Tag Archives | what do my dreams mean

Am I Dreaming, Or Am I Awake?

I got this message on facebook the other day:

Hey Michael, question for you – hope you don’t mind. This morning, Jane was having what appeared to be a bad dream, so I ran my hand across her forehead to gently wake her up.  But then I wondered, is that a bad idea? Should we let dreams take their natural course?

Here was my reply:

That’s a great question, Brett. There is certainly an argument for the idea of letting a dream run its course. However, there is also the perspective that we are all participating in a living dream – and as a couple, you are each intertwined with each other in such a dynamic way, that your impulse to comfort her and wake her is as much a part of her consciousness as it is yours. I like your impulse and I REALLY like the way you executed it (hand gently across her forehead). My input is this: If you feel to do this again, be as gentle as you possibly can – perhaps with the intention rather than of waking her up, of calming her from the waking world and joining in her experience bringing comfort, grace and ease. It’s basically what you already did, but taking it one step further with intentionality.

My friend really enjoyed my answer, telling me he thought it was thoughtful and insightful.  And it got me thinking and seeking more insight to one of the questions that people have for me with some regularity.  Just how fluid is the boundary between the dreaming world and the real world?

The true answer is of course that there is no boundary and that the two worlds are one and the same.  The challenge with that answer is what we do with the information.  If we take it literally, we are lost.  Any hard scientist (or reasonable person for that matter) will flatly disagree and they’d be right to do so.  The idea that these two worlds are intertwined is an idea that has yet to be explained in any way that might be satisfying to any but the tried and true followers of hooey-hooey.  And yet, I believe it is so.

Using the example above of Brett and Jane, we have a married couple who share their lives and within that construct each night, their bed.  The brain is an electrical organization that functions on a system of waves.  Waves can synchronize and desynchronize.  In fact, the synchronization of usually chaotic and erratic brain waves is the first evidence that sleep is upon us.  It is entirely possible that when two people sleep together, the synchronization of their brain waves creates a similitude of experience that may be profound indeed.

I was once asked by my pregnant neighbors about this phenomenon.  It seemed that the husband was having just as many vivid and fantastic dreams as his hormone-saturated wife.  While pondering my answer, I found myself expressing just this notion: the electromagnetic activity in one person’s brain impacts the brain of someone nearby.  There is research to back this notion up, though it is still very rudimentary.

So does this mean that if you dream about the hot guy or gal you have a crush on that they are also thinking about you in their nocturnal journey?  Probably not.  But there is certainly more to this than meets the eye.  We are all connected in ways that are far more mysterious than explainable.  And if in the dream world we can create anything just with a thought, then that is the life I would like to be leading while I am awake.

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The end of the world; what do apocalyptic dreams mean?

Last night the world came to an end.  At least the world as I know it in Los Angeles.  From my vantage point fairly high up in the eastern hills of the LA basin, I could see the mushroom cloud erupt into destruction, off in the distance.  My first thought was that I was far away enough so that at least I wouldn’t be killed by the blast itself.  As I began to wonder about the aftermath of radiation poisoning and how long it might take for that to kill me, I saw that there were more nuclear blasts occurring, and each one was getting closer.

Now this was a lucid dream, meaning I was aware that I was dreaming.  But it was also a dream within a dream.  In my awareness that I was asleep and dreaming of the end of days, where I thought I was asleep was in the house where I was witnessing all of this destruction.  Sleeping in another bed was one of my oldest friends in the world and as long as he remained asleep, I knew that I was at least somewhat safe, because this was, after all, just a dream.  That being said, I was really hoping to wake up and wake up soon.

When I finally did wake up for real, I was very confused because the layers of the dream within a dream were pretty powerful.  Once I got my bearings, I had a disturbing thought.  Had I included the apocalyptic dream as a term in my new dictionary, Dream Sight?   I stumbled into the other room to check and when I saw that indeed I hadn’t, I felt a momentary sense of embarrassment.  How could I have forgotten such an important dream image, probably a standard in every dream dictionary ever written?  One reason was that I had never had one before.  And for whatever reason when I had been polling my friends, acquaintances and clients for ideas over the past several years while writing terms, no one had suggested it.

