Can you dream of past lives?

Can You Dream of Past Lives Jane Teresa Anderson

If your dream is set in a time before you were born, does it give you insight into a past life? Sometimes people dream of being themselves, as they appear today, only in historic dress to suit the period, and sometimes people dream they look quite different, or are of the opposite sex, clearly at one with the time period and not realising it is a past era until they wake up.  How should you interpret these kinds of dreams?

When these dreams lack surreal oddities, when they feel everyday except that everyday was long ago, it’s very tempting to conclude that you experienced a past life memory in a dream. Who’s to say? You may have, you may not have. But before you go too far down this track, beware!

Think of all the dreams you’ve had featuring your childhood, perhaps your childhood home, school, family life, or holiday camp. These dreams contain a mix of accurate detail and oddities, don’t they? Your childhood home might look more or less the same but have an extra room, back onto a beach instead of a suburban garden, or have a fairy living in the cupboard.

Dreams are not what they seem.

There have been many distressing cases where people have dreamed of being sexually abused in settings similar to their childhood home or school, and, because the dreams seemed so real, concluded they had indeed been abused, moving on to make accusations against innocent people.

While memories can and do surface in dreams, it’s vital to understand that most dream content is entirely symbolic. The same applies to dreams set in historic periods before your birth.

Interpret the historic era in your dream as symbolic. If you dream you’re a soldier in a war, ask what personal conflict you’re fighting today.

If you dream you’re being persecuted as a witch in the Middle Ages, ask what you’re feeling persecuted about today, or how you feel about being middle aged.

Or simply summarise the historic dream setting or era in one word such as ‘stuffy’, ‘liberated’, ‘pioneering’, ‘enslaved’,  or ‘pagan’, and ask which area of your life this applies to today.

[Extract from 101 Dream Interpretation Tips, Jane Teresa Anderson]

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23 comments on “Can you dream of past lives?”

  1. Tiffany Reply

    I had a dream that took place in both today and in the 1700’s. I was with some friends at a festival, celebrating the 1700’s where everyone was dressed up in old mid-late 1700’s style clothing. At one point in the dream my friends and I walked down this alley-like way where there were tents set up with people who gave information on different aspects of the era.

    at the end of the ally of tents, my friends and I stopped at a restroom (of modern – day style). Upon leaving, my two friends bolted out of a back-exit that seemed to be sort-of hidden. While they flew past me to the point I could not catch them, I turned right down another back alley that led to a great opening. At this point I knew I was somewhere different…. There were a number of men around my age playing baseball… all dressed in 1700’s style “peasant-like” clothing. I started sprinting across the field to get to the other side of the opening where the alley continued. As i got to the opposite side I turned around to see the pitcher staring straight at me. He was a very pale white, with a long face, dirty blonde hair tucked beneath a news-boy styled hat. Never before have I seen a person like this. And once he saw me looking at him, he dropped the baseball and ran towards me and hugged me so tight.

    Thats when I look ed down and realized I was in a pink & brown victorian style dress. And to this day it baffles my mind on who this man is, and his face still lingers in my head.

  2. Judee Reply

    I often dream of being someone else, sometimes historical, sometimes not, but fully in character of the person I am incorporating. I never gave much thought to past life memories, but have my own theory.

    I am an avid reader, and I love to immerse myself in books and movies, etc. I can easily identify with characters in books and movies – so for me, these dreams are just that, stories and movies of the mind where I am identifying with one of the characters. Sometimes bits of myself will creep into the identity, sometimes not.

    I will say that in these dreams I am fully within the character, even moreso than in a book or movie, I AM the person in the dream. Which is why when I record such dreams I use the term “I” and write in present tense as if it is happening now, to keep the essense of it as clear as possible.

    I used to label these dreams as “me-notme” dreams, but I think they are all about me anyway, as are all dreams, so I think I may call them movie dreams instead. I love having dreams like that, as they often get quite creative!

  3. Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

    Hi Judee,

    I totally agree. A good movie or book is a total immersion for me, and while I haven’t dreamed myself as one of the characters, I often take some of the issues into my dreams to explore. Of course, how I process those issues relates to my beliefs and experiences, and how much the movie or book has influenced those.

