Tag Archives | what does my dream mean

I dreamed of having a face lift!

When I turned forty, I decided that forty was the new thirty.  Well, now that I’m closer to fifty, I am certainly hoping that the same backtracking of a decade applies.  The only difference is that when I was forty, I still looked (or felt like I looked) like I had looked in the years past.  So, while fifty may be the new forty, my face is changing.  Last night while preparing for sleep, I had a brief thought about my age and wondered what I would have thought about the concept of being forty seven when I was twenty seven.  So, I wasn’t surprised when I woke up this morning having had a dream about having a face lift.

In that spirit, I share the term Facelift and Plastic Surgery from my upcoming book Dream Sight: A Dictionary And Guide for Interpreting Any Dream.

Facelift/Plastic Surgery

Universal Landscape:  Superficial shift in persona. 

Dreaming Lens:  Did you have surgery in your dream?  Were you contemplating it?  Was the surgery successful?  Was it unsuccessful or disappointing?  Were you performing the surgery?  Were you adding to or subtracting from your actual physical appearance?  Was there a sense of before and after?

Personal Focus:  How others see us is a function of what is known as the persona.  The symbolic representation of this is the face.  Any alteration to the face is akin to exerting some measure of control over the mask we show to the world.  When this alteration is reflected as surgical in nature, the resulting change is manipulated and inorganic.  When plastic surgery is being considered in real life, the choice to do so is best if one’s expectations are realistic and the motivation is not based on shame.  If the choice is bound up with unconscious feelings of inadequacy, disaster can result. 

A dream with this image should be interpreted with all of these considerations in mind.  Your personal relationship with the idea of plastic surgery must guide you as well.  Filter all of these complex issues through the notion of a desire to shift how you appear to others in a radical way.  Plastic surgery is usually chosen in an effort to appear more attractive, desirable or acceptable than one already feels.  Ask yourself how authentic you are being in your interactions with others.  This dream could point to something out of balance with how you feel and what you project.

The procedure itself will offer shades of meaning.  Any plastic surgery will fall into one of two categories, either adding to or subtracting from one’s natural appearance.  Either way, the underlying issue is a sense of inadequacy and a need to cover that up.

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Dreaming of famous people: What do celebrities mean in dreams?

I saw this post from a facebook friend:

“Now WHY did I dream about naked dancers from the 70s having a Christmas party in a parking lot outside in zero degrees??? And why was Janet Jackson wearing pink mascara in my dream! Errrr yeah! She was at the party too! Damn, night nurse and brandy hot toddies…. Wow!”

And while I’m not going to venture an interpretation of this particular celebrity in this particular dreamer’s psyche – it inspired me to share the term Celebrity from my upcoming book Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide to Interpreting Any Dream coming in February.


Universal Landscape: Archetypal Character Aspect; heightened expressions of human traits or qualities.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you with a celebrity intimately or was it a celebrity sighting?  Did you know each other?  What was the connection between you?  Were there other people around?  Did you have sex?  Were you comfortable with the connection that you had?  Did you want more?  Did you want less?

Personal Focus:  Celebrities are the gods and goddesses of modern life and represent archetypal human qualities with which we all identify.  The essence of a particular celebrity’s image can be distilled into a character aspect by the ways in which we perceive them.  Millions of people hold the same projected image of celebrities.  The power of all that magnified perception endows them with superhuman status and removes any sense of the person underneath the persona.

Celebrities show up in our dreams when the stakes are a little higher in terms of what we’re dreaming about.  By providing a more powerful image, the unconscious is telling you to pay more attention.  Approach the interpretation the same way you would anyone in your dreams.  When considering the qualities of the person you are dreaming about, remember to look at everything about them and take into account how you perceive them, including if you are a fan or not or whether they are currently in or out of public favor.  When interpreting a celebrity from a dream, first consider what they embody on a universal level.  Then, and only then, add your personal feelings about them.  When you have done this, you will be clear about what character aspect of yourself you are dreaming of.

