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10 Common Dreams and What They Mean: The Essential Guide To Dream Interpretation

Alanna Kali
A young woman is a asleep and dreaming.
The mystery of why we dream is something that has bemused many great thinkers throughout time. They provide us with hope, inspiration, and access beyond the confines of our reality, though at times they can prove to be filled with fear, anxiety, and confusion.

Dreams compel people to discern their meanings and to discover the answers they are trying to reveal. In this article, we explore dreaming, different approaches to dream interpretation, and 10 of the most common types of dreams.

Why Do We Dream?

Dreaming is a natural part of life, though there are many thoughts on why it happens. Most theories focus on the importance of dreams for storing and processing memories, information, and the events of daily life.

In a dream state, the brain can sort through what it did not have time to consciously process when you were awake. Excess information is discarded, while memories are formed and stored within your unconscious mind. All of the things you experience, thoughts you think, and feelings you feel are monitored, evaluated, and then discarded or stored in your memory banks.

However, for many, dreams are much more than a biological function of the brain; dreams open up many doorways, allowing for your mind to explore uncharted terrain. There are many ways to dream, from receiving guidance to living out desires only possible in the imaginal realm. One can process unresolved feelings for healing and personal growth while in a slumbering dreamscape. Some would even say dreams are a bridge between the physical and spiritual world.

The meaning of dreams is ever-evolving along with humanity, shifting the relationship between people and their dreams as new information comes to light about the nature of reality. One thing is certain, dreams are a constant source of guidance for those who choose to look within them to determine what they mean.

Approaches to Dream Interpretation

Dream analysis, made popular by psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, differs from traditional dream interpretation. For many centuries, sacred leaders from cultures around the world — from Ancient Greeks to indigenous shamans in the Amazon — would interpret the dreams of individuals for the purpose of healing and divination. Dreams were considered omens, which could hold valuable information about the course of events to come. This view of dream interpretation led to a rise in the belief in prophetic dreams.

From the roots of ancient dream work emerged psychological dream interpretation in the early 1900s. The psychological approach of dream analysis seeks to assign symbolic meaning to the elements of the dream to learn more about the subconscious mind. Through dream analysis, the root of psychological imbalance can be revealed and therefore treated to promote a healthier mental state. Dreams in this context are considered portals to the feelings, motivations, and yearnings one might have within, though never realized in waking life. Jung and Freud sought to uncover the meaning of dream symbolism in order to better understand the human mind.

Eventually, intuitive dream interpretation gained popularity, as people became more open to concepts such as life after death, the ability to receive spiritual guidance from a higher power, and physics demonstrated the interconnectivity of energy. As a result, people increasingly have turned to psychics with their fine-tuned ability to interpret intuitive messages and translate them to guide others accordingly. Psychics naturally know what the dream symbolism represents, while a psychoanalytic process could take months to discern the dream's meaning. In modern times, psychics are often the best people to turn to for dream interpretation.

10 Common Dreams and What They Mean

1. Dreams Where You Are Free Falling

When you dream about free-falling, it’s an indication that it’s time to surrender control. You’re holding on too tightly to the reins and blocking the natural flow of events, which manifests in the opposite sensation at night where you spiral out of control. Your subconscious mind wants you to release and relax, which is why it’s propelling you into a state of free fall, urging you to let go.

If this is a repeated dream, you’ll discover that you land safely once you come to accept that you cannot dictate the way things unfold, though you can control your attitude towards them. Once you’ve mastered this lesson, it’s common for free-falling dreams to turn into ones of flight because you’ve now learned to ride the airwaves successfully.

2. Dreams Where You Are Being Chased

When you dream about being chased, it is an indication you’re running away from an important issue. Something is demanding your attention, which you are neglecting to acknowledge. What is chasing you (person, animal, monster) is symbolic of what you’ve avoided in your daily life.

If this is a repeated dream, you’ll need to slow down and tend to the matter at hand. It may feel counterintuitive to let yourself be caught, but confronting your pursuer is the quickest way to end this cycle of dreams. Taking action will end the dreams of something coming up on you from behind because you’ll be in a position to confront it directly.

3. Dreams Where You Are Unable to Move or Talk

When you dream about being unable to communicate or move, it is an indication that you’re feeling powerless in life. Subconsciously, you do not feel like you can express yourself or move freely due to external constraints. This is symbolic of a blockage that is keeping you in a mindset of inadequacy, restraint, and constriction.

If this is a repeated dream, you must acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that have gone unspoken. To end these dreams, you must actively assert yourself in waking life and regain your personal sovereignty to do as you please without bending to the demands of others.

4. Dreams Where You Die

When you dream about dying, it is an indication that you’re going through a major life transformation. The old you is falling away so that a new version of yourself can emerge. These dreams are common during times of moving, ending a relationship, or changing jobs. Symbolically, you are passing from one stage of life to another, and the dream of death is a metaphor for this change.

