Dreams really are, in the truest sense, a doorway: to greater self-awareness, knowledge, success, and the possibility of a rich, full life. How do you open and walk through that door? There is an actual pathway, with clearly delineated steps, that can take you from wishful thinking about dreams to a reliable dream habit.

Professional dream interpretation! You’ll find your previously mysterious, invisible inner life can be revealed through your dreams on a regular basis to assist you in many useful ways. Try our free dream interpretation. Get 1 free dream question with each new dream interpreter you try!

Why is dream interpretation important?

You can engage with the dream process better after you have some ideas about what dreaming does. Scientists write dreams off as the haphazard firing of neurons in the brain, but when you work deeply with dreams over time, you begin to understand them quite differently, seeing their spiritual roots.

The following sections will help stretch your context for dreaming and inspire you about their vital importance in maintaining a healthy and happy life.

professional dream interpretation - Online dream interpretation

Understanding how dreams function

I have been deciphering dreams for 20 years. There are classic or archetypal dreams in dream interpretation which come up time and again. Below are some of the most frequently occurring dreams and my viewpoint on them. What follows is only a reflection of patterns of recognition that other dreamers have had in exploring similar dreams.

Remember, your own “aha!” of recognition is the only reliable indication that these common, archetypal meanings actually apply to your dream.

The best way to begin dream interpretations is to first understand how dreams function:

  • Dreams are restorative – When you have uninterrupted sleep and go through a series of deepening dream cycles during the night, you touch into and revisit your spiritual core and life purpose. Dreaming helps you stay on track, remember who you really are, how you fit into the whole, and renew yourself with fresh life energy and motivation.
  • Dreams are about creation; the ultimate Dreamer is your soul –  Most cultures where mystical spiritual experience is valued believe that the soul projects (think “movie projector”) or “dreams” the personality and entire physical life into being. “Life is but a dream,” we so often hear. When you remember that you are the soul, 10 Part I: Decode Your Dreams or the Dreamer, and not the dream itself, you have more power to change the “dream” and create a life where your destiny can unfold instead of suffering and pain. You’re not stuck! Dreams show you what’s possible. All you have to do is dream something different! You are only as limited as your imagination.
  • Dreams are about learning to be superconscious— and you’re learning 24 hours a day – You are dreaming not only at night but during your daytime waking reality, too. Your nighttime dream world is as real to your soul as your daytime world. They feed into each other, inform each other, teach each other. You, the soul, are never unconscious! You are always focusing on themes and issues that further your growth, flowing through different realms of your awareness. By interpreting day and night dreams, you can discover what’s going on in your innermost life.

Dream Interpretation: What’s in it for you?

A productive dream life begins with being fired up and motivated. You won’t get started or stick with it unless you understand the benefits that dreaming provides. So I’ve listed some important ways you can improve your life by working with dreams:

  • Entertain yourself and grow your imagination. Dreams give you many interesting, fun things to talk about with your spouse, friends, and family

If you do nothing more than fly without an airplane or interact with dragons in your dreams, you’ll be far richer than if you’d lived by logic alone. Dreams keep you childlike and open, and help promote a free, joyful spirit. Since anything goes in dreams, it’s not much of a stretch to extend the same dynamic imagination to your waking reality.

  • Imagination may be one of the most undervalued skills you have

It determines the quality of your life, since what you can imagine is truly as far as you’ll let yourself go. Dreams show you it’s not so hard to move beyond your comfort zone.

  • Discover what’s what in your psyche

Dreams provide firsthand contact with the fascinating mystery: “Who am I?” They teach you about your psychological process and the subconscious beliefs and fears that interfere with growth and happiness. Your dreams can show you how to be more flexible, tolerant, loving, and lovable.

  • Tap your inner wisdom & truth

Dreams relay accurate, inspired advice from your higher mind, or soul, the part of you that always knows the truth. They may even warn of problems that are brewing, or help you prepare for an upcoming event. Dreams reveal your unlimited creativity and notify you when you’re off center and need to realign with your life purpose.

