Death, exams, ladders and being naked

Decoding what your dreams means can shed guidance and help you navigate through life easier. Here, dream expert Dr Monika Cohenkra reveals the meaning behind 55 of the most common dreams…

1. Addresses

To dream of an address from your childhood may signify that you should look over something from that time. If the address reminds you of a time when your parents divorced, there may be a lesson from their struggles that could help you sort out any current relationship problems.

It is also worth noting the street number and name. If you find yourself in a dead-end street looking for house number 40 close to your 40th birthday, just remember that life begins at 40!

2. Aliens

Dreaming about an alien may indicate that you are getting in touch with something that is foreign to you.

Are you learning a foreign language or travelling overseas? Feeling like an alien can also occur when we start something new, such as joining a new group. We can feel confused by the language and culture of the group and this will translate in our dream world as an encounter with aliens.

Rest assured that with time, you will learn the culture and lingo of your new group. Look to your dream – it may hold a few clues to help you settle in.

Your dream may also reflect feelings of alienation in your waking life. Do you feel alienated from friends or family?

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3. Beds

Beds are a very important piece of furniture and their presence in our dream is layered with meaning.

Beds are a place where we sleep, rest, engage in intimacy and also dream. Is your dream bed clean? Is it an inviting place for you to rest and renew?

If so, the expression that “life is a bed of roses” may apply here. Alternatively, is your dream bed messy and dirty and a place that you would prefer to avoid? The expression “you’ve made your own bed now lie in it” may apply, here. What “mess” have you created in your waking life that you are now “lying in”?

Is this a sexual dream? Is there someone in your dream bed? Would you like to be intimate? Or do you need to get “into bed with someone” in a business sense? The bed’s size is also important: after a failed romance we may dream of a single bed to represent being single again.

4. Bees

Bees are renowned for their productivity. The production of honey is nothing short of phenomenal. Over the past few days have you been particularly industrious in your waking life? Have you been a “busy bee”? Bees are incredible collaborators, so perhaps there is an area of your life that would benefit from a collaboration?

Bees are also under threat and in some countries there is concern that their declining number may impact on food production. Are you preoccupied in your waking life with issues that relate to basic survival, such as the availability of food?

Many people are allergic to bees, so if they dream about a bee it’s usually about feeling threatened by something. Have you been “stung” by someone or something in your waking life? Are you dealing with a “queen bee” in your day to day? Do you have an idea buzzing around your head or a “bee in your bonnet”?

5. Bridges

Bridges have a wide array of meanings. For example, at the most basic level, a bridge provides passage over a gap or barrier and can represent us moving from one thing to the next. If our bridge is stable and solid this may reveal that the movements we are experiencing in our waking life are secure.

Alternatively, our dream bridge may be rickety and precarious, indicating some anxiety about our current direction in life. Are there some bridges that need mending in your waking life?

Look around your dream as there may be some clues about relationships that need some attention. It may be you are trying to bridge a gap in a relationship in your waking life. Perhaps you are beginning to make a connection to someone with whom you have previously experienced a divergence in views.

A bridge over water may represent a need to put the past aside and move forward, as in “water under the bridge”.

6. Cars

Dreams about cars generally represent an aspect of your life’s journey.

Have you dreamed you are trying to drive from the back seat, the brakes are not working or you struggle to find the headlight switch?

If you are trying to drive from the back seat, where in life are you taking a “back seat”? If your brakes don’t work, perhaps you feel as though you have lost control of something. If you can’t find the headlights, maybe you feel you are in the dark in some area and are having trouble seeing your direction.

Dreams about cars can also be a symbol of your personal “drive” and energy.

7. Celebrities

Dreams about meeting celebrities tend to reflect a desire in one’s waking life for fame and recognition.

When you dream of a celebrity ask yourself whether you want greater recognition for something? Are you concerned your talents are going unrecognised? Do you wish that you had this person’s fame and fortune? Do you feel your dreams and goals are just outside your reach?

