Dream Theories: What do your killer dreams mean?

“Are you ever going to stop writing stories about dreams?” my agent asked when I sold my spooky thriller, Her Forgotten Betrayal to Entangled’s Dead Sexy books.

“Um… Not anytime soon,” was my honest response. I just can’t seem to stop buying research books and thinking of new ways to make the inner workings of our sleeping minds part of the stories and lives I create for my characters.

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I’m ridiculously fascinated with dreams. They’ve been my constant companions since I was a child–long before I knew about lucid dreaming or parapsychology or dream interpretation. I’ve always remembered my dreams. More than a few times, my “night life” has given me premonitions of what would be coming in the day. And, yes, for those of you who’ve asked in comments or emails–I DO dream in color…

But what do spooky or even sweet dreams mean? I tend to put the characters in my books into dangerous situations, through some intense dreams or nightmares at them, and force them to connect more intentionally to their subconscious by paying attention to what their minds are telling them through their dreams. In Her Forgotten Betrayal, Shaw Cassidy’s stalker/killer/villain’s identity (along with everything else amnesia’s stolen from her) is right there in her dreams–if she’ll stop running from the truth and face her greatest fears… And her reward for all her hard dream work is the reclaiming the love of her life. Oh, and staying alive ;o)

But that’s fiction. What do dreams mean to you and me in our every day? I talk all the time in my Dream Theories series that dreams are almost never to be taken literally, and I try to back that up in all my novels by using symbol and theme to represent reality, and often by showing my characters being wrong over and over about what their dreams/nightmares mean–until they finally start looking closer and begin to connect the dots on a deeper level. So, even if your dreams are scary, don’t always believe exactly what you see. Most of what goes bump in our spooky dreams reflect perfectly harmless pieces of our waking world. Our minds are simply trying to get our attention and using images and emotions and colors that will trigger whatever thoughts we haven’t gotten around to dealing with consciously throughout the day.

So, check out Her Forgotten Betrayal if you’d like a taste of how all this plays out in my novels. Entangled’s listed all their launch Dead Sexy titles for just $2.99 and and we have GREAT line up! In my fun but spooky Gothic Thriller, Shaw Cassidy (who’s suspected by the FBI of faking her nightmares and the traumatic “accidents” happening to her to escape federal prosecution) must learn to trust her deams and the messages they’re sending her about a long-ago killer who’s still stalking her–before it’s tool late for her and her protector, Cole Marinos, to escape with their lives!

Dying to know more about this to-die-for psychological thriller? Here you go–click this link for all kinds of creepy, Her Forgotten Betrayal goodness! Or click here to buy the lovely thing for just $2.99

And for those of you who love this stuff as much as I do, here’s some of the basics for figuring out what your nighttime wandering might be telling you…

Modern dream interpreters base the work they do on techniques developed by others before them. They’re not inventing anything new, and they all agree that dreams are personal–they should be analyzed in terms of the dreamer’s life, not science alone. There are no universal meanings, in absense of the dreamer’s presence and reality. That said, let’s talk some turkey, then start getting busy with the nuts and bolts of the dream interpretation specifics so many of you have been clamoring for.

  • There are some dreams, initiated by traumatic incidents in you life, that you should work through with professionals. They can cause to replay an event over and over, and feel threatening to yourself or others. “Playing” around with dream interpretation isn’t a fun game in these situations. Talk to someone about your fears, in and out of your dreams, and get whatever help you need to feel more in control of whatever you’re dealing with.
  • Drugs (especially sleep aids) and alcohol affect both natural sleep and your dreams. They (or stopping consuming either)  can cause you to sleep more deeply and dream more vividly, disrupt sleep, inspire more frightening dreams, and result in you more easily remembering/forgetting what you’ve dreamed. They can skew your emotions while you dream (too often toward self-hate or self-harm). Overall, the boundary between your sleeping and waking realities can blur entirely. DON’T “play” with either, or your dreams, while indulging.

Beyond these two caveats, looking deeper into your dream patterns and symbols and themes can be an amazing journey of self-discovery and growing understanding of what you find within. So, let’s discover together ;o)

dream interpretation

I’m dreaming more vividly than I have in quite a while, I suspect because I’m actively drafting a new novel. I’m bringing imagination to life in my waking reality. My sleeping mind’s not one to play second fiddle ;o) I love this place in my creative life, when I feel story moving through me, both consciously and subconsciously. It’s a lovely sign that the “gift” is flowing again. But what is it all trying to tell me? Or you, when you find sleeping images flowing just as freely?

Let’s begin with a common dream focus–being tested or challenged.

exam dreams

  • Feeling late for an exam, unprepared, or humiliated while taking a test beause you’ve studied the wrong thing, is about feeling anxious. And remember, the feeling of what you’re dreaming is the key to interpreting it’s reflection of your waking reality.
  • Being on a stage without practice, feeling embarrassed or that you have nothing to say, tends to be about your ego being challenged in some way, or you waiting for someone’s judgement over something important to you. Freud would say it’s about your parents watching, and what they’re thinking about whatever you’re conflicted about and whether or not they approve of your actions, but for me that’s a little simplistic. Though, isn’t most of the emotional conflict in our adult lives about our parents, in some way ;o)
  • Sometimes these dreams can be about wish fulfillment and whether or not  we ourselves think we’re capable of achieving what we want most.
  • Leaving Freud behind (and his theories that it’s all about sex, and I mean ALL of it), dreams about passing an exam or test might reflect that you’re nearing a significant passage in your life that you may or may not feel equipped for. These can be your mind’s way of preparing you for what you need to do next.
  • Jungian psychology sees these types of dreams as reflecting our internal examiner, and the pressure we put on ourselves to do the right thing, regardless of the challenge. They can be about confidence and character and our subconscious awareness that we need more of either to better deal with life in the way we wish we could.
  • And, finally, feeling the anxiety of not having answers we know we should during a dream exam can reflect a sense that we’re out of our element in our waking world. In fact, we may not even be aware of our unease, we’re so good at bluffing our way through tough emotions in the “real” world. But our sleeping, subconscious minds will know what’s building inside, and might take the extra step of helping us work through feelings of inadequacy before the significantly impact our lives.

Having fun yet? Come back next week for more interpretation quick tips ;o)

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