I have, of course, had the opportunity to interpret such an image for others on many occasions.  Endings are beginnings.  Death is always followed by a rebirth of some kind.  An apocalyptic dream where your world is literally coming to an end is a very good news dream indeed.  It means that change is afoot and the nature of that change is so enormous, it implies that your entire world is potentially being restructured.

Now, this process is not always comfortable.  In my case, there is no doubt that the world that is coming to an end in my life and the new world that will inevitably follow connects to the fact that I’ve just published Dream Sight and am about to get back to working on my next book called “Not Just A Dream: A Parent’s Guide for Interpreting Children’s Dreams.”  The past year was so engrossing with one project and I am in the process of shifting my consciousness to the next.  Truly, my world has just come to an end and a new one is just beginning.

When this sort of dream comes up for you, ask yourself how your world is changing.  And I promise that the next version of Dream Sight will include apocalypse as a term.

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What does shoes mean in dreams?

Today’s term from Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide For Interpreting Any Dream is Shoes.  For no particular reason…

Shoes

Universal Landscape:  How grounded you are.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you wearing shoes?  Were you looking for shoes?  Were you shopping for shoes?  Were you putting them on or taking them off?  Were they yours or someone else’s?  Were you aware of whose shoes you were wearing?  Was someone else wearing your shoes?

Personal Focus:  Shoes simultaneously protect our feet as well as express our sense of style.  Our feet symbolize how grounded we are and our ability to maneuver effectively on our chosen path.  The shoes that we wear or see in a dream reflect two things:  how we protect the stand we take in life and how we express ourselves with regard to the steps we take as we walk through life.

Looking at a particular pair of shoes to wear in a dream connects to a direction you have not yet embarked upon but may be considering.  Noticing someone else’s shoes might point to a number of thoughts about others, including envy, judgment or compassion–the latter of which can only occur when you have walked a mile in another person’s shoes.

A single shoe means a path that is only half-considered, or a switch that occurs midway through a process.  Losing or looking for shoes might point out insecurity that keeps you from moving through life in a more grounded fashion.  Sneakers or athletic shoes connect to speed and increased performance.  High- heeled shoes make a statement about a deliberate presentation that has impact, but can debilitate movement.  Wearing a very expensive shoe might illuminate issues around the desire for abundance.

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It’s 1 – 1 – 11! What do the numbers in my dream mean?

Happy New Year dreamers!  Today’s date is 1/1/11.  I’ve been watching people delight in the lining up of the number one which inspired me to share some information about the symbolic meaning of numbers.  Below is the term from my upcoming book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Tool For Interpreting Any Dream which will be out February 8th.  Enjoy!

Numbers

Universal Landscape:  The building blocks of all reality.

Dreaming Focus:  Did a number itself feature in your dream?  Was it the number of something that was significant?  Is there more than one digit or is your dream number from one to nine?  Is there calculation involved?  Did the number have a specific purpose, such as a phone number or address?

Personal Focus:  Numbers are the building blocks for our understanding of how life is constructed.  The movement of the earth, moon and other planets are geometrical in nature.  Music is simply math expressed as tone.  Digital technology reduces various data to numeric sequences and then back again to its original form.  Our need to describe physical phenomena led us to create nine whole numbers that, in different sequences, can express anything from gravity, the speed of light, to the way visitors can identify which house on the block is yours.

The universally accepted meaning of numbers is what informs the discipline of numerology.  From this tradition we get the foundational and metaphysical interpretation of the nine whole numbers.  Use this as a base to inform how you consider the image from your dream with which the number is associated.  If there is more than one digit involved, add all the values together until you arrive at a final, single number.  For example, if an address is 115 Main Street, you would add one plus one plus five and get seven.

The explanations below are meant to be read in order in one sitting, no matter what specific number you are interested in examining.  There is a structure to the way the meaning of each digit expands on its predecessor which will give you a powerful sense of the whole system that will aid you in using numbers in the interpretation process.

