Dreams are very mysterious, and no one has quite figured out for sure why we have them. It has been said that dreams can provide insight on hidden messages. Here are some interpretations of common dreams…
Importance of dream recall
We all have many, many dreams every single night. Just because you don’t remember, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
When you first wake up, your dream memory is at its strongest. Within a minute, you lose 90% of your dream memory. And within several minutes, you lose 99%.
There are many herbs and supplements that can help you remember your dream. You should avoid certain substances like alcohol or cannabis because they suppress dream recall. Instead, try melatonin, magnesium, lotus flower… there are many others. Certain foods, like banana, also aids in dream recall.
Much of dream recall can come from willpower. Before falling asleep at night, tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. And as soon as you wake up, repeat your dreams to yourself. Record them in a journal or your notes app.
Sometimes “spontaneous dream recall” occurs — when you see an object, hear a phrase, etc and receive a sudden flashback to a dream you had last night. When this happens, you know for sure that there is deep meaning behind this dream, and the universe wants you to remember it.
Just like memories, dream recall is not 100% reliable. Unless you had a very vivid dream, many details will be blurry. True dreams are exactly similar to real life — in fact, they can feel even more real than reality! So if your dream involves conflicting storylines, flashing from one scene to another, people changing who they are (ex: one moment you’re talking to your mother, the next moment it’s your sister) then it means that you cannot fully trust this memory — it is still worth investigating, but understand that your memory of this dream is not completely accurate.
What is a “lucid dream”?
A lucid dream means extreme vividness and awareness during your dream. A certain degree of lucidness is required in a dream in order to remember it the next morning.
People experience lucid dreams differently.
- Some people people have lucid dreams in which they are not aware that they are dreaming, but they wake up the next day and feel like their dream genuinely happened “in real life.”
- Some people experience fear during a lucid dream and wake up immediately, because the realization that they are dreaming while the dream is happening freaks them out! (It’s a very trippy feeling!)
- Some people have a partially controlled lucid dream, in which they are able to control what they do/say, but have no control over their environment.
- Some people are 100% controlled lucid dreams, in which they not only control their own actions, they also control who is in their dream, what the people in their dream are doing/saying, the location of the dream, etc.
Decoding your dreams
When it comes to decoding your dreams, you want to pay attention to key factors that stand out:
- Theme — overall mood/vibe
- People in your dream
- Animals, objects, things that stand out
Acknowledging the overall mood of the dream is the easiest way to figure out your current mind state. A stressful dream indicates that you’re stressed, a happy dream shows contentment, a scary dream shows fear, etc. Rememebr that this may not be what you’re feeling on the surface — but deep in your subconscious.
Dreams about the people you know
When you dream about someone you know, it confirms that there is a bond between you two. Most people have dreams involving friends and family.
It’s also common to have dreams about people you have lost touch with — old friends, old coworkers, old classmates, ex partners, an old crush, etc. These dreams are signs that this person still remembers you and may occasionally think about you. It is a friendly way of saying, “I still remember you, and I hope your doing well!” (As long as the dream is positive or neutral.)
If you continue to have persistent dreams about a person you’ve lost touch with, especially if these dreams are very intense, then it means that you are heavily on this person’s mind.
If you have a completely “random” dream about someone from your past who you have not thought of for a very long time, then this person is definitely thinking of you. They may have heard something about you, talked about you to someone, or saw something you posted online.
Also, people from your past often pop up in your dreams when you are about to experience a significant life change. This shows anxiety towards the future, but a message that these people from your past are proud of you and support these changes. However, if the dream is negative, then it means that you are required to forgive certain people from your past in order to fully move on to your next life phase.
Dreams about people you don’t know
Dream researchers say that it is impossible to dream about someone you do not know. If you dream of a stranger, then there’s two possibilities — that you have quickly seen this person before in passing, or that you can’t remember for sure who was in the dream.
There is another possibility, especially for those who are famous or have a large social media following — that this person knows you, but you don’t know them! This could be someone who really wishes to meet you in person.
Dreams about those who passed
Dreams are the best way for loved ones who have passed to reconnect with you.
The tricky thing about meeting loved ones in dreams who have passed away, is that your conscious mind may be so traumatized from their death that you do not allow yourself to fully embrace their presence.
For example, if you had a loved one who died from a long-term sickness, and they visit you in a dream, they may appear sick still — this does not mean that they are still suffering. Instead, this means that you are still processing the suffering that they once went through. Loved ones want to assure us that they are okay, but death is so upsetting to us that it is hard for most of us to believe that those who have passed are okay.
When the deceased visit us in dreams, they can appear as any age. Most of the time, they will appear the age they were right before they passed, or the age in which you remember them at their best. They will have this beautiful glow to them! And they will be smiling, full of love, and very excited to see you. The deceased can visit us at any time, but will commonly visit during birthdays or special events that remind you of them. They usually pick these times because they know you may be missing them extra, and they are urging that you do not worry.
And of course, deceased pets visit us all the time! Again, if your pet is sick in the dream, it only means that you are still traumatized by their passing. If your pet is happy and glowing, you know that they are here with you.
Spirit babies also come to us in our dreams. This can apply to those who miscarried, or those who have not yet gotten pregnant but their future child is visiting (time does not apply in the dream world.) Theh typically come to you as infants or toddlers, but can appear as any age.
Dreams of fighting with others
Some dreams can be very stressful and involve fighting with others — yelling and screaming, even physical violence.
Fighting with someone who you are actively mad at is your way of releasing aggression. Pay attention to what you specifically say when you have yelled at them and vice versa. Fighting can ultimately lead to forgiveness, so this is a good thing! It means you are letting negative emotions come to the surface in order to heal.
