12 Dream Interpretation Techniques to Understand Your Dreams

Dream Interpretation Tips
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There is more than one way to interpret your dream and understand what it means, so today I thought I would round-up a nice big list of the different dream interpretation techniques you can try!

I started interpreting dreams when I was about 12 years old. I tried a dream dictionary at first, but quickly found that useless because most dream dictionary books at the time were nothing but a bunch of mumbo-jumbo fortune telling crap that didn’t think at all about my own personal connections and associations with a dream symbol.

Over the last 28 years I have developed several dream interpretation techniques that work great – and best of all, they come in so many forms that you are bound to find something that works for you! If you don’t like to journal or write or analyze things piece by piece, no worries, because many times these techniques don’t require any of that!

Without further ado, here are different dream interpretation techniques and ways you can interpret your dreams.

1. Meditation for Dream Interpretation

Portrait of sleeping teenage boy on grass

I think a lot of people don’t consider meditation for dream interpretation, but it’s an easy technique. You don’t even have to be good at meditation – because often times the distracting thoughts that pop into your mind is exactly what your subconscious is trying to tell you while you are dreaming!

When you first wake up after having a dream, lie still in bed and focus on the main theme or dream symbol. Picture it in your mind and try not to think about it too much. Like magic, by trying to not think about it, thoughts about the symbol and what it means will often come to mind immediately.

Many times the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning is also what we were dreaming about. If you wake up in the morning immediately thinking about something of work or something you have to do for the day, it usually means you were dreaming about your current work situation and responsibilities.

If you wake up in the morning thinking about needing a vacation – well, it’s quite likely you really do need a break!

2. Mind Mapping for Dream Interpretation Technique

Mind mapping to interpret your dreams is another one of my favorite dream interpretation techniques because it’s fast and very easy to see how things are connected. Often times you can easily make associations and understand what a symbol means for you without too much trouble!

Learn how to use mind mapping to interpret your dreams here.

3. Draw a Picture

Sketchbook with some pen drawings and water color painting with a lined notebook
Sketchbook With Some Pen Drawings And Water Color Painting With A Lined Notebook

We can’t always say what we’re thinking about in words, but we can often draw a picture and use it as visual guide to better understand what our dreams really mean.

You don’t even need any great drawing skills – you can sketch, doodle, or even use stick figures!

Here are some things you could draw to interpret the dream:

  • A specific scene out of the dream
  • A person you saw in the dream
  • An animal in the dream
  • Use colors that were prominent in the dream
  • Sketch the different symbols that appeared in the dream

When you draw these things and look at it after you are done, it’s likely that you will better understand what the dream is about, because a certain mood or feeling will come over you as you look at the drawing you made.

You might see how things are connected in different ways than you might if you were to write about them – drawing uses different parts of our brains and it gives you an instant visual aid for more clarity and better understanding.

4. Colored Pencil Method Dream Interpretation Technique

colored pencils
Colored pencils

This is another one of my favorite dream interpretation techniques, although it is a bit more advanced and technical than most of the others on this list.

With the colored pencil method, you use colored pencils to highlight certain actions and symbols. It’s relatively easy to learn and it will give you a very in-depth analysis of every single aspect of the dream.

Learn How to Do The Colored Pencil Method

5. Sing a Song or Play Music

Man playing guitar beside window
Man Playing Guitar Beside Window

Have you ever woken up after a dream with a song stuck in your head? A lot of times that song that is in your head can be your subconscious mind’s way of telling you what the dream means. Looking at the lyrics of the song or the meaning of the words can often tell you exactly what you need to know about what your dream means!

You can also opt to sing your own song or play music that captures the feeling of the dream. If you play the piano or the guitar, sit down and focus on the images or feelings of the dream and begin to play. You’ll often get a good clue this way of what you’re feeling and thinking about in your life.

Even if you have no musical talent, another simple thing you can do is try drumming – no drum required!

Simply tap or clap out a rhythm while you think about the symbols of the dream or the events that happened in a dream. This will naturally help you get in a more relaxed state that lets your subconscious clearly tell you what you feel and are thinking about.

6. Talk to Someone Else About the Dream

Two men talking and drinking coffee on kitchen at home

Getting in the practice of telling others about your dreams in the morning is a great way to quickly know what your dream means. Often times as you explain the dream to someone else, you’ll start to make some connections and associations.

While the other person should never interpret the dream as their own for you (because dreams are highly personal in nature!) – often times they can give you some unique perspectives you may not have thought of!

And while the other person might think you are crazy, sometimes telling someone else about it is all you need to do! It’s a concept known as rubber duck debugging in coding, and it’s highly effective for solving all kinds of problems and mysteries!

No one to talk to? Try the cyber duck!

7. Use Poetry

Writing notes

Poems can be a great way to better understand what is happening in our lives – and it’s not like writing a report or even a journal entry because the words in your poem don’t even need to make sense!

