How (and Why) to Keep a Dream Journal

Whether you had the most wonderful dream that you were BFFs with Beyoncé (just me?) or you woke up sweating after a straight-up nightmare, your dreams can communicate messages. What exactly are your dreams trying to tell you? Well, that’s where dream journaling comes in.

“Dream journaling is the process of reflecting, interpreting, and integrating your dreamscape into your waking reality,” explains Imani Quinn, a quantum mystic healer, astrologer, and co-author of Astrology SOS: An Astrological Survival Guide to Life. “Your dreams are like hidden messages that have important information to unlock in parts of your waking life.”

Intrigued? Below, Quinn shares the benefits of dream journaling and a step-by-step breakdown of how to keep a dream journal.

The Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal

The practice of dream journaling can be a healing ritual because dreams tap into the subconscious mind and the ~astral realm~. “What you have the opportunity to work through in dreamscape can help shift and clarify challenges that you are experiencing in your waking reality,” Quinn says. “The integration of your dream experiences is what helps you heal in the 3D. You can heal relationships, fears that block you from your fullest potential, and you can experience your spirit guardians guiding you with intuitive messages.”

For example, Quinn shares, if you’re not on speaking terms with a loved one, dreaming of having a heartfelt conversation with them and journaling on the emotions that come up can bring healing as you have an opportunity to alchemize and shift your perspective.

Consistency is the key to reaping the benefits of dream journaling. “The more consistently that you dream journal, the more your consciousness will become accustomed to the practice, creating more space to explore,” Quinn says. And as you deepen your dream journaling practice, the messages will have more depth too.

How to Use a Dream Journal

1. Write Down Your Dream As Soon As You Wake Up

“That moment you first wake up, you’re still in the astral realm, which means that your ego and conscious mind haven’t completely taken over, making it easier to receive intuitive messages without your mind getting in the way,” Quinn says. This is why it’s crucial to keep your dream journal close by, so you can jot down your dreams’ details (specifically the visuals and feelings) immediately after waking up. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing important details of your dreams.

Quinn adds that you can also take a moment to meditate on your dream and ask your spirit guides what messages they want you to retrieve from this dream. Write down whatever comes up in your dream journal.

2. Note Any Symbolism In The Dream

Next, write down any symbols that appeared in your dreams, such as animals, locations, or activities, and then Google the spiritual meaning of those symbols or look them up in a dream interpretation guide to explore what they can be trying to communicate to you. For example, Quinn says that being near water in your dream means you are moving through an emotional experience. Seeing fire in your dream can indicate change and destruction, and driving in a car can symbolize movement in a particular area of your life.

3. Put Together The Meaning Of The Dream

Once you have all the visuals, symbols, and happenings of your dream on paper, Quinn recommends using your intuition to piece together the meaning of the metaphors and how they relate to your life. Think of it as putting together a story. Note the thoughts, feelings, and knowledge that comes up when you think about the dream. If you’re stuck, she suggests pulling a card from a trusty oracle or tarot card deck to help clarify the messages. Remember that when it comes to using your intuitive powers (which we all have!), the key is not to overthink it.

4. Implement The Learnings

Here’s where the real ~magick~ of dream journaling comes into play: implementing the guidance you received IRL. “Journal on how you intend for this to shift your life,” Quinn says. “What actions will it compel you to do?” For instance, let’s say the dream’s message is to prioritize your wellbeing by setting boundaries. The action step would be to actually set those boundaries.

“We always have the opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences,” Quinn says. “Your dreams are just another magical tool that is helping you in that process if you so choose to tap into it.”

Dream Journals

This dream journal comes with prompts and questions to help you remember and understand your dreams.

Don’t want to use google? This journal comes with an illustrated guide to common dream symbols.

Want to learn lucid dreaming? This journal offers prompts and exercises so you can start learning.

This journal asks you to sort your dream by type (first-time, recurring), mood (scary, happy, adventurous), and theme (flying, falling, school, etc.).

Designed to help you minimize stress, this journal asks you to log both the quality of your sleep and the details of your dream.

Feeling witchy? This digital download offers advice on using herbs, crystals, and rituals—including making a “dream bag.”

Prefer not to follow a worksheet? This one lets you take the lead, and the fox illustration is a symbol of psychic gifts.

Of course, any blank notebook will work as well, and this is a pretty one!

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