People dream about celebrities as they’ve often done things in their life that we wish we’d been able to do in our own lives.

Sometimes dreams about famous people reflect our fundamental wish to actually meet that person. In essence by meeting the celebrity in our dream, our dream fulfils all our wishes.

8. Death

Dreams about death are common and can be disturbing. However, it is best not to take dreams literally but to look at the symbolism.

Death in dreams is usually about letting old philosophies, attitudes or behaviours end so new ones can surface. Is there something in your waking life you need to let go of?

Dreams about death tend to occur at transition points in our lives such as getting your first job, breaking up with your partner or reaching menopause or midlife. At these life junctures we are confronted with periods of change and renewal.

Most people approach change with mixed feelings. As an example of this, a person leaving home and moving into a flat with friends may have a dream of a child dying, which is a metaphor for them moving out of their childhood home and becoming an adult.

9. Dream recall

Some people remember many of their dreams while others barely remember any. Some research suggests there may be biochemical reasons for the differences in dream recall. If you want to improve your dream recall, try these techniques.

As you go to sleep, remind yourself you want to remember your dreams.

Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed to record your dreams.

If you wake from a dream in the night, write it down. If you wait until morning, you have less chance of remembering it.

In the morning, before getting up, focus on remembering any dreams and write them down.

If you only remember fragments, write them down. Over time you should recall more details.

Persistence is essential. It can take a while to improve your dream recall.

10. Exams

Dreams where we’re sitting a test or exam are common. They may reveal that in an area of your life you’re feeling tested and judged. How did you perform in the dream test? How does your performance relate to your exploits in your waking life?

Dreams about missing a test, getting poor results or failing to sufficiently study for a test may indicate that over the past few days you felt you were underperforming or failing to step up in life. Are these “testing times” for you?

Alternatively, if you’re a student or are currently testing for something, these dreams could represent your real life worries about upcoming exams.

Health tests are also a common dream and are generally symbolic. For instance, a heart test in a dream is most probably about the need for the dreamer to look into matters of the heart.

11. Darkness

Darkness, or the absence of light, may indicate the dreamer is experiencing a dark, heavy mood. If this is the case, the dreamer needs to seek out people or activities that bring light to their everyday lives.

Alternatively, the dreamer’s mood state may be fine but in some area of their waking life they feel they are in the dark.

The dreamer could be struggling to get on with colleagues and feels they are being kept in the dark about routine office events. Or perhaps the dreamer feels they are moving around in the dark in their romantic relationship and does not know which direction to take or where they stand in the relationship.

Look for clues in the dream that indicate which area of your waking life the dream is representing. If the dream takes place in your school or university it could represent your anxiety about the new material you are learning.

12. Dragons

In essence, there are no limits to our dream content. We can feast with friends with teacups on their heads, kayak down rivers of molasses, or fly through the air on medieval dragons. Each of these symbols can hold a special meaning for the dreamer.

In Eastern culture the dragon is a powerful and positive masculine symbol. Perhaps you were born in the year of the dragon? In the Chinese zodiac they represent royalty, power and wealth. They are also magical, so does it feel as though something magical is happening in your life? Or perhaps there are dragons that need slaying (metaphorically)?

13. Falling

Falling dreams are very common and are often unpleasant. A dream about falling may suggest you are feeling as though you have little support in your waking life, or a situation in your waking life has you free-falling and feeling out of control.

In a sense, a falling dream is the reverse of a flying dream and is a sign that things in your waking life may be moving in the wrong direction. Look around your dream: are you falling into something? If you are falling into a pile of desks, perhaps this is a work issue. If you are falling on top of a group of friends, maybe you are feeling as though you are falling out of favour with your social group.

If the sensation of falling in the dream feels pleasant, perhaps things in your waking life are finally falling into place.

14. Fences

Dreams about fences are typically about boundaries you are encountering in some aspect of your waking life.

If you are attempting to jump over the fence, perhaps you are refusing to let obstacles get in your way. Alternatively, if you are walking behind a fence searching for an opening, your dream may be dealing with feelings of confinement and limitation in your life. Is there an area of your life that is not progressing well?

If you are building a fence in a dream, perhaps you are trying to contain or repair something in your life, or you may be trying to place a positive boundary around something in your waking life.

15. Fire

Dreams about fire can represent feelings of passion and desire, and may be a signal from your unconscious that you’re firing on all pistons.

Is there a fire that burns within you? Maybe your dream fire represents a passion or yearning that is yet to be realised? When fires burn out of control in a dream, it can be a sign the dreamer is struggling to control passionate feelings.

Alternatively, dreams of sitting by a fireplace may represent security and warmth in the dreamer’s life. Is the fire in the dream an enemy wreaking havoc or an inviting warm force?

If you’re playing with fire in some area of your life, perhaps your dream world is warning you to consider the consequences. As we often see with the Australian bush, fires can destroy and create havoc. However, after the fires the bush begins replenishing and transforming. Fire dreams may allude to opportunities for personal “re-growth” following an emotional fire.

16. Food

Food is how we nourish ourselves and dreams of this nature may represent how “nourished” we feel in our waking life. If food is plentiful in a dream and feels somewhat excessive, maybe you are struggling with your desire to devour something in your day-to-day life. Alternatively, if you dream there is insufficient food, perhaps you are undernourished in an area of your waking life.

Different types of food may have specific associations for the dreamer. Mum’s home-cooked spaghetti bolognaise may represent that the dreamer feels nurtured and cared for.

Sometimes we dream of food when we are literally hungry. Dieters frequently dream of food they long for in their waking life. This type of dream is known as a wish-fulfilment dream as our dreams attempt to fulfil all our wishes.

Dreams about food may be simply offering you “food for thought”.

17. Friends

Dreaming of a person you haven’t seen or thought of in years may be a “time and place” message.

If a friend from school is in your dream, perhaps a lesson, behaviour or experience from that period in your life has some meaning in the issues you are currently confronting in your waking life.

Work out what that friend represents to you. Describe them in three words. If your friend is carefree, a risk taker and fun, ask yourself if these traits have appeared in your life in the past few days or if you could have benefited from incorporating them.

Our relationships with our friends help us to learn more about ourselves and this also applies to their presence in our dreams.

18. Fog

Dreams about fog are common. Have you ever dreamed you’re driving and fog passes across the road? Or you are walking and you can’t find your way through the fog? Dream fog represents a lack of transparency in what lies ahead.

Sometimes we dream about fog when we’re in an emotional fog. An emotional fog is feelings of confusion and lack of clarity. Dream fog may be a sign you’ve lost your ability to think or see clearly. On occasion, depression is represented as fog.

Fog is also mysterious and this fog may represent a mystery unfolding in your life.

19. Gates

If you are walking through a gate or one swings open in front of you, this may represent a new venture or new path in your waking life. Opening your dream gate may make it possible for something to happen in your life, as represented by the saying “opening the floodgates”.

If your dream gate is closed then perhaps in your waking life you are feeling locked out of a new initiative or that something is acting as a barrier to your current direction.

If you walk past a gate in your dream this may represent a path you didn’t take in your waking life. If you are curious about what lies behind a gate then you may be flirting with the idea of trying something new in your day-to-day life.

20. Gifts

Dreams about gifts may be a reminder to the dreamer that they have gifts and talents they ought to embrace.

If you are giving a gift to someone in a dream, perhaps in your waking life you feel you have something to offer that person. How the recipient reacts will give you an indication of the response you are expecting. If the gift is carefully packaged, it would appear a lot of effort has gone into something. Is there an area of your life that feels like a carefully crafted gift?

There is also a saying not to look a gift horse in the mouth, which means if someone gives you a horse as a present, you should not insult them by checking the horse’s age. Is there an area in your waking life where you would benefit from adopting the philosophy “it is the thought that counts”?

