Why Do We Dream?

Dreams as Diagnostic Tools for Your Life

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Inner Guidance

Many researchers have asked the question, “Do you dream in order to sleep, or do you sleep in order to dream?” While there is still a debate, most researchers agree that dreaming plays an important role in our well-being and health. This is because dreams come from the unconscious mind, and over 95% of our behavior is determined by our unconscious.

Though I’ve always been interested in dreams, I have become a much better student of my own dreams since 2012, when I began working Dr. Doris E. Cohen. Dr. Cohen is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who has spent decades doing dream analysis. (Listen to my recent Hay House Radio conversation with Dr. Doris E. Cohen.)

Dreams are our souls’ way of broadcasting wisdom to us every night. But, few people realize how powerful their dreams are for providing guidance and healing information.

The most obvious way that dreams can effect your health is by revealing warning signs of illness through repeated imagery of body pain or wounds. In fact, research is even showing that things like breast and lung cancer can show up in dreams long before you have symptoms, and in plenty of time to get the right treatment.

 

 

One of my colleagues once dreamt that he was bleeding to death from his rectum. The dream was so vivid and frightening that he went in for a check up, including a colonoscopy. It turns out he had very early colon cancer, which was completely treatable. He credits the dream with saving his life.

Of course these are extreme cases. It’s more likely that your dreams are there to help you negotiate the choices in your daily life. Here are some other facts about dreams:

6 Things You Should Know About Dreams

You dream every night.

Simply because you do not remember your dreams does not mean that you do not dream. You typically spend more than two hours per night dreaming. You can have between 4-7 dreams per night, but typically you only remember the last one you have before waking.

Your dreams are always about you.

Dreams are your mind’s way of sending you messages through symbols and stories. These always relate in some way to your current life. Dreams with characters from TV shows or movies are just your mind’s way of being efficient in making its point. There was a time when the character “Jake,” the assassin from the TV show, Scandal, was repeatedly in my dreams. I realized that this was my unconscious mind asking me to look at who might potentially want to harm me, or “stick a knife in my back.”

Dreams can occur in any of the four stages of sleep.

The most vivid and memorable dreams occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the most restorative part of the sleep cycle.

You forget your dreams quickly.

Five minutes after the end of a dream, you forget about half of it. After ten minutes, you forget about 90% of your dream. However, with practice you will get much better at remembering your dreams.

Your appearance in dreams is important.

What you are wearing in your dreams can clue you in to the role you are playing in life. For example, if you are wearing work out clothes, it may mean that you need to exercise more, or pay attention to some other aspect of your health.

Your types of dreams say a lot.

Recurring dreams and nightmares are your unconscious trying to get your attention.

When you learn how to pay attention to your dreams and the messages they are relaying, you develop a very streamlined way to access your inner wisdom. And, the more you practice, the more skilled you become.

8 Easy Steps to Remembering Your Dreams

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night after a very profound dream, but in the morning (or even a few minutes later!) you can’t remember the majority of your dream? This is so common that many people don’t even try to remember their dreams. But, remembering – and embracing – your dreams is well worth the effort because dreams help you to see what is really going on in your life. They are like deep psychotherapy.

Here are some things you can do so that you can start remembering your dreams regularly:

Prepare yourself for a restful sleep.

Go to bed every night at the same time (preferably before 10:30) and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Be sure to create a restful sleep environment with no light or noise to distract you.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine or medications that will interfere with your sleep. And, try not to eat or drink anything for several hours before bed.

Calm your mind and body before bed.

Gentle yoga, a relaxing bath, or meditation are great ways to prepare for a restful sleep. Avoid TV, social media and having lengthy conversations on the phone.

Set your intention.

Make a conscious decision to remember your dreams. If there is something you would like to receive insight on during your dream state, think about that issue or concern prior to going to sleep.

Place a journal and pen by your bed.

Having a journal and pen on your night table will allow you to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Otherwise, you are likely to forget them.

Set your alarm clock close to your bed.

If you are dreaming and you have to get out of bed in order to turn off your alarm, you will likely forget your dream. Set your alarm where you can easily reach it. If you can wake up without an alarm, that is better.

Write down your entire dream.

When you wake up, just lie in bed and try to remember your dream. Then start writing (or dictating as a voice memo) what comes to you. Try to capture your dream as fully as possible. But, even a dream fragment can be important. If you can’t remember anything about your dream, write down the first thing that comes into your mind upon waking. It may be related to your dream in some way, and it might trigger your recollection. You can also write down how you feel when you wake up. The emotions you experience in a dream typically remain, at least for a brief period, when you first wake up. So, notice if you wake feeling anxious, or particularly happy, and write it down.