    Owning all dream characters as ‘me’ and writing dreams down in the present tense makes for powerful dreamwork.

    Now that you’ve given the suggestion of being a movie or book character in a dream, I wonder how soon I’ll have that experience!

    Anyone else have ‘movie dreams” like Judee?

  4. Lee Reply

    I had a dream I was living in the 1930’s and at one point in the dream I was talking to a woman telling her I was her from a future time. As well in the dream I had made reference to a man named Peter. I don’t know anyone named Peter in my real life. I have never had a dream like it, nor have I ever specified an unknown name in my dreams. It was all very strange the movements through tout the dreams like most, but enough unique details to remember when I woke up. Even still weeks later I wonder who Peter is. Not sure what it all means but I was literally talking to a woman in the 30’s and telling her I was her. Strange right?

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Lee,

      Aren’t dreams amazing in the way they feel so real? Although you felt like you were literally talking to a woman living from the 1930’s, it’s interesting to look at all dreams from a symbolic/metaphoric point of view. That woman may refer to you in your thirties (whether you are beyond your thirties or whether you are imagining forward in your dream). Look at everything and everyone in a dream as a unique symbol of something about you and your experiences of the last two days before the dream. You do not know a Peter personally, but it’s such a common name that you do know some famous Peters, or Peters you’ve heard about. If name’s have personalities, what kind of personality would a Peter have (in your personal view)? This will give you some clues.

      You might like to sign up for seven daily dream tips (look in the side panels for the sign up form on this blog, or here: That way you’ll gather some of the important basics that will help you to understand your dreams – from the mundane to those that amaze you, as this one did for you.

      Jane Teresa

  5. margaret Reply

    Please excuse my spelling.
    Since i can rember i have had the most strang dreams! Ive been in the parst menny
    times , and i can rember all of them ive bean shot in the leg twice the second time
    i new i was thair i spoke wich is rair for me why is it that i allways get shot in leg lol
    stranger still i youst to be able to fly and i still rember how it felt! Thair is tones more
    But i will not bor you eneymore.x

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Margaret,

      Thank you for contributing your dream experiences. You obviously have a good dream memory. You might enjoy drawing or painting your dreams the morning after. When you do this you sometimes get a feel for what they mean.


      Jane Teresa

  6. Madison Reply

    I had a really weird dream that disturbed me immensely when I woke up, because I felt like the person I was in the dream was the real me, and that the man I helped in it was more important than any man I’ve ever met. I was a member of some sort of sinister gang, but they didn’t seem all that evil, more like they wanted to be. The leader found some sort of compound metal shaped like a small disk case that reacted with two separate magnets. I had some strange future awareness that it would become the atom bomb.

    On some mission of sorts, one of the men was injured, and I loved him but he didn’t know it, I don’t think. We all had some kind of special power. His was to identify and use metals. Mine was to heal and to understand the objects in the body when I touched them, almost like an x-ray. He wanted my help to heal his injuries, but he didn’t want anyone else to see or to know he was so badly hurt. We went away to his room which was empty except for a few fold-up chairs, a couch, and an office chair. He lived alone, while I lived with some of the other gang members in a much smaller room.

    I got the feeling that he was especially important. He had metal inside of his skull, and he wanted to know where and what was wrong with it. I needed to help him, but he was very reserved about it until he finally relaxed. I tried to sit on the floor with him, but he wouldn’t. Then, I sat on a couch and he crawled over, resting his head on my lap while I gently touched the sides of his face and bushed back his long blonde hair. He also had a large swollen cut across his head that I would need to heal. I was still touching his head when I lost the dream. It was extremely weird! I don’t know any men who look remotely like him, and I’m an English teacher, not a nurse! Very weird.

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Madison,

      Thank you for your contribution to this thread. Experiencing being a different person in a dream can be quite a shock, can’t it? It can be intriguing yet unsettling. Experience is the key word. Dreams are entirely experiential. We totally believe in their reality while we’re in them. Even when they’re bizarre, dream experiences feel so real. As an English teacher you might find it helpful to look at dreams as metaphors or analogies paralleling your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 24-48 hours. Combine this approach with listening to some of The Dream Show podcasts ( and you’ll begin to get a feel for how to understand such dreams. They still retain wonder and awe, but with understanding you gain an even deeper appreciation for both dreaming and waking life.

