I’m sometimes asked to interpret a recurring dream from decades ago. Recently, a man approached me and described in vivid detail a childhood nightmare that haunted him for years. The terror on his face looked as fresh as if he’d just awaken from the dream. When he finished recounting the nightmare, he crossed his arms and asked, “So, what does that mean?”

He was disappointed when I told him we might never know.

Dreams have a shelf life. They come to tell us what we need to know to help with our current dilemmas. An urgent problem this month might be resolved by next month. Then the dreams will shift focus to offer insight into the next problem.

The first thing to consider with a childhood dream is at what age did the nightmare start and how long did it persist.

Next, it’s important to know what was happening in the child’s world during that particular time. Unless we know that information, an interpretation might not be relevant.

Dream symbols and themes are dreamer specific. Only the dreamer can decide the meaning of the message. When a correct interpretation is uncovered, the dreamer often has an “aha moment.” They might even feel a tingle. So, the question becomes, is it possible for an adult to know what explanation might have resonated with the eight-year-old version of themselves?

Recurring dreams may indicate you’re not receiving the message

Dreams must be contextualized. The messages apply to the most pressing matters at the time. If the child was being bullied at school, a hungry dinosaur might chase them in their dreams. However, if the theme of bullying continues throughout the dreamer’s life, the dream settings and images will change to be age appropriate. The metaphor might change from a T-rex to a stalker in a dark alley.

The key to working with dreams is to recognize the stronger the emotion evoked, the more urgent the message. If you wake up angry or scared, the dream’s message holds relevance and importance. The sooner you understand the symbols and take action to resolve the situation, the sooner the nightmares will cease.

Dream Weavers offers ample opportunities to learn how to interpret your dreams and practice sessions to hone your dream interpretation skills! Visit the Courses and Events page to learn more about this month’s offerings and to register.