What’s the title of the dream?

Sometimes a dream is long, complicated, and the series of events doesn’t make any sense to you when you up. It might be a long narrative that takes twists and turns and leads to a strange and confusing conclusion. Giving the dream a title can often help to extract the essential pattern of the dream. For example, the dream may be a journey, or a search, or a conflict. By backing away from all the details of the dream and determining the essential story line, the basic meaning of the dream emerges. The confusing details fall away and the bare bones meaning of the dream stands out.

The title should always be oriented toward the main character of the dream, usually the dreamer, and should not be distracted by potent images.  For example, a dreamer dreams: I am running down a hill in the country when I realize there is a unicorn behind a tree.  Suddenly a fire engine goes whizzing by, but I still go running on.  Everyone told me I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I am running from the city where we now live to the hometown where I grew up and it’s just a bit over 26 miles.

In this dream, the unicorn, the fire engine, the location, and the length of the run are all very enticing and surely meaningful details, but the dream is about a person experiencing the journey back to her home town as a marathon.  A good title would be “A Strenuous Feat to Get Back Home”  or “The Journey Back Will Require Endurance and Sweat.”  The title points to the meaning of the dream–that whatever is going on for the dreamer, it is going to be an arduous, challenging effort and she’s going to have to rely on her own steam.

Try this:

Go back in your journal and title some of your dreams.  If you haven’t got a journal, start one and after writing down a dream, think about a good title.  If you want more practice, watch a television show.  Pretend the show is your dream.  Choose which character you are and from her point of view, title the “dream show.”  Or make up a bizarre little story and then give it a title from the main character’s point of view.

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