In the way that people in our dreams represent character aspects of ourselves, celebrities represent character aspects of the global consciousness as reflected by the idea of archetypes.  Celebrities are our modern-day gods and goddesses.  Dreaming about one of these elite individuals represents a need to explore the qualities they embody as a character aspect, but in a much more powerful way.  In a process identical to working with a character aspect of someone at the pedestrian level, a celebrity’s fame elevates the significance of the meaning you assign to them.  Your unconscious is using the notoriety associated with their public visibility to get your attention.  It is, in effect, providing you with an image that has a chance of making the dream memorable upon waking so that you might more readily take notice of the guidance available to you in the dream.

Sexual dreams with celebrities are common.  Most dreamers assume this is so because of how attractive most of them are.  Additionally, what they do puts them in a position to carry the sexual fantasies of their public.  However, in dream work, sexual dreams with celebrities are common because the drive to integrate archetypal energy is integral to the evolution of our souls.  When the unconscious is encouraging you to own the more powerful parts of your psychic makeup, there is no better way for it to get your attention than through highly charged, sexual imagery.

It is natural for us to need larger-than-life representations of the human experience to motivate us through the various challenges we face managing the stressors and disappointments that are a part of life’s journey.  Our culture’s fascination with the life of celebrities provides us with hope that our own lives have the potential for excitement and glamour, even if this is just a fantasy.  In fact, such fantasies can function as survival mechanisms for many people.

Discovering what a dream involving a celebrity might be telling you is the same as with any character aspect.  Since we are in the realm of archetypal energy when dealing with celebrities, the quality that your dream is inviting you to explore may be very obvious.  A sports figure may be asking you to examine your willingness to play the game of life with more confidence whereas a pop singer may be suggesting that more self-expression is crying out for release.  If you get stuck on how to interpret the meaning of a celebrity’s presence, the technique of using three adjectives to describe them works just as well with the famous as with the ordinary.

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Tis’ The Season – Why Am I Dreaming Of Santa Claus?

It’s that time of year again and everywhere you turn, you can’t help but bump into Christmas.  In that spirit, I share with you the term Santa Claus from my upcoming book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide To Interpreting Any Dream, coming from Llewellyn Press February 8th, 2001.

 Santa Claus

 Universal Landscape:  Innocent belief in the magic power of love.

 Dreaming Lens:  What was Santa Claus doing in your dream?  Were you dressed as Santa?  Was the Santa Claus the real thing or a man in a costume?  Was the dream pleasant or punitive?  Were there presents involved?  Was it Christmas?

Personal Focus:  Christmas come with the Winter Solstice, the time when the days are shortest in the Northern Hemisphere.  During this darkest time of the year, we reminisce about the bounty of sunshine with a tree that is decorated with the symbolic fruits of spring.  Santa Claus is the icon at the foundation of this mythology.  He represents the magical power of love to transcend all darkness.  This power is associated with the innocence of childhood, for once the belief in it is abandoned, it can be very difficult for people to fully believe in magic again.

There are two developments around the idea of Santa Claus in modern times that are worth mentioning.  Somewhere along the line, parents began to use the promise of what Santa might bring to a child in order to manipulate them toward good behavior.  If a child is good, they receive presents.  If bad, they get a lump of coal.  To solidify this notion, he was bestowed with the power to see what was occurring during the year as a sort of moral compass.  This was popularized by the famous lyric, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”

 While on the surface this is a charming notion, Santa’s voyeurism is a falsehood, so the spirit behind instilling this sort of fear into children is manipulative and judgmental.  Look to see where in your life you may be overly concerned with whether you’ve been bad or good and what the consequences might be.  Conversely, the appearance of Santa in a dream could indicate a desire to exert control over someone else’s behavior (or to be feeling controlled by another) in a way that is indirect or passive aggressive.