One:  One represents beginnings and is the starting point of existence.  In human terms, it is the self alone.  It is the idea before any action is taken.  As such, it embodies the concept of potential and that which has yet to happen.  In fact, the energy of one is limited by its inability to do anything by itself.  However, it also connects to stillness and the cultivation of desire that that precedes movement.  One is the beginning of the journey, which can be a very exciting energy.  However, this can bring with it the challenge of loneliness and isolation.

Two:  When a second joins the one and two is formed, partnership is created.  The concept of relativity evolves out of the energy of two, as the one has something to which it experiences itself as relative to.  The one can now know itself as self, because there is that which is other.  All of the elements of two are embodied in this idea– partnership, duality, opposites, yin/yang, balance, sharing, to name just a few.  The shadow side of two is the potential for collapsing into one another and losing the sense of self.

Three:  When two are gathered, eventually their energy will create a new element, and a third is born.  Three is the number of creativity.  A powerful energy, there are many examples of the concept of three:  mother, father and child is perhaps the most universal.  The holy trinity in Catholicism is another instance.  The artist, the paint and the finished work is just one case that can be applied to any creative endeavor.  In music, a trine is the simplest and perhaps most pleasing harmony.  In the world of geometry, it is only when you have three points to work with that you can create an actual shape and accurately define a location in space.  The challenge of three is a lack of grounding and separation from reality.  This is because three relates so strongly to the drive to create, that feeling unable to do so would be the fear-based side of this energy.

Four:  When you add a fourth point to a triangle, you end up with a square.  Four is the number of structure.  Once the creative impulse has been satisfied, it is time for solidification, which can be accomplished by the power of four.  A wonderful weight-bearing shape, a square is what allows for building the foundation on which the creative energies of three can be supported.  Four connects to the establishment of institutions, order, rules and regulations.  While a number of great strength, it can engender a sense of limitation and the concept of restraint.

Five:  What follows the foundational sense four is the freedom of five.  Once a structure has been established, there is now a sense of safety and security for exploration.  The number five embodies this expressiveness.  The human body expresses the number five as represented by the four limbs and the head.  The ability for the body to move about through space is a vibrant and exhilarating experience.  In this way, five symbolizes joy and bliss.  With this, comes the shadow of freedom; indulgence.  This expression of five can carry grave consequences such as compulsion and addiction.

Six:  Six is the number of partnership, marriage, creative collaboration and balance.  After the freedom of five, there is a need for stability, which is provided by the even number six.  This energy can also be seen as a pairing of two threes.  If three is about primal creativity at an individual level, combining two systems of three allows for six to engender worldly partnerships and the concept of marriage and union.  This number represents partnership on every level: business, social, educational and spiritual.  In the personal realms, the number six represents the happy union of opposites within us and the integration of our own opposing forces, such as containing two powerful emotions that contradict each other.  The challenge of the six energy connects to responsibility and a sense of burden.

Seven:  After all the work in the external world which brought us to the concept of partnership, we are now prepared for a more elevated experience of human expression.  Seven is the number of spirituality and higher thought, which is only possible after the basic human needs are met.  We are now free to look up and contemplate our existence in a more esoteric manner.  Meditation and any consideration of the interior landscape of our humanity is governed by the number seven.  This includes thought, contemplation, mysticism, prayer, faith, psychology and any endeavor that seeks to understand life from a higher perspective.  This is a number we are all familiar with as significant:  seven days of the week, seven deadly sins, seven notes in the diatonic scale.  The challenge associated with this vibration is to get lost in the ethers and lose contact with life on the ground.

Eight:  After spiritual matters have been made manifest, great abundance is possible.  Eight is the number of infinity and all that it implies.  This includes wealth of every kind:  love, money, bliss, joy and every amazing experience life has to offer.  The concept of infinity states that there is no limitation in the universe; that time and space continue forever and ever in a way that is beyond our ability to truly comprehend.  When an understanding of infinity and abundance are combined, there is a realization that there is an endless supply of anything you could possibly desire, even those things that you perceive as limited and unavailable to you.  Eight is the magic of seven in action.  The shadow side to this is greed, hoarding and withholding love.

