The First Rule of Dream Interpretation: Consider the Obvious

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The first rule of dream interpretation

Some dreams are full of archetypal imagery and themes that offer a view into the deepest reaches of the inner world of the dreamer. They are windows to the soul. Analyzing these dreams using techniques such as those offered by depth psychology can lead to astute, sometimes life-changing insights.

However, as the lead moderator at Reddit Dreams, a popular online dreams forum, I have observed that most of the dreams submitted to the site have more to do with daily life than with life of the soul. They reflect the dreamers’ thoughts, concerns, and feelings, and tell stories about recent events in their lives. They can be interpreted with no special training or techniques simply by looking for the obvious meaning.

I will give you some examples and explain how I interpreted them, with the hope that you will better understand the everyday dreams that make up the bulk of your dream life. For the sake of brevity, I chose dreams with short descriptions (edited for brevity and clarity).

keyinlockI’ve been dating this girl for six weeks and things are going great. But last night I dreamed she was at my house, in my bedroom, and wouldn’t allow me in. She said it was “too risky.”

When I interpret dreams I look for symbolism in the settings. The symbolism is often related to the function a setting has in daily life. A bedroom is for sleeping. It can be a place of privacy. It is also a setting where people have sex.

The young man who had this dream is ready to have sex with his girlfriend, but she is putting it off because it’s “too risky.” Combine the idea of “too risky” with the function of a bedroom as a place for having sex, and the meaning is obvious.

Now look at the next dream, also with a bedroom setting, and try to figure out what it relates to. The dreamer has a roommate; the roommate referred to in the dream is a person he lives with, not a fictional character the dream invented.

In my dream a gorilla jumps around my room being violent. I tell my roommate to lock him up. Then the gorilla comes to me and I am sweet with him, but in the back of my mind I’m afraid he could get violent again.

The reference to the roommate in this dream indicates that the gorilla is a symbol for him. Otherwise, why would the dreamer ask him to lock up the gorilla? The dream clearly connects together the roommate and the gorilla. The dreamer said his roommate would invade his privacy by entering his bedroom uninvited and messing with his computer. He also said that his roommate’s behavior could be described as acting like a gorilla, and he handled him delicately, leery of his unpredictability. (Read the original post if you like.)

Just for fun, let’s look at other possible interpretations for these dreams. The dream about the girlfriend could be interpreted as the dreamer denying his feminine side, because the girlfriend character shuts him out of his bedroom, a way of saying he is cut off from a feminine-oriented part of himself. We could spend hours talking about getting in touch with his “inner woman,” when really he just wants to physically get in touch with his girlfriend!

The dream about the gorilla could be interpreted as symbolizing the dreamer’s inner nature. We could end up talking about following instincts and getting to know his animal side, when actually the dream is describing his roommate.

My point is, keep it simple. The most obvious answer is often the correct one. When obvious answers don’t apply, we break out the tools Carl Jung and his contemporaries in depth psychology gave us to interpret dreams. With most dreams I don’t find it necessary, though.

This is another dream for which the obvious interpretation is the best one:

I dream that my fiance is completely blind. As we sit on the couch together I forget that he can no longer see my face and it makes me cry.

A reference to seeing someone in a dream can mean to see the person they are, to see the inside of them, not the outside. By portraying her fiance as blind, the dream is saying that the dreamer feels like he doesn’t really “see” her. There are other possible interpretations, but I zeroed in on this one because of the dreamer’s reaction. It hurts to know she is engaged to someone who doesn’t really see her for the person she is.

In comparison, check out the next dream, about processing perceptions related to the person the dreamer is about to marry. The dreamer is engaged and her wedding day is right around the corner.

I dream that it’s my wedding day and I’m about to say my vows in a big church full of people I know. Suddenly my ex-boyfriend barges through the doors and says he is there to rescue me.wedding day dream

The meaning of this dream seems obvious to me. She needs someone to rescue her from marrying the wrong person. She knows that marrying the person she is engaged to is a bad decision, but is blind to the obvious. She can’t figure it out for herself so her dream makes it unmistakable.

Dreams show us what we don’t realize consciously. They amplify the small voices in our head that are sometimes ignored or overlooked. They teach us what we need to know to make good decisions and live our lives better.

Depth psychology provided my introduction to dream interpretation, and I am forever grateful for how it expanded my mind and opened my life to new possibilities. It is invaluable for understanding those occasional dreams that have no obvious connection to daily life and ordinary concerns. The deep dreams about life of the soul. But before breaking out those dream interpretation tools, follow the first rule of dream interpretation and consider the obvious first.