      Jane Teresa

  7. Catherine Reply

    When I was younger, in my early childhood years, I had vivid dreams of men I’d never met raping me. I would wake up, upset and confused, and crawl into bed with my mom. When my mom asked what my nightmare was about, I didn’t even know how to describe what was happening to me in the dream. I didn’t even know what rape or molestation was until I was much older.
    For years, I had terrible nightmares. For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone what I was really dreaming about. When I was a bit older, around ten or eleven, my mom was watching a movie in the living room. The movie was “A Time to Kill”. If you’ve ever seen this movie, you know the beginning is from the perspective of a young girl, a little younger than I was at the time, being molested by two grown men. The scene was so realistic and similar to my dream, I began crying. My mom asked me what was wrong and I explained to her that what was happening to the little girl is what happened to me in my nightmares.
    As I got older, into my teens, the nightmares subsided and I learned to surpress them. Every once in awhile, when I see a movie, read a book, or hear a story about a rape case, it still bothers me on a deeper level than it should, seeing as though I was never sexually abused as a child like my dreams would suggest.
    Is it possible that at some point in a past life I could have been raped, causing the vivid nightmares I had as a child?

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you for your contribution to this blog. It’s an interesting question.

      Is it possible? If we have experienced past (or parallel?) lives, then it is possible that such a deeply traumatic experience might be touched upon in a dream, but the more interesting question is why.

      As you say, you know that you have not experienced rape or sexual abuse (this lifetime), so why would you have dreamed this as a child? People – and children – who have experienced trauma such as rape or molestation, usually process these experiences in a more surreal way in their dreams rather than literally (though some do dream replays of the trauma). Partly this is because dreams tend to be symbolic anyway, and partly this is because abused children tend to repress the experience and subsequent dreams may symbolically reflect the repression (and issues around the contract with the abuser to keep the secret) rather than the physical event itself.

      It’s not uncommon for adults who have not experienced rape or sexual abuse (as an adult or child) to dream of being raped or molested. Some jump to conclusions and point to their dreams as evidence of repressed memories. In some cases, terrible damage has been done to the subsequently accused. Such dreams are symbolic, as are other realistic dreams such as car accidents, deaths, plane crashes, partners cheating, and so on. Dreams feel so real when you’re in them but time usually reveals their illusion.

      That’s a bit of background, but why did you experience these dreams, Catherine? Dreams reflect the last 24-48 hours of your conscious and unconscious experiences, as your dreaming mind processes these to try and make sense of your world. So – even if you did have a past life in which you were raped, and even if you were dreaming of the event literally (not symbolically) – the question becomes why did you dream that dream at those particular times?

      Take the feeling of the dream – perhaps vulnerability, loss of power, overwhelm, fear (it’s probably too long ago for you now to recall), and look for similar feelings in the day or two prior to the dream. It’s also possible that even as a child you overheard conversations about rape (people talking, radio, television, older children), and that the powerful and emotional images these conversations provoked came into play as personal symbols representing something for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Jane Teresa

  8. Juveria Reply

    i get a dream about me going 80 years back in some palace am stuck with some lady m scared of her i don’t know what she wants from me i need help….
    any suggestions….its been 7 months and m disturbed….

  9. Sarah Reply

    I had a very weird dream that I got left at my old school and no one would answer me and get me I kept phoning and there was no improved answer so I walked through this woods and this girl came up to me and told me to walk through this road called landale road this road name is very fimilar to me but she told me it take me an hour to walk, I finally came out the woods where I passed a travellers site and all the roads houses and cars was set like the 1960/70s it looked do real! I came out the road and I was in dunstable town centre and everything looked so real that u was there in that time period but my main object was to get home and I had to do this by self , I woke up and was very shocked to what I saw in my dream does anyone know what this could of meaned? (P.s I was born in the 1990s )

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Sarah, Thank you for contributing your dream. All dreams feel real while you’re in them, but some dreams feel hyper-real, don’t they, so the feeling that it really happened can stay with you long after you wake. This often happens when the dream touches on deep feelings that you find hard to put into words in waking life. So, take a deep breath, and while appreciating the awesome experience you had in your dream, remember that dreams are symbolic. In your dream, you’re lost and trying to find your way, so in some part of your life around the time of your dream, this was how you were feeling. If that time period you saw in your dream – Dunstable town centre in the 1960/70s had a personality (or gives you a feeling), what would you say it was? That’s a key to understanding your dream.