  • Be all that you can be

Dreams expand your sense of personal identity because you realize you’re composed of energy, emotions, thoughts, and higher patterns of awareness. You’ll start thinking of yourself as more than a physical body and will have access to new realms of experience that empower you to be more, know more, and do more.

  • Develop intuition and innovation

Recalling dreams, interpreting them, and intending them are all acts that require intuition and imagination. The more you work with dreams, the more you’ll learn to trust yourself, and you’ll realize how naturally intuitive and creative you are.

Dreams help you inreal ways — with problem solving, decision making, improving communication, healing yourself and others, even manifesting the help and resources you need. The dream state is a fertile field awaiting the seeds you sow.

  • Melt barriers of time and space

Dreams expand your capacity to know things that are in the past, the future, in other locations, and other dimensions of reality. Dreams that come true, or give you information you couldn’t obtain by normal means, can open you to know, not just theorize, that we are all much more vast than we realize.

Free Dream Interpretations:

Dreams are series of thoughts, images or emotions occurring during sleep. Dreaming is a universal and powerful experience. All humans sleep, and all humans dream. Dreams can be fleeting fragments of images or entire complicated narratives unreeling like movies before the mind’s eye.

The following information courtesy of Jeremy Taylor at: www.jeremytaylor.com/pages/dreamwork.html – Jeremy’s listed “common dream themes.”

Free Dream Interpretations Online

The most common free dream interpretation signs and symbols courtesy of Jeremy Taylor

“Teeth” in the dream world are most often an archetypal image of the dreamer’s sense of confidence and competence in the waking world. Dreaming that there is something amiss with my teeth usually points to insecurities about my ability to “get my teeth into it,” or maybe I’ve “bitten off more than I can chew.”

Ironically, the very fact that you remember such a dream is a reliable indicator that the you, the dreamer, can deal creatively and transformatively with the problems that life presents. If this were not the case, you would not even have remembered the dream.

All dreams (even nightmares!) come in the service of health and wholeness, and no dream ever came to anyone to say, “Nyah, nyah–you’ve got these problems and you can’t do anything about them!”

The more emotionally charged, or urgent the dream, the more likely that it points to a creative possibility previously hidden from the conscious mind, in response to a pressing waking life problem.

In my capacity as a professional dream worker, I travel all around the English speaking world, (both IRL – “in real life” – and on the Internet), on a daily basis, working with peoples’ dreams, and helping them figure out more about what they mean.

This gives me the opportunity to carry out an extensive, on-going, informal survey of the collective “trends” in the content and imagery of peoples’ dreams. One of the patterns I have noticed, as we approach the millennium, is that more and more people are reporting dreams of great storms, particularly “tornadoes”.

At the same time, even a casual eye on the news media in waking life informs us that the world’s weather has gotten dramatically “worse” and more intense over the last decades of the 20th century.

“Global warming” appears to be the culprit in the waking world, and of course, that, (plus the emotional impact of the news stories of storm damage, and the tragic deaths and dislocations of peoples’ lives which inevitably result from these great storms), is sufficient reason alone for the number of “dream tornadoes” to increase – but I believe there are other, even deeper collective/archetypal reasons for the steady increase in this particular type of dream imagery.

The individual and collective problems and dilemmas we face at the end of the 20th century are all, in a very real way, the consequence of incomplete (still evolving) conscious awareness.

I am increasingly convinced that it is the huge disparity between our immensely sophisticated knowledge about how to manipulate the physical world, (skills which we inevitably try to use to satisfy the incoherent jumble of our less-than-conscious desires), in contrast with our almost total lack of reliable self-knowledge about the deeper structures of our interior lives, which is the main cause of the terrible situation(s) we find ourselves in at this perilous historical moment.

In the dream world, “wind & water” have been archetypal symbols of spirit (“which bloweth where it listeth”) and emotion, (which “runs deep”, even when it’s still) for thousands (if not millions) of years. In the waking world, peoples from all over the planet share stories where the “voice of the God(s)” “speaks from out of the whirlwind”.

