A recently submitted dream:
Hi, I’m hoping you can settle a bet. My sister had a dream about going to an optometrist and getting new glasses. When she wore the glasses, she had the best luck ever. People saw her as beautiful, her boss gave her a new office, and her husband bought her a new car! When she took the glasses off, though, the dream turned dark and there were scary sounds. So she put the glasses back on really fast and things were light and sunny again.
I told her that the dream probably means she needs a change or something but my sister says she doesn’t think it means anything at all. Who is right? We have a lunch riding on it! – a big sister in Detroit
Well, big sister, I hope it helps you get a free lunch, I can tell you that you are more right than your sister. The meaning of the dream actually goes a little deeper than her needing a change, though.
When we dream of glasses, optometrists, eye exams, contact lenses, and just about anything else related to the eyes, our subconscious mind is letting us know that we need to “open our eyes” and “see” something that we’re missing. This thing, which is partially hidden to us is something we’re aware of but are trying to sort of sweep under the rug.
An example: A mother of a 4 year old knows that she has to make him stop sucking his thumb. She knows that kindergarten is around the corner and that the other kids could potentially make fun of him. However…. he’s her baby! So she tries not to think about the glaring truth. In her sleep, her subconscious mind can finally get through to her without any protests – it has her where it wants her, quiet and unable to move away! When she dreams of buying a new pair of glasses, the glasses are a dream symbol – symbolic of her SEEING what’s right in front of her.
I believe this dream scenario is the same with your sister’s dream. The fact that everything is so fantastic in her dream when she has the glasses on would indicate that what she’s failing to “see” is extremely important – especially when you contrast the great feelings with the gloom and doom when she takes the glasses off! In all honesty, I believe that what she’s trying not to see may be of vital importance and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
It sounds like the issue is huge and her subconscious mind is well aware of the fact.
When your little sister is treating you to lunch (after all, you were on the right track!), you should absolutely, positively try to help her realize what she isn’t facing. It could be as simple anything along these lines:
- Knowing that she needs to take better care of her health.
- Knowing that she needs to switch jobs.
- Knowing that she needs to give up smoking.
- Knowing that a friend isn’t good for her.
- Knowing that she isn’t pursuing a personal dream.
- … or just about anything!
Thanks for submitting your sister’s dream for analysis and best of luck to both of you.
Robert Moss is the creator of Active Dreaming, an original method of dreamwork and healing through the imagination. Born in Australia, he survived three near-death experiences in childhood. He leads popular seminars all over the world, including a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming and a lively online dream school. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, he is a bestselling novelist, journalist, and independent scholar. His seven books on dreaming, shamanism and imagination include Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, The Three “Only” Things, The Secret History of Dreaming, and Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death.
Moss’s Active Dreaming is an original synthesis of contemporary dreamwork and shamanic methods of journeying and healing. A central premise of Moss’s approach is that dreaming isn’t just what happens during sleep; dreaming is waking up to sources of guidance, healing and creativity beyond the reach of the everyday mind. He introduced his method to an international audience as an invited presenter at the conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams at the University of Leiden in 1994.
Over the past fifteen years, he has led seminars at the Esalen Institute, Kripalu, the Omega Institute, the New York Open Center, Bastyr University, John F. Kennedy University, Meriter Hospital, and many other centers and institutions. He has taught in-depth workshops in Active Dreaming in the UK, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Lithuania, Romania, and Austria and leads a three-year training course for teachers of Active Dreaming. He leads popular online dreamwork courses at www.spirituality-health.com, writes the “Dream Life” column for Spirituality magazine, and hosts the Way of the Dreamer radio show at www.healthylife.net.
He has appeared on many TV and radio shows, ranging from Charlie Rose and the Today show to Coast to Coast, and including The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, Michael Krasny’s Forum on KQED San Francisco, The Faith Middleton Show on Connecticut Public Radio, and CBC’s Tapestry program. His articles on dreaming have been published in media ranging from Parade to Shaman’s Drum and Beliefnet.com.
Below, we can get into Robert’s mind and learn more about dreams and his newest book, The Secret History of Dreaming.
You are a former history professor and you say that to research and write this book you had to become a “dream archeologist”. What is “dream archeology” and what skills and resources are required to practice it?