Sometimes we dream about fighting with someone we are not mad at — this can be very surprising and confusing. This is a sign that there is some pent-up aggression and resentment that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t mean that this person is bad — it’s your signal to dig deeper and question what needs to be resolved.
In contrary, the opposite can happen — you’re mad at someone, but you have a dream about getting along with them and being happy with one another. This is a sign that you have both forgiven each other. The anger you feel on the surface is likely a cover for very strong, positive feelings towards them. You are in denial about how much you love them.
Location / setting
Dreaming about work can take on different meanings depending on the mood. A positive dream indicates high satisfaction with your job, while a negative dream indicates too much stress or boredom with your job. Frequent dreams of work, whether neutral or negative, shows that you need more work-life balance.
Dreaming of an old job means that old coworkers are missing you or wondering what you’re up to now.
The similar meaning can be applied to school if you are currently a student. But if you have graduated school and you dream about going back, it means that many of your prior classmates (or teachers) miss you or that they are currently thinking of you.
Dreams that take place in a house (whether it’s your home or someone else’s) can take on different meanings, depending which room you are in. Generally, it represents your self and identity. An empty house means that you are ready to move forward, a cluttered house indicates stress. Upper levels of the house represent your intellectual mind, while lower levels/basement represents your subconscious and hidden desires. The kitchen represents a need to make changes.
The beach means that spiritual messages are coming through. The ocean, or any body of water, represents your emotions. Sailing or swimming shows that you are aware of your emotions but also in control of them — sinking/drowning implies that your emotions are controlling you.
Snow also represents your emotions, but can imply that someone is giving you “the cold shoulder” or “icing you out.” To dream of being in the snow with another person means that both of you are showing coldness towards each other.
To see a burning building means that you are ready to let go of the past. Fire itself signifies that you are excited about something new that is coming for you.
Animals carry so much purpose. If it’s your own pet, it’s a sign that your pet loves you and enjoys spending time with you. If it’s a random animal, pay close attention to this — each animal means something specific, in this case you should refer to a dream dictionary.
- Cats are very spiritual and imply higher consciousness
- Dogs resemble your playful nature, your sense of loyalty, and what you are protecting.
- Mouse resembles shyness and insecurity. Capturing a mouse implies overcoming your shyness. Infestation shows lack of courage. A dead mouse can mean bad luck.
- Wild animals resemble the wildness inside of you. Running away from an animal means you fear your wild nature. Locking it in a cage means you suppress your wild nature. Coming face to face with it, petting or taming it, means you honor that side of yourself.
- Spider brings good luck and protection (surprisingly!)
- Sea animals symbolize emotions and intuition. A dolphin means good luck, playfulness, sometimes sexuality.
- Birds symbolize freedom. A caged bird implies someone is controlling you, or that you have too much self-control.
Objects / actions
Objects can carry special meanings if it plays a significant role in your dream. Similarly, you should refer to a dream dictionary. But I will go over some common objects…
Gun implies sexual desires. If someone points a gun at you, likely that they are sexually attracted to you. If you are aiming a gun at someone, then vice versa.
Cars play a significant role in dreams.
- Driving normally: you have good control over your life right now.
- Driving in circles: repeating old patterns that must be broken
- Driving lost: feeling confused about a decision
- Driving chaotically: overwhelmed, no control over your life
- Driving slowly: you are being too cautious
- In a car, not moving: feeling stuck in a situation
- Driving with another person in the car: you have great influence over this person (or people)
- Passenger: you are surrendering control; if someone else is driving then it means that they have great influence over your decisions.
- Someone else takes the wheel: if you are driving and someone else takes the wheel or takes drivers seat, it means that this person wants to control you or help you (may be positive or negative, depending how you feel when they take your place.)
To dream that you are naked depends on the context. If you are embarrassed, then it means that you are feeling exposed and uncomfortable in a situation. If you are happy, then it means that you feel confident and free. If you are happy but others are judging you or laughing at you, then it means that people are jealous of you.
Flying is a common phenomena and tends to happen frequently in lucid dreams. Flying itself resembles a sense of freedom, adventure, and excitement. The reason most people fly when they are lucid dreaming is because physical sensations are too intense, therefore walking and standing is too painful, so they fly.
- Dreams as alternative realities — It is possible that what happened in your dream has actually happened in your waking life — but in a different reality. If there are parallel worlds, then dreams may be snippets of alternate realities.
- Dreams as past-life memories — It is possible that dreams are vivid memories from past lives, but as soon as you wake up, you automatically associate them with your current life. This ties into false memory dream recall. The people you dreamt about were from a past life, but your brain looks back on the dream and translates them into the people you currently know.
- Dreams as real life — Anyone who has experienced an extremely vivid dream has felt the sensation of the dream world actually being more realistic than “real life.” The only difference is that the laws of physics do not exist. And so, maybe “real life” is the dream, and dreams are “real life,” and what we associate as real life is an extremely limited reality in which we are bound by the laws of psychics.
The trickiest part about dream recall is our inability to trust our memories. Looking back on a dream, even an extremely vivid one, is no more reliable than looking back on an old childhood memory — you will never remember every single detail, and you are probably confusing many details with the things that are going on in your current life. You can count more on dream recall when there is a storyline that follows a specific order, when physical sensations are more intense than your waking life, and when you are able to express a certain degree of control over your dream. But no matter how blurry your dream was, it helps to look up symbols and pay attention to feelings that came out — to cultivate more self-awareness and possibly open yourself up to a message from the universe.