Keep a journal handy during the day.

It’s very common that something you see or hear during the day will trigger a memory of a dream from the night before. Pay attention. Your soul is trying to tell you something. Keep a journal and make note these recollections.

6 Daily Practices for Interpreting Your Dreams

While our dreams can vary significantly, they can be easily interpreted when we take a few minutes to examine them. Dr. Cohen explains that everything in our dreams is symbolic.

For example:

  • a basement in a house represents your subconscious
  • a door indicates access to something that perhaps wasn’t there before
  • technology indicates the need to upgrade something
  • water indicates cleansing of old emotions
  • clothes represent the roles you play

These are guidelines. Your symbolism will be specific to you and the messages your soul is trying to get across. If you can interpret your dream language and make connections between your unconscious thoughts and your waking life, you can discover a lot about yourself and what makes you happy.

Here are some easy practices for interpreting your dreams:

Give your dream a title.

Dr. Cohen suggests giving each dream a title as though it were a newspaper headline. This exercise is highly valuable. The reason for the headline title is to summarize the main points of your dream. While the title may sound superficial, it is actually shorthand for the symbols in your dream. I often find that once I give my dream a title, I can easily hone in on the meaning of the dream.

Explore your dream images.

Explore the associations you have with the people, places and objects in your dream. Do you dream of people you know? If so, who are they, and how do you know them? OR, do you dream of a mystery person? What type of person is he? Do you see a shadowy figure, or someone who is helpful to you in some way? How do you feel about these unknown people?

Link your dream to your waking life.

Once you define the people in your dream, determine how they connect to what’s happening in your life. For instance, a friend told me that when she was considering a career change, she dreamt of a terrible storm. In her dream, she saw her family members huddled around her in a room in an effort to keep her “safe.” They told her not to open the door. However, she was not afraid of the storm. In her dream, she opened the door and stepped out into the storm. This dream represented to her that she was ready to leave the security of her job (and reject the conservative advice and patterns of her family) and explore a new challenge, which she did.

Get a dream buddy.

When you start to interact more consciously with your dreams, it’s a good idea to be accountable to someone else. I recommend getting a dream buddy or forming a dream circle where you routinely discuss your dreams with others. You can also talk with your significant other about your dreams every morning over breakfast. If you set aside a regular time to discuss your dreams, you’ll find that you remember more.

Try “dream incubation.”

A dream incubation is when you ask your subconscious to give you a particular dream for guidance. I did this over 20 years ago when I was trying to decide on which publisher I wanted to work with when writing my first book. Though the details are foggy now, I recall that one of my choices was a man who, in my dreams, was shadowy, which meant I didn’t trust him. Ultimately, I chose someone else.

Practice every night.

Remembering your dreams takes practice and commitment. Following these steps each night will help you to increase your ability to remember your dreams.

In doing these exercises regularly over time, I have opened up an entirely new relationship with my unconscious and my soul. And now, I often know what my dreams are trying to tell me without needing much outside interpretation.

I’d love to hear about your dreams and how they have guided you in the comments section below.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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  1. Susi
    1 month ago

    Hello, I just listened to the wonderful interview with you and Dr. Cohen. It was very helpful and I enjoyed it a lot. I have a question regarding a comment she made at the very end. She told the final caller to get training in psychic abilities, so that she could better help herself as well as others. I also have those types of intuitive/premonition dreams and would like to explore her recommendation for myself. Where would one go for more information about getting that type of training, that type of help with someone who is truly qualified and trustworthy? Thank you.

  2. Melinda
    1 month ago

    Dreams are amazing and mine have always been vivid. I’ve recently found a dream buddy and I’m finding that I’m having quite profound dreams. In one recent one, I was the mother greeting a sweet child who had come home from her first day of school bullied because of the gift that she carried in her hands, which was different to everyone else’s. When I woke, I sat with the (quite disturbing) feeling of that dream and I realised that not only was I the mother, I was also the child. Then, as I sat with the dream a little more, I realised I was also the bullies, constantly berating myself for not being like everyone else. I’ve now continued to sit with the dream, and, strange as it sounds, continued it on in my waking hours, befriending that sweet child and working out how we can walk through this life together, with me being more mindful of the gifts she brings to my life. It sounds strange, but it actually feels very healing.

