Tag Archives: animal

What’s in a face?

What's in a face?

Half boy, half beast, he sat on the edge of a swimming pool in a dream I had once upon a time. His body seemed stunted, his face albino white, a long wide nose, no eyes. I was very wary of him. Not sure how he’d respond to me.

If I were to write a blog about my top ten tips for interpreting dreams, I’d include ‘Everything and everyone in a dream represents something about the dreamer’. Okay, a nice neat statement, but pretty scary when you dream about a murderer, a rapist, or just someone you really don’t like. Or a boy-beast.

I will reveal the boy-beast, but let’s begin with the murderer. Dreaming of a murderer does not mean you have murderous intent. There is no one-size-fits-all interpretation in dream analysis, but a starting point is to look at who the dream character is murdering (or has murdered) so you can get a feel for what kind of energy the murderer wants to quash, then to ask yourself where a similar battle is going on within you.

You can also contemplate your dream murderer, look at how he acts, examine his face, his body language, gather clues from this symbol your dreaming mind has created to represent something about you and your beliefs about life. You can also – when you are awake – question him by doing a dream dialogue. (One of the thumbnails at the end of this article links to a light-hearted dream dialogue to illustrate how this is done. Have your dream murderer dialogue with the person he has killed or wants to kill.)

But let’s scale it back down. Let’s look at the boy-beast I once met in a dream.

I was as wary on waking as I was in the dream. What did this strange creature represent about me, and did I really want to know? My first instinct was to let it go, but my more intelligent self knew that there would be much to gain from discovering something new about myself.

I thought about his face, and wondered what it was about his long wide nose that seemed important. The answer appeared in my mind immediately: he relied on his instinct to smell danger and respond. Just as quickly I realised that was why he didn’t have eyes. He represented blind instinct – my blind animal instinct.

He was albino white because my dreaming mind saw him as having just emerged from the pool, from the darkness of my unconscious into the light of day, with no time yet to gain a sun tan. Dreams reflect our conscious and unconscious experiences of the couple of days before the dream, and when I looked back I realised I had become newly aware of responding in a particular situation through blind instinct, and this was stunting my growth. The details of the rest of the dream painted the whole picture.

I wonder who first coined the term ‘blind instinct’ to describe an innate (or perhaps also learned) response to a situation that bypasses conscious awareness (at least in the moment it occurs). We respond without seeing, without an eye to consequence, driven by an urge to survive. Those instincts we share with animals – to bare our teeth and growl in defence, to run and hide to save our skins, to feather our nests to provide for our young, to roll over and play dead, to bite back – are genetically programmed to keep us safe and protect our species, but the more we are aware of our instincts the more we can take a moment, breathe, open our eyes, reflect, and choose better ways to respond.

There’s been a lot of controversy over the last century or so about the nature of instinct: how much is innate, how much is acquired in early life. Dreams allow us to discover our automatic, habitual, unconscious responses to life situations that we sense as life threatening. We share many of these with animals, and others we individually acquire in early life, building our behavioural survival skills with blind awareness: appease an angry parent, undermine a sibling to gain attention, get sick to be cared for, throw a tantrum to get what you want, sacrifice your needs to be protected, look the other way to be loved.

“You have such a cool job,” someone said to me recently, and it’s true. I am constantly in awe of the nature of our dreams and the life-changing insights they offer us when we are prepared to look. And I’m constantly in awe of our dreaming minds that so easily come up with picture-perfect renditions of – for example – the face of blind instinct. Asleep and dreaming we are outrageously creative: our challenge is to courageously bring more of our magnificence into the light of day and let it shine.

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Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

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Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

Tim, my guest, dreamed of setting off on a journey, feeling sad at leaving behind animals that she had rescued, including a long-tailed monkey. She journeyed to the French mountains where she met a waiter who was mixing two fluids to create the perfect cola. There’s a lot of waiting in this dream from this point, so much so that by the end of the dream Tim feels that to wait any longer would be unbearable. She must get to that waterfall now!

