Recurring Dreams

by angeliska on July 19, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot about recurring dreams lately.
I had a conversation with the woman I happened to be sitting next to in the movie theater.
I’m not excatly sure right now how we got on the subject, but the subject came up.
They were showing a clip of Fantasia, and we were all wondering what year it was made.
She looked it up on her phone. Maybe there was a part in the film that she said had always scared her.
I asked her if she had tidal wave dreams, or dreamt of water. She said no,
but then a moment later told me that her recurring dreams were about
three witches coming out of volcanoes.
Neither of us had any idea what that dream could mean, but isn’t it an incredible image?
I think she must have been a very powerful woman, to be dreaming like that all the time.
Do you have recurring dreams? What are they? What do you think they mean?
Mine are these:

I’ve had this dream since I was little.
I used to think it indicated that I lived in Atlantis
in a past life. I discovered later that in dreams
water = emotion – aha!
Suddenly it all made sense- running from a behemoth,
a moving wall of water hundreds of stories high.
Terrified of being caught beneath it when it finally
crashes down. Most times I would wake up before then,
but sometimes it would crash over me, and then I’d be
paddling around in a salty morass of soggy papers
and suitcases and floating four poster beds,
frantically trying to rescue all my memories
from the water. I would survive it.
Mostly this dream had to do with the immense grief
I felt after my mother died when I was a little girl.
I never really dealt with it, because it was too big.
I thought that if I let myself feel all of that pain
that it would kill me. Drown me in tears.
I made some headway with those dreams-
now I pay attention to the water, the choppy currents,
the great white sharks and the little leaks and trickles
that suddenly become overwhelming floods.
I try to be aware of my emotions in the same way,
confront them and give them release before
they overwhelm me utterly and I run.

(Photo by Lisa Loffenn)
This is my number one anxiety dream.
Some people have anxiety dreams about
not studying for a test or being naked in public,
and I suppose this is my version of that.
In these dreams, I’ve not finished my costume
or I’ve stayed out all night and find myself at 10am
far from home and my ensemble, stranded and stressed.
Sometimes the parade passes me by, everyone bedecked
in glory, and I stand tattered and smeary, utterly crushed.
A few times I’ve dreamt that a parade (maybe Krewe de Vieux)
is passing on the street below, but I can’t get out onto the balcony
or down the stairs because my costume is too big!
Ridiculous, I know- but these really are the things I worry about.

(A still from The Deadly Spawn, 1980)

(Photo by Horrible Cherry)

(Photo by Paddy Patterson)
I only have this dream occasionally,
but I know a lot of people that have it.
So disturbing. I’ve heard lots of interpretations:
loss of control, important decisions, money worries..
I think it has to do with a loss of control,
or a loss of face. Maybe it’s different for everyone,
but it seems to be a universal stress dream.

(Photo by P Josh D)
Tornados mean something very specific
in my dreams, but I’m not really sure I have words to explain it.
I’m not afraid of them. They are exciting, and somehow sentient.
Sometimes I’m driving very fast over dusty desolate roads
with my sister. We gun the engine and head straight towards
them laughing, laughing. The most significant dream I’ve
had about them
is as follows:
I see a white tornado in the distance,
a churning, whirling wraith intent on
savaging the idyllic scene I see before me:
deep slate blue sky and golden fields,
the pristine farmhouse stark and shivering..
I try to warn my companions, who are hazy
and faceless and who don’t seem to be alarmed.
I climb up on the hood of a broken-down car
for a better view, my only thought is that I
must stop this thing- somehow.
I hear a howling behind my left shoulder
and turn to see that another furious funnel
of white wind has begun to form behind me.
Without thinking, I reach into it and
separate it with my hands into two-
as you would a thick fall of hair for plaiting.
I take both cyclones in heavy handfuls
and crack them like bullwhips,
the way you do with rattlesnakes-
grabbing them by the tails,
shattering their spines
and whipping their brains out
of their mouths with a sharp snap.
Having dispersed these minor monsters,
I turn to intercept the juggernaut
rushing my way with the intention
of disposing of it by a similar method.

This may be the most intensely symbolic dream
I’ve ever had- entirely vivid, and visceral in every way.

I have this dream every once in awhile
where I am making out with a wolf.
It’s not some bestial thing, and it’s not
really clear if I’m a wolf or a woman,
or how the logistics of kissing wolves
really works with all those teeth and all.

I’ve had this dream since I was little,
of discovering secret rooms or chambers.
One of the first dreams I can remember,
I found an enormous cathedral-like theater
in the steeple of my church. Swooping
red curtains. An apt analogy for my young
mind to make, hmm? When I lived in
a tiny baba yaga shack with only one room,
I constantly dreamed that I would find other rooms
that always been there, behind walls or partitions.
Once I dreamt of a whole second floor!