  3. Caylan Climpson
    1 month ago

    Hi, Dr. Northrup!
    I am 25, travelling down here in Costa Rica (From Canada) on a healing journey. I know I’m not alone in sharing that this past zodiacal cycle was a very tough one. Last April started a profound shift in my life, and though it was terribly traumatic, I am on the other side now and seeing the value that these experiences have truly brought me internally to my spiritual practice, and allowing my authentic self to lead me every day.
    I came to Costa Rica as a gift to myself to heal – through Ayahuasca Spirits, Mother Nature, and the beauty here. (And a Qoya retreat coming up next week!!)
    I had an incredible week exploring internally with the power Ayahuasca medicine.
    I am in the most beautiful home by Playa Garza and simply journalling, reading, and digesting all that has been brought to the surface recently.
    My dreams have been profound here. One notable one, 2 nights ago – I was outside around dusk – dark, but I could still see that I was by a swimming pool of this house. I started swimming and noticed there were small, broken pieces of glass in the pool. I can still picture my hand scooping up, carefully, the little pieces.. then realizing – this is inefficient, and there is absolutely no way to ensure I’ve gotten every piece of glass out. I must drain the pool, clean it, and fill it back up. My sister then walks out of the house and I informed her that the pool has glass in it, and it has to be drained. She thought maybe we could just skim the top, and scoop it all out, and I was ADAMANT that NO! It MUST be drained and cleaned for it to be swimmable again!
    Thank you for this article! I shared that dream with my sister, thinking maybe there were some messages in that for her, but I am now understanding that was my subconscious talking to me. I am not entirely sure the meaning, but after reading representations of water (subconscious) it rang true that I am to be doing the inner, personal healing work – and there are no short cuts. I MUST drain everything that is no longer serving me.
    Thank you Divine Beloved for your answers to understanding my dreams more – I asked yesterday for helpful people or messages in understanding my dreams more clearly. I woke up this morning, listened to your Flourish! episode with Katie Hess from Lotus Wei (AMAZING!) and you just casually mentioned this article at the beginning of that show. I just lit up and thanked Spirits!
    Thank you!!
    Caylan

  4. Nan
    1 month ago

    In my dream I was approached by a Man who’s energy was so powerful that I fell backwards onto the concrete ground. He leaned down over me very close to my face. His gaze penetrated my eyes. I was not afraid as it was not a threatening energy . The intensity of his gaze looked into my very soul. A few days later I received a phone call that Yeshe Dondjen, who had been the Dalai Lama’s physician for many years would be in a nearby town the next week … Would I like to make an appointment to see him? I did. When we met he asked through a translator if I had had any dreams lately. I replied, ‘Yes, we met in a dream last week.’

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Oh I love this!! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Barb
    2 months ago

    Throughout my life I have a recurring dream the doorbell is ringing. It is so realistic I actually go to the door to see who is there! (No one ever is.) It has happened over the course of more than 20 years and several different residences, at all different hours. I’ll even wake my husband and ask him if he heard the doorbell ring. I am certain it’s not ding ding ditchers as there are no footprints in the snow. I wonder what it symbolizes?

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Suggestion: Before you go to sleep, say the following: “When the doorbell rings, I always welcome my visitor with open arms. And when I awaken, I enjoy remembering the message that my guest brought to me.” See what happens.

  6. Lorraine Birch
    2 months ago

    I had a dream of my mom and dad. They have passed quite awhile ago. My mom was wearing a certain sweater she wore and the odor of my mom was very vivid. Mom spelled like mom it was very comforting. My dad was lying down and had a oxygen mask on and I went to give him a kiss. While I was trying to give my mom and give her hugs, my middle daughter appeared in my dream and kept holding me back and saying stop mom. I got very angry with her and told her let me go but she refused to.
    She kept holding me back. I have my theory about the dream, but am not sure

  7. Linda
    2 months ago

    I kept having reoccurring dreams in which I owned a beautiful mansion with many rooms. Each room had gorgeous décor, and I loved exploring these rooms, pleased with my good fortune. But in the basement the foundation was collapsing, water and sewage spewing and rotting everywhere and I knew I would never be able to sell this place.
    I went in for a colonoscopy and found that I had two large polyps– benign but showing signs of dysplasia–that had to be removed, losing 6 inches of my colon.
    Another reoccurring dream was about being healthy and running marathons with different numbers on my back, yet being in such joint pain that I had to resort to slowly moving on all fours, hoping no one was observing my plight. This joint pain was happening in real life, too. I found out that I was using the vitamin Echinacea as a daily supplement–healthy right? Wrong. The herb was not for daily use. I stopped using it and the pain and the dream went away.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      This is such a potent dream. When we dream about houses, we are dreaming about the self. And each room signifies the way we live . So– the bedroom symbolizes resting, letting down our hair, intimacy. The kitchen is how we nourish ourselves. In feng shui, the basement represents our colon– Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Martha Miltich
    2 months ago

    What I appreciate about my dreams is how they can be honest without restriction. At least I get information that way. The challenge is to sit with the dreams that I can not take action on in my waking life, either because more information must be found, or I can find no way to act without causing harm to myself and others, or I don’t know what to do. My current practice is to honor the dream, hold it, talk to it in meditation and let it change me, until a path becomes clear or the dream moves on.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Perfect!

