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Boat Ship

This probably depicts our journey through the seas of life and how we meet the rough and smooth experiences, as with example below. In many dreams boats and ships appear to depict a situation, environment or relationship the dreamer is in – as in the saying, ‘in the same boat’.

Because of the fact that once in the water it is difficult to leave the boat, the situation is often one that has certain bonds or commitments which may not be easy to leave or break away from – such as occurs in a close relationship or a work situation. The condition the boat depicts may relate to a physical one, such as a work opportunity, a place we live in, a relationship that, like any relationship, offers certain opportunities and restrictions – or it might be an attitude a feeling or a belief, such as pride or love, which places you in a certain connection with the world – i.e. ‘at sea’ or lost; in a stormy situation; in dry dock, etc. The boat can also be a place of safety amidst the storms of life. Thus attitudes or strengths enabling the dreamer to meet difficulties.

A boat is the thing that keeps you afloat in a different element than you are used to. As such it depicts the attitudes that enable you to have a clear boundary and certainty of who you are. It is your confidence and the threshold that separates your waking self from the massive and deep unconscious – the ocean of collective awareness. This is clear in the following example.

Example: Opened a paper at the comic strip. Began to read and become involved in the story. A small speed boat was at sea. But the sea dissolved anybody who fell in. One man fell in but held himself together as a blob of water and jumped back to the speedboat. I remember the words “The sea is a great solvent.” Anthony.

This dream pictures Anthony’s identity or ability to be an individual amidst the great ocean of life or consciousness. So the boat probably represents how he sees his body, as a thing separate from the rest of the world.

The various environments boats may be in show the condition or feelings surrounding the basic life situation the boat depicts. For instance being ‘at sea’ – depending upon calmness or rough seas – shows the dreamer being away from a familiar base or in difficult or uncertain times.

Example: I am in a large glass boat with my wife. The sea is very rough and I am afraid the boat will sink.’ Ron D.

The dream occurred a few weeks before a breakdown occurred in which the dreamer’s wife left him.

Example: I was inside a large boat, probably a tanker. There were a lot of passengers, but it appeared as if we were imprisoned in a huge room. It was very dingy and dismal. I am not sure though whether people realised they were prisoners. Maybe one only realised one was imprisoned if one tried to escape. Bob. A.

This boat obviously represents a situation Bob finds it difficult to get out of, and is only just realising he is trapped in. It also shows him involved with other people.

Example: I’m a young woman standing on a sea shore. I am waiting for my man. I hear the oars in the row locks of a boat, then it comes into view. A man comes to me, and puts his arms around me like he’s known me all my life. My man pauses, turns his head to a man still in the boat and says – Tell them this is it. Phillipa.

Here the boat holds the suggestion of being an event bringing Phillipa a love she has been waiting for.


Anchored boat: Security; stable relationship or situation; opposite of drifting.

Beached boat: Possibly suggests a situation in which you are ‘on dry land’ not subject to many changes or uncertainties. But it could also relate to a project, relationship or endeavour that cannot be got underway, or has got stuck in some way. However if you beach the boat and get out, then it shows the end of a journey, project or relationship.

Boat without oars: Ill equipped to deal with the situation you are in. A loss of motivation and being subject to external events to direct your life. So this might point to indecisiveness or lack of initiative.

Bows: One’s strength to meet life’s changes.

Disembarking: Leaving a phase of life, such as motherhood, marriage or a job. Ending a relationship or arriving at a new phase of life, a new possibility or great change.

Dry dock: Necessary changes being made; circumstances not conducive to being actively involved in a project or relationship; delays. There might be a link with ill health here also.

Embarking alone: Independence or loneliness. Entering a new situation and perhaps unknown events or possibilities. Opportunity for new relationships.

Ferry boat: If across a river, end of a relationship; transition from one phase of life to another or one life situation to another; the emotional connections in a relationship. Sometimes links with death or the loss of someone.