Non-technological peoples, (including the vast majority our own ancestors, back to the Old Stone Age an beyond), have viewed the “tornado” as “the finger of God”, which points with precision and unparalleled power to the psycho-spiritual mysteries of guilt and hidden meaning. Like the imagined “Hand of God”, the tornado demonstrates breath taking power, and leaves one life relatively untouched, while the life standing directly next to it is totally torn and shattered forever.

Each time we dream of “tornadoes”, these ancient, collective layers of symbolic association reveal themselves anew. Each “dream tornado” is, at some level, a harbinger of change, in the psyche as well as the waking world. Although only the dreamer can say for sure what his or her dream images mean, dream “tornadoes” are compelling metaphors of the individual and collective social change that we “feel”, (that we know in our secret heart of hearts), is necessary , and is coming.

We intuit, as dreamers, that ultimately the “power of this impending storm” is not just a consequence of incomplete human consciousness and planning failure alone. The forces of change are also “forces of nature” – “divine forces”, like nature herself.

The dream “tornado”, over and over again, turns out to be symbol of the dreamer’s own personal relationship to the deepest unasked and unanswered psycho-spiritual questions is his/her life, and these issues always have transpersonal implications as well.

Of course, these inevitable, unconscious, archetypal associations echo back “out” of the dream world into our perception of the changes in the global weather patterns that are the other main inspiration for these dreams.

No matter what we think and believe consciously, our nagging fear that these “earth changes” are a “punishment” is an inevitable reflection of our realization that we are misusing the divine gift of increasingly conscious self awareness.

This “theological” belief creeps into the emotional tone and rhetoric of our debates over controlling ozone-depleting emissions, and the destruction of planetary bio-diversity in the service of short-term economic gain. We know, from the same deep, unconscious place that the dreams come from,that these global, political, economic, ecological issues are ultimately “spiritual” – that these issues both shape and reflect our deepest relationships with the most important meanings of our individual and collective lives, (a situation which our ancestors have always equated with our relationship to “God” and “the Divine”…)

When such tornado dreams are remembered, it means that the dreamers are, in fact, equal to the psycho-spiritual tasks of increasing self-awareness and self-acceptance that the unknown frightening future demands, whether they feel or believe they are equal to these tasks, or not.

ALL dreams come in the service of health & wholeness, and that means that NO dream, (even the dream of the ‘terrifying tornado”), ever comes to say: “Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah – you have these problems and you can’t do anything about them…!”

To have and remember such a dream is an invitation to the individual dreamer to search even more deeply within for the creative energies that are given shape in the “dream tornado” itself, for this image is, at another important level, a spontaneous symbolic meditation on the divine, as-yet unknown, unconscious creative energy that resides within each evolving human psyche.

The dream tornado is an indication of the as-yet-unused-and only-intuited power of our own human ability to grow and change and evolve – the creative ability to change both ourselves and our planet in the process of our development.

As long as such dreams continue to be remembered, there is every reason to believe that we can and will grow beyond even these “earth shaking” problems that our incomplete sorcerer’s apprenticeship in consciousness itself have created. At this level, the “dream tornadoes” are a manifestation of that archetypal creative energy bubbling up in the collective psyche, asking for morally responsible creative expression in waking life.

The central image here is the “death” of those dream characters. No matter how distressing these images are during the dream, they are almost certainly symbolic pictures of ways in which I am growing and changing, ways in which my life energies are being redirected from old attitudes, perceptions, and self-images.

In my experience, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference who dies in the dream–if someone or something dies, it signifies that growth and change are taking place. If the dreamer dies, the changes in waking life are likely to be noticeable and radical, and will probably manifest themselves in personality and opinion changes.

If it’s someone else who dies in the dream, this suggests that the changes are taking place a little further away from the sense of core self –but changes are happening nonetheless. Suicide in dreams takes on a particularly ironic and positive quality in this sense; it means that the psycho-spiritual growth and development is taking place as a result of conscious choice and decision.

For a person in recovery from addictive behavior, for example, to dream of “suicide” is a particularly positive image, because it usually means that this time, the decision to quit is actually going to stick, and the old, addictive personality really is dying.

