What is Dream Interpretation

What is Dream Interpretation

By definition, dreams are a series of images, events, sensations, and ideas that come into mind when one is asleep. Different kinds of dreams come to people when they are in different stages and levels of sleep. The purpose of dreams is yet to be proven scientifically, even though they have attracted a lot of religious, scientific and philosophical interest over the years. There are dreams that are more vivid than others and the main difference between these two is the stage of sleep they occur in. In the rapid eye movement stage of sleep, the dreams that occur tend to be more vivid and memorable compared to the dreams that occur in others stages of sleep. In most cases, dreams tend to last longer when the night gets darker and in most cases, people have an average of 3-5 dreams every night, with an exception of few that have up to 7 dreams. Dreams are mysterious to many people and this is the reason why more and more people are venturing into the study of dreams. This way, they are in a better position to explain more about dreams. The scientific study of dreams is referred to as oneirology.

What is dream interpretation?

Even though science and religion have not been fully able to give an accurate interpretation of dreams, people over the years have developed methods to give meanings to dreams. In many societies, dreams have considered being communication between supernatural beings and humans. Dreams have therefore been considered to involve supernatural forces and the people interpretation was therefore done by people considered to have supernatural powers. This was however in the past. Today, several schools of thought, neurobiology, and psychology have come up with theories on the meaning of dreams and how to interpret dreams. Most of the theories used to interpret dreams today are based on the Freudian Theory of dreams in countries.

History of dream interpretation

People have been interpreting dreams since civilization. Due to the great diversity and isolation of human civilizations in the early years, different people in different regions interpreted dreams differently. According to ancient Egyptians, for instance, dreams were considered to be messages from the gods. Records recovered 1300BC from a Dream Book contained 200+ messages delivered by the gods to ancient Egyptians. The dream interpreters in Ancient Egypt translated dreams to be opposites of real dreams. For instance, a dream on drought, hunger, and starvation, would be translated to mean that there will be plenty and productivity. Another theory used by ancient Egyptian dreams interpreters were that dreams were a record of the adventures undertaken by the soul when the body fell asleep. In other African societies, dreams were and are still considered to be important and part of day-to-day life. For instance, the Zulus believed that battles in dreams really took place in real life and used this theory to explain why warriors woke up sore muscles.

Midsummer Nights Dream Interpretation
By Edwin Henry Landseer

Ancient Greeks and Romans also shared some beliefs with the ancient Egyptians. They also believed that dreams were important and messages from superior creatures. This belief was shared by almost all schools in human civilization that aimed at accurately interpreting dreams in the early years of civilization. However, the ancient Greeks and Romans deviated a little from the other beliefs of the Egyptians concerning dreams. They believed that dreams were divine messages and they even set up sacred places where people would go to dream. These people were administered with concoctions and herbs to induce sleep and the dreams they had were considered prophecies. In the later years of civilization, another theory was also developed by the Greeks on dreams and dream interpretation. Plato wrote in an article that dreams occur when the soul is party asleep and the voice of reason has been silenced. When this happens, the subdued beast in human beings awakens and it only seeks to fulfill its instincts without prudence and shame. This explains why some dreams are very wild and unrealistic in real life.

Modern interpretation of dreams

In modern times, interpretation of dreams is very derivative of the ancient Roman and Greek theories. In addition to these theories, modern dream interpretation reasons that dreams are not only prophesied events and predictions of the future. According to an article written by Jung on the modern interpretation of dreams, dreams and the people experiencing them are not mutually exclusive. In addition to being impossible to separate the dream from the dreamer, there is also no accurate and straightforward way to interpret any dream. This, therefore, means that every dream is unique to the dreamer and even though two people experienced the exact same dream, there may be a different translation to the same dream.

Why people have dreams interpreted

Generally, most people think that dreams have a very important role in human life. There are people that take dreams very seriously and they believe that all dreams have a deeper meaning. In most cases, dreams that people have tend to affect their real-life decisions. For instance, some people may end up canceling their trips, flights and other activities because they had dreams in which bad things happened to them during these activities. In most cases, these people cancel their previously planned activities due to the dreams even without formal warning from the authorities on the possibility of risk.

Common methods of interpreting dreams

As mentioned above, dreams are complex and mysterious and it is very difficult to accurately interpret dreams, leave alone understand them. Dreams tend to be very volatile and the contents of the dream can change very rapidly so that it may be impossible to find the pattern of dreams. The contents can also be very vivid and frightening with bizarre features and occurrences, which leads many people to strongly be convinced that there is a deeper meaning to dreams. Even though science has not been quite able to give a demonstration on the purpose of dreams, researchers and experts have proven otherwise; dreams have a meaning. There are different schools of thought that are used as methods of interpreting dreams and some of them are listed below.


