A friend texted me this morning to congratulate me on my dream analysis that was featured in this morning’s Daily Express.I had to admit to being slightly mystified as I couldn’t actually remember doing any work for that particular newspaper. After finding the Daily Express article and reading it, it all started to make a bit more sense. I had done an interview and a dream interpretation for a freelance journalist, Flic Everett, nearly six months ago at the start of August 2009. Flic had got in touch after hearing me on the Chris Evans show but I heard nothing more after replying to her. As I read through my interpretation in today’s Daily Express, it didn’t ssem to match with what I had sent to her. After checking my original email, I realised that my already succinct interpretation had been quite heavily edited. Here is our initial correspondence with Flic’s request and dream…

Dear Ian,
Thanks very much indeed for agreeing to be part of the feature on dream analysis. If you need any more details, let me know.

Here’s the dream:
In my dream, I was looking through old magazines that I’d been writing for at the start of my career. I suddenly decided that I was going to make biscuits. I spent ages getting the mixture perfect, and mixing the dough; but then I couldn’t find biscuit cutters or baking trays. I went to look in the drawer under the stove, when my grandparents (now deceased) appeared and said, “But you didn’t finish the last biscuits- you didn’t even eat them”. I opened the drawer and there were trays of of old, crumbling biscuits, all in different shapes like animals and witches.I was very surprised to find them, and realised I’d have to clean all the trays to make my new biscuits. I was about to do it, and I woke up.
Flic Everett

…and my reply and interpretation…

Hi Flic
Thanks for getting in touch with your dream. Here is my interpretation of it.

Your Dream
When we dream of magazines we are thinking about the transient information that we absorb in waking life. This information may be colourful and exciting and is regularly replaced by new information. Looking through your magazines symbolises that you are thinking about your writing career in waking life and what you have achieved so far with it. The sudden decision to make biscuits represents a sudden opportunity or realisation in your waking life.

When we dream of food we are often reflecting on how we can fulfil ourselves in waking life. Food nourishes and energises us in the same way that having a definite purpose does in waking life. Biscuits don’t often give us a huge amount of nourishment, they are more of an incidental food that helps to lift us up and keep us going. They are also a food that we share readily with others like the information we share in a magazine article.

The biscuits in your dream represent some of the journalistic pieces that you write. You spend ages on these pieces, trying to get the balance of what you are saying to be just right. You also sometimes find it challenging to find the best places to publish your pieces, as they sometimes don’t fit in with a cookie-cutter approach or the in-trays of conventional publications.

When we dream of grandparents, we are reflecting on our own accumulated wisdom and a drawer usually symbolises stored memories and information. The animals and witches represent your deeper and darker perceptiveness. Darkness is not bad or evil; it often contains a tremendously powerful energy that illuminates our true purpose. Your older and wiser self is realising that you have the talent to create more powerful and profound pieces of writing but you are neglecting this talent, just letting it crumble away. You are surprised by the realisation that you possess this powerful and profound talent.

This dream is encouraging you to make a new, fresh start by acknowledging your deeper talents to create more powerful and profound writing. You can start this transformation by letting go of old ways of thinking that no longer nourish you. This will give you the energy to step into a shiny new future that you can share with your readers to feed their minds and nourish their dreams.

If you need any more information or would like to discuss anything else, please just let me know.

Ian

…and here’s what appeared in the Daily Express…

“You start off dreaming about magazines you’ve written for, and then it changes to biscuits – but these still represent the articles you write. Biscuits are enjoyable and meant for sharing; they’re often brightly coloured but they’re not essential, just like a magazine article. You work hard at your pieces, trying to get the balance just right, and it’s not always easy to find the right places to publish them, as they don’t always fit in with a cookie-cutter approach.
When we dream of grandparents, we are reflecting on our own accumulated wisdom, and a drawer usually symbolises stored memories and information. The animals and witches represent your deeper and darker perceptions. Darkness is not bad or evil: it often contains a tremendously powerful energy that illuminates our true purpose. This dream is encouraging you to make a fresh start by acknowledging your deeper talents to create powerful and profound work. You can start this transformation by letting go of old ways of thinking that no longer nourish you.”

…quite a different interpretation due to the editing involved and makes much less sense. I used to think that one of the most important skills in dream interpretation was articulating the meaning of the dream to the dreamer. However, after analysing over 100,000 dreams, I now realise that it is even more important to ensure that the meaning has actually been received and not lost in translation, especially when working with the media.

From the perspective of a practicing psychologist, I also feel it is unprofessional to provide any material for general publication that may be too intimate or uncomfortable for the dreamer. For example, I may have hypothetically identified issues from this dream that indicate tensions in self worth and intimate relationships, but from an ethical viewpoint, I would prefer to discuss these confidentially with the dreamer.

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