1- The people who appear in dreams are the characters with which we write our ‘play’. Often they appear simply as themselves, particularly if they are people we know or have a relationship with in the here and now. We may introduce them in order to highlight a specific quality or characteristic. We may also permit them into our dream scenario as projections of our inner life or stale of being. Finally, they may signify someone who is more important than the dreamer.
2- In order to disentangle the various types of ‘information’ which each character brings to the dreamer, it is often necessary to decide what or who each one makes us think of. That way we will reveal the deeper meanings and connections.
An individual from the past could link us with that period of our lives and with specific memories which may, or may not, be painful.
A neighbour or close associate usually appears in a dream to highlight a particular quality in that person. Somebody else’s mother, father, brother etc. may suggest our own family members or possibly jealousy. Sometimes, rather than trying to decipher the meaning of the dream it is enough to look at what bearing the dream character’s actions have on the dreamer’s everyday life.
To interpret why the dreamer has adopted a particular role we would need to know a little bit more about his lifestyle. When there is some conflict within the dreamer between love and aversion for a particular person, we are more likely to dream about them.
Often in dreams there may be a noted difference between two of the participants to illustrate two sides of the dreamer’s thoughts and feelings. Similarly; there maybe a marked contrast in the way the dreamer handles a situation with two of his dream characters.
It is as though two options are being practised. Composite characters As with composite animals, the composite character will emphasise one characteristic or quality in order to draw the dreamer’s attention to it.
The fact that it is not just one person emphasises the many-faceted human being. Every- character who appears in our dreams is a reflection of a facet or part of our own personality and can often be better understood if we put ourselves in the position of that person. Adolescent To dream of oneself as adolescent focuses on our undeveloped side.
Dreaming of an adolescent of the opposite sex usually means dealing with a suppressed part of our development.
The emotions associated with adolescence are very raw and clear and such emotions arc accessible often only through dreams. There may be conflict over freedom. Ancestors Our customs, ways of behaving, morality and our religious feelings are all handed down from generation to generation. When we become conscious of our ancestors in a dream we are focusing on our roots. We may- understand ourselves through our relationship with the past. Authority Figures (such as magistrates, teachers etc. also see individual entries) Our concept of authority is first developed through our relationship with our father or father figure. Depending on how we were treated as children, our view of authority will be anything from a benign helper to an exploitative disciplinarian. Most authority figures will ultimately lead us back to what is right for us, although not necessarily what we might consider good for us. Authority figures in dreams initially appear to have power over us, though if worked with properly will generate the power to succeed. Dreaming particularly of police can indicate a kind of social control and a protective element for us as members of society. Often a policeman will appear in dreams as one’s conscience. We may feel that our wilder, more renegade side needs controlling.
Baby To dream about a baby which is our own indicates that we need to recognise those vulnerable feelings over which we have no control. We may be attempting something new.
If the baby is someone else’s in the dream, we need to be aware of that person’s ability to be hurt, or that they may be innocent of something. Psychologically we are in touch with the innocent, curious side of ourselves, with the part which neither wants nor needs responsibility.
Dreaming of a baby can indicate that, on a spiritual level, the dreamer has a need for a feeling of purity.
Boy To have a dream about a boy- shows the potential for growth and new experience.
If the boy is known he reflects recognised qualities in the dreamer. Psychologically, we may need to be in touch with ourselves at that age and with the innocent youthfulness and enthusiasm that a boy has. We are contacting our natural drives and ability to face difficulties.
Boyfriend To dream of a boyfriend, whether present or former, connects with the feelings, attachments and sexuality- connected with him.
To dream of having as a boyfriend someone whom you would not anticipate, indicates the need to have a greater understanding of the way you relate to men. Consideration may need to be given to the loving, nurturing side of masculinity. We are still searching for the ideal lover.
