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Types of Dreams | BYBS

December 21, 2008 on 5:35 pm | In Answer Dreams, Dream Types, Dreamwork, Future Dreams, Healing Dreams, Lucid Dreams, Message Dreams, Nightmares, Processing Dreams, Prophetic Dreams | 4 Comments


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People talk a lot about dreams. Usually they don’t specify clearly what types of dreams they are talking about. There isn’t just one kind, or even two (good or bad. There are many kinds of dreams, and to be able to make sense when discussing dreams, we ought to define them.

Processing Dreams

Many people have been convinced that all dreams are just the body’s way of processing memories and experiences. In fact, that is a large category of dreams.

Sorting out our thoughts, experiences and ideas does seem to be one important purpose of dreaming.

Anxiety Dreams

Anxiety dreams are not exactly nightmares (usually), but they are unpleasant. They express our worries about things that may or may not ever happen. In some cases, anxiety dreams may be a way of preparing to deal with difficult situations. In others, they may be a symptom that we need to learn how to handle stress better—and maybe drink less caffeine?

Prophetic Dreams

People who consistently keep dream journals find that they often have prophetic dreams. Sometimes the dreams are quite trivial. Other times they prepare us for events we cannot prevent or prepare us for tragedies that we can avert by being ready.

Because of a prophetic dream (also called a precognitive dream), we have had a chance to think of what we would do, the shock has worn off, and when the event happens, we are calm enough to take action that can save lives or prevent serious injury. 

Clairvoyant Dreams

People over the centuries have witnessed events happening elsewhere, even thousands of miles away, in their dreams. There are records of people dreaming of plane crashes and natural disasters, recording the dreams, sometimes putting the dreams into official records, and then receiving verification via the news media. 

Dream, Explore, Discover
Dream, Explore, Discover  Art Print by Svensson, Torleif

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Communication Dreams

People all over the world have experienced dreams of communication from a loved in times of crisis. Sometimes the loved one has been dead for many years. Other times the loved one appears at the moment of death to say goodbye. Sometimes the loved one appears with a message of warning or other important information, or even with reassurance that the loved one is safe.

Message Dreams

Sometimes dreamers receive messages that are actually intended to be given to others. Often the message dream is for a relative, friend, coworker or neighbor and can be given right away.

But sometimes it is for an acquaintance one has yet to meet. Then, when the recipient appears, the message is given, and the dream is fulfilled.

Astral Dreams

Astral dreams are said to occur on the inner planes of existence, in the spirit world. They tend to be symbolic, like a bare black stage set with only the most essential props and actors spotlighted. Some people may never have astral dreams. More likely most people simply do not recognize or remember them.

When you have an astral dream, it may be the mind’s way of dramatizing things that you subconsciously know but have been ignoring. Or they may be an indication that someone else is trying to communicate with you in your dreams.


Nightmares can occur in any of the dream forms. Most likely they are a dramatization of your fears, but they can also be the result of actual memories. Such memories may require therapy to make the dreams go away.

Nightmares caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be crippling in their realistic sensations and intensity, and they definitely require professional treatment by a therapist who specializes in PTSD. Dreams can seem very real. They can be horrifying.

The fear of having PTSD dreams can cause people to avoid sleeping (which is dangerous) or to self-medicate with prescription (or nonprescription) drugs or alcohol. Doing that can also be dangerous.

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Diagnostic Dreams

The body always knows when we are ill or hurt, but we may consciously ignore it, especially if there is no pain. Many people have dreams that tell them of serious undiagnosed problems such as cancer. Those who pay attention to their dreams and know how to interpret the images from their subconscious are warned.

Many a dream has caused someone to get a checkup that saved their life by resulting in early treatment of what could have been a fatal disease or condition.   

Healing Dreams

Occasionally people who are very ill have dreams that seem to bring healing. Is the dream healing in and of itself? Or is the dream announcing the healing? No one knows for sure.

Problem-Solving Dreams

As we have discussed before, problem-solving dreams can occur at any point in sleep or just before or after it. The solution can be literal and complete, or it can be symbolic, or just a hint.

Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams are rare. They are dreams in which the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is dreaming and takes control of the dream. That last part is the most important. Dreams in which one simply becomes aware of being in a dream and wakes up or goes into a different dream are called prelucid dreams.

Many people have prelucid dreams. Few learn to gain control of them and turn them into lucid dreams. 

Lucid dreaming is a form of meditation for adepts of some spiritual belief systems. In those spiritual systems, people may study and practice for years to achieve it.

Yet in some cultures people have been trained from babyhood to take control of their dreams, and in those cultures virtually everyone can do it. 

Shaman Dreams

In some cultures shamans, or those with the potential to become shamans, are identified by the special dreams they have, dreams that contain specific imagery that only shamans see.

Shamans in many cultures do much of their work, including finding out information or finding cures for diseases or injuries, in lucid dreams or active dreaming.  

Mixed Dreams

Most dreams seem to be a mixture. Parts of a dream may be processing the day’s events, while other parts contain messages. Dreaming is complex. Dreams can and often do have several layers of meaning. 

Other Types of Dreams

Probably there are other kinds of dreams, but these definitions should be enough for discussion purposes and to help identify dreams for yourself and others. Talking about your dreams and working with others on their dreams is worthwhile. It can also be fun. And to me the ability to get and share information from dreams is a blessing.

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Dream Clouds Plaque Photographic Print by Katano, Nicole

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  1. I need to try the healing dreams. My body is in revolt against me and I need to tame it. LOL

    Have a wonderful 2009.

    Comment by CyberCelt — December 28, 2008 #

  2. I just had to come back to read your older posts. I was talking to a friend about dreams and I remembered your post about kinds of dreams but I can’t pinpoint what you have said exactly so I had to return.

    Thanks for sharing this! And see you tomorrow for BYBS!

    Comment by Daisy — April 4, 2009 #

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