21. Graves

Imagine a dream where a couple are walking through a graveyard. They pass a gravestone and the dreamer sees the name engraved on it is her husband’s. She wakes from the dream with a start.

This dream happened to a woman I know who was in the middle of a divorce. What the dream represented was the end of the relationship. In essence, it symbolised the grief and fear she felt about her impending divorce.

Dreams about graves tend to be about endings and letting go – of relationships, beliefs, life directions or childhoods. They can be filled with a range of emotions – love, grief, excitement, loss, fear – the emotions that accompany change in waking life.

If you dream of a grave, consider what it is you have buried. Is the dream telling you your life is better off since the burial or should you bring this buried treasure back to life?

22. Hotels

Hotels represent a place of transition. Are you in a situation that feels like it could be short term, such as a relationship or business arrangement?

Are you just flirting with something: perhaps a hotel represents your recent one-night stand? If your dream hotel is luxurious and clean, then that one-night stand may have felt like a pleasant treat to savour. Alternatively, if your hotel is dank and dark then maybe it felt a little sleazy and has distressed you. If this is the case, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Next time, though, listen to your instincts and be more protective of yourself.

You may want respite from a situation in your waking life. A dream hotel may be a wish-fulfilment dream, representing desire to escape from your current predicament or day-to-day monotony.

23. Ladders

Dreams about ladders can highlight the direction the dreamer is taking in their waking life. In your dream, are you climbing up the corporate ladder or climbing down into an abyss? If you are climbing up a ladder, perhaps you are reaching new heights. Are you making progress towards, or away from, a goal in your waking life?

Whether you are heading up or down the dream ladder the question to ask yourself is how you felt in the dream about your movement on the ladder. Were you happy, unhappy, scared or worried about the direction you were taking?

In myths, ladders can connect heaven and earth, so ladder dreams may also refer to your spiritual journey.

24. Mountains

Dreams about mountains can represent challenges we are confronting in life. If you are walking up a mountain, the obstacles you encounter may mirror obstacles in your daily life. A slippery mountain may represent your struggles to find your feet in a new position or role. A densely forested mountain may be a metaphor that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Is it possible that you are buried in the details and have lost sight of the bigger picture?

We talk about having a mountain of paperwork, so your dream mountain may represent the sheer volume of work you are facing. If you find yourself on top of a mountain, you may have reached the pinnacle of something – perhaps you are at the top of your career? Mountains can also represent our spiritual quests and our journey to reach a higher level of consciousness.

25. Naked

Perhaps you are feeling vulnerable in some area of your waking life. The location of your nakedness may help you work out the meaning of the dream. For example, if you dream you are naked at a school party, you may be feeling exposed in some area of your school life.

If you feel comfortable with your nakedness, you are possibly getting down to the bare basics in your waking life and are feeling good about yourself in general.

Alternatively, a nude dream may indicate you need to bare your soul to someone.

26. Nightmare

Nightmares are dreams filled with fear and anxiety. The dreamer is unable to find resolution in the dream and often wakes with a start.

They are generally dramatic messages that something in your life is causing you distress or anxiety. For instance, if you dream of a tidal wave approaching, perhaps you are overcome by a wave of emotion or feel “in over your head” in some area.

Nightmares can also follow a real-life trauma. These are typically disturbing variations of the actual trauma and usually become gradually less intense over time as the dreamer gains distance from the event. Seek help if a dream is causing you ongoing distress.

27. Numbers

A stage is a public arena and is typically surrounded by an audience. In what aspect of your life do you feel as though you are on show? Would you like to be more known to the world or is this a stage you would rather avoid?

Most dreams have numbers in them: a street number, how many train stops on your way to work, the room number in a hotel, the eight arms of an octopus. These may be important. You may dream that you are in a lift travelling to the 30th floor, days before your 30th birthday.

When your dream features a number, consider how it relates to your waking life. Your dream number may represent a time period, such as 12 days since you left your partner or 10 weeks until your course finishes. Alternatively, a dream number may match an important year for you, your age or even your flight details.

