Dreams and Story

I see human beings as story animals. Birds make nests, beavers make dams, spiders weave webs, and humans make stories.

We can’t help it.

It probably started with tracking. Certainly, if story didn’t feed us, we wouldn’t tell them, or create them. And so tracking embodies our hunger for story. See the deer tracks. Follow the deer tracks. Harvest (or lose!) the deer.

Stories have a three-act structure, in this sense. Beginning, Middle, and End.

Lo and behold, wouldn’t you know, as story-making animals, our dreams often have three-act structures. We can’t help it.

The next time you have a vivid dream, lay it out. See if you can observe the three acts: Beginning, Middle, and End.

If you can, then ask yourself:

If the Beginning says, “When these events occur…”

And the Middle says, “And you then do (or did) this…”

The End then says, “It therefore has these results”

So, this could mean your dream has advice (‘doing this particular action will have these beneficial results’) or your dream may just want to alert you to something you haven’t noticed (‘doing this particular action always causes this other thing to occur, that you don’t see connecting’).

Dreams have a poetic and subtle structure, definitely. You can’t crack them open by chasing literal meanings. But seeing at least this dream story-structure will start you down the road to receiving real help from your dreams.


Gayle Delaney’s All About Dreams

Tom Brown Jr.’s Awakening Spirits

Written by Willem