This article was originally posted on The Lucid Hive
What does it mean when the way we draw or write something seemingly inconsequential in our dream journal ‘unintentionally’ becomes relevant through the unravelling of future events in our waking world? Can words and images take on another symbolic meaning to that which was intended because of the shape or form we give them when we write or draw them? Can even a drawing or word placement on a page give it more meaning because of the very words and images that surround it?
Some words look a certain way when we write them. It has been theorised that we developed long-term word learning capabilities due to our early ability to recognise the shape of words. Although this so-called ‘bouma-shape’ may become less important later in life as typoglycemia could suggest; where the order of misplaced letters in a word may have little impact on our recognition of words, the shape of words can be very important in dream journaling!
Results from studies such as by Ran Hassin and his team have suggested that our unconscious mind can perform many functions that our conscious mind can. On top of this, the picture superiority effect implies that we are more likely to recall visual stimuli than words. Therefore, it is not far-fetched to suggest that our brains are creating further layers of information through our dream journal typography; in the way we write words, our style, and the layout on the page, through the very process of writing them out. However, I would like to take this one step further.
Words can look like the object they describe: ‘bed’ looks like a bed, the word eYe looks like two eyes and a nose. When a word literally looks like its meaning it is called logography. In many languages words use characters or logograms/logographs, to depict what they describe, such as the word for man in Chinese, which resembles a person on two legs, or just imagine the many Egyptian hieroglyphs that depict what they describe. When a sign or logo is created, its form or shape can give it additional meaning. This iconicity is obviously important in many company branding campaigns we see in the world today, just as symbols and words in dreams can have additional meaning attached to them too.
What if though, in our dream journaling, words were also speaking to us in a wider logographic and iconographic way, and we have been missing it all along? Images that are intended to look like one thing; may actually come together to have an entirely different meaning to that which was intended in the first place when we match future waking world events to them. Some may argue that by looking into such details in this way we might be searching for meaning and patterns from ‘matches’ that are simply coincidental; something called pareidolia. Whilst we must factor in the possibility that pareidolia may impact the way we interpret our dreams in relation to waking life events, we should not discount other possibilities too. Consider this dream:
In my dream I go down some steps that angle to the right at the bottom. I see a dragon that looks like an ancient crocodile – it is smoking a pipe creating a smog of smoke around it. Through a Japanese arch I point to a giant white Buddha lying on its side on top of a building in the distance. I draw these images but for some reason do not complete the Buddha drawing in much more detail, as I simply could not recall how the bottom half looked.
Two days after this dream I went for a run. As I came down some steps that were identical to the ones in my dream, I noticed some graffiti on a fence to my left that looked remarkably like the drawing of the ancient crocodile in my book. Not only this, but to my right was a Japanese arch! I then sat down near the Japanese restaurant next to the arch and something remarkable happened – a bright white meteorite flew over my head. It was so low that if I had a barge poll I could have touched it! I looked round at a group behind me in the distance but could tell that they had not noticed it.
When I looked back at my dream journal I realised that the incomplete Buddha head I had drawn looked like a meteor in the sky (see photos above). In the picture I was even pointing at it, as one often does when we see something strange in the sky. The very form and colour of the Buddha I had drawn created so much more meaning. The meteorite itself could even be said to represent God or the universe. Upon further analysis I realised that the crocodile matched the waking world graffiti even more; the smoke I had drawn looked like the letters on the wooden fence – ‘OMG’. What was more extraordinary still, was that a letter ‘A’ that I had written above the drawing in a sentence resembled a heart that was spray painted above the croc. There was even a dot by an arrow I had drawn that was in precisely the same place in the graffiti photographed.
When the very act of writing a dream down on paper creates unintended or perhaps even subconsciously intended meaning that itself translates into waking life, some fascinating questions are raised about the distinction of a separation between dreams and waking reality and what motivates us to do the things that we do. It reminds me of an excellent episode of the X-Files called Conduit, where a boy points at the television and says all of the 1s and 0s that he had been drawing on sheets of paper were sent to him through the screen. When all of his drawings were put together and viewed from above, the many 1s and 0s on the pages formed a super-image of a woman’s face.
What is even more ‘meta’ about the creation of this article is that the idea for what I will call non-intentional dreamography came to me very clearly in a dream.
Hope you enjoyed the article!
Daniel, aka Dream Prophecies
Follow me on Instagram @Dream_Prophecies
If you want to wake up, go to sleep – where every dream has a purpose
Copyright © 2021 Daniel J Taylor