      Jane Teresa

  10. Ruby Reply

    Well this has been going on for a couple years now. I keep having dreams about a girl, but it’s always in different places. It feels like its in a different time. I’ve never met her, but in my dreams I have the feeling she is important, but in the back of my mind I feel like I’ve known her forever. I’ve had crazier dreams where it takes place after the world has ended and we are all trying to find ways to live. Even in those dreams she is there. O I forgot to mention that I’m never me. It’s like I know I’m there but in a different body. Could it possibly be a past life or peeking into another realm. Last nite I dreamt her again, I remember being with a group of people and I remember that we went into a small house, that once we went in there were stairs and just a long hall way. I know she gave me a hug and in the back of my mind I thought this was wrong and I woke up.

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Ruby,

      Thank you for your contribution to this thread. She is an aspect of yourself at some level, so no wonder you feel you’ve known her forever, and she’s important! You say, “I know I’m there but in a different body.” This is a sense of you feeling the greater part of your being: contemplate the difference between the ‘you’ you associate with your body, and the ‘you’ you really are. How much more of that ‘you’ might be good to get in touch with in your daily life?

      Jane Teresa

  11. Johnathan Reply

    Past Life Dreams and Visions
    the dream of my past life
    i had one where it was the present day and it was in New Zealand not Britain or Ireland, i was standing on like a beach side pointing out and said that Napier is to the left and Gisbourne is to the right, then later i think it was the 1980s maybe 1982 (as i said a prayer that i want to dream about that year), i were standing on the edge of a cliff (suspected as Cape Kidnappers, Cape Saunders or Otago Peninsula) and then i saw the backend of a silver car (Mercedes Benz i suspect) with a black registration plate on the back of it, witch they didn’t change over to white registration plates until 1987, anyway i felt like i were living as this person and it also had a sea breeze feel to it aswell.
    then i had another dream were i was in the backseat of small car (Volkswagen Passat i suspect) and someone elderly looking was driving me along the coast of either Lake Taupo or Lake Wairarapa or Blueskin Bay and it was a beautiful sunset theme to it aswell.
    the vision of my past life
    i have like imaginary visions such as seeing this Bungalow with a small front and back garden on a hilly road corner on the edge of like a cliff sand dune with a beach strand behind it with green lush mountains in the background in the far distance, (i had another dream that i went into a Dark Blue Bungalow and i heard someone was after me as they shouted trough the letter box and their was old furniture in it and strangely a modern tv and also it was strangely set in my current life hometown not nz but anyway), i also see a vision a red Volkswagen Passat car parked outside with a black registration plate on it and where the Bungalow is on like a hilly road the setting with a overview looking out to the sea (according to Google Earth Street View there is a place that looked similar to how i imagine it), i suspect it was Hawke’s Bay, Wellington or Dunedin, i suspect i lived in NZ as a kid in the 1970s and a teenager in the 1980s, i believe i born in the late 60s/early 70s and died in the late 80s/early 90s and the late 70s/early 80s would be my coming of age, my name was Kieron or Joe, I’ve researched into old pictures and i started to recognise the old Black “Give Way” road sign witch nowadays they have a Red Line and White ones.
    a few years ago i was listening to Maneater by Hall and Oates on the radio and then i had like one of those de-ja-vu things like I’ve heard this song somewhere else before even tho i only heard it for the first time and now i vision a Sunny Beautiful Lush Tropical Bush scene similar to Hawaii and Fiji, i thought its got to be somewhere in the Far East or Polynesia because it has that feel about it.
    i was told i had a past life before that one were i lived on a Farm outside Limerick in Ireland, My name was Liam and it were 1963 and i was a Stonemason, i was also selling Ice Cream and i also owned a Vauxhall Viva or Opel Kedet (in a vision i saw a old Light Blue car), i had a Red Setter Dog and i also used to catch Fessents and went Fishing, i had a Wife and a few Children and i were 27 year old maybe, i get a vision of a small White Cottage or Bungalow in the Irish Green Countryside setting with Horse Stables in the background and maybe a few Farm Animals and i suspected to be born around the 1930s lived a kid in 1940s a teenager in the 1950s and then died sometime in the 1960s a young adult.
    other visions
    truth be told i have a gun shot birthmark on the top right side of my face near my eye witch i believe i was shot in one my past lives, don’t know witch one it was, but in my current life when i was a few months old i had a big red birthmark but its faded over the years, i suspect that i was shot on the side of the head and died a traumatic death.
    i don’t know if i have lived in the 1920s or times before that or any other life times, I’m guessing Newfoundland in Canada or Scandinavia or Europe even, as it is similar and closer to the British Isles.
    in the mid 1990s when i was a little boy, i had a dream of being on a green lush highway and seeing two tunnels towards me, then recently i went on Google Earth Street View, and i randomly went to Hawaii then came across H-3 (John A Burns Freeway), witch wasn’t fully built until 1997 because i was born in 1992 and there would be no way this would be a past life or maybe it was a future premonition.

