Your Own Dream Journal
a map to private territory
Why You're Doing This
Because no one can tell you more about your dreams than you. Because you want to remember more dreams. Because you want to impress your friends with your highly organized inner life. Because you want to know who you are.
- Acquire a Book. Bound, ringed, lined or not, home-made or store bought. It gives you joy to open, flip through, scribble in. It doesn't make dream journaling a chore. Chores suck. Joy rocks.
- Acquire a Dream. You keep the book at your bedside. Remember a dream right off the bat? Bonus! Proceed to the next dot. No memory whatsoever? Write down something, anything. Every morning. Put up a signal flag for your unconscious to see: "Dream Requested". Wave it as you go to bed. Set off fireworks by it when you wake.
- Apply The One To The Other. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
This is your dream journal. Not your spouse's. Not your parents. Not your children's. Make it easy to write freely: Ensure the privacy of this book.
Title. Date and time. The dream itself. Make a note of it. It can be a good thing to give your journal page numbers; that way, you can keep a table of contents and flip easily from title or date to page. Hint: Your dreams begin on the first page and goes forward from there. Your table of contents starts on the last page and goes backwards. When the one meets the other, the book's full. Get another book.
Which date? Which time? Many dreams choose to record stats for the approximate moment they woke with the dream memory, as opposed to when they fell asleep. Bedtime only tells you when the night full of dreams started; wake-up time is more specific to a single dream.
A word on titles: Don't think too long or hard before choosing one. Your dream had five different unrelated scenes, with nothing but the morning after to hold them together; you ask yourself "What did I dream?" and one specific image jumps into your head FIRST. There's your title. When chosen this way, titles can be another key to the dream's most urgent message.
For Kicks 'n Grins
Some extra things this chronicler enjoys jotting down:
Moon Phase. At right, if MoonTribe's working right, you can see the current phase of the moon. If you prefer a historic or futuristic outlook, you can find out what phase the moon was in anytime during the last couple of centuries, or what it will look like in the next millennium.
For Women Only. Those of us with double exxes might find our dreams cycling with our personal moon phase. The color red might become more prominent at times.
Astrology. Lunar astrology is a favorite. When the Moon's in Taurus, are your dreams more earthy? More watery in Scorpio? Check out whether your dreams take on greater importance when the Moon's in your Sun Sign. What were the Moon, Neptune, or Pluto doing, aspect-wise, as you dreamt? Conjunct with the Sun? Trine with Mercury? Find out on-line or using your home PC.
Lucidity (Conscious Dreaming). If it turns you on, by all means include in your table of contents a symbol denoting lucid dreams when they happen. Being aware that you're dreaming WHILE you're dreaming provides an unparalleled opportunity to ask your dream characters what you need to ask them BEFORE you hang up, so to speak. Encourage this phenomenon: Making a big deal out of it in your dream journal is positive reenforcement for your subconscious.
For the Extreme Geek
Most of us don't roll right out of bed and onto the computer, but dream journaling software offers extra grace in analysis that hand -written versions can't. Word searches help enumerate which dreams featured certain symbols, symbol dictionary entries pop up with the click of a mouse on a questionable word, and other elements such as characters, emotions, and lucid dream anchors can easily be monitored in a computerized database. If this appeals but you don't want to write your own software, this chronicler currently recommends Alchera (free demo limited to 8 dreams, $35 for the full version). It contains all the functionality mentioned above and then some. For a bonus, it includes the lucidity aid "Lucille", a pocket-sized program which trains the dreamer-cum-computer-nerd to perform regular reality checks.