SLEEP Analysts decipher plots in dreams

Killing someone in a dream does not mean you want to murder someone; it represents change.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- The caller described a dream in which he was riding a moped with a pile of sawdust and an unbroken egg on his head.
Dream analyst Natalie Axberg picked apart each piece.
Sawdust comes from trees, which has to do with growth and understanding the subconscious mind. The head represents control; the egg, knowledge; and the moped is linked to balance.
"He was taking control," said Axberg, director of the Dallas School of Metaphysics. "He was taking in knowledge as a way to try to balance his identification."
Axberg and other volunteers stayed most of a recent weekend holed up in an old house in east Dallas unraveling people's dreams.
Death dreams
At the School of Metaphysics, which has its headquarters in Windyville, Mo., and has 16 branches, they've been researching dreams for more than 30 years. Beyond educating the public about dreams, volunteers want to put dreamers' minds at ease, especially those haunted by images of death, blood and destruction.
"Some people live in fear of their dreams because scary things happen in them, like their baby drowns," said Lisa Bold, who teaches at the Dallas school. "I want them to understand what those kinds of dreams mean."
As disturbing as those dreams are, they're not about death, she said. Death dreams are actually good because they mean something inside the person has changed.
How the person dies can make a difference in the way the dream is interpreted, said Teresa Martin, coordinator for the national hot line in Windyville.
"If you kill somebody (in your dream) it doesn't mean you have a secret desire to do that," she said. "It means there is a change; however, it's a forced change, just as a killing is a forced death."
Bold said dreams speak in images or the language of the mind and are connected to what happened 24 to 48 hours earlier.
"Everything in a dream -- the people, places, animals and things -- represents an aspect of the dreamer," she said. "It's all about you and the way you think."
Know the dreamer
But some say that dreams are far too complex to interpret without really knowing the dreamer.
"One of Freud's major contributions was the concept that the dream had to be looked at in the context of the dreamer," said Dr. John Herman, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Understanding the dreamer's life is critical to understanding the symbols in the dream."
Dream analysts said they look at the symbols, talk to the dreamer and then reason out what it all means. Everyone dreams, although people might not remember them. No dream is too obscure.
Martin recalled a college student's dream in which she turned into a black olive and ended up on a sandwich, about to be eaten.
"She was identifying so much with her learning as a student that she was becoming it," Martin said. "Food represents knowledge."
Dreams about cars are usually connected to the body or health concerns, Bold said. Dieters are prone to dream about car problems such as flat tires or empty gas tanks.
"A lot of people on diets have car dreams because they're not eating and they feel like they're running out of gas," Bold said.
Naked dreams
Some of the best dreams include music, which means the dreamer is feeling centered or peaceful. Dreams about being naked have to do with honesty.
"If you dream about being back in high school and you're naked, then there are parts of yourself you want to be honest about," Bold said.
"Dreams are messages from your soul," Bold said. "Everything in dreams is all about the truth."

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