DREAMS 1-2-3 (D3) is a step by step process for interpreting the meaning of dreams, created by author and dream interpreter J.M. DeBord, aka RadOwl at Reddit.com. D3 provides you with a comprehensive and modern approach to how to interpret dreams.

The three steps of D3:

  1. Identify the dream’s story elements and narrative components.
  2. Interpret the symbolism and analyze the story.
  3. Connect the details in context and reflect on your life.

In Step 1 you gather data and manage it.

In Step 2 you test the data and generate ideas.

In Step 3 you bring everything together.

D3 is simple and effective, and while it’s not a surefire means to interpret every dream (dreaming is a widely varied and personal phenomenon), it provides you with a systematic and flexible approach built atop the premise that you already know subconsciously what your dreams mean, and dream interpretation is a process of remembering what you already know.

You are the only one who truly knows what your dreams mean. You just need to know how to interpret them. Allow me to show you how I do it.

jm debord
I’m J.M. DeBord

Introduction to D3

Newcomers to dream interpretation often don’t know where to begin. Or they encounter different approaches and theories and are not sure what to believe or follow.

I created D3 to give you a solid and trustworthy process built atop dream science and traditions from psychology and storytelling. Then I ran it through thousands of trials. Since 2012 I’ve been the main community moderator of Reddit Dreams, the most popular place online to share and interpret dreams, providing the perfect testing ground. Also, I’ve authored three books about dream interpretation, created RadOwl’s Dream School, and done hundreds of media interviews. I’ve got cred.

The teachings are solid and grounded, but I’m the first to admit they are a starting point. Working with dreams is a very personal process of exploring your inner world. YOU are the best interpreter of your dreams.

But even experienced dream interpreters seek out close friends and colleagues to help interpret their dreams because, as Dr. Carl Jung says, dreams show the ego what it does not know or understand. The outsider’s perspective of your dreams can help you see what eludes you.

Three Simple Facts about Dreams

D3 begins with three simple facts:

Dreams are stories. Dreams are like parables, little stories that teach and illuminate. I call it simple fact #2 about dreams. Half of the process of dream interpretation involves analyzing a dream’s story. The other half is:

Dreams use symbolism, simple fact #3. Symbolism is the language of your unconscious mind, where dreams are created. Translate the symbolic language to understand them.

Simple fact #1: Subconsciously you know what your dreams mean. You create your dreams; you must know somewhere inside yourself what they mean. When you interpret a dream, you remind yourself what you already know.

Dreams are magical and mysterious and knowable in very personal ways. D3’s step by step process of interpreting them fills a massive need for people to explore their dream life.

Start here to learn how to understand the meaning of your dreams. Simply keep reading. At the bottom of this page is a link to the first lesson, “Why Dream?” Follow the link, read to the end of the lesson, and find the link to the next lesson. Add up all the lessons and gain a textbook-worth of one-of-a-kind knowledge all freely available!

Skip to the first lesson:

Top 10 Things to Know about Dreams

D3 Cliff’s Notes

My books and online courses are thorough and extensive, but some of my students need brevity. That’s what “Cliff’s Notes” used to mean. Everything you need to know, summarized on one page:

These days people more commonly say “crash course” instead of “Cliff’s Notes” to mean brevity. My Crash Course in Dream Interpretation is 100 pages thick and available in print, audiobook, and ebook.

Read my Crash Course

Translate dream symbolism

Carl Jung says if you want to be a dream interpreter, learn everything you can about symbolism. Below is my lesson on translating dream symbolism.

D3 – Three steps of Dream Interpretation

Step 1 – Story Elements and Narrative Components

Story Elements:

  1. Settings
  2. Characters
  3. Symbols

Narrative Components

  1. Action
  2. Reaction
  3. Resolution

Step 2 – Interpret the Symbolism and Analyze the Story

Interpret Symbolism

  1. Associate
  2. Simplify
  3. Amplify

Story Analysis

  1. Metaphor
  2. Exaggerate
  3. Comparison-Contrast

Step 3 – Connect the dream’s details in context and reflect on your life

  1. Context
  2. Connect the details
  3. Reflect on your life

Final thoughts before launch

A famous teacher of dream interpretation, Jeremy Taylor, says there’s no such thing as a dream with only one meaning. It means you won’t be able to interpret all of your dreams using D3. The point is to try, to give the attention and effort, to engage with the dream and the story. It’s a building process, cultivating a relationship with the part of the mind that creates dreams and the intelligent source behind the scenes.

First lesson: Understand why you dream to help understand what you dream

More resources for you

My Youtube channel:

My personal dream interpretation website:

Get your podcast fix: