Dream Dictionary

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Terms for letter: A

A

The letter "A" in a dream can symbolize your desire for recognition and accomplishment as in getting an 'A' on a test, or being A number one. Alternatively, it is a symbol that resembles an arrow and can be pointing out something or pointing you in a specific direction related to the dream. Associated with arriving, "A" can be a message about embarking on a new, more fulfilling path. since it begins the alphabet, A is often associated with beginnings. It is a letter that can suggest abundance and fullness and how you attract experience with your attitude.

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Abacus

The abacus ties together the idea of keeping count and an 'old' way of doing so. It can symbolize holding a grudge from the past that might be undermining your ability to enjoy experience. In an abstract form, the abacus could represent how you are 'counting on something' that may or may not be forthcoming. Beading on a necklace can have a similar meaning since the necklace is associated with something that hangs around your neck.

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Abandoned

Dreaming of being abandoned or left behind shows your attempt to let go of outworn behavior or characteristics. It can reflect an identity crisis as you move into a new situation with fears of not fitting in. In a sense you are abandoning your old identity in preparation for a transformation. If the dream focuses more on being left behind, there is a sense of exploring where you are in relation to other's expectations of you or life stages.

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Abbreviation

When a combination of letters or an abbreviation appears in your dream, the message can relate to someone you know with those initials. Some aspect or characteristic associated with them is being examined and perhaps adopted or discarded in your expression. Explore whether the letters sounded together resemble a word. For example: IM can suggest 'I am' or 'Instant Message' as in not taking the time to think before you respond. DN can sound like 'the end' or can represent Down in its abbreviation so say the letters over and over to see if another word manifests. B can suggest 'be' and R can represent 'are.' Explore the individual letters in the dictionary. See also People and Name.

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Abdomen

Since emotion is associated with 'gut feelings,' dreams of the abdomen can represent feelings that you are not acknowledging. The condition of the abdomen and whether or not it is yours, suggests how you are owning or acting on your gut feelings. As a symbol of digestion, it can represent unprocessed issues. See Anatomy and Body Parts.

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Abduction

Being abducted shows how you may be allowing your real nature to be 'kidnapped' by fear or the pressure of others. The threat of being abducted by Aliens and UFOs is a common dream theme arising from peer pressure or doing things that go against your sense of Self. Being threatened by a sinister character can portray the Shadow (Also see Shadow under Archetypes and Universal Characters.) The Shadow represents the unacknowledged but powerful part of your nature that you are not allowing to have expression. It follows or stalks you attempting to 'break in' to consciousness. In a sense, you are 'kidnapping' yourself or repressing some aspect of your real self. Being kidnapped by anything portrays the internal conflict created when one side of you is evolving, yet is blocked by your more ingrained or critical nature from the pressure of conformity. You may dream of abduction any time you feel developmental pressure of this type.

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Abnormal

Anything that appears in a dream that would be called abnormal is a reference to necessary change or seeing the old way a bit differently. The abnormal quality of the symbol also brings it forward for closer inspection. Anything out of balance or unappreciated might be portrayed as abnormal. Whatever is unusual about the symbol should be explored for possible direction. For example: an unusual car suggests something related to motivation or making changes in how you go forward. An unusual room in a house explores unknown qualities or areas of your thinking that may be out of balance. An abnormal growth on the legs can interfere with self direction; on the arms can symbolize an inability to take responsibility or get your needs met. Explore the symbol that is being portrayed as abnormal for insight into what is out of balance.

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Abode

Since dream symbols portray us at some level, any type of dwelling, house or building in a dream will represent our ideas or inner architecture. The abode or home shows ideas and attitudes of a more personal nature, while public buildings can represent social and work attitudes.

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Aborigine

Dreaming of an aborigine reflects the more natural, ‘uncivilized’ side of you that seeks expression aside from social restraints. Dreaming of foreign persons can be a way of exploring life from a more foreign perspective. Visiting foreign cities can symbolize a change in outlook and changes to your sense of values. If commerce is involved, the dream can be exploring work issues that might be viewed in a new light. If it is a cafe in a foreign country, you are exploring new ways of finding fulfillment.

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Abortion

To dream of aborting or stopping some type of procedure or mission shows your inability to make some type of change. If it involves a baby, then there is a sense that a new or emerging identity is being abandoned. Dreaming of having or caring for a baby shows the emergence of a new side of you. If you dream of abortion, it will suggest your unwillingness to change, open or transform. If someone else is having the abortion, then the issue will be more related to the side of you this person represents. See People.

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About Dreaming

The human body holds an ability to heal and renew itself that requires no thought or action on your part. The brain is the most important survival organ and regeneration doesn't stop at shoulder level. Even while you may not remember your dreams, your ideas and attitudes are being processed in the same way as food is digested and eliminated. Healthy thought processes nourish you and keep you open to growth and transformation. On the other hand, dysfunctional ways of warding off change can hold you back and will be processed and eliminated through dreaming. Aspects undergoing exploration are either given full expression or eliminated during the dreaming process. Dream analysts work with the imagery to understand the type of thoughts that are undergoing transformation.

Understanding the language of dreams can become a powerful tool to access self-knowledge, achieve health and wellness, and actualize lasting success. By working with your dreams, you can actualize speed up your growth. Dreams have a different time sense and can reveal one's life purpose as they guide us toward authentic expression. When faced with a difficult transition, dream symbols can provide clues about how we get stuck and how we might find a way through the crisis. They reveal an understanding of who we are and where we are going, as if some part of the psyche knows us better than we know ourselves. In many ways, dreaming helps us to become self-actualized as they guide us toward our destiny.

Interpreting dreams is a bit like learning a new language because nothing is what it appears to be on the surface. The ABCs of dream analysis is simple if you keep in mind these basic ideas in approaching your dreams for guidance:

(A) All symbols, characters, even the landscape and lighting are actually a mirror of your inner world. Dreaming is like the Mind’s Mirror, because everything is a reflection of the dreamer. The landscape and symbols reflect your ‘inner architecture’ or current mindset as you move through life. Dream symbols can best be understood if you approach them the way you might interpret the metaphors in a poem. In poetry, the metaphor or symbolic language captures the deeper ‘flavor’ or 'essence' of an unspoken idea or feeling. In the same way, we tend to dream of what we are not facing, using symbols that best capture those aspects. If you can use this "All reflects Me" perspective, you can begin to decipher how dreams attempt to wake you to your potential. For example, teeth fall out at monumental times of our lives and are also associated with communication, credibility and chewing on something. If your teeth fall out in a dream, ask yourself: am I not making a necessary change or transition that would better reflect my growth? Or, is my credibility and way of expressing myself to others an issue right now?

(B) Before analyzing anything, it is important that you write down as much information as you can remember. In some cases, you may only be left with a feeling. Dreaming moves us in the same unspoken way as a movie would, so the feeling we are left with becomes important in understanding how it may currently remain unexpressed. Be open to the guidance, no matter how bizarre. Dreams use cryptic symbols as a way of tricking consciousness into exploring the unknown. They are cryptic because it is the only way that emerging information might reach you. Often, these bizarre symbols can teach you the most about your unknown potential. It is not important to remember all of the symbols because the message is often repeated. Using various scenarios, the dream often describes the same situation in different landscapes. Exploring only one dream sequence can become a snapshot of possible pathways through conflict and resolution. In this way, dreams illuminate the pathway before you.

(C) Clues come forward in dreams that reveal emerging sides of you, often through other characters. Upon waking, you may wonder why this person was in your dream. Explore the adjective that best describes the person, and how that quality may currently be active/inactive in your approach. Inspiration for our dreams manifests from a side of the psyche that developed before language and therefore speaks in symbols. Dreams draw on memory but also describe future events with a type of omniscient perspective. They use cryptic symbols because that is the only way emerging or new ideas can make it past the walls of critical consciousness. The mind is ingenious in its ability to utilize a bizarre symbol that can capture the complexity of an idea undergoing exploration. If its message were blatant or straight forward, we might shut down the idea. We dream specifically to explore what we are not facing or allowing into conscious awareness. When we dream, we are all hero's undergoing a profound transformation as we tap the clues that emerge to reveal our destiny.

Cherish your dreams as a compass point and map. If you can take the time to begin deciphering your dreams you can fast forward your growth to achieve lasting wellness and success. See also Dream Processing, Facts about Dreams, Types of Dreams, Defense Mechanisms and the Unconscious.

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Above

Seeing something above you in a dream can represent your aspirations. The upper area of a house can symbolize conscience or spiritual ideas. The upper floors related to a stairway or elevator can show how you explore upward movement in your career. See also Placement and Perspective.

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Abroad

Dreaming of going abroad or into a foreign country shows changes taking place within you as you expand your outlook. Taking an airplane can symbolize widening your aspirations. The foreign place you are traveling to needs to be considered in terms of the adjectives you would use to describe this place. As a representation of those qualities being broadened within you, the city personifies new and unexplored potential. See also Foreigners.

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Abscess

A wound in a dream can portray issues of hurt that you are not facing. An abscess carries the idea that something is festering and needs to be 'cleaned up' so healing can begin. As a play on words, explore whether the idea of abscess is really suggesting being obsessed or holding onto something. See also Wound and Decay.

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Absorb

A dream that focuses on something that absorbs can be a message about your current focus. You can be 'absorbed' in one thing at the expense of something else. It can also symbolize being drained or the sense that you are not allowing for the free expression of feelings because of its association to 'wetness.'

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Abyss

Seeing an abyss captures the idea of how you approach the unknown depths within you. An event may have triggered the idea that there is more going on inside than you realized. The abyss can also represent reaching an apex and the need to make changes that make you feel like you may have to go 'down' or 'backwards' in order to continue. It can be a symbolic representation of not having all the facts in order to see clearly. See Valley and Canyon.

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Accent

When something is said in a dream with a noticeable accent or slur- consider what is being and said and by whom for information about what is being dismissed by habit or routine. A waiter with a foreign accent would be portraying the exploration of nourishment and fulfillment in a way you hadn't considered. What other elements about this waiter might provide clues about possible fulfillment in work? Having a neighbor with a foreign accent or meeting a foreigner can represent a more exotic/different side of you that is being developed. If a person is speaking in a dream in an unintelligible sort of way, it can be personifying a way of expressing yourself that is not authentic or not truthful. If the person is intoxicated, you might explore whether drinking is a crutch for your free expression. See Alcohol and See Foreign People and Places.

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Accident

As you grow, you can feel insecure about where you are going. In fact, you go through many changes because situations force you to change. The accident is a way of exploring insecurities about how you are moving forward. The details surrounding the accident will reflect whether or not you feel in control and autonomous in moving forward.

It is important to note that the accident dream is not necessarily a warning of being on the wrong path. The mishap merely reflects the colliding aspects of where you are in life, and where you feel you should be. Accidents can symbolize your fears as you confront or collide with your other needs. Ambition can be thwarted by fear, or the need to make changes can collide with the feeling of being stuck.

Since a boat relies on the current, wind and outside elements to go forward, accidents involving water suggest the way emotions are driving you. Water accidents can portray fears about how circumstances feel beyond your control and are leading you forward. Choppy water can be a message about feelings you are not confronting that would better serve you if you approached how you feel honestly. Calm water can portray the ways you attempt to go with the flow to master your forward movement.

Accidents involving motorized vehicles represent insecurities about your motivation and ambition. If the accident involves a car, it portrays insecurities about the choices you are making. If the accident involves a plane, you may feel insecure about aspirations as you embark in an upward direction. An accident by train can show the disappointment you feel in light of other's expectations of you. Tracks have been laid down for you, although you have a sense of not being able to follow them.

If you are driving or are responsible for the accident, you may be questioning your direction, but still feel autonomous and empowered. If someone else is driving or has caused you to be in an accident, this other 'character' should be considered in relation to their influence on your autonomy. This dream shows the power you give away and the key to how it holds you back.

Example: a mate driving you in a dream reveals the power you have given this person to make decisions for you. A parent driving you, shows the power they hold over you because you allow it. Whomever drives you in a dream holds the key to what drives you in life. If the character is not involved in your life, then consider what part of you they might represent and how this aspect may be undermining your ability to move forward. Accident dreams usually occur when you are attempting to become more empowered, self-actualized and self-directed.

If the accident involves natural events or is the result of a natural disaster, it can be a way of dissolving your current foundation or belief structure to allow for more ‘natural’ changes within you. If the house is involved, it suggests certain areas of your life that are undergoing transformation. See Houses and Buildings, Natural Disasters, Landscape and Scenery, Accident under Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Accountant

The character that appears in your dream associated with finances can represent issues related to self worth. We often dream about money matters when we are feeling insecure about our finances to the point that we are not facing these feelings during the day. This type of dream can be a wake up call to get your finances in order so you can feel less stressed about it. The other symbolism can shed light on the feelings you may be exploring related to self worth through this character. See People.

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Acid

As a chemical or solvent that destroys or burns, acid reveals the way natural elements or your environment is affecting you. Suggesting a type of alchemy or transformation, acid does not make something disappear, it only ‘reduces’ it to its base or organic elements. Acid demonstrates how painful feelings may be festering on the surface and threaten to break through 'skin' or surface awareness. Through the transformation, you will discover the basics of what is really important to you. See Burning.

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Acne

Whenever a dream focuses on the face - it can be a message about 'keeping face' or credibility. Generally your appearance in a dream is a way of exploring self esteem or your self image. If something on your face (like a pimple or acne) diminishes your attractiveness, you may be exploring the idea that you are not expressing your true self or acknowledging your own beauty. If you are picking a pimple or trying to remove a blemish - the message can be about releasing ideas or feelings that are undermining your self image.

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Adolescent

A teenager or adolescent is a character on the threshold of puberty and responsibility. Interacting with a person of this age can portray the ideas and feelings adopted at that point in your life. The type of interaction will show your current relationship to your sexual feelings or social responsibility as you explore changes. The adolescent in a dream is also symbolic of the development of an emerging side of you. This theme generally begins as accompanying an Unknown Child or giving birth to a baby as a representation of rebirth. When the child becomes an adolescent in the dream, it shows the growth and assimilation that is taking place when you are 're-parenting' yourself. See Unknown Child under Archetypes and Universal Characters and People and Family.

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Advertisement

Seeing something on an ad or in a commercial can be a way of objectively exploring something prior to integrating it. New ideas or perspectives will sometimes appear ‘out there for public view’ as a way of testing it out. Seeing something in the news or in an advertisement is usually the first step in integrating difficult issues, such as the traits you may have adopted from your parents, but cannot ‘own.’ See Newspaper.

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Advice

Often we will have a dream where a character offers us advice that can even seem like bizzare information. We are being guided in our dreams and it is important to explore any symbols or direct statements that are made. You can see this as information coming from your Higher Self. Even the Trickster, who is the part of the psyche that can poke fun at us in our serious attempts to hold to an absolutist perspective, can be viewed as an important guide in helping us through a transition. Examine the words carefully - see if saying the words several times makes the message more clear.  For example, 'that is the wrong outfit' can be a message that your persona (clothing) is inappropriate to express your authenticity. Out-fit can also be a message about outgrowing something. Don't take the message at face value. Look for synonyms or ways that running the words together brings forward different meanings. Explore any names or strange words on the internet to explore ideas objectively.

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Affair

A very common dream scenario involves dreaming that your partner is intimate with someone other than you. Although you may feel that your intuition is telling you something, remember that dreams use other people and their qualities to portray you. Consider the qualities of this interloper and whether or not it might represent an aspect of you that is being explored. As you make changes, you may feel insecure about the effects it will have on your relationship. You may dream of your partner with someone 'new' as a representation of the new you.

Although you may be in a fulfilling relationship, you can dream of intimacy with past partners. At some point in your life, you projected the power for self love upon your mate. It is as if they hold/held the power to make you feel good about yourself. Consciously you may feel that you are functioning independently in a current relationship, but since you dream of what you are not facing, the appearance of an 'old flame' can be activated when you feel uncertain about your value in a current relationship. These past partners embody the idea of self love - they appear as we explore and merge (sexual intimacy) with this potential to love ourselves. This must occur independently from the feedback we are currently receiving. See also Love.

Since dreams allow for the free exploration of feelings, it is common to dream of sharing affection, sex or intimacy with people other than your mate. As you ‘role play’ by experiencing the different aspects of yourself, it can be portrayed by various characters, where you sometimes behave in a masculine way (mounting/dominating.) You are merely exploring your desire to be more aggressive. You may dream of being unusually sensitive or affectionate with another woman, or in a feminine way, as a way of ‘embracing’ or exploring the idea of increased sensitivity. The side of you this person represents and how you approach them in the dream, will feel ‘clandestine,’ only in proportion to how you are currently not ‘embracing’ or integrating this side of yourself in waking life. See also Anima/Animus.

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Afraid

Dreams are a safe environment to explore insecurities and fears. In fact, the vast majority of dreams involve some type of conflict. Dreaming allows difficulties we are facing to be 'acted out' through symbolism. Much inner shifting and growth occurs even while we are not remembering our dreams. When facing crisis, we are told to 'sleep on it.' When we wake up the situation always looks different. This is because much processing goes on in the dream state. Fear too, is diminished in this way.

When you wake up remembering the dream or feel afraid, you carry the strangeness of the dream back into consciousness. Often the bizarre symbols will stay with you as you explore its possible meaning. Dreaming specifically arouses emotion as a wake up call (not necessarily bad) and feeling fear is a strong motivator for change. Even the most frightening dreams are a good sign that something powerful is stirring within and seeking expression. See Nightmare and Shadow.

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Ahead

Seeing something ahead of you in a dream can portray your sense of where your path is leading you. If you are following a car then you may be moving ahead by following others without a clear sense of direction. Following a group of people would have the same message, especially if you are getting on public transportation vehicles. Explore the symbol that appears up ahead as a way of understanding how its activation or integration becomes a clue to how you can move forward successfully. If it is an abandoned house, it can symbolize outworn ideas; a tree can represent family dynamics that need to be considered. If the symbol appears dangerous, the dream is coaxing you toward initiation - where overcoming your sense of fear can set you free. Usually what appears threatening in a dream is the personification of your fear. Understanding the symbol in its most positive light can help you overcome your fear. For example, a snake symbolizes shedding an old skin in preparation for rebirth; and abyss or ravine shows that you have reached an apex and may need to 'climb down' or learn new skills prior to climbing back up. See also Placement and Perspective.

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Air

When air is the subject of a dream, something may be floating or suspended in a way that is portraying your current state of suspense. The object that is suspended can offer clues about how to move forward.

The air can be clear or dirty as a reflection of whether you may need to ‘air something out’ or to ‘clear the atmosphere.' The temperature of the air can describe feelings of coolness or feeling ‘hot’ as in unprocessed anger. Filling something with air will often make it bigger, representing growth or expansion. Being unable to breathe is the same as feeling like you are not living in a healthy way or feeling that you are not getting what you need in life. See Sky.

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Air Raid

When air is the subject of a dream, circumstances may be making you feel like events are in suspense – or coming at you from out of the blue. If you are being bombed, it may be that you have set a course for yourself and feel insecure about the outcome. You may need to recognize how you are undermining your success by taking on too many projects at once. Explore whether one path or commitment may be undermining another path. An airplane can symbolize aspirations so the dream suggests that your aspirations are threatening you in some way. See also Cover and Airplane under Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Airplane and Airport

The airplane, as a transportation symbol, signifies motivation and direction. Its association with flying can represent aspirations or your ability to 'soar.' You will usually dream of trying to catch a plane when you are making changes to your aspirations. This type of dream also occurs when you are attempting to let go of negative conditioning to feel more self assured. Missing a plane can symbolize a fear of failing. A plane that threatens to crash is another way of exploring your insecurities in light of the goals that you have set for yourself.

Airports and train stations are places of transition, and while the train depicts how you are breaking away from the tracks that were laid down for you as expectations of others, the airport represents ambition and is a place where you can 'fly' through expanded awareness and insight. Danger and the idea of crashing can reveal your insecurities about your ambitions. but does not necessarily mean that you will crash land. The dream is just allowing you to explore your insecurities so you might make necessary changes. It also allows you to strengthen your commitment to what you are trying to achieve.

Waking up within a dream to attempt the impossible, like flying can also be expressing a sense of power and accomplishment. It encourages the idea of how closely experience is tied to thought and beliefs. The flying dream generally occurs during periods of successful achievement or heightened inspiration. See Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Alcohol

If you dream of drinking alcohol, you may be exploring the idea of alcohol dependency. We usually dream of what we are not acknowledging. Being drunk can also suggest ‘intoxication’ or feelings of exhilaration that you are not expressing during daily life. Alcohol is a mood altering substance, which allows you to express your unbridled nature. The purpose of dreams is to face the truth about what we fail to acknowledge and help us to express our true nature. If alcohol or being drunk is the theme of the dream, you may have lost your feelings of sensitivity when relating to your environment. If you are dreaming of rubbing alcohol, you may be aware that a type of healing requires that you take difficult or painful steps.

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Aliens

Dreaming of UFOs or being threatened by aliens portrays how you are exploring aspects of yourself, which you find difficult to 'identify with.' Your sense of being different from the group (and how you feel about it) will be portrayed by how ‘foreign’ the characters appear in your dreams.

Unlike family (genetic or inherited self-dynamics,) friends, people (acquaintances that change you,) and even aborigines (the more organic side of you,) aliens would be considered natural creatures, they are just ‘not from around here.’ Being abducted by aliens is actually suggesting how you are being ‘kidnapped' by your fear of conformity and not being authentic. Fitting in with the group often comes at the price of your real nature. A robot would also be offering a message that you are not being authentic or are just going through the motions to fit in. See also Galaxy and Flying Saucer.

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Ambulance

The ambulance ties together the idea of crisis, the need to be nurtured and as a vehicle, guidance in making directional choices. Like dreams of calling Nine One One, or seeing something written in red ink, the ambulance can bring a high level of needed focus to the idea that you feel you are in a ‘state of emergency,’ not physically but perhaps spiritually or emotionally. You may feel out of control of directional decisions or may need to become more self directed.

