Mind-bending dreams and what they all mean
Life is but a dream—a collection of moments found in dreams can imitate life and vice-versa, which means both reality and the dream state are more connected than you thought. After all, it is just a cranial rest retreat for several hours a day.
There are four main stages of sleep: initial stages where muscles begin to relax, the beginning of sleep (meaning heart rate and body temperature drop), a deep sleep in which slow delta brain waves begin, and REM, the final stage. REM is where the magic happens.
Beyond the cliched cavalcade of dream speculation, does each one have a deeper meaning than you expected? Dreams also cascade into one another, each having multi-layered meanings for money, vehicles or even keys. Cue the Inception horn sound. BWAAAAAAAHH.
REM, an abbreviation for rapid eye movement, allows for consolidation of memories, and no surprise, your mood.
Don’t let lack of sleep get you cranky! Be enlightened by these 30 dream scenarios and sleep tight at night with a little more know-how than before.
1. Ever dream of being single when you’re not?
Bachelors and Bachelorettes are synonymous with freedom, an important virtue in life until you find The One. Masculinity and femininity are the other important latent values. The TV show The Bachelor is an artificially created stage simulating the freedom of choice. After a long period of judging, the bachelor/ette finally chooses a potential partner. Humans are fascinated with courtship, no two ways about it. This latent intrigue can manifest itself in dreams.
The dreamstate of bachelordom focuses primarily on the perceived freedom associated with being single. Psychologists theorize that it isolates your problems, emphasizing the need to resolve conflict on your own. It could represent wide open opportunities or an unapologetic signal telling us to remain going stag (though it doesn’t necessarily mean you should have your partner hit the highway).
2. Underwater, in over your head
Water: an essential element to life and an indicator of infinite possibilities. Plunging deep into the water could either be a washing away of past transgressions or cleansing oneself for the next experience. Drowning in the water is pretty evident as you may be in over your head in work, life, or relationships. Struggling to keep afloat is a manifestation of the challenges of maintaining stability in the turbulent waters of one’s day-to-day issues.
Larger bodies of water can indicate an overwhelming volume of problems in the subconscious. While wading in the vast expanse of sloshing waves, these dreams can induce feelings of overwhelming frustration and anxiety. Whatever it is, your body is indicating that you proceed and leave the stress with the water waste. The subconscious is a cunning creator, so pay attention to what it has to say or try to identify those overwhelming emotions while awake.
3. Forgot your pants?
7:00 am, wake up and get ready for school or work, proceed casually with your day as you notice an unusual amount of snickering from both sides of the aisle. Later on in the day you look down to examine what the ruckus has been about. You are naked and/or in your skivvies. Great. Fortunately, it is a dream, and you are not alone. Everyone who has ever been unprepared for a major upcoming assignment has shared the scathing feeling of being exposed.
Mortifying, we know. But the lessons of vulnerabilities or unnecessary shame in your life may be present. Are you hiding something or afraid others can see your weaknesses? The subconscious is trying to signal deep-seated insecurities or anxiety which is triggering feelings of low self worth. Notice your “bare necessities” within school or work and fix the problem rationally, as to avoid anxiety. Dreams amplify problems; they may carry much more emotional weight than the real source of concern.
4. Serene trees
Trees provide a variety of flavors for those in the dream world. Subtle nuances, like the species of tree, and the landscape surrounding it, give cues which provide more detail than waking activities. Fruit trees represent basking in hard work and accomplishment, as the succulent fruit is a gift to the self. Willow trees, grown in rows of interlocking groups represent the need to work together.
There’s a very emotional aspect to these pillars of growth. Trees can indicate positive feelings of strength, stability, and safety. Hope, maturity, and the desire for health and wisdom are commonly associated with this imagery. Also, you can revisit this dream often; get a glance at the growth and you can understand yourself better than anyone else. An introspective look at tree floration is a calm glance into where all your puzzle pieces are.
5. Food for thought
If your dreams feature venison of vitality or neurological nourishment, you may need a dream interpreter. Dreaming of food is often the routine for those seeking greater meaning in success. Accomplishment is built into an ability to produce, so if your body is not fueled for the task, achievements will not accumulate. It often forces someone to dive into which culture’s food they enjoy the most. Perhaps Mexican cuisine tempts favor to an Italian more, for example.