When Tim contacted me to volunteer to be a guest on the show, she asked if she could talk about a dream alchemy visualisation that she had created for herself. She said she’d been doing the visualisation for a couple of weeks, but it had morphed in ways she didn’t like. That was all I knew, but I thought it would make an interesting subject for The Dream Show.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonSo you’ll hear us explore Tim’s dream, what it means, and how it relates to her life, and you’ll hear Tim describe the really good dream alchemy visualisation she created, and how it morphed. We get down to why it morphed (which offered deeper insight into Tim’s dream and life), and we designed an updated version for Tim to do.

This episode is packed with tips, demonstrations of techniques, laughter, sudden deep realisations, and plenty of take-home value for everyone.

Will Tim get to her metaphoric waterfall? Oh yes, yes, and yes. Insights abound, and new paths open. Share her journey:

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PS 31 July: Tim emailed me to offer to share this update with you:

“The results have been overwhelming!! My creativity is flowing, it’s actually like a dam breakthrough (so much I want to do … so few hours in the day).”

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Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

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Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

Carmen, my guest this episode, dreamed of a white carthorse decorated in rainbow paint, dragging a cart without wheels, and carrying the heavy wheel axle in its mouth as a cruel punishment. But punishment for what?

Meanwhile there’s a jeep that needs to be fixed, but the chances are that the guy who owns it will just continue on as before, rattly seats and all.

Carmen is angry, something needs to happen!

Also featuring in this dream are two lizards – one quite magical – and, living at the bottom of her garden in a Womble shanty, an unsettlingly calm man who verbally abuses his very weak girlfriend.

Here’s a dream that sounds like a modern day fairytale, but does it have a happy ending? Like all good fairytales, dreams seem far removed from our everyday lives until we take a good deep look at the metaphors and find them ringing true deep within ourselves, often much to our surprise.

The beauty of working with dreams is that once we understand them we can apply dream alchemy: tweak and change the key points of the dream to create a fulfilling resolution (that filters through to the life situation which the dream reflects), a different kind of happily ever after than we might ever have dreamed possible for ourselves.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonYou’ll witness all of this as you listen to Carmen and me working with her dream, interpreting it, relating it to her life, discovering helpful new insights, and creating potentially life changing dream alchemy. Enjoy and please share.

The Dream Show was launched 5 years ago this week: happy birthday The Dream Show!

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The Dream Show is an enormous free resource designed to help people worldwide acquire the basic skills they need to gain deep self-understanding and healing through understanding their dreams.

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Dreamvolution – help with facing change

Dreamvolution Help with facing change

When life presents you with change, how do you usually respond? Do you resist, hanging on to the way you have always done things, sticking to the routines and habits that have always worked for you? Or do you jump right in, eager for something new, tossing the old way aside without so much as a fond farewell?

When was the last time you were faced with an unexpected major change? What was it: a relationship break-up, an illness, a financial loss, a windfall, pregnancy, a restructuring at work, a job loss, falling in love, or being given a new responsibility?

Do you remember any stand out dreams you had back then? How many of those dreams involved animals?

Dreams can be at their most surreal and vivid during times of change. Each night as you sleep, your dreaming mind juggles the puzzle pieces of your changing life, mixing and matching bits from the old picture (your old way of seeing life) with bits of the new, searching for a workable Big Picture that suits your new conditions.

Between leaving the comfort zone of the old Big Picture and feeling at home in the new Big Picture is scary territory, as you face the challenges, fears and adventure of the unknown. Your stress levels shoot up and you live on edge, buoyed up by boosts of adrenalin preparing you for ‘fight or flight’, to battle through the threats to your survival or to run away, save your skin, and hide.

Yes, times of change bring your basic survival instincts to the fore. Life gets down to the fundamentally important issues such as food, money, shelter, love, life, and death. Thanks to nature, your instincts take over – or, at least, they try to be heard – especially in your dreams.

As complex human beings we have ways of drowning out our instincts, burying our heads in the sand(*), hoping the challenges of change will go away if we pretend they’re not there. But how long can this last? Deep down the adrenalin still floods our bodies, wearing us away with deeply festering, unacknowledged stress.

