Interpreting your dreams can be a lot of fun. As we've said, it can also give you valuable insight. Dreams are like coded messages from your unconscious mind. When you decode them, you gain access to a wealth of intuitive wisdom.

Remember that only you can interpret your dreams. Many people have published "Dream Dictionaries" that describe what each part of the dream symbolizes. Actually, the same dream can have infinite meanings, depending on the person who dreamed it. The important thing is, what does it mean to YOU?

Interpreting dreams isn't something you can pick up and become an expert at right away. It takes time and practice. First, keep the following things in mind:

Dreams are the reaction of the inner self to daytime activity and often show the way out of the dilemma. So relate them to current activity, because dreams may be retrospective as well as prospective.

Observe carefully recurrent dreams, as well as the serially progressive ones. These often illustrate progress or failure.

Be practical in your interpretations. Always look first for a lesson. What have you refused to face or been ignoring?

Dreams come to guide and help, not to amuse. They direct your attention to errors of omission and commission and offer encouragement for right endeavors. They also give us the opportunity to pray for others and to help them bear their burdens.

Look for past-life experiences in your dreams. These manifest themselves not only in color, but in the proper costume and setting of their period. They come to warn you against repeating the same old mistakes; to explain your relationship and reactions to certain people and places; to reduce your confusions; to enable you to better understand life.

Dreams that are unchanged through the years indicate the dreamer's resistance to change.

The difficulty most people have with interpreting their own dreams is that they aren't objective enough. Their familiarity with the people and places in their dreams obscures the dreams meaning. Experts have come up with the "I AM and I NEED" formula, devised to overcome this. Here's how it works.

Once you have your dream written on paper, get two different colored pens. Using one color, underline every negative word or phrase in the dream which indicates limitation, disrespect, containment, avoidance or damage.

Using the other color, underline every positive word or phrase. You now make two lists. List the negative words and phrases under a column titled I AM. List the positive words and phrases under a column titled I NEED. You are almost ready to interpret your dream.

Determine the subject matter of the dream. The location where the dream takes place is one of the best methods for doing this. When you have determined the subject matter take each of the phrases or words in the 'I AM' column and fit them into the following sentence.

When it comes to my (subject matter) I AM (phrase or keyword).

Change the phrase or keyword slightly to force the sentence to make sense. If you cannot determine the subject matter apply the keywords to yourself in general. This exercise tells you how you feel or react to the subject matter of the dream. When you have done this read through the 'I NEED' column to learn what you must do to correct the problem. To get the meaning put each of the phrases or keywords into the sentence.

When it comes to my (subject matter) I NEED (phrase or keyword).

Let's take an example. Using the sentence 'The dead woman lay on the cold hard slab'. The negative keywords are; dead, cold and hard. Women, in dreams, can represent emotions so in this case the sentences constructed would be:

When it comes to my emotions I am dead.

When it comes to my emotions I am cold.

When it comes to my emotions I am hard.

The meaning is obvious. With analyzing just one sentence from a dream we have learned a lot about the dreamer. Using this technique you now have all of the information you need to start interpreting your dreams. However it takes practice to be able to apply what you have learned. Be patient with your efforts.

Not all dream interpretations will be that cut and dried, but it is a way to remain objective when you are analyzing what your dreams mean and how best to put the messages they are conveying to good use in your life.

Keep in mind that Most dreams are * NOT * precognitive, and once one learns the subtle differences between a precognitive dream versus a regular dream, they are easily discernable and will put your mind at ease.

The first thing everyone should consider is the typical universal symbology of the dream images. For instance, death symbolizes the end of something that's ready for change, and a new beginning. Most people start out highly resistive to changes of any sort, and see any upcoming change in their life as something foreboding and scary. Death dreams are usually about change.

The symbols and what they represent is the most fascinating part of dream interpretation. There are literally hundreds of them. We don't have the space to address ALL of them, but we will touch on some of the most recurring themes in dreams as well as the symbols of those dreams and what they mean.