Sometimes the meaning of a dream can be extracted quickly by simply condensing the form in which you work with the dream. An example would be to give the dream a title. This stimulates your unconscious to sift quickly through many alternatives and arrive at some kind of summary.
A somewhat longer but very effective exercise is to write one or more Haiku. A Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, usually containing three lines. A common structure is five syllables for the first line; seven syllables for the second; and five for the third.
Here is a suggestion for carrying out this exercise.
Write a Haiku
First re-enter the dream and focus on the central character. Pay attention to what you say, feel, and do, while you are assuming this role. Then write a Haiku from this character's perspective. The Haiku need not encompass the whole dream. Just write about what the central character sees or says or feels or does. Pay attention to the number of syllables in each line, but don't try to perfect the poem. Write quickly. Let your unconscious speak.
Draw a Card
Now draw a Tarot card. For the purposes of this explanation, let's assume you drew the Empress from the on-line Tarot Affirmations deck with an affirmation that said, "I am feminine power, blossoming fertility, creative abundance."
Be the Character
Give your imagination free rein, and be the character on the card—in this example, the Empress sitting on a comfortable throne in the midst of nature, pregnant, filled with creative power. Let the dream unfold again in front of her throne. What does she see, say, feel, or do as she watches your dream unfold? Pay particular attention to anything that seems to involve new life and nurture. Does she see seeds of new life in your dream? Something in need of encouragement or renewal? Signs of love and desire?
Write another Haiku and compare the two
While still in your role as Empress, write a Haiku from her perspective. Now compare the two Haiku. How does the perspective of the Empress differ from the perspective of the central character? Do they focus on the same things? See the dream the same way? Feel the dream the same way?
Write a third Haiku
After comparing the two Haiku, write a third Haiku about the dream from your present, waking perspective. Then look at the three Haiku. Which one do you think revealed the dream most accurately? Were you surprised by anything you wrote (or allowed your unconscious to write for you)? Did reviewing the dream from the perspective of the Empress change your own waking perspective of the dream?
Once a dream's message has been revealed to you, the next question is how you can benefit from this information. One option is to establish a goal based on your work with the dream, a plan of action to implement that goal, and an affirmation that will support your work towards it.