The Higgeldy-Piggledy Tree – Lullingstone Park
Photo by Glen

I find myself in this place sometimes.

I used to dream about Nick Cave constantly.
He was my number one schoolgirl crush.
I don’t guess I really need to go into major
detail regarding these, though I will say that
mainly we were having extremely engaging
conversations and strolling. Mostly.
And you? Can you interpret any of these?
I’ve heard it said that there is nothing more dull
than hearing about someone else’s dreams,
but I completely disagree! I love dreams,
and when friends have strange and fascinating ones,
it makes me love them even more.
I hate not remembering my dreams.
I love lucid dreaming, and visiting friends
and future friends there.
I have premonitory dreams,
but they’re mostly useless prophecies.
Have you ever predicted the future in your dreams?


i have dreams about tornadoes too!
once, the tornadoes were whipping up a field of four leaf clovers
another time, a tornado-vortex appeared above my bed and then my dream self woke up to discover a hot air balloon had landed outside my window.
i have dreams about hot air balloons as well. also cinemas, recently.
i really like your beehive~

by dreamer on July 19, 2009 at 3:05 am. Reply #

When I was younger, my most frequent were of flying on the back of Pegasus. They mutated eventually into us being hunted, shot from the sky and falling/landing, injured, trying to find our way out of a forest very similar to what J.K. Rowling envisioned in the Forbidden Forest of Hogwarts.
The second was of being chased by a pack of wolves whose leader was the Nothing from the Neverending Story. It would chase me through all the houses I had lived in (I moved around a lot as a child) and would eventually corner me before I’d scream myself awake.
Truthfully, unless I am on medication or under the influence of alcohol, I have HORRIBLE dreams. Strictly nightmares, usually. After talking to some of my friends on HIV meds, I seem to have Sustiva nightmares naturally.
They are INSANELY realistic and cause me to wake up disoriented and afraid for my life. I don’t recognize partners or my home for at least 30 seconds after waking.
The dreams/nightmares are so POWERFUL that I’ll wake up crying and not know why.
And just to mess with me entirely, sometimes my subconscious will provide me with that random dream that ends up in an actual orgasm.
Those I like waking up to.
The rest I guess I should write about.

by Melanie on July 19, 2009 at 3:24 am. Reply #

1. trying to catch a flight or train and not being able to pack all my things – being forced to leave things behind – vague departure times yet rushing not to be late.
2. bathroom dreams – weird bathrooms with toilets that don’t work or people who won’t leave me have any privacy – but i had/have issues with my health so i think that’s just anxiety and now i’m freaked out when i have them cuz someone told me it means i have a uti – then i’m paranoid until i find out – i can really be psyched out.
3. prophetic dreams – where dead loved ones come to talk to me and tell me things i need to know.
4. canals in phoenix that no longer exist
5. lots of dreams about houses with confusing rooms. is a great site.

by suzanne on July 19, 2009 at 3:43 am. Reply #

also that wolf image really jolted me i was going to buy a painting of that from a local artist i thought it was his original idea – how lame he’s a copy cat. bleh.

by suzanne on July 19, 2009 at 3:44 am. Reply #

I also have the teeth dreams.
I dream of a big, somewhat sinister house that never ends. There are winds blowing through the rooms. I am searching for something just out of reach and disparate people from all parts of my life are in the house. Also, it has no discernible roof.
I dream of rollercoasters and flying planes, but in a very apocalyptic fashion, with threatening aliens and bombs.
I dislike rollercoasters and flying instesely .
I also have many and disturbing drug dreams, where I have massive amounts of drugs, but I just can’t seem to get them into me. These were very bad and frequent when I first got straight, now they’re only occasional, but I always wake up feeling vaguely guilty and very frustrated, filled with yearning. When I was little I had the same kind of dreams about chocolate cake.
I like it when I dream about friends who have died, as it comforts me, and I feel they are safe.

by Miss Donna on July 19, 2009 at 4:27 am. Reply #

I have dreams I can fly. I love these dreams. It’s so freeing…maybe it’s my subconscious leaving my body during the night? Who knows. I also dream that I can shoot fire out of my finger which is very cool!

by Jill on July 19, 2009 at 5:27 am. Reply #

dreams of large squat houses with tooooo many rooms with toooo many things going on. dreams of heavy ceremonial activity, always including trans-dimensional contacts. dreams of being shot in the head or shooting myself, always wake to the gunshot. recurring dream, traveling with friends down post apocalyptic toll roads. we always stop to sleep in one of the abandoned toll houses and i inject everyone with toooo heavy a dose of junk and one of them invariably sits up looks at me knowingly and accepts the shot anyway. i have a deep satisfaction coupled with guilt during the injections.