 If your Santa Claus is in any way dark or menacing, look to where your consciousness may be reflecting the misuse of love or magic.  When an archetypal character aspect is reflecting shadow material, they might be engaged in behavior that is contrary to what is expected of them.  Are you manipulating some situation to get what you want by being over-generous or giving too much?  Sometimes the impulse to be generous comes with a hidden hook of trying to snare what you secretly want in return.

 The concept of the “secret Santa” is a prominent modern day way in which this archetype is fully present.  While an adult knows that there is no Santa Claus, we refresh our workplace spirit by agreeing that not only does Santa exist in our own hearts, but the best way to keep that energy alive and equally experienced by all, the identity of the giver must be kept secret.  In this way, the essence of this energy is that yes, with apologies to Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus; but he exists within the heart of all human beings just waiting for an organic moment to express love through the generosity of giving.

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What does it mean if I’m dreaming of my cell phone?

I spent about three hours last night trying to figure out how to use my new Droid phone from Verizon.  In that time, I managed to miss a call, send a text I didn’t want to send, go to a lot of pages on the internet I had no intention of visiting and finally find a ring town that didn’t make the fillings in my back teeth vibrate uncomfortable.  This inspired me to share the term “Cell Phone” from my upcoming book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide to Interpreting Any Dream from Llewellyn Worldwide Press which will be released on February 8, 2011.
Cell Phone

Universal Landscape:  Instant connection and communication of thought.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you using your phone?  Was someone else using a cell phone?  Did you have a clear connection, or was there interference?  Did you loose your cell phone?  Did the cell phone feel like a helpful tool or a burdensome necessity?  Was the cell phone user being responsible?
Personal Focus:  In a matter of a few decades, the relatively new phenomenon of cell phones have become so commonplace as to be taken for granted in the Western world.  They provide an instant connection from one person to another no matter where either party is located.  On the mundane level, they represent the accelerating speed of the world in which we live.  Symbolically, they embody the concept what might be called a supra-conscious: the connection between human beings across the planet through technology that provides the instantaneous exchange of ideas almost at the speed of thought.

When considering the symbolic meaning of this particular device, one can not overlook the limitations that are currently part of the experience of using them.  Static interference, abrupt disconnection and accidental dialing are all part of the pitfalls of the current technological development.  If any of these experiences play a role in your dream, your interpretation must include such challenges.  If the object itself holds the meaning of instant connection and higher levels of thought, then a frustrating cell phone interaction symbolizes disconnect instead.  Static could indicate that communication is blocked and you are feeling misunderstood or misunderstanding some life event.  The stigma attached to cell phones as pretentious could represent a move toward or away from conformity.  A cell phone that cannot make a connection could mean your quick fix thinking may be failing you.  A smooth connection could be telling you the answer to your communication problems is right there in your pocket.

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The theme of the dream is siblings; more insights on the passing of my brother.

I recently posted the term “Siblings” to my blog when my brother passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago.  Obviously, I have been in deep process since then and my dreams have of course been a big part of that process.  I decided to share this dream with you because it illuminates two concepts.  One, it exemplifies how dreams are mirroring our waking-life processes and, essentially, mirroring the daytime events in a nighttime sort of way.  This is the compensatory nature of dreams; they help balance us out.

The other approach to dream work that this particular dream emphasizes is the idea that the theme of the dream is where the interpretation lays – as opposed to a symbol-by-symbol, story-about-the-story technique.

So, first some background information.  I was the one of the three of us children who got all of the positive attention.  And, I do mean all.  It has been a deep wound of mine (and an issue for both my brother and sister) that my personality and exploits set up a scenario in which the receiving of attention was ridiculously out of balance, with me receiving most of all the good stuff that was available.  I have cried many a tear of the notion that my brother might have had a better experience of his life is I had not been quite so dynamic in mine.

The other salient part of the story is that my sister is a high school art teacher.  She is ridiculously gifted at this, but has often expressed (early in her career) a sense of limitation because she is not a more talented artist; many of her colleagues were artists first, teacher’s second.  My sister is teacher first and artist second.  And I do not fall subject to hyperbole when I tell you that she is magnificent at what she does; she will live on in many a student’s psyche for decades to come.

