The Key to Decoding Your Dreams

Step one: learn how to remember your dreams.

Ashley Batz Photography

Dreams are a portal to your true potential, according to Sherene Vismaya, The Assembly’s resident astrologist and a trained psychoanalyst. These sleep-time visions, fantasies, or nightmares help the unconscious process your waking life. If you can remember your dreams, you can access a deeper creativity and maybe even control your fate.

How to Remember Your Dreams

During her evening Dream Salon in The Assembly clubhouse, Vismaya broke down the best ways to recall your dreams. With so many tips, you’re bound to find something that works for you. Here were some of the best: 

Keep a dream journal: Use a notebook just for dreams, not your daily to-do list or other notes. “Keep it as a sacred space, so you unconscious knows when it sees this book it’s for dreams,” Vismaya explained.

Go to bed before 10 p.m.: Ideally, we’d go to bed at sunset and wake up with the sun. But if that’s not possible, Vismaya said 10 p.m. should be your cutoff.

Don’t set an alarm: On days she doesn’t set an alarm, Vismaya can remember up to eight dreams. “It’s almost too much,” she joked. Give it a try. 

Use mugwort: Vismaya recommended rubbing mugwort on your feet or drinking mugwort tea before bed for more vivid dreams. (Check with your doctor if you’re pregnant.)

Try a dream prompt: Is there someone or something you want to dream about? You can write a dream intention in your dream journal before bed. Keep it simple, so you don’t make things too complicated for your unconscious.

Find a dream anchor: Pick an object in your room and tell yourself that when you see that object, you’ll remember your dream. Vismaya recommended keeping the same anchor each day. It can be a crystal, or even your dream journal. 

Unplug: Stop screen time at least one hour before bed. And if you do have to keep your phone near you at night, Vismaya said you should put it in airplane mode so you’re not getting interference from your phone all night long. Don’t sleep with your TV on either.

Take a bath: Vismaya said water will clear the energy you pick up each day.

Create a sleep sanctuary: Vismaya recommends you treat your bedroom or sleep space like a temple. Make it comfortable and don’t have mirrors or TVs around you when you’re sleeping. Especially mirrors facing the bed, she said.

Sleep in the dark: If you can’t get blackout curtains, try a sleep mask.

Analyzing the Symbols in Your Dreams

Once you’ve improved your dream recall, you’ll want to figure out what all the symbols mean. The first thing to remember? Everything that shows up in a dream is about you. “Even other people you know,” Vismaya said. “If they show up in your dream, it’s about you.”

Everything that shows up in a dream is about you

Vismaya said you can discover the deeper meaning behind each person or thing that appears in your dream by journaling about it. For example, if a chair shows up, ask why was the chair showing up in my dream and try to write out a few answers. “Active imagination can give you insight,” she explained. Also try listing all the symbols that were in your dream. Then, do some free association and write five themes you can think of for each symbol. If you want to dig deeper, do some research behind each symbol. Vismaya is a big fan of the Book of Symbols.

If you can’t figure out what a dream means today, write it down anyway. “Go back to them. You might not know for 20 years what it was trying to tell you.” But when you do, it will all make sense. 

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