28. Packing

Packing dreams are my repetitive dream.

I quite often dream that I am about to return from a holiday and have to pack up the hotel room. To make matters worse, not only is there insufficient time to pack but I have a ridiculous quantity of things to fold, sort and put away.

I have this dream when I am juggling too many things, when I am feeling overwhelmed by my everyday responsibilities and am worried about deadlines. When this dream visits me I know I need to get on top of things. I usually start this process by writing a to-do list.

Dreams about packing are also about our burdens – our own personal baggage. Having lots of packing to do in a dream may indicate there are some personal issues that need to be attended to.

29. Paralysis

Paralysis dreams often feature the dreamer trying to run from an attacker, only to discover their legs won’t move. Alternatively, you may try to get out of a chair and find you are completely paralysed.

While these dreams can be terrifying, they may relate to the physiological dream state. During REM (dream) sleep, our brain sends a message to the neurons in our spinal cord to switch off.

This results in temporary paralysis and prevents us from acting out dreams. When we dream that we are paralysed, it may be that the actual physiological paralysis that accompanies our dream sleep is experienced in the dream itself.

Symbolically, dreaming that we are paralysed may be a sign that we are feeling stuck or immobilised by something. People with depression often have dreams of this nature. The same applies to those immobilised by grief or other emotions.

30. Performing

A stage is a public arena and is typically surrounded by an audience. In what aspect of your life do you feel as though you are on show? Would you like to be more known to the world or is this a stage you would rather avoid?

Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage”. Does an aspect of your life feel like a theatre?

In the dream, was there a standing ovation or were you unhappy? How does this correspond with how you feel about your performance in your day-to day life?

A dream about a stage can also relate to a “stage” in your life. What is the dream telling you about the current stage in your life?

31. Petrol (needing petrol)

Dreams of being on a journey and running out of petrol are common.

Often, it suggests that in an area of your waking life, you feel you are running out of energy. Perhaps a relationship has lost its spark, or you have lost enthusiasm for a course that you started.

Look around your dream and see if there are solutions to your problem. Does a search for petrol land you in a petrol station (can you replenish your energy)? Does a new mode of transport arrive (would a new approach get you moving)?

32. Planes

Boarding a plane may indicate that in your waking life you are about to embark on a big journey, a project or even a move in a new direction. However, if the emphasis is on boarding, it may be that you are a little “bored” with a new venture in your waking life.

Planes take us from one place to another so they tend to represent a journey. As plane travel often involves longer distances than a car drive, they typically represent the more significant paths we are taking in our lives. If the voyage is filled with bumps or fear, perhaps you are finding your current route in life “turbulent”. If the journey is smooth and enjoyable, this may indicate things are travelling well in your life.

If you are struggling to get to the plane in time, perhaps you feel as though you are encountering numerous obstacles in your day-to-day life. Alternatively, if you can’t locate your plane ticket, then it may be that you are feeling ill prepared for a new venture.

33. Positive vs negative dreams

Research has shown dreams tend to be more negative than positive. Scientists have suggested there are several possible reasons for this.

Firstly, when we sleep we do not have our everyday “filters” in place so our negative emotions are more likely to surface. We also tend to remember negative dreams as they are more confronting. Furthermore, psychologists believe dreaming helps us to rehearse situations that relate to our survival.

These days we do not live with the threats of ancient times but we still feel pursued by the demands, deadlines and commitments of modern life.

34. Prison

Prison is a place of punishment, incarceration and loss of freedom. Is there something in your life that makes you feel like you’re trapped? Is there something that feels like a punishment?

If you are a prisoner in your dreams, perhaps you feel you deserve the confinement. Ask yourself how these feelings correspond with feelings that you have in your daily life.

Is there someone else in the prison? Perhaps that person represents a part of yourself that you restrict. This may be a prison of your own making: you may be imprisoned by old beliefs and rules that no longer serve you well.