* (Even the ostrich, being an animal in tune with its survival instincts, is not silly enough to deny the obvious. It’s a myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared. In fact they lay their light coloured heads on the ground, blending with it. It’s a camouflage trick.)

But at night, with your conscious defences down, your dreams reveal your basic survival instincts, often in the shape of animals, frequently magical, vivid, or surreal animals, mixed with more obvious themes of survival such as death and birth. Your dream animals, at these times, often seem magical or awesome because they seem to offer you the chance of awesome transformation, fantastic adaptation to change.

How can you listen to and learn from your dream animals? Firstly remember that everything in your dreams – wondrous animals, death, and destruction included – is a symbol of your own beliefs, energies, and feelings. At times of change, your dreaming mind often pictures your survival instincts as animals; it pictures your wondrous potential for change and adaptation as awesome animal auras; it pictures the end of the old way of life as death, and it pictures the new potential coming into your life as birth.

If you dream of a lion, for example, ask “What is the energy of a lion?” Different people will answer in different ways. It’s YOUR feeling for the energy of a lion that matters, as this is YOUR dream. For example, you might say, “Quiet strength”. Another person might say “Confidence”. Another might say, “Vicious predator”. Then ask yourself why this survival instinct might be trying to be heard at this time in your life. Let your answers flow. As with all dream work, this is all about awareness. When you are aware of the various energies within you at any one particular time, you are better informed to make decisions – in this case, to choose the best way to adapt to the challenge of change.

During times of change, it’s common to have a succession of animal dreams as a number of different survival instincts are stirred into action as you grapple with change. Here’s a powerful dream alchemy practice you can do that will really move things forward for you, by bringing you into a deeper awareness of the survival instincts being summoned up within you:

During the period of change, write a list of all the animals that appear in your dreams. Then imagine these animals sitting in a circle, discussing the best way to survive. (You can either do this in your mind’s eye, or, perhaps more powerfully, let your pen or keyboard type the conversation as fast as you let it flow.) As an example, you might end up with something like this:

Lion: “Quiet confidence wears away your enemies and conserves your energy – don’t waste so much time wondering if you’re good enough! Embrace the change!”

Sheep: “Stick with the crowd. Don’t try to lead. You’ll only end up with more responsibilities.”

Bird: “Come up here and see the view from above. Sometimes a change of perspective helps. Get a bit more distance from this!”

Worm: “You don’t often see me, I know, because I like to bury deep and hide, but I must say, I quite like the sunshine out here. Oh no! I’m drying up, burning, help! I’m dying!”

Bird: “Ah, worm! Yum! You see, from my perspective this little worm’s been doing you no good burrowing away inside, eating you up from the inside out. Death to old worms! Long live the power of perspective!”

Kangaroo: “Anyone tried this? (Jump, spring, leap.) I found this new way of getting around. Think it will catch on? Hey! You should see this cool new way I’ve found to carry the babies around too. Think there’s a market in this?”

By getting your dream animals to interact in conversation, you invite new perspectives, healing, integration – in short, personal evolution.

In this example, the dream animals express their individual survival instincts and, from this sharing, a new picture of your inner world emerges. You become aware of the conflicts (for example, whether to lead or follow) and you discover why (for example, issues of responsibility and being good enough). In this example you identify the worm (the stress deep down inside) and you put an end to it (by getting clearer perspective, seeing things in proportion rather than letting small things gnaw away at you). In this example you also see the beginnings of adaptation to change, with your kangaroo instincts finding new ways to do things.

Let your dream animals reveal your survival instincts during times of change, and let dream alchemy help you to discover the magic of transformation as you identify and heal the issues behind your conflicting instincts and evolve to find new ways forward.

I was reminded of evolution in a dream a few months ago when I noticed a giraffe sitting under the dining table. Yes, you’re right. There’s not much room for a giraffe to sit comfortably under a dining table, but this one was a little giraffe with a short neck. On waking I knew that this short-necked giraffe seemed very familiar. Then I remembered: back in my days as a student zoologist we heard the story of Lamarck’s giraffe.

