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Characters or People in Dreams

Harry Bosma, who produces the best selling Alchera dream interpretation software, says of the characters in your dreams:

“There must have been some dreams that made you wonder why a known person appeared in them. This is especially puzzling if you haven’t seen that person for years. I experience this all the time. Everyone I ever met in my life keeps showing up in my dreams. I can’t blame day residue for it. If somebody appears in my dream, there has to be a special reason for it.

“I’ve been entering characters in my symbol book for a long time. Let me introduce you to a few. There’s Peter, one of my strongest helpers. He showed up riding on a horse in my ‘Cracking The Ice’ dream. Riding the horse he managed to crack the ice on a small lake, something I was unable to do on my own. I had to think for a while before I understood exactly why he appeared in my dream. Peter went to the same elementary school as I. One thing I eventually remembered about him was his inventiveness. This led me to realise that I use the appearance of Peter in a dream as a clue to consider whether I need to think of a more ingenious approach to an issue I am confronting.

There’s Frits, whose role I only recently got to understand. I could never see any pattern in the dreams he appeared in. Frits is a high school acquaintance, somebody who was often around, even though we weren’t really friends. I never fully understood it at the time. But it recently hit me that he was especially around when I was rebelling against the boredom of high school. He was having fun whenever I broke the rules, or did something else exciting. With that insight, looking back at the dreams, there is a pattern. Whenever my behaviour in a dream is more active than usual, he is around. He is the part of me that is having fun, because I’m not aware that I’m having fun myself.”

Apart from defining how you see one of your dream characters, and what relationship you have had to them in the past, as Harry suggests, it helps to simply consider how you feel about them, what of their characteristics are most important or noticeable to you? But occasionally it isn’t what you see in their character, but what you feel about them that is important. For instance a person who has frequently appeared in my dreams is a woman called Ann. I felt a lot of sexual attraction to Ann – although she may have felt nothing for me – and she appears in my dreams whenever loving feelings or closeness are being dealt with.

A man I used to work for, Leo, has appeared in dreams where a problem regarding outer activity was concerned. So Leo represents for me ways of dealing with difficulties I face in the world. He is the confidence and courage I have innately to meet things constructively.

But many characters in dreams are not people you have ever met or known, not even characters from films, plays or books. So you can’t look back on them and ask yourself what you observed or felt about them. In such cases it is most helpful to imagine yourself as that character and describe who you are, exactly as you are and how you act in the dream – as the dream character. As an example of this, one character in a dream, an old man, was dying. He was nobody I knew. When I imagined myself as him and described what I felt, and what was happening to me, it was clear he represented the experience I was facing at the time. I was letting my old life, a phase of my life, my old self, die. This was difficult but it was happening, and the dream helped me clarify what I was facing. See Being the Person or Thing

One of the most helpful ways to find the qualities of a dream character is to give them a name. For instance you might basically feel that a man you have seen or know slightly seems a practical outwardly capable person. So you could give him the name of Mr. Practical. Mr Practical therefore is your ability in dealing with everyday life, or outward activities. There could also be Mr Sexy, Miss How Do I Look, and so on. Naming characters gets easier if you stand in their role imaginatively as described above.

But remember that a word in a sentence changes meaning, even subtly, as it is placed in a different context. The word light, for instance, can be used by saying, “I switched on the light.” Or we can say, “I felt very light-hearted.” Or even, “There was no light.”

Each of these brings about a different sense of surroundings or events. Similarly, the context of a character in your dream may change what you have defined of his or her qualities. So you must look to the context to get the final understanding as to what you dream character indicates in that particular dream. See Context/Theme

A person who appeared in many of my dreams was a woman named Su. My relationship with Su was one in which I had been trying to learn to love her without being possessive or grasping. So in my dreams she always depicted my attempts to love in that way, or my attempts to learn a fuller love.

In one dream Su is shown paddling an inflatable dingy to a local town, where I am going to meet her. But there were difficulties about this. At the time of the dream I was dealing with a lot of people in very direct relationships, and Su in this dream shows that I still haven’t ‘met’ or integrated the ability to love without grasping or wanting to posses. The difficulty in the dream suggests that I find it difficult to express this more open love.

