Context Theme

Understanding dreams is in many ways similar to understanding language. Important to both is context. The events, people and environments of dreams are multidimensional, just like words in a sentence. Morton Hunt, in his book The Universe Within illustrates how words have an unusual dimension. For instance, what do you make of the following sentence? “Mary heard the ice-cream truck coming down the street. She remembered her birthday money and ran into the house.”

You have probably already have an image of Mary, her age, skin colour, an approximation of what she is dressed in, and what she is doing. You believe she is going to buy an ice cream and she is young. Ask yourself what hair colour she has for instance. But where does it say this in the sentence?

However, if you change any of the words – say truck for bus or money for gun, an entirely new image of Mary arises.

The factors relating to how we extract meaning out of words and images is crucial when considering your dreams. In your dreams any one factor – such as teeth or boat, alters enormously the meaning because of its context with the other dream factors, such as objects, people, setting and plot or theme. Get a sense of this overall connection when looking at the various parts of your dream. Get a view of the various parts of your dream then put them together like sentences in a paragraph.

Also context explains meaning. For instance in this following quote from Leslie Weatherhead’s book Psychology in Service of the Soul, context is very important.

“For instance, in Mesopotamia you might have an officer who had blue blood in his veins and who at Oxford had been a blue. Rarely would he be a blue after dark when the whiskey went round, unless of course he went out on the blue on some stunt or other. Then he might be in a blue funk, and the air would be blue with his language. But in time he would recover from his fit of the blues, get his leave and pay, and blue the whole of the latter in a single day of the former, and he wouldn’t spend it on blue stockings either.”

So when interpreting, although we have to understand each individual symbol, we also have to see that symbol in context with the rest of the dream. Only in this way can we understand it properly.

See: Key wordsTechniques for Exploring your DreamsSecrets of Power Dreaming


-Aditi 2016-07-02 8:30:36

I REALLY NEED HELP!! I’M LOSING MY MIND. It’s been 2 yrs since my aunt passed away,and I’ve dreamed about her many times. But this dream I had last night has knocked the daylights outta me. ‘My grandparents, my 1st cousin and I were traveling in a van going to the market. Suddenly my cousin saw her friend walking down the street, they both waved at each other. I saw someone else waving at me from the distance, my aunt.she was coming closer but was no longer waving and continued walking. I tried calling out to her but she didn’t hear , she glanced at me just once and continued walking without taking notice. I made my cousin look at her but she didn’t react either.It was too late now to call out to her, we’d reached the market. And I started to see her face in every person i saw in the market. I kept my emotions bottled and stop myself from breaking down. I felt her eyes on my face but didn’t know where to look for her.’ Please help me i’m losing my sanity, i can’t concentrate on my projects due on monday and can’t study at all. I actually felt that the dream was true and it happened.but i can’t tell anyone ,they’ll think i’m just going mad. PLEASE HELP!!!

-Alicia 2016-03-08 2:08:47

I had a dream last night. I have been sick. I am not one of those obsessive fans, like many people are and I never had an obsession with Nirvana. I thought Kurt Cobain was hot, I was in 4th grade in 1994, when he died. Anyway, being the music dork I always have been, I never knew very much about any band or artists, yet 22 years later I have him in my dream. I have been thinking about what I have seen in the last month-nothing was Nirvana, no songs, no images that looked like him…nothing. The only aspect of my dream I had seen recently was the type of flower in my dream.
So here it goes:Kurt Cobain was in my dream last night. The dream was like a sepia-black and white….his face was pale, and he was damp, a little sweaty, pallor. He knew he was dead. He did not know how he was killed, and seemed confused. He was wearing a grey long sleeved shirt with holes, light blue jeans and black combat boots or Doc Martens. In the dream there were other people with me, and when we mentioned to him that one of the ideas behind his death was that Courtney Love was responsible. When that was brought up, a black and white photo of her surrounded in a gaudy gold frame came to life, and a giant hot pink zinnia flower started coming out of her mouth, the center of it was bright yellow, it was almost painful to look at. According to the research I have found, the colors in the dream are significant. I also found out that his suicide note was found IN A FLOWER POT- and the photos of his suicide were released on the 20th anniversary of his death, which was 2 years ago April 5th. He was wearing a different shirt in the pics, versus what I saw in my dream, but it was the same jeans and he had on black shoes in the pics. i did not know any of this information.

