Whether you remember one (or more) of your dreams every night or it's a rare experience, you do, in fact, dream. We all do. Often, dreams are so nonsensical you can't even begin to parse their meaning, but every now and then, you have a dream that seems to be speaking to you. And you want to know — maybe, need to know — what it means.
But first, it's important to understand one thing: You are your best dream dictionary. We can break down common archetypes and their symbolism, but dream meanings are in fact very personal to you. How it makes you feel, what thoughts and feeling it brings up — is what is most important. Use that as your ultimate guide.
Below, we've broken down eight of the most searched dream themes along with common interpretations for each one. Let the analysis serve as a jumping-off point for your own dream interpretations.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Snakes?
We can all agree that snakes are not the most beloved animal. In fact, they are one of the most feared. So unless you're one of the rare few that likes snakes, it typically represents some kind of fear, especially if it bites you (or tries to), according to Kritika Sharma in Dream Interpretation Dictionary A-Z.
And because snakes tend to lurk in the grass where they can remain unseen (until they're not), they can represent a fear or issue you're not yet aware of. If you dream of a baby snake, it may represent a threat that you are underestimating while a snake that knots itself could mean a problem is on its way out.
Why Do You Dream About Losing Your Teeth?
Teeth represent our ability to nourish ourselves — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So losing your teeth in a dream can be a sign that something is off in one or more of those areas. "These dreams expose your fears about being able to care for yourself and provide for your needs," writes Karen Frazier in The Dream Interpretation Handbook. "It represents feeling a loss of personal power in some aspect of your life."
See if you can remember why your teeth fell out in a dream. Frazier says if they rotted, it could mean you are out of alignment ethically. If they were punched out, it may mean that you said something that was not nice. And if they fall out in front of someone, it could mean you're afraid others will see you're not living up to your values or standards.
Dreaming About Being Chased — What Does It Mean?
This one doesn't take too much analysis to figure out: If you're being chased, you may be running from something. But it's probably not literally whatever's chasing you in your dream. Frazier says it could be an emotion, a responsibility, or a shadow aspect of yourself.
Common Dream Theme: Your Childhood Home
Seeing your childhood home can represent something about yourself that developed during the time in which you lived in that home. (This is true of any house, apartment, or dorm you dream of.) According to Sharma, you may have unfinished business with that aspect of yourself, or it could be that the thing that was developed there is now obsolete.
Alternatively, it could also reflect that you're currently focused on family, and you may be getting serious about starting one of your own.
Why Did I Dream About Being Kidnapped?
If you dream that you are kidnapped, it probably means you're feeling similar to how someone who's kidnapped might feel: manipulated, controlled, restricted, and/or abused. This could be a person in your life, an idea, or even something material. "It suggests you feel you are being kept from something or someone important, such as an aspiration or creative idea," writes Frazier.
Dream Interpretation: Falling in Love
Dreaming about falling in love or even being in love could go either way, according to Sharma. It could be an appreciation of the love you already have, or it could mean that you're not getting the love you desire. You can figure out which direction your dream is pointing you in by considering your own feelings about the dream itself and the current circumstances of your love life.
What Does It Mean If You Dream About Your Ex
The meaning behind a dream about your ex can vary wildly depending on the circumstances and the ex (your high school boyfriend carries a different weight than your last serious relationship). If it is a happy dream, it might mean your current life (or relationship) is lacking whatever aspect of the relationship you dreamed of. If it's a negative dream about an ex, it might be that you haven't fully worked through your feelings about what happened.
Also, if you dream you are either back with an ex or want to be back with them, Sharma says it could mean part of you wants that in real life. But again, it could also simply mean that you want an aspect of that relationship or person.
Why Do I Have Dreams About Dead People?
While many people believe that to dream of a person who has died is to be visited by them, that heavily depends on individual beliefs, so we'll focus on other interpretations here. If it's someone who passed away recently, or even not so recently, it could mean that your brain is still processing their death. Sharma writes that it could also mean that you or one of your relationships is lacking a quality or characteristic that the person who's passed embodied.
"Ask yourself what makes this person special or what you prefer about them," writes Sharma, so you can better decode your dream meaning.
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