  9. Leslie
    2 months ago

    I dreamt that I was on a high platform above an enclosed pool. There were people everywhere in the water, and why I was on this high platform or how I got there…. I don’t know. I remember being very frightened, that for some reason I was expected to jump into the pool. No one was paying attention to me, and I sat on this platform for what seemed for HOURS. I kept trying to convince myself to jump, but just couldn’t . Then out of nowhere, I noticed an escape slide from the platform to the shallow edge of the pool. All I had to do was just slide down to the edge of the pool, land on the bottom, push past some people in the water in my way to the exit, and I walked out of the door and never looked back. Water symbolizes cleansing of past emotions, and I have been trying for now 5 years to heal the pain of an ended, emotionally abusive marriage. I have not been able to move on to another relationship, so I hope this is a positive dream indicating I can release those old emotions and move on a lot easier than I had previously thought.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Oh this is VERY positive. Just thrilling. Aren’t dreams just astounding?

  10. Pat
    2 months ago

    I have found my dreams to be very helpful. Sometimes they bring music and books recommendations to give me a message to work through my emotional blocks. I have learn to understand a lot of stuff because my dreams pointed it out. I journal my dreams. It is amazing!!!

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Thank you for this– very validating.

  11. Juleigh
    2 months ago

    I had a dream I was driving into a large wall of solid rock. I was on a highway the rock was in the median between two north bound and two south bound lanes of traffic. I looked ahead to steer around it but both lanes in the direction I was traveling were blocked by another huge protrusion like rock and there was a bright light behind that. I looked again at the wall, tryed to hit the brakes and realized there was nothing I could do and I was going to hit it full speed, head on. I thought, “really?. I am not ready, I have things to do” and I put my arms up to protect my face. I woke up before impact. I had a similar, life threatening dream the next night that I do not remember at all. Should I be preparing for my demise?

  12. Connie Freeman
    2 months ago

    I’ve had amazing dreams that are informative, guiding, and affirming over the years. Soon after my mom’s death in 97, and having to work with my sisters to divide things (which was ugly), I was given the gift of this dream. Although both of my parents were dead, in the dream I entered the house I was raised in to find my dad in the downstairs all upset. I choose to go upstairs (rise up/transcend) where my aunt told me that 2 rooms had been remodeled. In real life my bedroom had never been finished and was used to store everyone else’s stuff. My role in the family. My room was beautifully finshed and decorated but not in the way I would have done it. I realized that even though I had gone through a time when I thought there couldn’t be a God, that God had been working in my life all along. In the center of the room was a stairway, which I climbed until I reached a landing. There was no ceiling (there are no spiritual ceilings), and when I looked out the west windows I could seen all the way to the west coast. God was the ocean. I couldn’t see Him, but I could hear Him. A wetland blocked my view. In that wetland was a small streambed vibrating towards me. God scaled down to my size to remind me to rise up and reach out to Him. Immediately I was transported back into the downstairs with all the discord. I didn’t even know how it happened, but isn’t that just the way it happens sometimes? My sisters and mother were coming in the front door, carrying bags as if to help her. I had been so furious with my older sister over all the games she had played in dividing things, that I wanted to slap her. And so I did. Then the strangest thing happened..my hand stuck to her face. God was telling me that I had to let her and my resentments go. She hit me back, but her arm came around and hit her in her back. God was reminding me that, whatever she does will come back to her as it does for all of us. The final gift I received was that although it hurt, in the end, she never really damaged who I am. She had cost me dearly in my childhood and at times in my adult life on this plane. But she could never really affect WHO I am, who my Higher Power meant for me to be.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Wonderful, wonderful dream. And so vivid. Many spiritual truths here. thank you.

  13. Miranda
    2 months ago

    This is all very good information. I belong to a religion called Eckankar and In Eckankar we study our dreams and we know that some dreams are actual experiences in the spiritual worlds which puts a whole new dimension onto dreams. In other words we leave our body every night and can go to places in the higher worlds.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      I absolutely agree with this. thank you.