So on to the dream.  My sister, brother and I were sitting around a table.  My sister was accusing my brother of stealing one of her paintings.  He was justifying his actions because of her lack of talent, the painting was no good anyway.  Suddenly, a woman who felt like she was my sister’s psychotherapist was present and I was trying to explain that my sister felt inadequate about her artistic talent.  Her therapist became very defensive with me, which surprised me as it was not exactly a professional reaction.

I sat with this dream for days and nothing really hit me.  Then yesterday, the whole thematic perspective dropped into my awareness in one fell swoop.  I have been working diligently at recognizing that I deserve to utilize all my gifts and that having them did not actually take away from the experience of my brother.  That I was the perfect child and he was the black sheep was actually NOT MY FAULT!!!  What a revelation, because of course in my deep unconscious I felt terrible shame and guilt that the more attention I got out in the world, the guiltier I was for the challenges my bother was facing.

What the dream showed me was that what I was feeling was universal.  ALL brothers and sister struggle with these sorts of dynamic and mine was no different than anyone else’s.  My guilt and shame is my guilt and shame to work out on my own.  My brother’s passing doesn’t mean I look at this and suddenly think, “Oh, I’m REALLY to blame here.”  It’s actually a moment to do the opposite.  To own my own life and choices, to allow my brother to do the same and to move on with grace and easy, being grateful for all the beauty of my brother and releasing and forgiving any element of our connection that was painful.

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What does it mean when I dream of my family?

I’m about to get on a plane to go back to New York to visit my family for my mother’s 75th birthday.  This past two years is the longest period of time in almost a quarter of a century of living on the west coast that I have not been back to visit.  Consciously, I am very excited for the trip and am looking forward to seeing everyone and for the celebration we have planned.  Unconsciously, something far more interesting has been showing up in my dreams.

As families go, I am pretty fortunate.  I was not abused or mistreated.  I was loved and cared for by both my divorced parents.  There was a great deal of chaos, but all in all, the challenges were nothing like some of the tales I have heard over the years.  That said, I am a human being, complete with wounding and pain.  And much of that pain has centered around the role I was cast in as a child that still plays out, despite the fact that I am old enough now to be closer to my death than to my birth.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, I have been dreaming almost nightly of my family of origin.  And while those dreams have run the gamut of scenarios, themes, feelings and constructs, it has been a fascinating thing to observe:  As I get closer to connecting with my family after a long absence, my unconscious is revealing to me my underlying anticipation of the role I play in the dynamic that is my family.  So much has shifted in my life in the past two years and now I get to face head on what my dreams have been preparing me for; the challenge of maintaining my sense of identity in the face of a life-long role that has been mine to play out (often) beyond my ability to avoid or shift.

In that spirit, I am sharing with you the dictionary term Siblings from Dream Sight.


Universal Landscape:  Character aspects related to waking-life siblings.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you dreaming of your own brother(s) or sister(s)?  Do you have siblings in waking life or were these dream characters?  Were the siblings in your dream related to each other but not to you?

Personal Focus:  All people in dreams relate to some aspect of your own personality.  If you dream of your actual brothers or sisters from your life, the character aspects that they represent as part of your psyche should be investigated in the same manner as any person known to you who appears in a dream.  However, because of the powerful dynamic of family systems, the relationships between siblings will connect to various roles each member of the group often find themselves locked into.

When a sibling appears in a dream, there is a great deal of complexity to explore; from your current relationship, to your childhood history and even how parenting styles impacted each family member.  With careful and unbiased investigation, a sibling dream can offer a penetrating snapshot of where you are in your development as an individual, separate from the limitations of your personal history.

If there is little or no complication associated with the sibling you dream of, treat the interpretation process the same as with any cast member in a dream using the character aspect technique.  If you have no brothers or sisters in waking life, the character aspect of one appearing in your dream will be based primarily on the context in the Dreaming Lens.