You could be stuck in a job or relationship where you lack free expression and independence. Perhaps you don’t feel free in your waking life. There may be someone thwarting your progress.

Do you escape the prison or do you just do the time? This could be similar to how you manage the issue.

35. Pursuits

Dreams of being chased are rarely positive and tend to fall into the category of nightmares. If you have a dream of being chased, ask yourself whether you are running away from something in your waking life.

If you dream you are under attack from wild animals, primitive feelings may be rearing their heads.

What did you do when you were being chased? Did you turn around and face your attacker? Did you run and hide? Did you reach out for help? How does it compare to how you are handling this issue in your waking life – are you confronting the issue, hiding from it or getting some help with it?

36. Recurring dreams

Recurring dreams refer to any dream or dream theme that repeats itself. Such dreams are common and tend to take on the form of nightmares, so are highly memorable for the dreamer.

In reality, many recurring dreams are not as similar as the dreamer often thinks. What is similar is the theme, and the subsequent feeling attached to the theme.

For instance, a repetitive dream about being chased will often involve different pursuers and will happen in different environments.

The theme that persists is the experience of being chased, indicating perhaps that the dreamer is repeatedly avoiding something. The dream tends to repeat because the issue in the dreamer’s waking life is continuing or unresolved.

Once the dreamer approaches this issue in a new way in their waking life, the dream may stop.

37. Roads

Dreams about roads tend to represent a direction that you’re taking in some area of your life.

In your dream, are you driving along a road making progress? Or are you meeting obstacles? Sometimes we’re on roads that are treacherous. This may be a sign that in our waking life we’re confronting obstacles in a certain area of our life – work, relationship, study.

If you reach a dead end in your dream perhaps something has reached its conclusion.

A crossroad may reflect your struggles to make a decision. In some road dreams we are lost and can’t find our way. This may indicate that in our waking life we have lost our direction.

38. School

Schools are places of learning and a reference to childhood and growing up. Ask yourself where in your life you feel you need to go back to school. Schools are also the site of life lessons about friendship, authority and the consequences of fitting in.

Do you need to go back to school to learn some of these lessons? Sometimes we revisit a period that’s influencing our current relationships. For instance, difficulties with colleagues could inspire a dream about a schoolyard bully. Are old vulnerabilities at play?

39. Sex

Sigmund Freud believed all dreams were sexual. Freud was a pioneer in the dream field and brought much to dream analysis, however his views on the sexual basis of all dreams were not always widely supported.

In contrast, Carl Jung, an equally important contributor to the dream field, felt that sexual dreams represented the dreamer’s desire to balance their masculine and feminine selves.

In recent years we have come to see that dreams offer the dreamer a safe place to play out sexual fantasies, express love, feel intimate and have fun. How you feel about the sex in your dream may give you insight into your sexual feelings in your waking life.

If you dream about having sex with someone it may mean you desire them in waking life. However, it can also mean you simply admire some of this person’s qualities and you want to connect with these qualities.

It is important not to feel guilty or ashamed of sexy dreams. Like all dreams, they are rich in symbolism, so enjoy them!

40. Shoulder

Dreams about body parts are common and can hold special meaning. If you dream that you are looking over your shoulder, perhaps you feel that someone or something is sneaking up on you. This could represent an issue or person from your past.

Shoulders also signify responsibilities and burdens, as in shouldering an issue or offering a shoulder to cry on. If, in a dream, you are leaning on someone’s shoulder, it may indicate you are placing a load of some sort on them or that you are seeking a form of support from them. How you feel in the dream will help you to work out the meaning of the gesture.

Maybe your dream is telling you that you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?

41. Snakes

Snakes are a common dream symbol. They represented healing in ancient times and are also known for shedding their skins, which symbolises transformation. Are you shedding something or experiencing healing? Snakes are also feared and can simply represent something you fear.

A snake tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and she and Adam were punished for their sin. For some, snakes represent feelings of shame, guilt, punishment or temptation. Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of dream analysis, considered snakes a phallic symbol.

