Dream Theories: Dreaming Your Memories…

I’m talking dream theories straight through the fall, while we count down to the Halloween release of Secret Legacy(Nov., from Dorchester Leisure). This has been one of my most popular categories to date, so come back and join in the fun.

dream memories

There’s so much to explore this time. Dark Legacy’s sequel is about running to your dreams and what they’re revealing, instead of away. Even I was surprised at how much fantasy wove itself into my new paranormal thriller. A key bit of research that inspired Secret Legacy was discovering that many scientists believe our dreams are based, at least in symbol, on our pasts. That the structure of our dreamscapes is the structure of the memories we’ve already lived, either projected into fantasy that helps us resolve lingering issues or into the future that some suspect dreams can predict.

Scientific articles abound, full of useful information about this and other dream characteristics. Thank dog for my “other-life” identity is a tech writer. I’ve ghosted for everything from lawyers to epidemiologists. There’s a goldmine of research material on the Internet. Articles like this one:


Dry stuff, you say? Picture me clapping my hands with glee and digging in. One of these days soon, I’ll share the research books I found, too. But the online resources are endless, too. Now, where was I…

Do we dream our memories? It’s a central question Secret Legacy’s troubled heroine, Sarah Temple, must conquer. Either what she’s dreaming is real in some way, or she’s certifiably insane. Or both. And without her dreams, she’ll never find the answers she needs to save an innocent child and the man, the family, she’s learning how to love. The family she’s been running from her entire life.

What about us? What from our past is waiting in our sleeping world to work itself out? Dream symbols tell us a lot about the heart of our dreaming minds. If we can remember our dreams (tell ourselves that we want to remember when we go to sleep, relax and recall our dreams before our minds completely wake, and be open to thinking lucidly in the midst of a dreaming reality), then many believe we’d see windows into our pasts and how what we’ve been is weaving into what we’re becoming.

Water’s a recurring dream image for me.  Not so coincidentally, it’s a key symbol in Secret Legacy (so strong an image, my editor chose it to design the cover around). Water is life. It’s about beginning. Renewal. And it’s about journey and rebirth. Nurturing. It was the source of our nutrition in the womb. I truly believe it feeds me now, whenever I can get away and return to a place in nature where I can hear and feel water moving around me.

What from my past led my mind to return to water time and again in my dreams? That’s a personal journey for me to puzzle through. It was fascinating to use dream theory to help me discover Sarah Temple’s journey in Secret Legacy. The question I hope these and other dream theories bring you closer to answering is, what recurring symbols in your dreams speak to you of your past? Your future? What is your sleeping mind working through while you rest? There are answers there…

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12 Responses to “Dream Theories: Dreaming Your Memories…”

  1. JOYE says:

    I grew up on a ranch and as a child, I was afraid of snakes. We would see them a lot and run like crazy. When I am under a lot of stress or eat spicy foods, I still dream about a snake chasing me. Don’t know what this tells about me except that I am really afraid of snakes.

    • Anna says:

      Interesting… Snakes can actually be a healing metephore in dreams. They can correspond to medicine. Transformation. Change. And let’s face it, we’re all afraid of change at one time or another (and if you’re like me, of snakes ALL the time).

      LOL, on the spicy food. Scary dreams after eating your favorite “hot” dish are probably telling you to tone down the spice before bedtime ;o)

  2. Joanne R says:

    I seriously don’t dream all that much, or just don’t remember them. Not a real vivid dreamer.

  3. Kristen Lamb says:

    I always dream about tornadoes when my life it is getting out of control. Something in the stress must kick them up. But the weirdest symbol is the sharks. I kept dreaming about sharks. I looked them up in a dream dictionary and it made sense. They symbolize an unseen danger or threat. I always got these dreams when I was running something (writing group/Rotary club), and they always pointed to usurpers I knew were there and undermining, but that I didn’t want to face.

    Anyway…great post.

    • Anna says:

      Remember that sharks can also mean something waiting to be discovered. Something your mind is circling, waiting for the right time to tackle.

      I’ve learned that attack dreams aren’t always (I’m fact they’re seldom) as aggressive as they seem. Dream symbols are like that. Best to look deeper and not take things too literally. Peal away the layers…

  4. Dina says:

    sometimes I remember dreams and other times not, last night did and it was wierd.

  5. RobynL says:

    1) I loath snakes
    2) I dream lots and in color

  6. Cheryl Lynne says:

    I think it’s interesting that some scientists believe that our dreams are based on our past.

    • Anna says:

      It’s said to be like you mind revisiting things that made important impressions on you. Almost as if we haven’t learned everything, or maybe that these are watershed moments that will continue to shape us and the way we perceive our reality for the rest of our lives. All of it totally fascinates me. I Wish I could keep writing fantasy stories about dreams forever ;o)

  7. Pat Cochran says:

    Hi, Anna,

    I’ve realized something about myself and sleep medications. It is that I cannot take them. They cause me to have such crazy, wild dreams which
    I seem to remember, when I really don’t want to! These dream segments
    occur in the time just before waking and for some reason, they stay with

    Pat Cochran

  8. GladysMP says:

    I don’t dream too often, but my husband does. He yells for help and I wake him and he goes right on back to sleep with no problem at all. I doubt if he remembers what he was dreaming about. I once had a series of dreams about walking down a long hall. I’d just keep walking and walking and never seeming to get anywhere.

  9. Joan Woods says:

    I very seldom dream and when I do i hardly ever remember what the dream was about.

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