If the ambulance is unusual, the required change you may need to make - is not necessarily something you have tried before. The aspects surrounding the ambulance need to be considered for added insight about how you are moving forward in life. If the ambulance crashes into your vehicle, it suggests how fear and insecurity may be keeping you from moving forward. If the ambulance is carrying belongings or other unusual items, explore what those symbols represent to understand how carrying something (like an idea) is taxing your autonomy. See Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Amulet and Necklace

Rich with mythological significance, being given an amulet, stone or necklace can represent insight that can shed light upon your unique talents or abilities. At the same time, your heart can be blocked by the idea or value you place on such a public display of what you hold to be precious.

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Amusement Park

This is a place where children overcome a sense of fear in exchange for excitement, By returning to a childlike state of innocence, you are exploring taking risks in an effort to find happiness and exhilaration in social situations. The funhouse, mirrors and rickety rides offer a playground for self-reflection as you move forward. Being on a ride that is out of control can symbolize relying on something or someone to achieve success. It can also represent the idea that you are moving too fast or taking unnecessary risks in what you are doing. See Jalopy under Vehicles and Transportation and Rickety Structures under Houses and Buildings.

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Anatomy and Body Parts

The parts of the body appear commonly in dreams because we are so ‘body conscious’ in daily life. Some parts grow and fall out, like teeth, fingernails and hair. They represent growth and where you stand in relationship to your sense of time and the need to let go of outworn ideas.

You lose your teeth during monumental times of life and in the same way, losing teeth will depict a threshold, or turning point. Teeth falling out can also be a message about credibility, or saying something that does not express the truth of what you feel. Fingernails and hair grow and need to be trimmed, suggesting both wisdom and how it must be pruned at times, to promote healthy growth. Hair can represent vanity and self-reflection, regardless of where it appears on the body. Eyebrows frame your way of viewing things and ‘move’ as a way of suggesting how you express yourself or respond. Plucking, grooming, shaving and brushing hair reflects changes in how you view your ‘beauty’ or self-image. Making changes to your hair can symbolize a change in attitude. Grooming someone else's eyebrows or hair can suggest adopting characteristics of what this person represents. It can also show the influence they have on you.

The head is the seat of your personality and way of thinking. If the head is not yours, or separate from the body, it suggests a disconnection between what you are saying and doing. The mouth portrays both, communication skills, and how you may need to ‘chew’ things over to digest them. The jaw has more of an emphasis on what you say, but can also represent holding firm. You can ‘nose’ your way into something that perhaps, ‘doesn’t smell right.’ You can ‘face’ something or give ‘ear’ to the truth in dreams where the ears offer an objective way of seeing how you fail to listen.

Beauty is in the ‘eye’ of the beholder in terms of self esteem. You may experience a real ‘eye opening' message when seeing an eye is the same as disowning the sense of ‘I’ and so, the message gives you an objective view of an eyeball. In this way, sensory symbols are usually a message about being more observant or responsive in daily life.

The chest and abdomen house your feelings and suggest issues related to emotions. The arms signify empowerment and your ability to provide, give and take, while the legs take you forward in life and represent movement, direction and following a path that better reflects who you are. Dreaming of impaired arms and legs can portray issues that are holding you back or not allowing you to move freely and take what you need. Hands and fingers are an extension of the arms, signify trying to ‘grasp’ something or to take what you feel you need. As an extension of the legs, feet provide balance and may symbolize getting ‘cold feet’ or putting the ‘foot in the mouth.’ See shoes.

Skin represents the most obvious aspect of who you are, and can symbolize the self from a sense of surface awareness, as in 'only skin deep.' Focusing on something on the skin can represent something bugging you. The back often portrays responsibilities, while bones and blood portray basic traits that are at the core of who you are, or what lies below the surface: bones being solid and structure oriented, and blood being your essence or life force. Seeing blood on any object is an objective way of exploring feelings that remain below the surface. See Blood.

Genitals have associations that transcend the simple idea of sexual feelings. Breasts often relate to how you explore self-nurturing ideas, while female genitalia for a woman will signify her essence or connection to life. To a man, female body parts suggest sensitivity, while he explores his ‘underdeveloped’ traits associated with femininity, like sensitivity or intuition. Male genitalia observed by a woman often has associations with becoming more assertive or aggressive. For a man, his genitals represent his life force and sexuality. See Anima and Animus, Archetypes and Universal Characters.

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Ancient

When a symbol appears to you as being ‘ancient,’ it can have different meanings. First, being ‘old’ or ‘antique’ can suggest a part of you associated with the symbol that is outworn, or no longer true in terms of the person you are becoming. Ancient buildings can portray ideas constructed in the past that still influence you today. Ancient artifacts will have associations with the symbol discovered (see Vase, Stone, Amulet, Jewels and Chest.) Secondly, when you discover something ancient and profound as a treasure, it suggests finding a deeper connection to experience by exploring inspiration or spiritual beliefs. Many people explore deep transformation through imagery that is associated with temples (that house our beliefs) or artifacts (as a representation of what we carry, even while it is old). As we change, fundamental aspects remain unchanged by time. Life peels away the layers that reveal your ancient or unchanging nature. This ‘ancient’ symbol can represent the core of who you are that is timeless and valuable, offering clues to your real identity and destiny. Explore whether the dream is suggesting letting go of the outworn or tapping the part of you that is valuable yet buried.

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Anesthetic

Where Alcohol allows your emotions to be expressed freely, an anesthetic ‘dulls’ the senses. Without being able to feel, you are hiding pain in a way that might keep you from understanding and processing your feelings so you can grow. Dreaming of being drugged, drowsy or sleepy suggests how repressed parts of you are seeking the first stages of expression. Dreaming that someone else has drugged you shows the power you have given this person to have control over you. Often this other person represents the Shadow or how one side of you undermines the power of another, as in aggression undermining feelings, or fear undermining assertiveness.

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Angels

Like birds, angels can represent the higher aspects of the mind breaking through to offer inspiration or direction. No matter what transpires in life, you have a sense of this higher self within you that can carry you through all difficulty. If the angel offered a message, it should be given careful consideration. Angel dreams often occur with messages about the future. See Prophetic Dreams.

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Anger

A person who can process anger easily will feel anxiety in a dream, but not anger. If you are clearly angry in your dream, then look for how you might be repressing anger in daily life. This is an emotion, which we learn early to repress, and each of us processes anger in different ways. Therefore, you may dream about other characters acting with anger against you. This is the only way the person ‘who is never angry’ will have of processing and integrating this ‘unpleasant’ emotion. A ferocious animal attacking you is a clear example of how anger is portrayed in a dream. Since you cannot own the emotion during the day, you experience it as something ‘wild and uncontrollable’ attacking you in the dream.

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Anima-Animus

The Anima and Animus represent female and male aspects being activated in the opposite sexes. Men and women possess feminine and masculine traits equally and in dreams, the anima may appear to a male as a highly feminized figure. The animus can appear as the male ‘protector’ or associate who appears to the female in dreams. Men will dream of doing feminine things, like wearing a dress, while a woman may do things that would be considered masculine like dominating or mounting another woman. Both are exploring the opposite traits of their gender in an effort to adopt them. These type of dreams are coaching the male toward sensitivity, while the woman may be exploring empowerment through a dream of domination. These qualities emerge as a reminder of how the female must develop her assertiveness or power to provide for herself, while the male must develop sensitivity or introspection in expressing and blending his feminine side into his masculinity. Both the female and male qualities are necessary in authentic empowerment and balance.