Food very often refers to thoughts, ideas, or manifested beliefs. They can be digested by the mind, not necessarily the stomach. It reflects to the dreamer ingrained truths they might not be consciously aware of. Not all food dreams are opportune; moldy or disgusting food indicates a daily deficit in energy or emotions. Don’t be discouraged, distinguishing these dreams is not always a piece of cake.
What, then, is the meaning behind “chasing your dreams…”
6. Chasing your dreams
Responsibilities, they are a pain, no? Problems following you in the waking world is the number one cited reason for the chase dream. Often times avoiding responsibility is nothing new, and the meaning is blatantly obvious, but the greatest messages comes from who is chasing you. Identifying this person, group, or creature will bring you closer to pinning down the source in reality.
A loved one? Your teacher? Maybe even yourself. It doesn’t have to be a specific person, perhaps they are portions of yourself that are troubling to grapple with. Whatever aspect of life you associate the person with most, is the respective responsibility you are dodging. Avoiding problems in life may be an easy route to take, but doing so will burden the subconscious and thus unfold as a stressful dream.
7. What does your car say about you?
In life, vehicles are arguably one of the biggest status elevators, or simultaneously be a burden of progress. In the dream world, they can tell a lot about how we are making it through life. When a dream induces the sensation of riding in a vehicle, there are many factors to take into account—are you riding on a private jet? Are you driving a beat up hunk-of-junk?
The car or moving vessel in question can also represent your mind or body, making its way through the highways of life. If you are in full control of the vehicle, you’ve got a good handle on your current situation. If it is driving you seemingly with a mind of its own, you may be fearful about a lack of control over certain circumstances. Whatever this vehicle says about status on society, also reflects back on you. Obviously it can be looked at in a much deeper sense than what you see (in your dream) at face value.
8. Bewitching butterflies
Potions, magic, Disney fairy tales, and potent purity—a list of everything you may envision when butterflies swarm the daydream screen. A transition period is either coming or going. Just as the butterfly molts, metamorphosis shows an elevated state of beauty and ease in navigating the world. Transformation and the evolving of your daily routine can pop up in your sleep as these whimsical insects.
If you recently had a sweeping change in your life such as a job, home, or relationship switch, you may be seeing some butterflies sprinkled throughout your visions. Watching the butterfly’s flutter of freedom is usually a positive signal, so you can rest assured about good changes that are about to take flight. And as we know that the butterfly morphs through a cycle from larva to caterpillar to butterfly, it makes sense that your thoughts are focused on a new cycle going on in your personal realm.
9. Don’t lose sleep over losing teeth
Losing teeth or feeling your chompers loosening and falling out is a commonly reported dream scenario. But like many mental metaphors, this has less to do with physiology than psyche. Psychologists almost universally agree that tooth loss dreams indicate perceived confidence in your life, or lack thereof. Basically they are associated with a lack of control and powerlessness.
It may seem hopeless to make steps to having more positive dreams, but simply being more aware of your feelings during your daily affairs may help. By identifying what could be causing molar malfunctions in dreamland—namely anxiety and radical changes—you’ll be on your way to regaining some of that control your mind is craving.
10. Tranquil temples and other beautiful buildings
Dreams can get hectic. Luckily, the symbol of peace and tranquility is there to lighten the load. Temples are associated with channeling a higher calling, serene settings, and an easiness in the world. These monuments are metaphors for deeply held beliefs. Structures of prowess can provide shelter for your mind’s safe thoughts or communicate the need to get more in touch with your ethical code.
Generally this is a positive sign in your life as your mind projects an optical illusion of your inner peace. However, if the building is in ruin or rocked with a disaster, it could point to doubt, weakness, or confusion in life. If in tact, a double dose of fortune could be coming your way—because temple trekking is synonyms with success within yourself—not necessarily conquering large mountains of money, but finding simplicity and diplomacy with those around you.
11. Whimsical weddings
Carrying a partner over a threshold of a new apartment or home is a traditional symbol of marriage. In dreams, it is also a major transition in the threshold of life. Marriage, at the highest level of symbolism, represents unifying two people together. Humans have placed a high value on the ritual of marriage for millennia. But who exactly is getting married?
Your dedication to a spouse is an excellent sign. Marrying your ex or watching from afar? Less indicative of true intimacy—it could show jealousy or a need to let go. It’s also another sign of a transition period in life, but in general, you’re emphasizing the bond with someone very special to you. The fortunate part is that, in a dream, footing over the wedding bill won’t be necessary.
What about when money and love mean the same thing?
12. Another dream, another dollar
If everyone had a genie, one of the three wishes would be this magical item: money. Whether it be insecurity, obsession, intrigue, or necessity, several forms of symbolism exist for the “root of all evil”. The confident person is more likely to dream about money as it signifies imminent wealth and success in the future. But dreaming of wealth and prosperity isn’t just about the material side of it. One may dream of being “rich” in friendship, romance, or overall happiness.
The mind can be very self-reflective, and it comes through in vivid thoughts, according to neuroscientists. Finding money during a dream suggests that the dreamer is becoming aware of their value to themselves and others. One tale of caution: don’t replace money with love, because if you are sulking and dreaming about money, perhaps love will serve you better. Maybe The Beatles were right: all you need is love…
13. Free….free falling
Terrified as you fall at terminal velocity from the sky above, you see the ground rushing up on you fast. Then, GASP! You wake up. The stereotypical scenario of waking up in a cold sweat isn’t completely accurate as there is actually more science to these simple scenarios than you originally bargained for. Hypnagogic jerks, or spasms of the body, result from improper transition from the first stage of sleep to the next. What is the deeper meaning?
Symbolically, it’s a little bit more obvious: failure, inferiority, stress, anxiety, and so on. All these are correctable, and the falling dream is a perfect wake up call for just that. The feelings of being in an uncontrollable plummet can be unnerving, but as with many mystic metaphors, the brain is trying to represent a problem in life with a more simple analogy.
14. Dreams of Doom
Dreams about death aren’t always the most perky or cheerful, but they rely an essential message: something is coming to an end. Do not let the looming idea get you down in the dumps, it is more often about a relationship, profession or some other aspect of your life, coming to an end. It could also mean you’re making sacrifices in life that no one is noticing.
It may be time to put yourself first. The mind has a great way of revealing aspects of the subconscious we haven’t been paying attention to. There’s no need to be alarmed by the occasional dream of mortal danger—like flowers cropping up after decay, there are often new horizons with many more opportunities. People are scared of the uncertain, and that is foremost what death represents in a dream.
15. Your clothes are a clue
Clothes make the man and the woman, as the saying goes. Dreaming about cotton and silk specialties, even if you’re a fan of the more grungy fashions, is indicative of status. Perhaps the subconscious is telling you to acquire more and act professionally, or that you are “well suited” as it is. But remember, however you dress immediately in your dream is probably how you perceive yourself.
Upon dream conception, you are the master of your own fate, and that works especially in dressing for whatever the occasion may be. The same logic goes for those infamously famous dreams about being naked or in your underoos as mentioned earlier—a clear representation of vulnerability in the presence of a judgmental audience. Again, numerous meanings can be found here, so for all of them, simply put on your thinking cap.
16. Giving and receiving gifts
Stop it, you shouldn’t have. Well, you really shouldn’t always gift rampantly. Showering people in excessive goodies, in a dream, or being overly generous in nature could be seen as overbearing. If the person is a partner or friend, perhaps you should give your generosity a break for a short period of time. Conversely, receiving a gift in your dream indicates you are being honored and recognized for your generosity.
When you open the present, you are revealing a new talent, skill, or era of success. Positive vibes in the dream are welcome feelings, but opening something and finding a repulsive or scary thing inside can point to disappointment or unexpected shortcomings. Never feel bad about giving gifts, however. After all, it is a gesture of great fortune. Often, the best gift you can give to someone else is your time and attention.
17. Locked up/trapped/in jail
A prison cell, a cave or most scary of all, a coffin. Either way, there is a one common link to these claustrophobic calamities: you are trapped and cannot escape. At several areas or stages in your life, you are at an impasse. Being underappreciated at work, or in a relationship could trigger the trapped treadmill tirade. Getting locked up is just another form of long-standing unease.
Are there circumstances in your daily routine that make you feel like your freedom is restricted, or that you’re in a situation with no way out? The feeling of powerlessness in dreams where anything can occur, emphasizes how emotionally detrimental and degrading dreams can get. But interpreting your mind’s storytelling can get you closer to resolving the conflict in the everyday.