  14. Gayle
    2 months ago

    I had just bought a house that wasn’t completely finished, even though there had been a family living there for years. Some friends wanted me to throw a party, so I did, thinking that it would be just a small group of close friends. But somehow the word got out and now there were many more people arriving. I found that I didn’t have enough food and drink, so I asked a couple of friends to go out and buy more while I stayed. There were 2 bathrooms, both of which were parts of the house that were not completed construction; one of the bathrooms was in the garage. I went to use that bathroom and saw, much to my horror, that behind the unfinished wall of the bathtub, there were a cat, and a dog, and the hugest ugliest rat I’d ever seen, all chained up together in a tiny space. They all had cuts and bite marks on them. It looked like they had been there for a long time and had somehow managed to survive there. They looked feral so I didn’t want to stick my hands in there to unchain them. I wanted to ask my friend Fox what to do, since I thought of all my friends she might be the best informed about something like this. But I couldn’t get her alone, so I had to ask her in front of others. [I didn’t really want anyone else knowing about it….although if anyone were to use that bathroom, I can’t imagine their not seeing that; but I still didn’t close it off to guests.] Fox was in such a party mode that she wasn’t giving my question any real consideration, so I pulled out the phone books and began pouring over them looking for a number to call of someone who would come out [on a Saturday night!] and take these animals away. I was in the process of calling agency after agency to no avail when I awoke.

  15. Carol Melanson
    2 months ago

    Omg. I’ve been having these reoccurring dreams about finding a bathroom. I’m searching for bathrooms from floor to floor. They are locked or there is always a line. Sometimes i am with people from my past. I awaken and have to go pee. Ive been reading about how to release pent up emotions and learning how to feel it and then try to release it. Is it working? Is that what it means?

    1. Janet
      2 months ago

      I’ve had various ‘can’t find a bathroom’ dreams. I believe those are quite straightforward as in you need to pee but can’t do it while sleeping. If you don’t drink anything too close to bedtime (try 3 hours) those dreams may stop.

      1. Christiane L Northrup
        1 month ago

        Actually I asked Doris E Cohn about this. My dream guide. But it turns out it’s not true. When we dream in which we can’t find a bathroom but have to pee, it is because we have to do some cleansing in waking life– but don’t yet know how or when or where. I know this because I had about 3 years of dreams in which this happened repeatedly. And over time, I realized that Doris was absolutely correct.

  16. Kris
    2 months ago

    You say that clothing means something. What does NO clothing mean? A few times I’ve dreamt that I have gone to an event in the nude, thinking it was totally normal. But then having 2nd thoughts after I got there, and everyone else was dressed.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Being naked in a dream is about being vulnerable. Your dream sounds pretty positive. So many people have dreams in which they find themselves naked ( vulnerable) in a crowd and no way to hide.

  17. Shelly
    2 months ago

    I just told a coworker last night about a dream in which a poem about self love was being recited. I realized I was dreaming and tried to hold onto to the words, but they faded and the sensory part of their meaning kind of remained. Thank you, Dr Northrup. Validation is all around!!

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Oh this is GOOD!!

  18. S.
    2 months ago

    This morning I dreamed I was on the toilet reading (as I am every morning in waking life). I looked into the toilet and it was full of orange snakes. One tried to bite me but I used my book to thwart it. A few more tried and each time I used my book to stop the bite. Finally I realized I needed to get off the toilet so I got up and ran from the bathroom.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      1 month ago

      Snakes are new beginnings– also sexuality and the kundalini energy. Orange is the color of the second chakra : money, sex, and power. Suggestion: go back into the dream in waking life– and change the outcome… like maybe the snakes turn into flowers or something. Your inner being will take care of the imagery. Potent dream!! Cool.

  19. Randi Dobczyk
    9 months ago

    I have a desire to move to a new state. I have had this desire for years and even now I feel like I must move there. I was feeling frustrated for days with the current area I am living in. I decided to take a nap an hour ago to relax my body and mind. I feel asleep right away. My dream was all about me arriving in the state that I have a desire to move to. I was walking around and scoping out my new surroundings. I woke up feeling at peace with my life and knowing that I am supposed to do everything in my power to relocate. I decided to go online and check out what Dr. Northrup had to say about dreams. Thank you Dr. Northrup! You are amazing!

  20. Jeanne
    10 months ago

    I had a report due for work. I work in Healthcare and it was a Quality Assurance type report. I could not form the words to type. I was at a loss on how to write this report. That was my last thought before I went to sleep and that night I had a dream that told me what to say and how to write the report. When I woke up it was so clear and it was still just as clear when I got to work. I wrote the report exactly how it was presented to me in my dream. I was amazed at what I wrote from my dream.