In a later dream, experienced just after I had led a weekend activity, I dreamt Su was visiting or with us. But she didn’t look like Su at all, being dark, indecisive and a weaker personality. I was talking with her, or just with her, when I realised that Mike (a close friend) was upstairs with my wife. He had arrived back from America. I wanted him to meet Su. I wanted to hug him, but I also wanted Su to see me do this. So although I hug him with love, there was also something of the purposely done thing about it.

Here Su is actually with me, in my house, so this is an entirely different context than with the previous dream. This shows a fuller integration with unconditional love. But the part at the end where I hope Su will see me ‘loving’ Mike points out that I am still moved by desires for acclaim and public attention.

So to summarise, consider each character and discover what qualities, faults, weaknesses or strength they depict for you. Give them a name, as this helps you remember their quality. But look to the context of the dream to find the detailed and changing expression of what the character depicts. See Autonomous Complex; Sub Personalities

 Couple: Depending on the context of the couple in the dream, they can represent the dreamers parents and the family situation and environment at the age of the couple portrayed; if the dreamer has been married, can depict the dreamer’s marriage situation at the age of the couple; hopes for a relationship; possible outcomes of a relationship; friendship; partnership; some sort of relationship.

Dead people: The influence those people still have in your life – i.e. you are still influenced by them, or your relationship with them, even though they are dead. Feelings about death. Many people are often 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. So this needs to be recognised in understanding Dreams about Dead People and also Dreaming about a person I have left

Group of people: A group of people, as in Ivor’s dream below, can depict how one meets the pressure of social norms; public opinion. See: crowd.

Large crowds: Enormous involvement of self in an issue; ones relationship or feelings about the social environment one lives in; in groups we have a feeling of being looked at or on view – how we relate to that may be depicted by what we are doing in the dream group. See: party; roles.

People from our past: Considering that the major part of our learning and experience occur in relationship to other people, such learning and experience can be represented by characters from the past. For instance a first boyfriend in a dream would depict all the emotions and struggles we met in that relationship, and what we learned from it or took away from it in terms of fears. Therefore dreaming often of people we knew in the past would suggest the past experiences or lessons are very active at the moment, or we are reviewing those areas of our life. A woman who had emigrated to Britain from a very different cultural background frequently dreamt, even twenty years afterwards, of people she knew in her native country. This shows her still very much in contact with her own cultural values and experiences.

Because you have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with someone and they are what makes you the person you are. 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.

Several people in a dream suggest: Not feeling lonely; involvement of many aspects of oneself in what is being dreamt about; social ability.

As social relationship is one of the most important factors outside of personal survival – and survival depends upon it – such dreams help us to clarify our individual contact with society. Human beings have an unconscious but highly developed sense of the psychological social environment. Ivor’s dream shows something we are all involved in – how we are relating to humans collectively. Are we in conflict with group behaviour and direction; do we conform, but perhaps have conflict with our individual drives; do we find a way between the opposites? Much of our response is laid down in childhood and remains unconscious unless we review it.

 Example: ‘Walking alone through a small town. I was heading for a place that a group of people, in a street parallel to mine, were also heading for. A person from the group tried to persuade me that the RIGHT way to get to the place was along the street the group was walking. I knew the street did not matter, only the general direction. The person was quite disturbed by my independence. It made him or her feel uncertain to have their leader apparently questioned. I felt uncertain too for a moment.’ Ivor S.

In some dreams, a group of people represent what is meant by the word God. This may sound unlikely, but the unconscious, because it is highly capable of synthesis, often looks at humanity as a whole. Collectively humanity has vast creative and destructive powers that intimately affect us as individuals. Collectively it has performed miracles that looked at as an individual, appear impossible. How could a little human being build the great pyramid, or a space shuttle? The Bible echoes this concept in such phrases as ‘Whatever you do to the least of one of these, you do to me.’

 Example: ‘I was outdoors with a group of people acting as leader. We were in the middle of a war situation with bullets playing around us. Maybe aeroplanes were also attacking. I was leading the group from cover to cover, avoiding the bullets. Paul W.

Despite feeling attacked, either by external events, or from inner conflicts, Paul is using leadership skills to deal with his own fears and tendencies. If a friend told us he had just had an argument with his wife and was going to leave her, we might sit down and counsel them by listening and helping them to sort out the hurt feelings from their long term wishes. We might point out they had felt this way before but it passed – in other words give feedback they had missed. In a similar way, our various emotions and drives often need this sort of skill employed by ourselves. This unifies us, leading to coping skills as in Paul’s dream.