Lamarck proposed that an animal evolves by actively making a change and then passing on this change to its offspring. The famous theoretical example is that giraffes started out as short-necked creatures but, in a time of drought, they had to stretch their necks to reach the leaves higher up in the trees once they had eaten all the ones lower down. As a result, their necks got longer and so their children were born with longer necks too.

Darwin’s theory of evolution was different. Using the same example, in times of drought most of the short-necked giraffes would die from hunger after they’d stripped all the lower leaves off the trees, but the occasional misfit giraffes – those born with slightly longer necks – could reach the higher leaves. These longer-necked giraffes lived long enough to mate with the only other surviving giraffes: longer-necked giraffes. As a result, many of their offspring were also long-necked because they inherited the longer-necked genes.

Simply summarised, Lamarck said that if you actively strive to make a change then this will be passed on to your children, but Darwin said that change selects its own winners and losers.

How will you evolve to meet the challenges of change? Will you stretch your neck? Will you let change dictate the outcome? Will you bring your misfit qualities to the fore (will the ugly duckling become the swan)? Or will you be creative, in a bird-kangaroo kind of way?

Let your dreams help you to find the best way to evolve when challenged by change. I’ll stick my neck out and invent a new word for this: Dreamvolution.

[First published as a Dream Sight article, October 2005. Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson 2005.]

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Episode 142 Pythons in the backyard

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Pythons in the backyard

Nicole is my guest with a dream about pythons writing in her backyard, and if that’s not dramatic enough for a scary dream, how about that sabre tooth tiger that emerges from the bushland? Oh, and did I mention unicorns?

People often ask “what does it mean to dream of snakes?” There is no universal answer, and like all dream symbols, the snake in your dream may mean something quite different from the snake in someone else’s dream. As you listen to this episode, you’ll hear us uncover the meaning of the pythons in Nicole’s dream, as well as the meaning of all the other key symbols and how they relate to what is happening in Nicole’s life.

Interpreting a dream accurately is an art, science, and skill that goes far beyond identifying personal dream symbols. It involves looking at the overall picture of the dream, breaking down the elements of the scenarios, examining how the symbols interact (in Nicole’s dream you’ll witness blending and transformation of some of her dream symbols, for example), and listening to the words a dreamer uses when talking about a dream. And that’s just for starters.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonIn this episode, you’ll discover how to apply some of these techniques as well as enjoy an insight into Nicole’s life through understanding her dream.

The goal of dream analysis is to reveal the dreamer’s mindset, because that gives the dreamer a deep understanding of why they see, interact with, and respond to the world in the way that they do. If they wish, that mindset can be changed using dream alchemy techniques that work directly on the unconscious mind.

During this episode, Nicole mentions her new website, and when I chatted with her after we finished recording, I asked her if she’d like to share the link. She’s delighted to invite you to meet her at www.healthywomentv.com

Enjoy, and please share.

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Episode 116 The Dream Show: Haunted house

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The Dream Show, a free monthly podcast with Jane Teresa AndersonToday’s new August podcast features Emily, from Northern California, with a dream about moving into a new but dusty house. While cleaning, she discovers a dark hallway with a poker table and some lumberjacks from the 1850s.

“How exciting, a haunted house!” she tells her husband, in the dream.

There’s an animal and some clue-bearing numbers too. And there’s more, but who am I to spoil a good dream story?

Listen in as we discover how Emily’s dream reflects what’s going on in her life. Join us as we identify conflicts and blocks from way back that have been unconsciously influencing her actions and decisions in life. We then create a dream alchemy visualization to transform those blocks and open Emily’s way. Listen, learn more about dream interpretation and dream alchemy, enjoy!

Listen here (Episode 116)

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The goat and the cobweb

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?Here’s a puzzle. What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat? If you’re already searching for an answer, you’re in the right frame of mind for interpreting a dream. I’ll give you some more clues:

Sandra phoned Loretta & Moyd’s Afternoon Show on Radio 4BC this afternoon to ask me about her dream featuring – you’ve got it – a cobweb and a goat. In her dream, she was going somewhere with her husband when she suddenly had to get a cab and go back home. In the cab, she looked down and saw that her feet were covered in cobwebs. She looked again, and saw an adorable little goat, sitting at her feet, with a blister on his nose. What does Sandra’s dream mean?

