How to Use a Dream Dictionary

Dream experts often recommend not using dream dictionaries to interpret your dream. A dream dictionary is a list of common symbols and an interpretation. The interpretation may be advice about how to find meaning, a discussion of the symbol, or even a way to predict the future. For example, if you look up “Teeth”, you may find the interpretation:

To dream of losing your teeth foretells the death of a friend or the loss of money.

Dreams are so rich that you could intepret and re-interpret the symbol for more and more insight. For example, you may dream your teeth were rotten before you lost them or you may have very personal associations with teeth. Dream experts don’t like dream dictionaries because they simplify the richness of your dream symbols. The experts recommend diving into each symbol itself and letting the interpretation of the symbol come out of working with the symbol itself.

NORD believes that dream dictionaries are useful. We assume you’re smart enough to know that a book can not magically understand you or intepret your dreams. You’re the only one who can interpret your dreams and it might be helpful to see common interpretations of dream symbols.

How to use a dream dictionary?

  1. Affirm that dreams are meaningful and you can interpret them
  2. Record your dreams
  3. List symbols that stand out to you
  4. Read all the interpretations of the symbol
  5. Let the interpretations inspire imagination and discovery

In order to find meaning in your dreams, you have to first believe that they are meaningful. Most long-term dreamers believe that their dreams are meaningful and have a positive effect on their lives. If you’re not sure about this, try working with your dreams for a week.

You can interpret your dreams and your are the only authority on their interpretation. No person, book, or process can interpret your dreams for you. Even if you do consult with an interpreter, it is up to you to accept or reject their interpretation.

Making a list of symbols that stand out to you is a good step to interpreting your dreams. As you write down the dream or just remember it, you may be attracted or repulsed by certain symbols. They might be exciting, strange, or in some way significant.

You can work with dreams symbols in many ways. Hold the symbol in your mind and then let your mind wander, letting memories and associations come up. Some people imagine being that symbol, as if you were that person, place, or thing you dreamed of and you saw the world from their perspective.

Dream dictionaries offer one way of working with dream symbols. The dictionaries provide a list of ways people have commonly interpreted those symbols in the past. We must never accept a dream dictionary’s interpretation without question. Instead, you might find a lot of meaning just observing yourself reacting to the dream dictionary.

Dream Dictionaries in NORD

NORD offers several dream dictionaries from the past, which are now in the Public Domain. You can search through them by going to our Dream Dictionary page.

Each symbol page has a summary of how dreams with that symbol compares with typical dreams. We use techniques from William Domhoff and Kelly Bulkeley to generate the summary.

For example, check out the Dream Dictionary page about “Teeth”. You see NORD’s comparison of dreams with the symbol with typical dreams and you’ll also see a list of interpretations that relate to the symbol.

If you’re curious about dreams related to the symbol and see our analysis report, you can follow the link on that page to our search page. For example, check out the dreams and report about “Teeth”.

When you make a dream journal entry, NORD provides a list symbols related to the dream content. Just enter the dream and scroll down to the “Symbols” section.

Finding Meaning in Your Dreams

If you want to dive deeper with finding meaning in your dreams, take our free online course. It’s for beginners, who may not even remember their dreams, to long-time dreamers. If you want to deepen your relationship with your dreams or just to open yourself to guidance from your dreams, this course is for you.

Learn to Find Meaning in Your Dreams