I, Kerrie, would like to introduce you to Joan Hanger. Joan has been a long-term neighbour and a person that I admire both for her exuberance and her commitment to living fully and fully living.
I got to know Joan slowly, over a few years and was surprised to find that beyond being a popular, socially well-connected women who will dress to celebrate each occasion, that she had developed great insight into dreams and how to both interpret and understand them.
Oneirology; the study of the process of dreams
Joan went to study at the C. J. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland in her quest to understand dreams after her divorce from her husband. Joan returned to the Institute regularly to supplement her knowledge.
Her interest in dreams began earlier on when as a young mother of four children, she found herself wanting to help her children through the broad array of dreams that they experienced and expressed. Joan would call up her European friends to ask for their help, to understand the meaning of her children’s dreams.
Joan had discovered that her friends originally from European countries, generally had an approach to dreams whereby they took them as messages that could provide insight into what a person was facing and going through.
Image by DarkWorkX
Joan wanted to actively support and encourage her children through their various growth stages, challenges and creative opportunities that were being expressed in their dreams.
“As a mother, I know personally how important it is to listen to and evaluate a child’s hopes, desires and fears, and dreams provide a window on his or her innermost thoughts”.
Joan launched a book called, Know your Dreams, because she wanted parents to understand their children’s dreams and be able to help their children. For example, if a child has a dream of a monster and is frightened; ask the child to draw a picture of the monster, give the monster a big bunch of flowers and some chocolates in the drawing and put the picture on the fridge so the monster becomes a part of the family.
She then wrote a book called Your Children’s Dreams, forwarded by Diana, Princess of Wales.
Your dream is a message from your self to your self
‘The whole dream work is essentially subjective, and a dream is a theatre in which the dreamer is himself, the scene, the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public and the critic.’
Carl Gustav Jung
‘DREAMS are messages from the wellspring of your deepest self. They allow you to tap into your intuition. You can ignore the messages from your dreams or you can allow your dreams to guide you to a deeper understanding of yourself, your relationships and your life.’
Excerpt from Diana’s Dreams
Sigmund Freud wrote, The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899, in which he linked dreams with the underlying psychological states. He used dreams to analyse the underlying problems of his patients. Carl Gustav Jung, who studied with Freud, took these findings many steps further. He expanded the study of dreams to include complex symbolic patterns that shed light on the events of the dream. Both Freud and Jung agreed that interpreting dreams needed the input of the dreamer to work out what they really meant.
Excerpt from Diana’s Dreams
As a plant produces its flowers so the psyche creates its symbols.
Carl Gustav Jung
Man and Symbols
…The dreamer and his dream are the same…the powers personified in a dream are those that move the world.
Image by Sarah Richter
Ignore your dreams at your own peril!
“Dreams convey to us our deepest feelings and instincts. Each of the experiences we have in our waking lives carries an unconscious component and some of these components have a strong psychic charge. So we re-vision in our dreams what it is we need to process, what it is we have repressed, and what it is we need to understand about our own motivations and drives. But, we revise these things in dream language, in symbols, which we may have a devil of a time trying to comprehend. Remember, it is you who creates the images for yourself. At some level, you know what they mean because your mind has formed them”.
Five steps to remembering your dreams:
1. Record your dream
2. Examine your dream
3. Note your feelings
4. Note the previous day’s events
Joan’s tips to help you with your dreams:
- The messages you get from yourself, from your subconscious mind as a dream are there to help you.
- Sometimes dreams occur up to six months ahead of when you will need or use them.
- A dream is a message from your self to your self.
- You create your dreams, and deep down you know what they mean because your mind has formed them. Ultimately, this means that the best person to analyse your dreams is YOU!
- Dreams can be such a saviour especially if you’re having issues.
- Your dreams are a world of wealth
- You have to take note of them.
- Keep a dream diary.
- Write down what happens on the day of your dream.
- It doesn’t matter if you are the observer in the dream or if you are in the dream.
- Colour in dreams is about getting your awareness, your dream is trying to get your attention.
- You can begin to solve your worries and problems in a dream.
- The saying, you can sleep on it, it will be ok in the morning, is about resolving an issue in your dream.
- Your brain is like a computer, and it clears itself out at night.
- Insomniacs may not get a chance to clear their brain out.
- The average person dreams for approximately 95 minutes per night.
- Many people find it easiest to remember the dream they have before they wake up.
- You get good at working with your dreams when you stick with it.
- Loyalty to what you are learning and continuing to learn is important.
- Dreams are evidence of the mind rebalancing itself.
- Each person’s dream life is unique.
And just a little bit more:
- Recurring dreams can often mean the message of the dream has not been properly understood or confronted by the dreamer. This is why it continues to repeat itself. They can also refer to a traumatic event that has been left unresolved.
- Dreams are elusive because just as you think you can remember them, the details slip away. Therefore, paper and a pen are the most important tools you need to begin working with your dreams.
- Practice waking up and going back into the dream. You can find out more, you can process more by returning to the dream.
- Repetitive dreams may be indicating that you are stuck. People who are worriers and who have dreams where they have recurring circumstances may be unable to resolve the problems they are experiencing.
- Dreams give you your creativity and help you bring your dream into your reality. This is why dreams are sometimes overly dramatised, bold and colourful, to impress upon you to get moving and bring your dream forward, creatively into your life.
Joan Hanger is an internationally known author of five books.
In Your Dreams (1993)
Wake up to your Dream (1997)
The Little Book of Dreams (1998)
Your Children’s Dreams (1999)
Diana’s Dreams (2005)