This article is from the Dreaming FAQ, by "Lars Rune Foleide" email@example.com .
Symbols are one way of interpreting dreams. Researchers have tried to
find, for each common dream occurrence, a psychological situation that
matches the dream in some way and link it as a cause. A well-known
example of this approach is Freud's interpretation. Asking for symbols
allows for (sometimes too easy) interpretation of dreams by given
rules. But this is a questionably approach. Dream interpretation using
a catalog of symbols doesn't take into account individual differences
between dreamers. You can imagine this flaw by taking into account
that the cultural background is an important point that should not be
neglected. Freud's theories, that give high importance to hidden
signs of sexual desires, are based on a society that has suppressed
sexuality. And so on. In a more global context, asking for special
symbols is of dubious value. Nonetheless, in a certain given context,
these symbols can have a valuable meaning.