What Do Dreams Mean?

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Interview with Craig Hamilton Parker to discuss “What do dreams Mean” Magazine asks Craig This article contains copyrighted material from my books so may not be reproduced without permission.

What do dreams mean?

THEY say the rules of reality don’t apply in the fantasy world of dreams but in some way what you dream is connected to your reality. For years I have had the same reoccurring dream. I’m standing at the top of a mountain that’s covered for as far as the eye can see with baby birds that have fallen from their nest. They’re abandoned and starving to death. I try to pick them all up but there are too many of them. And so, week after week, the dream continues.

Aside from nudging curiosity, I’d never really given my dream much thought until someone explained its significance to me. They said dreaming of a helpless, small animal means you’re not taking care of your ‘inner child’. Maybe I need to laugh more, play outdoors, express my creativity, be more spontaneous, or enjoy more personal warmth and intimacy. With that said my spiritual journey into the world of dreams began.

Why Do We Dream?

We spend about eight hours a day, 56 hours a week, 240 hours a month and 2 920 hours a year sleeping – that’s a third of our lives! Sleep is essential to every living being because it plays a significant role in brain development. There are two basic forms of sleep: slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, which is characterised by rhythmic breathing and limited muscle activity. If we are woken during REM we don’t adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes.

Some children experience bed-wetting, night terrors, or sleepwalking during this stage. We enter REM sleep about five times in an average eight hour period of sleep. Keeping in mind that we dream during each of these REM periods, in one year, we will have had 1 825 dreams – many of which we wont remember. Dreamers who are awakened right after REM sleep are able to recall their dreams more vividly than those who slept through the night.The mysterious and often bizarre nature of dreams has led many to interpret dreams as divine gifts or messages, as predictions of the future, or as messages from the past. Dream interpretations date back to 3000 BC where they were documented on clay tablets.


In the Greek and Roman era, dreams were seen as messages from the gods and believed to have healing powers. With this belief in mind temples were built were sick people would sleep and be sent cures through their dreams. In Egypt, dreams were seen as prophetic and an omen from outside spirits. The Chinese believed that the soul leaves the body to go into this world. However, if they should be suddenly awakened, their soul may fail to return to the body. For this reason, some Chinese today, are wary of alarm clocks.


Some Native American tribes and Mexican civilisations share this same notion of a distinct dream dimension. They believed that their ancestors lived in their dreams and take on non-human forms like plants. They see that dreams as a way of visiting and having contact with their ancestors. During the Middle Ages, dreams were seen as evil and its images were temptations from the devil. In the vulnerable sleep state, the devil was believed to fill the mind of humans with poisonous thoughts. He did his dirty work though dreams attempting to mislead humans down a wrong path.

In the early 19th century, dreams were dismissed as stemming from anxiety, a household noise or even indigestion. Hence there was really no meaning to it. Later on in the 19th century, Sigmund Freud revived the importance of dreams and its significance and need for interpretation. He revolutionised the study of dreams.

How To Interpret Your Dreams

“Dreams have been a mystery to us since Adam first breathed life. The stuff of legends, myth and fairy tale, dreams have always fascinated mankind,” says astrologer and dream interpreter, Michael Thiessen of Dream Central. “Dreams are a communication of body, mind and spirit in a symbolic communicative environmental state of being. Our brains are in constant activity. Different states of consciousness (like awake, asleep, alert, drowsy, excited, bored, concentrating or daydreaming) cause different brain wave activity. Our conscious mind, or the part we think with, only takes up a very small portion of our brain activity.

Other areas control things like breathing, heartbeat, converting light to vision, sound to hearing and balance when we walk. Another area controls imagination. And then there is the activity called dreaming. I think that to a certain extent, we dream all the time. Even while awake! But the process is functioning in our subconscious mind. If defined precisely, they may not be referred to as dreams technically, but the activity is very closely related. During certain cycles of brain activity while asleep, we can ‘view’ these dreams with our conscious mind and record them in our memory. This is why we sometimes remember them.

