Night Visions – Some Dreams Interpreted

In March SHE, professional dream researchers Hyone and Tony asked you to send in your unconscious experiences. Here, interpreted, is a selection from the many they received

My husband was killed in a mining accident five years ago. We had been married for just five months. I’m 26 now, and live alone in what was “our” house. Since he died I have had three broken relationships, and am now involved, gently, with someone else. I have no fears well, not apparent ones and have a responsible job. However, after my husband was killed, at first I had what I would have thought were normal dreams about him. Eventually, after a nightmarish phase where he turned on me. the dreams faded away. Then, after seeming to cope comparatively well, two years after his death I suffered a kind of backlash. I had some disturbing experiences. I was awakened by a peculiar heavy atmosphere around me. Then my whole body would start to be enveloped in the atmosphere, feet first. I would start to shake uncontrollably from top to toe as if by vibration. I didn’t want to go to wherever I felt I was going infinite blackness but felt less and less able to resist. Strangely I wasn’t afraid. It felt like an event rather than a dream. But once it started while I was dreaming. I was trying to get out of a car. I was clinging to the side of the car in the dream while the “event” took place. When I woke I was clinging to the bed in exactly the same way. Denise.

The shaking while you are awake and the event in the dreams are one and the same. Many people have told us about this sort of vibrating and shaking. It is a natural process by which the dream function releases tension or suppressed emotions. Don’t forget that we dream every night during dreams, our unconscious process clears up inner business which hasn’t been attended to during the day. But for many people the dream process breaks through into waking life. One woman who worked with us allowed the shaking to express itself freely. As it developed, emotions arose. She remembered her only baby which, because she was unmarried. she had handed over for adoption. She had returned home and started to cry, but a neighbour quickly stopped her. Now the crying she had withheld 17 years before flowed freely. Then the shaking stopped. the crying subsided and she felt relieved at last. Your vibrating, we believe, is an attempt by your subconscious to either release old hurt feelings or to make you aware of a new insight.

I’ve had two dreams on the same theme. In the first, one of my older sisters retrieved a young black cat from a broom cupboard. Apparently I had put it there and it hadn’t been fed for months. It was quite friendly, taking food and allowing me to groom it. In the second dream, I had been out in the snow with friends. On opening my front door there were two small black cats inside, little older than kittens. I hadn’t seen or fed then for weeks. They were thin but seemed to bear me is malice and accepted food. My own interpretation is either a guilty conscience about something, or I’m neglecting something I should be thinking about. Lesley W Brennan, Dundee


We are sent a lot of reports of dreams in which some poor hamster or cat has been forgotten in a basement or cupboard, perhaps for years. In this case both your interpretations are correct. You are guilty of neglect. Our guess is that these dreams occur after you have been out with friends or boyfriends, as shown in the second dream. But the snow indicates you may have been cold emotionally or sexually. The cats can be thought of as your pussy they refer to your sexuality. But not only that. Because you can direct your attention outwards to work and other people, or toward awareness of your needs or urges arising from the mysterious processes of life within you, the neglect can be about your own inner needs. Often we overlook, just as you overlooked the cats, that life asks something of us. Of course, your inner life includes your sexuality and the need to be held or groomed-your cats are a lovely way of symbolising that need. Therefore the dreams are an invitation to nourish and care for your inner needs with more awareness.

I dreamt two rows of four men are standing beside eight big targets. At a shout from their teacher, they jump out from behind the targets, fire their six shots and jump back again. Each time the slowest man is killed. But this time only one of the men dies. The teacher inspects the remaining men and searches them. He pulls out a baby girl from under one man’s clothes he’s been using it for protection. She is unharmed and is gurgling. The teacher heads the men to a river. He places the girl on the waves where she floats happily, still gurgling. He then pushes her under water. Here I become the baby. I can feel myself breathing water and my arms thrashing. It doesn’t hurt. Then everything goes black and I feel as if I’ve been given gas at the dentist’s. I am 17 and dreamt this while sitting exams. Because my father was going to work in Sweden, taking my mother and brother with him, I was about to move to live with an aunt. Helen Talbot, Harpenden, Herts.


Each of us, whether male or female, has our own personal baby within. It is the part of our nature which is the sum total of the reactions and feelings generated before we learn to speak. Many adults can’t bear being alone, for instance, and this is probably the “baby” in them feeling upset without company. We are uncertain about the first part of your dream, but the appearance of the teacher suggests it is connected with school. Perhaps you regarded exams as a kill-or-be-killed competition: if you are slow you go under. But the baby suggests you are using a reaction you learnt in babyhood to protect yourself against such feelings. You avoid experiencing any panicky emotions. In this way, you maintain a sense of wellbeing in difficult times. Going through bad experiences gives us an understanding of other people, which enables us to have intimate and satisfying relationships. Imagine watching a couple kissing through the eyes of someone who’d never experienced romantic or sexual emotion. It would appear a strange action. So your “baby” needs encouragement to open up to a wider range of feelings beyond the protective reaction of not responding, which is, as the dream suggests, a sort of death.

I dreamt I was awake in the night, my husband sleeping beside me. I heard the bedroom door open and somebody came quietly into the room. I was terrified and didn’t move. The person moved round the room, past me, to my husband’s side of the bed. I heard the click of a pistol being cocked, a shot, and I felt his body jerk and realised he had been shot dead. Stiff with fear I heard the footsteps return to me and stop. I felt a gun at my head. A man’s voice whispered, “Sleep well”. Then I felt my head explode and at the same time tasted blood rising in my throat. I am middle-aged, happily married and fully employed as a secretary. I have three grown up children, and we are a loving and close family. My nightmare still haunts me. Mrs M Mason, Denlon, Manchester.


This is one of the most dramatic nightmares we have come across. However, it expresses a fear which many women of your age have about their husband’s death. This is most likely an attempt, while asleep, to deal with the knowledge that husbands tend to die younger than wives. Consider the drama of the dream. In the darkness of night, when the cares and thoughts of the day are quiet, you become aware of a sense of dread. That the lights are out suggests you do not want to look at the feelings you have about the possibility your husband might die before you. And if he does, the plot you create in your dream shows you quickly following him. Yet if your family are as loving as you say, you should be secure enough to talk over your feelings, and find companionship. For you have cast death in a violent role. Try discussing your dream: if your husband knew how you felt, the night-time intruder might come in a more friendly guise.

I dreamt somebody gave me four fish to cook. They were black, plastic looking, with long luxurious hair down their spines, and bulbous eyes. Slitting the smooth skin I find black rubbery flesh which I cut into and taste. The person who gave them to me turns up with a plateful of cooked fish. The flesh has cooked pure white, like flakes of cod. I am told that to eat it raw is to swallow pure poison and suffer a violent death. I don’t have any (apparent) problems sexually, financially, physically or emotionally. Name and address supplied


The drawing which you sent of your dream fish looked rather like a penis with eyes and hair. But your dream is only indirectly sexual. Lovemaking is not simply a genital experience. In many ways it is also an athletic event; during sex, we are often emotionally aroused, and sometimes stimulated intellectually. Your fish represent the dynamic energies which underlie your personality, and not just your genital sexuality. Perhaps the faceless fish suggest you are imagining yourself as being without identity or personality. As humans much of the drama of our life arises out of the interplay between our conscious self, and the biological drives which we mask. So in that sense we are like penises and vaginas with faces. Your dream indicates that when you keep your natural drives in the dark, they are not healthy. Cooking is a civilising or social act. This suggests you need to let the raw side of your nature become more a part of your everyday life. Do you as a family share feelings and physical contact easily and often or is your household an over-civilised one in which you each have your own separate chairs? The four fish, we guess, means there are four of you in your family sharing the same pool of experience.

I am a divorcee, aged 40, and a mother of two. I had an awful relationship with my adoptive mother who trained me to believe I was muck. She only adopted me to be of use to her in her old age. My ex-husband seemed to be treating me in much the same way, so I had to divorce him. I thought all would be happy then, but it wasn’t. He abused the children. I suffer deep depressions and there is no cure for it. In my dream, my ex-husband, his girlfriend and I are in a flat. I am sitting in a big square hallway, which is painted dark green. I am waiting to give birth. Nobody wants me in the other rooms the kitchen for instance, which is bubbling with life. I produce the baby. It laughs and seems to like me. It does not judge or avoid me like the adults do. But the baby is taken from me and I wake before anything else can happen. Sandra, Liverpool.


The flat, your ex, his girlfriend and the baby are images depicting different ways you think about yourself and life. Whatever may have been the original cause, the dream shows you perpetuating your loneliness and negative outlook, and blaming others for it. You are a denying yourself hope and creativity represented by the baby. Self judgments such ‘I have no skills.’ ‘Nobody wants me’’ are a trap. You have escaped your first marriage, so you have the ability to climb over the wall of your self-created emotions. Your dream shows how you can do this. Don’t let the baby (you’re creative impulse and self confidence) be taken away by the sort of untruths you tell yourself in saying depression is not curable. So in your dream, hold that baby and fiercely protect it. Nourish it by letting your pleasure and love flow to it, and be rewarded by the change it brings to your life.

I rarely remember dreams, but this is a recurring one. l am back at the college at which I took my degree in English in 1942. I wander between the four floors and along the lengthy corridors, searching for my old room. I feel panicky when I can’t find it. Sometimes I’m aware that I’m about to take an exam and I’m terrified of failing. I’m a retired teacher, still doing private coaching. I want a childless divorcee. I live alone with my cat and have a devoted male friend who is an artist. My hobby is writing. I’ve had some success but desperately want more before it’s too late. At present nothing has been accepted, I suffer writer’s block and am losing heart. Hope Bunton, Preston, Lancs.


Searching for your college room indicates that you felt at home at college but are unable to discover your unique relationship with it. You have successfully taught English, but you have not succeeded in contributing something of yourself in writing. You must treasure and write about your experiences. Dreams recur when we are stuck in one way of viewing ourselves, like a record. If you savour your experience, and give your needle a nudge, what will emerge?

My 16-year-old daughter is under some tension as 0-levels loom. She has dreamt that she is in our living room looking through patio windows. In the next door neighbour’s garden she can see a huge gorilla rampaging up and down. She is terrified it might get over the fence, particularly when she realises that it is trying to reach a baby gorilla which is in our garden. Eventually the parent finds a way out into the street but the baby tries to get into the house and cannot because of the patio window. Barbara, Dunstable, Beds.


This dream shows that your daughter is heading towards mature sexuality and parenthood, not suffering pre-exam tension. In the language of dreams, anything moving towards you, such as the baby gorilla, shows a part of yourself rising into consciousness. At adolescence the procreative urge, connected with both sexuality and parenthood, moves from obscurity into the main living area of your life. That’s why your daughter is in the living room witnessing animals in a parent/child relationship. The restraining patio glass indicates that she’s holding off these natural urges. Learning to deal with ourselves at such a time of change is similar to learning how to drive a car. When we start we may feel anxious that the power we are handling in the car may run us into a wall. As a maturing personality strapped into the driving seat of our body, we meet waves of sexual impulse, storms of emotional reaction, and avalanches of ideas and sense impressions. The social pressures to compete in school exams and make decisions about career and future are a considerable load to hear. Some young adults suppress their inner urge to mature in social and sexual relationships, because they feel they cannot deal with them as well as the demands of schools. Perhaps that’s what your daughter is doing unconsciously. There is a suggestion that your daughter has no opportunity at home to discuss the biological and emotional changes she’s experiencing. Figuratively speaking, why not help your daughter to let the gorillas into your house?

My parents divorced when I was 14. My brother Dean lived with my father, and my sister and I lived with my mother. Dean is three years my junior, and four days after his 16th birthday I had a vivid and frightening dream which I wrote in my diary. In it Dean was on a hospital trolley being wheeled to the operating theatre. He had crashed on a motorbike. I remember looking at him, unconscious, with tubes everywhere, and not a scratch or a bruise on his body. The nurses said he had hurt his head and brain damage was suspected. In my dream Dean died. At the time he didn’t have a motorbike and had not talked of getting one. Seven months later I had a phone call to say Dean had been involved in a road accident. I was at the hospital the same day. He had brain damage and a blood clot had developed. Its position made it difficult to operate, so he had a 60/40 chance or living. There was not a mark on his body. He had tubes in him just like the dream. After lying in a coma for six weeks he recovered, but was left with irreversible brain damage. It wasn’t until the end or the year when I read through my diary that I realised the dream’s connection with Dean’s accident, h-have I got some kind of special powers? Tracy Winterflood, Ilford, Essex


No, you haven’t. Most people can have such dreams, especially if they stimulate them by wondering about the future. If we could record and collate what every person in the world dreamt in one single night, we would undoubtedly see a huge number of possible future events portrayed. But that could be explained as being the result of coincidence rather than prediction. However, we now know that we have in dreams access to our total experience. We also have what Tony and I call a random scanning action (RSA) which skims through memories. The questions which concern us during the day are directed towards purposeful search (PS). If we are daydreaming (RSA) and someone asks us for our address, we quickly change from RSA to PS. From the millions of bits of information in our memory, we remember our address. During dreams, PS causes us to consider issues which concern us – the well-being of our family, or why the cat’s fur’s falling out. In the same way as a satellite gives a weather forecaster a view of wind directions our PS action offers an overall view of information we have about family, ourselves and the world, and predicts possible outcomes. But from some dreams it seems possible that, in a way which is not yet clearly understood, our awareness can leap beyond the usual limitations of time and space and glimpse the future. The detail in your dream suggests it might be of this type.


-tammy 2014-07-12 13:12:16

i have been wondering what my dream means i have dreamed of several times :I dream of a baby crying and i look all over can’t find it till i open a basement door and see her on the top of the steps and then it looks like someone picks her up and hands her to me and before it use to be where the baby just lays there till i pick her up

    -Tony Crisp 2014-07-14 7:28:22

    Tammy – This almost certainly you meeting your own memories of being a baby. The door to the basement is indicating that you have opened to a part of you that you were unconscious of, a part that has remained longing to be cared for as a baby.

    Maybe you find it difficult to connect with the baby in you. What is so strange is how little parents understand about the inner world their baby or child lives in. Perhaps it’s because most of us manage to brick up memories of childhood so it is all but lost except for a few snapshots and what they portray. Without remembering how it felt, the adult has no idea of what they faced and how they dealt with it themselves as a baby. I have to conclude this bricking up, this building of an impenetrable wall against feeling ones early years, has been going on for generations. It must be so otherwise adults could never treat children the way they do. As a group we could never expose them to the tortures involved in some aspects of school, hospital, and in fact everyday life as it occurs in many families. As an adult I learnt how to knock out the bricks between my adult self and the feeling memories of myself as a baby and child. The horrors behind the wall shocked me as I realised what had happened to me and was happening all around me to other children.

    So please see if you can use –


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