Indecipherable at times, dreams are more like poetry than prose.
They use metaphor, the body literally translated into a scene: my feet are on fire we say, when there is a burning sensation. Then a dream of a dog, Maggie, our golden, with her feet on fire.
What does a dream mean? Only you can know and understand your own symbols. There are a ton of books that will tell you, water means this, a tsunami is bad and a well is good. Water means emotion, or a flood means this....
But I have had dreams where what I was afraid to look at, the meaning of the dream, turned into its opposite. I was working with a Rolfer at the time, someone who translates one layer of the body's experience in the fascia and muscle to another layer of the body in the brain (at least, that's what I understood). One day I brought in a significant dream and we looked at it, we went into each part, each image and asked how it felt to be that part.
I have had many recurring dreams of floods and rising water, and usually take them literally as a fear that the earth is going to be flooded when the glaciers melt and the oceans rise. Since I live on the edge of a river, on the 'lakeshore' (but it is really not a lake, just a widening of the river), this scares me.
The dream this time was a wall of water, a shimmering silvery wall of 100 feet high water coming towards a wall, where I was sitting on a fence with my husband beside me. He was trying to help me climb over the fence, but I was frozen, unable to move. The wave was coming closer. The end.
The rolfer asked me to be the wave. What did it feel like? I closed my eyes and saw it shimmering there, full of light, and the word Benevolence came up in my mind. Benevolence, I thought? the annihilation of my life can't be kindness. Then we went into how each part of the dream felt. What came out of it was a huge ton of love and kindness was coming my way, my husband was part of it, and I was frozen in fear, unable to open and accept it but when I looked at it in the face instead of running away, I could feel the love. Not at all what I thought this dream would be about - fear of success, or fear of huge changes in my life, or fear of disappearing.
In fact, it was a fear of disappearing perhaps - the ego disappearing into so much love, that boundaries are erased.
Dreams are like messages from our unconscious, or perhaps angels, who knows? But they are always interesting to look at from the inside out. Don't take the surface picture for the whole story. Ask questions about the mood and feeling of the observer, of the participant and of each item or piece of the dream and you will get a clearer picture that may surprise you.
Instead of being afraid of knowing the real meaning of a dream that may even seem like a nightmare, you may find that your dreams are giving you friendly advice and pointing you towards new growth.
"The dream keeps us
in touch with that soul
in which we all live.
The dream keeps us
in touch with our place
in that one creation.
The dream puts us
into a time and space
in which we are restored."
Coming Home to Myself, Marion Woodman, Jill Mellick
Reflections for Nurturing a Woman's Body & Soul