The need to urinate in a dream often means just that — the dreamer has to wake up and go to the bathroom! However, even when this is the case, the need to urinate is always a symbolic event in the dream world as well, even when it indicates a state of pressure in the physical body.

The most frequent meaning associated with this dream is the dreamer’s need to express problematic feelings and thoughts in waking life. In order to stay healthy, we all know we have to relieve our bladders regularly.

We can decide when and where, but we have no choice about whether or not to do it, and the longer it’s postponed, the more desperate the need becomes. The same is true of the need to give expression to our deepest thoughts and feelings.

We have a wide range of choice about when, where, and in whose company we choose to do it, but if we are to remain healthy and whole, we have no more choice about self-expression than we do about urinating.

We must do it–and the longer we postpone expressing our deepest emotions, the more likely it is we will have the archetypal “I need to pee and there’s no comfortable place to do it!” dream.

Whenever such a dream occurs, I find it valuable to go off into a corner and write down all the secret, taboo thoughts and feelings I have (even if I burn the list the moment I complete it).

The “desperate need to urinate” dream is a reliable indicator that I need to express myself more fully and honestly, if only to myself. If there is another trusted person in my life with whom I can be completely candid, so much the better, but even if there isn’t, I need to be honest with myself.

“Hair” in the dream world is a reliable metaphor of the other stuff that comes spontaneously out of our heads, namely our thoughts and opinions.

Whenever odd things having to do with “hair” show up in the dream world, it’s always worth asking the question: “How do these images of hair symbolize my changing thoughts and opinions?”.

Are they “changing color”? Getting “longer”? “Shorter”? Am I afraid that people will think that I’m strange if I express my new thoughts and ideas? (Just the way they might react if I were to show up with my hair changed the way it is in the dream.)

There is always the possibility that such a dream may be a warning of actual waking-life infidelity–but even when this is the case, it’s also almost certainly a symbolic picture of some way in which the dreamer is “betraying” him or herself.

At one important level, the people in our dreams are almost always symbolic of aspects of our own character and personality. When the dream characters look like people we actually know and relate to in waking life, it is likely that the “dream people” are metaphors for the parts of ourselves that we project onto those close to us in our waking life.

For this reason, if I dream that my husband is cheating on me with a waitress at the roadhouse on the highway just outside of town, he may actually be having such an affair.

But even if he is cheating, the dream is still a clear and compelling picture of the (masculine, less-than-totally-honest) part of myself that I project onto my husband in waking life, and how I betray myself by allowing that part of me to take advantage of the (feminine, wanting-to-please) “waitress” part of me, in a “conspiracy” to prevent myself from being as strong, conscious, creative, and in charge of my own life as I am capable of being.

All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. The generic message of every remembered dream is: “There is a potentially positive, creative, transformative role for the dreamer’s waking mind to play in the further unfoldment of whatever is being given symbolic shape in this dream.” In other words, no remembered dream ever came to say to the dreamer, “Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah – you have these problems and there’s nothing you can do about them…!” If the dream is remembered at all, than it means that the dreamer has the inherent ability to deal creatively and effectively with all the problems and “issues” that the dream raises in symbolic form; if this were not true, the dream would simply not have been remembered.

When a dream experience is not remembered, then the health & wholeness promoting quality of the dream must be sought somewhere other than the expansion and development of the dreamer’s own waking consciousness. In the case of sleep-walking and sleep-talking, and the special case of “night terrors”, (about which more below), the dreamer is most often very difficult to awaken, and if/when it is accomplished, most often does not remember what was going on “inside” that was the occasion for the strange “acting out”. Sleep-walking and sleep-talking are most frequent in childhood and usually, (although not always), dissipate and eventually disappear as the dreamer reaches adulthood. I believe that the generic meaning of sleep-walking, sleep-talking, can be summed up in the idea “involuntary theater”, put on not so much for the dreamer him/herself, but for the benefit of the others who are awake and observe it.

