Tag Archives: Interpretation

Q&A: Working to Understand Dreams

Q: Do you have any suggestions for how I can work to better understand the messages contained within my dreams?


Seeking Understanding

A: Dear Seeking,

Did you know that in my other life I’m a poetry teacher? Yes, I teach teen mothers, and other young adults and adults in literacy programs. My students have had a wide range of educational experiences—well, not such a wide range, really. Their experiences range along a narrow band of really bad encounters with the public school system. They have a great deal of trouble spelling some of the most basic vocabulary words, like through and maybe, and knee. And it’s my job to introduce them to the works of Rosetti and Whitman, Plath, and Poe.

I had no formal training in how to be a teacher when I first set foot in a classroom, so I stood clutching my folder of poems before a room full of teens whose babies were downstairs in the daycare, or whose pregnant bellies peeked out from of the unbuttoned waistbands of their jeans.

I decided right away to skip the whole “what do does this poem mean?” discussion. Shakespeare’s “wandering bark,” Dickinson’s “mechanical feet” going round on their “wooden way” were baffling to my students—as they were to me the first several times I read them. Instead I asked: “What does this poem make you feel?” and then “Oh, really? What in the poem makes you feel that way?” After a while I might press further: “Any idea why someone would have written about all this stuff?”

Oh, but you were asking about how to work with the messages in your dreams, right? I guess it was that word work that got me thinking about teaching, because that’s technically what I do for work. And work is hard and I don’t want to work, I want time to play and experience life. And I definitely don’t want poetry to turn into work. Poetry is mystical and mysterious and beautiful and totally accessible as long as no one asks me what it means and as long as I don’t ask anyone what it means.

So, to answer your question, Dear Seeker: Put your feet up, get yourself a drink with a paper umbrella in it. Stop working so hard. A dream isn’t something to decipher like a message tapped out in Morse Code; it’s the creative musings of your inner poet wooing you with sweet somethings.

But you want to know what it’s saying? So, listen.

Z Tell someone your dream. Your cat will do if there’s no one else around, and if there is no cat, talk your dream into the voice recorder on your phone. Let the images, the colors, the quality of the light, and the sense of movement in the dream wash over you. Notice how you feel. Which parts make you anxious? Which parts make you sigh? Where in your body do you feel it? Let yourself sink into a state of wonder. Allow your curiosity to be piqued. Marvel at the view.

Z Write the dream down, slowly. That’s another way to listen deeply. Grab some color pencils or crayons and sketch it. Wait for the message to unfurl like a morning glory opening to the sun.

Z That might be enough …. but if not … go ahead and dive into each image. Associate and amplify to your heart’s content.

 Z Find a dream group or a dream therapist. (Okay, that’s a little shameless self-promotion there, but a dream therapist has to eat, too, right?).

Z And since I am, after all, a poetry teacher…why not try writing a poem from your dream. You can find instructions elsewhere on this blog by clicking here.

Dreamily yours,



Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.


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A Dream Journal for Morning, Noon, & Night (CV)

No, a dream journal is not just for recording what happens at night.


What we dream asleep—and what we experience during the day—are intimately connected.

That’s why the Third House Moon Dream Journal is really a journal for morning, noon, and night.


This journal has pages marked with Suns and Moons, so you can track daytime activities (just circle the sun at the top of the page when writing about your day) and your nighttime dreams (circle the moon at the top of the page when writing down your dreams).



The journal also includes facts about dreaming, tips for recalling, recording, and understanding dreams, an index for logging recurring dream symbols, dream themes, and experiences with extraordinary dreams (lucid, precognitive, etc.) as well.


You may just find that when you begin to pay attention to your dreams and how they interact with your waking life, the whole experience becomes that much sweeter … morning, noon, and night!


To order the Third House Moon Dream Journal ($10) send me a message with your request and your postal address. I’ll respond with information on where to send your check, and the total amount including shipping.

Sweet dreams!



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Looking for Zen: Why Writing the Dream Works

From "Osho Zen Tarot"

The dreams were there even before I opened my eyes. In this one I was lost (not an uncommon dream) and searching for a Japanese restaurant that I eat in from time to time in waking life, called Zen. I woke that morning in a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was staying while attending a 4-day intensive on dreams. I was one year into a dream certification process and I was remembering an average of 6-8 dreams a  night, plus recording all of them in my dream journal. So by this particular morning, I was, frankly, tired of writing them all down.

I considered skipping my morning ritual of dream recording, just this once, using as an excuse the luxurious fact of waking alone in a hotel room in a new city. I could use that half hour instead to take a bubble bath, go outside and explore the streets of South Carolina, turn on the TV and indulge in what would be a rare treat for me—a half hour of watching Good Morning America.

But out of habit, or in response to some kind of dreamer’s guilt, I opened my notebook, picked up the pen from the bed stand, and began to write the dream:

“I am lost and looking for Zen.”

As I inked the words I could hear them in my head, and in that moment I began to laugh out loud.

“I am lost and looking for Zen!”

The cough of laughter was part delight in my mind’s skillful punning, and part simple surprise and recognition. Yes, it was certainly true! I was lost and looking not for Zen Japanese Restaurant, which occupies space on Main Street in my hometown, but I was lost in busy-ness and to-do lists, appointments and projects.

“I’m lost and looking for Zen.” The dream headline announced the news of my day. I was in need of Zen. That is, I wanted clarity, emptiness, hours in which to stretch out on the sofa with a good book, reading and dozing.

If I hadn’t written the dream out, I would never have heard its crystalline wisdom. Nor would I have benefited from its message. The moment one knows they are lost, after all, they are already on the road to being found.

Why is it, I wondered, that writing is so often the magic ingredient that brings a dream from mystery to meaning? The concept makes no sense on first examination. The dream, after all, swims up from a subterranean sea; a primal yet highly evolved world indifferent, for the most part, to written language.

Sightless and wandering, our sleeping mind feels along the ground with its fingertips, reading the Braille of the embossed terrain of our very existence.

The pen touching paper is the needle of the sewing machine that stitches our shadow to the soles of our feet, so we might walk together with hidden selves. The pen makes visible the amnesiac cartography of the dream.

Writing the dream unifies us: Left brain, meet right brain. Amphibious mind, meet the executive logical, planning brain.

The writing hand swirls these states of consciousness together into the same orbit, and the wisdom of the dream is brought to consciousness. Now we can hear ourselves—as we hear our dreams speak.

That done, it’s time to listen and act. For me I had my marching orders: I needed to take a step toward Zen.

©Tzivia Gover 2011


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Act on Your Dreams

Act Now

Image by Kevin Shorter via Flickr


ækt /  Spelled [akt]


To act, according to the dictionary, is:

To do something; exert energy or force; be employed or operative:

She acted on her dream of teaching others to better understand themselves and their lives through dreamwork, writing, and mindfulness.

To reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter:

She decided to act on her dreams and launch her new business, “Third House Moon.”

To produce an effect; perform a function:

She now acts as a facilitator, helping people access their own creativity, healing abilities and inner guidance by learning to listen to their dreams and use writing as a way to know themselves better.

ACT on your commitment to yourself.

ACT on your dreams.


Visit www.thirdhousemoon.com and learn about Tzivia’s new business. Sign up for an individual dreamwork session or a writing workshop today!


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