Clear and personalized messages Before jumping in to discover the hidden messages that filter into our dreams and appear in the dictionary in the second part, it’s best to keep in mind that not all oneiric thoughts can be analyzed with the same pattern. Therefore, psychologists and analysts distinguish between three classes of dreams:
In these dreams, death can mean many different things; for example, some psychologists interpret it as marking the end of a life cycle. This is why we insist on the importance of personalizing the dream interpretation.
Be that as it may, premonitions tend to be hidden in a symbolism that is difficult to decode, since it does not refer to past experiences. They are messages that try to warn us of dangers that face us on the physical or emotional plane. For this reason, eastern cultures have always valued them highly, as we will see later on. Satisfaction dreams Satisfaction dreams constitute the basis for the main theories of oneiric interpretation. They deal with those images in which we fulfill the desires that we cannot satisfy while awake. Therefore, this huge category includes everything from erotic dreams to the worst nightmares. In some cases, a certain satisfaction dream may repeat for years. This means that the person’s subconscious is warning them of the importance of something they may be trying to ignore. The part of this book dedicated to interpretation refers to this type of dreams.
Sexual dreams are not necessarily the result of accumulated sexual tension that needs to be released, but rather they usually refer to inner conflicts and hidden needs, or a desire to enjoy sex more freely.Sexual dreams There are dreams that have the capacity to excite us, intrigue us, make us tremble, embarrass us . . . These are the ones that we never, or almost never, share with others. These are erotic dreams that, generally speaking, have nothing to do with the social or sexual conduct of our waking lives.
“Dreams manifest the desires that our consciousness does not express.” Sigmund FreudErotic dreams join other sensations that, in waking life, we probably wouldn’t relate immediately with sex. Therefore, these dreams, which could be violent, passionate, perverse, romantic, etc., tend to refer to inner conflicts and hidden emotional needs. Therefore they belong to the classification of satisfaction dreams.
On some occasions, they reveal a fear of intimacy or warn against certain relationships. In others, they illustrate situations and behaviors that we cannot normally exhibit. The dream represents everything through symbols or a strong sexual connotation. Its themes and languages, often dark, can confuse us or make us doubt because each individual has their personal symbols (just like with other types of dreams). It’s interpretation, therefore, should be performed according to the situation of the individual.
Dreams are escape routes for sexual impulses that social conventions repress; in erotic dreams everything seems permissible, so they are the best way to bring our most secret emotional desires to light. For Sigmund Freud, dreams manifested the desires that our consciousness does not express, and that was all.
Dreams contain valuable information about ourselves. But their meaning is often far from what it seems.
On occasion, erotic dreams illustrate situations and behaviors that we can’t experience in real life, whether it is due to social convention or our own beliefs. These sexual dreams act as an escape route for repressed impulses.Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to them because they contain valuable information about ourselves. However, their meaning is often far from what it seems. They may just as well symbolize tension in our daily lives as the desire to have a good time. Erotic dreams and fantasies Erotic dreams are also related to a person’s physical and emotional development. During puberty, for example, these kinds of dreams are very common. Others that are more unpleasant are related to episodes of abuse or sexual assault. In some form or another, almost everyone has had some type of erotic dreams because at the end of the day, they are natural occurrences that are part of our lives.
They deserve our time and attention. For example, it’s important to discover when they refer to sexual issues and when they refer to other aspects, because erotic dreams often bring us valuable clues about intimacy with a partner. If something is not right in the relationship, they probably indicate the path to resolution. There should not be any difference between the erotic dreams of men and women, just between different people. However, various studies done in the United States have demonstrated the opposite. While women usually have erotic dreams with someone they know and go all the way from flirting to coitus, men dream of anonymous kinky women that succumb to their fantasies. Obviously this is not always the case, but it is undeniable that a personal relationship is highly valued in the feminine psyche. The masculine, on the other hand, opts for pleasure and domination.
The education one has received, the latent sexism of the collective subconscious, and that of the media are all factors that dreams cannot bypass. These dreams can provoke even decisive, strong women to feel more vulnerable during dreams. Fortunately, as our customs are changing, the dissimilarities between masculine and feminine erotic dreams are gradually shrinking.
Finally, erotic dreams, like all dreams, can hide fears, anxieties, and needs that you repress due to inhibitive situations or a lack of time to face the problem. With the interpretation of erotic dreams, we can find many clues to understand our emotions better.