Nine:  The final number in the system is nine, which represents completion and endings.  All things must end in order for the inevitable new beginning to follow.  Nine embodies that cycle of existence that demands that change occur and that the old give way to the new.  We have started the journey alone in the infinite (one), discovered opposites and relativity (two), invented creativity (three), built a foundation (four), expressed freedom (five), partnered with another (six), went inward to find spirituality (seven), expressed and enjoyed the rewards of the outside world (eight), and now we come to a close (nine).  The shadow side to the completion energy of nine is the fear that can be associated with endings and death.

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What do stairs mean in dreams?

Two nights ago, I have some very vivid dreams.  The most prominent image that has stayed with me in the days since is of climbing a stairway.  This particular set of stairs had a peculiar attribute; they got more and more narrow as I climbed.  The destination, while unknown to me, was someplace I very much wanted to get to and I had the sense that the landscape above me was very special indeed and worth whatever challenges there might be in reaching it.

When I say the staircase got more narrow – I mean VERY narrow.  Like “I’m not sure I can squeeze myself through that space” narrow.  The kind of narrow that sparked my claustrophobia.  I pressed on and began to slip myself into the limited space that was before me and I woke before I managed to get through and to the other side.  I was no longer aware of where I was coming from and I lost all sight of where I was going.  All I knew was that I had to get through this difficult transition and that was what was getting all of my attention.

This image has lingered long after the dream because I think it is very emblematic of exactly where I am in my life.  The long journey up from the past has led to a moment of intense growing pains as I transition from what it is to be writing my first book and what it is to have my first book published and arrive at the next floor, ready to face the next chapter and all that it will entail.

In this spirit, I share the term Stairs from my upcoming book Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide to Interpreting Any Dream, available on February 8, 2011.

Stairs

Universal Landscape:  Transitions in life, often directly connected to personal growth or assessment.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you climbing the stairs?  Were you ascending or descending?  Where were the stairs leading to and from?  How many steps were there?  What step were you on?  What shape were they in?  Were they steep?  Were they dangerous?  Did you slip or fall?

Personal Focus:  Stairs represent transition, change and personal growth.  When we use them, we make direct contact with our feet.  This makes them symbolic of change on a very specific, personal level.  Climbing up stairs should be interpreted as ascending to higher levels of consciousness.  Going down stairs connects to revisiting places you have already been or moving into lower levels of thought, such as anger and envy, or facing your own emotional development by revisiting old issues.

Where the stairs are is important to consider.  A stairway in a home is about personal transitions, whereas stairs in public environments reveal issues around how we operate out in the world, in full view of others.  There may be literal elements of this image in a dream as a dream that takes place on a stairway at your workplace will likely connect to issues that are work-related.  A stairway in a public park may reveal shifts that involve issues of relaxation and leisure.  Use the Dreaming Lens to focus your interpretation.

Your actual experience of climbing the stairs is the key to working with this symbol.  A treacherous experience may reveal fears attached to issues you are currently facing.  Running up and down stairs with ease may point to an ability to operate at different levels with grace if your life is calling you to do so.  Fear of where the stairs may lead correlate to investigations that lay ahead of you where the outcome is not clear.  The number of stairs, if known, can be considered using numerology (see Numbers).  Escalators indicate more ease in the transition, but must also be looked at in terms of the potential to gloss over the change that is occurring.  Remember that going down is as important as going up in life.  We must often revisit where we have been below before we can move upward effectively.  Eventually, we must be able to easily exist on many levels at once.

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Computers and torture in my dreams!

A word about judgments.  They are killing our souls.  Whether they get expressed out loud or not, the judgmental thoughts that are routine parts of the ego mind are mind-numbing.  I’m talking about everything from out right hatred (just turn on the news if you want to know what I mean) to idle gossip about others and including those random thoughts and opinions that leap across your mind almost outside of your conscious awareness when your brushing your teeth.