Dream Interpretation: Apocalyptic battle relates to dreamer’s work

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Dream Interpretation: Apocalyptic Battle

Dreams exaggerate. They take something going on in your life or in yourself and blow it way out of proportion. They do this to get your attention and be memorable. You can have as many as 20 dreams in a night, and among all that content the few dreams that are the most important need to stand out. Many dreams simply process memories of the day and don’t really have anything to teach you, nor important meaning. Some are very important, very meaningful, and have much to teach you.

The dream about an apocalyptic battle I’m about to analyze is a great example of exaggeration to get a point across. It was shared at Reddit Dreams, where I’m a moderator.

(Link to original. I’m “RadOwl” in that discussion. I changed the dream description to present tense and lightly edited it.)

In my dream, I travel just about as far forward in time as it is possible to go, which is actually so far that time somehow loops over and takes me back to the very beginning of time, where the world is jagged, rocky, and constantly blanketed by a thick, silvery mist. There, the last remnants of humanity — super-soldiers augmented with cybernetic parts to enhance their combat prowess — are fighting an endless battle against an invading enemy force: strange, mantis-like humanoids that seem to be swarming en masse from the center of the earth, intent on eliminating the very last human settlement in history.

dream interpretation about an apocalyptic battle

dream interpretation about an apocalyptic battle

Somehow, after briefly observing the battle, I know that things are going even worse than usual for humanity, so I go inside and voice my concerns to the person in charge — a tough-as-nails black woman in her mid-fifties — who then goes outside and fires the general overseeing the battle.

After that, I am back in the base for some reason, and I am being given a tour that showcases all the futuristic weapons and equipment that the soldiers are fighting with. The one that stands out the most for me is a sort of foldable APC: light as a feather but tough as a tank, it is made out of a material that looks like plastic but can withstand just about anything, and the whole thing can be collapsed like a tent and carried around by hand.

Wow, this dream has it all: time travel; battles to save humanity; futuristic technology; interpersonal drama; powerful alien enemies. It’s like an episode of Battlestar Galactica or something.

To interpret it, I began with the idea of battling something, because that’s the main theme of the dream. The other main idea that clued me in is the part about time travel, reaching the end only to go back to the beginning. The picture I got in my mind reminded me of people I know who work in high-pressure environments. They finish some huge project only to find another one waiting for them. They have a constant sense of alarm as they race to meet deadlines and stay on top of a tidal wave of work.

Specifically, I thought of someone I know who works for a major video gaming company. The team he is on work really hard and fast to produce a game, then work even harder and faster as the game is getting ready to launch. They sometimes eat and sleep at work. They do all that frantic work, finish the project, only to turn around and have a new project waiting for them. Rarely do they get a chance to take a breather.

I told the dreamer about the thoughts her dream sparked in me, and she related. She works in the front office at a private school and says there is always something that has to be done right now. The panic button is always being pushed. The work is endless. One project is finished and another immediately begins.

So with that in mind, take a look again at the dream’s description. The super-soldiers augmented with high technology are an exaggerated representation of the modern office worker armed with powerful computers and smart phones. The dreamer and her workmates are like soldiers fighting battles against on onslaught of work and responsibilities. The weapons the soldiers fight with represent the tools the dreamer uses to do her job. The mantis-like creatures are the impersonal forces she and her workmates face everyday in their work. If they fail to win the battle, they could end up harming the organization or losing their jobs.

To understand what the APC represents, the keyword is personnel. What is something high-tech that helps manage personnel? Sounds like a smart phone to me.

I thought at first that the black-lady leader and the general could represent someone getting fired at her workplace, but then with more thought about what a general does, I realized that this detail could be related to delegating work responsibilities. Generals lead. They also delegate. The black lady could represent a part of the dreamer that wants to be tough-as-nails when it comes to delegating responsibility and work load.

So as you can see, everything in this dream relates back to the dreamer’s work life. The dream could easily be confused for some sort of apocalypse in the dreamer’s life, but instead it’s an exaggerated representation of the apocalyptic battles she fights at work every day. She says she loves her job so leaving it is not an option. It might be a good idea though to take a breather and delegate more responsible.

Precognition or just a dream: the difference between precognitive and ordinary dreams

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Difference between precognitive and ordinary dreams

As a dreams expert who does a lot of media interviews, I am asked fairly often how to distinguish ordinary dreams from precognitive ones. In fact, I was recently asked that question on the Christine Upchurch Show. (I was her guest on Aug. 1, 2014 show. Scroll down to her archive).

