To me, a dream is a gift-- sometimes intended to give insights into our lives. Sometimes they're just for fun. A few are space fillers that seem to have no purpose or even interest. I think it's beneficial for writers to work to capture dreams.
Basically, dreams are the subconscious, and it uses anything it can find. I dream in full color and often my world mixed with places I've never been. Some dreams are what I call movie dreams, and they tell a story-- they are the ones I most seek to keep.
I am not sure from where keeper dreams come, but I've had some powerful ones that once in a while I can use in a book. Sometimes that will be years later when I am writing and realize one of those keepers fits. I've used them as plot elements, to create characters, and once in a while, they become a character's dream.
digital painting based on the dream I had probably in the late 1990s. I wrote about it in a journal at the time but don't need it to remember the dream. I can still see the images from it when I stop to think about it.
An Indian woman stood back in the shadows in a grove of aspen trees. Snow was on the ground. She was watching men of her tribe as they advanced with bows in their hands, arrows at the ready. Beyond a pack of wolves was running but one stopped and approached the men, standing as though waiting. The men drew back their bows and two arrows struck the wolf, one in the chest, the other the loins as it fell. The men walked toward it, satisfied, they then left the clearing.
The woman moved toward the wolf. She understood it had been killed to protect the tribe, that the village needed this ritual for its safety. Perhaps the wolf had agreed to be the sacrifice. When she saw the wolf was not dead, she began to tend its wounds. As she applied the poultices and remedies she knew, she understood she was going against the good of her tribe. She did it anyway.
It was a shock when the body of the wolf morphed into that of a man. He was not appreciative of her efforts on his behalf but lay still as she tended him. Finally she realized she had done all she could but her efforts were not enough to heal him. He had the power to heal himself, but she was unsure he wanted to do so. The dream ended.
In the morning, when Abigail awoke, she lay in bed trying to put the pieces of the dream together. It had been so vivid, as though she was the woman. She had never dreamed such an odd set of images, never imagined such a thing in her waking hours.
Yes, she did remember talk from some of old-timers that men and women could do this changing of their form. There was the fear that witches regularly did it. She believed none of it. If the dream was a message, to what?
Dressing for church, she put the questions aside. Silly dream. Hardly worth wondering at deeper meanings for such things. That’s what her father always said. What the pastor would say. She would tell no one of it. It had no meaning.