by jackling on July 19, 2009 at 5:57 am. Reply #

“last night my teeth fell out like ivory typewriter keys”

by VJESCI on July 19, 2009 at 6:54 am. Reply #

With my last boyfriend, I would have recurring dreams where I had met a ute fellow, and was about to kiss him, and then thought in my dream, “wait, aren’t I dating someone?” And then I would think, “no, no I’m not.”
When I’ve lost something, I’ll dream that I’ve found it. When I need to get something done, I’ll dream that I’m getting it done. It’s like my brain is trying to make everything all right for me while I sleep.

by Valerie on July 19, 2009 at 8:53 am. Reply #

I know a wonderful dream interpretation technique! It’s like dreams + mad libs + freeword association= your minds secret message. It’s very fun to do and the outcome is like having your mind talk to you in a very strange but clear brain language that actually makes sense. I would love to sit and do it with you over some tea. lovelove!

by Johna on July 19, 2009 at 11:23 am. Reply #

I had a dream that this dark and mysterious young man came over to my house and made tater tots, but he did not bring any for me into the living room. So I went into the kitchen to cuss him, only to discover that he had lovingly made me a tiny mountain of tater tots. When I peeked back into the living room to swoon over him, he was asking my mother if he could fill a wooden shoe with ketchup, in order to make his traditional wedding proposal to me!

by ~lori~ on July 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm. Reply #

I used to have a recurring dream from ages 4 to 16: I would be flying in the midsection of these huge beautiful trees, bright blue sky and rolling green hills, and then swoop down to the right, I saw my Grandmother, Mother, and Sister standing in a row one after the other as if they were trees themselves, then I flew way to the left way up high where my piano sat in a clearing with the sun shining like a spot light and the piano keys exposed, then WAKE UP. For 12 years exactly the same dream. Thanks for sharing yours Angel, I’ve had a Tsunami flood dream once, it was as if out of Revelations still vivid to this day. xoxox K.

by Kenney Malone on July 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm. Reply #

I’ve had prophetic dreams since I was a small girl. I inherited the gift from my mother. They’ve helped only a couple of times. Usually they are completely useless and only serve to remind me of the fluidity of time.
I’ve had tornado dreams. To me tornadoes represent the chaos of life outside of my own sphere. If they’re trying to get me, I’m not in control of my life, or I’m getting close to that. I haven’t had one in years. Not since freeing myself of my lovely ex-husband. Often in these tornado dreams I’m also driving a car…but I’m in the back seat.
I used to have recurrent nightmares as a child of being stabbed in the face by a swarthy bemoustached man. Another was being rolled up in a tsunami sized red carpet. But these dreams live in a tree in Nacogdoches. Where I placed them in 1994.

by Bean on July 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm. Reply #

I’ve never had prophetic dreams, but I have the tooth dream somewhat regularly. And I had always chalked it up to all my teenaged orthadontia!

by sarah von on July 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm. Reply #

those are all fascinating. my mother use to say to me that falling out teeth symbolized illness and stress. i guess that would always scare me and so i tried to never think about loose teeth. ive only have one or two of those dreams anyhow.
ive only ever had one black and white dream in my life as a child. i dreamt my stepdad and i were running away from some murderer or robber in alleyways but the dream was very hazy, as though everything was blurry and moving. we were running fast but the dream was progressing in slow motion, black and white and gray, blurs of people. black blobs. eerie.
reoccurring dreams i have are of secret passageways in castles, owning a castle, finding a secret spot in the forest in europe (that i always am sure i have been to upon waking up) that is a large turquoise basin of warm water cascading down a cliff and…. my mother getting drunk and me getting very emotional & upset. ive had some wonderful dreams in the past, very moving and touching dreams where i’ve woken up with tears on my face or screaming. i am very lucid in them, i can smell and touch things, i can prolong them and sleep for hours within the same dream while being aware of the outside world. dreams are so fascinating and important, i hope to never stop dreaming- nightmares or pleasant ones, they all are embraced by me. i hope you do too, i especially love the forest spot dream and secret rooms. reminds me of a secret garden which is my most cherished film ever. thank you for sharing.