Short answer: look for personal symbolism and rule out other possibilities.

First rule out that a dream you suspect to be precognitive is actually about something personal to you. The majority of dreams for most people are entirely personal. Ask yourself if the dream is residue from the previous day. Or does it express your anxieties or wishes. Physicist Russ Targ, who has studied precognition as a scientist and written extensively about it, uses this example: You know you haven’t studied for a test, you dream you fail it then really do fail it. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and not precognition.

While everyone has the ability to precognitive dream because it’s an innate ability, in my experience only a small subset of the population does it regularly and remember when they do. Most people don’t remember their dreams well enough to know if they do it or not.

An example of how to separate an ordinary dream from the extraordinary can be found in my book Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams. I used the case of Sugar Ray Robinson’s dream about killing his opponent in the ring. Before his welterweight bout with Jimmy Doyle in 1947, Sugar Ray dreamed that he knocked out Doyle and he subsequently died. Sugar Ray was so unnerved that he tried to back out of the fight. The fight promoter brought in a priest to assure Robinson it was “only a dream.” The rest is history.

Sugar Ray knocked out Doyle in the 8th round. Doyle died that night.

Sugar Ray knocked out Doyle in the 8th round. Doyle died that night.

If I was the person brought in to counsel Robinson about his dream I’d begin by asking him if the details matched waking reality. In the dream, was the arena the same as the one he was scheduled to fight in? Were the people nearby, like his trainers and the ref, the same people he anticipated to be at the fight? Discrepancies between waking reality and dream reality are a sign of personal symbolism, though precognitive dreams are known to use symbolism and metaphor, too.

Next I’d explore the possibilities for symbolism. Killing someone in a dream can express personal hostility. Was there bad blood between him and Doyle, so that Robinson felt he “could kill that guy” in the figurative sense? If so, there would be a chance the dream expressed those feelings and was not precognition.

Then I’d explore if a subconscious fear was showing itself in the dream. Fighters die in the ring, rarely but it happens. Sugar Ray had no desire to actually kill someone – he was a great fighter with a vicious punch but was an honorable sportsman. I’d ask him if he feared he could kill Doyle because Doyle had taken too many hard blows to the head.

Some digging through historical accounts of the bout uncovered this possibility. Doyle was known to have head issues. He was a tenacious Irish fighter who publicly proclaimed he was fighting Robinson to earn the money to buy his mother a house. I think it’s possible Sugar Ray’s dream reflected a fear that Doyle should not be boxing anymore, then the fear came true. The dream might not have been precognitive in the strictest sense. Unfortunately, we can’t ask Robinson the questions needed to make that determination.

However, in his autobiography Robinson wrote, “I had knocked out guys before, dozens of them. But in those fights, I always had a good feeling, a conquering feeling when I saw them being counted out, maybe because I could see that they weren’t really hurt. But now, with Doyle stretched out and his eyes blank, I had that empty feeling you get when something in your life is really wrong, and all I could think of was the dream.”

Robinson added, “You warned me, God. You told me. Why did I let everyone talk me out of it.”

I think Robinson’s dream was precognitive, but it’s easier to judge after the fact.

A guy once asked me if a dream he’d had about a plane crash warned him he should not get on a flight he was scheduled to take the next day. I asked him if details from the dream matched waking reality. Was the airplane in the dream from the same airline he had booked? Was it the same type of plane? Were the airport and concourse the same? While precognitive dreams can use symbolism and metaphor, it’s not as likely to be used for details like these.

What I find is, if a dream is precognitive and metaphorical, the entire dream will be metaphor, not just pieces of it. I also asked the guy if something in his recent life could be symbolized as a plane crash. Planes take us to personal destinations. This dream theme often pops up when people are beginning something new and exciting like a romantic relationship or a business venture. The guy said yes, something with his job that he’d had high hopes for recently “crashed” in the figurative sense.

At the risk of being wrong I told him I did not think his dream was precognitive. I watched the news the next day with butterflies in my stomach, and fortunately there were no reports of plane crashes.

A piece of evidence used to support the existence of precognition comes from the fact that planes and trains that crash tend to have more empty seats than usual. An investigation of train crashes on the U.S. east coast during the 1950s showed that the trains that crashed or derailed had fewer passengers than the same trains on other days. The four passenger planes hijacked on September 11, 2001 had half their usual numbers of passengers.

There are many reports of people who did not take flights that crashed because they had a bad feeling. Sometimes though the reason why people miss those flights appears to be dumb luck. For example, Seth MacFarlane was booked on American Airlines Flight 11 on the morning of September 11, 2001, but he arrived ten minutes late because his travel agent gave him the wrong departure time and he was hungover, so he was running late anyway.