What can wrap a story, within a story, inside an even deeper story?
18. Story within a story
Once upon a time, a dream of magnificent storytelling invaded your vision and out came the subconscious to weave creativity and imagination. Dreaming is the perfect creative outlet to let your imagination run wild. It may be an underlying message about stifled creativity on the other side. Many people produce quite cinematic dreams, almost like a movie complete with three full acts, conflict, and perhaps a grand finale.
Even more likely is that the story is slapping salient information into your noggin’. If you can gain a moral from the story, utilize that on your next life venture. A “lucid dream” occurs when you realize you’re in a dream and can control your surroundings, which, while incredibly cool, is also a rare occurrence. It is truly story-ception, a story within a story which is wrapped up tightly in the narrative of your life.
19. Awe-inspiring animals
Strong as a horse, sly as a fox, cunning as a cat, and definitely dreaming of animal: each furry or scaly friend has a bundle of characteristics that come with them, primarily, the attribute that best describes them. Seeing animals anywhere in a dream is representative of powerful, primal instincts and that you are ready for the prowl.
Beasts and animals are often representative of primal desires, or feelings of freedom and power. Catching or releasing an animal is symbolic of a need to repress or release certain innate human needs. Getting the “beast out” of oneself and envisioning animals is sometimes a release of pent up emotions. You’ve heard of the term spirit animal—well, in your dreams, sometimes you can be one.
20. The metaphoric mountain climb
All downhill from here? Not really, it is rare that someone dreams about the easiest part of mountain climbing: the descent. Often, having a titanic, rocky obstacle obscure your path is an obvious indicator that a major goal lies ahead and you have no other way to tackle it but tackle the hike.
Mountain dreams aren’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Everyone needs a little strife in their life or else they suffer boredom. Take note of how much you progress during the expedition. If you reach the top, you are confident in your ability. No matter the situation, your subconscious is aware, and you are now aware, so it’s time to prepare for a journey.
21. Dancing and movement
Dance is universal: all cultures have some form of bodily expression. In each circumstance, this signifies happiness, relaxation and release of emotions. It bodes well for fortuitous circumstances on the horizon. Seeing younger people dancing looks deep into the future, representing healthy offspring celebrating. If it’s you that’s dancing in jubilation, the brain is exercising its feelings of uninhibited freedom.
What is dance at the end of the day? Certain rhythms—like the world’s many musical styles—represent the different beats and narratives you will experience over time. But taking dancing in cultural context is also important. For certain cultures, it is contextual for past, present or future, so look into the specific dance and gain deeper understanding of what is to come.
So how might advertisements be important in the dreamstate?
22. Subliminal advertising
Subconscious subliminal messages are essential in dreams; they distinguish important messages we have missed like the yin and yang. On the conscious level, we probably retained all necessary information for a day, but on the subconscious level, a whole other world awaits. These signs can have both positive and negative connotations.
Pay close attention to the color in signs and symbols as well. Warm, vibrant tones reflect a comforting mood. Advertisements are the most ironic way to tap into that subconscious because it displays the product of the self, attempting to help you while being as inconspicuous as a Coca-Cola commercial.
23. Phoning it in
It is an inescapable feature of the modern world, the presence of a phone is always looming. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but when you dream, it often means you need to relax from a situation causing you overload. If you’re courting a long-distance relationship in the dream, check for relationships that could use some extra buffer-zoning.
More obviously, many jobs require answering phones, and the constant drop of the tone symbolizes bringing the job home. Though, pick up the call when it rings, because many people report important messages they missed in their everyday, or the voice of your subconsciousness itself cluing you into a topic that needs some attention.
Ever feel like flying? Well, the deeper meaning behind being Superman may shed some light on your dreams…
24. Dreams taking flight
Everyone and their grandmother has had a flying dream at some point. Oddly enough, men are more likely to dream about flying than women. The Superman feat signals you can conqueror whatever situation coming your way. Quite obviously, freedom is the number one reason people recall their dreams of spreading their “wings.”
A recent triumph and a fresh perspective is more likely to cultivate this liberating feeling of flying. If you are completely clearing the landscape below, it is most likely because there are no interferences in daily life. This is an especially common superpower found in lucid dreams. Just remember not to run into any telephone poles or power lines.
