• Common types of dreams

    Article by Betty Bethards

    Nothing is off its limits in the dream state. We are open to experiencing all levels of self, all fears, frustrations, suppressed images, unknown territory, visionary insights. We will become more comfortable with all dream images when we learn to welcome them, whatever they are as symbolic messengers of self.

    There is not such thing as a bad dream symbol. The most grotesque or frightening dreams have the most positive insights once they are worked out. Remember, dream images are just trying to get your attention, so do not resist them. Seek to recognize the insight so you can move on to more joyous awareness. Many people have the following common types of dreams.

    Nightmares

    A dream known to most all of us is the nightmare. It is one of our most valuable teaching dreams because it shows us a fear that has been blown way out of proportion or something we have suppressed that is affecting us negatively. Often we do not remember the happy dreams. But the frightening ones will make more of an impression and we will be more inclined to work them out.

    For example, a man had a recurring nightmare that a large rat was eating away at his neck. He would awaken screaming and clawing at his neck to remove the rat. Upon analysis, he discovered that the neck represented the throat chakra. He was not verbalizing his needs, and the suppression was gnawing away and resulting in self-destructive behaviors. The rat was an insecure part of self that was betraying him. We must always nurture the inner self, taking care to verbalize and express what it is that we want and need. After he began to take assertive steps to resolve these problems both at work and in his personal relationships, the rat dream no longer continued.

    Disaster Dreams

    Whether earthquakes, flood, fire or tidal wave, a disaster indicates a sudden change in some area of your life. A flood means an emotional upheaval and an earthquake means a big rearrangement in your affairs. They usually indicate turning points or opportunities to take advantage of a new direction.

    Sexual Dreams

    Sex is a big part of many dreams, and usually has little to do with the literal meaning of intercourse. Usually it indicates learning to balance the male and female polarities of our being. Remember that each one of us is both male and female, manifesting itself in a particular body.

    To have sexual intercourse in a dream represents a merger of energies. If having intercourse with a man, it is a merger of masculine energies within the self; with a woman it is a merger of female energies. If you are a female (or male) and dream of making love with another female (or male) you actually know, it represents taking within the self qualities you associate with the particular individual. Making love with a member of the same sex usually has nothing to do with homosexuality.

    Also having intercourse in a dream with a member of your family does not indicate a desire for incest. If making love with your father or mother, it represents a merger of wiser, nurturing qualities of the masculine or feminine self; with a son or daughter, an integration of the more childlike or youthful qualities of self. Remember all persons in the dream are an aspect of you.

    A sexual dream accompanied by an orgasm may indicate a need to release and balance physical energy, and this is a way the body has of restoring equilibrium. We must remember that we are physical, sexual beings and this part of the self needs to be honored.

    Costume Dreams

    If you find yourself in a costume, it usually represents a past life. It may be that a problem you are facing now was the same one you were dealing with in another time and place. Remembering and understanding the dynamics of the costume dream will help you gain a perspective on whatever is presently confronting you.

    Direction Dreams

    The direction in which you are traveling indicates whether you are on the right track. If you are going up in a dream — up a mountain, up a road, ladder, staircase, elevator, whatever, you are going in the right direction. If you are going down, it is the wrong way. If you are going both up and down, your energy is scattered and you need to get centered. Going around in circles speaks for itself. If you are going on the right, you are following the path of intuition and guidance. To the left is the intellect and reason.

    One man asked if he should participate in a conference and got a dream showing him riding on a down escalator, so steep that he had to heave his briefcase in front of him in order to hold on. Wrong direction, not in support of his study and projects at hand. Another example: a woman was considering the purchase of a certain automobile. She was shown the car sitting down at the bottom of a hill, and she had to walk down crowded streets to get there. She did not buy the car, and a much better offer came up within a few days.