Which brings me around to the best way to tell a precognitive dream from an ordinary one: intuition. It’s a gut feeling. Some people who’ve had precognitive dreams report a buzzing sound during the dreams or a ringing in their ears when they wake up. The dreams have an unusual clarity. There can be a feeling like deja vu that accompanies them. For many people, trusting their gut feelings is a new experience. They don’t trust it and don’t know that precognition is a fact of life.

If you analyze a dream that you suspect is precognitive and it a). is not related to residue from the previous day, b). is not an expression of anxiety, c). does not express a wish, and d). is not personal symbolism, then consider that it’s precognitive. But most of all, trust your gut. The most important thing to remember is precognition is not prophecy. Precognition gives us the ability to act ahead of time, to change the possible outcome. In that way it’s more like a forecast. And forecasts can always change.

Visit my website Dreams 1-2-3.com to learn more about my system of dream interpretation. Or to hear more of my radio interviews, visit my media page.

Further information about precognition:

Researcher Ian Wilson’s theory about precognition. Well-researched and cited.

Essay: An Experiment with Time by J.W. Dunne, a seminal work about dream precognition.

Russ Targ’s TED Talk Not exactly about precognition but psi ability in general.

 

 

Dream interpretation: Bathroom doors symbolize privacy

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A dream interpretation: bathroom doors

The theme of bathroom doors comes up frequently in dreams related to privacy. The phrase “having a private moment” refers to using the bathroom. In Japan, public bathrooms are equipped with noisemakers so that you can drop a load and not bother your neighbor. Privacy and bathrooms are closely associated, and in the next dream the symbolism really shows itself:

I start out in a setting I like, a bookstore, office, etc. Then I have to use the bathroom. So I go find it and there’s not a soul in there but me, there’s dozens of amazing stalls, but no doors on them! The bathrooms are so lovely and I long to use one of them but I just can’t fathom the thought of using one of them without a door, in case someone walks in! Sometimes I’ll find a stall that has a door but it’s disgusting…. I’ve had these dreams since I was young.

dream interpretation: bathroom doors

Open or closed? The dream imagery gives away the meaning

The dreamer herself indicated that she thought the dream was related to privacy. It is a recurring dream theme, indicating an ongoing situation. The part that really gives away the meaning is the difference between the bathroom stalls. When there’s no door on the stall the bathrooms are “lovely.” When the stalls have doors the bathrooms are “disgusting.”

I conversed with the dreamer about the symbolism and she caught on quickly. Here is her reply:

I think the bathroom dreams might have something to do with my home life with my parents. Maybe because I feel like life is great with them but that I have no privacy, and when I do finally get the chance to shut them out and have my own life, it will not be as luxurious.

No shabby, insect-ridden hell hole apartments for this young lady. She prefers the luxury of living with her parents…at a price of not being able to shut them out. The door (or lack of it) on the stall symbolizes being able to shut people out of one’s private life. The same ideas applies to dreams about bathroom doors, not just stall doors. Case solved. Next dream.

Dream Interpretation: Acid thrown in face

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Dream Interpretation: Acid thrown in face

The face is the part of the body most closely associated with personal identity. Without a face a person is less identifiable. So when dreams refer to the face it’s often symbolic of something related to a person’s identity. With that in mind, take a look at this dream I interpreted at Reddit (link to original post):

I dreamt that I was walking into a Mcdonalds and it was packed so I decided to leave. As I was leaving these two girls were standing outside and had a water bottle in their hand, they were giggling. I kind of stopped to look at them because I felt like they were up to trouble. Both of them looked at me and one of them said “Hey, come here.” That’s when I started running and they chased me. I somehow climbed a pole and got onto this ledge thing, but I was pretty much trapped. When I looked down they were smiling and giggling, looked at each other, and then looked at me. Then a stranger passed by, he was looking at me and then looked down at them. One of the girls said “Hey!” and as he looked at her she squirted the liquid into his face. He started screaming and holding his face, I saw faint smoke coming from it. He ran away as the girls started laughing. The dream ended with them looking up at me, smiling.

Acid attacks like this really do happen and it’s possible to dream about it as a reflection of something heard about it on the news, but in this case I see symbolism at work. Two parts stick out. One, the attack itself, and two, the girls who do it. My first impression was, “I know that type of girl.” They huddle in little groups and disparage everyone else, making themselves feel better by putting other people down. So my guess was that this person’s character or reputation has been attacked recently, probably by a female or group of females.

