Dream Meanings: How to interpret them, apply the messages in real life, and why it's important

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Every night that we lay down to sleep, we typically dream. Or we don’t. It just depends on how exhausting your day was I guess.

But how do you know what they mean?

Our dreams are meant for us, specifically, so interpreting them can be highly subjective. These past couple of years I’ve been really into interpreting mine. I’ve found that my spirit guides - aka spiritual cheerleaders on the ‘other side’ - actually like to talk to me through them. I’ve even been, loosely, keeping a dream journal, which is just a designated notebook, kept in my nightstand, that I write down everything from my dreams I can remember in, immediately when I wake up. And, immediately meaning before checking my texts, social media, email, anything. This practice is an incredible way to keep track of recurring themes, symbols, and messages, ultimately increasing your connection to your subconscious mind and higher self! I can’t recommend it enough for those of you who have noticed that you have vivid dreams and want grow a stronger connection to your intuition and figure out exactly what those messages mean for you.

What are the different types of dreams?

I’m sure there are as many different types of dreams as people on this planet. In my personal experience, however, I tend to have 3 main kinds.

1)    Work-related dreams. Or as I like to refer to them, stress dreams because they’re never, ever, peaceful and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten good sleep the next day. I work in a really busy ER, so for me to dream about being immersed in that intense environment is a red flag from my subconscious saying, “Hey, you’re still holding on to that energy - let that sh*t go.” If you’ve found that work is a common theme with your dreams, I suggest getting your bare feet on some earth after work every day (or night) and visualizing the day melting away into the ground. You can also take a salt bath before going to sleep, it’s believed that salt “expunges” energy that isn’t yours. Either of these totally work to shed all the energy from that environment so you don’t take it to bed with you!

2)    Prophetic dreams. These are not as common for me, but I have had several throughout my life that have left a weird, strong impact. Basically, these kinds of dreams leave you feeling like a f*cking psychic. They could be very literal - dreaming about driving to work and seeing a red car, then driving to work and seeing a red car - or more metaphorical, where certain elements of the dream end up coming true. It’s helpful to note that your subconscious mind ONLY lives in the present moment, so if you have prophetic dreams don’t marry a timeline for them occurring! Time is a conscious mind thing and not a great gauge of accuracy when the subconscious mind is involved. I have dreamt about events ranging from my friend’s pregnancy, prior to her finding out she was pregnant, to attending another friend’s wedding, who was and is still, single. One of the most vivid, however, was a dream I had the summer I got together with my wife, Jenna. I recall being in some form of pre-life meeting (I guess), in a v strange victorian-esque setting, with two of whom I’m assuming were spirit guides, and they were telling me that I would find my soulmate “a little later in life, and the name would start with a J,” specifically. I’ve done a lot of thinking on this one, since it was just so odd, and could unpack it further (maybe I will in another post) because of other elements in the dream that are way too coincidental, but for progression’s sake I’ll just give a nod to my subconscious for that one and we’ll move on.

3)   Lastly, Esoteric dreams. Esoteric meaning not on this planet, or this time-period/reality/dimension/what-have-you. Interpret the settings in a way that’s comfortable for your conscious mind, but it’s not uncommon to “astral travel” while sleeping and I personally consider it fairly small-minded to think we’re the only solar system with life in this Universe, or that this earthly-life is the only one we have ever had. So, know that astral travel and past lives are a thing and sit with them, because if there is a message you’re not receiving, other lifetimes/dimensions are not off-limits for Spirit to use to get your attention. The possibilities of our soul is infinite. Within these esoteric dream settings, however, I feel like there is always a common element my guides use to send me messages. Even in really off-the-wall dreams there are always mundane facets like water, earth, fire, animals, objects, or people. Next time you dream that you are, say, paddling a canoe on a warm, water-filled planet: A) don’t automatically deem it fantasy, and B) pay attention to the more mundane details (such as water) as they may hold messages for you on this planet! The same can also be said for dreams that seem to make no sense whatsoever, a general rule of thumb is to make a mental note of, and pay close attention to, the elements.

How the elements of dreams relate to real life, right now.

Not only are there different types of dreams, there are also different elements that can appear and translate directly to where you are right now (prophetic dreams and quantum realities aside). After many hours journaling, and eventually googling, these things for my own personal knowledge, I have found that dreaming about water, for example, is VERY common for people and a direct reflection of the state of your emotions. If you are IN water and it’s rough, knocking you around, then you may be overcome by your emotions and you need to get it together. If you’re in water that’s peaceful, then you are most likely in a healthier place, emotionally. Or, alternatively, dead inside – I actually haven’t had that dream yet, emotionally susceptible person party of 1.

The characteristics of the element (i.e. water, but could be fire/earth/nature/animals/etc) is also something to consider! Using water again, I had a dream once where I was looking at a crystal-clear river, slowly flowing by, which I interpreted to mean that I was actively in the flow of life and seeing things clearly. The opposite being murky water, which lends itself to meaning a lack of clarity around something and/or everything (obviously, right?). Same goes for temperature or texture for you kinesthetic people, or color for the highly visual. The details that stand out to you are key!

Another element that I commonly dream about are animals. Side note: If you’re into the woo-woo like me, then you *might* also have a Native American Spirit Animal deck next to your bed that can come in super handy for referencing upon waking. 100% of the time when I dream about an animal that crosses my path, or appears more than once, I look it up in the morning and it’s ON POINT with what I need to hear. Example: I had recurring dreams last year about turtles. Turtles in the water, crossing my path, space turtles, you name it. I would even see turtles everywhere in my waking life. The dreams happened to occur during a period of time when I was getting real frustrated about my progress with starting/building a business and the message I was getting, repeatedly, was, “slow down, you can’t rush divine timing, honor where you are now because it’s all a part of the process.”  

Classic turtle medicine - Dead on. Go you, Universe.

You don’t need an expert to interpret your dreams.

In receiving messages and relating dreams to your current reality, it’s equally important to consider the type of dream you are having and the elements within them so that you are be able to make those connections and receive the guidance you are being offered. Dream interpretation is definitely not something that you need to be certified in to get it and you probably wont’t find a course for “Dreams 101” (that I know of; pls let me know is there is though - I would 100% be the first one to sign up) because our dreams are deeply personal and highly subjective. But keeping a dream journal, to record and figure out what the messages mean for me, has actually been very insightful on my own intuitive journey, which is why I think it’s important to share! After all, as our own experts, we have everything we need already within us to interpret the meaning behind things. We don’t give ourselves enough credit! And I don’t know if it’s my pisces moon – I see you, astrology – or if most people have vivid, lucid dreams, but if you do, and you’re like me, and you want to dive deeper into what they mean or see if there’s a message you’re not receiving while awake then definitely keep track of them! Wake up, open your eyes, and write down every detail you can remember about your dreams, and then move on with your day that much more connected to your subconscious mind/higher self. It’s magic! And maybe after a while (read: possibly several mornings journaling, maybe googling, and a handful of tarot decks later) you will intuitively KNOW what these dreams mean for you and what messages your subconscious mind/guides/higher self are trying to send to help you in your daily life. Plus, the more you connect with your dreams, the more messages you will receive, because you’ll be giving a giant thumbs up to the Universe that you’re here and ready to listen.