    Flying

    Flying dreams are great fun, and usually mean you are consciously out of the body. If you can gain control of a flying dream you are free to go anywhere you like. You may think yourself in different places in time/space and instantly be there, or you may transcend dimensions. If you are flying around and then start losing altitude or think you are going to crash, it simply suggests that you have a fear of exploring higher dimensions and breaking out of limits. Try again the next night.

    Falling

    If you dream you are falling, you are probably having a bad landing coming back into the body. We all leave the body at night. If you jerk as you are dozing off, it is a bad exit. If you wake up and cannot move or talk, it means you are half in and half out of the body. We cannot move until we are totally in. Think yourself down to your feet. This will ground you.

    We leave the body at night, or transcend physical awareness, to be taught and trained. The physical or third dimension is illusion; the dream state is reality. Through meditation and working with dreams you will never fear death as you will experience the fourth dimension and be as comfortable there as you are in the third dimension here.

    Obscene Dreams

    Nothing in a dream is obscene once you understand the meaning. Nothing is meant to insult you or offend you, but to get you to look at a level of self or limitation that you have avoided. Work it out and usually you will find a great deal of humor behind it.

    Recurring Dreams

    Like a movie rerun, there is a message you are not seeing. Recurring nightmares mean that you have not dealt with a particular fear. Recurring fence or barricade dreams mean there is a limit you imposed upon yourself that you have not yet recognized and removed. These are most important to write down and work out. Once you get the message they will stop.

    Snake Dreams

    Snakes frequently appear in dreams, and are power symbols. They represent the kundalini energy, or life force. One woman dreamed that a snake entered her lower body and moved up through the body trunk to the throat. The snake stuck in her throat, and she started choking. She awakened horrrified. At first glance this does seem a bit unnerving, but actually it was a perfect explantation of what was happpening in her life. The kundalini power is housed at the base of the spine. So the snake enters her body and begins to move upward. As we awaken energy it moves up through the various chakras. Her energy was flowing well until it reached the throat center, and there it stopped, causing choking. She was blocking energy in that center, and not verbalizing her needs and feelings. She was choking off communication because of fear and a poor self-image. This dream explained that her inner power was alive and well, and through releasing the blocks in the throat center by verbalizing and not suppressing she would get past present limitations in relationships with others.

    Money Dreams

    When you dream of coins or dollar bills, it represents changes coming into your life. Small coins, small change. Lots of bills, big changes.

    Toilet Dreams

    These dreams concern how well we are taking care of our inner garbage. Are we letting go of unneeded thoughts and experiences? Are we releasing the past so that we are able to live fully in the present? Difficulty in elimination or constipation indicates suppression. Diarrhea suggests forced elimination whether ready or not, and we are out of control in the process. A stopped up toilet means you are not releasing, flushing out negativity and wastes.

    I had a dream with three stopped up toilets sitting out in the open. This was letting me know that I had to clean up my act mentally, physically and emotionally. I was now aware of things to do, priorities to establish, because the toilets were totally exposed for all to see.

    Blood and Guts Dreams

    Blood in a dream means loss of energy. If you are being stabbed, note the area of the body and check the corresponding chakra to see how you are losing energy. If you are being murdered or are murdering someone else, you are killing off a part of the self. This may be an aspect no longer needed, or a part that you are failing to nurture that is still valuable to self-growth.

    Death Dreams

    A death means the ending of the old and making way for the new. A death seldom means a literal death. Rather it suggests the dying of a part of self necessary in the process of growth and regeneration. It may also mean you are dead inside and need to awaken feelings and sensitivity. So check carefully the symbols in the dream to get the message.

    Chase Dreams

    If you are being chased, or trying to run away from something, you are avoiding looking at a problem. If you cannot get your legs to move or are moving in slow motion, you will soon have to confront the fear you have been avoiding. When you are being chased, you are putting yourself through unnecessary anguish and pain. Remember to turn around and confront whatever aspect of self is chasing you, make peace with it, and the drama will end.

    Excerpt from The Dream Book - Symbols for Self-Understanding
    © Bethy Bethards, 1983

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