Monday, July 18, 2011

Dreams, Visions and Prophecies - What do they mean?

I’ve found that I can remember my dreams if I think about them first thing in the morning – rather than jumping out of bed right away.
Dream experts agree, they fall into categories. These are just the most basic ones.
Fear: This is the most common type. We’re not necessarily scared out of our wits. But have you ever had the experience of not being able to do something in a dream? It’s like you’re running up hill with the wind against you. You want to accomplish something and nothing is going right. Sometimes I have dreamt of myself struggling to punch in a phone number, but I keep doing it wrong over and over again. I’ve also dreamt of things going wrong before an important event. One time I was in a horseshow, and the day before I dreamt the horse was covered in mud standing in her stall as I came into the barn that day. In another time, I was getting my daughter ready for school and we missed the bus. Then I had to drive her and I ran into car problems and road blocks. It seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t get her to that school.

On rare occasions, I will have an extreme fear dream and usually they are always about either one of my kids missing, killed, sick, dying… I mean my subconscious has to come up with something drastic if it’s going to really scare me because most of my fear dreams don’t impress me.

These dreams, of course, are linked to fears. We release those fears through dreams, so perhaps we have less anxiety during the day. One time though, something cool happened to me in one of these fear dreams. I had to open a door to stop a train from crashing (I have no clue why), but the door wouldn’t open and I had to get this key to open it. I couldn’t find the key anywhere, but then, for no apparent reason, I realized I was dreaming and said to myself. “You can make the key appear right in your hand.” Boom…the key materialized. But instead of needing the key, everything dissolved. I was back in my room and this pretty woman sat across from me on the bed, smiling at me. I have no idea why my mind created such a person. Then she floated up through the ceiling. I followed her for awhile and woke up.

I found out later that this is called lucid dreaming (when you realize you’re dreaming and start taking control) I went through a phase where I had a lot of these lucid dreams, and found that if I planted the idea of recognizing a dream before bed I had a better chance of doing so.

The Wish Dream: I love this kind of dream. For me, they don’t happen that often. It’s simply a dream where everything goes right and you have a good time. You might achieve something in the dream that you have always wanted to do. One time, after recently moving from a house I really liked, I had a dream I was back in that house floating in the kitchen. Not really doing anything, but just looking at the cupboards and stove. Everything was extremely vivid and clear in this dream. There are those who believe this could be something like an out of body experience, but how would I ever know for sure? This happened to me a few other times with another house I once lived. For some reason, I always get very attached to whatever house I lived in and leaving them has always been hard, so it’s possible I like to dream about being there.  
Symbolic dreams: I have this type second most. Usually there is an object in the dream that represents something in your life. These can be combined with fear dreams and they are trying to tell you something. The key in my example dream could be symbolic. What do keys represent? Unlocking, going through a barrier that is in your way. Now this is funny, but sometimes I have repeated dreams about rodents of some kind, usually gerbils because I used to have them. In the dreams, there are many cages of gerbils (I know you’re laughing), and there are always problems with the cages. Gerbils are escaping, some are not being fed or some have died from running out of water. All I do is catch the gerbils and fix the cages. I wish I could figure out what these rodents represent.

Prophetic Dreams: My interest in dreams spread over to my writing. With Ian Connors, I was able to experiment with different dreams and visions, which was a lot of fun. But he is a gifted psychic. (It’s more of a blessing and a curse, in his case.)
However, I think it is possible for many people to have this type of dream because we all have intuitive ability if we practice at it. The subconscious mind can tune into things and it will be thinking and problem solving without you even having to work at it. In this type of dream, you predict the future. But it is hard to prove if it’s just a coincidence or not.

Here are some examples of famous people who claim to have had prophetic dreams.

Abraham Lincoln was said to have dreamt of his own body laying in a coffin two weeks before he his assassination.

Golfer Jack Nicklaus found a new way to hold his golf club in a dream.

Albert Einstein's theory of relativity was inspired by a dream.

Joan of Arc predicted her death in a prophetic dream

Hannibal based his battle plans against the Romans according to a prophetic dream

The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo was foretold in a prophetic dream

Then, of course, there is the Bible, filled with prophesies, many of which come from dreams. The biggest one is the book of Revelation, the last and most confusing book the Bible. It’s believed to be written by the apostle John while he was on exile on Patmos. It’s supposed to be a prediction of an apocalypse of the world as we know it. Many of the things in this prophecy are symbolic as well and scholars, of course, have tried to figure out the meaning for years. Some smaller religions have tried to interrupt it and act like they know for sure what events in history are represented by certain images in Revelation, but I think in general it’s wiser to admit that nobody knows for sure what the imagery means.

I've come to the conclusion that most dreams are trying to you something about ourselves, and it can be useful to listen to them. Have you ever had an unusual dream, a vision, or predicted something in the future?


Joe Vasicek said...

Interesting post. I had a weird deja vu experience once, when the '98 tornado hit Salt Lake City and I was running through the upper floors of an office building to get a picture of it (in retrospect, that was perhaps a little crazy...). Anyway, as I turned the corner, everything came together and I knew I'd seen that very place in a dream just a couple weeks before. I don't know if it was a trick of the mind or something else, but it was weird.

Michael Offutt said...

You neglected to mention the dream that made Stephenie Meyer a gazillion dollars because she saw vampires sparkle.

Cindy said...

Oh yes, I forgot about that one. Dreams can be a source of writing ideas. Is that the key to becoming rich...I doubt it. lol

Michael Offutt said...

I dream of getting rich...