Freaky Dreams: What Do They Mean?
Whether it’s falling off a cliff or public nudity, find out what may be causing those vivid, crazy dreams.
The Value of Dreams
Scientists have long debated whether dreams have meaning. But those who work with their dreams, either independently or with the aid of dream interpreters, believe that understanding dreams can provide meaningful clues to feelings, thoughts, behaviors, motives, and values.
Artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, and scientists often get creative ideas from dreams. Jeff Taylor dreamed up monster.com. Jack Nicklaus had a dream of a new golf grip. And Nobel laureate and scientist Wolfgang Pauli called dreams his "secret laboratory."
Kelly Sullivan Walden is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and dream coach. In her book I Had the Strangest Dream...: The Dreamer's Dictionary for the 21st Century, she divides dreams into eight categories:
- Venting (nightmares)
- Wish fulfillment
The most common, she says, are recurring and venting dreams.
Moss gives an example of a predictive dream: "One of the biggest oil discoveries in history ... resulted from a dream of a retired British colonial official living in Kuwait in 1937. Colonel Dickson's dream revealed a specific location near an unusual sidr tree in the Burqan hills. The Kuwait Oil Company, which had been drilling dry holes far away, was persuaded to move a rig to the location identified from the dream and hit a gusher."
Processing dreams can be used to diagnose and solve physical and emotional problems.
"Some of our dreamscapes are living dioramas of what is going on inside our bodies," explains Moss. "The ancient Greek physician Galen used dreams to diagnose patients' complaints. A friend of mine was alerted to a problem when her dead father appeared to her in a dream, accompanied by a doctor and yelled 'Get to a doctor at once! You have breast cancer!' She acted on that dream and believes that it helped save her life."
Eva Van Brunt is the West Coast media manager at the law firm DLA Piper. She thinks pregnancy is contributing to the intensity and vividness of her dreams. "It's been remarkable -- and a little annoying. Last night I dreamt I was in the security line at an airport and couldn't find my license. I woke up in an utter panic, and it took a few moments to realize the dream was not real."
But she's also found her vivid dreams helpful.
"A few days ago, I couldn't find my camera anywhere in my house. I grew quite anxious and ended up looking for it until bedtime without success. Eventually I got to sleep. Next thing I know, I am having a very vivid dream." The dream, she says, was about a concert she and her husband were at a month earlier. She was walking up to the gate and saw a no cameras sign and found herself getting flustered because she had one in her purse. Her husband suggested she put the camera in an inside zipper pocket of her purse because it likely wouldn't get searched. "In the dream, that's what I did. And it's also what I had done on the night of the concert." The next morning, she found the camera in the inner pocket of her purse. "The only thing I can think," she says, "is that my body triggered the memory to alleviate the anxiety."