Dream Interpretation: What is it Exactly?


From a dream of playing with your dog, all the way up to the classic “wearing your underwear to school” nightmare, dreams can vary wildly. However, they are essentially an instruction manual to your subconscious. Unfortunately, most are like an IKEA instruction manual; all pictures and no plain written descriptions. That’s where the skill of dream interpretation comes into play. The more you practice, the more you learn to spot messages within your dreams.

So, how does it work?

Imagine dream interpretation as a puzzle game. Match all the proper pieces together and you find the solution! The first step is to figure out what the pieces are, though. Different dream interpreters will break down the symbols in dreams into different categories. Figure out a system that works best for you! Personally, I like to break it down this way:

  • flora and fauna,
  • colors,
  • locations,
  • people (or lack thereof),
  • and any fear factor associated with the dream.

Let’s break down one of my recent dreams as an example.

Seeing it in Practice

Recently I had a dream that I was hiking through several very steep mountains. I was notably in Sedona, Arizona, though the landscape was colored predominantly orange and purple. While there were no other people with me, I did see a sphinx atop one of the mountain peaks. The atmosphere was powerful.

Let’s break down the main elements of the dream and see what information we can gather.

  • Flora and Fauna: A sphinx cat, but no plants.
    A sphinx represents feeling exposed. For this particular animal, location is important. It was at the highest point in my dream, marking the exposure as being a notably good thing. If the cat was below me, it would represent embarrassment. 
  • Colors: Purple and Orange hues.
    Purple is transformative, while orange is powerful. With both colors being prominent in my dream, the combination represents a powerful transformation.
  • Location: Sedona, Arizona.
    Sedona is well known for its “vortexes,” locations where the earth feels especially powerful on a metaphysical level. Recognizing the location and its significance was key. The growth and power I felt in the dream was spiritual, rather than physical.
  • People: None.
    I was by myself, but that itself is noteworthy. My sister has been drawn to Sedona and its lore for years. Her absence in the dream cements the fact that this is symbolic of my own spiritual journey, not hers.
  • Fear factors: None.
    Nothing in this dream was particularly frightening to me. However, I was climbing very steep mountains. If I was afraid of heights, that would have been important to the interpretation.

What I was able to gleam was that this dream represented the growth I am experiencing in life. It also felt like a message that I needed to learn to grow alone, without relying on others.

This may seem complicated at first. However, once consistent practice is put into it, dream interpretation gets easier and easier! Trust your intuition.

What’s the Point?

Dream interpretation can be used for a multitude of things. It is an important practice even outside of the metaphysical community. It has been used by many therapists and psychiatrists for years. Repressed emotions tend to pop up the most in dreams, so interpreting your dreams may help you work through said emotions. Much like shadow work though, using dream interpretation in this manner is a tricky endeavor. What shows up in a dream as a fear of a dog could represent a fear of a person in real life. Please use caution when using dream interpretation as a tool within shadow work and trauma work.

On a lighter note, my favorite use of dream interpretation is for ancestry and deity work. In the physical plane, the guides and ancestors that we love and adore are confined only to use of the world around us. Those messages can be a bit harder to notice and interpret. In dreams, those messages can be more unique and noticeable. A mighty steed in a dream could represent a love of horses, or a horse’s love in the form of Loki. Exotic plant species can represent spirit guides. In dreams they can be plentiful, whereas in the physical plane they could only exist in specific locations. Not everything is a message, but it is definitely a possibility. This is why it is important to analyze every piece of a dream to get the bigger picture.

Working through your dreams can sound easy at first, but quickly become a daunting task. If you choose to pursue dream interpretation, don’t give up! Practice makes perfect.


If you are interested in dream interpretation, Nova’s is offering their dream interpretation services on our store! Just tell us about your dream, including any key imagery or elements, and Nova will do the rest!


One response to “Dream Interpretation: What is it Exactly?”

  1. This was very insightful! Thank you for having a breakdown and an example to help beginners understand how the process works

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