I have decided recently to put my daily spiritual practice to use in a concerted effort to notice my own judgments in an effort to release them on a deeper level.  Boy, was I shocked at what I found.  I consider myself a fairly well-processed individual:  I meditate every day.  I have devoted my life to service.  I am, for the most part, kind and helpful in all my interactions.  And certainly in the world at large, I have a persona that of the Teacher – I have the answer and people assume I am (forgive the hooey-hooey language) “vibrating at a high level.”  The bare, naked truth is, just like most people, I have a lot of judgments and opinions.  And I am SO ready to let them go.

So, of course, I’ve asked my dreams to help.  For two nights, I have petitioned my dreams to give me some information about how judgment is living and breathing in my unconscious and how I can move toward releasing them on a deeper level.  Here is what I have found so far.

Dream number one – the first night:  I dreamed that I was attempting to work on my laptop computer, but it was in a shambles, barely working.  I knew that I needed a new one, but I was reluctant to make the purchase, telling me I couldn’t afford it.  And as long as I hooked into my mother’s computer in the makeshift way I had figured out to do, I could at least function.

The first interpretation that I should give to this dream is to acknowledge how much my computer is a focal point for my life.  On it, I wrote my doctoral dissertation.  On it, I wrote my dream dictionary.  On it, I am writing this blog and connecting with my friends and loved ones.  When I add in the lens of the hold that judgment has on me, I also see that there is a connection to ideas about the world that I got from my mother (that my opinions and a sense of superiority were where my strength lay).  Additionally, I see the cost of clearing out the mess of my current belief system is being too high; something I can not afford.  But really, can I afford NOT to?

Dream number two – last night.  Holy shit, is all I have to say.  So the night before, I learned where my judgmental stand got its first legs and told me that I think the cost for clearing it up is too high, last night’s dream showed me just how high the cost of NOT releasing myself to a deeper level of operating will be.

In the dream, I am tied to a table, stripped half naked and attached to electrodes.  I am being tortured, violently while my inquisitors are asking me questions about how the insurance company that I work for has defrauded it’s customers by charging exorbitant fees to vulnerable people.  I manage to escape, but at great peril and I have to kill off one of my assailants with a power saw, with which I saw him in half.  Once I am liberated from the building, I search in vain for my car, which I eventually find and drive to safety.

CLEARLY, this idea of freeing myself from judgment is a good idea.  My unconscious mind is letting me know that this way of being in the world has in fact been torturing me and is, at the end of the day, a fraud.  Since I spent last night having dinner with a colleague during which we discussed many issues of the day, I believe the dream reflected to me that even well-meaning discussions in which I freely express my opinions about things may look altruistic on the face of it (an insurance company that appears to be helping people get medical care) at the truthful root of it, there is something inauthentic about it (the fraud in the dream) and what is REALLY going on is that I am trying to make myself feel more important and smarter in a deeply disguised reaction to inner feelings of fear and inadequacy (the profit generated by the fraud).

There are two things I am looking forward to in this day:  One is to check in with myself and see how my judgments are operating.  The second is to my dreams tonight!

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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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What Do The People In My Dreams Mean?

Everybody in your dreams represents a part of you, whether the character is someone known to you or a stranger.  I refer to this as the first circle of interpretation.  Because we so often dream of people close to us, there is a second circle of meaning when someone plays a role in our dreams.  Through the second circle, the dreamer can reflect directly upon the life circumstances connected to the person making the appearance.  Both perspectives merit exploration and are powerful inroads to information.

The work that I do interpreting the dreams of others never utilizes the second circle, primarily because unless I am working with them as an ongoing client, I rarely have enough information or time to investigate the relationships of the person I’m working with.  Both circles can yield remarkable information and every dreamer can work with both; however I strongly encourage the former over the later.  It is far easier to confront frustrations in your relationships than to face taking responsibility for your self and your actions.

As an example, a man dreams that his wife insists on driving him to the dentist.  She is far more outgoing than he, representing the gregarious parts of him in his dream.  This dreamer is being called by the disowned part of himself that cries out to be incorporated into his communication (teeth, mouth), despite the fears that might accompany such a shift (disliking going to the dentist).  His outgoing wife represents the part of him that can speak his mind.  She also represents that part of himself that can facilitate the inner work that will make the shift possible (her driving).

