Do you remember the dream you had yesterday?
Even if you don’t, more than likely you spent a good portion of your REM sleep dreaming. Scientists say we have about 4-6 dreams per night!
How fascinating is this? Even in our unconscious state, our mind is still trying to unveil reality and reorganize all of the sensory inputs it received throughout the day.
But what happens when these dreams have a deeper meaning and start revealing hidden aspects of ourselves?
In the past, we valued dreamwork and had ways to understand the messages from our subconscious. Unfortunately, in the modern world, we consider them a symptom, a necessary “sleep waste” that’s a result of anxiety or exhaustion.
I invite you to check out some of the best books about dreaming and learn how to use them to enhance your life, achieve personal growth, and understand yourself.
The Essential 8 Books About Dreaming You Need To Read In 2020
Before we get started, you’ll need to improve your ability to dip into your subconscious! After all, what’s the point if you can’t remember your dreams?
A few simple tips:
- Start a dream journal
- Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up
- Start meditating more throughout the day
- Try self-hypnosis, like repeating the phrase “I will remember my dreams”
- Improve the overall quality of your sleep
“The Awakened Dreamer” by Kala Ambrose will go into detail about different strategies you can implement to start improving the “quality” of your dreams.
1. “The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious” by C.G. Jung
Starting in my typical fashion of including books that don’t have much to do with the subject at hand… But hear me out!
Archetypes dominate the land of Morpheus. It’s how our subconscious communicates with the self. Learning to recognize them and creating a personal connection with them will be very helpful in your journey.
It’s also very important to understand the nature of the collective unconscious so its influence is highlighted, instead of blurring your dreams even more.
2. “Man and His Symbols” by C.G.Jung
Now we’re getting a bit more specific.
This is one of the most accessible books by C.G. Jung. In this book, he’s exploring the way dreams manifest and their meaning in relation to the aforementioned archetypes.
The swan song of Jung will travel in the past, present, and future as it tries to capture the symbols of Man throughout history.
I was surprised to find out that Jung really believed that dreams offer practical advice and not just abstraction and “puzzles”.
A must-read from the Architecture himself!
3. “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud
The founder of psychoanalysis boldly takes a slightly different approach to dreams and connects them to unrealized and suppressed desires and wishes of the individual.
He believes that it’s up to the individual to interpret his dream.
In this quintessential book about dreaming, Freud develops his “Oedipus complex” idea, he presents dozens of interpretations of real dreams and many case studies.
To this day, the ideas of the Austrian psychoanalyst are controversial, yet they’ve penetrated our understanding of our subconscious.
4. “The Dream and the Underworld” by James Hillman
This is a hidden gem. The Jungian-Freudian predominance in the realm of dreamwork can often stifle new perspectives.
Hillman breaks the mold and offers a disturbing, yet very intriguing hypothesis about dreams.
If I had to summarize his views, I’d say that he believes we shouldn’t try to interpret the dreams. In the daylight, rationality can take over and that might take away from the relative clarity of the dream.
Instead, he proposes that they’re a literal journey to what he calls the “Underworld.”
If you want to want to know the details, grab yourself a copy. You won’t regret it. If anything, you’ll add another layer to your dreamwork.
5. “The Dreamer’s Dictionary” by Robinson and Corbett
That’s a straightforward title for a straightforward book!
This time, the authors place faith in the predictive power of dreams. They believe that what we experience at night are either premonitions or problems we need to solve.
The superstition and skepticism associated with future forecasting are superseded by testimonials, ancient and modern sources, and cross-references.
With over 3,000 entries, consider this your guide to dreamland. If anything, you might be able to take a few new ideas as to what other people think about when they see a specific dream!
Before we continue, I’d like to inform you that we’re about to step away from the “interpretation” of dreams and enter into the realm of a “lucid experience” of dreams.
From Wikipedia: “A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid.”
When I first heard about lucid dreaming, I was blown away. I realized I had experienced it a lot, especially when I was a kid.
And if you look into it, lucid dreaming was very common in ancient civilizations and used for self-healing and religious purposes.
So, it’s only fair to dedicate the next 3 books on learning how to fly in your dreams!
6. “Lucid Dreaming” by Robert Waggoner
Using lucid dreaming for self-development was one of the first concepts I encountered.
The idea is that we’re closer to our uninhibited, inner self and we’ll be able to communicate more clearly.
Waggoner will walk you through that process and highlight what you should be trying to do when you’re dreaming.
He breaks down the process in 5 simple stages, making sure you don’t get lost.
This book is a perfect primer, even if you’ve never achieved a lucid dream.
7. “Learn to Lucid Dream” by Kristen LaMarca
You’d think that getting control of your dreams should be easy, right?
It’s an art form that requires patience and the right techniques.
LaMarca can help you with the latter if you have the former. Through trial and error, I’ve managed to lucid dream on purpose a handful of times. To be honest, I would have achieved it much much sooner if I had read this short “manual” first.
A key point I want to mention is that for some people, lucid dreaming might be scary at first.
“What if I have a nightmare?”
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your experience will only be positive. Check out the book!
8. “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming” by Tucillo, Zeizel, and Peisel
What drew me into this book was the title: A Field Guide.
It’s always great to have a sturdy, theoretical foundation but when it’s time to act, you need someone who has personal experience.
These modern oneironauts show you how they did it. The nitty-gritty stuff, like timing your REM sleep periods and the palm technique.
I mentioned that lucid dreaming is an art form but, to be honest, they make it sound like they’ve made it a hard science!
When I was a kid, I had a lot of dreams. To this day, I remember a few of them since they were often repeated.
As I was growing up, it seems that the frequency of our dreams diminished and I think this has to do with the way we live as adults.
Think about it. When you’re 7,8, 9 years old, the world is already magical. You don’t have to suspend belief to experience the mystery that is life. Your dreams are simply a continuation of your reality.
But by the time your life is filled with man-made responsibilities and boxed within the limits of our rational minds, dreams appear “goofy” and nonsensical.
I invite you to look at dreams with a childlike curiosity.
Lastly, the best advice I’ve ever received when it comes to dreamwork is to slowly create a library of my own dreams and interpretations and consult it every time something new arises.
I leave you with this quote by Herma Hesse. Make of it what you will:
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
P.S- We’d love to hear what kind of dreams you’ve been having lately! What do you think they mean?
What are some of your favorite nooks about dreams? Share in the comments.