Going on a cruise: Desiring relationship with others; or to be a part of other peoples life. Leaving ones everyday life behind.

Boat journey by night: Classic archetype of searching for one’s roots in life; the journey into ones unconscious experience. See: night sea journey under archetypes.

Keel: Basic personal strengths. The foundation of your personality or identity.

Leaving boat but leaving bag on it: Losing confidence or self value, such as might happen when children have gone or job ended.

Lots of small boats: Other peoples relationships.

Missing a boat: Missing opportunity; not grasping significance of events; not ‘making it’ in a relationship.

Motor boat: Similar to car but more sense of isolation or aloneness. The motor boat also shows the powerful feelings and drives which impel us into action, or give us a direction in life, as in the following example. For instance a strong anxiety can be a power, an engine, which motivates us to do or avoid certain things, such a taking risks, entering a relationship. So too can love, dependence, desire for wealth, loneliness, and the struggle to survive.


Example: My wife, H and I were on a large and beautiful motor boat, about thirty feet long. We were speeding along a river about hundred yards wide. I didn’t seem to be steering with a wheel, but there was no problem. Instead of water the river appeared to be a thick slurry of some kind. We were passing through countryside and suddenly H dropped what I felt might be an important envelope overboard. It lay on the top of the river. I wanted to stop and retrieve it. Other boats were coming along some way behind and I wondered if one of them would go over it. There was a lever which was the accelerator. I pushed it right back and the boat slowly reduced speed, but we were a long way from the envelope/package. The further away we got the less important it seemed, although I had wondered if it contained documents important to where we were going – which I felt was to do with some sort of work or teaching an official or business group.

Suddenly H was on the right bank of the river. I am not sure why, but she had left the boat. I wasn’t sure how she could get back on board again as the river was now full of debris and weeds – tree stumps, metal poles, cans, really full – and the banks were shallow and difficult to approach. I found a place where I could pull in, and there were steps in the earthy or limestone type bank that had been worn in with use. I managed to stop the boat – I still couldn’t find controls to guide or stop the craft – by holding on to the bank, and H got on. I was very pleased and felt love and pleasure that she had got on again. I kissed her warmly. We pulled away from the bank, avoiding a big metal post and chain low in the water. I felt if we went slowly we could get through all the debris okay. Roz.

This dream occurred during a period of separation in the marriage and shows how Roz is not really guiding the boat. He is being impelled by drives he doesn’t have full control over. Parting and coming together again are clearly depicted in the dream.

Rowing a boat: Personal skill or effort to achieve a goal. Whether you are succeeding well or not shows how you are assessing your own efforts to reach goals or take a direction in life.

Rudder: Sureness about direction in life; ability to take a direction in life and maintain it against other influences.

Shared journey on boat or ship: A situation we are involved in with other people or person, such as marriage, business partnership, armed forces; this is the relation-ship, a shared journey in which you ‘are all in the same boat’.

Sinking ship/boat: Fear of relationship ending; difficult events or circumstances; could be children leaving mother, so the collective ‘boat journey’ has finished; illness; death.

Small Boat with one other person: One’s relationship with that person.

Idioms: Burn one’s boats; in the same boat; miss the boat; rock the boat; ships that pass; ship comes in; a tight ship; in a boat without a paddle. See: anchor; submarine.

Useful questions:

If I am not alone on this boat, what is the dream saying about my shared journey with the person or people I am with?

What is the situation depicted – storm, calm, etc – and how does that relate to my life?

Am I directing the boat or am I a passenger – and in what way am I alone or going along with somebody in life?

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Comments

-Amy 2015-01-28 6:51:24

Love your site. I dreamt I was on a ferry with my parents and little sister. My father said that they needed to leave to take our little boat back into shore leaving me alone on this big ferry to master alone. At first I was confident but soon I got frightened realising I’d have to steer the ferry myself back into the harbour to rest at dock.