The dream serves the dual purpose of pointing out that the dreamer is not speaking his own truth enough.  In the first circle, his wife is his inner character aspect of assertiveness.  In the second circle, the dream points to the dreamer’s frustration at his wife’s demands for control of the relationship.  Both avenues of investigation are important, however doing the inner work will automatically shift the outer experience.

CHARACTERS – THREE ADJECTIVES

By now you should have a clear understanding of the technique of seeing everyone that appears in your dreams as a part of you, the dreamer.  Here is the way out of that process being confusing, especially when you are dreaming of friends, family members, loved ones or other associates.

It is so difficult not to see these people as the separate whole beings you know them to be.  If you dream about your partner, you will be inundated with all of their quirks and qualities when trying to identify what part of you they represent.  Simply ask yourself to mention the first three adjectives that come to mind when you think of the person in question.

For example, there was a particular graduate school professor of mine that I would describe as self conscious, awkward and inept.  Dreaming of him puts me in the realm of my own incompetence.  My closest friend is ridiculously aware and insightful, but can be brutal in expressing his opinions (aware, insightful and brutal).  If he shows up in my nighttime story land, it is the part of me that uses a sledgehammer to make a point that is being highlighted.

This exercise must be done with a sense of impulsivity and lack of self consciousness, often difficult to execute when you know why you’re doing it.  It works wonders when I spring it on a client, but it can be just as impactful when you know it’s coming (as in doing it yourself) as long as you approach it with authenticity and integrity.

Have at it!

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What do snakes mean in dreams?

Yesterday, I blogged about what spiders mean in dreams.  I was inspired by my appearance on a radio show where the theme of the conversation was focused on scary dream images and their meaning.  As is often the case, I found myself explaining that when we project our fears about an image onto the meaning we make of it, we are missing the value of what our unconscious is trying to tell us.  By “removing the yuck,” as it was so charmingly put on the air, and examining the essence of the symbol in question, a more satisfying interpretation emerges.

I use the image of snakes in dreams frequently to illustrate this point very clearly.  So once again, borrowing from the pages of Dream Sight (coming from Llewellyn Press in February 2011) I include the following selections.  The first is from the first half of the book from a section where I explain this very concept using snakes as an example, followed by the actual dictionary term of Snake as it appears within the pages of my book.  I hope it is of value.

To illustrate this principle more clearly, let us use another example utilizing two people having essentially the same dream.  The primary image is that of a snake.  Dreamer number one is terrified of snakes, while Dreamer number two finds them interesting and even a bit erotic.  While hiking down a path alone somewhere in nature, each dreamer comes upon a large snake in the middle of the path.  Encountering the snake stops their respective hikes and each dreamer regards the snake from a safe distance before waking up.

The fact that snakes shed their skins–which is symbolic for discarding the old to make room for the new in one fell swoop–makes change and transformation the Universal Landscape for snake.  In addition, many varieties of snakes are capable of killing and death is always symbolically linked with rebirth, which is the ultimate of transformations.  Even the fact that their long, straight shape can be formed into a circle is symbolically suggestive of the cycles of change that are so much a part of life.

The Dreaming Lens in this dream is the same for both dreamers–the presence of the snake in the middle of their path has halted their progress.  Now the meaning of the dream is expanded:  this is a dream about some path in life that each dreamer is on.  Since they are alone, we can assume the dream is reflecting their own private journey as opposed to their public life.  Some element of change or transformation is occurring in their lives as represented by the snake appearing on their respective paths.  This apparent obstacle is causing them to stop and consider what direction to take and what to do next.

Now we come to the Personal Focus, which is going to be very different for our dreamers, therefore resulting in a different final interpretation for each.  Dreamer number one is afraid of snakes and therefore whatever change in life this dream is expressing is bringing up some level of fear.  Dreamer number two is also facing a shift in life, but one that is intriguing and inviting by virtue of having a Personal Focus of snakes as an object of fascination.  Without using the process of Dream Sight, both dreamers would be stuck and confused with having the dream mean something about how they feel about snakes rather than coming to a full understanding of the dream representing a change or transformation that their unconscious minds are asking them to explore.
Snake

Universal Landscape:  Change or transition; healing; death and rebirth.