While men dream of anonymous kinky women succumbing to their fantasies, women usually dream of erotic encounters with men they know.Dreams of duality: masculine-feminine
In this way, when a man dreams that he is a woman, the message is not necessarily about a conflict of identity or sexuality; more likely it refers to a lack of attention to the more sensitive, intuitive side of his personality. Equally, when a woman sees herself as a man in her dreams, her subconscious may be appealing to her more energetic and rational side.
Dreams in which the left (feminine) or right (masculine) side of our bodies are hurt or immobilized (for example, an arm or leg) warn us that we are repressing or denying our masculine or feminine development. It is difficult for us to accept our duality and we reject this aspect that we don’t know how to express.
Dreams of houses
The great oneirologist of ancient times, Artemidorus of Ephesus (second century BC) said: “The home is us”; and the most recent research on oneiric content confirms it. Buildings in our dreams are a reflection of our personality. Therefore you must pay attention to all the details that appear, which give you reliable hints about your desires, fears, worries . . . Each place and element of the house refers to a personal aspect of the self; the kitchen represents our spiritual or intellectual appetite; the oven is the alchemic place of transformation; the basement represents the accumulation of riches; the bedroom, conjugal difficulties, etc.
However, dreams in which different rooms appear can also refer to different areas of real life. If, for example, you find yourself cooking in a kitchen, it may be a reference to a plan that you are “cooking up” in real life. If you find yourself locked in a dark basement, perhaps you feel guilty about something and think you deserve a punishment. Lying in a bed or on a sofa can be a sign that you need a break from your exhausting daily routine.
When the doors of the dream house are shut tight or covered with brick, or there are signs on doors to the rooms prohibiting entry, you should ask yourself what is blocking your evolution in real life. It may be part of your own personality or some basic inhibition.
The buildings in our dreams are a reflection of our personality. “The Splash” (David Hockney, 1966).Many people dream that they discover new rooms in houses that they know well. In general, this points to unknown aspects of their personality that are about to come out; but it can also indicate that they are ready for a new intellectual challenge.
The feelings that emerge when we find ourselves inside an oneiric building are very significant. If you feel brave and curious while exploring every nook and cranny of the house, it means that you are not afraid of what you may discover about yourself, you act assuredly, and face your problems with confidence. On the other hand, if you feel afraid it is a sign of inhibition and insecurity.
A pleasant, organized room reflects mental order and spiritual serenity. If it doesn’t have windows, it is a sign of isolation, fear, and insecurity. “La habitacion” (“The Room”) (Van Gogh, 1889).Nightmares and anxious dreams Nightmares are terrifying dreams that usually stay in our minds when we wake up. They usually occur during the REM phase and, on occasion, are so distressing that they wake you up and torment you for a few minutes. The fear is often accompanied by cold sweats, dry mouth, heart palpitations . . . and the sensation of having lived a terrible moment.
Sometimes, traumatic events that happen to us in waking life (an accident, a robbery, a sexual assault) revisit us in dreams. Our mind needs to free the tension caused by the event and it does it while our consciousness rests.
Worry dreams reflect subconscious doubts and fears about events in our lives that have been saved in our minds but not our conscious memory.These dreams typically disappear with time. If they persist, it may be a major trauma that requires professional help or, at least, and understanding friend to listen; talking about it is the first step to overcoming it.
Many cultures share the belief that nightmares are nothing more than malignant spirits that attack their victims in their sleep with terrifying thoughts. Some research on oneiric content concludes that these scary dreams are more common in childhood, and if they persist into adulthood it usually indicates a deeply rooted problem.
Research in sleep laboratories has demonstrated that often nightmares are triggered by a sudden noise, which detonates a distressing oneiric image. Therefore, for people who suffer from frequent nightmares, it is advisable to wear earplugs.
Dreams in which we feel worried about something are more frequent than nightmares, and sometimes the pressure we feel to resolve a problem in the dream wakes us up. Once awake, the oneiric worry may seem trivial compared to our real problems, however we should not ignore the importance of these dreams; their analysis will reveal areas of our lives that require attention or make us insecure.
Worry dreams reflect subconscious doubts and fears about events in our lives that have been saved in our minds but not our conscious memory. They deal with minor preoccupations that we haven’t consciously given attention to, but our subconscious has recognized.
According to Freud, dreams that generate anxiety or worry are the result of trying to repress an emotion or desire, usually sexual. Freud also highlighted the importance of finding the source of that worry in waking life, since these worries left unattended can degenerate into worse traumas.
To analyze this type of dream you must pay attention to all the elements that appear in the episode, since it is symbolically giving you hints about what worries us.
