How to keep a dream journal: dream journaling 101

Dream Journaling 101: How to Keep a Dream Journal

by Lindsay on October 27, 2011

in Dreams, Personal Growth

Photo courtesy of lawatt on flickr

Dreams are a favorite topic here on The Daily Awe: we’ve talked about epiphanies through dreams, emotional healing through dreams and dreams becoming reality (prophetic dreams). Most of the details of our dreams, if we even remember them at all, are forgotten within 30 minutes of waking up.

Keeping a dream journal next to the bed is a great way to keep track of our dreams and the messages held within them. L. Marie from Closed Lids provides us with some super helpful tips for dream journaling in today’s guest post. Enjoy!

Sidenote: it was a toss-up between this and another article today, but since I woke up vividly remembering a dream in which I gave birth to a black kitten, as if that was totally normal, I figured that was my ‘sign’ to post Lisa’s article on Dream Journaling. Anyone wanna analyze that dream for me, btw? 

Dream Journaling 101

  • Obtain a notebook/ journal of your choice. One of pleasant appearance or decorate a notebook to your pleasing
  • On a nightstand next to your bed  place pen, paper, tape recorder (optional), book light (optional)
  • Inside the journal, note the date
  • Prior to going to sleep, write 1-3 sentences describing your day and mood.
  • While lying in bed before sleep, meditate, pray, repeat mantra or affirmation (whatever you desire). Ask your higher self for assistance in your dream recall
  • When you wake up, lie still and recall your dream from the last thought back to the first. If you awake in the middle of the night, still record the dream – don’t try to commit it to memory for the morning – chances are it’ll be gone from memory when you wake
  • Write your dream as you remember it: all feelings, persons, settings, colors & anything that comes to mind. Don’t try to make sense of your dream, just write what you remember in details. 
  • If you do not recall your dream , write 1 sentence of whatever was in your mind as you awoke
  • For every dream give a title and record date and time
  • Repeat this step every time you have a dream. Over time you will begin to notice themes. 
Reviewing the Journal

Once you’ve written down some dreams, you’ll want to spend some time analyzing them:
  • Look for connections between life experiences and your dream
  • What is the message in your dream?
  • How can this message apply to your life?
  • What will you do to apply the message to your life?
  • What are some themes throughout the dreams?
  • What memories or feelings come to mind when recalling the dream?
  • Who in the dream do you recognize, and how do you relate to them in waking life?
Life Experiences Journal/Pages

I am reading a book called Dreams: Exploring the Secrets of your Soul by Marilyn Barrick Ph.D.  She made an interesting suggestion that  can add to the understanding of dreams. She suggests that a separate journal be made notating major experiences, activities and milestones in your life from birth to present.

Continue to record meaningful events and experiences in this journal and as time goes by, correlate them with your dream journal.  Be sure to take note of the trends you see running through your experiences. Place a summary of this in your dream journal as a point of reference to help you connect your dreams to your waking life.

Dreams guide and help us after we set our goals and ideals for our lives – Edgar Cayce

On any given day, you can find L.Marie on her website, or on twitter, Join the conversation and interact.

Do you keep a dream journal? What tips can you give to others who are just getting started? Have any cool dreams or dream themes to share with us? Please do so. And take a stab at analyzing my aforementioned dream while you’re at it! 

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Sonja October 27, 2011 at 11:33 am

I had a weird dream last night as well.. Somebody gave a birth to little, cute, blonde baby with blue eyes and it was meant for me… So I took and carried a tiny baby on cold, rainy day.. baby was almost naked but seemed fine and healthy.. and I was so happy in that dream!

Maybe I need one?! 😉

“To see a black cat in your dream indicates that you are experiencing some fear in using your psychic abilities and believing in your intuition. You may erroneously associate the black cat with evil, destruction, and bad luck. In particular, if the black cat is biting, clawing or attacking you, then the dream means that you must acknowledge what your intuition is trying to tell you. You can no longer ignore it. Do not be afraid to face the situation. If you see a white cat, then it denotes difficult times.”

Lindsay October 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hey! I love talking dreams with you. I googled giving birth to a kitten and got this: If you dream that you are giving birth to anything non-human, you are holding back from expressing your inner creativity and “real” self because you fear that others will judge you or that they will not accept your ideals. More obviously, it may represent anxiety about being pregnant. This dream is very common among pregnant women and represents anxieties over the health of the baby.