If this is a repeated dream, you may want to consider whether you’re resisting transformation. There are elements of your life that are calling for change, as your psyche is prompting you with images to say it’s time to let go and start anew. Reflect on what area of life needs to end for a better version to emerge.

5. Dreams of Loved Ones Who Have Passed

When you dream about loved ones who have passed, it is an indication they are watching over you, protecting you, and guiding you from beyond. Sometimes, your ancestors will even have a message for you to heal pain, comfort your grief, or give you hope that they’re still present in your life.

If this is a repeated dream, you may want to do something to honor the loved one. Perhaps put up a photograph of them or cook their favorite meal. The dream is signaling they are still a significant part of your life and you will benefit from spending time reflecting on the importance they had in your life.

6. Dreams of People From Your Past

When you dream of people from your past, whether it be an old school teacher, high school friend, or former lover, it’s an indication that you’re healing emotionally. On a conscious level, you may hardly remember the impact they had in your life, but subconsciously, there’s an emotional dynamic still working itself out. Taking note of the emotional tone of your dream may even revive memories you’d long forgotten to process during your waking hours.

If this is a repeated dream, you may want to journal about memories you’ve had of this person; reflect on who you were during the time that you knew them, and reconnect with those aspects of yourself. You may also consider reaching out to re-establish a connection if it feels appropriate to do so.

7. Dreams of Premonitions and Seeing the Future

When you dream of things that then happen in waking life, it is an indication that your psychic abilities are becoming more attuned. It is common in many cultures to gain insight into the future through dreams, though it does take practice and a certain level of openness. Your dreams are simply giving you insight about what’s to come so that you’re prepared; they also show you a potential future so that you can avoid the outcome, which otherwise might occur without your knowledge of its potential.

If this is a repeated dream, or you’ve noticed the premonitions happening a few times, you’ll certainly want to pay more attention to the messages coming through. You’ve opened a dream channel to the energy in your life guiding you with information about future events. This is the ultimate state many dreamers hope to achieve, blending their dreaming and waking life to merge the realities into one.

8. Dreams of Romantic or Sexual Encounters

When you dream about romantic or sexual encounters, it’s an indication there’s a desire or passion within you that wants to be explored. This may be a romantic yearning, but it more likely symbolically represents an aspect of yourself that wants to be explored. You can figure out what this is by reflecting on the attributes of your dream lover, as they often mirror the traits you wish to cultivate in yourself.

If this is a repeated dream, you’re going through a stage of development to incorporate these new attributes. Embracing the encounters in your dreams will assist you in following your passion and letting desire guide your actions in waking life.

9. Dreams About An Out of Control Vehicle

When you dream about being in an out-of-control vehicle, such as a car with no breaks or a train headed over a mountainside, it is an indication that you’re spiraling out of control in life and losing track of your goals. You are inadvertently self-sabotaging yourself by allowing things to continue that you know are not for your highest good.

If this is a repeated dream, it is important to assess your daily habits and acknowledge any addictive tendencies that are stripping you of personal power. From smoking to watching too much television, these habits are steering you off course and you must correct your behavior for the dreams to end.

10. Dreams of Animals

When you dream about animals, it is an indication that your primal nature wants to be acknowledged. The animal in your dream is a symbolic representation of your untamed parts of self. Therefore it’s important to note whether it is a domestic or wild animal if the animal is friendly or aggressive, and your relationship to the animal, as this is an indicator of your relationship to your instinctive self.

If this is a repeated dream, you may want to spend more time outdoors, reclaiming the wildness within. Doing research on the animal revealing itself in your dream can also give more insight into the characteristics within yourself that are striving to emerge.

How You Can Remember Your Dreams

A simple system to remember your dreams is setting the intention to do so and then writing down the dream immediately upon waking.

Setting an intention before falling asleep helps to prime your mind to remember your dreams. By informing yourself that these dreams have content you want to recall, you’ll naturally enhance your ability to recollect your dreams.

It’s best to jot down a bit about your dream, either on your phone or on a piece of paper. When you wake up from a dream, immediately try to seal it into your mind by focusing on a key image or scene that was most vivid. This will keep it fresh in your mind until you have time to fully write it out.

In the morning, focus on the key image that connected you to the dream and then begin writing everything that comes to mind. Usually, as you write more of the dream will come back to you. It’s helpful to do this practice regularly so that you have a dream journal you can reference to notice patterns in your dream life.

However, don’t fret if you can’t remember your dreams right away. Oftentimes, parts of the dream will suddenly come back to you during the day, especially when your attention is unfocused or your mind is wandering.

Conclusion

Since you spend as much time in waking life as you do dreams, interpreting your dreams can lead to a wealth of enlightenment. If you are looking to further explore the meanings of your dreams, a psychic reading can illuminate the messages of your slumber. Psychics naturally know how to navigate the intuitive, symbolic world of energy and can translate your dreams into clear, constructive messages which will enhance your life.

Alanna Kali
Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and tarot reader. She currently is editor-in-chief of a book review website called Musing Mystical. Alanna loves reading, spending time in nature, and traveling.