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Choosing an Interpretive Method
With access to computers so prevalent in our lives today all it takes is a few clicks of the mouse to download information on most any subject. One area of interest is dream and vision interpretation and the wide array of methods interpreters use. While the internet is perhaps the chief information engine driving the interest, bookstore shelves are also populated with similar facts and data. Dream and vision interpretation has become main stream.
Because of the many methods interpreters utilize I have taken the time to address and compare some of the primary methods that are prevalent in today’s interpretive circles. I’ve listed methods which I found to be the most typical. I begin with the method DreamLab7 uses in arriving at what we consider to be the most accurate of all methods because it is a combination of learned skill and revelatory gifting. It is the ancient Hebraic method.
The Ancient Hebraic method of dream and vision interpretation is the technique used in the age old writings of scripture. It is a method that evolved from manuscripts found in the Torah and other biblical writings. In these manuscripts we have numerous examples of dreams and visions that illustrate direct communication between God and man. In this form of teaching we are taught that the parables of old, containing personal, everyday symbols, are used to represent something that is important to us…. something that will help us understand the message our Creator desires to convey to us. These are messages in which God speaks using parabolic imagery.
Each dream can deal with a variety of subjects such as the dreamer’s surroundings, events or particular circumstances. The ultimate purpose is to help the dreamer arrive at his/her spiritual destiny. This method of interpretation requires a “listening heart”, a heart that is open to receiving spiritual revelation from the Creator. It is important to remember that dream interpretation is not a mechanical formula but is a combination of “skill and revelatory ability” that applies creativeness along with senses that are spiritually sensitive.
Sigmund Freud’s method of dream interpretation argues that dreams are the fulfillment of wishes and ultimately concludes that those wishes are the result of repressed sexual desires as the primary motivation. It is clear Freud’s interpretive method focuses on the animalistic or sexual instincts and the psychic ignoring the fact that man is a composite of body, soul, and spirit with God as the Creator.
Carl Jung: Although he was mentored by Freud and believed in the existence of the unconscious he did not see the unconscious as animalistic or sexual. He did see it as being more spiritual. According to Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting one’s self with the unconscious. He believed that dreams are a window to your unconscious and serves to guide the waking self in achieving wholeness while offering solutions to problems you are facing.
Gestalt: Is a German word meaning wholeness. This is a technique developed by Fritz and Laura Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940’s and 50’s. This method, or therapy, emphasizes personal responsibility and focuses the understanding of the individual experiences, including dream experiences, to relationships and the environmental and social contexts of the person’s life. It is a method that deals with self and the ego. It should be noted that it does not recognize the spiritual realm of man. If you search the internet you will find any number of dream interpreters who incorporate bits and pieces, or all of the methods I’ve listed.
Having been involved in dream interpretation many years I’ve discovered there are those who desire to merely have their dream interpreted, and are satisfied, while others are truly and legitimately interested in acquiring the knowledge as to how dreams are interpreted. I have also recognized that it has become a common practice and hallmark for those interested in dream interpretation, to in a sense, take the easy way out. They do this by focusing on one symbol or element in their dream believing if they discover what that symbol represents they will then know the interpretation of their dream. In some cases one may link two or three elements believing this will also give them the interpretation. Attempting to intellectually understand a dream and its purpose for your life in a manner that lacks spiritual perception and enlightenment can be very misleading. This cerebral attempt can easily steer one away from the true intent and understanding that God is speaking to us and that He uses our daily experiences and circumstances to communicate with us.
Most recently I have heard a term used by some to describe a type of activity along with other methods of interpretation that seem to veer away from the spiritual aspect of dream interpretation. The term is: “Artificial Intelligence.” The word artificial itself means, made by human work, not natural, or simulated. The term, Artificial Intelligence according to the dictionary is, “The capability of computers…to mimic the human thought process and the science dealing with this.” This interpretive practice is methodical and assumes that symbols have an established or conventional meaning. Utilizing this mode of interpretation is scientific and may use computers or methods of categorizing symbols that are in a sense set in stone. Even though a dreamer can receive some input concerning the meaning of the symbols it obviously negates the need for God and any spiritual revelation that would reveal the true purpose and intent of the message.
The primary assumption of this teaching about the different methods of dream interpretation is to encourage you to choose the method of interpretation that clearly illustrates dreams and visions are forms of communication between God and man. I believe in a supernatural God who desires to communicate with us. If men have limitations in language and understanding how then does an unlimited supernatural God communicate with a limited being? The answer is seen in the language of dreams and visions coupled with the vocabulary of symbols. Dreams and visions allow God to speak to our heart bypassing our mind that has varied filters of beliefs, opinions and limitations. When our minds are inactive, at rest, we are then able to download spiritual communication from a supernatural God on a personal level and for specific purposes.