To make a long story short, this interpretation hit the nail on the head. This is what the dreamer said in response:

Well my mother and I have never had a good relationship. Putting me down is pretty much her specialty. Two weeks ago we actually got into a really explosive argument because, to put it frankly, I was sick of her shit. We haven’t spoken since but I’m pretty much still completely angry. Usually by now we would’ve gotten over it, but this fight was different. She still talks behind my back to other family members and friend. I honestly can’t even stand to look at her.

I’m not sure why McDonald’s is the initial setting — it might have to do with a connection between cheap food and cheap shots, as in personal attacks — but the rest of the dream is pretty obvious in light of this comment. The dream uses substitute characters because I bet it’s hard for the dreamer to see the situation for what it really is. The dream portrays it almost poetically, but think about if you were the person constantly being attacked by your mom. It would probably be hard to admit to yourself that what she does is the symbolic equivalent of getting acid thrown in your face. Also, it’s not the dreamer but a stranger who gets attacked, yet the stranger is a substitute for the dreamer. Again, it’s to create some distance so that the dreamer can observe the situation and get the message without being too disturbed by the dream content before the dream runs its course.

The part about climbing the pole and getting stuck on a ledge is also a perfect metaphor for the situation the dreamer is in with his mom (and, by the way, with the rest of his family, as they follow her lead and tear into him too). Being up on a pole is a way of saying he is alone in this situation. He is trying to get away from it but can’t. Stuck on a ledge is also a variation of the same idea. It symbolizes being in a precarious situation.

Man, what a mother. Good luck, dreamer. I suggested that he get away from his family. His response: I’m trying.

For more about body symbolism in dreams, see this dream about a leg amputated,

this dream about a callous over the heart,

this dream about earwax,

this dream about false teeth,

and this dream about pulling a hair from a foot.

Dream Interpretation: Two lions in a dungeon

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Two lions can represent two sides of the same coin, expressing an internal power dynamic, but not in this dream.

Two lions can represent two sides of the same coin, expressing an internal power dynamic, but not in this dream.

Dream interpretation: two lions in a dungeon

When interpreting a dream, one of the first steps — if not THE first step — is to gage whether it’s an internal or external dream. Does it speak to something going on inside the dreamer, or outside the dreamer? Some dreams describe what is happening inside a person, some describe what’s happening externally in a person’s life. The difference isn’t always apparent at first, and there can be overlap, but it’s a great place to begin because the approaches to interpreting external and internal dreams are a little different, and knowing the difference narrows down the possibilities.

The dream I’m about to discuss looks like an internal dream at first glance because the imagery does not seem to be related to anything going on externally in the dreamer’s life. External dreams often have settings and characters from external life. If you dream about work or school, work or school will be the setting and it will be populated with characters from those areas of life. However, when a dream needs to express something that’s difficult for the dreamer to wrestle with or “see”, it will disguise the waking-life source. With that in mind, take a look (link to original post at Reddit):

I was having a normal dream with nothing weird when all of a sudden it stopped and I was in a dark dungeon with iron gates all around each side, each with a staircase leading up and out of there.

At the nearest staircase a lion fell down and hit the gate he was behind. He was terrified. He took a glance back up the stair then carefully climbed through the gate into the dungeon and stared at the far side of the dungeon.

There was a huge intricate gate in front of a grand staircase. The gate had the image of a lion’s left profile. The eye was hollow and dripping water as if it were crying. Slowly, the image of the lion started to speak, “I am blind in this eye, so I cannot see you” the image turned its face toward the real lion, revealing its second eye, “But with this eye, I can see right through you!”

The huge gate swung open and the real lion ran as fast as it could up the staircase.

Then my normal dreams returned as if nothing had happened except I was blind in my right eye.

The first detail from the dream that sticks out at me is the dichotomy of the two lions, one terrified, the other sort of omniscient. Pairings like this in a dream can be a way of expressing archetypal symbolism. Archetypes are powerful centers within the deep psyche that shape human energy, made up of a “positive side” and a “negative side.” Think of positive and negative as polarity like you get with protons and electrons. It’s an esoteric subject that I won’t get into now, point is that archetypes are solely internal for a dreamer. In dreams, the presence of archetypes is a dead giveaway that the dream is describing an internal power dynamic. Even though one of the lions is made of iron and the other of flesh, they can still be looked it as a pairing.

But not so fast, cowboy. I suggested to the dreamer that she look for internal power dynamics in the dream by examining the lions and looking for ways she related to them. What I suspected was two sides of the dreamer — one timid (negative) and the other assertive (positive) — were in conflict. Dynamic conflict is the essence of personal change and transformation. I had a hunch the dreamer was trying to change something about herself, perhaps trying to become less passive and more assertive.