Let me offer an example, (because I believe that examples often convey theoretical information better than abstract formulations.) Several years ago, I had occasion to talk with a charming young couple after a church service during which I had offered a pulpit address on the importance of paying attention to dreams in the pursuit of moral, creative, spiritual life. They asked me if there was a drug that I could recommend to them that they could give their almost four-year old son to prevent him from sleep-walking.

I replied that fortunately I did not know of any such drug, and that even if I did, I was not sure I would tell them, because I believe it is always far better to seek for root causes and address them, rather than to manipulate symptoms with chemicals andnever look for the underlying origins of the situation. I asked them what their son was up to at night that they wanted to find an “anti-sleep-walking drug”?

They told me that he was “a very good boy”, cheerful, cooperative, affectionate, bright, and obedient. He was not a “sleep resister” and went to right off to sleep when the put him to bed, but each night, around 3:00-4:00 a.m., he would get up, still sound asleep, and toddle downstairs, where he would open up the liquor cabinet, take out all the liquor bottles, line them up in a row on the floor, and then go back to bed. They had repeatedly tried to wake him on these nightly forays and failed. In the morning, even upon close questioning, he apparently had no memory of any of his nocturnal activities…

The moment I imagined the scene the child created every night, I had an “aha!”, and I asked what seemed to me to be the obvious question: “…And would you say that there any adults in your house who are abusing alcohol on any sort of regular basis?”

Once the question was asked, the expressions of shocked and startled recognition on their faces were unmistakable. Yes, apparently they were living in the home of the bride’s parents, and her father was a practicing alcoholic… When I learned that, I had the clear thought – “…Once again, this sounds like the kid’s sleep-walking is a piece of ‘involuntary theater’ that the kid is putting on every night to make the point that he is incapable of making consciously when he is awake…”

Obviously a child that young is not able to lean across the high-chair at breakfast and say, “Now, look here, Mom and Dad, Grandpa’s abuse of alcohol is threatening to ruin my formative years…!” – but his unconscious is vividly aware of the situation. So, rather than provide dreams that are messages to the child’s waking consciousness, the unconscious sources of the child’s dream invent a piece of “pantomime”, a piece of “involuntary theater” that is aimed at effecting the awarenesses of the adults who are awake to witness it, not the sleeping child. I believe the inevitable implication of the sleep-walking activity is: “Look! I put these bottles out for you to look at last night, and I’ve put them out for you to see again tonight – see how far the levels have dropped? Don’t you see what’s wrong with this picture?”

This “involuntary theater” aspect of sleep-walking is so often the most important key to the deeper meanings of those behaviors, so much so that it is always worth asking, in any given instance, whether this is a factor in the shaping of the events, pointing toward their deeper meaning. The same basic principle applies top sleep-talking as well. When the utterances of the sleep-talker are observed carefully with an eye to their symbolic implications, paying particular attention to the nuances of tone of voice, and the dramatic connotations of implied character and situation, then sleep-talking also reveals itself, far more often than not, to be another mode of “involuntary theater”, “staged” for the edification of the “audience” more than the “actor”.

“Night terrors” are a special case of sleep-walking and sleep-talking, They should not be confused with “really bad nightmares”. Nightmares are most often remembered vividly, while night terrors are seldom if ever remembered by the children, (and the rare adults), who experience them, but they make a dramatic and lasting impression on all who are awake to witness them.

I have not had direct experience with a sufficient number of instances of night terrors for my observations to be statistically valid, but in the seventeen cases I have dealt with to date, one factor has proved to be salient in every instance: the
child who experience(d) the night terrors was an unusually intelligent and sensitive individual, and the child’s parents married against the wishes of their respective parents, almost always because of “religious differences” between the two families. (In one family, the different family backgrounds would probably be called “political” by casual observers, but in my view the political convictions of the husband’s and the wife’s respective families-of-origin were deeply and rabidly held as to easily fit Paul Tillich’s generic definition of “religion” as “a person’s ultimate commitment”.)