Dreams about angels are usually messages of inner exploration. In some oneiric episodes they appear as spiritual guides and protectors that try to show us a path.Dreams of inner exploration: forgotten babies and angels
Dreams about angels or spiritual entities tend to be messages of inner exploration. We see various examples collected in an “office of dreams.”
“I am in utter darkness. I am surrounded by silence and emptiness. Suddenly, a shape appears, white and slender, pure, almost surreal. The features of the face are erased. A pure oval, the svelte body, without a definable sex. There is only the impression of extreme sweetness and deep harmony; but this character causes me such an impression of abandonment that it seems like a cry for help. I wrap it in my arms and want to save it at all costs.”
This is a dream of protections, of contact with the invisible world. In this oneiric episode, the androgynous character is recognized as angelic. This fabulous vision is none other than the person’s angel showing him his ailment, found in the darkness.
In other dreams, angels appear as spiritual guides or personal guardians:
The cartoons of “Little Nemo” (Winsor McCay, 1905) always ended with the images of Nemo falling out of bed. His incredible stories revolved around his fascinating dreams.
“I had died on a golden carriage decorated with blue velvet; to my right, a feminine angel, all white, smiled at me . . . she held before me the reins of two white horses, while ahead of us, an unending path bathed in sunlight opened to us.”
One of the most pleasant and stimulating oneiric experiences is traveling to a far-off place and waking up with the sensation of having returned from a great vacation. Without a doubt, this often means a deep desire to travel that you have not been able to satisfy; but it can also hold other interesting readings.
On occasion, you remember precise details about places and settings you have never been to. This could be due to photographs, movies, or television reports that you’ve seen and that your subconscious has saved for some special reason.
These journeys coincide, sometimes, with moment in real life when we are about to begin something new (a change of job or location . . .). Just as the landscape and feelings of the dream can indicate our real emotions about this change, the circumstances of the trip are also revealing. If it is a bumpy trip in which it is difficult to get to your destination (because you lost the tickets or bags, or crashed the car . . .), the dream may be encouraging you to weigh the pros and cons of the situation, and warning you about obstacles ahead. Perhaps you are not mentally prepared for the change.
On the other hand, dreams about remote and exotic places are warning you that your lifestyle is claustrophobic and repressed, and that you need a change or to broaden your horizons.
The mode of transportation that you use to travel in the dream is very significant. If you travel in plane, for example, you should ask yourself if you have your feet firmly on the ground or, on the contrary, if you feel more comfortable “in the clouds.” Escapism in real life tends to appear symbolically in travel dreams. Trains are symbols of new and exciting opportunities; missing the train or letting it leave is a clear symbol of a fear of change—and the insecurity that goes along with this. The station, or point of departure, is a symbolic place of transformation. The predicament of not having a ticket or money to buy one is related to some type of deficiency. However, if you manage to arrive at the destination despite it all, the dream is reflecting a certain amount of self satisfaction.
Surrealism was a revolution. The world of the oneiric, the subconscious, the paranoid . . . become a new way of seeing and exploring life. Its influence is still seen today.... Dreampedia
Although the following dreams can occur at any stage of your life, you may find that the focus of your relationship dreams shifts during your lifespan. In your teenage years, dream scenarios in which you are suddenly thrown together with someone to whom you are attracted are very common. The goal of the dream is to help you determine if someone is or is not interested in you in waking life. By the mid-twenties, however, relationship dreams move beyond initial attraction and begin to explore who is or is not right for us. This is the time when strangers, celebrities and friends tend to appear as dream lovers and partners. You may find the images shocking but it is important to bear in mind that the images are unlikely to represent the real person and more likely to represent qualities that you are evaluating.
During your thirties and forties, romantic dreams focus on explanations for why relationships may have disappointed in the past and offer dreams that can show you what to go after or avoid in the future. Dreams in which your current partner or lover is unfaithful are extremely common at this time; it is as if your dreaming mind is urging you to pay attention to your relationship, and secure or safeguard what you have.
During your fifties and sixties, dreams shift their focus onto things you have learned to value in your life. Past and present partners become shorthand symbols for the quality or experience you had with them. For example, your first lover represents passion and excitement or the partner who was unfaithful represents someone who cannot be trusted. Although you may dream of people from your past, your dreaming mind is using them as symbols to refer to your current relationships. From your seventies onwards, dreams are more likely to zoom in on the very nature of love itself to help you gain a deeper understanding of love and affairs of the heart.... The Element Encyclopedia