Her response was lukewarm so I focused next on astrological symbolism in the lions. Dreams can create symbols for pe0ple based off their astrological signs, and Leo is the lion. Leos come into two basic flavors, one overtly aggressive, the other passive-aggressive. It’s like the difference between Mufasa and Scar in The Lion King movie. The dreamer replied that her husband is a Leo and she is a Capricorn. I wondered whether her husband didn’t really “see” her on the one hand, and saw right through her on the other. It could tie together the symbolism between two distinctive details of the dream. The dreamer didn’t make a connection so I moved on to the setting.

This is really where I should have begun hunting for the meaning of the dream. A dungeon is a helluva setting and the symbolism is very telling. It implies that the dreamer feels trapped in a situation. I wondered whether her husband the Leo had her trapped in an abusive relationship or something. In my system of dream interpretation, settings are one of the keys to analyzing a dream. So I suggested to the dreamer that the dungeon could symbolize that she feels trapped. Question was, by what? Relationships can be entrapping, but so can work situations, school situations, personal situations. With that one suggestion, the dreamer made a powerful connection. In her words:

I do feel trapped in my job –

And now that I think about it, I’m wondering if the iron lion represents corporate and higher management. The ones who make the decisions. The don’t see me, they see employee #538. The tears could be crocodile tears, from when they send memos down to us to say, “We ‘care’ about you, now work harder!”

I’m suddenly seeing a ton of ways this connects to how I feel about my job. The natural lion had no choice but to run up the iron lion’s stairs. The iron lion had control and knew it and it will bring the natural lion right back down to the dungeon again.

Maybe it wasn’t that the natural lion looked fearfully up the stairs he first fell down – maybe he was just longing to go back up the stairs but knew he couldn’t. He had to bow to the iron lion’s will before he moved on.

Corporate has been real shitty to us on the lowest rungs on the ladder here lately. Everything is our faults and they claim they want to just fire everyone and start over.

Wow. I guess my mind really wanted me to take a good look at where I was in life.

Wow indeed. What a way for a dream to express what’s going on in the dreamer’s work life! The dream is not about internal power dynamics of the dreamer, but external power dynamics at work.

Anxiety dream: She’s afraid while she’s away, her man will play, and it shows in her dream about losing a tooth

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Back story: This person (20/f) had this dream while working 60-hour weeks travelling across the U.S. in a van as part of a disaster relief program. Click the back story link to see the original post at Reddit (edited for brevity and clarity):

I walk around a house with my volunteer team … and find hidden doors. I walk through them, then keep going down hallways to the next door. Eventually I come across my boyfriend and we get into this huge fight. I look at his phone and he has been texting other girls, sexting with them and going out partying with this guy I can’t stand, which is out of his normal behavior.

Then I am in a car with him, crying and arguing, asking why he keeps defending that person to me and why he would be messaging other girls. He says I’m self-righteous and how dare I judge anyone. Then I ran out of the car and into this room surrounded by mirrors. My hair is messy and makeup runs down my face from crying. I am insanely skinny and as I look in the mirror I keep losing weight. Then I reach up because one of my teeth feels weird, as if it is falling out. I walk closer to the mirror and see the one of my teeth is turning black. Right as I barely touch it, it falls into my hand and my mouth starts bleeding.

I start feeling anxious and cry again. Then my mom walks up behind me and looks at me through the mirror, repeating, “We’ll will fix this, everything is going to be okay.” But I don’t feel okay, I am scared and hurt and can’t get out of the room of mirrors.

Finding hidden or secret rooms can be a dream’s way of saying it’s exploring things hidden from you, making discoveries. The person who had this dream is finding out new things about herself as she is challenged by her job and the lengthy time away from her boyfriend. She is worried and it shows in her dream.

The behavior of her boyfriend dream character is a projection of her feelings. It has nothing to do with her boyfriend per se, and everything to do with her fears about what could happen since she can’t be around to give him the attention he wants and keep an eye on him. When dream characters act out of character from the person you know it’s a sign of symbolism. The image of her boyfriend is merely playing a role scripted for him by the dream story. Her mind is filling in gaps with her worst fears by showing him sexting with other girls and hanging out with people she doesn’t like because they’re bad influences.