Often this Archetype will appear as someone in a dream that wants to be intimate - while you thwart these unsolicited advances. Since this energy is seeking integration and expression - their behavior can show how this is emerging within you. Sharing intimacy with this Archetype portrays how these qualities are being adopted or integrated. Having them tease or question you, while approving or disapproving of your response can be a type of initiation into authenticity. There is also a Shadow side to this Archetype. Since the Shadow represents qualities that remain outside of awareness because they were deemed unacceptable, often there will be something quirky about this Archetype when it first makes its appearance. It can present as a Trickster, challenging you to confront your inconsistencies in thought. Or, this character can appear bizarre or handicapped as you examine the dysfunctional expression of its energy.

Dreams of this type show a sequence of meeting an unusual character of the opposite sex who wants to be intimate. They may bother or challenge you, or you may dream of an immediate attraction as you move to adopt the qualities this character represents. The intimacy stage shows the actual integration or acceptance of these qualities as you move toward a higher level of self actualization. See also Archetypes and Universal Characters.

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Animals

The mammalian side of the brain developed when we evolved from our nocturnal existence to become social creatures. This was a time when emotions and facial expressions developed, which are associated with parenting and social exchanges. Similarly, in dreams, animals often symbolize emotions, expression and the response of your more 'wild,' uncivilized, yet natural self. This part of your nature can be at odds with the inner critic that coaxes you toward conformity.

Since we view animals as acting spontaneously toward their urges without social restrictions, animals often represent normal urges that are breaking through conscious controls. If you dream of being threatened or attacked by an animal, some part of your emotions or behavior (usually anger or sexual feelings) may have erupted or surfaced in way that felt like it ‘came out of the woods.' You do not 'own' the energy and so it threatens you. If the animal's teeth are a focal point, there is a sense that these emotions or feelings will cut through skin awareness to have expression. As frightening as these dreams may appear, they are merely the way your natural expression comes up against your desire to 'be good' or follow the rules. All symbols in a dream personify aspects of you and the animal appearing in a dream is no different.

Wild animals portray the need to express your authentic feelings in an unbridled way, while domesticated animals portray how you have been conditioned to guard them.

Apes, chimps and other primates can suggest mimicking social behavior or acting mischievously as a way to stir up a response in others. Gorillas are more powerful and unpredictable, reflecting the power of emotion and urges to break through social restraints. Bears too, can represent sudden protective responses, or defense mechanisms active in daily life. Bears are associated with childhood and maternal influences and ideas that revolve around security.
 
Cats portray your instinctual and sensitive nature that avoids domestication, and is somewhat manipulative. Dogs are ‘faithful’ and loving, representing the easy expression of feelings and love in your relationship with others. The Wild Dogs, like jackals and coyotes, guard the way into the hidden realm of the subconscious. Meeting their snarling teeth portrays your own fears about digging within to discover the truth about how you feel. These types of dogs can appear as Archetypes when you are going through a transformative process. Carnivorous animals can signify how you can be ‘eaten up’ by being afraid to allow your emotions free reign.
 
Elephants ‘never forget’ and are enormous emotional beings. They portray the power of your emotions to trample over ideas that hold you back. Often, dreams of elephants can reveal long held emotional pain that is coming to the surface. Beasts of burden such as the donkey and ox, suggest being saddled or yoked to responsibility, while the ‘animal-ness’ of this symbolism suggests that it is unnatural or too self-restrictive. The pig is a symbol of satisfaction and enjoyment, sometimes at the expense of all else. In many myths, pigs are sacred and represent the family. Lions and tigers reflect masculine and feminine aspects of the power of sexuality. Both are blindly driven to devour for sustenance, and can portray the power of your innate drives that appear beyond your control when you take what you feel you need. A lion can be the clever psyche pointing out that someone (or you) is 'lying' about something.
 
Domesticated animals, like the cow and bull can represent territorial issues, where the cow is motherly and passive, while the bull is father-like and aggressive They suggest the care-giving qualities of your parents and how you have adopted these qualities through domestication. The bull offers additional insight, in that it explodes when it sees ‘red,’ representing feelings that remain below the surface. It can be a symbol of exploring how you are currently processing anger and what part your parents played in ‘bequeathing’ this trait to you. Additionally, the cow is a cosmic and sacred symbol of expanded awareness and evolution.
 
The horse is associated with ‘spirit’ and also exuberance, suggesting the enthusiasm to ‘win’ or race forward. Of all the animals, the horse will sometimes reflect communication taking place between what you think and what you feel, since there is a belief that horses are ‘psychic’ or respond instinctively to our thoughts as we ride them. The zebra is a unique creature and it is said that no two zebras have the same pattern, therefore reflecting the uniqueness of spirit.
 
Goats and rams portray drives associated with sexuality, impishness and playful curiosity, while sheep and lambs ‘follow the herd’ and are corralled, suggesting that you feel that you are being too passive in a situation. Deer can signify the gentleness of the soul and your innocence and vulnerabilities. Rabbits can reflect reproduction, intuition and a sense of sacrifice since they are low on the food chain.
 
Ground burrowing animals represent both hiding and digging beneath the surface. The soft eyed (innocence) of many of the furry (protective) and burrowing (hiding) creatures, like squirrels, rabbits and groundhogs are rich with symbolism related to ‘emotions stirring below the surface.’ The fox may represent your ‘craftiness’ in hiding your real feelings or an inability to commit or make choices. Rats and mice are often considered to be ‘pests’ or associated with what is ‘unclean’ or forbidden. Rats can be ‘stowaways,’ hiding in ships, or in the shadows, representing abandoning something, sneaking around or escaping like a ‘dirty rat.’ Dreaming of rats and mice can symbolize how you are not speaking clearly about your needs - feeling like you must sneak around in the dark to get your needs met. Used in scientific laboratories, both can symbolize ‘experimenting’ with expressing natural urges.
 
The Hippopotamus presents a sort of hybrid, in that it is an animal associated with diving beneath the water, where its large size is indicative of the enormous emotions that can be submerged. See Alligator and Crocodile under Reptiles.

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Ankle

The ankle, as a symbol ties together the idea of feet (the path) and the leg (taking a stand or the power of will.) It provides for flexibility portraying your sense of direction. To twist your ankle in a dream can suggest looking at alternatives or making a few changes to your path. See also Anatomy and Body Parts.

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Answer

When characters respond or give you an answer in a dream, it is usually because you are not acknowledging something important. You can see it as "you" saying something to yourself. Some side of you is questioning what you are doing and the answer should be explored as a type of direction that you are not considering.

If we ask a character something in a dream and they do not answer, the dream is exploring the idea that we are out of sync in some type of change.

The anxiety that is often associated with dreaming occurs because you dream of what you are not facing. Anxiety is important because it stirs emotion and brings a necessary change in perspective 'to the surface.’ In this way, a puzzling answer or statement is made, which leaves you feeling something. Feeling uneasy is the first step toward making the necessary change.

Answer dreams usually coincide with times when you are on the wrong path or being encouraged to follow another. The words may appear irrelevant and you may find yourself waking up from a bizarre dream with only the feeling of being ‘disturbed.’ The waters of consciousness are now stirred, to allow for a more objective way of approaching your circumstance. See also Fear.

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Ant

An ant or other insect can appear in a dream when you are not dealing with a situation that is bugging you. The small size of this insect can also portray vulnerability or feeling insignificant. Seeing ants working industriously can personify following a course that perhaps is not your own. See also Insects.

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Antique

Heirlooms suggest your heritage or family traits that you protect. Antique furniture can portray the ideas that you rest upon that would be associated with the past. If there is something faulty in the furniture - these ideas can no longer be 'stored' or you can no longer rest on them (as in furniture). An antique piece of jewelry can personify what you feel is valuable and precious about yourself - and also your desire for offspring. An antique carving or archeological artifact captures both the idea of the past and what is buried 'underground' or within the subconscious. Some aspect of this artifact is a representation of you. See also Ancient.

