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What Do Elevators Mean In Dreams?

Here’s an interesting twist on an elevator dream from Mark L.

I’m descending in an elevator, but I’m not IN the car, I’m on TOP of the car (on the outside) and can see the cables and counterbalance weights.

Elevators move us up and down within a building and therefore connect with the easy ability to move up and down within our consciousness.  Higher floors relate to higher thoughts, lower floors…well you get the picture.

This higher and lower consciousness idea connects to many images that relate to vantage point: A mountain top would offer a broad, expansive view of your world, whereas a hole in the ground would be pretty restricted.  This distinction of an elevator, however, is that is located inside of a building; a man-made construction that has limited boundaries and specific purpose.  In this way, a building is much more about a construct of thought or ideas you may have created for yourself and an elevator represents your ability to move freely within the different levels of thought that this particular “idea” may contain.

So, now let’s talk about Mark’s conundrum.  In his dream, his elevator moves easily up and down, stopping at all the various floors representing different ideas he’s built up for himself.  However, he can’t access any of them because he’s stuck on top of the elevator car, separated from the doors that provide the entrance to what’s available in this particular building.  Sure, he has a good sense of how things work and the mechanism BEHIND the ideas (cables and weights) but this dream is probably coming along when he can’t actually utilize the information he has to expand his life using the knowledge available to him.

I’ve included the term Elevator from my upcoming dream dictionary, Dream Sight, coming from Llewellyn Press in February 2011.

Elevator

Universal Landscape:  Rapid transition between levels of awareness.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you waiting for the elevator or already riding it?  Was your intended destination being reached?  Were you frightened or in danger?  Were you going sideways?  Were you stuck in an elevator?  Were you moving faster than what felt safe?  Who were you with?  Were you pushing the buttons or was someone else?

Personal Focus:  Elevators carry us from one floor to another at the push of a button.  The different levels they transport us to connect to various perspectives of our awareness.  We decide our destination on an elevator, aligning this symbol with the choices we make about what areas of our consciousness we are willing to investigate.  What happens in the elevator of our dreams may reveal how well this process is going in our daily lives.

The floors involved in a dream can hold significance.  In a general way, moving upward connects with higher, more sophisticated levels of thinking and moving downward indicates investigation of lower levels, past issues and behavior patters.  Moving downward can also align with visiting hidden or shadow material.

The actual floor number or numbers, if remembered, can be examined through the concepts of numerology for additional meaning (see Numbers).  If there are specific associations with the floors you visit or the building where the elevator is located, this should be factored strongly into your interpretation.

To be going up when down is desired may indicate a pressing need to operate with a higher insight than with which you are currently engaged.  Going down when up is anticipated may point to the need to uncover additional material hidden in the lower depths of your consciousness or your past.  Being stuck on an elevator is to be midway through a process or shift.  Your response to the lack of movement may reveal levels of impatience with your progress in some area of growth.

An elevator out of control is similar to a falling dream, but the added component of transition and choice must be considered.  While you may be falling, you have chosen to take the elevator in search for new information.  Going sideways is to be confused about the direction in which a current transformational shift may be taking you.  If the elevator is out of service, you may be stuck in some issue in your life.  Another possibility with a broken elevator is a need to stay where you are and not try and escape your current situation by rising above it or sinking to a lower level.

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Dream Interpretation ~ Nightmares Dissected

A nightmare is essentially like any dream, mixing familiar and unfamiliar imagery, offering non-sequitors, fragmented stories, and replaying scenes of real life.  What make a dream a nightmare are simply the feelings and sensations that accompany it.  Dreams are compensatory by nature.  They help us restore balance to our emotions.  Life can be scary and dreams that leave us frightened are part of what helps us wake up and face life again with a clean slate.

A great many of the images that populate children’s nightmares arrive there via the media children experience.  This has created the notion that scary movies will “give you nightmares”—and they certainly can.  You watch Snow White with your kids and that night they dream about the Wicked Queen.  One of your children wakes up in the middle of the night crying; you find out that they were dreaming about the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.  This is not a new phenomenon; one can imagine the children a hundred and twenty-five years ago waking from nightmares after having read the latest short story from Edgar Allen Poe. But certainly the images offered to our children these days—both their graphicness and their frequency—cause nightmares of increasing ferocity.

Nightmares often share characteristics. They are all of common breed. Often there is a sense of danger in an otherwise idyllic setting.  Sometimes, there is a clear villain and they feel they are in danger of some kind.  Often, the sense of terror is what your child remembers without being able to report on any specific imagery.  Whatever the case, the power in the nightmare is its ability to represent the scary side of life.

