Keeping a Dream Journal

One of the tips for remembering and analyzing dreams, as well as working towards taking control of your dreams through lucid dreaming, is to keep a dream journal.

Buy a special notebook to use only for your dream journals, and use it faithfully. You may want to buy another notebook to keep by your bed to jot down words, feelings, people, or events that were outstanding in a dream. Use this when you don' t have time to fully annotate your dream, or when you wake up in the middle of the night. Of course, a pen and a small lamp, or a penlight, would also be a bedside necessity.

When you wake up, take time to review your dream before jumping out of bed. Laying still, in the same position as you awake, often increases dream recall. Keep your eyes closed. Not only will their be less distraction this way, but many people are visually-oriented, and will often "see" the dream again as they are recalling it. This is easiest accomplished with the eyes closed.

If you can't remember the start of your dream, don't give up. Begin the end of the dream and work backwards. If that doesn't work, start from the middle. The point is to start the remembering process, following where it will lead.

If you can't write the dream in your journal immediately upon awakening, jot down the elements you remember most. That will help you recall the dream when you do have time to continue your journal.

One important thing to remember is to value even your dream fragments. Often, these fragments will contain important information for you.

Journaling Tips


Record the date in your notebook, as well as where you're at if you're not sleeping in your own bed.

Daily Review

Briefly review the day's events before going to sleep. This may help you to relate your dreams to what is happening in your waking life, thus answering questions or giving you advice on directions to take. It can also help you to formulate a dream question.

Dream Question

Many of us have been formulating dream questions for years, not realizing that's what we're doing. We formulate the question, or remember what has bothered us most through the day, in nightly prayers to our deity, and then dropping off to sleep immediately afterwards.

We can learn to take more control of these questions or situations by writing them out in first, making sure they're as open-ended as possible. Repeat it to yourself just before dropping off to sleep. This will allow us to gain insight or answers into problems experienced in the waking world. If you literally want to "sleep on it," write the question on a small piece of paper and place it under your pillow.


Record your dream as if it were happening right now, rather than reviewing it like a movie.

Questions for the Dream Journal

The following are examples of the types of questions to include in your dream journal:

  • How am I acting in this dream?
  • What are the various feelings/emotions of myself and others in the dream?
  • What is the context of the dream? Does it relate to anything happening in my waking life right now?
  • In the dream, who are the main characters?
  • Who (or what) is the adversary?
  • Who (or what) is being wounded?
  • Who (or what) is being healed?
  • Who (or what) is my companion?
  • Did I dream of actual people, or imaginary people?
  • Could the characters all be different aspects of myself?
  • What features or symbols stand out most in the dream?
  • How do these features relate to me, my emotions, or my personality?
  • How does the dream, taken as a whole, relate to my personality?
  • What are the main actions in the dream?
  • What would I like to avoid in the dream?
  • What actions might it be suggesting that I consider?
  • Does the dream trigger any memories?
  • Do any of the elements of the dream relate to my past?
  • Why might this part of my past be called to my attention now?
  • Does the dream trigger any further questions?
  • Why did I need this dream?
  • What is its positive message for me?
  • Was the dream more physical, or emotional in nature?

In addition to helping us solve daily problems in our waking lives, dream journals (or dream diaries) can be an important tool that illustrates methods we've used in the past to handle similar situations today. In addition, they're a marker for the way our thoughts, emotions, and behavior changes through the years; marking our adult growth in maturity as surely as hash marks on a door used to mark our physical growth as children.