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To Find Out What Your Dream Means, You Need to Be Honest With Yourself
For the most part, dreams are challenging us to be honest about who we are, what we want, what we fear, what causes us pain, our insecurities and the things that are holding us back in life. Dreams often tell us where we’re at in terms of what’s going well and what’s going not so well in our lives.
Our subconscious is like our own personal therapist and we’d be wise to listen to her!
Getting into dream interpretation has so many benefits. It can bring liberation, self awareness, self knowledge, a strong connection to our inner selves and an awareness of our emotions.
Dream interpretation is a massive topic, but this article will explain many of the most important elements you'll need to interpret your dreams.
Step 1: Determine the Function of Your Dream
You can go a long way towards answering the question of what your dreams mean by identifying which of the following functions the dream you want to interpret may be able to serve.
For example, if you were watching a movie about vampires and that night you have a dream about vampires, then the most logical function of that dream, taken from the list below, would be "Organizing Knowledge & Experience." Your brain took in certain elements of the movie and the dream's purpose is to organize them into your existing knowledge base.
The Main Functions of Dreams
- Expressing and processing emotions
- Maintaining or improving mental health
- Providing information on what we want, need, think or feel
- Giving sexual release
- Organising knowledge and experiences – de-fragging the mind like a computer
- Learning (making connections)
- Helping with problem solving (creativity, thinking out of the box, new inventions, finding solutions)
- Providing wish-fulfillment (e.g. having a sexy dream with someone famous)
- Connecting to spiritual realities (rare!)
Through lucid dreaming and dream incubation, we can develop confidence in ourselves and any area of our lives that we choose to. We can also go on some amazing adventures!
Step 2: Don't Ignore Your Emotions
The emotions we experience in our dreams are one of the most important aspects to dream interpretation. Believe it or not, our dreams are trying to be obvious! Understanding dream language can take a bit of practice but once you get into the right mindset you’ll find the majority of your dreams can be interpreted quickly and easily.
An Example of Why Emotions in Dreams are Important
If you are driving a fast car in your dream and feel exhilarated, this could mean you're progressing at a great speed in some area of your life and you are finding it exhilarating and exciting.
- But, what if you are driving a fast car and feel terrified of crashing? The meaning will be vastly different. Something along the lines of, you are traveling too fast in an area of your life and feel out of control.
- Or, what if you are driving in a fast car that will only do 10 miles an hour and you feel impotent and frustrated? You would need to look at what is holding you back in life either through inside or outside circumstances.
Make a special note of your feelings in relation to each symbol that appears in your dream as it's going to give you some of the most valuable information on the dream's message to you.
The Relevance of Recent and Past Events in Dreams
- Recent events come up a lot in our dreams. Sometimes it is because our minds are trying to process and organise what happened, other times they offer the mind handy symbols to present other information.
- Past events, people and places also come into our dreams frequently. They are usually telling us that there is something from our past that needs understanding or resolving. You will normally find that the issue is something that is also prominent in your life now.
If you dream about a house you lived in as a child, for instance, ask yourself what was happening in your life at the time you lived there.
- Did your parents separate?
- Did you change schools?
- Was it a particularly happy time?
- Ask yourself why your mind would want you to revisit that time again.
- Are there things issues from that time still holding you back?
- Did you make decisions based on events in the past that are no longer relevant or useful?
- Do you need to recapture a certain quality or feeling?
Prophetic and Psychic Dreams
There’s a strong myth stating that all of our dreams are foretelling the future, and this is simply not true.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen -- I've had quite a few myself. Dreams can occasionally give us information about future events, (which is where the myth comes from). However, unless we have highly developed psychic abilities, these are usually few and far between. This begs the question, “How do we know when our dream is prophetic?” Unfortunately, the answer to that is that you can’t know until the event you dreamt of takes place.
A lot of people have experienced dreams that involve ESP or what we might call psychic events. Again, these are quite rare -- most people might be lucky to have one or two of these in their lifetime. They include:
- Dreams of a deceased relative or friend (accompanied by feelings of joy, peace and love)
- Dreams of a deceased person we do not know
- A dream involving extra sensory perception (ESP) such as seeing an event in a dream that is taking place at the very moment you dream it
- Dreams of angels, spirit guides or religious figures
- Dreams of past lives
- Out of body experiences
- Astral travel
Those who have had these kinds of dreams report that they are exceptionally vivid and the feeling quality of the dream is different than in ordinary dreaming. The emotions are particularly intense and there is a sense of watching the scene as an observer rather than being involved in it.
While distressing, nightmares can tell us a great deal about ourselves. In particular: what we fear, what causes us the most emotional pain and what is holding us back in life. Nightmares are usually expressing deep feelings and thoughts that we are unconscious of. That's why they're so frightening -- because they are bringing to our attention emotions that were perceived to be threatening, devastating and/or overwhelming at some point in the past.
The occurrence of a nightmare is a sign that you're now ready to deal with these emotions and that you need to deal with them for the sake of your emotional, mental or spiritual health.