I took the wheel, the seas became rough as I realised I was surrounded by other boats working their way into shore too. I panic. I don’t want to be gere and want help. But there is no one. I steer the ferry in the wrong direction and head towards shallow waters and into a hill. A police officer in another boat pulls up beside me and says what the hell are you doing. I explain I have no idea how to control the boat. The takes control and guides the ferry into shore where my family await with smiles. How are you? They say, let’s go for breakfast. I breakdown in tears saying I didn’t know what I was doing. Why did you leave me? They dismiss my criesplee and say they are off to do their own thing then since I’m carrying on like a baby.

I’ve been away from home travelling for 2years now but will be rreturning to my homeland at xmas. I left an ex partner of 11years there and I worked with my mum in our own business for 8years. They have since left our homeland too but will be travelling back at xmas too…can you help me make sense of this dream. I feel it’s significant. :)

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    -Tony Crisp 2015-01-28 8:48:15

    Amy – At first the dream suggests that you still need the support and guidance of your parents and family. It also paints a picture of you having a rough time and needing a male viewpoint to find your way to security again.

    But it seems as if you have been developing an independent life already, so I can only think that you have a lot of feelings about dependency that are becoming known now, and will need attention. Your dream parents have a way of deserting you, and so I wonder if that is an issue with you.

    Tony

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-E. D. 2015-01-31 23:27:45

Love the site – so informative. Just had a dream I was on a ship with a group of people I didn’t know, and my boyfriend. It was a beautiful, calm day. When boyfriend and I both walked outside the ship started to sink, very suddenly. Everyone was trapped and not able to escape, except for the two of us. Any thoughts on what this might mean?

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    -Tony Crisp 2015-02-01 13:47:37

    E.D. – You have lived a life in which you were involved with many people and also a way of life given to enjoying yourself.

    Leaving the boat suggests you have left or will make a big change in your life, one which will mean you will lose any feelings about your old life. Quite a big change.

    Tony

    Reply

-Joy 2015-02-01 18:21:10

I dreamed of being in a boar with other persons i vaguely recognise but i recognise one man, the one im infatuated at the moment. The boat is sailing near the shore, the water is calm, and the surroundings is dark like it is twilight. Underneath the clear water i saw a black snake. But we just passed on it. The boat was sailing towards a part near cemetery (i know this because the setting was at my home province’ beach. But upon reaching near cemetery, the wayers becoame shallow and large rocks appeared causing the boat to be stick and sonk. I was afraid to sonk with the boat and struggled hard to not touch the water. Then i woke up.

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-ummy 2015-03-09 6:50:07

i dream i got on a really big ship through climbing the anchor,a big one,to attend a former close friends wedding.

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-Areli 2015-03-17 1:45:16

I had a dream about a guy I ended things with. I never told him I actually felt in the relationship and even after we ended things. In this dream, I see him taking a ferry to a city, where ferries do not even exist, yet..I see him on it. Alone and calm.

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-Butterfly 2015-04-03 14:14:55

I am not sure where to begin from, i saw that I’m on a small rescue boat with my mother, sister and another person i can’t remember correctly perhaps my nephew. Anyways we are rowing in apparently flooded area. There is dry as well as flooded land around but I’m frantically looking for water so that we can row our boat.
We run on dry land and my mother looks worried. I tell her not to worry I’ll find water and we can safely sail to a place we want to reach.
We reenter water and my sister disappeared leaving the rows to me and i start rowing telling my mother see i can row too.
Meanwhile another family pass us in their SUV and sort of look down upon us and i told them that we are better equipped than a car.

That’s all i remember of this dream. But what i vaguely remember is my feeling of responsibility to protect my mother .

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-Anon 2015-04-12 7:29:27

I have had dreams about a boat sinking with various scenarios since I was a child. The last 5 or so years the sinking dream usually involves
in some variation being on a big boat (with family members) looking out to see a massive wave coming towards us, which inevitable causes the boat to capsize. The endings are always vague because I start to wake up due to the unpleasant feeling the dream causes. Last nights dream ended we me on land, I could see the capsized boat and I was walking with someone I knew (but don’t know in real life) trying to find someone else to make sure they had survived. Although these people had not been who I was sat with when the wave was coming towards the boat.