In each instance that I have dealt with directly, the child’s family milieu was characterized by the mother and father coming together in spite of strong “religious and cultural” objections from the respective grandparents. In each situation, this multi-generational family tension regarding “religious” issues, had led to an unwillingness on the part of the parents to speak freely to each other, (let alone the child), about their respective personal religious beliefs, longings, and convictions.

When I imagine the psycho-spiritual situation of the child who exhibits night terrors, it is as though there were a “black hole” of unspoken spiritual fear and longing for a felt-sense of the presence of the Divine at the center of the family – a black hole into which the intelligent and sensitive child feels drawn and swept every night when he or she is in bed, “alone with God…” Even Mommy and Daddy can’t speak or find the courage to face this “emptiness” directly – how can I, a mere child, be expected to feel anything but terror and despair when every night, I feel drawn into this vortex of fearful “unknowing”…?

But once again, ALL dreams, even the unremembered ones that spur night terrors, come ultimately in the service of health and wholeness. In all seventeen of the instances of night terrors that I have an opportunity to work with directly, the night terrors of the child disappeared when the parents had a discussion of their respective religious convictions, spiritual longings, and practical beliefs. This relief was observable in the child’s sleeping behavior, even when the child was not privy to the parental discussions, and had no conscious knowledge that the conversations had taken place. The parents did not have to agree about any of it(!), all they had to do was talk honestly about it and lift the heavy curtain of fearful silence between them.

It is for all of these reasons that I am convinced that night terrors are a special case of sleep-walking and sleep-talking, and that if the child’s night terrors are distressing to the parents, then it is almost certainly within the power of the parents to change the situation that is precipitating the child’s sleeping behavior. Often, the parents themselves are very afraid of what will happen if they have “the conversation” they have been carefully avoiding about their most deeply held beliefs and longings, but if the child is exhibiting night terrors, everything I know suggests that the parents are, in fact, capable of having the discussion – even if all they end up doing is “agreeing to disagree.”

“Animals” in the dream world are a frequent metaphor of the dreamer’s instincts — those vital energies that are alive and active in the dreamer’s psyche, but which are not conscious.

The more menacing or problematic the relationships with animals are in the dream — or the more ill, injured, or distressed the animals appear to be — the more likely it is that the dreamer is at odds with his or her instinctive energies, and needs to find a way to channel creative, positive expression of those same instinctive drives into his or her waking life.

The fact that such a dream has been remembered is a reliable indicator that the dreamer will be able to give creative, responsible expression to his or her instinctive energies — otherwise, the dream would not have been remembered.

This very common dream is based on the archetypal symbolism of clothing as a metaphor for the public self (the archetypal form Carl Jung termed the “persona”).

When the dreamer is naked, it usually means that he or she has slipped in waking life and allowed more of their authentic self to show in public than is ordinarily acceptable.

If the other people in the dream don’t seem to notice the dreamer’s nakedness, or if they do notice and don’t seem particularly upset by it, then the slip probably didn’t upset anyone other than the dreamer.

On the other hand, if the dream people show concern or outrage over the dreamer’s nakedness, then the dreamer’s exposure of usually censored thoughts and feelings probably did upset people. This dream suggests that a little damage control is needed.

This classic dream usually comes to people who lead productive, responsible lives. It is all the more upsetting or distressing for precisely that reason.

In most instances the neglected baby is the Jungian archetype of the divine child. The infant represents aspects of the dreamer’s self that are neglected or ill-defined.

It might seem funny to write in our waking-life appointment book “reserve time for self-exploration,” but, in order to be healthy and whole, that is exactly what we have to do. (Even if it looks like the height of laziness or irresponsibility from the point of view of the waking ego, which is driven to make the most of every precious moment.)

This dream informs you that ignoring one’s deepest spiritual needs and desires is the truly irresponsible activity–as irresponsible as agreeing to look after a baby, and then forgetting about it.

Classic dream figures, drawn from the edge of our adolescent circle of friends, are likely to be symbols of aspects of our personality which we first became aware of when we projected them onto these same people back in high school.

When these faces show up in our dreams, it means that these same aspects of our own character are resurfacing, and now wear the masks of these old acquaintances for purposes of recognition. Whatever we thought about those people when we knew them, is what we think about these emerging parts of our own psyche now.