We need this symbolic representation of the dark.  Despite our insistence that life should be all ease and goodness, it really shouldn’t be. A world without fear would be a very destructive place for our psyches.  Fear teaches us, helps us grow—it is foundational, one of the necessary elements of being alive.  The only way to live free of fear’s domination is to possess healthy mechanisms that help you to deal with fear and express it rather than repress it. Nightmares are one such healthy mechanism, allowing us to express fear in a very practical and effective manner.

They do their job well, and can be so effective that they stay with us for a long time. A friend of mine, Emanuel, a forty-one year old man who grew up in New York and Los Angeles, still remembers a nightmare from his childhood.  When he was about twelve, he dreamed of being a passenger in his father’s car.  They drove through his neighborhood on a cloudy fall day.  When he looked out the window, dead people were sprawled on the lawns of the houses they passed. As he shared his dream, a surprising thing happened.  Dozens of details flooded his memory. He began to recall more and more of the dream, and was shocked at how much he could actually remember.  His unconscious opened up, and poured vivid details back to him. He said he felt as though the dream had just occurred.

He remembered being at a party before leaving in the car with his father. He recalled the layout of the house, its roundness, its large, spiral staircases surrounded by balconies of varying size and shape.  After climbing the stairs, he went out onto one of the balconies, where blood began dripping from somewhere above. He remembered running to the floor above, where he found the source of the dripping blood was, in fact, a decapitated head.

After remembering these additional details, Emanuel now had more pieces of the puzzle.   He recalled walking through the neighborhood, staring long, gated driveways that led to mansions hidden by hedges and trees.  The dead bodies on the lawns were the security guards, and there was no one else around.  Alone, he remembered his father had gone up to one of the houses to see if they could find out what was going on.  Standing on the street, he saw a woman dressed only in a black negligee ride past on a bicycle.  He described her as a prostitute and added that she seemed very out of place.

That’s a lot of detail, all resting in his unconscious for thirty years, waiting for a moment to be let out again.  What can we make of this?   Well, let’s start with a little interpretation.  Without knowing exactly what was going on with Emanuel when he had the dream, we can’t be too precise about what to make of it.  But given that he says he was about twelve when he had it, we know that we are talking about the period of time just prior to adolescence.  Given that, there are two images that stand out:  the decapitated head and the prostitute on the bike.  This could very well connect to the intense thoughts that preoccupy most adolescents, sexual feelings exposed and out of place, could be symbolically represented by the bike-riding whore. These thoughts might just be too much to bear, hence the decapitated head.

There are more themes being expressed in this dream as we look at some of the other imagery.  Houses often represent our sense of self in dreams, and in this dream, the houses are not visible, conjuring thoughts of not being ready to show one’s self to the world.  The security guards protect these homes and have been killed, further emphasizing a sense of vulnerability.
But why did this dream stay with this dreamer for so long?  The human mind is still more mystery than mastery, but I can surmise that there is some very important function that dark, scary images provide for us.  They give us the hooks on which we hang the coats of our fears and uncertainties, so that we can approach life with confidence and self-assurance.  And just like waking life experiences that stay prominent in our memory, so can the traces of long ago dreams last well into adulthood.  By staying with him so long, Emanuel was certainly able to gain some insight into his childhood experience by examining this dream several decades after it occurred.

Dr. Michael Lennox

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What is DreamSight – Dream Interpretation Guide

is an innovative concept designed to help you effectively interpret the symbols that appear in your dreams.  It guides you through the examination of specific dream imagery in three easy steps. By looking at this material on universal, contextual and personal levels, the resulting interpretation will reveal what your unconscious mind is expressing through your dreams.  Through this technique, you can gain even more insight from your unconscious to help you in your waking life.

When most people attempt to interpret an image or symbol that appears in a dream, they begin with their personal feelings about what they are attempting to understand.  Since we experience our lives through our conscious minds which can only view the world through the lens of our individual perspective and experience, this is quite natural.  However, it is not the most effective way to approach the unconscious mind.

There are many psychological theories that attempt to explain how our unconscious mind works and why all human beings seem to be related through what is known as the “collective unconscious.”  You don’t have to know or understand these theories to use them.  However, if you are interested in exploring your dreams, then you have probably already noticed the strange and wonderful connection that all human beings share.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the dreams people have as exemplified by the similarity of images and themes reported by dreamers from completely different walks of life.

The language of both the personal and collective unconscious is symbolic in nature and predominantly expresses itself through creative endeavors such as art, slips of the tongue, seemingly accidental behaviors, and of course, through our dreams.  Though it is the much larger part of our psyches, the unconscious is felt as very separate from everything that we experience consciously.  The meaning we assign to something with our conscious minds is the personal meaning and includes our thoughts, feelings, opinions and judgments.  In order to bring you to a truly revealing interpretation of a dream symbol, you must combine both the personal meaning and the universal meaning of that symbol.  DreamSight is designed to help you accomplish this often elusive and misunderstood task

Dr. Micheal Lennox

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