I finished my first semester of school recently, which included a class in Psychology. We took part of one class to discuss dream analysis so I thought I'd share what I learned. Please keep in mind that these are all generalizations.
Water - Freud thought water meant sex
A loved one being hurt or killed - it's a way to let them go
Being on your deathbed - You need to be more up front with people
Falling and waking up when you hit the ground - the fall is stress about what you think you're responsible for, generally not emotional stress
Flying - seeking independence, freedom to go where/do what you want to
Animals - represent basics, these are simple dreams
Recurring dreams - your brain is compartmentalizing and organizing information
Guns - represent the penis
Guns not going off when you fire them- fear of not being able to reproduce
--Dream analysis only matters as to what the dream truly means to you.
--Dreams help us understand things.
--Dream analysis is different for kids and adults and for different cultures.
--Dreaming happens during REM. Those who sleep less than 6 hours don't typically REM. Those who REM regularly tend to remember their dreams better.
--If you can't remember your dreams, try keeping a journal by your bed and write down what you're thinking of when you first wake up. You should start to remember them better after awhile if you do this regularly.
I wish we would've taken a whole class to discuss this. The professor called on various students and analyzed their dreams but she never called on me, even though I raised my hand every time. I would have loved to hear what she thought of my tomato plant leg dream.