This statement may sound obvious, but it's surprising how many of us don't understand that our nightmare is telling us about something we are frightened of or anxious about. Take the time to discover its meaning, and you'll benefit in the long term.
Below are three common dreams that show examples of the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself to enable you to accurately interpret your dreams
A Partner Being Unfaithful
Dreams of your partner cheating on you are most often an expression of your own anxiety and insecurity. Very rarely will they be your intuition alerting you about actual cheating -- rule out all other possibilities first:
- Are you scared your partner will leave you?
- Do you have low self esteem and/or confidence and wonder whether you deserve your partner?
- Have you or your partner cheated on each other or other partners before and you are worried this will happen again?
- Do you have problems with trusting people?
- Do you find it difficult to trust yourself?
- Are you attracted to someone else?
Dreams of Being Naked
What is your dream of being naked telling you? It will depend greatly on how you feel about it in your dream. Are you embarrassed? Ashamed? Free? Liberated? Vulnerable? Scared? Indignant? Exposed? Natural? Exhilarated?
If you experienced a negative emotion in relation to your nakedness, it could mean:
- You are feeling very vulnerable at the moment.
- You are scared of being exposed in some way.
- You have problems with your relationship with your body.
- You are hiding something you need to share.
If you experienced a positive emotion in relation to your nakedness, it could mean:
- You feel totally free.
- You feel liberated from a problem, setback or difficulty.
- You are at one with your physical nature.
- You enjoy your body.
- You are being completely honest about who you are, what you want or need.
Dreams Involving Animals
One way of interpreting animal symbols that I often use is to ask myself, "What special characteristics does this animal embody?"
- The eagle soars freely high above the earth. Therefore, the eagle has a broad perspective of what is below and will be able to "take in the whole picture." Do you already see the whole picture, or you do need to take a more objective view of something? Maybe you need to look at things from another perspective.
- The eagle is strong and powerful. Do you feel strong and powerful or does someone in your life embody these qualities?
- The eagle is a skillful hunter. Do you need to hunt something down or do you feel like someone is hunting you down?
- Are you feeling stung by something that happened recently or by something someone said?
- Bee is a homophone of "Be." Is your dream of bees telling you to just "be" yourself?
- Think about what is special about bees. Bees are very busy, productive and industrious creatures. They work cooperatively for their survival. They swarm together for protection and to attack. They are hive creatures - the group is more important and powerful than the individual. They produce a nourishing food (honey). Do one of these things prick your intuition about what the bees mean to you?
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Science Fair Projects for Kids and High School Students
These 12 sites have hundreds of science fair projects, experiments, and advice to help you create the best science fair project you can. They suggest easy projects for kids and more challenging award-winning science fair projects for high school students. I've used many of them with my daughter and students.
Some of the sites provide ideas. Some give you step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments. Some provide kids advice on creating projects for science fairs. And some have forums where kids can get help when they're stuck. Many of these websites have videos to illustrate their experiments.
Note: Some of these sites have forums, which require registration with an email address. Children under age 13 need parent approval to register and submit questions to these forums.
#1 Science Buddies
Strength: Detailed science projects and advice for kids
I most often recommend Science Buddies to students and parents starting work on a science fair project. This is an award-winning site was created by the Kenneth Lafferty Hess Family Charitable Foundation, and has a wealth of resources.
First is the Project Ideas section where you can browse a list of projects by area of study. Or try the Topic Selection Wizard. You answer a series of questions about your science interests and grade level, then you get a list of projects best suited to your situation.
The projects are very detailed. Each includes the background, questions to consider, a list of required supplies and equipment, and step-by-step instructions for the experimental procedure.
The next helpful resource is an extensive Science Fair Project Guide. Here you'll learn more about how to use the scientific method to build your project, how to write your report, and how to display your work. There is also advice on safety procedures, selecting supplies, and techniques.
Finally, you can go to the Ask an Expert Forum if you need more assistance. Look to see if another student has asked a similar question that answers yours. If you've been unable to resolve your problem with the help of a teacher or parent, this group of volunteer scientists will do their best to help you.
The Science Buddies site is easy to navigate. And and the extent of their resources is incomparable.
#2 Cool Science Projects
Strength: Tips for creating award-winning science fair projects
The folks at Cool-Science-Projects.com will walk you through all the steps of creating a science project. You'll find advice and resources for simpler projects for a homework assignment, as well as advice on creating show-stopper competition projects.
There are lots of ideas here by grade level. A few of the ideas have step-by-step instructions for carrying them out. The site's biggest strength is the section it devotes to advice on creating a winning science fair project.
#3 Steve Spangler's Science Experiments
Strength: Entertaining videos of experiments to spark you own project ideas
Steve Spangler's Science Experiments is a particularly useful website for science teachers and homeschool parents. Steve is a teacher's teacher who is televised weekly in Denver and who has appeared on nationally televised shows, demonstrating experiments and explaining the science behind them. He also conducts teacher training seminars throughout the country.