by katja on July 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm. Reply #

also, majority of my dreams are prophetic. they seem to forecast the future and the moods and even events. i remember my first prophetic dream was when i was in grade 10. i had a friend who was very depressed and she would cut herself. i fell asleep at 10pm one night and dreamt i was sitting in a dark corner in her room watching her cut herself. i was crying and telling her to stop but she couldnt hear or see me. the next morning at school i told her about this dream and she looked at me with wide eyes and said: “at 10pm i was in an argument with my mother and she upset me so much that i spent the night cutting myself in my room” at which she proceeded to show me the marks. we sat in silence until the bell rang and went to our classes. that’s when i knew these things could happen, and they still do- mostly predicting bad things. i’ve only had one or two good things predicted.

by katja on July 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm. Reply #

The only prophetic dreams I have are of very boring things: I will dream about a meal, or an article that I then edit at work six months later. I often get deja vu about dreams I’ve had (again, usually while doing very mundane things).
My grandmother came to me several times in dreams after she died, in which she talked about how happy she was to be reunited with her beloved dead.
I keep waiting for my dead cat to come into my dreams, but not so far. Maybe, as a cat, she was too moment-oriented to want to.
Before I married my second husband, for months I had anxiety dreams in which I couldn’t marry him because I had to marry or was still married to my first husband. Those were awful dreams, in which I cried and cried not to be able to have my Dingo.
I have a whole dream neighborhood in Chicago that I love to visit: there is a white clapboard church with a haunted churchyard. The grocery store has red carpeting and huge wood and brass bins filled with vegetables. There’s a giant farmer’s market, and the train station is a classic square WPA building with a large mural.

by Virginia on July 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm. Reply #

my dear girly, i, too, dream of tornados and secret rooms. usually my secret room is an old barn of sorts with lots of secret doors and mirrored armoires. my tornado dreams happen every which way and all i can conclude is that it represents my loss of control over certain things. i’m so sorry you’ve carried the weight of the grief from losing your mum…it makes me terribly sad just to think about it. i’m positive she is smiling down on you and marveling at what an incredible creature you’ve turned out to be.

by katinka on July 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm. Reply #

Many nights I drive around in stolen cars without a license (and I don’t have a license in reality either). When this happens, I am always in a panic and terribly paranoid. This has been reoccurring since I was around seven.
Unfortunately lately I have been having an armful of nightmares. A couple included the death of my boyfriend’s and my aunt’s father. These could be in relation to my mother’s death about a year and a half ago and my bit unnerving start of college in a month. I obviously wake up in depressive moods after such dreams.
I find the dream of you kissing the wolf such an out of this world image, very fascinating, I’ve never heard anything like it. And, *swoon*, Nick Cave.

by Sasha on July 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm. Reply #

My Grandmother is always terrified when someone dreams about teeth, because loosing your teeth in a dream supposedly means that someone close will die. I never had such a dream. I have some recurring dreams but the most disturbing one is that I’m losing my sight. I have to do something or get somewhere but I’m doing it too slow, because I’m seeing worse and worse. I used to think that’s because at one point in my life blindness was very probable, but now I think it’s somewhat connected to losing control and ability to know things. Knowing things is very important for me.
But once I had this dream about losing my sight in which I met Jack who had wooden legs and acorns for eyes and danced polka with me and said that my sight doesn’t matter because I’m his favorite and he’ll lead me anywhere I want even if I lose my sight completly. And his friend told me that every time I lose one thing I am given another. Since that dream I think of it more like of a remainder: close your eyes, use other ways of seeing.

by ee-nez on July 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm. Reply #

I almost didn’t post anything, because mine are so horrible. You see, I have two different recurring nightmares, which cause me to panic so much that I always wake up with my heart pounding and sweat on my brow …
Dream A … I have one of the major roles in a play, it is opening night, I have not learned any of my lines, I know that “the show must go on”, and I am in complete terror of going out on stage … the entire cast is staring at me and whispering behind their cupped hands … and everything seems to be going in slow motion, including my screams.
Dream B … I suddenly realize that I have not fed or watered my horse in days (and in some of the dreams it has been weeks), and the last time I remember being with her, was closing her up in her stall at night. This dream always ends with me running up the driveway, with my heart pounding because I know that I will face the worst horror when I get to the barn. And the most terrible thing about it all is that I can’t really remember what happened to make me forget something this incredibly important.
Of course, neither of these things ever happened to me in real life … I always knew my lines, and I never forgot my darling Shayla … I wish I knew what the deeper meaning was behind these nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat of terror.