    1. Christiane L NOrthrup
      9 months ago

      Oh this is FANTASTIC. Such a fantastic example. Thank you!!

  21. terina
    1 year ago

    I had a very vivid dream today while napping, I was in a va hospital (im a veteran) and I was getting a colonoscopy done. I could actually see the tube going into my rear, felt the pain in my dream. once they took out the tube there was poop everywhere on the sheets and I was totally humiliated and was very angry that none of the nurses would change my sheets. the nurses put a gauze like bandage on my rear and held it there it was just pain pain pain, ! I even felt myself in my half awake half asleep holding my rear end holding this bandage on my rear and crying! it burned so badly! then all of a sudden in my dream all these nurses and so forth came into the room and sat at table having lunch while I was on the table writhing in pain and I was so embarrassed and mad and was even telling them to go away and they didn’t even acknowledge me at all! I wrapped myself in the sheets and was begging for clean sheets and pain meds and no one even looked up from eating it was like they just didn’t see me or hear me. when I awoke I was half crying and even in a little pain in my rear and stomach, I kind of laid there unable to move for a few mins. I am totally freaked out by this dream it seemed so real. I do not dream very often at all. I am on sleep medications but ive never had a dream like this on this medication before! im so interested as to why I had this dream and what it could possibly mean!

    1. Christiane L NOrthrup
      9 months ago

      If I were you, I’d listen to this TEDx talk by my colleague Dr Larry Burk, an academic holistic radiologist who studies dreams as diagnostic tools. He is finding that many people have dreams of colon cancer that is later found on colonoscopy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_sQIQvwCII&feature=youtu.be

      Please consider a colonoscopy at this point. And thank you for this post.

    2. Glynis
      2 months ago

      I think Dr Northrup is right . But also poop everywhere is literal it could mean there is a lot of crap in your life which is causing you emotional pain. The lack of support from the nurses ignoring you could feel like you feel alone and unsupported in your actual life.
      But also do get things checked out as Dr Northrup advised.
      Glynis Downey
      Rgn. Diploma in Transpersonal Psychology

  22. Rie
    2 years ago

    Since before my son (now 11) was born, I’ve had dreams of having a baby or child and then losing him or not being able to find him. When my son was a preschooler, I dreamed he was a teenager, and was at a park with his dad, and would not acknowledge me. At the time my son and I were very close, and I was still married to his dad – I could not imagine how this could mean anything, yet I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve had several variations of these types of dreams, always a little disturbing. However, last week I had a dream that my son went to answer the front door after the doorbell rang, and then disappeared, and somehow I was informed or learned that he was taken by a human trafficker.

    Now that he is 11, spends a great deal of time on his computer (much to my disapproval and dismay), and his dad has all but disconnected from our family, we aren’t as close as we once were. Are my dreams prophetic or warnings or is it just my fears telling stories? I hope it’s the latter. I know worry is not helpful, but I can tell you it keeps me up at night, and every time I drop him off anywhere I say a prayer for his safety.

    1. DGWrites
      2 months ago

      Rie, I am reading your post two years after you wrote it here and my heart goes out to you. Transitions are hard and there are many many transitions we go through when raising a child. I am thinking that your dream expresses anxiety about him getting older and your relationship changing, but I can tell you that each new stage is wonderful, even with the challenges, and I encourage you to embrace each stage as you arrive at it. Live in the here and now. Your son is with you, be with him. It is only natural that your son’s relationship with you change as he gets older, and as a teen things can get rocky. My son is 22 now and we re-emerged from the conflicts of the teen years to a wonderful adult relationship. Don’t live in fear, he will sense it and that can push him away further, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tapping an affirmation like, “I am safe to explore this new space and developmental stage with my son.” Show love to your son, engage with him in things that interest him. He will feel your love and constancy and that will remain with him his entire life.

    2. Kassie Rempel
      2 months ago

      Rie – These are fears! Please for your sanity and your son’s safety, when these thoughts arise, tell yourself these are but fears, and immediately think of something happy. I call it the flick and stomp approach. I used to think my daughter (now 9) would be kidnapped. But I got so good at flicking and stomping those fears away, that I no longer have them. Go to bed saying your son is safe. With practice, you will stop having these thoughts and dreams.

  23. Beata
    2 years ago

    I love your stuff, your information, your learnings, your wisdom and am so grateful that you share with us. Much love to you

  24. Carla
    4 years ago

    Like Patricia who posted back in December, I can never recall any of my dreams. However, since reading this article tonight, I am going to be open minded to focusing on recalling my dreams and I know that i will soon be one of the many who can remember my dreams. 2/21/13

  25. Mariette
    4 years ago

    Last night I dreamed I was on a brown horse and he was galloping along in the countryside. I felt I had to put my arms around his neck not to fall off. I had my right arm over his neck, but left my left arm dangling. As a rule, I would be afraid to get on a horse, but I seemed to really like this horse.