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    -Anna 2015-04-13 8:33:09

    Anon – What a wonderful change you allowed into your inner world :-) I hope I can do justice to all the symbols in your dream.
    In general dreams recur because there are ways you habitually responds to your internal or external world. (a habitual response to a feeling is for instance: “because I start to wake up due to the unpleasant feeling the dream causes”.)
    To feel fear in a dream means that you have not yet developed abilities to cope with what is symbolised as causing the fear. One of the wonderful things about dreams if you work with them, is that they gradually show you how to deal with the parts of your nature that need to grow or to be healed. They show how to meet the parts of yourself that need release, or to be understood or healed. If it takes courage to meet these buried or painful parts of yourself, then your dreams will gradually take you on a journey that helps you to unfold your resources of courage. You will be enabled to face your fears, and in fact gain power and instruction from them.
    And so I wonder if you are aware of this inner change you made for this time you did not wake up when the boat capsized and so you were able to see where your dream creator is leading you; to your island, which is a move towards independence.
    I feel the capsized boat in your dream is a symbol of what has to be destroyed first to become independant; the relationship with your (inner) family (beliefs you are raised with) as you have known it so far. I wonder if you broke up with (parts of) your family in your waking life.
    Either way, I see the dream suggests that due to your inner growth (the massive wave), you could not hold up all the beliefs, set of morals and ethics you are raised with.
    Some of it survives though, although you still have to understand what you want to keep; “I was walking with someone I knew (but don’t know in real life)”. You can use http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson exploring this part of yourself.
    Sorting out, finding the parts or aspects of yourself which survive the inner change and (un)learning is a process which will take “some time”; the rest of your life ;-)
    Please see http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/individuation/
    Also the collective unconscious is seen by some thinkers, like Jung and Sheldrake, who see individual human consciousness like an island in a huge ocean in which there are countless other islands. Above the surface of the water, which is like individual waking self-awareness; in this there is a sense of separate existence, with definite boundaries where the shore meets the sea. Beneath the surface however, one island is connected to all other islands. The land stretches away under the waves and rises here and there into other islands. So, it is thought, personal awareness, beneath our everyday consciousness, shades off into a connection with a collective unconscious we all share. Through this connection we may be able to arrive at insights into other people otherwise denied to us.
    And last but not least Anon. I prefer to see these dreams as “the process of growth in a nutshell” and much of it will become clear when you continue with your inner journey. So be patient with yourself and your growth and yet press on. http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/what-we-need-to-remember-about-us-3/#Seed
    Anna :-)

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      -Anon 2015-04-14 13:38:53

      Thank you so much for responding.
      Very interesting. These dreams happen maybe only once a year or so but I will try to write them down from now on to pick up on any differences.
      Thanks again :)

      Reply

-Caley 2015-04-22 4:36:12

I just had a dream last night, I was on a cruise ship and we were suddenly going at the speed of a speed boat and we were hitting these ginormous waves that had to have been 50 to 60 footers, we hit one and went flying over it, parts of the ship broke off and disappeared in to the ocean. Then suddenly we were on calm smooth as glass water. The weird thing about it is that this afternoon I hear on the news that a cruise ship is in a big storm getting hit by giant waves today! Did I just have a Preminition?

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    -Anna 2015-04-22 7:19:17

    Caley – J. W. Dunne, after observing several of his dreams that portrayed future, put forward a theory about time in his book http://www.amazon.com/experiment-Faber-paper-covered-editions/dp/B0007JC39A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278935156&sr=1-1

    He said that usually we only see where we have been in time, but in certain states of mind that can occur in dreams we can see present, past and future as if from an aerial view.

