Using The Dictionary

The long entries in the dream dictionary are often in two or more parts. The first part is a short summary of the entry’s meaning, and then there is a larger explanation under the heading Longer  Explanation.

The Dictionary contains explanations on almost any type of dream subject. The entries are placed in alphabetical order for easy reference, but some, like ‘dog’ or ‘running’ may be placed in certain categories such as animals and posture, movement, body language.

The major collective entries are – animals; archetypes; birds; body; car; clothes; colours; esp in dreams; family and relationships; fish and sea creatures; food; furniture and furnishings; games and gambling; house and buildings; individuation; insects; jewels; man; numbers; peer dream work; positions; postures movement and body language; processing dreams; reptiles – lizards and snakes; roles (such as actor/actress, captain, dentist, etc.); shapes and symbols; size; time – of day; trees; unconscious; weapons; woman. See: List of Features.

So if you dreamt of a flying saucer landing in a field, and aliens getting out and taking sheep and a dog back into the saucer, you could look up each of these subjects in the text. Turn to the ‘F’ entries for flying saucer; the animals and then the entry for dog and sheep, and so on.

Each entry gives the general meaning of the dream subject, just as an encyclopaedia or dictionary does for a word. Several possible meanings are given, as in the example below.

perfume, scent or smell Good smell: Good feelings; non verbalised intimations or love; a sense of personal beauty. Idioms: On the right scent; throw someone off the scent. See: nose under body.

Example: ‘I went back in time in circles, almost as if going unconscious. I went back and back and then there came this awful smell such as I’ve never experienced. I always felt it was the smell of death. I would wake terrified. One night my husband, a practical and down to earth man, said he would read me to sleep to see if it helped me not have the dream. It made no difference I still had the nightmare. Imagine my surprise though. He said ‘I knew you’d had the dream again for there was an awful smell in the room for a minute.’’ Mrs E. C.

The above entry on perfume is typical of most entries. The example it contains is indented and illustrates the entry, or an aspect of it. In general, the description of what the dream image means is set out as the part which reads – ‘Frequently in dreams a bad smell expresses an intuition of something rotten in ones life. Rotten might mean ‘bad’ emotions felt in a relationship; a hunch or feelings about something, as in the example; memories.’ The insertion of the semi-colon ; means that a separate suggestion for the meaning of the dream image is being given. We could therefore read it as saying, ‘Perfume or smell might mean ‘bad’ emotions felt in a relationship. It might depict a hunch or feelings about something. It might mean memories of something – depending on the smell.’

To pack as much information into the available space, sometimes the semi colons have been used to shorten statements. Therefore, in using the entries to find meanings of dream images, consider each suggestion given.

Many entries, as with the above, also give variations, as with Good smell. The headings for these are underlined to make them easier to find. Because many dream images depict our unconscious thought processes, as used in language, the section Idioms, also underlined, is frequently given. Standing in a pink room might well be our dream’s way of saying we feel ‘in the pink’. Coming down from a tall building to street level might be quickly understood by the idiom ‘coming down to earth’.

‘See:’ suggests the reading of other entries which might be useful. Sometimes a suggestion is made to ‘See:’ an example. This is because the example has in it mention of the symbol dealt with.

Throughout the dictionary, an effort has been made to list entries under the word you are likely to search for. For instance an entry on the use of computers to file dreams, would not be under a heading such as dreams and computers – but computers and dreams. Similarly, an entry would not be dream beliefs in the Bible, but Bible – dreams and symbols. Therefore when searching for information on a topic, go to the word central to your search.

A dream has in it many sources of information. Not only should you consider the basic dream images, but what is happening, how people are dressed and their posture, and what the dream environment is. A dream is often like a film. The background gives a lot of information making the foreground action meaningful. There is a great difference between a scene taking place in a farmyard than in a bedroom. So even things such as what hand was used, left or right, should be referred to. Entries in the Dictionary – such as settings and posture – help to understand this aspect of dreams.