25. Dreaming of work
People describe dreams of tending markets, yard sales, or even becoming a restaurateur of random confections. The act of selling could represent a difficulty in letting go; that outside the dream world, these goods portray your current possessions. Being on the receiving end of a sale is wildly different; often it means an awkwardness in yourself is not being addressed.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking on a used car salesman persona. The dream of a financial transaction may actually depict your attempt to convince yourself of a theory or idea. Pay attention to the product sold, it could be the key to something valuable, but underused within daily life. Your subconscious could be better at identifying hidden talents than you are. Talk about being a hard sell.
26. Weapons and wonders
Just like a criminal case, there is always a smoking gun. Here, your subconscious is attempting to articulate anger, repressed rage and potential hatred towards something or someone in your life. It could also represent a tool of power or self-defense as you prepare to fend off forces that could attack your subconscious virtues.
Pay close attention to weaponry in dreams, because aggressive thoughts of someone else run parallel to the pain they are wreaking in daily life. Take careful consideration to what may be causing a hostile temperament by carrying a diary or writing your feelings down. Anxiety and anger are never healthy nor fun to hold onto for extended periods of time.
27. Sleeping literally like a baby
It’s been reported that dreams can actually tell if a person is pregnant before the a trip to the ultrasound. Like many dreams, numerous interpretations lie ahead: an immaturity not addressed, a feeling of neglect, or a desire to nurture. Babies are symbolic of youth, freshness and purity as they begin navigating the world. If you witness one in your dreams, it is time to backtrack: what aspect of your life is experiencing a rebirth?
Again, there are multiple interpretations at play here. Babies may not symbolize someone else, but a aspect of yourself that needs nourishment or attention. It commonly occurs when someone neglects their own needs above everyone else—in essence, being too kind. The flip side to the symbolism is rebirth; as though a phoenix is born from the ashes, a baby is a sign of maturity and immaturity at the same time, so do not throw the meaning of the “baby dream” out with the bathwater.
28. Sleep paralysis: scary but safe
Sleep paralysis is more a matter of physiology than psychological visions that occur during deep sleep. It’s basically a symptom that happens when the body gets confused whether it should be awake or asleep. It usually manifests as people are falling asleep or coming out of REM-stage sleep. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement), the brain normally freezes the muscles to prevent you from acting your dreams out. During sleep paralysis, the person is aware that they cannot move.
This is without a doubt one of the more unsettling things that could occur when sleeping. Fortunately, it is not harmful to health. The subsequent dreams, however, can morph into all sorts of ghouls, goblins and monsters at the foot of your bed, which can be highly unsettling. Our minds certainly have their glitches, but rest assured, this is a common event.
29. The meaning of keys
You never know what lurks behind that door. Doors in dreams are often life routines leading to familiarity. Keys unlock the unfamiliar, and that is most exciting of all. Opening a dream-themed door could lead to forgotten memories or new opportunities just waiting to be seized. You may be on the hunt for advancements in your career or home life, and opening doors to these new ideas and perspectives can be quite beneficial to self-improvement.
Finding the key to a locked door may reveal suppressed memories found deeper in the subconscious mind. Maybe you yourself were hiding certain details about yourself to the rest of the world. The turn of a key eclipses the unknown and welcomes the unsuspecting. Good, bad or a draw, moving forward is a major key in itself.
30. Celebrities and notable figures
Meeting your favorite celebrity: more likely to occur in a dream than real life. Striking up a conversation with Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, or Ariana Grande is great and all, but in your dreams, it means much more than simple status signaling. Hone in on which celebrity it is; whatever attribute they acquired fame from is probably what you are seeking. For example, Taylor Swift could reflect musical abilities, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, confidence. The attribute to each person is up to the dreamer of course. Perhaps you are simply infatuated with them.
Dreams aren’t always obvious. Maybe it is a call to dismiss that person from your life. An overt focus on celebrities isn’t ideal, though. Idolizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous may lead to dissatisfaction. If it’s any consolation, very often celebs reveal that they just want a normal life. It gives a whole new meaning to having “stars in your eyes”.
Share this article if you’ve experienced any of these dream escapades.