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!