“The interpretation of dreams is the real path to knowing the soul.” (SIGMUND FREUD)
Clear and personalized messages
Before jumping in to discover the hidden messages that filter into our dreams and appear in the dictionary in the second part, it’s best to keep in mind that not all oneiric thoughts can be analyzed with the same pattern. Therefore, psychologists and analysts distinguish between three classes of dreams:
– Readjustment dreams
– Satisfaction dreams
– Premonitory dreams
In the interpretation of dreams, we work from the base knowledge that the same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer. Because of this, this dictionary offers abundant explanations (psychological and esoteric) from very distinct viewpoints, although the boundary is often blurred. This is meant to show the melting pot of possibilities for discovery and prediction if one atunes their sensitivity and perceptiveness in each interpretation.
But back to this chapter, where we have compiled a series of recurring themes as examples, and touch on erotic dreams, another way in which the subconscious offers information to be analyzed. Although these belong in the group of satisfaction dreams, their details warrant a separate explanation.
In this type of dream, the oneiric images are provoked by merely physical causes. Readjustment dreams can be of internal origins—that is, generated by the body due to factors such as indigestion or a headache -or of external origin- heat, noises, the feel of sheets on the body, etc. A typical example of a readjustment dream with external origin would be that of a person who, due to the weight of the blankets, dreams of carrying a heavy load.
Where do these types of images come from? It’s simple: when we close our eyes, we have the sensation of being isolated from the world because our consciousness of the exterior world is so linked to visual perception. However, the other senses remain in contact with the world. Therefore, even though when we sleep we appear to lose consciousness, this information continues to be collected in the brain (this is why loud noises wake us up). This is why we prefer darkness and quiet to sleep.
However, we can’t always control our surroundings. When situations arise out of our control (the sound of a siren, a change in temperature, etc.), these sensory impressions become integrated in our dreams and can take surprising forms.
These oneiric episodes dream of something that will become reality in the future. In the majority of cases, these are negative dreams that tend to warn of a coming danger. As a paradigmatic example of premonition, take that of Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, in 1865. A few days before being assassinated, Lincoln saw his own death in one of his dreams. Even though this mythical case of the US president indicates the opposite, let us be clear that dreaming of a death does not necessarily imply that a tragic event is imminent.
In these dreams, death can mean many different things; for example, some psychologists interpret it as marking the end of a life cycle. This is why we insist on the importance of personalizing the dream interpretation.
Be that as it may, premonitions tend to be hidden in a symbolism that is difficult to decode, since it does not refer to past experiences. They are messages that try to warn us of dangers that face us on the physical or emotional plane. For this reason, eastern cultures have always valued them highly, as we will see later on.
Satisfaction dreams constitute the basis for the main theories of oneiric interpretation. They deal with those images in which we fulfill the desires that we cannot satisfy while awake. Therefore, this huge category includes everything from erotic dreams to the worst nightmares. In some cases, a certain satisfaction dream may repeat for years. This means that the person’s subconscious is warning them of the importance of something they may be trying to ignore. The part of this book dedicated to interpretation refers to this type of dreams.
There are dreams that have the capacity to excite us, intrigue us, make us tremble, embarrass us . . . These are the ones that we never, or almost never, share with others. These are erotic dreams that, generally speaking, have nothing to do with the social or sexual conduct of our waking lives.
“Dreams manifest the desires that our consciousness does not express.” (Sigmund Freud)
Erotic dreams join other sensations that, in waking life, we probably wouldn’t relate immediately with sex. Therefore, these dreams, which could be violent, passionate, perverse, romantic, etc., tend to refer to inner conflicts and hidden emotional needs. Therefore they belong to the classification of satisfaction dreams.
On some occasions, they reveal a fear of intimacy or warn against certain relationships. In others, they illustrate situations and behaviors that we cannot normally exhibit. The dream represents everything through symbols or a strong sexual connotation. Its themes and languages, often dark, can confuse us or make us doubt because each individual has their personal symbols (just like with other types of dreams). It’s interpretation, therefore, should be performed according to the situation of the individual.
Dreams are escape routes for sexual impulses that social conventions repress; in erotic dreams everything seems permissible, so they are the best way to bring our most secret emotional desires to light. For Sigmund Freud, dreams manifested the desires that our consciousness does not express, and that was all.
Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to them because they contain valuable information about ourselves. However, their meaning is often far from what it seems. They may just as well symbolize tension in our daily lives as the desire to have a good time.
Erotic dreams and fantasies
Erotic dreams are also related to a person’s physical and emotional development. During puberty, for example, these kinds of dreams are very common. Others that are more unpleasant are related to episodes of abuse or sexual assault. In some form or another, almost everyone has had some type of erotic dreams because at the end of the day, they are natural occurrences that are part of our lives.
They deserve our time and attention. For example, it’s important to discover when they refer to sexual issues and when they refer to other aspects, because erotic dreams often bring us valuable clues about intimacy with a partner. If something is not right in the relationship, they probably indicate the path to resolution. There should not be any difference between the erotic dreams of men and women, just between different people. However, various studies done in the United States have demonstrated the opposite. While women usually have erotic dreams with someone they know and go all the way from flirting to coitus, men dream of anonymous kinky women that succumb to their fantasies. Obviously this is not always the case, but it is undeniable that a personal relationship is highly valued in the feminine psyche. The masculine, on the other hand, opts for pleasure and domination.
The education one has received, the latent sexism of the collective subconscious, and that of the media are all factors that dreams cannot bypass. These dreams can provoke even decisive, strong women to feel more vulnerable during dreams. Fortunately, as our customs are changing, the dissimilarities between masculine and feminine erotic dreams are gradually shrinking.
Finally, erotic dreams, like all dreams, can hide fears, anxieties, and needs that you repress due to inhibitive situations or a lack of time to face the problem. With the interpretation of erotic dreams, we can find many clues to understand our emotions better.