Dream Diaries

I’ve just finished filling another dream diary. This note book spans 400 pages and the scribblings date back to 2013, others date back another couple of years still further.

I don’t don’t write down all the dreams I remember; it depends if I feel any sense of importance to what it was I dreamed about or if I think there is clearly some hidden meaning I can perhaps figure out with some further pondering beyond those initial moments of waking up.

I find dreams to be fascinating to contemplate and the act of writing them down aids recollection. Recollection brings the dreams forward into the conscious mind, where, with a little deciphering, can enable us to be aware of how they would otherwise, perhaps, be shaping our lives unconsciously.

Here’s how that works, explained as an imaginary example:

Suppose I dreamed about arguing with a boss I normally get along well with. Whether that argument is real, imaginary, or just a dream, that situation plays out in the mind and has a similar effect on us; we might feel a sense of stress, raised heartbeat and blood pressure; my act of describing an argument with my boss might cause you to imagine or recall such a situation and thus have a similar effect on you. That argument might also remain in our mind for some time, to be recalled at other times, such as when we next think about our boss or meet them. Had that situation been real we might then behave differently around that boss, we might avoid them for a while or choose our words with them more carefully, all because of how that original argument made us feel. If that situation had been imaginary then we would be consciously aware of that, and thus we could consciously counteract any urge to behave differently; to then avoid that boss, for example, would be kind of silly. However, if we had dreamed that argument and not recalled that dream, the “imaginary” (if that’s how dreams are) argument could still play out inside us, leading to us behaving differently around that boss and not realising why. While the argument might not have been real in the typical sense, it can still have a real effect on us, and that’s not to say that something real didn’t cause us to imagine-up a fictitious argument, or dream one.

In the dream world often things aren’t presented in such a black and white manner. “Our boss” might represent something else, or our boss might be represented by something else. Likewise, to have an argument in a dream might help us to get over a hurdle in life; it might have been something we needed to have without realising, or, if such a scenario is reoccurring, would perhaps illustrate that we have yet to overcome this issue. This is where dream recollection, I think, can help; to become conscious of these things can enable us to work things out and move on and grow. Either that, they remain unconscious and the solution perhaps works its way out without us being aware of it. That we can recall dreams at all seems to be a valuable tool.

I think the act of recalling dreams, which can be a challenge at times, is a good way of practising memory recall. Beyond all this, I do wonder why I write down so many dreams, or even keep these note books, since once I have stopped consciously pondering a particular dream I have no desire to read through my note book (half of it is in poor handwriting and the words have lost their context of the moment.) I could ask the same about why I keep a regular diary/journal although I do like to occasionally reflect back on what was going on in my life, and my head, say, this time last year.

Curiously, this time last year I dreamed about having three diaries on my desk in front of me, labelled 2016, 2017, and 2018; (possibly representing the past, present and future, since 2018 was still in the future. I made sure they were straight.

Last night I dreamed about being at a place I used to live and being surrounded/approached by a herd of deer; at first I felt threatened and attempted to ride away from them on my bike, but instead stayed and confronted them/let them approach, and I got to stroke their noses; that was nice!

I can find it frustrating to not quite be able to recall a dream, or if my cat wakes me up demanding my attention and by the time I’ve tended to him I’ve forgotten what was on my mind.

Memory-recall techniques can be helpful; I sometimes do a quick scan through of common topics in my life to see if anything jogs my memory, like working my way through the alphabet in order to remember someone’s name (there can be a strong feeling of association with the initial letter when it is repeated and then the name can spring into view).

Do you keep a record of your dreams?


  1. I’d have to censure the content too heavily to keep a dream journal (wife/kids around).

    I’ve wondered how ancient paleolithic man thought of dreams. I suspect this was the “spirit world” and to see dead ones come back alive, and strange recombinations of events (herds, charges, attacks) by wild animals signs of what is to come.

    We know that most higher level mammals dream. Whale dreams? Elephant dreams? Lemur dreams? Trippy to think about.

    • I think the average palaeolithic person likely pinned more importance onto dreams than the average person now, and yes, deemed what they saw to be of the “spirit world”.

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