Dreams and Their Meanings

By: Chris Putman | Category: Special Interest | Issue: January 2021

Kinley Pepin, adopted daughter.

Kinley Pepin, adopted daughter.

Many don’t realize that people get a lot done during their sleep.  They tend to clean house, so to speak, of emotions that have been in play during their day.  It’s an overnight therapy session of sorts, and it’s a time to file away those memories made.  Most of the psychological work is done during those mysterious minutes call REM or rapid eye movement phase of sleep. 

Bottom line, what is that nighttime movie being watched in our head?  Basically, sleepers tend to use elements familiar in everyday life—places, people and settings—and add a pinch of the magical.  Dream storylines often mix in symbolism into the recipe that often leaves the dreamer a little puzzled of its meaning upon waking.  That’s when dream dictionaries tend to help decode what is being communicated.

According to dreamdictionary.org, dreams are a series of images, emotions and sensations that occur in minds as people sleep.  Dreams that take place during the low activity of sleep aren’t as impactful and are less likely to be remembered.  Those that occur during the REM stage of sleep are the ones that are the stories sleepers tend to remember.  Some of the most common dream symbols are:

Snakes – These slithering reptiles usually don’t play a pleasant or welcome role in dreams.  Brains are hard-wired to have a fear of snakes, so they are usually role cast to be the bad guy in the story.  It can communicate that there is a threat in awake life or that there is a character someone would need to be aware and cautious of.

Teeth dreams – These dreams usually play out as teeth falling out, breaking off, being pulled or rotting.  Teeth dreams may be exposing insecurities or fears of failure since teeth are connected to a person’s image.  After all, what does a person show first when meeting someone?  A smile.

Water – When water is the focus of a dream, it is more than likely representing emotions.

Falling – Some interpret falling to mean they are not feeling grounded in their lives.  Reportedly, this dream occurs about five times in an average person’s life.

Car – The road being driven is symbolic of the life path being traveled.  The car represents the current mental and physical self in the dream:  state of mind, condition of relationships, spiritual connection and/or physical condition.

Test – Test dreams are the most common dreams on record.  They carry with them a sense of pressure, a fear of running out of time or a sense of being unprepared.  Easy enough to guess, the emotions of these dreams are reflective of how someone may feel in their current state of affairs in life.

Naked – In these dreams, the sleeper discovers they have no clothes on in public and seek to cover themselves.  Naked dreams send the message that the dreamer feels vulnerable or exposed and wants to cover the source of that emotion.

Chased – This kind of dream can go one of two ways.  Is the sleeper running from something about themselves?  Or is the dreamer running from something in their awake life they are trying to avoid.  Women or those who suffer from PTSD due to their innate vulnerability tend to experience chase dreams.

 Some interesting facts about dreams are:

Babies don’t dream about themselves.  That starts at about age three.

Blind people dream.

Not all dreams are in color; some are in black and white.

Dreams prevent psychosis.

Ninety percent of dream recall evaporates within the first 60 seconds of waking.  Journaling dreams helps a sleeper develop the ability to remember their dreams and maybe even experience richer dreams when they jot down what they can recall upon waking.  It is told that once this skill is developed, then a dreamer can write multiple pages about their dreams.

Some dreams are warnings for future events that, if heed is not taken, might otherwise threaten the dreamer.

“I had a dream that my husband and I were traveling, and I had an unsettling like something was going to happen,” Abiding Harvest Worship Minister Terri Dietrich said.  “We were on a winding road, and it was raining a lot, and I really felt unsettled.”

Nothing happened in the dream, but the emotions of it were very disconcerting to Dietrich, so she just prayed.  A month later, the Dietrichs did, in fact, go on vacation.  They were in the hill country of Texas and driving on a winding road with no shoulder, and a steep cliff drop off.  It was dusk, and visibility was limited, and that same feeling came back to her that she felt in her dream.  She cautioned to her husband, who was driving, to slow down.

“You need to slow down RIGHT NOW,” Dietrich said, reiterating for a second time.

He did.  They came around a curve, and a huge bull was standing in their lane. Because they had slowed down just before the curve, they were able to navigate around the deathtrap in the road.

“If we had been flying at the rate of speed we had been driving, we would have hit him,” Dietrich said.

Dreams can uncover the emotions that are being processed and dealt with.  They often use symbols to help bring an understanding of the emotions of the dreamer.

“The dream is one I’d never had until I became a mom,” Perren Day Care Owner Jerri Ann Perren said. “Tornado season began soon after Melanie was born. In the dream, there is an approaching tornado, and I’m in the house alone with her.  I got into our garaged car with her in the backseat and laid across her. I could feel the air pressure change and feel and hear the wind, but we were safe, and the dream ended.”

Perren was able to interpret the meaning of the dream.  She concluded the dream meant she was aware that she was responsible for someone else in her life and her child’s safety was more important to her than her own.

The Bible records many individuals who dream prophetically, and those dreams materialized into a reality.

Mother of three and contributing author of a book about the adoption process, “Joy Will Come: Exchange Shame for Redemption,” Bethany Pepin had a recurring dream starting when she was just a child.  As a prolific dreamer, Pepin realized over time that she was having prophetic dreams.   

“There was a little girl sitting in the second pew of a church,” Pepin said.  “I was standing on a stage speaking, and she was the only one in the sanctuary I could focus on.  She had a big bow on her head and wavy, brown hair. That’s all of the dream I could ever remember, but I had it over and over again. I probably wasn’t even 10 when I started to dream about her.”

To help herself remember her dreams, Pepin wrote down colors, symbols and every detail she could recall. 

“I started journaling when I was about 13 years old, and I mention this little girl in the first journal entry I ever made,” Pepin said. “I said that I didn’t know who she was, but I knew that one day I would be able to help her.”

Even before marriage, Pepin often talked about adopting a baby to blend in with her own natural children.  She assumed she would have that opportunity after her family was completed.  Not so.  An opportunity presented itself sooner than she thought.

Sure enough, a baby was conceived in the extended family in unfortunate circumstances. Pepin and her husband stepped up and offered to adopt the baby in the sixth month of pregnancy.  The baby was born, was a girl, and as she matured, she grew beautiful long wavy brown hair that Pepin ties up in a big bow on her head.  This baby was her second child.  A noted detail in her journal was that the child she saw in her dream sat in the second pew, clearly symbolism that this baby would be the second Pepin child of the three girls she now raises.

If a sleeper wants to develop the recollection of the nighttime stories that play in their heads, take Pepin’s advice, keep a journal next to the bed and jot down every detail recallable.  Author of “Seeing the Voice of God,” and dream specialist Laura Harris Smith suggests this exercise develops the ability to remember dreams, a skill that progresses in efficiency.  As a beginner, dreams may be only a few keywords but may later develop into pages and pages per event.  The insight dreams can bring to an individual can be helpful.  Until then, sweet dreams.

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