Carers such as nurses, nuns etc. This suggests the more compassionate, nurturing side of ourselves. Often it is that side of us which has been ‘called’ or has a vocation. Usually there is, for men, a non-sexual relationship. Child (who could be one of the dreamer’s own children) Dreaming of a child gives us access to our own inner child. We all have parts of ourselves which are still child-like and curious. When we are able to get in touch with that side of ourselves we give ourselves permission to clarify a potential for wholeness which we may not previously have recognised. Crowd Crowds in dreams can indicate how we relate to other people, particularly in a social sense. They may indicate how we can hide ourselves, or indeed how we hide aspects of ourselves and do not single out any one attribute. We may also be attempting to avoid responsibility.
A huge crowd suggests information which we may not be able to handle. Dictators (Hitler, Stalin etc.) If the dreamer has had an overbearing father, a known dictator may appear in dreams as representing that relationship. Emperor or Empress - see
Authority Figures and also King and Queen Ethnic minority Any aspect within ourselves which is out of the ordinary or different can manifest in dreams as a member of another race.
Girl When a girl of any age appears in our dreams we are usually attempting to make contact with the more sensitive, innocent side of ourselves. Those qualities of intuition and perception may be somewhat undeveloped but can be made available.
If the girl is known to us we probably are aware of those qualities, but need to explore them as though we were approaching them from the girl’s point of view.
If she is unknown, we can acknowledge that a fresh approach would be useful.
Girlfriend When a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend appears in a man’s dream there arc usually issues to do with masculinity and femininity involved. There may be fears to do with sexuality.
If a girlfriend appears in a woman’s dream, there can either be a concern about her in the dreamer’s mind, or she (the dreamer) needs to search for and find qualities belonging to the friend in her. Hero or any heroic figure falso see Archetypes) In a man’s dream the figure of the hero can represent all that is good in him, the Higher Self. In a woman’s dream he will suggest the Animus (see Introduction). When the hero is on a quest We are struggling to find a part of ourselves which is at this time unconscious (also see Quest).
It is important that the darker forces are vanquished but not killed since they cannot be totally annihilated without harming the Wise Old Man (see Introduction). In other words, our eventual integration still needs the challenge of the negative.
The hero’s failure may be brought about inadvertently We all have a weak point through which we can be attacked.
To have such a dream indicates that we are not paying attention to the details in our lives or to that part of ourselves we tend not to have developed. We may be being warned of an element of self-neglect.
The death of the hero can often suggest the need to develop the more intuitive side of ourselves, to be born again to something new.
A conflict between the hero and any other dream character suggests a basic disharmony between two facets of our own character.
The hero often appears in dreams as an antidote to some hated external figure within the dreamer’s everyday life. High Priest, Astrologer, or anyone with similar esoteric knowledge (also see Archetypes and Authority Figures in this section) Any character within our dreams who appears to have knowledge of magical practices or similar types of knowledge is usually first introduction to the Higher Self.
It is as though we can only become privy to this deeper knowledge by meeting our teacher first. Inadequate Person It is a lot easier to confront our own inadequacies in the dream state where we are safe. Often this is the first opportunity we have to meet the Shadow (See Introduction). We ignore this aspect of ourselves at our peril and cannot afford to dismiss such an image when it appears. We must acknowledge this dream figure as a reflection of ourselves in order to deal with a learnt sense of inferiority.
If we do not. we are continually faced in life by our own sense of inferiority.
Intruder (also see individual entry and Burglar) The intruder in a woman’s dream is often a personification of her own Animus (see Introduction). In a man’s dream it characterises his Shadow (see Introduction). In either case it suggests the need for a change in attitude in order for the dreamer to be able to have a full and meaningful relationship with himself. King Almost invariably a king appearing in a dream represents the father or father figure.
