4 min read

Excerpt from The Soul Searcher's Handbook

by Emma Mildon

No matter how gorgeous or gross, how interesting or boring, every emotion, thought, and action in a dream holds keys that will unlock important information about your waking life. The texture of our subconscious, which is expressed through our dreams, is a direct reflection of our soul’s health. When we awaken to our subconscious mind through the symbolism of our dreams, we begin to be able to take closer note of our conscious life. Take a look at some common dreams and their meanings below.


You are channeling your animal side, the primal pieces of yourself that connect you to nature and survival. The animal kingdom is all about survival of the fittest. Being chased by a predator suggests you’re holding back repressed emotions, like fear, instead of confronting whatever situation you are looking to escape or hide from. Pay attention to the animals you see in your dreams, think about the people or situations they may represent, and ask yourself how the animals make you feel. Think about your waking life and how this might connect to the animal or animals you tend to dream about. Every animal has a unique meaning—similar to the concept of spirit animals—so consider doing some research into dream symbolism, either online or at your local library.


Dreaming about babies is usually less about your own offspring (though it certainly can be) and more rooted in your own inner child. They represent a need for unconditional love, nurturing, and support. Babies can also represent the birth of new ideas and new beginnings—a new chapter in life, whether it be a relationship, career move, or experience.

Being Chased

Talk to anybody about dreams and nearly everyone will admit to experiencing at least one dream about being chased. They’re super-freaky! Dreams in which we’re being chased by someone or something are rooted in our fight-or-flight instincts, which sometimes bleed over into our dreams. It can mean that you are feeling under threat by someone or something. Reflect on whom or what is chasing you in your dream, and how your pursuer could be a possible threat in real life.


Death in dreams, ironically, can actually represent birth in your waking life. A death of a friend or loved one represents change—the transition between an end and a new beginning. If you have recently lost a loved one, dreaming of death may be your subconscious mind’s attempt to come to terms with your grief through your dreams, so you can achieve release in your waking life as well. Like my dreams about my mother, these dreams can be very healing.


Ever woken yourself up with a jolt, like you suddenly crashed down onto your bed? I bet these are always a hit with your bedmate, that’s for sure. Falling is a common dream that connects to our anxieties and fears about letting go in our waking life. We may feel like we are losing control over a situation, a person, or a long-held belief or prejudice, and we experience this letting go as falling in our dreams.


Whether you dream about stuffing your face or wandering the empty desert longing for dessert, dreaming of food (or the lack of it) symbolizes a craving for knowledge, because it nourishes the body just as information nourishes the brain. Food for thought?


Killing in your dreams does not make you a closet murderer; it represents your desire to kill part of your own personality. Chances are you have become aware of something about yourself that you’re not a huge fan of and are working toward killing off that piece of yourself. It can also symbolize hostility toward a particular person and the desire to see them suffer or struggle.


When most people think about sex dreams, they think of them being largely the territory of guys, but girls totally have them too! The meaning behind sex dreams for both men and women is about as straightforward as you can get: you seek intimacy and are experiencing a literal desire for sex through your dreams. Dreams that feature sex or erotic imagery could point to a desire to explore new experiences in your waking life as well.


Have you ever had all of your teeth fall out in your dream and woken up only to race to the bathroom and check that they’re all still in your head? Gah! Loose, wiggly, or broken teeth are a very common dream event that points to general anxiety of losing control in your everyday life, and can point to hidden fears of getting old and being unattractive to sexual partners.


Dreaming of water can symbolize the overall state of your subconscious mind. Calm pools of water reflect inner peace, while a choppy ocean suggests unease and upheaval. The night before I first went to study transcendental meditation, I had a dream that I was out in the middle of an ocean in the middle of the night. The ocean was gently rolling along when suddenly a huge wave formed in front of me. I took a deep breath and dove down deep, digging my hands into the sand to anchor myself as the wave went over me. I resurfaced to a perfectly calm ocean once more. The next day, the teacher drew a picture of a wavy ocean, and then explained to us that as we go deeper into transcendental meditation, the process would resemble diving deeper into the ocean—it gets quieter and calmer as you delve to its depths, finding peace and stability there. The dream was bang on the money in terms of forecasting the swell of inner peace about to flood my subconscious.

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