My favorite method for using poetry in dream interpretation is to write acrostic poems, but of course you can choose any kind of poem you like – free verse, haiku, I am poems, – whatever you enjoy writing!

Acrostic Poems for Dream Interpretation

Acrostic poems are when you write a word vertically down the page and use the first letter of the word as a line of your poem. Try doing this with one of your dream symbols and think of the dream and the different symbols in it.

Here’s an example:

W Water is wet
A attention seeking
T turning away from
E everything and
R returning to where I began

When we create an acrostic poem with water as a dream symbol, we can quickly see some different themes and associations we have with the symbol that we might not have thought of otherwise.

In this case, reading back our acrostic poem for water, we can see that this symbol in this instance is a symbol for renewal and rebirth.

8. Use Tarot or Oracle Cards

Tarot card

I don’t believe tarot cards or oracle cards predict the future, nor do I endorse using them for any kind of divination or occult work. However, I do think they are VERY good tools to use for personal development and exploration, and they are chalk full of their own symbolism!

After you have a dream, simply draw one card and ask yourself, how does this card relate to the symbolism of the dream?

For example, if you dream about driving a car, and you pull The Fool tarot card, it’s quite likely that you are dreaming about having control and you’re worried that you might be making reckless decisions, especially if your dream was about a car accident.

There are tons of great oracle decks out there as well – and they’re often a lot easier to use than Tarot cards!

9. Use Our Online Dream Dictionary

I know in the beginning of this article I said the dream dictionary books I had as a kid were a bunch of fortune-teller mumbo-jumbo – but that’s actually why I’ve worked so hard to create our extensive dream interpretation dream symbol dictionary here at JourneyIntoDreams!

dream dictionary

If you spend some time reading our thousands of dream symbols and interpretations, you’ll see our approach is very different. We were one of the first comprehensive online dream dictionaries started in 2008 before rebranding to JourneyIntoDreams and while our intensive style has often been duplicated and copied, we are proud of our dictionary for having realistic symbolism explained!

We also highly encourage you to create your own dream meaning associations to help you better have an understanding of what your dreams mean. Dreaming of a snake for example can have completely different meanings if you are someone who has pet snakes vs. someone who is terrified of them!

9. Keep a Dream Journal

journal
Journal Photo By Susan Weber

I also know I said that most of these techniques don’t require keeping a dream journal, but of course I can’t neglect to include it on this list because a dream journal, as simple as it is, is a VERY powerful way to understand what your dreams are!

We have tons of articles to help you with getting started with dream journaling:

But don’t worry, there are still plenty of creative alternatives to keeping a dream journal! Let’s look at some more dream interpretation techniques you can try!

10. Numerology

Background of numbers
Background Of Numbers

I have always been fascinated by numerology, and while I can’t say for sure it’s a perfect system or that it’s even always accurate, I do find that numbers are a great way to clearly hone in on what a dream means if for no other reason it makes you think about what’s going on in your life and the symbolism you encounter.

There are a couple of ways to use numerology for dream interpretation. The easiest method is to calculate the date that you had the dream on.

For example, if you had a dream on August 12, 2022, Your numbers to add together would be 8 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 0 + 2 + 2, which equals 17. When we simplify 17 to 1+7 = 8, we can know that based on the meaning of numbers in dreams, that 8 likely signifies this dream may relate to our finances or our physical world.

Now, on the surface that might not seem accurate, but it does inspire you to ask the question – how does this dream relate to my career goals, finances, and what’s going on in my physical life?

11. Create a Collage

Colorful collage
Colorful Collage

I love collage, and if you don’t like to draw, collage is a very easy technique you can try!

You can either cut a bunch of pictures out of old books and magazines or you can even use pictures you print out. Collage kits are also an awesome thing to try because they give you all kinds of images you can use.

I like to use a lot of words and phrases in my collages because they give you all kinds of insight into what your dreams may mean. An advertising slogan for food might actually relate to some of the symbolism we see in the meaning of food in dreams!

You can collage the different symbols in the dream, or you can even try creating a collage to recreate a scene you remember from the scene. You could also use related symbols that maybe didn’t appear in the dream but connect to what the dream is about in some way or another.

You can even make digital collages using an app or with the help of collage templates!

12. Use Your Intuition

Intuition scrabble letters word on a orange background
Intuition Letters Word On A Orange Background

Too often we ignore our intuition and we miss out on what might be really simple and obvious.

Whatever your first instinct on what a dream is about almost always is right! Remember that you are ALWAYS the best person to know what a dream is about!

Learn about 33 ways to develop your intuition here.


There are so many different dream interpretation techniques to try and explore, and one of them is surely the right method for you. No matter what you enjoy doing to interpret your dreams, taking a moment every day to reflect on what you are dreaming about is a powerful way to better understand your thoughts and feelings and have clarity in your life!

Do you have any dream interpretation techniques not on this list? What ways for interpreting dreams are your favorite methods? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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