A personality such as an emperor may- indicate that some of the father’s attitudes arc alien to the dreamer, but should perhaps be accepted. When the king is old or on the point of dying the dreamer will be able to reject outworn or old-fashioned family values. Ministers of all Religions (also see Authority Figures in this section and Archetypes) Ministers of all religions hold a special placc in the dream hierarchy; since their authority is given to them not by man alone, but to all intents and purposes by God or an ultimate power. There is therefore an ‘otherness’ about them. Man Any man appearing in a dream shows an aspcct or facet of the dreamer’s character in a recognisable form. Each of us has a repertoire or portfolio of behaviours, some of which are acceptable and some of which arc not. In dreams those behaviours and characteristics can be magnified so that thev are easily identified, often as personalities. By working with the characteristic, more energy and power becomes av ailable. Even when we are threatened by a negative character trait, we can still access room for improvement.
A man in a dream can identify the Shadow for a man, and the Animus for a woman (see Introduction).
An older man (if the man is white-haired or holy) can represent the innate wisdom we all have. Such a person can also signify the father in dreams. When a large man appears in our dreams we arc usually appreciating the strengths, certainties and protection which our basic beliefs give us.
A man in a woman’s dream signifies the more logical side of her nature. She has, or can develop, all the aspects of the masculine which enable her to function with success in the external world.
If the man is one she knows or loves she may be trying to understand her relationship with him.
An unknown man is generally that part of the dreamer’s personality which is not recognised. In a woman’s dream it is the masculine side of herself, and in a man’s dream it is the Self (see Introduction). Old People (also see Man and Woman) In dreams, old people can represent either our ancestors or grandparents, hence wisdom accrued from experience.
If the old person is male depending on the gender of the dreamer he will stand for either the Self or the Animus (see Introduction).
If female then she will signify the Great Mother or the Anima (see Introduction). .’Ml father figures, or representations of the father, will often appear old as if to highlight their remoteness.
A group of old people often appears in dreams. Usually this signifies the traditions and wisdom of the past - things sacred to the ‘tribe’ or family. Older people usually stand for our parents even though the dream figures may bear no relationship to them. Pirate Dreaming of a pirate suggests there is an aspcct of our personality which destroys our emotional connection with the soul.
Prince (Hero) and Princess (also see Archetypes) These figures represent those parts of ourselves, or others, who exist by right; that is, those aspects which have been brought into conscious awareness and authority. As the hero has taken responsibility for his own journey, so the prince and princess take responsibility for the lives they live.
Queen (Not only the present queen, but a historical one such as Victoria) This usually represents the dreamer’s relationship with his mother, and thus with women in authority generally. Stranger (also see Shadow in Introduction) The stranger in a dream represents that part of ourselves which we do not vet know. There may be a feeling of awe or of conflict with which we need to deal before we can progress. Twins (including the mirror- image of a figure in the dream) (also see individual entry) Twins in a dream can suggest two sides of our personality.
If they arc identical we may be recognising our ambiguous feelings about ourselves.
If not identical they suggest the inner self and the outer reality. Twins may also signify our projections into the world of our own personalities. Woman In a woman’s dream a woman, such as a family member or friend is often representative of an aspect of her own personality, but often one she has not yet fully understood. In a man’s dream such a figure denotes his relationship with his own feelings and with his intuitive side. It mav also show how he relates lo his female partner.
A goddess or holy woman signifies the highest potential for working with the Greater Good that the dreamer has. Oriental women appearing in dreams usually suggest the mysterious side of the feminine. In a man’s dream such a figure will often reveal his attitude to sexuality; while in a woman’s dream it will reveal more about her own intuitive transcendent jx)wers.
An older woman mostly represents the dreamer’s mother and her sense of inherited wisdom.
An unknown woman in dreams will represent either the Anima (see Introduction) in a man’s dream, or the Shadow (see Introduction) in a woman’s.
It is the qualities of surprise and intrigue which allow us to explore further the relevance of that figure. We can gain a great deal of information bccausc the figure is unknown.
3- When we begin to work spiritually with ourselves, there is a gargantuan store of knowledge which can be worked on, and with, to enhance our lives.... people dream meaning