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.” 

Inner Characters: An important thing to remember to understand your dream characters/people is that usually we are not dreaming about that actual person but a living image of them formed by your memories, impressions, events lived with them and even your intuitions about them. Such memories are living parts of us and influence us inwardly, so we put them in our dreams.

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.

So, if we really examine ourselves, we have a really wonderful ability to express as a huge range of different types, as shown in our dreams, the master/mistress of drama and expression.

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 as him, 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

Example: Then I slowly became aware of a deeper sense of the discomfort. It was a feeling of being stuck in one place and not being able to move. It wasn’t anything to do with moving physically but was as an awareness. It felt awful and I tried to move but couldn’t. The only way of describing it was as if we are all made out of the same stuff – as an example concrete – and as such we filled all space. So the little space I filled could not move because all around was filled by others. I felt really stuck and wondered what I could do, but there seemed no way out of it. Yet I could not believe this was really how things were.

Most of this was spontaneous thoughts and movement through the experience, so that was how I was led to thinking about my cousin Sid again, and his situation of being constantly linked with his mother even after he died. Then I realised that I was linked with Rita in a similar way, and in feeling that I realised that I could move in at least two positions – me and Rita – because of the loving connection I felt.

Then came a flood of realisation, every person I had loved or experienced was another position I could be in; and then I knew all the animals I had loved and even people I had a casual relationship with. But there was even more because in dreams and sessions I had become or encountered amazing things, people, creatures, the alien beings and others. I knew then that I was FREE to go anywhere and be almost anything, because their life pattern was now part of me. Then with a rush of wonder, I realised that the more people and creatures I loved or had experience of, the bigger I became.

 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 Being the Person or Thing –  The Conjuring TrickWorking with associationsReleasing Your Inner Genius


-Lissie 2017-06-02 0:39:02

I loved someone that was my friend.

-Lissie 2017-06-02 0:36:54

I had a dream that I was friends with a boy who I have never seen before. I fell in love with him. What does this mean? I wish this actually happened because I found out he liked me a little bit, too. But what does this mean?

-Anisha 2016-11-22 5:19:00

hi .i am one and only child for my parents …but when i was three years old my mom gave birth to a baby boy who died due to some heart problem within three days .after that incident my parents were very sad later they became normal . we was a very happy family..but i always wished to have a sibiling . recently i had dream of having a brother . i was very happy with him in the dream. he was injured but he too was happy and listening to me ..i felt complete and happy.when i woke up i was very much disappointed.i went to my parents and shared to them about the dream . at that time only we checked the date and it was my brother’s birthday [ who died when i was three]

-Kevin 2016-06-06 17:48:18

OK, I have a dream description for you. It’s a very strange one indeed, so bear with me here. I am a young adult, and I’ve been having on and off “adult themed” dreams. It’s with a certain woman that’s very close to me in my family, and let’s just know that it’s a person that I’d never think it’d happen “so close/too close”… She had me rub her in a very very personal area, and it seemed like she never wanted me to stop. It only stopped when I woke up. I’d appreciate a feedback on my odd and unorthodox dream. It’s pretty personal, and I’m wondering if you can hit me up on my e-mail about it too. Thanks in advance.

-Kayleigh 2016-03-07 15:15:29

Ever since I first saw Doctor Who, I constantly dream of David Tennant. Sometimes, in my dreams, he is The Doctor which i think I understand, David’s Doctor was very protective of his companions and became very sad when they all left him. However, sometimes David appears to me as my husband. What can that mean? I love David and think he is the best actor God has ever created, but I think he’s happy and I don’t want to think that I subconsciously want to change that.
Please help.
Ps if you have never seen Doctor Who, then I completely recommend it if you like time travel and science fiction.

-Tamsin Parker 2016-02-11 11:06:54

I had a dream last night that I saw a movie character dancing, but I didn’t become him. I didn’t even think of trying, like I previously had in other dreams. Then I saw him lying in a bed in a guest room in a mansion, but I didn’t think of becoming him or even leaning in to kiss him. Am I still reflected in that character? Is that character still a reflection of my subconscious? Am I still that character if I am observing them, especially if it’s one who means a lot to me?

-aaron 2016-02-03 1:26:33

I had a strange dream that I was in some public forest (I felt safe) I was talking to who I assume are ex pentagon retirees and a third guy talking to a stranger giving in help or just chat and one of them ( the one on the left) said be carefull of pains and the guy on the right said watch out for the pentagon and I felt like it all had some connectivity to aliens and governments but I’m British not American so it’s quite confusing any help would be great thank you

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-02-05 16:50:43

    Dear Aaron – What I see in your dream – and please explore it yourself as well – is that you have let go of some of your defence mechanisms; “the ex-pentagon retirees”. Good for you!!
    We unconsciously pull away from any painful or frightening emotions – be careful of pains – even though it may be in our best interests to become aware of them and release or integrate them; and so watch out for any resistance/defence response – the pentagon – that might have become habitual.
    The connectivity you sense to “aliens” I see as you becoming aware that there are aspects of your mind that have not previously been consciously experienced and so may seem frightening – watch out for pulling back from them – or difficult to understand.
    The governments might reflect the rules by which you have governed your inner life so far and which rules you are willing to change in order to start dealing with your “inner aliens”.
    Anna 🙂

-Nev 2015-12-29 10:40:38

The neighbour lady, who I have little interaction with, gave me a gift and it was a deck of playing cards and a white cup with a black handle. I was looking at the cards and they all had a little dent on them. They looked used.
Then I called her to have a coffee with me and was looking at my cupboard choosing a cup for her. I was using the one she gave me for me and picked one for her from my cupboard. I picked a light blue cup that was a bit dusty so I washed it. We did not drink coffee, just preparing it.
Would very much appreciate the interpretation.
Many thanks!

-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!

-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 🙂

-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

-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 🙂

-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 🙂

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