Bill Domhoff on dream interpretation

This school of thought states that dreams are a reflection of the real life of the individual. According to Domhoff, an expert in dreams and dream interpretation, dreams are as a result of neurological processes in the brain, and the content of dreams, therefore, reflect the concerns and thoughts the individual in real life. An average of 70-100 of the dream content of an individual can be used to give a rough psychological picture of the individual in real life. This can be translated to about 1,000 dreams to give a very accurate picture of a person’s mental state. The accuracy of this picture can be as accurate as of the individual’s fingerprints.


Calvin S Hall on Dream Interpretation

Calvin S. Hall documented that dreams are just part of a cognitive process and that the brain viewed dreams are conceptions of the elements we interact with in real life. According to this theory, the main aim of dream interpretation is not only to understand the dream but to also get to know more about the individual involved. In order to get an accurate picture of the two, it is important to consider the actions the individual was involved in during the dream and the figures and objects in the dream. It is also important to understand and get a clear picture of the actual interactions between the individual and these objects in their dream and also the setting of the dream.

Carey Morewedge and Michael Norton

These two are researchers and they set up an experiment that involved 1,000 people from South Korea, USA, and India. A few of these people, mostly the college and university students, believed that dreams are simple responses by the brain to random and normal stimulations. A larger population of the people involved in the study, however, said that dreams are a reflection of the individual’s desires and urge. From the study, it was also discovered that the weight attached to dreams by many people depends on their individual biases. For example, people tend to remember and take seriously the bad dreams they had about people they hate and dislike and good dreams of the people they love and are fond of. The interpretation of the dreams by individuals is also influenced by the current situations of the individuals, beliefs they have about themselves and other people around them, and also how they perceive the world around them. All these factors determine how different people respond differently to different kinds of dreams they have.


Dreams have been and remain to be mysterious for the human brain to contemplate and all that is left is speculation of what dreams are and what they mean. While there may not be any significance in dreams, they greatly determine the future of many people. Depending on the seriousness attached to dreams, they may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. People interpret dreams differently and the reality of the dream to the real life of the individual greatly varies depending on their belief about dreams.

What Do Dreams About Death Mean?

What Do Dreams About Death Mean?

Death is the most unwelcome subject in our waking moments so imagine how scary dreaming of it can be. When death is the subject, dreams become nightmares, sources of worry and indeed great alarm. Many people would rather die than tell of the sordid tales where they saw, felt or heard of a death in their sleep. For most people, ghastly questions linger, though they are so afraid to discuss the subject with loved ones or the star characters of these dreams.

Carrying A Coffin

Death dreams in religion and traditional folklore are viewed as premonitions of death itself or impending doom upon family or the entire community. For some analysts, dreaming about death marks the end of an era, relationship, situation or aspect of self. Dreaming constantly about is a feeling so mysterious and terrifying to the living.

When you have a dream about dying and death you shouldn’t immediately consider it to be a terrible thing. You may be scared out of your wits and possibly disbelieve those who say it is just a dream but trust me; you will not die after having a death dream. In some cases dreams about death are mere warnings about your behavior and the company you keep. It could also point to difficult situations ahead. The most important fact about death dreams is that they are sometimes a prediction of the future and other times a simple reflection of our inner worries.

These dreams are pretty common and to analyze them, you need to remember the fine details.

  • Your emotional state – if we are sad and depressed it is more likely that our dreams will be dark. People who have recently lost someone are susceptible to dreams about death. It is also common for people with thanatophobia to experience frequent dreams about death. Thanatophobia is the fear of dying due to uncertainty about what happens after.
  • Medication – if you are on beta and alpha blockers, ACE inhibitors,sedative-hypnotics or amphetamines, it is possible to have death dreams. Research shows that people on such medications are more likely to have nightmares. Mind altering substances such as alcohol and marijuana also have mind-altering effects that could cause these dreams.

Dreams About Death

Death of A Parent

To dream that a parent has died is a scary, nightmarish event for many people. When people dream of such a thing, they would rather stay mum about it, afraid of being seen as a bearer of bad omen. However, the dream of a dead parent shouldn’t be so damned because it is only but a symbol that your happiness might be affected.

To see both your parents die in a dream suggests you ate around people who are influencing you negatively. It might mean that you will face material loss, be cheated by close friends or see your business fail.