On this site, you can access his collection of science experiments, recipes and projects. His library of projects is accompanied by videos of how to use materials and equipment to conduct experiments. He also has an online store of supplies and equipment.
Steve's delight in science experiments is entertaining, and he'll get you and your kids excited about their experiments too!
#4 Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab
Strength: Advice for creating a successful science fair project
Reeko is passionate about science. His passion is contagious at Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab. Reeko takes a humorous and engaging approach to getting kids interested in science.
Reeko's focus is science experiments. He does not provide guidance for school science projects. But his experiments are a breeding ground for science project ideas.
This award-winning site has games, puzzles and quizzes. And there is a new forum where you can ask a question if you're having problems with your experiment or science in general.
Videos of experiments with accompanying variation ideas for home experiments
DragonflyTV delves into experiments conducted by kids. The folks at PBS Kids Go! offer up plenty of videos of kids conducting experiments.
Then they provide ideas of variations your children can pick from for their own experiments. Or kids can give the Super Science Spinner a whirl until they find an idea they like. DragonflyTV also offers their 12 steps to science fair success.
#6 The Science Club
Strength: Detailed instructions, videos and illustrations of projects
Science Fair Ideas Exchange provides dozens of ideas for projects and experiments. If you need more than written explanations and illustrations, look here. The site is hosted by Bill Beaty of The Science Club.
Many projects are accompanied by a video that shows the key steps in creating your experiment or device. Projects are categorized as simple, medium and advanced.
Some of the video-taped experiments are hazardous, and should be supervised by an adult or conducted only by science teachers.
The Make It Solar Science Fair Information provides detailed information on carrying out a project using the scientific method and steps illustrated here. For teachers who have a website, Make It Solar provides the code to put the illustration at the right into your site with a link to its science fair info.
You'll also find planning guides, research tips, illustrations of display layouts. The site's focus is solar energy, so they furnish details on how to create several solar energy science projects.
#8 MadSci Network
Strength: Answers to your science experiment and project questions
Created by MadSci Network & Third Sector New England, MadSci Network is a great place to get answers to your science questions. Their extensive questions and answers archive can help you as you build your project.
The MadSci Library provides links to other resources by topic area. Look for answers to common science fair questions at the MadSci FAQ page.
If you can't find an answer in their archives of past questions, submit your own question.
Strength: Kids' comments on how the experiments worked for them
ZOOMsci from by PBS Kids & WGBH has dozens of science activities for children in grades K-8. The emphasis is on having fun with science experiments, as opposed to a rigorous scientific method.
Pick an activity, carry it out, then record your observations and comments on the ZOOMsci site. Personally identifiable information is not collected here.
#10 Scientific Methods at pppst.com
Strength: Lessons to help kids learn the scientific method
Teachers and homeschool parents can make use of the resources for elementary and middle school students at Scientific Methods at pppst.com. There are presentations to use when teaching the scientific method, as well as printable materials.
For kids, there are links numerous resources to help them learn and remember the steps contained in the scientific method.
One of Mr. Donn's greatest strengths is that his material is readable at the upper elementary age level. So adults don't have to do a lot of interpretation.
#11 Hands-on Activities
Strength: Detailed instructions for experiments
At Exploratorium's Hands-on Activities page, you'll find lots of ideas for experiments and science projects. Activities are grouped by topic such as food, living things, or sports science.
Each activity provides a list of needed materials and step-by-step instructions. Illustrations and photos accompany the instructions. A few even have videos.
Note that some of the activities are not true "activities" but rather information on how something, like cycling, works.
If you are making a model of the solar system to scale, you have to take a look at the Build a Solar System activity. There is a scale calculator that uses the diameter of the sun you plan to create to calculate the dimensions for all of the planets and orbit radius of each planet.
#12 Step-by-Step Science Fair Success
Strength: Advice for teachers and schools on organizing a successful science fair
Step-by-Step Science Fair Success is a guide for teachers and schools to use in planning a science fair. Lily Ning, a middle school teacher, discusses:
- Preplanning, sending out letters, and rules for group projects
- Creating guidelines, submission categories, and scientific methodology to be used
- Student tasks in proposing, planning, carrying out, and displaying project results
- Assessment using a rubric and grading sheets for the notebook, paper, and display
- Judging rubric
Directory of Science Project Websites
There are more than 30 science fair project and experiment websites listed in LearningReviews Directory of Science Project Websites. Some of the sites have simple experiments for kids to carry out at home. Others have more sophisticated projects for high school students and science fairs. Kids, parents and teachers write reviews about the sites they like best.
Other Science categories on the site help you to learn more about chemistry, astronomy, biology, etc., as you prepare for your science project.
Get Ready for Your Science Fair with Janice VanCleave
Janice VanCleave is a teacher, scientist and author of award-winning science books for kids. This virtual field trip is hosted on Meet Me at the Corner.org, where you can find more science fair project ideas.