While “archeology” is often understood to be the science of unearthing and studying antiquities, the root meaning is more profound: it is the study of the arche, the first and essential things. The practice of “dream archeology” requires mastery of a panoply of sources, and the ability to read between the lines and make connections that have gone unnoticed by specialists who were looking for something else. It requires the ability to locate dreaming in its context – physical, social and cultural. And it demands the ability to enter a different time or culture, through the exercise of active imagination, and experience it from the inside as it may have been. These are the skills we need to excavate the inner dimension of the human adventure.
What is the most important thing you can tell us about your new book, The Secret History of Dreaming?
The Secret History of Dreaming restores a missing dimension to our understanding of what drives the human adventure: the vital role of dreams and imagination in science and literature, war and religion, medicine and the survival of our kind. History without the inner side is as shallow as history without economics, and as boring as history without sex.
This is not another book about dreams. It is a history of dreaming, a term I use in an expansive sense to encompass not only night dreams but also waking visions, the interplay of mind and matter that is sometimes called synchronicity, and experiences in a creative “solution state”.
Explain your statement that a dream led directly to one of the biggest oil discoveries in world history.
In 1937, Colonel Harold Dickson, the former British Political Agent in Kuwait, dreamed that a sandstorm opened a crater under a strange tree in the desert, and revealed a mummy that came to life as a beautiful woman who gave him an ancient coin. His wife recorded the dream for him in the middle of the night, and then he consulted a Bedouin woman dream interpreter who gave him the location of the tree in his dream – in the Burqan hills – and told him he would find great treasure there. He was able to persuaded the Kuwait Oil Company (which had been drilling dry holes up to this point) and they struck it rich at the exact place he had dreamed. This was the origin of Kuwait’s oil wealth and a major source for the Allies in World War II.
Tell us about the dreams of the Founding Fathers
John Adams and Dr Benjamin Rush – who made a close study of precognitive dreams – were in the habit of exchanging dreams in their extensive correspondence. In 1809, Rush wrote to Adams about a dream in which the doctor’s son read him a page from the future history of the United States. The dream letter described “the renewal of friendship” between Adams and Thomas
Jefferson, who had been estranged for many years because of their political disagreements. It
stated that the later correspondence of the two former presidents would inspire many. And it recorded that Adams and Jefferson “sunk into the grave nearly at the same time.” Nearly seventeen years later, long after their reconciliation, the two former presidents died on the same day – July 4, 1826. The predictions on the page of Dr Rush’s dream history were exactly fulfilled.
Explain how Harriet Tubman’s dreams and visions helped her to guide escaping slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman is an iconic figure in American history – the runaway slave from Maryland’s Eastern Shore who went back to the South, braving great dangers, to free her fellow-slaves and became the most successful “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Yet the secret of Harriet Tubman’s achievement has rarely been told. She was a dreamer and a seer. In her dreams and visions, she could fly like a bird. Her gift may have been associated with a near-death experience in her childhood, when an angry overseer threw a two-pound lead weight that laid open her skull. We learn from her how great gifts can spring from our wounds. Harriet herself said she inherited special gifts – including the ability to travel outside the body and to visit the future – from her father, who “could always predict the future” In The Secret History of Dreaming, I examine the evidence that her ancestors were Ashanti, and that she may have inherited something of the Ashanti experience of dream tracking. I also look at the influence of the first, fiercely brave and inspiring, itinerant black women preachers, whose example may have helped Harriet develop the power to transfer her vision. She could sing courage into people’s hearts.
Tell us how Freud, tragically, may have missed an early dream diagnosis of the mouth cancer that killed him many years later.
The most famous of all the dreams Freud analyzed was one of his own, the Irma Dream. In The Interpretation of Dreams he gives a lengthy account of this 1895 dream and his work with it. In the dream, he inspects the mouth of a patient called Irma and discusses her condition with several doctors. The tragic irony is that in all his work on this dream, Freud may have missed a health warning that could have saved his life. I report on the exhaustive work of a cancer surgeon who compared Freud’s medical records with his dream report and concluded that the contained an amazingly exact preview of precise symptoms of the oral cancer that killed Freud 28 years later.
You write: “Because young Sam Clemens could not find Brazil, he failed to become the first cocaine dealer in North America and instead became Mark Twain.” Tell us that story!