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Anus

A dream that focuses on the anus is a symbol about elimination. Whatever symbol is associated with it needs to be considered as a message about letting go, or coming to terms with a type of integration that is blocked. Also see Anatomy and Body Parts.

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Anxiety

Human beings are 'self-organizing' systems forced to interact with an environment that is always changing. We seem to use the dream state as 'training wheels' in exploring and making any changes. Life's natural movement toward entropy is unfolding all around us, even while we try to achieve stasis and a sense of the familiar. In higher organisms (like humans) this pursuit of stasis is achieved through the nervous system. Dreaming offers a sensory vehicle to process anxiety in a safe environment. Anxiety is a common theme in dream specifically because it is one of the most important reasons for dreaming. When disturbing things happen in our dreams, they are meant to do just that: disturb consciousness and help us to let go. See Nightmare, Answer, and Attack or Being Chased.

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Apes

This animal is most like a human, yet we use the word 'ape' to describe how we mimic others. It might be a clue that you are following the crowd and at the expense of expressing who you really are. The ape is also unpredictable and amusing, and can personify the Trickster within you - jarring you from taking yourself so seriously.

When the Ape appears frightening it can symbolize the power of your body that doesn't feel under your control. For example, it is common for a woman going through menopause to experience this power as a frightening Ape. In some ways the Ape will personify your idea of your most uncivilized and wild/natural power - that part of you that is purely instinctual. See also Gorilla and Animals.

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Apocalypse

Like many of our ancient myths, battles can take place between the various worlds or levels of existence to reflect changes in the psyche. Dreams that focus on an apocalypse or end of the world scenario will occur when the ‘old way’ of doing something must come to pass so that a ‘new world order'can be created in its place. Dreams are a safe place to explore changes we may be having difficulty achieving so the Apocalypse dreams is the first clue that a necessary change is in order. See Natural Disasters and Landscape and Scenery.

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Apple

The apple can be associated with the idea of desire and something that is forbidden. Since we are told to 'eat an apple a day' for health, the apple can be a symbol of necessary healing. A dream that focuses on an apple can be a symbolic portrayal of how you are moving to satisfy your needs for fulfillment, but feel somewhat guilty in doing so. See Food.

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Archetypes and Universal Characters

When we move through various stages of change, we will have different types of dreams. Conflict oriented and Chase dreams occur while we explore the necessary transformation or integration that must occur. The Natural Disaster type dream, Crow, Raven, Phoenix or Fiery Ram often appear to symbolize archetypes representing sacrificing the past foundation in order to move into the future. As we begin the transformative journey or rebirth, we may dream of accompanying an Unknown Child, then find ourselves with an older child as a representation of the birthing, cultivation or re-parenting of new aspects. We might then dream of natural landscapes with furniture erected of natural objects as we get more earthy and grounded in who we are and what we need to succeed. Finally, we can meet the Wise Guide as a representation of the wisdom that has developed within, and our new ability to be inspired as we grow empowered to become self-directed.

The many characters that appear in dreams represent an aspect of you as you change and grow. Police stop you in dreams when you are doing something ‘illegal’ or when an evolving aspect is transcending the critical or disciplinarian tapes of conscience. Waiters and Waitresses appear when you are exploring a more appropriate way of nourishing yourself. Firemen can symbolize the defense mechanisms that 'douse' your real feelings and emotions. At the same time, the fireman can be a clue that passion isn't achieving expression. Babies or the Unknown Child will represent the birthing of your new identity, while the death of someone suggests elements, which must ‘pass on.’ You might know that you are somehow responsible for this ‘death’ by feeling victimized or pursued, but only you can allow for the death and rebirth. You can be ‘suddenly saddled’ with the responsibility of caring for this ‘Unknown Child ,’ which suggests how you are not quite sure what to do with your emerging and ‘new identity.’

Intruders appear when you believe you are being invaded, or when you have revealed your intimate self with someone and felt uncomfortable. The stalker or intruder can also personify qualities that remain unintigrated but are a key to your empowerment. Abductors who try to kidnap you reveal a part of you that you are having difficulty integrating. You may have gotten caught up in a competitive situation that brought forward traits you are not comfortable with and in a sense, you felt 'abducted.' (see Aliens) These types of encounters reveal Archetypes, such as the Animus, Anima, dark one, monster, devil or Shadow, which will always represent that part of your power, which appears frightening or unknown to you.

Women being ‘kissed’ by a monster in dreams will often coincide with the onset of menstruation and menopause, or those times in life when her body demonstrates a power that is beyond her control. Meeting this character always coincides with monumental stages of her development. Think about the character that attempted to kidnap you or break into "your house"...If a woman dreams of an attractive but frightening male in this way, he represents her ability to move fearlessly through the world. Accessing the power that this character holds over you often represents a power that remains dormant, which can lead to integration and wholeness.

The Wise Woman or Wise Man are often reflective of intuition and how it guides you. These types of characters appear commonly when you are going through a difficult period of transformation. They reveal a profound sense of guidance, but also how you are accessing and becoming more seasoned.

Jung explored common symbols in dreams that possessed universal meaning. While symbols can represent personal issues, our mythologies portray the universal themes that appear commonly in dreams. Jung called these elements Archetypes:

1. The Persona is the mask you wear into the world, and in dreams, your evolving nature and potential takes form as your Persona depicted by the many characters you meet. The Persona is also explored through the symbolism of clothing. See Persona.

2. The Shadow is your rejected and repressed aspects. At some point, you may decide that some part of you is unacceptable because it suggested weakness, fear of fitting in with the group, or unresolved anger. In actuality, these aspects become the power of untapped potential. The Shadow is often represented by the Intruder, Pursuer, or Monster. See Shadow.

Freud described repression as how “a shadow falls over the ego,” paralyzing its ability to perceive in the present. Through projection, one fails to observe objectively in the moment, but witnesses an overlay where the past is infused over the present. Since you cannot ‘own’ these qualities, you discover these aspects in others, as the ‘enemy.’

As a type of defense mechanism, he believed repression worked to keep the truth inaccessible. He also explored fixation and fetishes as being organized by ideas that evoked a sense of attraction and repulsion at the same time. An urge that initially sought pleasure brought instead, displeasure as the pathway from urge to satisfaction was distorted.

This convergence of feeling is at the root of the intense emotional response or charge that is created when you encounter your Shadow in another. Understanding the Shadow is central to your empowerment and wellness. When you can understand and transcend the initial displeasure arising in this type of encounter, you are able to access the truth of what you fail to acknowledge within.

While Freud hinted at it, Jung pioneered the study of the Shadow and referred to it as the repressed and undeveloped aspects of the personality. Their diverging ideas created a schism between them, demonstrating the enormous power that the Shadow holds over us in our relationships. Although they both explored the unconscious to understand repression, their personal experiences led them to describe its contents differently. Where Freud projected his sexual frustration into his interpretations, Jung came to project his strong need for spiritual freedom. In their encounter, Freud may have been threatened by Jung’s sense of freedom and wholeness, while Jung bristled at the idea of such a limited system of interpretation.

Jung described projection as changing “the world into the replica of one’s unknown face. The more projections are thrust between the subject and the environment, the harder it is for the ego to see through its illusions.” He described the Shadow as those dark, unwanted, and unrecognized qualities of the ego that were deemed negative and ultimately repressed. Understanding the creation, repression and ultimate resurrection of the Shadow, provides a basic understanding of why we dream. While you sleep, those sides of you that remain dormant are given expression. When the dream conjures fear, you can be certain that its symbolism offers clues to your empowerment by integrating the elements associated with the Shadow.

