What Is Dream Decoder?
Dream Decoder is a set of 60 large, illustrated cards designed to help “unlock your unconscious” by helping you interpret your dreams.
I have dreams most nights but have never really thought about what they mean. Why exactly were the characters of Riverdale working in my local hospital in a dream the other night, or what does it mean that I accidentally left my sick cat on a train to London in a dream a few weeks ago? GeekMom Amy wrote about the subject last year, and I was inspired to try interpreting some dreams for myself with Dream Decoder.
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What’s in the Box?
In the box are 60 cards which explain the meanings behind 60 of the “most common dreams,” as well as a small booklet that discusses the history of dream interpretation and even suggests some games you can play with the cards. The artwork on the cards has an oddly surreal quality that reminded me strongly of Dixit. I’ll admit that the minimalist-style artwork wasn’t to my taste, but this wasn’t a problem because it was the text on the reverse that is why I wanted to investigate Dream Decoder.
On the back of each card is a fairly lengthy explanation of what that dream means. While lengthy, the descriptions are also vague, allowing you to connect the card to your experiences in much the same way as a horoscope might. Ten of the cards identify themselves as a Top 10 Dream, and I agree that these cards did mostly feature dreams I have experienced at some point in my life including Falling, Death or Dying, Teeth Falling Out, and Unable to Find a Restroom.
The box itself is beautiful with holographic foil inlays in the artwork and an unusual but striking peach color scheme. There is no plastic in the content, although I do feel like the box could have been made smaller because there are several cardboard inserts to make the cards fit more neatly.
Using Dream Decoder
In order to explore the Dream Decoder, I kept the cards beside my bed and used them to interpret a few dreams over a short period. I also picked out some card sets to analyze a few recurring dreams I’ve had repeatedly over many years.
Dream: I was working as an actress on a movie set when a fire broke out. Me and the other cast and crew ended up trapped in a small room in the middle of the set with the fire around us until rescued by firefighters.
Cards Chosen: Being at Work, Fire, Feeling Trapped
Suggested Meaning: Dreaming about a job that isn’t mine is the dream “using symbolism to highlight a characteristic [I] need to integrate into [my] personality”—being an actor could mean I need to be more outgoing and willing to show off my skills to the world. Being threatened by a fire means that something in my life “urgently needs [my] attention before it gets out of control,” while being trapped in being held back or that some “patterns of thought or action are somehow impeding personal progress.” Combined with the fire card, I think that the thing I need to pay attention to urgently is also holding me back.
My Thoughts: There is something big causing problems in my life right now that I’m in the process of dealing with but I have felt held back by, so this dream analysis feels as if it holds some weight.
Dream: Went to the hospital to be tested for Coronavirus. Lots of people from my community were also there including several of my son’s friends and staff from his school.
Cards Chosen: Children, Disasters, People
Suggested Meaning: The Disasters card suggests it can represent “fears or anxieties, or something you feel is out of your control”—all true thanks to the current news cycle. Because the room in my dream was crowded, I picked the People card. This says that “people working together might suggest the importance of cooperation” in my life, while the Children card can apparently represent “a desire for more fun, energy, or innocence.” I’m not sure what it means given that all the children were ill…
My Thoughts: While it might be possible to uncover some deep meanings in this dream, I feel a more literal interpretation is valid here. Dreaming about the impact of Coronavirus in my community doesn’t seem especially difficult to understand right now, especially given that I have an anxiety disorder to begin with.
Recurring Dream One
Dream: I find an unimaginably big stash of something hugely valuable to me (but not traditionally valuable items like gold or jewels), often in a thrift store or similar environment. One example would be finding an entire shelf of X-Files novels I never even knew existed.
Cards Chosen: Finding Something Valuable, Shopping
Suggested Meaning: According to the Shopping card, “stores in a dream can indicate what you want or think you need in life to be happy.” Interestingly, whenever I am shopping in this recurring dream, it is always somewhere people are discarding things they no longer want (thrift stores, car boot sales, etc), which suggests I want things that others don’t find valuable. The Finding Something Valuable card tells me I might “be on course to learn something valuable about myself.” If so, I’ve been on course for some time now because this is a dream I’ve been having for a long time!
Combining the two different card meanings could mean that I need to learn that the things I think are valuable in me aren’t what others really want and that I need to find my own value?
My Thoughts: This one feels like a big stretch if I’m honest. Maybe I just really want there to have been more X-Files novels written?!
Recurring Dream Two
Dream: After years of saving, we finally go on our dream family vacation at a huge cost. The dream opens in the final day of the trip when we’re all panicking and upset because we realize we’ve wasted our time and haven’t done anything we meant to do and are now rushing around trying to pack two weeks’ worth of activities into the final hours before our plane home.
Cards Chosen: Being Unprepared, Family, Disasters, Being Late, Transport
Suggested Meaning: The Being Unprepared card tells me this dream can mean I’m failing to meet “the standards [I’ve] set for [my]self” and the inclusion of my family suggests that I’m also concerned that I’m not meeting the standards I believe they hold me to either. Combining these with the Disaster cards could suggest that I’m anxious about all of this and this fear is starting to take control.
Finally, I combined the Being Late and Transport cards because these often relate to how the dream ends. Aircraft represent “new experiences and excitement,” while Being Late to catch a mode of transport is a “classic symbol of feeling overwhelmed and not up to the challenge of a task.” These link very well to the analysis above.
My Thoughts: Another analysis that holds weight. My husband often tells me that I hold myself to far too high a standard and I always worry if things aren’t perfect. Perhaps this dream is a manifestation of that?
Dream Decoder Verdict
After spending some time using the Dream Decoder, I feel like I had a mixed bag of results, which is what I expected. As I mentioned before, the cards are written like horoscopes in order to be very vague and with multiple interpretations for each subject, it’s easy to manipulate them to your own circumstances.
That doesn’t mean that the cards don’t work, however. Using them got me to think in a more focused way about my life and feelings, and anything that makes us slow down a bit from our hectic lives and take stock of our interactions with the world is likely to be beneficial. I just doubt I’ll end up quite as enlighted and inspired as the booklet suggests simply from analyzing the secret “life-enhancing” messages my subconscious is apparently trying to convey.
Dream Decoder is a fun idea that will get you to think about your own mind in new ways and will be an ideal gift for anyone who attends lots of sleepovers or regularly sleeps in a dorm (imagine the students at Hogwarts interpreting their dreams each morning in their four-poster beds)—just don’t expect it to change your life.
GeekMom received a copy of this item for review purposes.