  26. Debbie Mullins
    4 years ago

    All during my childhood I had recurring, terrifying, paralizing dreams about driving. It was always my Grandma & me in her convertible Cadillac. We’d be driving & the road would get steeper & steeper until it was so vertical we would tilt backwards; our bodies would fall from the open car. Bridges, cliffs & ramps were always in my dreams too. Even now, my hands prickle, my adrenaline SURGES. I feel my arms will give out & I will plummet over the bridge or cliff.. IRRATIONAL but real every time

  27. Ximena
    4 years ago

    I had a vivid dream a few months ago that I gave birth to a little boy full of dark black hair. I was excited in my dream because the baby “latched on” and I was breast feeding him. I was overjoyed that my baby was eating.To this day the thought of this dream is overwhelming with emotion.I am not a mother yet, but deeply hope to be one day. Maybe the dream meant something along the lines of rebirth and “latching on” to something really good that I should nurture.

  28. Marylyn Coffey
    4 years ago

    I have tried to write down dreams during my life (I’m 62.) I have notebooks full; I’ve made poems from them. Recently I had a troubling dream. In it, I was given a drug by an unseen person. When the effect kicked in, it felt great. But soon I “woke up” from my drugged state and found myself naked, on a road, covered with bruises, including a HUGE bruise on my belly. I had the “realization” that I’d been abused; that it could have gone on for weeks. I have no history of such.

  29. Kathy Carlson
    4 years ago

    I used to have a recurrent dream about being lost in my old high school. I would wander through the hallways looking for my locker and my classroom. I decided to take some college courses and I never had the dream again!

    I am posting this for Kelly Young! I hope this helps

  30. Kelly Young
    4 years ago

    I have had a recurrent dream since I was little of driving up a steep hill or a bridge that opens, and I am in my car and it gets steeper and steeper, and right before my car flips backwards I wake up….why have I had this dream so many times??? I haven’t for a while but it is my one recurrent dream.

  31. Christiane Northrup
    4 years ago

    I surely wish that I could comment on EVERY one of these dreams. They are fascinating! Just a few thoughts. You will remember your dreams when you INTEND to remember before going to bed. And always keep a recording device or pen and paper near your bed. Snakes represent Kundalini energy and sexuality. Vehicles such as airplanes and cars are about how we travel through life. Larry– love this dream conference information. I’ll have to get you to write a blog about it!

  32. BJ
    4 years ago

    I dreamed a vivid time at my deceased Grandmother’s house. She had a house full of Guests and introduced them to me as past relatives from generations before me and I knew them and they knew me at the moment we spoke. The bell rang at the door and a neighbor was there and I said ” Do you see all these people?” and she said…….What people? I woke up at that moment and have had this on my mind all week. I feel like I will be seeing them soon.

  33. Roanne
    4 years ago

    I dreamt that I suddenly had to move apartments and during my dream, I fell asleep and woke back up in a room that I didn’t recognize even though it was all my things. I remember feeling very disoriented and unsettled that I had to move out of my old apartment. Weird.

  34. Larry Burk
    4 years ago

    Great topic. I moderated a medical dream diagnosis panel at the Parapsychological Association meeting in August and have submitted an abstract on Dream Diagnosis of Cancer and Clinical Correlation to the June International Association for the Study of Dreams conference. I have 3 friends who diagnosed their own cancers in precognitive dreams which prompted them to seek conventional medical diagnosis. I agree it is an important skill for your readers to cultivate.

  35. Bre Berke
    4 years ago

    A loosely closed door off the house wouldn’t stay closed. My dog would keep getting out. I’d notice the door open & call him, he’d come back very quickly. Walking my dogs around a place I’ve never been & didn’t know my way around. Kept coming to splits in the path. People with dogs would walk by us, it seemed like we weren’t getting very far. I would see the others making progress around the lake. The dogs were sniffing around, I would wait for them, then calling them to come along.

  36. Patti Allen
    4 years ago

    I LOVE that you are listening to your dreams and doing dream work Dr. N! I did my masters on dreams in ancient Greece and have been running dream groups and teaching about dreams for 2 decades…. And by sharing your path with your own dreams, you elevate this inner work and help all your followers become aware of this easy and fun way to know themselves. Bravo! (Brava!)

  37. CJ
    4 years ago

    I dream that I am parking the car in front of an old white house. There is an old man raking the leaves and when I open the door I see a stairway and then something so frightening that I wake up shaking. I have no idea what is scaring me.