I’ll refine the puzzle: What’s the connection between feet covered in cobwebs, and a goat?

In case you’re not there yet, I’ll come at it from another angle:

What’s the connection between Sandra having her journey cut short (having to return home), and a goat?

Most dreams have a repeating theme, and if you can identify this, you’ve got a good starting point for interpretation. Since Sandra’s goat was adorable, it was most likely a pet goat, and pet goats are usually tethered to keep them close to home. Sandra’s feet were kind of tethered by the cobwebs or, at least, she must have walked through a potentially trapping spider’s web to have cobwebs clinging to her feet.

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?

At first I thought Sandra’s cobwebs suggested she’d been standing still for too long in one place (metaphorically), long enough to gather cobwebs, and though this may also be true, the dream shows Sandra’s journey cut short by the need to take a cab home, as if she can only get so far because she’s tethered.

In the very short time that we have on radio to interpret a dream, and without being able to clarify aspects of the dream with the caller, looking for out-of-the-box connections that repeat in a dream can shine a light on the dreamer’s situation. At the time of her dream, Sandra probably felt restricted or tethered, especially around her direction. In the dream, her journey was cut short, so there’s a sense that she has direction – she knows where she wants to go – but she’s not getting there.

When goats aren’t tethered, they roam free and far. Goats can climb mountains and follow paths other animals, and humans, find difficult. Goats can journey a long way on very little. Sandra’s dreaming mind chose the symbol of a goat, no doubt because she does know, deep down, that she is capable of reaching her goal. (Is this word play, a tethered goal a dream goat?) So what’s holding her back?

What happens when you instinctively follow your nose?

What happens when you instinctively follow your nose?

Could it have anything to do with the blister on the goat’s nose? I wonder if Sandra had the feeling, in the day or two before her dream, that she had poked her nose into something she shouldn’t have. Or that she’d followed her intuition (followed her nose) and got burnt, either recently, or in the past, and this experience has held her back from setting out again.

What would you set as a dream alchemy practice here? I’d suggest the following visualisation if Sandra would like to achieve the goal she identifies with this dream: Sandra, see the blister on the goat’s nose vanishing, then look down to see the cobwebs gone and feel a wonderful, warm, dancing sensation seeping into your feet. Open the car door and dance wherever you wish, led by the adorable goat, sniffing the wind, following his nose which happens to lead you both to exactly where you’d like to be (picture where you’d like to be).

As with all dream alchemy, as we rewrite the story using our personal dream symbols, we simultaneously rewrite our unconscious mindset around the issue and the waking life outcome.

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Pregnancy dreams: Jellybeans and leeches

Pregnancy dreamsIt all started when Sunrise weather presenter Grant Denyer told the SAFM Breakfast crew – Hayley, Craig and Rabbit – that his pregnant wife dreamed she gave birth to a monkey.

Then Hayley, who had just announced her pregnancy on the show, shared that she had dreamed she gave birth to leeches.

Was this just spooky, the crew wondered, or is it common for pregnant women to dream of giving birth to animals?

I (who dreamed when I was pregnant with my first child that I gave birth to a tiny, delicate, almost invisible stick insect), was invited onto the show this morning to throw a little light on Cheryl Denyer’s monkey and Hayley’s leeches, and to take calls from people about their surprise birth dreams.

Yes, it’s common to dream of giving birth to all sorts of non-human entities, but particularly animals, and especially during first pregnancies.

The phone lines buzzed with more callers than we could take on the show. Jennifer gave dream birth to a daddy longlegs spider, Robert’s mother had dream birthed a moth while she was pregnant with him, and one of the callers we didn’t get to had dream birthed a jellybaby.

Jellybabies, leeches, spiders, monkeys, stick insects, moths, all dream birthed by pregnant women.

Jellybabies, leeches, spiders, monkeys, stick insects, moths, all dream birthed by pregnant women.

We tend to dream about animals when we are facing change, and anticipating the birth of your first child is a huge change. The prospect of change brings up our survival instincts and gut feelings, and our dreaming minds often come up with animals to express these.

