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The meaning of dreams

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Penelope and Odysseus (Meaning of Dreams)

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope replies to Odysseus to say those dreams issued through the gate of horn come true, but those from the gate of ivory come only to deceive:

"Stranger, stories told in dreams are difficult-
their meanings are not clear, and for people
they are not realized in every detail.
There are two gates for insubstantial dreams,
one made of horn and one of ivory.
Those which pass through the fresh-cut ivory
deceive- the words they bring are unfulfilled.
Those which come through the gate of polished horn,
once some mortal sees them, bring on the truth.
-. Homer, Odyssey, 19 (560)

Basically this means there are two kinds of dreams: those that are real and those that are not real. However, both kinds include types of dreams that are worth investigating.

Firstly, some dreams can be simply the mechanical repetition of impressions received during the day. These dreams may be based on intellect, emotion, instinct, sex, or on physical activity we have had during the day.

Mechanical Dreams (Meaning of Dreams)

For example, it could be that we have spent the day decorating a flat, painting the walls and so on. It is not surprising if the impressions left by such activity happen to reappear when we go to sleep.

The other dreams that are not real are those consisting of fantasy, figments of the imagination, mental representations, projections, or fabrications by one's mind, and so on. These dreams can nevertheless be useful from a psychoanalytical point view, since they are symptomatic of the state of one's psyche at different levels.

Typical cases of this are the repressed desires. Freud is well known for his theories about this type of dreams.

From an esoteric point of view, such dreams of fantasy are useful to learn about one's I or ego and therefore useful for the work of dissolution of the ego along the path of self-knowledge. By looking into such dreams, one can discover what one has got in the subconscious levels of the mind.

The work of dissolution of the ego is psychological work one can do on oneself. This work of self-knowledge is integral part of the esoteric process known in contemporary gnostic esotericism as the path of initiation.

Through this work the consciousness of the individual becomes more and more lucid and objective as the ego is dissolved. With the dissolution of the ego, the source of self-deceit is eliminated and dreams of fantasy are extinguished.

Transcendental Dreams (Meaning of Dreams)

Secondly, dreams that turn out to be real are actual perceptions of reality beyond the purely physical world of the senses - let us call them metaphysical in the literal sense of the word to mean simply "beyond the physical". We could also call these dreams transcendental.

Reality is more complex and deeper than the three-dimensional physical world we know through the perceptions of the five senses, viz. sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Transcendental dreams belong to those facets or dimensions of the universe other than the purely physical or three-dimensional world.

Symbolic Dreams (Meaning of Dreams)

Such transcendental dreams in turn can be symbolical or literal, depending on whether they need interpretation or not. The latter can be taken as given, whereas the former have a symbolic meaning.

Literal dreams can be memories of astral experiences, e.g. of a conversation with a far-away friend, or of a past event, or a future event. Of course, this does not mean that every such dream is necessarily the memory of an astral experience.

Each one of us goes out of one's body as one falls asleep and then moves freely in the astral world during sleep. If you can do this consciously and at will, you can call it astral projection. If it is conscious and involuntary, you may call it an out-of-body experience.

Symbolic dreams, on the other hand, need intuitive interpretation through emotional understanding, because they are given in the language of metaphor and parable. Their symbolic meaning cannot be reliably retrieved through intellectual analysis or speculation.

Instead, the symbolism contained in the symbol has to be uncovered through inspiration and intuition. This requires conscious reflection in quiet contemplation.

However, one's capacity of inspiration or intuition develops to the extent that one advances in the work of dissolution of the ego along the path of self-knowledge. The awakened consciousness resulting from this work gives you such capacity for inspiration and intuition.

Symbolic Dreams (Meaning of Dreams, Astral projection)

Studying one's dreams and matching them up with the events or circumstances of one's life one can learn the meaning of some oneiric symbols. Interestingly, one then finds these symbols are universal, that is, they mean the same in anybody's dreams.

Oneiric symbolism often consists of a correspondence, either by contraries or by similarity, or other analogy. Symbolic dreams can also be numerical in the same way the kabbalah and the tarot are numerical.

Some symbolic dreams can be classed as mystical experiences since they provide the truth seeker with an intimation of divine mysteries. These dreams can provide the individual with understanding of different issues in his or her spiritual development.

Of course, there is absolutely no point in trying to interpret a dream one could not recall properly. Therefore, one first needs to develop perfect recall, that is, the ability to remember one's dreams completely and accurately.

There are a number of progressive techniques for developing perfect recall. Personally I would recommend Samael Aun Weor's works and in particular the chapters on dream yoga in his book "The Secret Doctrine of Anahuac".

Meaning of Dreams (Astral world/projection)
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