If you’ve ever experienced things like flying, showing up late or finding an empty room in your dreams, you’re not alone—these motifs are strangely common among other dreamers too. Although the events might have ridiculous contexts in your subconscious, they reflect or signify actual events in your real life. But how?
Enter Lauri Loewenberg, professional dream analyst and author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life. To help you sleep at night, she’s deciphered eight of the most common themes or symbols people encounter while catching z’s. Read through her interpretations below, and read up on more typical dreams (like falling, nudity and losing your teeth) here.
What it means: The flying dream is the most common dream we have as children, unfortunately, it tapers off quite a bit as we get older and realize life can be pretty difficult. But like an old friend, it will still show up from time to time and when it does, it’s typically because we are feeling really “high” on life at the time. The flying dream tends to happen when we are feeling empowered, when things are really looking “up,” when we are realizing our ability to “rise” to the occasion and reach those “high” goals we’ve set for our self. We can also get this dream when we have broken free from something that had previously been weighing heavy on us.
2) Showing up late to something important
What it means: This is a common recurring dream for people who are always up against a deadline, such as journalists. In fact, Diane Sawyer told me she has this dream. In this case, the dream is keeping you on your toes and putting you in a worst case scenario so you can better prepare yourself for the deadline in real life. But it can also come to those who are impatient by nature and this dream is a reflection of their mindset. If you get this dream only once or on rare occasions, then ask yourself if there is a current opportunity you are afraid you are going to miss out on if you don’t up your game or is there a self imposed deadline you are up against such as losing 15 lbs by the time your high school reunion comes around.
What it means: These dreams are the most disturbing of all because the grief we experience in the dream is very real. That being said, death dreams are actually about changes, endings and letting go. If you dream about someone you love dying, say your child for example, it’s not a warning of what is to come but rather a reflection of how you feel about a change he or she is going through. These dreams happen the most when our child has reached a milestone: being potty trained, learning to ride a bike, starting a new grade, etc. Through the dream we mourn the loss of that younger child we know and love so that we can embrace the older child that is emerging. Dreaming of your own death is also nothing to worry about. It indicates a change is happening in your own life and the old you is passing away. While death to the waking mind is the end of life, to the dreaming mind death is the end of life as you now know it.
4) Driving or riding an out-of-control vehicle
What it means: A vehicle in a dream represents your ability to be in control and to steer your life or a particular situation in the direction you want it to go. It is your drive and your motivation. It is your ability to move forward and progress. When you lose control of your dream vehicle then you have lost control of something in your waking life so ask yourself what in your life has gotten out of hand lately? What did you used to be in control of but now don’t seem to have a handle on it. What is causing you to feel directionless? This dream is often a warning from your wise subconscious that you need to put the brakes on some behavior is issue before it—or you—becomes a wreck. A lot of times this dream can be a warning that you are running yourself down and are headed for an energy crash if you don’t lighten your load.
5) Partner is cheating
What it means: These dreams can be infuriating, worrisome and the cause of many a slap across the face first thing in the morning! As upsetting as these dreams can be, the good news is that they rarely indicate that your mate is getting pleasure elsewhere.
They do suggest, however, that something (rather than someone) is taking the time and attention from your mate that you feel you deserve. Something is beginning to feel like a third wheel in the relationship, like work, golf, fantasy football, etc. Something is causing YOU to feel cheated out of the time and attention you feel you should be getting. Cheating dreams can actually fan the flames in your relationship (even if you are the one doing the cheating in the dream)!
Once you can pinpoint what it is your mate is “cheating on you” with, it’s time to compromise. Offer to give up or cut back on something your mate isn’t a big fan of—as long as he or she promises to cut back on the activity that is causing you feel left out. If you both stick to the compromise, you’ll find that the dreams will stop.
6) Sex dreams
What it means: Sex in a dream is rarely about sex at all! (Sorry to take the fun out of it.) In most cases, sex in a dream is not about a physical union you want, but rather it’s about a psychological union you need or want. It’s all about having or needing a psychological connection with the person in your dream or merging a particular quality that person has into your own personality.
There’s a magic rule to apply when figuring out your sex dreams: Pick three words that first come to mind when thinking of that person. Of those three qualifiers, is there one that would benefit you right now if you were to incorporate it into your own personality? Voila! That’s what that person represents and that’s why you’re having sex in the dream.
7) Taking a test, or being tested
What it means: This dream comes when we are being tested in real life, not necessarily a math test but rather when something or someone is testing our patience, when we are being scrutinized, up for a promotion, when it’s evaluation time or even when we have to prepare a dinner party for out in-laws. The dream is a friendly reminder to first and foremost remain calm and secondly, to over prepare so we can prove we’ve got what it takes in real life.
8) Finding an unused or empty room
What it means: This dream is all about discovering new or neglected parts of yourself. The house in your dream is you, your personality construct, the dwelling place of your soul. Discovering a room that’s been there all along is most often connected to a skill or talent you are not using in real life. Do you have an amazing voice but work at the stock exchange, for example? Well, your dream is reminding you that there is a lot more to you than you are utilizing. Find a way to use this part of yourself… if not for monetary value then for the enjoyment of it. It was built-in to you.
Don’t neglect it… live in it!
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US