Your brain mind and spirit, while at rest review and analysis in its own way long term, short term and spirit memory. It kicks around emotions, thoughts, ideas, actions and interactions of the short term memory. All this data is a form of chaos, and your mind puts it all together in a form of visual ‘screenplay’, a medley of sight, sound, emotion and imagined interactivity. The end result is a dream! We can learn much from our dreams, if we only but listen with a trained ear. There is nothing psychic about understanding dreams.

There is a certain degree of intuition, coupled with logic and a working knowledge of dreaming involved though.” Michael explains that the best way to learn how to interpret your dreams is to start keeping a record of what you dream. “You can’t interpret your dreams if you don’t remember them so get yourself a Dictaphone which you should keep besides your bed. As soon as you wake from your dream record what happened, then identify the basic theme of the dream. Take away all the details, names, things and places and leave only the action and then look at the dream as a whole. For example: You have a dream of a beautiful hall with shinny marble floors and incredible works of art on the walls. The pictures are framed in solid gold. You get the distinct impression that you are alone, and in charge of the gallery’s upkeep. You here a faint scratching sound and to your horror you see a mouse chewing on the corner of a magnificent painting. You realise if you do nothing at all, the work will be rendered worthless and ugly. But you know if you catch the mouse you can save the painting since little to no damage has been done. You wake up feeling disappointed and remorse, as you do not want to see something so important to you destroyed.

So here is the theme when you take away the details. Someone sees something precious being senselessly destroyed. There is a chance to put an end to it, if acted upon quickly.” Michael says that one should always assume that the dream is about you, and a message to you. Since you made the theme, you should be able to place it into some aspect or condition present in your life. “Sometimes your sleeping mind can arrive at conclusions far better then our normal thinking processes. As you can tell, theming-to-life is best done through emotion.

Our lives are sometimes so complicated that we many have so many things going on that could fit the theme, our emotions are our best clue to pin pointing the exact application. Emotions are a very good clue to the dream itself. Pay strict attention to ‘your emotional state’ while in the dream, whether you felt happy, sad, angry or scared in the dream.”

What Does It Mean?

Animals: They symbolise our own traits, good and bad. When you see an animal doing something in your dreams it usually represents a bad trait. As it is far easier for us to accept and watch an animal doing something negative then to take the credit for it ourselves. For example: A woman on a diet really wants to loose weight but is prone to binge eating. In a moment of weakness, she eats a big slice of cake and a bowl of ice-cream. That night she dreams of being on a farm and watching in disgust as a big manure-covered pig eats and sucks non-stop at its trough.

She is astonished and ashamed when she sees that the pig is eating cake and ice-cream. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the dream means, or what the animal symbolises. Her dream is telling her that she would feel as good about herself as she felt about the pig if she did not control her eating.

Children: A child represents to most of us, something new, different and joyous. Using this logic, it is easy to see why a child represents a new phase in your life or a new project as well. How well the child gets along and fares in the dream is an indication as to how well what it represents is doing. Also, a child symbolises innocent parts of yourself sometimes, and at other times, immaturity and childishness. It all depends on the theme and emotions used in the dream.

Dreams And Past Lives

Craig Hamilton-Parker, medium and author of Remembering Your Dreams, and Dream Dictionary, says some dreams may even be ‘windows’ into past lives. “Nobody knows for certain why we dream but we all dream every night. It is my belief that dreams unlock the hidden part of ourselves and reveal our secret wishes and desires. In addition dreams give us access to area of the mind that has immediate intuitive knowledge of the past, present and future. There are no limits to the human mind’s ability to generate an infinite abundance of dreams but amongst this mass of imagery are a few common dreams that happen to almost everybody.

