of the world
  • honesty — personal clarity; acceptance of changes and increased flexibility; clears negative emotions
  • lavender — spiritual sensitivity and awareness; eases nervousness; spiritual cleanses
  • nettle — eases stress associated with a broken home; helps with sibling relationships; very calming
  • oriental hellebore — reduces tension and over-excitability; increases self-assuredness, while decreasing shyness; helps in establishing goals; motivation, poise, clarity, balance
  • passionflower — increases spiritual focus; easier access to higher states of consciousness
  • rue — energizes and stabilizes emotions; acceptance of oneself; self-expression
  • sage — wisdom, perspective; aligns mental and spiritual bodies; psychic abilities
  • snapdragon — dynamic energy and a healthy libido; improves verbal communication
  • snowdrop — confidence, especially spiritual confidence; clear direction in life; energizes the thought process; brings insight
  • snowflake — clarity of purpose; calming energy; protect from unwanted thoughts
  • St. John’s Wort — eases psychic and physical vulnerability; eases fear, helps with disturbed dreaming; increases the ability to separate thought from emotion
  • wild violet — acceptance and understanding; courage and personal fulfillment; self-expression and clarity; encouragement of true potential
The flower essences described here are not to be used to treat physical ailments. That is more the realm of herbology, and not within the scope of this article. Rather, flower essences are to assist in dealing with emotional and spiritual difficulties, from stress to fear, and many emotions in between.

The Historical Use of Flowers and Their Essences

Throughout history, flowers have been used as an expression for those concepts which escape verbal communication. Later, in the days of the Inquisition and similar persecutions, flowers and their emblems were used in many mediums, from art to architecture, as a secret form of communication.

Historical Interpretation of Flowers

There are many different interpretations of individual flower essences, mostly dependent upon physical location and historical time period. The lotus is a prime example of this. In Ancient Egypt, the lotus was a symbol of new life. However, later, in medieval Europe, it was said to represent the mystical center of things. In the Far East, the lotus represented the universe evolving from a central sun as it sprung from the navel of Vishnu.

As Christianity began its rise, many of the flowers originally dedicated to Greek and Roman gods were reassigned to various saints. Many flowers originally said to be ruled by Aphrodite, for example, became associated with the Virgin Mary, who was the Christian symbol of the feminine divine.

Specific Flower Essence Correspondences

Through history there were many interpretations of various flowers, as discussed above, and therefore their essences. Some of these are listed below. For the most part, these associations are taken from medieval Europe, since it is these interpretations that tend to have been carried forth into modern times.
  • broom – significant with love
  • calendula – success
  • camelia – perfect loveliness
  • candytuft – indifference
  • carnation – pure love
  • clover – happiness and good fortune
  • cowslip – unexpected love
  • daffodil – having high regard
  • daisy – symbolized a birth
  • gentain – injustice
  • geranium – comfort
  • hawthorn – hope
  • hollyhock – ambition
  • iris – purity and majesty
  • jasmine – was the emblem of the Virgin, also known as the star of divine hope
  • lavender – indicated that a reunion was to take place
  • Madonna lily – illustrated the marvels of paradise, signified purity and chastity
  • olive – represented peace, and still does in most book religions
  • passionflower – faith
  • rose – symbol of earthly love, symbol of heavenly delight and the mystic center of being
  • trefoil – the Holy Trinity
  • wallflower – fidelity in adversity
The Mystical and Esoteric Use of Flower Essences

Flowers and their essences were used by witches and magicians in their spells. Modern practitioners continue to use these essences for similar purposes today. In more ancient times, the growth of a flower, the how and why of it, was considered a mystery. This mystery lead many to conclude that flowers have many magical and supernatural qualities.

Many flowers, most commonly clover, lavender, and heather, were believed to bring luck, just as is believed today. Others, such as St. John’s Wort, peony, and lily are said to protect against evil. Daisies and dandelions, in addition to serving as clocks (since they open and close at certain times each day), were also used as oracles of love. This is still common practice today, in the tradition of pulling off the petals while reciting, “She loves me, she loves me not.”

The use of flower essences, both in mundane and mystical practice, is still common today. The meanings of these flowers have often been passed down through the ages, and so have a powerful history. Whether for healing, the casting of a spell, or as a means of communicating in secret, the use of flowers stretches back to ancient times.