With Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting, psychologist R. J. Cole offers a practical compendium of more than 5,000 dream images with notes regarding their meanings.
Cole has written two earlier books (The Dragon’s Treasure and The Archipelago of Dreams). He has assisted “more than three thousand individuals” with dream interpretations via his blog.
The bulk of our thought processes, he notes, are subconscious. Thus, dream interpretation presents a pathway into that mysterious realm. He suggests we think of dreams as a kind of individual artwork and strongly advises keeping a dream journal, giving pointers on how best to do that.
Dream images and their possible interpretations comprise the majority of the book. The listings, arranged alphabetically, start with the letter “a,” which could symbolize a beginning, or a “way of grading or judging something or someone,” and end with “zoomorphism.” (“If you are changing into some animal,” the author explains about the latter, “you are becoming less civilized in some aspect of your life, or giving in to your animal nature.”) Some entries offer an additional “Insight” section—usually an historical tidbit that enhances understanding of the subject.
Following the codex are two short sections: “Archetypes” and “Nightmares”; in the latter, Cole lists therapies for dealing with especially horrific dreams and dream patterns.
Cole displays an engaging, inclusive writing style. His entries are peppered with questions to help readers pinpoint the meaning that best fits them. (For “envy”: “Are you envious of someone in your waking life? Or do others envy you?”) Not all entries are equally successful, however. For example, under “environment,” he distinguishes meaning based on “dry” or “wet” environments, without expanding on either description. More elaboration is needed for many items to be useful. Occasional entries also exhibit grammatical problems.
Despite such flaws, Morpheus Speaks provides an interesting introduction to the subject matter. In its totality, the book delivers a sort of therapeutic guidebook for anyone interested in this fascinating area of personal discovery.
Also available as an ebook.