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Types of Dreams

Suitcase open on beach with sky like a laptop setting


You spend an average of 70-120 minutes a day, daydreaming or fantasizing from a perspective that transcends normal perception. Between consciousness and the sleep state is an area that allows the imagination to wander. As your level of awareness decreases, you lose your sense of self. You may revisit the past, or explore the future, and in doing so, approach the border of the dreamscape. All the while, consciousness keeps pulling you back into the present.

Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams occur when you ‘wake up’ while dreaming. Sometimes this sudden sense of knowing you are dreaming allows you to do fantastic things like fly over the houses you see. Many people actually wake themselves up within the dream to remain in this lucid state to explore how they can influence dreams. This ability to achieve the lucid dream state is an important initiation into mastering the power of thought and its ability to influence events.


The nightmare often causes you to wake up in a state of panic with your heart racing. Not wanting to go back to sleep, the memory of the dream appears all too real. Sometimes a dream can reflect actual trauma or an unresolved crisis, although the nightmare is always a WAKE UP CALL to learn to let go. Whether you are attempting to overcome a real life crisis, or to transcend non-rational fear, dreaming is a ‘safe place’ that allows these difficult ideas to be explored. Perhaps you cannot recognize that ‘you are on the wrong path,’ and so, the nightmare may recur until the situation is resolved. Nature appears to empower the strength of all of its creatures. In keeping you authentic and open to growth, it asks only that you let go of what can no longer serve you.

A nightmare can be as simple as ‘leaving something behind’ while you hurry to your destination. It can be as frightening as actually experiencing death or dismemberment as you awaken to the idea of letting go. More than any other dream, the nightmare will disturb you so profoundly, that it cannot be forgotten. It is a natural mechanism, which forces you to confront the truth about how you are hiding from life. Once these fearful feelings are transformed into authentic power, the nightmare will not recur. More information on nightmares is available in the Dream Dictionary.

Recurring Dreams

Recurring dreams are story lines or themes that repeat themselves over weeks, months and even years. Sometimes they leave you feeling puzzled because they seem irrational. Dreams ever seek to wake you to what you are not facing and the hero's journey of wellness through the dreamscape is explored in The Mythology of Sleep: The Waking Power of Dreams. Dreams have a way of forcing consciousness into perplexity, as an important aspect of transformation. At times, a recurring dream can be extremely frightening. Since dreams are suggesting what you fail to acknowledge in daily life, whatever you are avoiding or not facing will continue to be the subject matter of your dream, until it is resolved. Like nightmares, once the puzzle is solved and the aspect is integrated into consciousness, the dream will not recur. Even the most frightening dreams are meant to awaken you to your real nature.

Dreams About Healing

Many times vehicle doors, or lower and upper rooms of a house will depict aspects of the body, offering a message about your health and well-being. The front door can suggest arms, while the back doors can represent legs. Lighting or electrical circuitry can be neurological, while water problems can suggest psychological, vascular or ‘plumbing’ issues. The top floor of a building can represent the head, while the rooms below can suggest various parts of the lower body.

Protecting a ‘treasure’ can signify repression at the root of illness, while searching for a key is often the clue to wellness. If you are experiencing ‘dis-ease’, where it is taking place in the body is as important as why. If the left leg is suffering, look for its representation in dreams of ground floor doors, or lower left portion of a structure or vehicle. Sometimes before a physical manifestation will appear, you are warned in advance of over indulgence or things that can impact your wellness. Many therapists recognize repression at the root of illness. Since dreams portray what you are repressing, they are a profound tool in achieving wellness and balance.

Prophetic Dreams

The ‘dream cycle’ is a lot like ‘myth cycles.’ In our ancient stories, the hero is tested in exotic landscapes, finding clues in fantastic places. The adventure allows them to uncover the truth about both, their identity and destiny. Similarly, the changing landscape and clues within a dream cycle captures the essence of why we dream. When a dream is observed to ‘morph’ into different landscapes, the dream is described: ‘it seemed like the same dream, but then it changed…’

The dream cycle usually presents the idea of transormation in three stages:
a) The first shows you as ‘the hero’ facing a current life challenge.
b) The second shows the past and the part it played in creating this condition.
c) Finally, you are given a bizarre clue as to how you can transform to meet the future. This portion has unusual images that will allow you to discover your real identity and therefore, your destiny.

In the first portion, you explore the conflict at hand and are given the symbolism that can help you understand it objectively. The second landscape usually portrays family members and symbolism from the past, describing how the current crisis was created. The third portion of the dream is usually the most bizarre, as the transforming aspect of the psyche pushes you beyond your static sense of self. This portion can be prophetic or when compared against future events, will portray actual information that can be validated.

Dreams can be called The Mind’s Mirror because they have a special predisposition for reflecting aspects of you in a way that is puzzling or strange. The ‘newness’ or bizarre imagery of the dreamscape provides the innovative perspective that is necessary to achieve transformation. The third portion of the dream offers information about the ‘missing link’ in overcoming conflict or crisis.

Understanding your dreams will make more sense to you when once you recognize how dreams have an uncanny way of breaking through the walls of consciousness. The synchronistic aspect of the final setting may simply be the result of how your unconscious mind knows what is coming, before you consciously piece the information together.

Life Changing Dreams

During periods when you are actively undergoing transformation, you will experience Great Dreams or Cosmic Dreams, which are rich in mythological associations. They often portray a meeting with universal archetypes such as The Great Mother or Wise Man. These dreams affect you with such emotion and appear so vivid that you remember them for years. In many ways, you would call them life changing. Revisiting these dream themes to contrast the symbolism against ancient mythology can present you with a more profound understanding of its message. See The Mythology of Sleep: The Waking Power of Dreams.

Also, see Archetypes and Universal Characters in the Dream Dictionary of this site.