The dream dramatizes the situation to make her aware of how she really feels. Next it shows her the source of her fears in her insecurity. Mirrors are used to help us groom and see our appearance. They have a variety of symbolic uses based on those functions. In this dream, being surrounded by mirrors says to me that the dreamer is concerned about her appearance. The dream portrays her disheveled feelings as a disheveled appearance, hair messed up, makeup running down her face.

The source of her fears go deeper, as illustrated by the mirrors showing her to be “insanely skinny” and still losing weight. This ties in with an eating disorder. Some people with eating disorders can never be skinny enough to be satisfied so they waste away in pursuit of an unhealthy image.

The presence of the dreamer’s mother points toward a solution. The dreamer told me that her mother helped get her life back on track and pushed to get her into the disaster relief program. Her mother is a woman the dreamer knows who has a healthy self-image. The dreamer can learn from her how to overcome her anxieties and insecurities.

Anxiety dreams are common. Some traditions even go as far as to claim that all dreams are the result of anxieties. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think that anxieties show up often in dreams and by understanding the symbolism the dreams can be used for personal growth and healing.

Dream about leg amputated – What does it mean?

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Dream about leg amputated voluntarily – What does it mean?

Dreams use parts of the body as symbolism, and lately legs have been mentioned in dreams shared at Reddit Dreams where I’m a moderator. Take this one for example (original post at Reddit):

In the dream I am planning on having my leg amputated.

The guy goes on to say he is overweight and has a history of diabetes. He’s taking two college classes and failing one of them — anatomy — that he needs to get through nursing school. On top of that, he’s considering a change of schools and it will mean his wife supports them till he graduates and gets a job.

In this dream, leg amputation is symbolism.

Those details give me a few directions to go in. Is it a health warning dream, a way of saying if the dreamer continues on his present course, overweight and diabetic, he might as well cut off his leg? Untreated diabetes can lead to amputations, and the fear of it could be in the back of his mind. Is it a warning to not put too much burden on his wife, who will have to carry the load, or a way saying “legs cut out from beneath you?” That’s getting warmer.

To figure out the meaning of the dream, ask yourself what legs do. Legs take us places. They make us move, and in dreams movement is often connected with movement in a person’s life. Through our conversation on Reddit I found out the dreamer planned to drop his anatomy class that day. In a way, he’s cutting one of his legs off. It’s a setback that will hamper his ability to move his life forward.

The part of the dream that stood out to me is he voluntarily decides to amputate his leg. It’s something that would usually jar a person back to reality, but when it’s dream symbolism we tend to play along because we know subconsciously things are not what they appear.

The dreamer agreed with the interpretation and added that in the class he was dropping, he had a test that day on, of all subjects, leg anatomy.

Go figure.

In another dream with leg symbolism, the dreamer is with two friends driving Lamborghinis. One friend decides to take it to the next level and long board. He crashes and badly wounds his leg. He acts like it’s no big deal, happens all the time. At the hospital he cuts off pieces of his leg, puts them in bags of popcorn and passes them around.

Sounds like some crazy shit, but it’s all understandable as symbolism. Driving around in overcharged sports cars can be a way of symbolizing that the dreamer and his friends are daredevils always seeking the next adventure. The friend who injures himself takes it too far, from the dreamer’s perspective. I used an example of someone who takes mad amounts of pills and pretends like it’s all good. It’s not, but you pretend. The guy who had the dream said it wasn’t pills but something similar.

Another clue is in how the friend passes around pieces of his leg. It’s a way of saying he shares his misery or bad habits. Knowing that the dreamer is in high school and remembering what my friends and I were like at that age, I could picture the scene. Turns out I hit the interpretation on the head.

Dream interpretation: two tornadoes, one author

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dream about two tornadoes

Twin tornadoes form a heart shape

Dream interpretation: two tornadoes, one author

Oftentimes, violent or scary imagery in dreams is symbolism for something a lot less violent or scary in real life. Remembering that dreams exaggerate so that they are memorable and get your attention, take a look at this dream [link to original post] and see if you can guess what it means. The dreamer is an author who writes novels about zombies and apocalypse:

In my dream, I was driving next to my grandfather, who is long dead now. We saw two tornadoes forming. I told my grandfather we need to get out of here. He told me to let nature run its course. So, we were driving. I pulled out my phone and called my dad. He told me there had been another outbreak. Of zombies.

Boom. Suddenly, I was at some store with my uncle and aunt. He was arrested for theft, even though I know he didn’t do it. Then, the officer walked up to my aunt and told her that he was innocent. I step outside. Huge tornado right in front of my face. I started to run. And run. And I didn’t stop running. All of the people in that store were killed.