While he was working as a printer in Keokuk, Iowa, young Sam Clemens read a book that described “a vegetable product with miraculous powers” that was growing in Brazil. Sam was “fired with a longing” to go up the Amazon, secure a supply of this miracle plant – and make a fortune. He sailed to New Orleans on a riverboat whose pilot was the celebrated Horace Bixby.
When he got to New Orleans, Sam found that no ship in port was sailing for Brazil and no one could tell him how to get there. So he changed his plans, sought out Bixby, and persuaded him to take him on as an apprentice pilot. Working on the Mississippi river, he got many of the ideas for the books that made him famous under a pen-name borrowed from the boatmen’s cry “Mark Twain”, meaning two fathoms, safe water.
The miracle plant Sam had set out to find was coca. Had he succeeded in his original plan, Keokuk, Iowa would have become the cocaine capital of America. Because Sam Clemens couldn’t find Brazil, he failed to become the first cocaine dealer in North American history and instead became Mark Twain.
Tell us about the mystery of the Chinese Woman in Wolfgang Pauli’s dreams that Jung could not figure out.
The quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli frequently dreamed of an alluring “Chinese woman” who moved like a snake dancer. Though he found her sexy, she sometimes appeared in situations that filled him with dread, as if his world was being shaken. He was also distressed by a dream in which the Chinese woman had a baby the world would not acknowledge. Paul discussed these dreams with Jung, and Jung talked of archetypes and the anima. Then Pauli’s “Chinese woman” stepped out of his dream life and into the world at the center of the so-called “Chinese revolution” in physics. A woman physicist, Dr Wu, conducted the critical experiments that overthrew one of the scientific paradigms (the parity principle) that Pauli had fiercely upheld, shaking his intellectual universe. Yet when a Nobel prize was awarded for this breakthrough in 1957, only the two theoretical physicists – both men – were recognized; the Chinese woman’s baby went unacknowledged by the world.
I explore this episode in my investigation of the rich 25-year correspondence between Jung and Pauli. They were giants in their respective fields – depth psychology and physics – who goaded each other, in a 25-year intellectual friendship, to step beyond the boundaries of their disciplines and seek to develop a working model of a universe in which mind and matter are constantly interweaving. But they were capable of missing dream clues!
Tell us about the woman you call “the beautiful dream spy of Madrid.”
Ah, the lovely Lucrecia de Leon! When she was a guest of the Spanish Inquisition, one of the investigators told her, “You are so beautiful a dead man would rise up and make you pregnant.” Since women are absent from so much of the history written by men, it is remarkable that – thanks in part to the Spanish Inquisition – the record of no fewer than 415 dreams of a young woman of Madrid have survived from the time of the Spanish Armada. They were transcribed between 1587 and 1590, by clerics who listened to her accounts of her night adventures while an armed courier waited in the street ready to gallop to the holy city of Toledo to carry the latest dream installment to the head of the powerful Mendoza clan, second only to the Habsburgs in Spain. The reason Lucrecia’s dreams were so prized was that she had a gift for seeing the future and discovering what was going on behind closed doors, in the royal palace or the house of Sir Francis Drake in England. Her dreams were exploited as sources of military intelligence and as political propaganda, in a time when dream visions were still greatly respected. Some of them were painted; others were performed as theatre for high society in the town house of a dowager duchess who may also have been an English agent. Lucrecia’s story is a fascinating chapter in the history of women as well as the history of dreaming.
You are the creator of an original approach to dreamwork and healing that you call Active Dreaming. What is Active Dreaming? Will you give us examples of original techniques you have developed, and tell us how they differ from other approaches to dream interpretation or analysis?
Active Dreaming is founded on the understanding that dreaming isn’t just what happens during sleep; dreaming is waking up to sources of guidance, healing and creativity beyond the reach of the everyday mind.
One of the most important original techniques I have introduced is the Lightning Dreamwork Game, a fast and fun way to share inner experiences, get helpful feedback and guidance for action that you can practice with just about anyone, almost anywhere, It’s a great inner workout, and when you play it with friends or family or workmates, you’ll find you are deepening and energizing your relationships. By simply playing the game, you’ll find you can recognize and work with diagnostic and precognitive elements in dreams, and harvest personal imagery for healing and creative projects.
