Nov 29

It’s not always a question of easy equation between symbol and metaphor when it comes to dream interpretation.  There are plenty of sources that will begin with the assumption that people all over the world dream in a kind of a common language, but if there are any linguistic bases to dreams, then the universal interpretations need to be held at arm’s length.  If the subconscious does speak its own language, it would be entirely reasonable to believe that it does so utilizing all the resources languages use, and this is a combination of image and sound (and occasionally, both).  For any belief to enter into that realm where reason and creed to co-exist, there needs to be a healthy combination of scientific method and spiritual tradition.  Dreams do tend to speak to both the intellectual and the spiritual part of the dreamer, after all, and any meaningful interpretation would need to be able to cross over into both realms.


Linda Schele has been held responsible for cracking the Mayan Code, at least in some academic circles, and her theory was one that has some exciting resonances in dream theory.  Researchers, anthropologists, and linguists have been wondering and arguing about the Mayan symbols.  Part of a stream of living culture, the contemporary Mayan people, separated from their past through a complex process of colonization, speak dozens of languages that seem to have some root connections to the hieroglyphs on the walls of pyramids.  There also seem to be some connections between visual iconographies across time in the changing culture.  It was baffling to try to determine whether or not the images, then, were representations of symbols that had direct meanings, or whether or not the symbols pointed to words that could be put together to create the intended meanings.  As it turns out, at least for Schele, it was both.  Word and image blend together, and the symbols contain extremely complicated puns, double meanings, and even jokes that could only be understood by the masters of the language.

Dreams, then, if they have a complexity that is equal to language, or possibly entirely related to it, would also contain multiple hidden meanings.  The subconscious  playing games with itself, and occasionally saying too much in the game-playing.  There is a level of commerce in dream interpretation that has kept some fortune-tellers in business for some time now, and if this theory holds, and develops, then it’s possible, and certainly very useful, to begin interpreting dreams according to both symbolism and language simultaneously, and start to connect the meanings to bigger pictures.


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