    Quantum theory has put forward theorems that show how this might be feasible. Irish physicist John Stewart Bell put forward a quantum theorem that has revolutionised the way reality is considered. In brief, the theorem states that when two sub-microscopic particles are split and moved to a distance from each other, the action on, or of, particle ‘A’, is instantaneously reproduced with particle ‘B’. This interaction does not rely on any known link or communication and is considered to stand above normal physical laws of nature, as it is faster than light. Prior to such findings it was thought nothing could transcend the speed of light. This suggests that the fundamental particles of our body exist beyond time and space, and if a dream touches this level then it expresses a very different experience of time.

    Some dreams show very clearly that at a certain level of our being time and space are not as they are in the world of our senses. Edgar Cayce said that time is usually like looking through a crack in a wall at a river. Through the crack we can only see what is there at that moment. But if we climb the wall we can see what is coming and what has gone past us.
    Also see http://dreamhawk.com/interesting-people/edgar-cayce/
    Anna :-)

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-Jessie 2015-04-23 17:53:48

Dreamt that I was a kind of manager on a big cruise ship & all the passengers were together in a big room. The ship started to pitch and turn and water was leaking in through the windows…I was trying to help everyone with life jackets and find out what was happening/what we were supposed to do…I blinked and all the windows in the room were boarded up so we couldn’t see out to see what was happening. The door that led out of the room kept flying open and water would spray in so I kept trying to push it shut…until someone yanked it open so I could see that we weren’t at sea at all, we were attached to a truck, recklessly flying down the freeway

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    -Anna 2015-04-24 11:54:49

    Dear Jessie – Not knowing anything about your waking life, it is difficult for me to understand if this dream is about your inner world “only” – and so about the relationship with the different parts of yourself – about your waking life “only” – and so about the relation-ships you are involved in – or about both.
    I will approach the dream as if this is about your inner world, but keep in mind that you might meet the aspects of your inner world in people and situations in your waking life too, for often our waking life reflects very clearly – like a mirror – what goes on in our inner world.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/
    For my own learning I would appreciate it if you can inform me whether you have a managing position in your working life.
    Either way – with or without a managing position in your waking life – I can recommend you to read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Inner-Work-Leadership-Barry-Brownstein/dp/0984425403/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429871903&sr=8-1&keywords=the+inner+work+of+leadership
    I feel that the overall meaning of the first part of the dream is that in order to fruitfully manage the relationship with your selves, you have to look into it a bit more.
    This need to open up to “what was previously unknown” becomes clear from this part of the dream “until someone yanked it open so I could see that we weren’t at sea at all”.
    Opening a door is a very powerful thing (yanked open!) in a dream.
    When this more daring part of you opens up the door it becomes clear to you that things aren’t at all what they seemed or what you believed them to be.
    Our dreams can graphically illustrate our beliefs and what influence they have upon our decision making, responses and relationships. The importance lies in the fact that many of our beliefs are unconscious. They were absorbed in childhood and often remain without any conscious evaluation at first.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/beliefs/
    And so what you became aware of is that “we were attached to a truck, recklessly flying down the freeway”.
    “Someone” who is driving carelessly or recklessly is a symbol for a lack of responsibility socially (or sexually) and so there is a need for more awareness. It also suggests you are not really in charge of your life in any positively aware way. There may be an over-riding feeling such as anger or frustration that is eating away at you and causing the carelessness – or are you exhausted?
    This last part of your dream has an overlapping symbology in your inner life and in your waking life.
    In your waking life it could mean that – although you might have a managing position in your work for instance – you are not the one who is really in charge. So as I see it, it could relate to your perception and/or fear that an authority is acting in a way which could be harmful to both you and your work and for the (work of the) people you feel responsible for because of the position you have.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/the-driving-seat/
    In your inner life this part of the dream could symbolise that you are not “behind the stirring wheel” and that could mean that an autonomous complex is in charge of WHERE you are going and HOW you are getting there.
    Many of the characters or elements of our dreams act quite contrary to what we consciously wish. This is why we often find it so difficult to believe that all aspects of a dream are part of our own psyche. Some drives or areas of self act or express despite what we would want.
    A way the autonomous complex may announce itself is by taking over or by invading the conscious personality. It may be an idealistic vision that possesses the person, a mission such as preaching or improving the lot of other people, or something that re-directs the life of the person in a manner that is not rational. This may lead to extraordinary deeds, done in the possessing influence of the vision or urge – or it may lead to foolishness or disillusionment. The apparent change, however, is that the person is under the influence of urges that were not natural, or the person was not capable of, before the invasion. The life of Joan of Arc is an example of being led to great deeds which were beyond the person prior to the invasion.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/autonomous-complex/
    I am aware that I gave you a lot to read; I do believe though that this is an important dream which does deserve your conscious attention.
    Anna :-)