Once again, projection is the key. We tend to dream about kids we didn’t know that well precisely because–not knowing them well–there is nothing to get in the way of our projections. If we actually knew these people better, our projections would be altered and become more multilayered and complex. The projections we make on our good friends are always more ambiguous and complex.

There is a very common variation on this theme: “I see Joe Schmo–a person I hardly knew in high school and haven’t seen or thought about in years–and I sleep with him.”

When the dream adds this element to the mix, it is most often a symbol of the dreamer’s readiness to accept and integrate a part of the self that was projected on Joe Schmo years ago, and which has now spontaneously risen from the dreamer’s interior depths and demands to be recognized.

This dream is a blood relative of the “my partner is cheating on me” dream. Sometimes the two blend together and the dreamer imagines that the other party in the cheating dream is his or her long-forgotten high school acquaintance

The basic metaphor in chase dreams is usually the “death” that I am so desperately trying to avoid. “Death” in the dream world is the single most frequent archetypal image of growth and development that the unconscious has to offer. (Dreams do depict psycho-spiritual growth and change in other ways, but death is by far the most common and universal.)

Therefore, if I dream that I am being pursued by dream characters who are out to get me, it is usually a symbolic representation of fleeing from insistent interior promptings, telling me that it is time to grow and change and let go of some cherished notion about who I am.

To grow and change, life energies have to be withdrawn from the outmoded parts of my self-image, no matter how good or useful they may have been at one time. This withdrawal of life energy looks symbolically like death.

“Water” in the dream world is most often an archetypal image for feeling and emotion. To dream of an approaching tidal wave usually indicates an apprehension about the emotions that are welling up inside of the dreamer– he or she fears being overwhelmed, or “drowning” in the feelings and being unable to think or act rationally.

Again, the irony is that if the tidal wave dream is remembered in the first place, it means that the dreamer can deal with the full impact of the emotions.

The first step is to acknowledge the full weight and force of these feelings. One of the mythical or archetypal “hero/heroine’s tasks” that we all must accomplish as we grow into adulthood is to face our deepest emotions without “drowning” in them.

When this important task has been achieved, we are likely to dream of being surprised to discover that we are totally submerged and breathing underwater!

The transformation of excrement is one of the great secrets at the center of Carl Jung’s work on “alchemy”–the quest to turn base material into gold. It’s a universal metaphor of psycho-spiritual development, growth, and maturity.

If I can look at the “excrement” of my life–all the places in me that hold the worst things I have ever done, witnessed, or had done to me–unpleasant as that may be, it is also the first step toward turning this “base matter” into “gold.”

Ironically, it is only by looking clearly at the “excrement” of my life that I can transform it into the “gold” of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and felt-sense of the presence of the Divine.

Unless I do this, any seemingly spiritual perspective I embrace will only serve as camouflage for my denial and self-deception, which will betray me in the end.

Freud asserts that the excrement dream is symbolic of money in the dreamer’s waking life. On one level this makes sense. The first experience each of us has with exerting ourselves and producing a result, or “product,” is moving our bowels.

Therefore, we tend to make a symbolic analogy between the “efforts” we put forth in the world and the money we get for it. (In my experience, when the “excrement” in the dream world does equal money, it’s a fairly reliable indicator that the waking “trade-off” of time and energy for money is not serving me well. It may be time to look for another line of work.)

There are many symbolic parallels between the “need to urinate” dream and the “excrement” dream. Both indicate an innate desire to express authentic, albeit buried, feelings. If a dream focuses on the evacuation of solid, rather than liquid, waste, there is an added dimension of purging repression and denial.

Before I consider fully divulging my thoughts or feelings, I have to admit to myself just how bad things really are in my life. In order to change them, I first have to recognize what they are.

So if the dreamer is overwhelmed with excrement, it’s always worth asking the question: “What am I facing, or letting go of?” It’s important to remember that as unpleasant as it is to face denial in the short run, it is necessary and rewarding in the long run.