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Hunted by wolves in the forest in my dream.

I thought I would share this dream which came in through the Facebook page “Perchance To Dream.”  Join us there if you are so inclined!

Here’s what our dreamer had to say:  I have had a very similar dream twice in the last week. I am in some kind of forest with my brother (who I have always been very close to but don’t see much since we live far apart). It’s night time and we are hiding from some kind of dangerous creatures which are out to get me, I get the feeling of wolves or something similar. We end up hiding in a small shack or cabin but I am desperate to find a way out because I know my children are somewhere in the forest.

I would love to know what that could mean!

And my reply:  Forests are part of the land, which means they represent areas of the conscious mind (as opposed to the ocean which represents the unconscious). However, the density of trees makes this dream relate to thought patterns which are deeply buried and hard to discern. This is basically a dream about Shadow material (the unwanted, disowned parts of the self).

That you are with your beloved brother probably connects this dream with ways in which you operate in the world that connect to your family of origin; patterns that you and your brother might share. He also would represent the part of your own personality that most resonates with ways he operates in the world that you might consider helpful assets.

The dangerous creatures are typical fear-based symbols that plague all of us human beings (fear, doubt, rage, hurt, loss, etc.). Wolves in particular are mysterious creatures of the night, further relating this dream to Shadow material.

Wolves are also sometimes connected to the feminine principle (they howl at the Moon and are sometimes known to offer mothering to wayward foundlings!). And since your own children feature prominently in this dream, I wouldn’t be surprised if what is being expressed by this dream doesn’t connect to the way in which you were mothered and the way in which you, in turn, mother your children.

The small shack or cabin represents your sense of self (houses = sense of self) that is small and diminished when you are facing some of your deeper fears.

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What do vampires in dreams mean?

In honor of Halloween – another spooky term!


Universal Landscape:  Drain of life force.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you the vampire or was the vampire someone else?  Was the vampire a stranger and a figure of mystery?  Was the vampire someone you know from life?  Were you the intended victim?  Were you trying to save someone from a vampire?  Were you bitten?  What was the level of danger, intrigue or sexual stimulation?

Personal Focus:  Vampires are creatures of death that survive by drinking the blood of the living.  Blood represents passion and life force.  A vampire in your dreams represents some aspect of your personality or way of being that has the potential to drain you of your vibrancy and energy.

Because vampires can only move about freely at night, they are in the symbolic realm of the shadow.  This indicates that whatever issues are robbing you of your vitality are hidden from your conscious awareness and must be examined with this in mind.  What we keep in the shadow are parts of ourselves that we can’t accept and have difficulty integrating into our personal identity.  Not doing so can suck the life force out of us until we face what we are resisting.

Often portrayed as sexy or seductive, consider that the vampire may represent a situation or person in your life that seemed alluring at first, but is now exhausting or depleting.  As a character aspect of your personality, there may be some habit, behavior or emotional trait that is literally sucking you dry.  Since vampires cast no reflection in a mirror, this may be a part of you that you may be unable or unwilling to see directly.

We often feel drained by responsibilities and the things we think we should be doing.  You may want to become more aware of those things you are attached to in a negative way.  Holding on to old attitudes and beliefs can be draining.  Consider that it can be just as draining to avoid responsibilities that are legitimately yours.  It is the ignorant victim who foolishly leaves the window open and unwittingly invites the vampire to visit.  Other internal vampires include neediness, self-doubt, lack of forgiveness and judgments.  All of these kill passion for life.  Commit to emotional healing and your vampires will return to the grave where they belong.

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I’m sitting on the toilet outside my apartment!

This dream was sent to me last week:

“I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was sitting on the toilet outside my apartment, and a man walked by and started talking to me. I wanted to move the toilet inside, but couldn’t…..plus I didn’t want to get up while he was there. I’ve never had a dream where I was on the toilet before!!”