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-nichola archer 2015-04-25 7:15:31

Hi I had a dream that I was sitting on a ferry with rows and rows of wooden bench seats. I was waiting for my husband to arrive and meet me aboard but he didn’t arrive, when he didn’t turn up I woke from the dream. I did know a few people on board but I only know these people to say hello to In passing in real life.

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    -Anna 2015-04-26 7:36:18

    Nichola – I see your dream symbolising the transition you are about to make. The symbol of rows and rows of wooden bench seats I see as a symbol for sharing this transition with many other people in Life, whether you know them or not.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/every-seven-years-you-change/
    Transitions are times of crossing or traveling from something old and familiar to something new and unfamiliar. Most transitions are small and pass by almost unnoticed. Some, however, involve major disruptions in routines and force us to re-examine our values and lifestyle.
    Transitions range from changes that affect everyone (social/technological advances and natural disasters) to more personal transitions that affect one’s career and relationships.
    I think it will be helpful to explore what you associate with the other people on the ferry, for these are probably aspects of you that will change too.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/association-of-ideas-with-dreams/#Working
    By examining the past, you can recall transition-making strengths you developed and uncover any unfinished business that may now prevent you from being your best. To handle present and future transitions, use the insights gained from past and newly acquired skills.
    It could be that your husband did not turn up, because you will have to make this transition without him joining you. Many people fail to realize that every transition begins with an ending.
    It is my own experience that within relationships, one of the persons involved will do the first step to change the relationship pattern. So perhaps the pattern does not give you what you want and/or you simply allow for inner growth.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/self-observation/
    Anna :-)

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-mary 2015-05-06 15:20:03

I recently had a dream that I was on a boat. More like ferry cruise ship type . Out of nowhere appears an ex of mine who has recently passed away at a young age and very tragic. We joked we laughed we hugged and danced for hours and then suddenly the lights come on and he turns into someone else ..almost like a Cinderella moment. Then I woke up. We did not have the greatest ending of a relationship but had a very strong connection but haven’t spoken in years. Just wondering what it could mean.

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    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-05-10 13:49:04

    Dear Mary – I feel that on one level your dream is about you digesting the physical loss of your ex-partner and about what you took in from your relationship with him.
    On this level it is not your ex you are dreaming of, but your dream is showing you your inner feelings about the past relationship and all the memories needing to be digested and learned from. Remember that because you were together for a while there is no way you can ‘have nothing to do’ with someone you have been intimately involved with. It doesn’t work like that. Most people are often totally unaware of the massive experience they take in during a relationship and how it interacts with them when we love someone. In other words the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/digest/
    On another level you may have met your ex-partner when he crossed to another dimension.
    Please read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/dreaming-of-death/#Contact
    Anna :-)

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-Amee 2015-05-12 7:49:33

So i had a dream that i was on a ship and it suddenly started sinking in a ocean. Like there were huge waves of water coming at me and there were lots of people and all strangers except my father. I did find a way to get out of it but i saved someone else and i went to find others and then… i woke up

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