Dreaming Lens:  What kind of snake is appearing in your dream?  Is it poisonous, dangerous or innocuous?  What was your fear level or lack thereof?  Did the snake have human qualities or abilities?  Does it have a message?
 
Personal Focus:  Snakes can inspire great and varied personal emotions, and therefore can ultimately connect to very different shades of meaning based on your Personal Focus.  Because of this continuum of response from fear and loathing to fascination and sensual stirrings, they need to be considered carefully when they appear in a dream.

First and foremost, snakes represent change and transformation.  This connects to the fact that they shed their skins in their growth process and that many of them are capable of causing fatality to their predators, implying the symbolic rebirth that follows any death experience.  There is a healing element of this, as many snake venoms can also be used as curatives.  This may connect to the two snakes that appear on the physician’s caduceus, representing the challenge to life and the response of the healer to match it.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the snake bears the responsibility for tempting Adam and Eve.  As such, a snake can represent a confrontation with a change in your value system.  It is important to remember that their yielding introduced the human race to the knowledge of mortality and the birth of consciousness.  A serpent in your dream may actually represent a major shift in your awareness that may bring about the death of an old paradigm that brings you into a whole new world.

In Eastern cultures, the awakening of spiritual power is often referred to as a snake.  Known as the Kundalini, it is experienced as an incredible energy which undulates up the spine.  Stimulating this can induce a tremendous healing force which contains the ability to purify the nervous and glandular systems.  The practice of yoga is designed to awaken the snake that lives dormant at the base of the spine.  As a dream symbol, a snake could represent the potential for power and energy if properly channeled.

If a snake appears on a particular part of your body (such as choking you) you might want to make an association between that body part/energy and what in your life needs to be transformed.  How you feel about the presence of actions of the snake reveal your deeper emotional responses to the change that is occurring.

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Why do I dream of spiders?

Why do I dream of spiders?

Spiders seem to be up for me.  I was having breakfast with a colleague the other day and our waiter asked what we did.  When he found out I was a dream interpreter, he almost fell down.  He excitedly told me he had just had a disturbing dream and wondered to himself, “what might a dream about spiders mean?”  Two days later, I was doing a radio show and what do you think was the very first question I was asked?  What do spiders in a dream mean?  So, in the spirit of synchronicity, here is an excerpt from my upcoming dictionary, Dream Sight (Llewellyn Press; February 2011) on spiders.

Spider/Spider-web

Universal Landscape:  Powerful feminine energy.  Patience.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you encountering a spider or spider webbing?  Was it frightening?  Were you in danger?  Did you kill the spider?  Did you want to?  Did the spider want to harm you?  Was the overall scene macabre or more magical?

Personal Focus:  Spiders are a powerful image of the feminine principle, which relates to creativity and receptivity.  Spiders embody this by virtue of the creative act of making a web and the patience involved in awaiting their prey.  Many, if not most people, have an aversion to them which makes them a creature of the shadow.

Spiders can be found everywhere, which is one of the reasons why they feature prominently as a common dream image.  While not all are venomous, the most widely known spider is the Black Widow, famous for mating with and then killing her male counterpart.  This is the feminine principle in its most ferocious expression.

A spider’s webbing is a miraculous feat of engineering and unparalleled beauty.  Its purpose is two-fold.  On the side of nurturing, it is a home.  However, it is also a weapon of prey–a trap set to capture, kill and eat.  Spiders also connect to the numerological expression of abundance because of their eight legs (see Numbers).  Any or all of these themes may be being expressed in a dream that features this image.

A spider web may point to creative ideas that are currently being spun.  This also indicates that a period of waiting must follow in order for success to be achieved.  A spider bite may indicate that an infusion of the feminine principle may be in order for your current dealings to succeed.  The irritation, illness or death that is possible with a spider bite indicates the level of sacrifice that will be required of you on an emotional level at this time.

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