I had the feeling that Hayley’s leeches represented her feelings of attachment, of her attachment to her future baby, of her baby’s attachment to her, and her concerns about potential drains on her energy. That’s what leeches do really well – attach firmly and draw on your vital resources (suck your blood). That made sense to Hayley. It’s good for Hayley to know this because she can explore her feelings about this before her baby is born, and contemplate how she would ideally like to mother her child and enjoy a sense of balance in her life.

My feeling about Cheryl’s monkey is that it represents a cheeky, playful energy that’s emerging as she readies herself for being a mum.

How do you put a nappy (diaper) on a daddy longlegs spider?

How do you put a nappy (diaper) on a daddy longlegs spider?

Jennifer, the caller who dreamed about the daddy longlegs spider, said she was totally happy and filled with love for her baby spider, and her only concern was how to put a nappy (diaper) on a baby with six long thin legs. Her dream suggests a wonderful unconditional love already in place (and this may also relate to issues with her father or husband, both daddies), and a concern about being able to deal with new practicalities.

Caller Robert’s mum may have dreamed of a moth in anticipation of all those night feeds – moths are active at night, but really, of course, as with all these dreams, I would need to hear the whole dream to get the big picture, and ideally ask the dreamers a few questions to elicit more accuracy.

The jellybaby? I’ll let you chew that one over. As for my stick insect, you can read about that in my in-depth blog about pregnancy dreams, Congratulations, it’s a vampire.

What have you given birth to in your dreams, and were you pregnant at the time?

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Navigating changing times

If the GFC has impacted on your life, what kind of dreams might you be having, and how can understanding these be helpful to you?

If the GFC has impacted on your life, what kind of dreams might you be having, and how can understanding these be helpful to you?

“Global tidal wave of 70,000 job cuts,” announced the online news. “The tsunami of layoffs started in Europe …”

Instantly I got the picture. It’s a metaphor that works. It describes a giant ripple effect of job loss caused by a seismic tremor in the global economy.

It also describes the emotional impact felt or feared by many. Whether you’ve lost your job, know someone who has, fear losing yours, or fear the consequences of widespread job loss and economic challenge, the word tsunami pretty much sums up the feeling of being emotionally overwhelmed, knocked off your feet and potentially dead to the world.

If you’ve ever had a tsunami dream you’ll know the emotional impact these walls of water can produce. After all, in a dream, you think the tsunami is real, don’t you?

Dreams, like some journalists, frequently express themselves in metaphors.

Dreams, like some journalists, frequently express themselves in metaphors.

Dreams, like some journalists, frequently express themselves in metaphors. They may be clichéd, they may lose subtlety, they may be oversimplified, but they can help you to get a quick picture of a complex situation. That picture may be accurate or way off the mark, but it’s a picture, a starting point, one of perhaps many possible perspectives on a situation.

If the global economic situation has impacted on your life – in hard financial terms or worries about the future – what kind of dreams might you be having, and how can understanding these be helpful to you? I’ll outline these. But what if you’re having sleepless nights and lost dream recall? How can you too gain personal insight to help you navigate the tidal waves of changing times?

The classic tsunami dream, common to many dreamers worldwide, paints a picture of the dreamer’s feelings of being overwhelmed, emotionally and, sometimes, on other levels too. The overwhelm is often still unconscious at the time of the dream, as the dreamer still struggles, in waking life, to hold emotions at bay and stay in control. Of course, there are many variations of this dream theme, and the interpretation depends on the dream details, but ‘overwhelm’ is the key emotion the dreamer is processing.

How can we shift perspective and see something positively empowering in a tsunami of global job loss?

How can we shift perspective and see something positively empowering in a tsunami of global job loss?

The question to ask – when interpreting a tsunami dream or a tsunami of global job loss – is how to lessen its impact by processing the overwhelm in a different way, or, better still, how to shift perspective and transform the sense of overwhelm or helplessness into something positively empowering.

Not convinced? If a waterfall can be harnessed to produce electricity, a tsunami can be harnessed to, what? Not a lot, at short notice, practically speaking, but metaphorically speaking a tsunami can move mountains. And, in today’s world, many mountains (huge obstacles) could do with shifting!