I teach many techniques for conscious dream travel. This goes far beyond what “lucid dreaming” is commonly thought to be. We learn to start out lucid and stay lucid. Using shamanic techniques for shifting consciousness, we embark on intentional journeys – often with partners or a whole group – on agreed itineraries, which might take us on a mission to scout out the possible future, or explore an alternate reality or a location in the imaginal realm, or through the doorway of a previous dream or vision. We learn to travel back inside dreams to dialogue with dream characters, resolve nightmare terrors, bring through healing and guidance, and scout out the possible future.
I love leading games of coincidence and imagination, and am constantly dreaming up new ones. Active dreamers find that the world around us will speak to us in the manner of dreams if we will only pay attention. I teach people how to navigate by synchronicity, how to harvest personal imagery for healing, and how to grow a vision so deep and strong that it wants to take root in the world.
About the Author
Robert Moss was born in Australia, and his fascination with the dreamworld began in his childhood, when he had three near-death experiences and first learned the ways of a traditional dreaming people through his friendship with Aborigines. A former professor of ancient history, he is also a novelist, journalist, and independent scholar. Visit him online at www.mossdreams.com.
I’ll write my review of this outstanding book later this week – it is definitely one you’ll want to read.
Photographer: Javier Bano
First of all, what do we mean by inadequacy dreams? An inadequacy dream would be one in which you dream that you are either:
- too fat
- too thin
- too old
- too young
- too unattractive
- too sick
- too forgetful
- not smart enough
- not tall enough
- too tall
- under qualified
- and on and on and on!
Basically, any dream in which you disappoint yourself, scare yourself, or fail to meet your expectations is an inadequacy dream.
Here’s a recent inadequacy dream submitted for analysis: Dreaming About Forgetting
I am a 52 year old mother of 2 boys (one’s 12 and the other is 21). I had a dream a week ago that has stayed with me and is just very upsetting. I dreamed that I was holding a baby girl and that she was my baby. She was crying and had a fever. So I took her to what appeared to be a doctor’s office. The nurse working at the window asked me my name and I told her. She asked what was wrong with my baby and I told her that she had a fever, didn’t seem to feel well and was crying a lot. Then the nurse asked me my baby’s name and I couldn’t remember it.
I felt SO frustrated and scared in the dream (and when I woke up and ever since). I was trying so hard to remember the name and kept thinking, “How can you forget the name of your own baby?”
Most of the time dreams don’t stay with me. I usually remember them for a day or two but this one won’t leave my mind. I keep feeling how frustrated and scared I was.
Now I’m scared that this means I’m losing my memory or that I might have problems with Alzheimer’s or something. I’m just really in a bad place right now because of this dream. Please help me sort this out so I can get rid of this feeling. Thank you.
P.S. Oh, by the way, this is strange – but somehow I know that the baby’s name was Victoria. It came to me just as I was waking up from the dream.
First of all, relax and throw out any left over fears and anxieties! Very often dreaming about forgetting things is simply a sign that we need to slow down and start paying more attention to things. It’s possible that you recently forgot something or almost forgot something and the frustration of that incident carried over into your dream.
Forgetting things is a very common thing – it happens to people of all ages, young and old. It isn’t a sign of losing your memory or even of getting old – most of the time it’s simply a sign that you’re too busy or that you aren’t paying as much attention to details as possible. Sometimes, in our work and at home, we get kind of lazy and don’t pay as much attention to details. This leads to forgotten cellphones, keys, and sunglasses!
Most people just laugh at the situation – but a certain age group (between about 35 and 55) almost panics. We tend to think, “Dear, God, please don’t let me be losing my mind!!!” We don’t just hit the panic button, we jump on it.
Yet, if we pause and take a deep breath, we’ll remember that forgetting things happen at all ages. After all, what about the time we forgot our school lunch, the time we forgot the dates for the history exam (!!!), the time we forgot to take the right notebook to class – etc, etc, etc. If we would be reasonable, we’d realize that forgetting things isn’t anything new!
I do a lot of research and reading for another one of my websites, Out of Bounds. It’s all about mental fitness, sharpening your mind, improving your memory, and just staying sharp. I always recommend challenging the mind to keep it on it’s proverbial toes. Doing a lot of the recommended tips given on Out of Bounds will help you to not only stay sharp – it’ll give you confidence.