Have you ever dreamed of falling, being chased or dreamed of losing your teeth? Most people have. Dreams like this are part of shared human experience that cross the cultural divides. They remind up perhaps that we are there is only one race – the race of humanity. There are certain dreams you are likely to have had that cannot be explained away as symbolism, metaphor, or allegory. In my own dream records I have cases I am convinced are about past lives. For example, I had many dreams about being a shaven-headed monk when I was a child. At the time I had never heard of Tibet or the doctrine of reincarnation. In particular I would have a dream about walking around in a circle on what looked like high walled tower.

Together with other monks, I chanted mantras. The scenery was spectacular. I would awaken feeling tremendously inspired. I have also had recurring dreams about dying of exposure near a dried-up riverbed, which I now believe to be the source of the Yellow River in Mongolia, a place where there were many Tibetan monasteries. Although I do not follow the Buddhist way today, I feel that Tibetan wisdom and teachings still influence me. Perhaps the strangest past life dream I had was about being chased from behind by raging dogs. A small group of people and I are near a castle. Our way is blocked by a moat. As the dogs catch up with us, soldiers start attacking us from behind with swords.

There is a lot of noise and commotion. I can smell fire and blood. I feel a terrible pain in the back of my neck. There is searing pain, then nothing. When I met my wife, Jane, who is also a medium, we talked about our dreams and were amazed to discover that we had this same dream in common – right down to the smallest detail. Neither of us knows the historical time period it relates to, although it hints at the Medieval era, when mediums were persecuted as witches. It could of course all be fantasy, except that Jane, myself, and our daughter Danielle each have the same brown birth mark at the top of the neck just under the hairline. Perhaps we three are beheaded soul mates?”

Meaning of Dream Video

What Does It Mean?

  • Chase or attack: Chase dreams may represent your way of coping with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, you are running away and avoiding it. The pursuer usually represents a fearful aspect of our shadow, and hence an exaggerated version of a denied or inhibited portion of our own personality that would benefit us if integrated and appropriately expressed. More
  • Falling dream: Falling is an indication of insecurities, instabilities, and anxieties. You are feeling overwhelmed and out of control in some situation in your waking life. This may reflect the way you feel in your relationship or in your work environment. Falling dreams also often reflect a sense of failure or inferiority in some circumstance or situation. It may be the fear of failing in your job/school, loss of status, or failure in love. You feel shameful and lack a sense of pride. Ask yourself, am I feeling heavy, unsupported, worried about something? How can I feel freer?  More
  • Failing an exam: These dreams usually have to do with your self-esteem and confidence or your lack of. You are worried that you are not making the grade and measuring up to other people’s expectations of you. You may also experience the fear of not being accepted, not being prepared, or not being good enough. These dreams also suggest that you may feel unprepared for a challenge. Ask yourself, am I feeling unprepared for some upcoming event? Unconfident about my performance? Am I worrying needlessly or do I actually need more preparation in order to feel confident and do a good job? More
  • Naked in public: You may be hiding something and are afraid that others can nevertheless see right through you. The dream may telling you that you are trying to be something that you really are not, or that you are fearful of being ridiculed and disgraced. If you are in a new relationship, you may have some fears or apprehension in revealing your true feelings. Nudity also symbolises being caught off guard. Ask yourself, where in life am I feeling unconfident, embarrassed, unskilled? More
  • Teeth Falling Out: Having your teeth crumbling in your hands or falling out is one of the most common dreams. It represents your anxiety about your appearance, the consequences of ageing, how others perceive you, as well as your fear of your sexual impotence. The loss of teeth in your dream may be from a sense of powerlessness. Are you lacking power in some current situation? Perhaps you are having difficulties expressing yourself or getting your point across. You may be experiencing feelings of inferiority and a lack of self-confidence in some situation or relationship in your life. This dream is an indication that you need to be more assertive and believe in the value of your own opinion. In the latest research, it has been shown that women in menopause have frequent dreams about teeth which may be related to getting older and/or feeling unattractive. More