People say metaphors can be misleading, and, of course, they can. But even when they’re misleading, practically speaking, they can help us to break through conditioned ways of looking at the world. How can we shift perspective and see something positively empowering in a tsunami of global job loss? It’s a challenge, at personal and global levels. Which obstacles to positive global change need shifting or transforming? Which obstacles to personal change need shifting or transforming?

The Compass helps you to see your life, issues and situations from different perspectives, and enables you to see your way forward to your best future.

The Compass helps you to see your life, issues and situations from different perspectives, and enables you to see your way forward to your best future.

If your anxiety is preventing you from being sufficiently relaxed to recall your dreams, you can work with the kinds of metaphors that dreams – and journalists – use, to help shift your perspective, gain insight and see your way forward. (My book, The Compass, has been created for exactly this purpose. It helps you to see your life, issues and situations from different perspectives, and enables you to see your way forward to your best future.)

Whether or not you recall your dreams, you are dreaming! Around five dreams every night. So what kind of dreams might you be experiencing if your life has been touched by the global economic tsunami of job loss or fear?

Your dreams will probably include one or more of the following:

Dreams of water, such as overwhelming tsunamis, drowning, being sucked under water or mud, inundated or washed away – water tends to represent your emotions, so these dreams reflect your deep and often unconscious emotional responses to your situation or fear.

Dreams of death and birth, but most probably focussed, at first, on death – death tends to represent what is ending (dying off) in your life. Losing a job might be pictured, in a dream metaphor, as a death. All changes, actual or feared, might be seen as deaths in your dreams. Some of those deaths might be unnecessary, as some things might be able to be salvaged with the help of dream interpretation as this reveals how your unconscious beliefs are affecting your responses to your situation or fear. Other dream deaths might be necessary – how else can we move on to new perspectives (and new jobs or new ways of earning money) if we don’t first let go of the old? Dreams of birth are metaphors for how you are progressing with new approaches in your life.

Dreams of loss and not being able to find your way are metaphors for what you feel or fear you are losing (job, security, status) and feelings or fears about your direction.

Look into your dreams for metaphors that seem to match your current situation, then question those metaphors until your current perspective shifts and you begin to see a new way forward.

Look into your dreams for metaphors that seem to match your current situation, then question those metaphors until your current perspective shifts and you begin to see a new way forward.

Dreams of animals may occur during these times, since animals provide apt metaphors for your survival instincts in times of change. Remember that some instincts, established in childhood, may not be appropriate for handling your adult world. These dreams reflect your survival instincts by comparing them to the instincts of various animals.

Finally, look out for dreams that reference your childhood – perhaps the house you lived in as a child, your school, your parents – or that reference past jobs and relationships. These may be referring to your unconscious beliefs about security or finances, triggered by your current situations. Interpreting these provides invaluable insight into how your unconscious beliefs are affecting your responses to your current situation, and provides you with the opportunity to change these.

In each case, look into your dreams for metaphors that seem, to you, to match your current situation, then question those metaphors until your current perspective shifts and you begin to see a new way forward.

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, February 2009. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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Episode 65 The Dream Show: A ghostwriter’s nightmare

A virtual coffee

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

Episode 65 of our free weekly podcast, THE DREAM SHOW, is now up.

Meet my husband, ghostwriter Michael Collins, who comes onto today’s show in several guises (as ghostwriters are wont to do).

Michael has been an integral part of these podcasts since the first episode, doing the technical side of the show, and I thought it was time you got to know him a little more. After all, he has a story or two to tell about what it’s like to live with a dream analyst!

Listen as we discuss some recent newspaper articles reporting new research about dreams and dreaming, covering a range of topics from the serious (nightmares, insomnia and depression) to the light-hearted (the sleeping and dreaming habits of cavemen).

I also put Michael on the spot and ask him about his personal journey from cynic to dream believer, and he delivers.

Finally I answer a question from Jeremy, one of our listeners, who asks about the significance of animals in our dreams, and I offer plenty of practical tips to help you identify what the animals appearing in your unique dreams mean.

You can listen here (Episode 65)

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