I like your dream BETTER! I want a little blonde hair, blue-eyed baby! But then, you already know that! 😉

Sonja October 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Lol.. it looks like we got our dreams back eh? I love it.. I’ll keep you updated about my weird dream world. 🙂

Lindsay October 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Yeah, we’re both back to dreaming…thank goodness! 🙂

Todd | Channelingmyself October 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

I’ve been meaning to write down my dreams for some time now. I hate that I forget some really great dreams and what could be messages from my guides. Thanks for the great tips.

Lindsay October 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hi Todd! I got out of the dream journaling for a while, just got back into it this past week, really. I go through phases, I find! Hopefully you’ll start back up with the journaling. Come back and let me know if you have any interesting ones!

Julie | A Clear Sign October 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Hi Lindsay and L. Marie,

I just read that giving birth (when you’re not pregnant) represents a new idea or project, a new attitude, and fresh beginnings (!), but giving birth to a non-human represents fear of the outcome. If a black cat represents not fully trusting your intuition or psychic abilities, but this was a kitten, maybe it all ties in that way. Like, you think your new thing is a good idea but just have a little bit of doubt that you’re reading the situation correctly.

BTW was it a nice kitten or was it in attack mode, because they said if the cat bites, claws or attacks you, then you must acknowledge whatever it is you’re trying to avoid, can’t ignore it, must face it.

Any of that sound plausible?

Lindsay October 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hey Julie – thanks so much for your insight and interpretation. Yes, that makes sense to me. Definitely. The kitten was very nice and sweet and I felt a lot of love from it. It was like it was totally normal…not weird to birth a kitten at all! lol

Justin | Mazzastick October 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Hey Lindsay,

I kept a dream journal next to my bed everyday for 6 months a few years back. I wrote every detail that I could remember and spent many a day online and at the bookstore researching meanings.

Dream dictionaries are not the best source for meaning imho. Find out what the symbols mean to you through meditation or other mind relaxing activities.

Lindsay October 31, 2011 at 6:48 am

Hey Justin, I think you’re right about dream dictionaries not being the best source for meaning info. I mean, a quick google search tells you that a black cat means several different things. I think the one that resonates most with the dreamer is right…even if it’s a meaning not found in any book or online search.

I’m curious: why’d you stop journaling your dreams?

Sol | Some Insight Required November 2, 2011 at 4:20 am

I do agree with Justin.

As I mentioned, the subconscious is not a one – shoe – fits -all. It’s incredibly subjective and personal. General meanings won’t fit anyone.

Sol | Some Insight Required November 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Our subconscious is not a one – shoe – fits -all.

That’d be terribly unoriginal.

I have kept journals in the past, yet I am bad at writing by hand, so I stopped.

But I think german shepherds are cute.

Lindsay November 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Am I missing some inside joke about the german shepherds? Cuz my (kinda crappy) memory is telling me that you’ve commented on them before! But that was for a post about pets, I think….

I’m not bad at writing by hand, but my hands hurt after only writing for a few minutes, so I know why you don’t journal anymore. Do you keep a “journal” on your computer? I like to type mine out sometimes b/c my fingers can type faster than I can write.

Sol | Some Insight Required November 2, 2011 at 4:13 am

I don’t quite know how the computer typing works, as the comp starts up after 2 mins and 90% of dream content is lost after 5 mins.

Pehraps I should try it though. The germen shepherd thing is just me being random. I have perhaps mentioned them before.

Lindsay November 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

Oh, sorry…should’ve clarified. I mean sometimes I keep a non-dream journal on my computer. 🙂 You’re right that 90% of dream content is lost after 5 minutes, so typing up dreams on the computer isn’t really too helpful unless it’s already powered up and sitting next to you on the bed!

Sol | Some Insight Required November 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm


We all know that computers don’t make any noise AT ALL.

Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition November 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

Hi Lindsay and L. Marie,

Great post! I love recording my dreams. I’ve had some doozies too! I started keeping a dream journal when I was a kid. One dream I’ve never forgotten happened when I was around 10 or 11. I dreamed I was in Japan riding a tricycle (I just “knew” it was Japan?) and there was a huge earthquake and all the buildings started toppling over. Then there was a flood and I was terrified. I peddled as fast as I could to get away from the water on my little tricycle! I’ve never forgotten it to this day. I felt that it was related to the big earthquake earlier this year in Japan though.

Lindsay November 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

Wow Angela! That really blows my mind that that dream stayed with you all of these years! It does sound like this year’s earthquake in Japan. I think its awesome that you kept a dream journal as a kid. I wish I would’ve had the idea to do that, too! Did you have parents who encouraged that sort of thing?

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Lindsay November 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm

lol. True! Some of us like to sleep with white noise, though! I like that new picture of you – very pretty.

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