I saw a person driving away from zombies. I started yelling at them to stop. “What the hell?!? You are going to let me die?” I screamed. I started to run, but was teleported to my bed, in my house. All of the people from my dream appeared in front of me. I started to tell them all my secrets. Part of my wall blew off and zombies ran into the house. Everyone was sucked in or eaten.

The dreamer is driving, which can symbolize movement in his life. We are said to “go places” in our lives when things are humming along, or get “stuck in place” when our lives are stuck. What better way to symbolize those ideas than with driving a car? It can also symbolize movement (or lack of it) in a particularly area of life. So immediately I think to myself that this dream might be about something the dreamer is trying to accomplish.

Next we get into the zombie imagery. That’s a clue that zombies are somehow involved with the subject of the dream. Zombies in dreams can symbolize the “walking dead” and that imagery fits many situations in life. I’ve interpreted several dreams about zombies that related back to the dreamers’ perceptions that they live in a world of the “walking dead,” or that they themselves fit into this category of being alive but dead inside. But in this dream the zombies are related to something the dreamer is trying to accomplish, as you will see in a moment.

Now consider the tornadoes. By itself a tornado in a dream has a variety of possible interpretations. It can describe something going on in your life that’s comparable to a whirlwind. Frantically getting ready for the holidays is a situation I’ve heard described as a “whirlwind” of activity. A tornado can also describe an inner state of being that is stormy, or a relationship that is tumultuous. There are other possibilities related to anything that goes round and round. This dream gives a big clue to the meaning of the symbolism being used by showing two tornadoes.

So here is my initial response to the person who had the dream:

The part that might connect this dream with your life is the dual tornadoes. I wondered if maybe you have two projects going furiously at once, or two areas of your life that are very active, something like that. In which case your grandpa’s advice to let nature run its course could apply to something you’re working on right now. Judging by the presence of the zombies, maybe you’re working on a new book or two? If so, maybe the part about being left behind expresses the feeling that you want to abandon one of the projects?

Which is exactly the case, judging by the person’s reply:

Wow, basically everything you said was true. I am working on two different books, and was considering [stopping] one of them. Thanks.

To make sure the interpretation is correct, I asked about the dreamer’s grandfather. His presence in the dream is another clue to the meaning. I guessed he was the type of guy to never start something unless he intended to finish it, and it turns out to be the case. One of the books, the author said, was not getting his fullest effort, a sign that it might be better to “let nature run its course” and abandon the effort. I could practically hear Grandpa saying, “If you’re going to do something, you better do it right,” and “finish what you start.”

The author, knowing his heart isn’t into writing one of the books, is told by this dream it’s better to drop one of the projects so he can put his fullest effort into the other one. He’s having difficulty though because he believes in finishing what he starts, as symbolized in the scene when a character drives away, leaving behind the dreamer to presumably get mauled by zombies. The dreamer’s strong reaction (“you’re going to let me die?!”) expresses his feelings about abandoning one of the projects, speaking from the perspective of his creative idea. He has to allow one of the projects to die. I think the dream is telling him that it’s wise, and showing him why he hasn’t done it already.

For more dream interpretations, visit RedditDreams.com. I’m RadOwl.

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Dream interpretation: partner shrinks during sex

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What does it mean to dream that your partner shrinks during sex? In the dreamer’s own words:

partner shrinks during sex

Don’t worry Barbie, it’s only a dream

I had a dream last night where I had sex with this super hot chick. However, halfway through she starts shrinking tinier and tinier until it’s like I’m mashing my dick into the mouth of a Barbie doll.

This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s happened more than once. Any ideas what this could mean?

My first guess, which you’ll see here if you follow RadOw’s comments, is that the dreamer is enjoying sex less. The action of a partner shrinking during sex implies that something is diminishing. Since sex is the main action in the dream, you see why I made that connection.

Here is the dreamer’s reply:

I think you hit the nail on the head. My wife has gained weight over this past year and she’s now at her heaviest she’s ever been. Although I love having sex with her, her weight gain has required me to be the more physical one, and I guess in some selfish way I view having sex as being more “work” than it used to be. I wish I didn’t feel that way, but I think it affects how often I initiate sex.

So not only is the dreamer enjoying sex less, he’s having less sex. The issue behind the dream is his wife’s weight gain and how it affects their sex life, so while she’s growing their sex life is shrinking, both in quality and quantity.

Now THAT is what I call some wicked dream symbolism. Having the issue graphically portrayed by this dream helps the guy admit to himself something that’s hard to admit. By doing so he can resolve the issue behind it. As I told him, his wife is the woman he loves no matter what she weighs.