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Johnathan, Thank you for recording your dreams, visions and thoughts about past lives here. You might like to explore some of my articles about dreams throughout my blog, or listen to some of the podcasts, to see how to look at dreams as symbolising what’s going on in your life today.
      Interesting observations about birth marks.
      Jane Teresa

  12. Kate Reply

    Hi I searched era dreams and came across this posting so I figured I’d tell you about my dream last night. I was in what appeared to me the 1940’s maybe early 1950’s in the dream I was not my age 26 years old but more like 17 years old and I saw myself and I didn’t look like myself I was different young woman. I was in what appeared to be in a university library and there was no sound in the dream. It had a smal lavatory and before I walked into it and boy similar in age was staring at me, I went in and looked in the mirror and noticed I had a rash on my face like rosacea, I came out and the boy came and talk to me but still I dnt recall hearing the words just seeing us converse in conversation and then I woke up.

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hi Kate, Thank you for sharing your dream. So, as you’ll have seen from the article, dreams that may appear to be about past lives are really more likely to be symbolic about what’s happening for you now. What kind of decisions did you make about study when you were 17, how much were they influenced by 1940’s-1950’s type thinking/expectations, and are you facing the consequences of this now? Contemplate these questions, see what comes up for you. If you’d like to explore this some more, you might like to book a consultation.
      Many blessings,
      Jane Teresa

  13. Maricel Reply

    I always have a dream…almost every night…some of them happened..serves like a vision?
    But the other night, I dreamt of myself being in a one place. It was a very beautiful place. I saw myself standing in the cliff over viewing the wide ocean and the sunset. It was like paradise. I was with a man but I cannot remember the face. While we were driving I saw a house, it caught my attention. It seems that I know the who’s the owner of the house. I feel like like I’ve been here “that place and house before.” I stopped the car and went to the house. There’s something written in the door of the house. I knocked but nobody answered me. I Tried to view the inside of the house by looking at the window. Then I was shocked with the realization. It was our house,,,,,I saw the pictures of my “parents” not my parents now but my parents “before”..I cannot understand. I look around and walk slowly then I saw a building. It seems that its a house. But I was shock. It’s cemetery. I saw the pictures of my “parents, family,relatives, and friends “before.”
    I cannot understand, I dream as if I discover that I’ve been living a life before I am living a life in this present…..

    • Jane Teresa Anderson Reply

      Hello Maricel,

      Thank you for adding your experience. These dreams feel so persuasive and often sensual, don’t they? If we take a long step back and look at the storyline of your dream, we see you find yourself in a very beautiful place with an overview of something that is coming to an end (sunset). And what do you see from this vantage point? You are shocked with a realisation that you have somehow “lived a life” before this one, a life that has ended. If you look at your dream symbolically, it suggests that if you take a big step back from your life and look at the overview, you realise that something that is coming to an end is similar to something you’ve been through before. What feels like it’s coming to a natural end, in readiness for a new beginning, a beginning where you can take wisdom from all your past experiences (in this life) forward to make wonderful life-giving choices?

      If you’d like to explore your dream (and your life) deeply, you might like to book a consultation:

      Many Blessings,

      Jane Teresa

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