Where sex or sexuality is mentioned, I am not simply referring to the sex act. I mean sexuality in its overall aspect, which includes the urge toward parenthood, and the love and caring connected with it. Also I am not attempting to present the ideas in this book as scientific or proved. My aim has been to take what information I have gathered from dreams and present what it suggests. To save space I have not argued the points.

Using the dictionary to find a dream meaning

When we sleep and dream we enter a completely different realm of experience than when we are awake. It would be foolish to try to breathe under water in the physical world, but in dreams this is not only possible but lots of dreamers do it. In dreams we can fly. We can make love to men or women as we please, without fear of social or physical consequences. While dreaming we can die over and over. The dead can be reborn, and the world around us can be changed simply by changing our attitude. A monster pursuing us one moment can in an instant become a warm friend because we changed our fear to love.

In the world of dreams our most intimate fears and longings are given an exterior life of their own in the form of the people, objects and places of our dream. Therefore our sexual drive may be shown as a person and how we relate to them; or given shape and colour as an object; or given mood as a scene, something that haunts our feelings or memory shown as a ghost or demon. Our feeling of ambition might thus be portrayed as a business person in our dream – our changing emotions as the sea or a river; while the present relationship we have with our ambition or emotions is expressed in the events or plot of the dream.

A dream portrays each part of us, such as our ambition, as being exterior to us, because in that way it is something we witness, and it at first appears objective and separate from us, not something we are. By showing our urges or fears as people or places exterior to us, our dreams are able to portray the strange fact that while, for instance, the love we have for another person is intimately our own, we may find such a feeling difficult to bear, as when one is married and falls in love with someone else. While we dream, the subtleties of such dilemmas are given dramatic form. To observe our dilemma as if we were watching it as a play, has very real advantages. The different factors of our situation, such as our feelings for our marriage partner, our love of the new person, and social pressures such as our family’s reactions, might all be shown as different people in the dream. The drama of the dream shows how these different parts interact. See Characters in your Dream

We can therefore not only experience these as separate from our central self, but we define in the dream’s action how we relate to them. Most important, we can EXPLORE SAFELY the possible ways of living within, or changing the factors involved.

This exteriorisation of internal feelings is clear in many of our dreams, such as when we run from a wild bear, we exteriorising our fear. Dreams might do this because they frequently portray intimate parts of ourselves which have never been made fully conscious or verbalised. Put in another way, because some parts of our feelings and  nature may never have been consciously felt or recognised, they cannot be grasped by us as a thinking or perceiving being. We cannot see them with our eyes, touch them with fingers, or smell them, let alone think about them. After all, they are unknown and formless. But a dream can portray what has not yet been put into words or organised into conscious thought by portraying it in images and drama. The woman who dreams of trying to contact her dead husband may not have fully acknowledged her question of ‘Why he left me?’ Being able to ‘think’ in story form, about subtle areas of our experience, is a great additional faculty when added to our other modes of gaining information and insight. In this way dreams are able to bring to our notice, areas of our being which might otherwise never be known. The dream is thus another SENSE ORGAN, looking into areas we might not have any other way of examining.

Monitor of the Unconscious

A way to understand this is to consider the now commonly used monitors one sees at the bedside of critically ill people. Such monitors depict in the form of an image – a flashing moving graph – the heartbeat of the patient. They can also portray temperature, breathing, brain pulses and blood pressure in the form of externally visible images. These internal events would otherwise be unknown or unconscious. In a similar way, dreams are a monitor, giving apparently external images to depict the subtle and otherwise unconscious processes of body and mind.

That the external person or object in the dream is actually the dreamer’s own internal feelings and mental structure is difficult for many people to believe or even grasp. The following unusual dream helps us to develop a conception of this. I say it is unusual because very seldom can a dreamer admit to themselves while asleep, that the world which in their dream appears as exterior, is actually their own internal thoughts feelings and psychobiological functions. The dreamer, A. B. is a man in his fifties, and dreams he has found a huge thistle in his garden which is as big as a tree.

I look at the trunk of the thistle examining it. At this point it seems like a giant hardwood tree. I snap a twig and it smells very nice – a perfumed wood. Other branches are going rotten. Walking around to the back of the tree to see if the bark is rotten I notice a hole where bees or wasps have a colony. I put my left hand up to touch the bark and as I do so notice there is also a hole in the back of my hand, in and out of which wasps are flying. With great shock I look in the hole and see wasps eating my flesh away, so my hand is almost hollow. I awake with the feeling of being old and decrepit.

What is of particular importance in this dream is the point of transition where the dreamer moves from seeing the hole in the tree, to seeing the hole in himself. But this transition continues, for the dreamer then moves to the feeling of being old and decrepit. These points of transition mark the stages of realisation that what seems exterior is not. It also shows a transition that few dreamers ever make.

Some of the key statements in the dream are EXAMINING – I NOTICE – A HOLE – I LOOK IN – and SEE – THE FEELINGS OF BEING OLD and DECREPIT. If we put this into a flowing sentence we have, ‘In examining myself I noticed ‘a hole’ or emptiness in myself. When I look into this I find a sense of being old and decrepit.’

In looking at his hand and realising there was a hole in his life, A. B. took note of what he felt. Just prior to the dream he had experienced a lot of anxiety about whether his marriage was breaking up. The dream made him realise that niggling thoughts and emotions were eating away at his self confidence leading him to feelings of being near to the scrap heap, having outlived his usefulness. The dream had depicted these emotions and thoughts as wasps. This enabled him to see that if he entertained such feelings, they would certainly eat away his grasp of life. He could see that as a person he only ENTERTAINED thoughts and emotions. They were simply what he thought and felt about reality, not reality itself. It was up to him as to what he wanted reality to be. Did he want to entertain the reality of the tired ageing man who could no longer satisfy his wife’s need for love and companionship, having nothing worthwhile to contribute to others? That could certainly become reality if he allowed such feelings to dominate him. He had thought that his life was like a giant thistle, but on closer inspection he saw it was a giant hardwood. It did have branches which needed pruning, but the rest of the tree was good and perfumed – giving off good feelings to others. So he decided to put love and care into his life and marriage instead of self doubt and a sense of defeat.

Some observers have attempted to determine the pattern of interaction between physiological variables and dreaming that might occur during a given night. An account was published by a French physician in 1821 involving a twenty-six-year-old female subject who had lost a large portion of her skull and brain covering. He reported that when the woman was in a dreamless sleep, her brain was motionless and lay within the cranium. However, when she was agitated by dreams, her brain moved and protruded outward from the cranium. The physician commented that, “in vivid dreams, reported as such by herself, the protrusion was considerable.’

J. Esquirol, a French psychiatrist noted for his humanitarian attitude toward patients, spent considerable time in the 1830’s sitting beside sleeping mental patients, observing their facial expressions and movements and noting their pulse and respiration. He claimed that he often knew when patients were dreaming and could predict the general nature of their dream content from this combination of behavioural and physiological indices.

When we realise each aspect of the dream, each emotion, each landscape and environment are materialisation’s of our own feeling states and body condition, we begin to see how we live in the midst of a world – the world of our thoughts, feelings, values, judgements, fears and physiology – largely of our own making. Whatever we think or feel, even in the depths of our being, becomes a material fact of experience in our dream. It is almost certainly this inner universe that religion speaks of as heaven or hell. Finding some degree of direction, mastery or harmony within this world of our own being, is the great work of human life.

But our overall direction of dreams is an attempt toward growth and wholeness, not easily achieved because of the fears we inject into out dreams.


-joelle moushati 2018-01-18 4:28:51

Hello there. I I would love some help with deciphering reoccurring dreams. I’ve had similar themed dreams in the last 6 months in which I am in my room and in the position or point of view of which I am sleeping. In the dream.I wake up from my sleep and notice an entity or a floating head or fingers around my neck. I destroy the entities with my hands, and with the fingers around my neck dream I bit the fingers off. Each time I annihilate and after I call out to them letting them know that they do not belong here. I reckon it may be me overcoming my fears? Or in the process of facing my fears , however the strange part of the dreams is that I am always in my room and they feel so very real. nothing out of the ordinary happens in the background, except recently I looked up at my ceiling and noticed stalactites growing and dripping onto my fingers. And because it feels so very real and I always wake up to the position that I was in in my dream I question whether or not there are actual entities trying to invade my space.

Another potential explanation could be that I recently felt a little scared sleeping alone in my house. I’ve been living alone for the last year and have lived alone in the past. Why wouldn’t the dreams depict more of a invasion of home like scenario if that was the case?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thank you for the work that you do!


    -Tony Crisp 2018-01-21 11:51:28

    Hi – It would help you to understand your dreams, if you would read – and also which has so much information in.

    Nothing can replace your own ability to understand your dream. With a little effort you can do this by practising what is described in – or


    Joelle – I think you are judging your dreams as if they were outer life events, which you would naturally try to fight. But dreams take place in a different dimension in which new rules apply, for in dreams you are a shape shifter, you are male as well as female, and nothing can hurt you, because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear; so all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.

    As far as I understand it, dreams use images to represent what we currently fail to understand. So the floating head or fingers around my neck are all images trying to communicate an inner, psychological event, that scare you; and because anything that threatens us we try to avoid, kill, or repress (kill or annihilate) we express it as an inbuilt habit, that is survival in waking life, but does now work in dream or our inner life of mind, consciousness, or you as a life event.

    In this world the rules are nothing ever dies or is actually killed because you are doing it to yourself, you only push in into unconsciousness where it will arise again as ‘entities’. The way is to integrate what you fear. See and especially

    Because all the people, animals, and places you see in your dreams, are simply your own feelings, fears, hopes and wonder projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind as images. So, it makes sense to take the image of your dream person, thing or animal back into you and own it. In that way, you are meeting and dealing with the things about yourself you are not owning or conscious of. That is why dreams are often difficult to understand, because we are hiding things from ourselves.

-Dae Warden 2017-09-18 7:54:07

I keep having dreams about my dead husband being alive with other women or that we are broke up.

-Ramos 2016-12-29 7:36:22

I am 30 yrs old Ihave a dream frequently. Ii is recurring dream. In that dream I am carrying a small bag of about 4/5 kilos in my back but I cannot stand or walk even for 2/3 minutes.I take some courage to stand up and walk but all is in vain. My legs start to tremble and I cannot walk anymore in either direction (straight,up,down). So please help me what is the solution.

-Jacqui 2015-09-22 10:40:02

Hi there,
I had a dream that I was walking in my neighbourhood but it was very dark, grey, cold and dirty. I was walking with my sister. Another woman came walking along, but we could see that she was going to rob us. I turn and grabbed her before she could do anything to us and she turned into a Rose Quartz. So it was a Rose Quartz shaped as a woman but I could still see her face. And then one of the Rose Quartz that I keep by my bedroom window appeared next to me, so I picked it up and hit the Rose quartz that was shaped as a woman (the rose quartz in my hand stayed whole) the one in the shape of this woman broke into pieces.
While I was doing this in my dream, I was shocked that I had the strength to hold this woman down and that I was actually defending myself.
Hope you can give me the meaning. Thank you

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-10-05 9:24:51

    Dear Jacqui – Dreams are a magical mirror in which your innermost hopes, longings, fears/terrors and genius are made real. They are made real as external environments, people, animals and relationships. So the person you dreamt about is a dream image made out of your feelings and memories.
    If you can acknowledge and admit that your terrors you dream about are actually your past hurts or fears that you have not faced presenting themselves for you to heal; that your wonderful visions and insights are an expression of your own infinite potential then you can walk a pathway to finding what you really are. Remember that you are more than you appear.
    The way I see your dream is that you are not aware yet of the inner world (of thoughts and feelings) you have created; “it was very dark, grey, cold and dirty.”
    What you perceive as a woman wanting to rob you, I feel expresses a way of being able to move beyond these feelings. Wouldn’t you want her to take away/rob you of your feeling grey, cold and dirty?
    Our conscious self or ego is only a tiny part of our totality as is obvious when we consider how much of our memory or experience we can hold in mind at any one time; “the Rose Quartz in your hand”.
    I see the woman turning into a Rose Quartz as you becoming aware that there is “More of You” than you have believed/experienced so far and you are afraid of IT.
    And so your dream merely shows what relationship exists at this moment between your conscious personality – the Rose Quartz in your hand – and the unconscious forces –LIFE – that are willing to help you release what is dark, grey, cold and dirty – the Rose Quartz shaped as a woman.
    You wrote; “I was shocked that I had the strength to hold this woman down and that I was actually defending myself.”
    It is true that we can show an incredible strength as far as defending our defence mechanisms is concerned.
    It is important to realize that we all have resistances towards letting go of pain and darkness. In many ways we are attached to the very condition we say we don’t want. Holding on may be the source of what is bothering you, but at least it is familiar.
    A way to surrender to and co-operate with LIFE and move beyond your (unconscious) desire to hold on to what is bothering you is to use an approach which is called Life Stream.
    Let me know if you have any further questions Jacqui.
    Anna 🙂

-Donna 2015-08-15 14:55:58

I was in a rush to do something. Was supposed to send out a notice for a funeral for someone I didn’t know. Didn’t see anyone in the dream deceased nor was I made aware of anyone. Was in a house with two people; one an old friend who used me for money and the other someone who had lied about me. Was going through my things trying to pack to get out of the house and came across a gold box that was well decorated on the top with the letters in a script like writing: Fa Rah. The lettering was red in silver trim. There were jewels around the edges and the base of the box was gold. Reminded me of a keepsake box my daughter made for me as a child

-monika 2015-06-26 4:25:37

had a dream about my marriage,my dad used to scold me always dat “u r nt getting married”,so i took sudden decision i accepted one match and the next was my marriage but my didnt come,all are waiting for my dad,bt dad told dem dat he cant come because of heavy work,so all of dem told my mom dat if u cal he will come(bt my dad didnt like dis match dats y he had nt come,wrk is a silly reason). wt’s d meang of dis dream?

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-06-29 9:50:57

    Dear Monika – Your dream expresses that your (inner) father has a (too) prominent place in your (inner) life. In order to prove him wrong you are willing to act rather impulsively on “deciding for a match”.
    It does not really solve this inner conflict though, for then your inner father does not show up and you feel conflicted about that.
    See also
    Many people do not realise that they have an inner father equally as powerful as an external father. You have taken in millions of bits of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with your father, and they are what makes you the person you are. This is true even if your father was never there for you – you still have all the memories of him not being there for you filed under ‘Father’. 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. Such an inner father can appear in dreams because you are still deeply influenced by what you hold within you.
    So perhaps you feel like exploring a different approach with this dream and with the way you relate to your inner father using Power Dreaming?
    Perhaps you could explore making your inner father less important in your inner world and just marry the man without your inner father being present?
    Good Luck!
    Anna 🙂

-IvaDeanCollins 2015-01-11 19:17:07

I dated this man for 12yrs he has got on prescription drugs and was getting kinda rude with me I Love him so much but we have been apart because of the drugs an his daughter-in -law do witch craft God showed me a vision that she had destroyed our relation ship .I had a dream about him the 7th of this month,i could him talking and laughing like he was so happy .it is really bothering me what is the meaning of the dream?

-horlawummy 2014-02-06 9:28:38

I had a dream, i saw a young pregnant girl in my girl, all of a sudden she ran mad and people tried to rescued her but she kept running until she ran away. What can be the meaning of these dream

    -Tony Crisp 2014-02-19 11:50:25

    Horlawummy – It probably is a reflection of your fears of getting pregnant, or at least a frantic running away from pregnancy. But because you gave me no background information such as age, I cannot tell whether the dream is about a memory of yourself at that age. See –


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