Dream Types and Meanings

We remember only a fraction of our dreams on any night – if and when we do. These dream fragments fade from memory as the day progresses. This is the case with Ordinary Dreams. Yet there is another category of dream that is not so forgettable and that is the vivid, profound or spiritual dream which I group under the label Visionary Dreams.
Dream life dream time

In general, most ordinary dreams appear to be mush or nonsensical but there are a few ordinary dream types that offer an insight into our ego nature and ego personality. This is due to the rich symbology of dreams which are full of imagery and emotion.

In our dreams we are not constrained by society’s norms so we can act out emotions suppressed during the day, let wishful thinking take over, and get emotional release. It is also a window into our subconscious mind that holds the clues to all our problems whether we know it or not.

Visionary Dreams, and even some Ordinary Dreams, are a bridge between the limited ego mind and the vast soul intelligence which is a storehouse of inspiration and wisdom that you can tap into and get insights into the daily events of your life.

Types of Ordinary Dreams

Here are some of the most common ordinary dream types:

Loopy replays of the day’s events –

These are the most common dreams and if remembered at all are simply the mind sorting and sifting through activities of the day. Not much meaning is attached to them if they are dimly remembered and often include replays of the routine elements of your life.

Unresolved encounters with people –

These can be extended or fleeting encounters you had with a person. A part of you during the encounter did not express itself, so your dreaming mind plays out the event and possibly with a different outcome.

Dream Example 1:
During the day you carry an impression in the back of your mind that maybe you should not have lent your book to someone you hardly know. So in your dream of this event you keep getting let down by the person who doesn’t return your book.

Dream Example 2:
You had a pressing need to inform someone by telling them something important to you but the opportunity to raise it in conversation didn’t present itself. In the dream of the event you get to say your piece but don’t remember what happens next or the dream scene changes.

Suppressed impressions –

A person or object that is in the background of an event or situation may appear with more than its usual prominence in your dream version of the event. In the dream you are drawn to it and a feeling that was not felt in the day is experienced in the dream.

Dream Example 1:
A woman you met and had a pleasant conversation with had worn an interesting pendant that, in the back of your mind, reminded you of a ridiculous character. In the dream of this event, the woman is dressed like the character and you feel as though a part of her personality that was previously guarded is now revealed, or, you could be discovering a tendency in yourself to judge others.

Dream Example 2:
You see a still image of an animal eating its prey for just a second as a flash on TV or a picture in a magazine, but your subconscious mind creates a dream where the animal in this picture comes alive and is eating your handbag. This could be a subconscious warning that you may be making bad purchasing decisions.

Anxieties and insecurities –

A common anxiety is financial worries like being able to afford a commitment or having enough money long term. There are insecurities in relationships where power imbalances exist.

Dream Example 1:
You arrive at your meeting point for a package holiday only to be told by the tour guide in front of all the passengers that you can’t join them. He won’t say why and you instinctively reach for your wallet and find it’s empty. There is high anxiety and embarrassment in the dream.

Dream Example 2:
You come home early to find a person with whom you have a close relationship with is taking personal things out of your bedroom drawer and telling you they need to go back to someone else. This type of dream not only represents the frustration with the person (like being taken advantage of) but that the issue is eating away at you.

Unresolved issues and inner conflicts –

You may be in the middle of a dispute with a neighbour, and it’s hard not to engage in an emotional arms race of declining respect and like for them. Or a disagreement with a family member fails to get resolved and the longer it festers the harder it gets to face them off.

Dream Example 1:
You dream that a conversation with the neighbour is going nowhere as he appears to be ignoring you and when you try to speak again nothing comes out – adding to your frustration. In this type of dream you are stewing over the event and haven’t reached insight yet.

Dream Example 2:
In a dream with the family member you are in a slapping match with them and while you are trying to deliver a blow to their stomach they keep deflecting your arm and slapping your face. Because you want to punch them in the guts this shows you want to get back at them in the same way they hurt you.

Bad dreams and nightmares –

These are the most basic of ordinary dreams. In our primal past our dream life would have had proportionately more bad dreams or nightmares that were tied to expression of our daily survival and fueled by superstition.
Dreams bad dreams chasing bear
Even though they are unpleasant they can help resolve tensions and fears in our mind and provide survival insights. At best these dreams can be like a release valve and diffuse some of the heightened tension in day to day life, at worst they can plague a person who has deep-rooted fears and trauma.

Dream Example:
Being chased by an invisible predator, you can smell its breath and are just able to stay out of its reach as you run for your life but your feet are heavy and you can hardly run fast enough to get away as it gains on you. The nightmare version is of course like a bad dream on steroids so a person can literally ‘wake up in fright’.


