Now it is a good thing, I think, to be dedicated to one’s dream work. Focus, persistence and rigour are all qualities that can help reveal the hidden meanings of our dreams, achieve greater understanding of ourselves and help with our own personal growth and development. All sounds very grown up and serious, right?
The thing is, our dreaming mind does not always feel that way about itself. In fact, most of the time, barring times of great stress or anxiety (and sometimes even then!) our dreaming mind likes to have a bit of a laugh. Our subconscious mind, as we have discussed earlier, is where much our creativity, problem solving and lateral associations come from. That is to say, our dreaming mind is playful. This may come as no surprise to those who frequently dream of bizarre and wondrous things like elephants on roller-skates and monkeys in the bathroom!
But it is worth remembering this when we can sometimes get a bit rational and over analytical in our dream processing. Personally, I think this is one of the areas where Freud started to get it a bit wrong. Not everything in our subconscious is a deep dark secret full of shame and fear. In fact, most of the time it may be a secret because we haven’t thought about it or understood it yet, and it may be dark, but that’s because we sleep in the dark. Or to get a bit more metaphorical – our subconscious is dark and we just haven’t woken up and thought about it in the light (consciousness) yet.
This playful and creative streak is why our dreams can sometimes seem so random and bizarre, but look a little closer and you may start to get the joke. Look for puns, common phrases being acted out or word associations. You may be surprised how funny you can be! Examples might include things like you driving a car then pulling over with a flat tyre and deciding to have a rest – this might indicate in life you are feeling too “tired” to keep going. If you dream of being hit by something, it might be the solution to a problem you are looking for, being revealed in a “then it hit me” kind of way. You get the picture.
But there is an even more fun and interesting aspect to our dreams if we are lucky, and if we pay attention, we may be visited by the “Trickster.” The Trickster is very important character to Shamans and indigenous people around the world who seem him as sometimes helpful spirit, and if you prefer a more Western approach, he is a Jungian archetype who communicates to us through our subconscious. Whatever your approach, the Trickster lends a new element of fun and challenge to our dreams. He will often try to help us, but his advice will never be straight forward, and may take the form of a riddle. He may sometimes mislead us, giving us false clues, or leading us somewhere we didn’t intend to go, but if we pay attention and keep an open mind, there can be great lessons to learn from these adventures. The Trickster will often teach us things we didn’t think we wanted to know! And he will usually have a lot of fun with it as well, laughing all the way.
How do you know if you have dreamed of a Trickster? The easiest way to know is when you wake and feel a little foolish, that something in your dream seemed so clear or obvious, now seems exactly the opposite. You may feel a little humbled, like you’ve been “had”, and yet some how didn’t come out of it as empty handed as you thought. There is usually a hidden gift or piece of advice that you didn’t notice at the time with a Trickster. A Trickster may often appear as a Crow, a Coyote, a Fox or a Monkey – animals who are clever, wily, wise and at times cheeky. But the Trickster is also prone to disguising himself, so if you dream of something that suddenly changes shape or form, you may have encountered a Trickster – especially if it then disappears laughing! Any animal that talks to you in your dreams, might be a Trickster.
The Trickster likes to remind us not to take our selves too seriously, he loves nothing better than humbling the proud, revealing the show-off and out-witting the superior. But he does not do so maliciously. He may rob us of our jewels, but that is only to remind us there are more valuable things in life. He may send us down the wrong track, but that is only because we could find something more important there. The Trickster challenges us to improve our own wit, daring and curiosity. He encourages in us humility and humour. And aren’t these wonderful gifts, after all?