by Susanne Lynette on July 20, 2009 at 12:58 am. Reply #

I know in Native American mythology that wolves represent sovereignity (for they have no predator), they are the “teacher”. They come in dreams to take you through a journey, to help you face your fears and reward you wisdom. A very strong totem to have! There is a book you should read, it’s in my top 10, it’s called ‘Women who run with Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

by Angie on July 31, 2009 at 5:49 pm. Reply #

Interesting read. Since I was little I had dreams of drowning, only to wake up and realize I’m actually holding my breath. I also have very detailed dreams about tornados where I’m seeking a place for me and my family to hide as I’m watching the tornado get closer. One I had recently, my mother was driving and we drove right through a F-1 tornado because we had no where to escape. Another dream I have frequenlty is about spiders (and I am deathly fearful of them). Most times they are either very unrealistically large or there are hundreds of them swarming the ground and I’m trying to walk past them with out them touching me. Creepy!!

by Kathryn on August 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm. Reply #

Also, the dreams that disturbe me most are the sexually inappropriate dreams with family members (brother, uncle, etc.). Yuk! What can that possibly mean?

by Kathryn on August 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm. Reply #

I have the teeth dream a lot. This is probably the most frequent of my anxiety dreams. I’ve always thought that it had to do with a fear of growing older, of decrepitude and decay and deterioration. Sometimes I’m having a conversation at a cocktail party while trying to discretely spit my teeth into a napkin. I’m always so very glad when I wake up that I still have all of my teeth. I really can’t describe the wonderful feeling of relief that none of y teeth wiggle as I frantically run my tongue over them upon waking.
I also have the “I can’t get my costume together in time” dream. It used to be about Halloween, but since I’ve moved to New Orleans, it’s sometimes about Mardi Gras. I’ve forgotten to finish my costume and It’s happening right outside the door and I’m missing it!! I spend the hours rummaging through boxes and closets trying to put something together, so I can just go out into the magical night( or sometimes day)
The funny thing about that is that my father once said that one of the things he truly loved about me was that I could put together a really good costume for anyone in about 10 minutes flat from pieces I had lying around. So apparently this is never something I’ve needed to worry about. As an interesting side note, I have a realy hard time changing clothes in my dreams.
I have another dream that has many variations. There are small helpless things. Usually a box of kittens or sometimes my children when they very young. There is some type of danger, a fire or a someone in the house. I am trying to gather them all and get them to safty, but I can’t ever hold them all at once. When it’s the kids one will run away from me and as soon as I get that one I’ll realize that I’ve lost the other one. When it’s kittens or puppies then I keep finding more and trying to catch them until I can’t hold anymore and begin dropping them. It never occurs to me to take some outside and come back for the rest. I have to gather them all at once, but I can never hold, and protect them all.
By the way, let’s talk about what Neil Gaiman called the lightswitch thing. It’s character that lives in the Dreaming. It’s function is to make the lights not work in your dreams. Does that happen to you? It apparently screws up the locks as well, because I can never lock any doors in my dreams.
Finally, one of the best recurring dreams I have, isn’t really a recurring dream, but a recurring setting. I dream about a city, that is an amalgam of every city in which I’ve ever lived. The dreams are all different, but I usually realize that I’m in “The City”. Over the years I’ve learned how all of the different neighborhoods and streets fit together. One day I’ll actually map it out. Sometimes, I lull my self to sleep by mapping it in my head.
My favorite are the dreams where I realize that I’m dreaming. I can usually fly or make inanimate objects dance. Dreams are tricky though. They don’t like it when you know you are dreaming. They try and get you interested in the plot so that you’ll forget again.
Thanks for giving me the subject to ramble on about. Strangely, it’s helped my insomnia tongiht to talk about my dreams.

by Angela Raney on August 15, 2009 at 12:37 am. Reply #

[…] the way we do here. Or maybe that’s been changing there too. I’ve been thinking about the tidal wave dreams I used to have, about not trying to outrun them anymore, but instead trying to face them head-on, standing with […]

by Angeliska Gazette › Waves on April 14, 2011 at 12:06 am. Reply #

I have dreams where gum is stuck on my teeth and I keep pulling and pulling and I can’t ever get it all out of my mouth. Sometimes my teeth come out with the gum.
After researching this dream, I discovered many people have it or a version of it where gum is stuck in your throat and that it can mean you have sleep apnea and literally stop breathing in your sleep! I also grind my teeth and wear a night guard. Sometimes strange dreams actually have physical causes or manifestations.

by Stefanie on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm. Reply #

I haven’t been dreaming lately, and I love dreaming. I’m sad that my sleeping life has been silent, but maybe it’s because my waking life is so full. I used to have flying dreams a lot, wherein I’d have to will my body into the air, breathing deeply, and raising my heart to the sky. I revisit dream places. I’d get really familiar with these places, but the story is always completely different, it’s just in the same setting. I also have had night terrors a couple of times. That’s not fun at all.

by Dominique on April 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm. Reply #

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