  38. Sherry
    4 years ago

    Would love to hear some of these interpretations… I dream vividly and have oddly had some very similar dreams, toilet over flowing, ghosts (that frighten me), finding treasures in an attic, being lost, piloting a space shuttle or airplane, realizing that I forgot clothing. And some others, exercising, having long straight hair, seeing myself in a mirror, eating at a buffet and romantic attention…

  39. Lakshmi
    4 years ago

    I would love to know what my dreams mean. Any interpretations?

  40. Lakshmi
    4 years ago

    I also often get dreams of being lost and it is very unnerving. Another recurring dream is of food. Banquets. However I cannot eat and enjoy any of the food. yet another dream that repeats is of being naked or partially dressed in public places. I feel the shame but I am helpless. However the body is always young and beautiful.

  41. Patricia
    4 years ago

    Hi, I rarely if ever remember my dreams. Any suggestions to help with this?
    Thank you

  42. Denise
    4 years ago

    A few yrs ago: Recurring dream of toilets overflowing in a house with people and a ghost that hung around me as I moved through the dream. It’s color was steel gray with some yellow and red spots. Since then, I was diagnosed with 2 autoimmune diseases, Graves Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The “ghost” was my unoxgenated blood. Yellow was the inflamation . The toilets I suspect was the anxiety and emotional upheaval (from the Graves Disease) I kept trying to cleanse.

  43. Sandra
    4 years ago

    I recommend a book by Robert Moss — “conscious dreaming” — his approach is the shamanic approach which is almost identical to “dream yoga”.

  44. Sally
    4 years ago

    Two week’s ago I dreamed that someone, a friend? extracted fluid from a lump on my neck/thyroid, and it was just a colorless gel, and we all felt it’s constistancy between our fingers. It was like Aloe vera. So last week I went for my appointment, and they did a biopsy and bloodwork. I will get the results tomorrow. I have absolutley no fear about this because of that dream! 🙂

  45. Aurora
    4 years ago

    when i was about 3 years old, i dreamed i was a baked potato with eyes, a mouth, arms and legs. i was carrying a plastic beach shovel and pail, and walking with my mother and father, when they lifted a flap of grass and dirt on the ground and went underground. next, i was myself, not a potato. suddenly, i saw a giant tounge made of mud lift from the ground. i rushed inside a building that looked a bit like a mall with glass walls. the mud tounge licked the glass wall, making the wall muddy.

  46. Susan
    4 years ago

    Recently, I’ve had several dreams where I was traveling by air but the planes were always much larger and more up-close and personal. Once it was a space shuttle although we were traveling from one place to another on earth. Always, I have anxiety because I am somehow in control of the flight. It always feels dangerous and sometime there are close calls. As frightening and unsettling as it feels, I have never opted to NOT get on the plane!

  47. Lucy
    4 years ago

    I’m afraid of snakes.Last night I dreamed that a saw a snake but the snake ran away from me.
    What is my dream trying to tell me?

    Thank you

  48. Lisa
    4 years ago

    I’ve always been fascinated with dreams. A figure that often comes up for me is the orca, which I interpret as my creativity. The other night there was one in my parents’ swimming pool. I was worried about the water and the size of pool, but no one listened to me. I then put a tiny orca in the pool and it swam everywhere in the pool. I woke up before I could do anything. The next evening I tried to go back into the dream.

  49. Lisa
    4 years ago

    I’ve always been fascinated by dreams.One figure that often comes up is an Orca, which I interpret as my creativity.Last week I dreamed that someone had put a big orca whale in my parents’ swimming pool and I was worried that the pool was too small and the water would kill it. Shortly afterwards, I put a tiny orca into the pool and I was convinced that it was going to survive. I woke up before anything could be done about this situation, but the next evening I tried to go back into the dream.

  50. Mary
    4 years ago

    I always dream of being lost. I wish I knew why.

  51. Linda
    4 years ago

    There was a piece of string stuck in my throat. As I kept pulling and gagging it became colorful yarn, even braided in many colors. There was a man to my right who was clearly grossed out. The man at my head–as I was on my knees–kept encouraging me to get it out, throw it all up.

  52. paulette
    4 years ago

    I had a dream the other night where I was driving up a snowy road, I couldn’t see because my hood kept going over my eyes but I could ‘feel”my way up the road and it was ok.

  53. paulette
    4 years ago

    I had a dream the other night that I was driving up a snowy road & my hood kept coming down over my eyes..I couldn’t see but I could “feel” the road and it was ok…

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