Useful Questions and Hints:

If they are people I know do I understand what I associate with them?

Do I recognise what I feel about society?

What have my parents left in me?

See The Conjuring TrickWorking with associationsReleasing Your Inner Genius



-jessica enersen 2015-04-25 2:49:51

hi in my dream i saw this old lady head flying above my head about 2-3ft above my bed. she tryed to protect my because this guy put big bags of candy on my bed. she told me not to eat the candy. the face was an old lady with a bun and short hair. the face was in black and white. it scares me because the night after i saw her again. i haven’t seen her in any movies i watch at all. i am terified of this face becaue i have no clue what it wants or why i keep seeing it.


    -Anna 2015-04-26 10:25:45

    Dear Jessica – With this dream it is important for me to know how old you are, for I would understand this dream in a different way when you are a teenager.
    So please tell me your age.
    Anna :-)


-Bella 2015-05-06 15:34:06

last night I dreamed of this young man named Cyris. I have never met him before in my life but in the dream he was very important to me. He believed he was a terrible person and denied ever caring about anyone but as the dream progressed he continued to save me from situations that would have otherwise killed me. I later found out that he was a ghost. During part of the dream he diapered and I was searching for him but I could not find him. I kept calling his name. I tried my hardest to climb this cliff because I thought he might be at the top of it. Then I woke up


    -Bella 2015-05-06 15:35:27

    disappeared *


      -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-05-10 14:34:53

      Dear Bella – Could you please let me know if you perhaps misspelled the name of the man in your dream? (Chris or Cyrus?)
      Anna :-)


-chris lillie 2015-06-05 12:04:20

my friend had a dream that I was holding an American Indian statue with her mom standing on the side of me


-Nicholas S 2015-06-24 9:46:19

I just had a nightmare that I was in a large group, it was some sort of evening party, like a wedding reception. there was a male line and a female line, I was supposed to meet in the middle and the woman was supposed to dance, like in an organized dance. But instead they would latch on to the person behind me.

I became frustrated and left the area which was much like a decorated park and I had a seat on a stone/concrete picnic table, this was in a rectangular part of the park with a path through it longways, as I was sitting down people from the party pushed passed me. When I sat I was startled by a girl who I had barely known from high school, she was in an older class. She began to talk to me about the books I had read or ones that I’m interested in. She had sort of a calming presence. Then I started to wake up and she told me not to worry and laid there next to me as I woke up.
I’m 24, never had a dream this vivid before.


    -Nicholas s 2015-06-29 11:49:52

    What does this dream mean?


      -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-07-04 8:15:37

      Dear Nicholas – Thank you for your perseverance in wanting to understand this dream and for your patience; I needed some more time for Tony had to help me (some more) with exploring your dream.
      Your dream starts with what is a symbol of “the mating game” – choose and/or be chosen – and your dream figure perceives it as that he is not chosen by a female from this group of people; which he then perceives as frustrating.
      In the park you then become aware of the facts of social life and the division that is part of experiencing life at this level. You also notice how “people” – your inner drives? – are pushing to find their (sexual) partner and obviously you do not feel like joining them/this approach.
      Instead you take a seat on a stone/concrete picnic table; stone could be a symbol of shutting down your (sexual) feelings.
      Then an older girl/woman approaches you and she connects with you at first on a level you do feel comfortable with and on this level she “feeds you” with realisations that also help you digest information and experiences, the latter being food for your growth as an individual.
      This woman is a symbol of your anima – among other things she represents your intuition and your more receptive state of mind – and she helps you to make a more intimate connection with your inner female first; “She had sort of a calming presence. Then I started to wake up and she told me not to worry and laid there next to me as I woke up”.
      “I believe this part is about the inner instinctive urge you have – as a male “animal” – to find a mate and her calming presence and “Not to worry” I see as an expression that once you truly connect with her – your anima – in your inner world, finding a mate will become more natural, probably because you will attract what and who you ARE, not what and who you WANT.
      See also
      Anna :-)


-Maria 2015-11-03 15:29:39

I dreamt that I was touching a handsome man’s face and it was soft. His expression was happy and we were laughing. I asked if my face was just as soft as his but it was slightly not. I am 15 years old soon turning 16 if that helps!


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