3. The Anima / Animus represent the female and male aspects of the opposite sexes. Men and women possess feminine and masculine traits and in dreams, the anima may appear to a male as a highly feminized figure. The animus is the male ‘protector’ or associate who appears to the female. Men will dream of doing feminine things, like wearing a dress, while a woman may do things that would be considered masculine like dominating or mounting another woman. These type of dreams are coaching the male toward sensitivity, while the woman may be exploring empowerment through a dream of domination. These qualities emerge as a reminder of how the female must develop her assertive or masculine potential, while the male must be sensitive or introspective in expressing and blending his feminine side into his masculinity. Both the female and male qualities are necessary in authentic empowerment and balance. Anima/Animus
 
4. The Unknown Child symbolizes your innocence and potential. Like the soul, it represents vulnerability and helplessness, but also aspirations and insight into integrating potential. As you evolve, you sometimes dream of accompanying a baby or young child suggesting this ‘new’ and emerging side of your Persona. The fact that you may not know where the child came from, or what you should do with it, suggests the way that who you are becoming today is constantly growing or experiencing rebirth as you grow to meet the future.

5. The Wise Man acts as a guide or helper in dreams. You may meet a religious icon, an old man as a teacher, father or some other unknown authority figure. Often, they will say special words of wisdom and offer guidance. This figure represents the higher self and your ability to transcend difficulty. It is important to record the message or symbols that are associated with this character as a way of understanding your way through the transformative landscape. Representing masculine or productive elements, they often present the keys to your social success.

6. The Great Mother can appear as a real mother or grandmother, suggesting your adopted nurturing qualities. Offering reassurance or direction, Jung also thought that the Old Woman represented the ‘unattractive’ aspects of the feminine, appearing as a Witch or old Bag Lady. In this case, she can be associated with guilt, seduction, dominance and death. This duality suggests that although the mother is the giver of life, she can also be jealous of how you become self-sufficient. Representing your critical tapes turned inward, meeting the Old Woman as a negative character can help you move beyond repression and dis-ease. Meeting the positive figure usually coincides with the male moving actively toward intimacy, or the female moving toward increased self-esteem.

7. The Trickster is the cosmic jester of the dreamscape and portrays the unconscious active in consciousness. The psyche has an amazing and clever way of injecting humor into dream symbolism in an effort to jar the status quo. This humorous character straddles the same psychic trading post where inspiration is packaged and sold as spirituality. Manifesting in many forms, he stands at the psychic crossroad, pointing like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. His antics reveal the ridiculous way that you believe you must make choices. There are many roads and the right road is sometimes just the pathway exposing the contradiction inherent in absolutes. In the middle road between good and evil is your willingness jump into the unknown.

The Trickster offers a puzzle and asks you to dance awhile with ambiguity, so life’s deeper mysteries can be revealed. Portrayed in a Freudian slip, it is Trickster who plants the whoopee cushion in the psyche, triggering laughter when you know that the time is not appropriate. Humor often arises when you perceive an incongruity. Cloaked as the Fool or Vagabond, he points to the middle way between absolutes or the conflicting ideas that have stunted your evolution.

The Raven, Crow or Coyote appear in myths asking the hero to sacrifice the body in return for metamorphosis. Often presenting you with a wild card of possibilities, the Trickster of the psyche is not afraid to send you out with mismatched shoes during an important presentation when you are in the ‘wrong place.’ Teaching a lesson of humility, you find this Jester of the inner landscape, making you laugh at yourself in all of your serious attempts to be certain.

Trickster represents the power of humor that allows you to see your inner contradictions. Instead of finding your ‘home in the absolute,’ you are forced out like a hobo in search of a train. Humiliated and riding in a boxcar, you encounter everything you believed you’d never see. You have no choice but to shake your head and laugh when the rug is pulled out from beneath your interior house of cards. “Oh my, is this what life feels like down here in the gutter? I can’t tell you why, but I suddenly feel alive again.”

Trickster inspires the late night comedian who says what nobody else would dare say. He makes you blurt out the comical truth when in all gravity, you have found yourself trapped in your illogical ideas. Trickster inspires dreams of going to school in your underwear, when what you most want is to abide by the golden rule. It is Trickster who removes the bathroom walls, in dreams where you have no choice but to ‘relieve yourself’ in public. “Let go…be intimate…find your human side and live.” He is the breath of fresh air found at the top of the mountain or sometimes, face down in a puddle, in your migratory journey across the psychic landscape.

In myths, what Trickster does is always the opposite of what is considered sacred. Like the process of dreaming, Trickster leads you through stages in mysterious steps to ‘trick’ you into growth. We see this in American Indian stories that are humorously interwoven with bits and pieces of truth and insight. In the same way, dreams offer a non-rational way of perceiving experience, beyond the defense mechanisms created by rote and reason. Trickster keeps you from taking yourself too seriously. As a powerful and transformative aspect of the psyche, when a character appears that makes you feel uncomfortable or silly, you meeth the great shape shifter that confronts limitations to show you a new way through a transformative process ~ usually with humor. See People  Attack or Being Chased.

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Arm

The arm is associated with what you are holding or a sense of responsibility. It is also a symbol or actively doing something to have your needs met. The wrist suggests flexibility in meeting your needs. Arms can also represent responsibilities we feel we have - while the dream can be exploring the idea of releasing this sense of responsibility. We are generally aware of our responsibilities - so dreaming of arms that are dysfunctional is how we explore holding when we should release. See also Anatomy and Body Parts.

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Armor

Dreaming of armor is the defensive posture you take to protect your feelings. Being given armor denotes how this behavior may have been adopted as a child. Women will sometimes dream of a gun as a symbol of sexual feelings that feel overpowering. See also Weapons and Utensils.

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Army

Dreaming of being in an army denotes how you are operating with a new sense of discipline or restriction. Being invaded by soldiers portrays insecurities about conformity and authority. Rather than confronting restriction, symbolizing disciplinarian or critical tapes, being a part of an army reflects how you give in to defensive tendencies.

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Arriving and Leaving

To have the sense that you ‘arrive’ in your dream can portray your journey toward achievement. You may arrive on time or Late, in relation to how you view your journey in life. Awaiting the arrival of someone else will describe an emerging part of you that will soon be ‘coming’ onto the scene to be transformed or integrated. Leaving or having a dream that focuses on someone else leaving is a way of exploring the idea of closure and transformation. See Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Arrow

Dreaming of shooting arrows is usually a way of focusing on your goals or identifying what you are trying to achieve. Interestingly enough, just like the mythical cupid, f you are struck by an arrow, the dream is opening you to intimacy. Anything that penetrates the skin to reveal blood, is symbolizing how feelings come to the surface. If you shoot an arrow and miss the mark, you may not be aiming in the right direction. The dream can be suggesting a necessary shift in focus that will allow you to succeed. See also Bow.

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Ascending

Dreaming of going up shows how you are taking ‘steps’ toward an expanded way of viewing experience such as a spiritual awakening or a desire to rise above difficulty. See Placement and Perspective and Houses and Buildings.

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Ashes

Seeing ashes from a fire is a sense that something important is being reduced to its base elements. This is an organic symbol of allowing the past to be transformed so that you can grow to meet the future. Often the burnt remains can symbolize your inability to let go of responsibilities that are not yours and must disintegrate as part of your rebirth. Like the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the past, this is actually a positive symbol. Ashes in the air, blocking your ability to see signify an inability to let go of the past or to see your way clearly into the future.

