Radio 4BC: Decapitated!

John dreamed his head was chopped off, he watched it fall.

John dreamed his head was chopped off, he watched it fall.

John phoned me on Alex Bernard’s show on Radio 4BC last week to ask me about his decapitation dream.

“A pane of glass hit me across the back of the neck and chopped my head off. I saw my head fall, so I was still alive, but I couldn’t breathe or cry.”

Sounds gruesome, doesn’t it? Dreams of decapitation are actually relatively common. I have heard many variations over the years, and because each dream is slightly different, the interpretations vary.

Let’s look at John’s dream first. What did it mean?

The neck is a bridge between the head and the heart. We think things through with our head, and we feel things through with our hearts. Faced with an important decision, ideally we would think and feel it through before taking action. Most of us are not so good with the balanced approach, especially when under stress. Some go with the heart, some go with the head. (Which are you: head or heart?)

So the neck is that bridge, or balance point, where head and heart meet. In John’s case, this balance was cut by a pane of glass from behind. No doubt, in his dream, he didn’t see it coming, partly because it came from behind and partly because it’s difficult to see glass.

Dreams love puns and plays on words (pane, pain), so here’s my interpretation:

In the day or two before his dream, John suffered unexpected emotional pain, and the impact was so great that it cut him off from his usual way of thinking things through. He was left trying to access his heart (his feelings) but this was difficult for someone accustomed to thinking things through.

In the dream, he couldn’t breathe, and he couldn’t cry, suggesting he was having difficulty expressing his feelings (you can’t talk when you can’t breathe), especially grief. John’s dream suggests it’s time to get past the numbing shock of the pain, to get past thinking things through, and to get in touch with his feelings so that he can let them go and move forward.

The radio producer had asked callers to be very brief in describing their dreams, so the details that help pinpoint an interpretation were missing, but John related to my response.

After the show, I thought about how common decapitation dreams are, yet realised I hadn’t heard one for quite some time.

The very next day, I sat down to record podcast episode 44 of The Dream Show – which will go live tomorrow – and phoned Carla, my guest for the show, wondering what dream she would present for interpretation. If you listen to the podcast show regularly, you’ll appreciate that I rarely know the dream before we start recording. I prefer the spontaneity of the process, and I’m told it makes better listening.

So, I did smile when Carla started with a short decapitation dream. As always, the interpretation is in the details, so listen in tomorrow for a different take on a decapitation dream!

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