Types of Visionary Dreams

A profound or spiritual dream is easily remembered. Unlike the ordinary dream, these dreams don’t evaporate from your memory over the course of the day.
They are visually more vivid and have a richer atmosphere where the dreamer seems to be in a state of heightened awareness.

A profound dream tends to leave a strong impression in your mind after you wake up. You are able to remember it easily and even if the clear detail of the imagery may fade in your memory over time, you never forget the dream content and the feel.

One of the hallmarks of the visionary dream is the richness of meaning. Often the meaning of the images in these dreams are multi-layered and the dreamer has the pleasure of experiencing ‘light bulb’ moments as the meaning unpacks itself due to some external trigger in waking life that occurs soon after the dream and then weeks, months and even years later.

So here are the most common types of profound or spiritual dreams:

Ordinary dream with something out of place –

This dream is usually a replay of an every day or familiar event. But there is a person or thing in the dream that shouldn’t be there. In the dream you act like it’s normal but upon remembering the dream you wonder why it was there.
Dreams with spiritual presence
It’s for this reason these dreams tend to be remembered. Otherwise they would be seen as ordinary dreams and soon forgotten.

You may interact with this extra person or thing in the dream and from that you learn there is something to be aware of in your life.

It could mean there is something in your life you’ve been under-estimating like yourself, or, it could be something that you’re in denial about.

Dream Example:
It’s a normal family dinner in your home and everyone is there including your grandmother only she’s been dead for fifteen years. You talk to her as if her presence there is normal. It is said in spiritual dream literature that vivid dreams involving deceased family members or other important people to you, are a visit from their souls with a message for you. Your dream is their entry point.

Recurring dreams –

Most people have experienced the recurring dream of the same event repeated in one night or over several nights. It can also be a dream that recurs over weeks or months. It is pretty obvious that this is something important that should not be ignored. The upshot is that if you want to avoid some suffering, take notice and do what you need to do.

These dreams are very subjective and could be anything so I won’t give an example here.

Lucid dreams –

One of the most coveted type of dream is the lucid dream. Some people experience them periodically while others have never had one in their life. A lucid dream is one where you seem to wake up inside the dream and realize you are dreaming.

You then become an objective observer of your dream and if you’ve had them before are experienced enough to take control of events in the dream. It is possible to train yourself to be more open to lucid dreaming.

Precognitive dreams –

These dreams involve a stark event which is out of the blue but may have a personal context for the dreamer. The event then occurs in everyday life not long after. These dreams can involve a large scale or a small personal event and are remembered because they seem out of place when they are dreamt. There is heightened awareness in such dreams and they can be recurring as well.

There was a time around 2012 when many people dreamt of walls of water coming towards them like a tsunami. It may be the collective subconscious signal of the coming change of our times – the end of the Piscean Age and the dawn of the Aquarian Age. The colour of the water in the dream indicates if it’s a positive or negative change.

Spiritual dreams –

Spiritual dreams are the realm of vivid dream imagery full of rich meaning, a strong sense of realness and leave the dreamer uplifted in some way.

Many spiritual dreams are a conversation with or vision of a higher being known to the dreamer or otherwise. Meeting deceased loved ones or a known person in a vivid dream and having a profound conversation with them also falls into this dream type.

They can be vivid dreams of richer realities or present themselves as personal tests like minding your own business in an ordinary dream when suddenly you drop over an edge and are free-falling. The test is to release the fear then something wonderful happens – you stop falling and start floating.

Dreams that are an indication of your spiritual condition often occur at regular intervals for those on a spiritual path. Some of the common symbolism and dream templates used are:

 Climbing stairs or a ladder with others (shows steadiness and commitment)
 Losing teeth (evolving out of your primitive ego side)
 Finding a spare room in your home (you have potential you didn’t know you had)
 The epic – a long dream of a type of journey where you see lots of symbols, not always sacred ones, and features your life during specific periods.
 Vehicles – dreams of flying, travelling in vehicles like trains, elevators, cars, planes.
 Symbolic response to your spiritual efforts – dreaming of birds, snakes, canes, staffs, totem animals, spiritual leaders and symbols.

In closing, to show how real is the dream life take the example of Helen Keller who lived in the late 1800s in the US and was left deaf and blind from an illness when she was a baby. Her entire life was spent in total darkness and silence shut off from the physical world. Here is what she had to say in her book, The World I Live In, of her dream life:

‘I am moved to pleasure by visions of ineffable beauty which I have never beheld in the physical world… In dreams we catch glimpses of a life larger than our own… Thoughts are imparted to us far above our ordinary thinking’.


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