Imagine if you would, you have just woken from a very vivid dream. You can't remember the whole dream but you can remember a few details. You quickly write the dream down as if you're grasping the air as though you're trying to catch the vapors of your breath on a frigid morning. One question keeps coming to your mind, "What in the world does that symbol mean?"
Discerning the meaning of dream symbols is somewhat of an art. You must have a good relationship with the Holy spirit because even though a symbol may mean one thing in one dream, it may mean something completely different in another. If you get focused on relying on your own knowledge to interpret dreams then those ever changing symbol definitions could throw you for a loop and leave you missing the mark for the interpretation. However, there are some steps you can take on your own in order to ascertain the meaning of a symbol. Remember, God gives you dreams as part of a beck and call into intimacy with him. The more time you spend researching the hidden things of God, the more revelation you gain by the time you gathered the meaning of that which you were seeking.
The next thing you should do is discern the context of the dream. The context simply means what was happening in the dream? Was it bright or dark? That will determine if the dream was from God (it will be bright), the enemy (dark), or soul (dull, mix of light and dark). If it was dark the context of the symbol will usually have a negative connotation. If was light it will be positive, and if dull it can be either good or bad. Take a look at how the symbol was being used. For example; If you dreamed of a gun, was it being used against you (this could mean someone is attacking you), or were you using it and in what manner (self defense, possibly to harm others)?
Another means of determining the definition of a symbol is to recall verses from the bible that dreams are relating to. If you have a dream that you are eating bread you may remember that bread represents the body of Jesus. However, upon further investigation you find out it can represent sin, life, health, Jesus, money, blessings, communion, cooking something up, fellowship with God, the word of God, God's provision, God's portion and the list can go on and on. Daily reading of your bible will help facilitate Holy Spirit to bring these scriptures back to your memory as need be. John 14:26 tells us Holy Spirit brings all things to remembrance, meaning he is bringing up what is already inside of you. Since his Spirit has unlimited knowledge, he knows all things and his spirit lives in you, then you have access to all knowledge as well.
If the symbol is not in the bible remember that it can be a play on words such as a TV may represent a vision as in "Tell a Vision," or a dolphin may be a play on words for Purpose (porpoise). Analyze what the symbol's characteristics are like in real life. What does a car do? It drives you, it takes you places, it may represent where you are heading in life, your ministry, life etc. The size and nature of the vehicle (or any element) in real life will determine what the element means. Sports cars are fast, you'll get there quick, Trucks can carry heavier loads than most. What are the attributes of the element? These are all things that you want to deduce in order to accurately determine the symbol definition.
The last key I will share with you for today is the power of the concordance. More often than not I have come across the meaning of a dream symbol by seeking out the original word of the symbol in Greek or Hebrew, or by researching the origin of word and if the root word of the symbol has Greek or Hebrew root words that are similar. You may be surprised to find out that the American word salad is in the bible one time. In Hebrew the word Salad is used one time to mean rejoice in the book of Job! The word Heineken (Similar to the popular German beer) is used in Luke 4:18 meaning because, on account of, or for the sake of. Every answer you can ever need will be found in the word of God in one way or another. That's all I have to say for today. I pray that this is a blessing for you and helps you understand you dreams more clearly. Be blessed beloved ones of God.