One of the most frequent questions I get regarding dreams is whether or not dreams predict the future. Usually this question comes as a response to a dream with the dreamer being either worried or hopeful that the dream's events will come to pass.
Dreams that worry clients are those involving the death of themselves or someone they know and/or miscarriage dreams. Hopeful dreams are usually being pregnant when one is trying to conceive or dreams of a lost lover returning.
The fear or hope regarding these types of dreams is certainly understandable. Life is precious; we don't want to lose what we love but we do want our fondest dreams to manifest in our waking lives.
Before looking specifically at dream prophecy, some understanding about how dreams communicate is needed.
Dreams speak in symbols, not in images that can be translated literally. Death, pregnancy, lovers - all of these are actually symbols. A symbol is a transformative image that carries with it the potential for deep, meaningful change in the psyche. For example, death, while scary to dream about, is actually symbolic of rebirth and new life following the end of something. Links to indepth articles on each of these symbols appear below.
Ex-Husband, Ex-Lover, Ex - Dream Symbol
Since dreams are symbolic, usually even prophetic dreams deliver their prophecies symbolically and usually the symbolism is so obscure that one may not realize the prophetic nature until later. For example, recently a friend of mine was running for office. The night before the election I dreamed that the soap opera character Victor Newman was a friend of mine and we were out on the town celebrating something. I didn't really pay much attention to the dream until my friend called and told me he had won the election and wanted to celebrate. I realized then that the dream I had was about my friend. The dream was using wordplay symbolism - Victor Newman - my friend was the 'victor;' he was going to be the 'new man' on the scene.
Prophetic dreams, however rare, do occur. There have been numerous tales of people who dreamed prophetically or found the answer to a vexing problem in their dreams. Abraham Lincoln supposedly dreamed about his assassination ( Death Dreams ). The Bible is filled with accounts of prophetic dreams, from Nebuchanezzar's dream of seven years of famine to Mary's angelic visitation in the Annunciation.
Dreams that are not necessarily prophetic, i.e. they don't predict the future, but reveal information of a paranormal nature have also been reported.
There exist fascinating accounts of people who claim to have dreamed of past lives. Usually past life memories are attained through hypnosis but there have been accounts of them coming through in dreams. Sometimes these people have recounted details of where they lived and have gone to the place in their dream and discovered confirmation of the memories that appeared in their dreams.
Another type of psychic dream is the type where loved ones who are dead appear in dreams. Some cultures, such as Native Americans, value these dreams as visitations from ancestors and dreams of this nature should be valued and treasured. Many people find these dreams comforting as oftentimes the loved one provides support, advice, or some other form of inspiration or message. Dreaming of the dead often can also occur shortly after a loved one dies. These dreams can give a dreamer closure, or give the dreamer reassurance that their loved one is safe. They may also provide an opportunity to visit with the loved one again which is something we all long for when those we care about pass on.
Keeping dream journals and working with dreams is a great way for learning how to distinguish between a prophetic dream and a symbolic one. The more you work with dreams the more familiar you will be with the language they speak. You can see trends in your life and see how the dreams you have relate to those trends.
You will also learn how your own intuition works which is an invaluable tool not only for dream life, but for navigating waking life as well. When you learn how your intuition speaks and works in your waking life, you will also learn how it works in your dream life. The more you work with it, the more you will trust it and the more you trust your intuition the more confident you will become not only in distinguishing between prophecy and symbolism, but in interpreting any symbol that appears in your dreams.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: web.mac.com/aisling.ireland