-Charlie 2015-03-27 23:59:48


I am very concerned about this dream I had:

Firstly, for some reason I have always been having dreams/thoughts/feelings of various things happening to myself or my loved ones. And sometimes they did occur.

So for the last 10 days I had this dream that something important would happen to my cousin i wasnt sure whether it would be positive or negative.

Last night I had a dream, where her deceased father came home from work walked through her into the bedroom and left the house again walking through her.

I called my cousin to tell her, and she tells me that she may be getting divorced soon.

I wanted to know if there was any possible connection between these two things and the meaning.


    -Anna 2015-03-28 8:25:50

    Charlie – There could be a connection. My experience is that a marriage as well as other relationships offers us the possibility to work our way through the unresolved issues that are left in us from the relationship with our parents; we can do this while being in a relationship or even after the relationship has ended.
    And so I see her deceased father “walking through your cousin” as a symbol of what is left in her from her relationship with her father – which we call her “inner father” – and this part of her could be the cause of many problems in her relationship with another man.
    Anna 🙂

-Denise 2014-07-14 17:52:13

I’ve had the same dream for the last two nights. I dreamed that my great-grandfather, who passed away about 35 years ago, that we were going to his funeral again. In the dream he had already passed away and I did not see him alive. His daughter, my grandmother, is still alive at 94 years old. Could this be related? Please help. Thank you

-Laura Dunfee 2014-06-25 3:54:38

I died 3 years go and w I an inuduse coma for 24 days in which I experienced different stages of a life from the past
, it is hard to explain. when I came out I have been a different person and since then I have had many dreams about my father and me who died 7 years before my coma. in the last dream him and I no one else looked at a house to buy to live in just he and myself but it was just out of our reach. since them I feel that the dream has had great importance to me and my life here and now but can not put my finger on as why I feel this way. can you help?

    -Tony Crisp 2014-06-25 8:47:54

    Laura – I have to go with my feelings about his. And what I feel is that your coma was actually a gift that was given you and not a punishment. What it did was to enable you to know things that maybe would not have been realised in your entire lifetime. But you are still only beginning to unfold or grow a wonderful view or seed that was planted within you. A much bigger view of yourself opened and of course it couldn’t help but change you.

    At the moment the state of the world is in a period of enormous change and even tension. People are lost because most of them have no map or understanding of how to act or what is there life. You will slowly be a force in other people’s lives. Not a great leader, but someone who begins to see the way.

    The house that you and your father wanted to buy but was out of your reach is a dream symbol of great importance. It is out of reach because you have some more growing to do before you are able to own the house. It is actually your house and always has been, but you need to learn more about who you are and what you have inherited before you can enter into the awareness of it.

    Remember the saying, “In my father’s house are many mansions – I go to prepare a place for you”. See and


      -marcela 2014-11-24 8:07:06

      Ive been driven to far, My dad died 4 years ago, at the time I was 16. Him and my mom split when I was little, and around the time he died we were barely getting to know each other. I think about him every single day. The day he passed away, I was mad over some dumb stuff and i wrote a terrible text message to send him, god knows why I didn’t send him the text. But I did tell my mom he deserved a lot worse than what he had gotten. He was murdered that night. I haven’t really dreamt with him. But last night, in my dream, he called me to tell me he was alive. His voice is one thing I really miss because he was in jail in another country where you are allowed to visit them in their “houses” and he had his own cell phone so he’d call me or text me when he could. He was a musician and I still haven’t heard a voice like his, so calm and relaxed. In my dream it was his voice, but something sounded a tiny bit different, he kept talking to someone else in the back round. I remember I walked into my moms room holding the phone, and I couldn’t tell her who I was talking too, I had never felt so much emotion in a dream. My hands shacked, and I could barely speak, I kept asking him if it was really him, and he kept saying it was. I woke up thinking he had really called me. what is strange to me is that I cant control my dreams, when Im dreaming and I acknowledge that I am dreaming, I wake up no matter what. and this time was different. My dream felt so real. Its driving me insane. All I want to do is cry because when I talked to him I felt everything. What is happening? I feel so alone. I feel like he is trying to reach me

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved