Nightmares are your psyche’s way of pointing out something that’s amiss in your life, like an emotional issue or fear that needs to be resolved. As with the following three examples, scary dreams exaggerate the problem, as if to say, “Here I am, take notice of me!” Fortunately, you can eliminate nightmares by facing up to the issue that’s holding you hostage.
Since childhood, rats have been the central characters of Linda’s nightmares:
In one recurring dream, I see an 8-foot-tall mouse barbequing and wearing a crown. He smacks his spatula against the meat at my cousin’s childhood home. I’ve also dreamed of rats swarming in and out of holes, not occupied with me at all, just restlessly running around and wreaking havoc.
Such an intriguing (and horrifying!) visual. I asked Linda what’s the first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of rats. “Disease, uncontrolled messes, dirt, and vermin,” she replied.
The word “uncontrolled” certainly stands out. Rats are often hard to get rid of completely and are therefore uncontrollable. My feeling about Linda’s dream is that it’s illuminating some feelings of powerlessness she had as a child, feelings that have carried over into her adult life. This issue is “wreaking havoc” (causing “messes”) in her personal life.
Barbequing is often a family event, which suggests some stress concerning her upbringing. The crown on the rat reveals him to be a male authority figure, the ‘king’ of the household. The smacking of the meat seems subtly threatening, perhaps pointing to some physical aggression from this person. Whatever the emotional issue is, having the courage to face it will enviably shrink the rat into a manageable size until he (they) disappear altogether.
Lisa’s dreams of being chased reveal some fear of confronting certain issues:
I’m in my sister’s New York apartment, or a designated apartment I believe is my sister’s. I’m being chased by a Puerto Rican man I’ve never met. I duck into the adjacent apartment of an Orthodox Jewish family and ask a two-year-old to hide me in a closet. The child obliges, leading me down a long hallway into a bathroom, where a closet is attached to the shower. I duck in there, place towels over my body, and wait. The wall bursts in on me and the man finds me and grabs my jaw. Then the dream abruptly ends.
Lisa feels incapable of dealing with certain challenges, feeling the need to hide from them. She’s asking her inner child to protect her from ‘danger,’ as indicated by the man chasing her, but it’s an ineffectual strategy because the man eventually finds her. He probably represents the threat she feels from being helpless to deal with problems that are troubling her.
The fact that he’s Puerto Rican may have some personal meaning to Lisa, or maybe he just represents anything foreign (different or unanticipated) that enters her life. The unknown can be frightening, after all. His grabbing her jaw challenges her to speak up about her feelings. The bathroom symbolizes the need to eliminate negative emotional patterns that are stowed away in the “closet” of her unconscious.
Another ineffectual strategy is “hiding” within orthodox religious beliefs. I don’t know if Lisa is Jewish, but she seems to feel unprotected by religion, at least in its orthodox form.
As for the apartment belonging to her sister, this may indicate some problems concerning her relationship with her sister, or what her sister represents to her (such as success, failure, protection, or competition). Perhaps Lisa feels like a child or inadequate when in her sister’s presence. In any case, the more courageous and resourceful Lisa becomes in facing these challenges, the less she’ll encounter threatening characters within her dreams.
Hestia becomes her own heroine by facing up to a flying python:
I am in a forest with an old friend and another person whom I can’t recall. They give me a paper box with two scorpions inside. My friend and the other person leave, walking on the forest path, while I stay to look at the scorpions. I shake the box to see if they are alive and the box falls from my hands on a huge steppingstone. I manage to put one scorpion back in the box, but the second one falls inside a hole and under the step.
I look under the step and I see a huge python. The snake opens his eyes, and I slowly move backwards, and then start walking fast. I see the gigantic snake flying behind me with his mouth open and his belly full with a weird shape. I know he’s eaten something, when I hear a voice in my mind saying, “Bite the neck.” I do — I turn and bite the neck very hard — right under the head. Then I wake up. I’ve never dreamt anything like this before. What do you think it means?
There’s a feeling in this dream of betrayal and abandonment. It’s interesting that the scorpion is the symbol of Scorpio, a sign that often struggles with those issues, which you may be dealing with even know you weren’t born under that sign. Do you trust yourself to make the right choices in your life, or have you abandoned your dreams? Do you have the courage to take the next step, as symbolized by the steppingstone? This fear, whatever it is, has grown into a powerful python, but you absolutely have the ability to conquer this fear by “biting” back and moving forward. Good for you!