If your mother dies in the dream, it means that something is about to end in your life.

If you dream that your parents are dead and you can still talk to them it means you are afraid of their death and anxious about coping in their absence.

If you see a parent who died a long time ago in reality, it is probably because you are in a relationship or situation that reminds you of them.

If it is your father who died that you see, it means you miss him but of all you see is the parent’s head take it as a warning that you are surrounded by enemies.

If you dream that you’re dressing your dead parents it may be a bad sign pointing to trouble and death ahead. On the flipside, dead parents in a dream may suggest impending good news.

Death of A Child

It is scary, damning and disturbing. When a parent dreams of the death of their child, they will live life afraid of the occurrence. However, dreams about death are not a premonition but a manifestation of our worst fears. Dreaming that your child died or is missing isn’t a prediction but rather a manifestation of our primal instinct to protect them. It is not that you are not good enough as a parent, nor a sign of your inept at providing for your child but only because you are hyper-alert about the safety of your child.

At a deeper level, these dreams could point to the death of our inner child; an end to our immaturity and readiness to move on in life. Death of a child in a dream may signal to the ending of a project that was your brainchild.

Death of A Spouse

When you marry someone, the dream is to spend the rest of your waking moments together. It is therefore understandable if you woke up with a cold sweat upon dreaming that your spouse is dead. If you dreamt that your husband died and it’s your fault, this is mostly a reflection of guilt about something in your relationship. Sometimes dreams about the death of a spouse happen after arguments, meaning that we are upset by our partners. You could also dream this way if you are preparing to break up. It is your brain’s way of preparing for life without this person. You may dream that your husband died if you are constantly afraid of losing your personal identity in the relationship.

Dreaming about the death of a lover or spouse may signal to a shift in the dynamics of the relationship. It could mean that you are grown and ready to love your spouse in a new way.


Death of A Famous Person

Dreaming that someone famous has died points to many things. Your inadequacies, new possibilities, inaccessible feelings, transformation and feeling that you will never achieve something are some of the reasons for such a dream.

Death of A Friend

It is definitely terrifying to dream of your bestie dying in your dream but worry not. This doesn’t mean they will die soon nor is it a sign that you secretly wish them dead. Actually; a friend dying in your dreams is a connotation of many things such as fear of losing them. It could also mean that the relationship is changing, or that you feel guilty about not reaching out. Sometimes this dream isn’t even about your best friend but something in your waking life that is really troubling you.

Your Own Death

This is probably the scariest of all dreams about death. However, it doesn’t imminently mean you will die in the near future. Actually, to dream of your own death is often nothing more than a signal to changes in you. Seeing your own death isn’t so negative after all as it signals transition, enlightenment, and a positive turnaround. You are leaving the past behind and also probably marking the end of a certain phase of life.

While a dream of your own death may have more positive than negative connotations, it could also be as a result of your fear of death. If you are not at peace with the idea of your own mortality, it is highly likely for you to have dying nightmares.

If you dream of someone telling you that you will die, it is probably because in your waking hours there is pressure to do something you don’t want. Dreams that you are at your own funeral means that a situation or aspect of yourself is ending. Such a dream would be a signal for you to acknowledge these and stop burying your feelings.

If you are on your deathbed, dreaming of your funeral simply shows you are anxious and afraid of the inevitable.

Dreaming About Death

There are several myths about the possible meanings of dying dreams. Every religion, community or family has their own beliefs and legends around death. Don’t let these scare you; remember these are just common myths.

  • Dreaming about your own death is always a prediction
  • Amber eyes in a dream are a sign of evil spirits
  • Seeing parents die is a sign it will happen soon
  • A coffin in your dream is a sign of certain evil
  • If you die in a dream, you won’t wake up


Death Dreams Explained

Contrary to popular belief, dreams about death are very common. If we keep an open mind, it is possible to get a real insight into ourselves from these dreams. Spiritual beliefs are a part of dream symbolism that we should not dismiss. Sometimes when we dream something we are actually having a premonition. While it is not clear whether we enter another dimension in our sleep, it is evident that sometimes, dreams are actually a prediction of the future.

In some situations, dreams involving death could be symbolic of emotional healing, transformation, and growth. Whatever you believe, dreams clearly have some power over us. If we take time to critically analyze dreams; they could lead us to a path of enlightenment, reflection, and fearlessness. Knowing the reason behind our dreams is the key to uncovering whatever lies deep within us. There are many possibilities of what dying dreams could mean including imagery and unfinished business.