Right now, I’d say that a recent event (something small – like forgetting your keys…) has sort of smacked your confidence around – hence the dream. Unfortunately, the dream only compounded the problem!
Rest assured that I’m certain the frustrating feelings will subside right away.
Other Inadequacy Dreams
If you’ve had inadequacy dreams, realize that they stem from a particular insecurity. If you dream that you are overweight, for example, you either…
- Have been feeling like you need to lose weight.
- Have a deep-seeded fear of becoming overweight.
Another interpretation for this type of dream – if you’re certain that you have no insecurities whatsoever – is that you “emotionally feel” whatever inadequacy is portrayed in the dream. For example, if you dream you are incredibly ugly – yet don’t feel at all unattractive, you could have recently acted “ugly” and have guilt over your actions.
If you dream that you are overweight – yet you know you are a perfect size – you may feel like you’re “carrying too much weight” at the office, at school, or at home.
Finally, don’t ever let a mere dream shake your confidence or your swagger. Dream Prophesy is all about USING your dreams as self help and self improvement vessels. It’s the whole reason I put the website up in the first place! We can take our dreams and use them as springboards to improving our lives. If you dream of a particular inadequacy – put a little extra effort into chasing away the insecurities and watch your confidence soar!
Our dreams can have a great impact on our lives and offer us wonderful insights into our minds. All we have to do is analyze them and find out exactly what it is they’re trying to tell us. Dreams can hold valuable secrets to our lives and the dream symbols can help sort through many problems and dilemmas in a way no self help book in the world could hope to.
I hope you’ll bookmark Dream Prophesy.com and subscribe to our e-mail alerts and/or rss feed so you can learn how you can interpret your own dreams and learn how they can help you get more from life.
Below are a few guidelines for interpreting and analyzing your dreams:
- Make the meanings of the dream symbols in your dream line up with your real life. If you are terrified of snakes, a snake dream will have a different meaning for you than it would someone who keeps snakes as pets and loves them the way the rest of us love our cats and dogs.
- Submit your dream to Dream Prophesy.com for your own personalized dream interpretation and dream analysis. Our contact form is on the site. Unless you mark your dream as private, we do share the dream with our readers. This way, many people are helped by your dream interpretation.
- Write down your dreams, as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular dream or a nightmare. Even the most, seemingly, insignificant dream can hold a wealth of information and insight. Don’t worry about trying to analyze it at that exact moment – simply write down what you remember.
- Even more importantly, write down how you feel when you first wake up. The emotions you have at that moment are the emotions you were experiencing in the dream and are absolutely vital to the dream interpretation.
- Make sure you write down all of the symbols in your dream. These are things such as knives, brooms, cats, birds, snakes, planes, and even people you recall. Basically, anything or anyone you remember is a dream symbol.
At the end of a week, go back and examine your dream journal. If you see a series of troubling and upsetting dreams, you can rest assured that your mind is troubled about something. Your mind is begging for you to find a solution to the drama and the trauma so that it can find peace again.
If your dreams seem to be a series of fear and panic, you are experiencing a great deal of worry and concern in your life. There is at least one thing you are afraid of happening (or not happening). When the worry is resolved, your dream self will be less anxious!
Again, please use Dream Prophesy.com as a guide and resource as you begin to study and make sense of your dreams. If you have a particular dream or dream symbol that you want interpreted, use our search box to find articles and posts related to this subject. If you still have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or use the contact form.
A few days ago, one of my daughters and I were talking about we’ll often solve a problem or get a great idea while we’re lying in bed – either close to sleep or having just woke up. I’ll often get a great idea for a post or the ingredients for a killer recipe when I’m either close to sleep or just coming out of its blissful state!
Researchers actually back up our experiences
Experts say that we have the ability to solve problems in our sleep because most memory consolidation occurs while your brain is in a resting state. Studies have even shown that students who review schoolwork right before bedtime have a much better chance of remembering the information for the next day’s test or assignment.
If you are preparing for a test or a presentation at work, and you want the information to be stored as long-term memory, your best bet is to study the material right before bedtime.
By the same token, if you have a certain dilemma in your life and you’re searching for a solution, give it a great deal of thought as you fall asleep. Your chances for waking up next to the solution are outstanding!