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Ass

Beasts of burden suggest being saddled to responsibility, while the 'animal-ness' of these creatures suggest that it is not natural. The donkey is stubborn and can portray how you fail to see how you are yoked to responsibility that is not really yours. See also Anus and Animals.

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Atmosphere

The atmosphere or setting of a dream is an important aspect that can portray the condition of your 'inner' landscape. Being in space can portray uncertainty about your direction - or feeling that you are taking a path that others may not support. It is not necessarily negative. You may feel alone in your decision, but this can be a prerequisite if you are making changes. If the atmosphere is dark - you are exploring ideas that are hidden from consciousness. If the atmosphere feels oppressive, you may need to make more room in your life for your ambitions. A fiery atmosphere can portray anger or the need to express feelings that are bottled up. A cloudy or gloomy atmosphere can represent feeling depression - although an impending storm can be the first sign that new life is stirring within. See also Air.

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Atomic Bomb

The atomic bomb is one of the most searched symbols on this site. Its association with fallout or devastation embodies feelings that can remain below the surface, while capturing your fear of facing the truth of a situation because of the fallout that may ensue. Any explosion signifies the release of repressed anger or emotion of some type. The natural energy released by this ‘man-made’ device shows the extent of the repression, but also the necessity of releasing feelings so you can be renewed and open to a changing world. In a dream, seeing the explosion of an atomic bomb and its threat of ‘radio-activity,’ can also warn of the psychological manifestation of physical symptoms due to the inability to recognize and process anger.

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Atonement

Praying or seeking forgiveness for something often reflects your inability to apply forgiveness toward others and especially yourself. When you forgive, you give nothing away that you really need anyway. When you learn to let the past go, you can release the burden that you carry with you. Receiving a blessing or religious symbol is the stirring of spiritual feelings or finding meaning in adversity.

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Attack or Being Chased

As frightening as it seems, the chase dream is a common dream theme for the 20 something crowd entering the work force. When we are young, we are uncertain about the ‘code of conduct’ or the behaviors that are required of us. The fast pace at which we may be forced to adopt new identities in the work place, brings a past way of being in opposition with a new way of being. Being chased reflects the non-integrated aspects of your evolving identity currently in conflict. This dream also happens frequently when we are moving, divorcing or making significant changes to our identity.

Being pursued or attacked is the ‘internal drama’ of one side of you questioning your behavior as you enter new situations. Like the voice of the parents, who taught you about what you should or shouldn’t do, these tapes continue to play as dream characters that emerge each time a new situation calls you to become something you may not be comfortable with.

During daily life, the Shadow or non-integrated qualities within you, can be masked and take form as drama ‘out there’ when what is really going on is drama 'in here.' Just as these encounters encourage you to grow, dreams challenge you in the same way. The most frightening dreams are simply a call to acknowledge, integrate new characteristics and discard old ones as you evolve. As you grow to meet new situations at various stages of your life, these pursuit dreams become quite common and fade away as your sense of self has become more clearly defined. Similarly, conflict has a way of dissipating in your life once you have ‘composed the inner terrain’ enough to have developed self-esteem and self-knowledge.

Ferocious animals will attack in dreams, when your emotions have erupted ‘beyond your control,' feeling wild and foreign to you during the day. See Blood and Animals.

Finally, there are times when you are the pursuer or attacker in a dream. Commonly, you will have a dream of attacking someone else or witnessing someone being killed and do nothing about it, even though you would never do that in real life. In the same way that someone dying represents the passing of an old or outworn way of being, not doing anything when someone is ‘eliminated’ speaks to how you let go of the outworn.

If you see the situation more like an assassination, you might consider whether you are allowing something to continue (such as an affair) that your psyche may see as an assassination of character. How you felt about being the attacker will determine whether 1) there is ‘remorse’ in the sense that subconsciously, you know you are killing off an important part of you that shouldn't be discarded or 2) ‘neutral’ because you know that what has passed is no longer necessary. See Enemy,Murder, Death, Nightmare and Weapons and Utensils.

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Attic

The attic is associated with the past and ideas that we have stored away. Upper rooms suggest rising above something or spiritual ideas. The attic suggests ideas that we 'pack away' as in repressed but associated with issues of conscience. See Houses and Buildings.

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Attraction and Rejection

Often you will dream of being attracted or intimate with a famous person or someone other than your mate. Consider the qualities this person demonstrates and how you are exploring whether or not they are active within you. When you dream of an unusual power that someone holds over you, the idea that you are giving your power away to this person is being explored. Dreaming of being rejected in your affections can actually symbolize a need to let go of the side of you associated with this person. If you dream of an unusual way of moving forward as in levitation, you are exploring a new way of feeling lighter in your approach to what had seemed like a difficult situation. Magnetism can also symbolize how things are connected or the circular journey of life where changes take place but the core of who you are remains unchanged. See also Rejection, Anima/Animus, Love and People.

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Audience

Performing in front of others is a common dream because it is a way of working through self-judgment and insecurity. In most cases, there is embarrassment as you meet the severity of your inner critic. When performing in front of others brings joy, this is a measure of your self worth and often coincides with an intense period of transformation, which has culminated in your success. Being unable to perform because you have lost something, suggests that you are on the wrong pathway. Whatever is lost will offer an important clue in understanding your authentic nature and overcoming insecurity. See Purses, Wallets, Luggage, Jewels and Keys.

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Authority

People in our dreams that are considered authority, such as bosses, principals and government officials signify that part of the psyche that organizes and controls the assimilation of new ideas. Often we dream of these figures when we are making big changes, as if some aspect of the psyche needs to approve of a new way of thinking. See Police.

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Automobile

The automobile is a classic symbol of motivation, and reflects whether or not you are feeling autonomous as you move forward in life. If you are driving and the vehicle is out of control, you may be questioning the choices you are making. If you are riding as a passenger, you may not recognize how you are not taking the reins of responsibility for where you are going. You have given power over to the person driving the vehicle and may be needlessly blaming them for failing. If it is a parent driving you, there may be unconscious attitudes or criticisms you have adopted that are holding you back or diminishing your self-esteem.

These types of dreams suggest the condition in which you are currently moving forward. The type of vehicle, and whether or not you are driving, in control or being driven, will portray your present sense of autonomy. See Vehicles and Places of Transportation.

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Autumn

Autumn is a time of year when all things of the earth turn back to be regenerated. Stripped of the previous year's growth, all living things return to their roots to be renewed. Autumn in a dream portrays the idea that a period of outward building to achieve success may be approaching a more introspective period. Sensing that the season has changed to autumn can coincide with having children moving out of the house or going into retirement. Although the earth moves toward incubation, an enormous amount of energy is building for a springtime to come. Dreaming of Fall or Autumn might be a message about slowing down to connect with your inner life.

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Avalanche

Generally snow and ice, the avalanche occurs when a mountain or your solid belief structure gives way. When it is snow, it suggests that hiding beneath a cold exterior will no longer serve you. When it is the dirt of a landslide, it portrays the mountain of a hardened perspective giving way so that a new perspective will rise in its place. See Natural Disasters under Landscape and Scenery.

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Awake

To dream that you are awake when you are actually dreaming offers a double dose of the extent to which you may be repressing something. The message is that you need to wake up and face something. When you suddenly ‘wake up’ to realize that anything is possible and that you can fly, it is an aspect of the psyche exploring potential and self-imposed limitations. To ‘wake up’ and do something of a daily routine, portrays the need for a wake up call in what you are habitually doing. See Sleep and also Flying.

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Ax

This symbol can have associations with having an 'ax to grind' representing both the idea of aggravation and the need to let go. See also Weapons and Utensils.

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