Every dream needs a title.
When you record a dream, do you give it a title? While it’s a creative way to respect a dream, to give it the honour of a name, there are some very practical reasons to title your dreams.
First though, you do record your dreams in some way, don’t you? Whether you write them down by hand, type them onto your computer, pop them into an app on your mobile device, draw them, paint them, or record them as audio, if your intention is to explore and interpret your dreams you’ll need to have them recorded in one form or another.
All too often a stunning dream that you’re sure you’ll never forget can become wispy-vague by lunchtime and gone, gone, gone by the same day next week.
If you’re going to work with your dreams, you also need to be able to capture as many details as possible, so it’s best to record your dreams as close to waking as you can. If you’re really pressed for time, record them as audio directly onto your device. If audio’s not your thing, jot down a few keywords, enough to help bring back fuller details when you set aside time later in the day to write them out.
Whichever approach you take to recording your dreams, do not get out of bed, do not pass go, without giving each remembered dream from the night a title.
It doesn’t have to be amazingly creative. It’s not a book title or movie title you’re hoping to pitch, a title that’s going to capture the imagination of an agent and seal the deal. It’s just a for-now title for you.
The first thing a for-now title does, is offer a starting point for interpretation. The catch is not to think about this when choosing your title! Just come up with whatever feels right as a quick gut-instinct title, even if it’s predicable and boring: ‘Can’t Find My Car’, ‘Intruder’, ‘The Beautiful Swan’, ‘Unearthing Treasure’.
That first gut-instinct title may – or may not – point you toward interpretation.
‘Can’t Find My Car’: Maybe you can’t find your drive (motivation), or can’t find your way in some area of your life.
‘Intruder’: Maybe you feel intruded upon and need to check your boundaries.
‘The Beautiful Swan’: Maybe you’re emerging from an ugly duckling kind of feeling and beginning to acknowledge your authenticity.
‘Unearthing Treasure’: Maybe you’re unearthing wonderful insights and gifts from your unconscious.
The second thing a for-now title does is to allow you to index your dreams so you can look them up later.
The more you work with your dreams, the more you’ll find you want to check back on older dreams. Perhaps you observe a theme and want to find other dreams with a similar theme to compare. Perhaps you notice a symbol evolving throughout several weeks or years – a broken down car gradually becoming a golden chariot – or devolving, a golden chariot gradually breaking down into a heap. Looking back through dreams with these symbols can throw more light onto your situation.
Have you ever experienced that, “I know I had a dream like this last year, or was it two years ago? It was early summer, no, spring, no, wait, am I imagining this?” You flick through a couple of years worth of dreams in your dream journal, usually getting more waylaid by discovering other dreams you’d forgotten than finding the one you’re looking for.
Don’t trust your memory of times and dates to find a past dream.
Create an index of dream titles, each with the date of the dream alongside.
Casting your eye down the list of dream titles in your index will quickly take you to the dream you’re looking for.
If you record your dreams on your computer or device, you can run a keyword search through your dream title index.
I have to declare that I’m more in favour of handwriting dreams because it feels more organic, keeps screens and screen-zap out of the picture, and it just feels more in alignment with communing with your inner world. A handwritten index of titles in date order kept in the back pages of your dream journal is all you need.
You might prefer to have a second index, an A-Z index of dream titles that you keep up to date as you go, though that’s probably a step too far. Casting your eye over the titles across a few pages at the back of your dream journal is really quick and easy to do.
Is there value in changing the title after you’ve interpreted a dream?
Yes! Your original title might have been a good way to remember the essence of a dream, but it might not convey the essence of the interpretation. You’ll only know this after you’ve done the interpretation, of course. You might discover that a more appropriate title for The Beautiful Swan is ‘Distracted by Superficial Beauty’. Or you might feel a more telling title for Intruder is ‘Time to be More Welcoming’.
You can replace your original title in your index with the new one, or keep both, or make the new title a subtitle: ‘The Beautiful Swan – Distracted by Superficial Beauty’.
It’s also fun coming up with titles for your dreams. It keeps the creative juices flowing. So, be inspired, get dream-titling, and watch the value of your dream records escalate into a resource you easily dip into to track your progress as captured by your dreams and find increasingly rewarding wisdom.