In the western world, toilet training is one of the most intense early experiences in a young person’s life.  There is an enormous amount of attention paid to the process of attempting to get a toddler to make their business in the toilet.  From making it fun and creative, to frustrated haranguing, the trials and tribulations of toilet training are challenging for everyone involved – especially the child.  However, once we are successful at this endeavor, we get to do one very powerful thing:  We get to close the door.

Thus is born our very first sense of privacy and individuation.  There may be a long time span between pooping in the pot and closing the door (years in some cases), but the powerful energy around the bathroom as a symbol is unmistakable.  Sitting on the toilet connects to our very private sense of self, completely separate from all other individuals and environments in our life.

This dream, therefore, connects to the dreamer’s need and desire to have a sense of privacy and individuation which is somehow being challenged in her current life.  She is located directly outside of her home, which means this dream is very personal.  Her apartment represents her sense of self, but being trapped outside of that space indicates a level of vulnerability connected with this moment of exposure.

The deeper shade of meaning in the interpretation of this dream connects to the identify of the man who talks to her while she is sitting on the porcelain throne.  I needed more information, so I sent a note and asked what she could remember about the man.  Here is her reply:

“I remember thinking that he was my neighbor’s friend, who I don’t know but had seen earlier that evening (in reality) when I went outside and he was locking up his bike…..and come to think of it, even though we said hi to each other, I was irritated because he locked his bike to the sprinklers which happen to be under my window. I didn’t say anything about it, but I didn’t like that he locked his bike there, I guess it felt a bit invasive to me. Hmmmm…….interesting.”

Interesting indeed!  So, is the dream about her neighbor’s friend invading her space or some inner aspect of herself that has some trouble with boundaries?  The answer is, of course, both are accurate interpretations.  Perhaps the waking-life event (someone invading her space where she was unable to control the situation and set a boundary) sparked some unconscious level of resistance where an issue of setting boundaries may be leading her to feel invaded and exposed.

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Abandonment in dreams.

Yesterday I posted the dictionary term Zoo, the last term in Dream Sight.  Today, I go back from Z to A and share with you the first term in the dictionary, which is Abandonment.
Universal Landscape:
  Fears around self-worth.
Dreaming Lens:  Who abandons you in your dream?  What are the circumstances around the abandonment?  Are there legitimate reasons for being left?  What is your emotional reaction to being abandoned?  What do you do as a result?  Do you collapse?  Do you take action?  Are you the one doing the abandoning?
Personal Focus:  The concept of abandonment is a fear-based illusion.  The feelings that come up when someone has left us are personal and rarely about the one doing the leaving.  The fear of being left alone is primitive in nature and has its roots in infancy.  If the loss resonates deeply enough, the emotional reaction taps into a deep reservoir of historical injuries and we experience it as a painful abandonment. The essence of this experience is connecting to what it feels like to be alone with ourselves in moments of vulnerability.  Thinking that you do not have the ability to face life on your own, especially in moments of adversity, is a falsehood born out of fear.  Overwhelming emotions are often accompanied by irrational thoughts that focus on our weaknesses and invalidate our strengths.

Dreaming of a circumstance in which this is a primary theme, is likely to be compensating for something in your waking life that is triggering thoughts of abandonment, whether consciously or unconsciously.  By processing these feelings in the dream state, we are better prepared to face the world when we wake.  Pay close attention to who is abandoning you as this will factor powerfully into your interpretation.

In a dream, we may be examining ways in which we abandon ourselves.   Even if the dream mirrors a life situation where someone you know is not available to you, use the concept of the character aspect as a mirror.  It may be that part of you is currently inaccessible to your sense of self.  For example, being abandoned by a boss might indicate a lack of inner authority available to handle a difficult situation.

The value of any abandonment, in life or in a dream, is being forced to see how we can survive when stripped of what we perceive as necessary for our existence.  To feel abandoned is to accept a myth that we are not okay without the assistance of others.  A dream may be helping you see where you are not trusting your own instincts and resources by allowing you to suffer an abandonment and find the strength to continue on that journey.

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