Which one of these best describes your dream snake?

42. Spiders

Many of us think of spiders as encompassing all things creepy and scary. In dreams, spiders can represent the thing you are frightened of in your waking life. For instance, if your dream spiders are running over your school books then perhaps you are finding your current area of study particularly frightening and daunting at the moment.

Alternatively, your dream spider may intrigue you. Did you watch your dream spider and marvel at the details and intricacies of the spider’s web? This dream may represent something in your waking life that has a web of intrigue about it and leaves you with a sense of wonder.

43. Teeth

At some point in our lives, we will all dream about our teeth falling out. We may be munching on a roll only to discover that our teeth are embedded in the roll. Or worse, we realise our teeth are crumbling. While a dental check-up is always a good idea, this dream may not be about your dental health, but may instead relate to a communication issue.

In your waking life, is there something you need to “spit out”? The location of the dream will give you some clues as to its meaning. Perhaps you were at work, at school or with your partner? Are you holding onto something in your waking life that needs to be said? Is your dream trying to tell you that you have bitten off more than you can chew? Or perhaps you are holding back instead of getting your teeth into something.

44. Telephones

Dreams about phones can represent communication issues in your waking life. Is there something that needs to be said?

A dream phone call may not simply connect you to others, it may also connect you with different parts of yourself.

For instance, if you know you are spending too much time on the couch, maybe you’ll get a dream phone call from your inner gym coach.

Dream phones often fail, have no dial tone or the dreamer struggles to dial the number. Dreams such as these highlight feelings of frustration and isolation in the dreamer’s life.

The dreamer may be experiencing difficulties asking for help or communicating their needs to others, and their struggles are depicted in the limitations of a communication device.

45. Toilets

Dreams about going to the toilet are common. Once your dream world becomes aware of a bodily desire for you to go to the toilet it may assimilate this into your dream and attempt to solve it without waking you.

However, while there may be a physical basis to some toilet dreams, this does not rule out their psychological significance.

Dreams of going to the toilet may refer to your need to “flush” something away that you no longer need.

Going to the toilet is a private act, so toilet dreams often deal with issues of privacy and exposure in people’s waking lives. This is evident in dreams where toilets fail to provide privacy such as toilets without proper doors or with doors that keep opening.

46. Trapped

People who have dreams about being trapped may feel stuck in their waking life and can’t envisage a way out of the situation. They may be stuck in a job they dislike or they may feel trapped in a relationship that is no longer satisfying.

Dreams about traps can also involve the dreamer setting their own elaborate traps. If you find yourself setting a trap in a dream, ask yourself what you are trying to hold on to – is it a job, a boyfriend or maybe a belief?

47. Trees

A tree can symbolise life, knowledge, the self or your family. There are many religious representations of trees so a meaning may apply from your religion.

Is your tree robust and bearing fruit or does it have a poor root system and is swaying? A tree such as this may represent your family situation. What does your family tree provide you? Did it give you good roots and grounding? Does it offer shelter or fruit?

If you are hanging from a branch, do you feel “out on a limb” in life? Do you need to “branch out” into something new or put down new “roots”?

48. Trophies

Dreaming of a trophy may show you want recognition. Do you feel you don’t get the recognition you deserve?

Alternatively, maybe your dream world is patting you on the back for your hard work. In what area of your life do you feel you deserve a trophy?

A trophy in a dream may also be a feeling that someone is parading you around as though you are their trophy.

The type of trophy you win will give you an indication of the issue the dream is working on. If you receive a Pulitzer Prize, perhaps your dream is rewarding you for getting your story right or starting a new chapter in your life. If you receive a Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps you are celebrating your efforts to settle a dispute.

49. Volcanoes

Dreams about volcanoes can represent intense suppressed emotions that may be bubbling away and are about to explode. Volcanoes can also be unpredictable and erupt at any time.

Is someone in your waking life constantly stewing and do you fear an impending outburst? Perhaps your colleagues are explosive and you feel they may erupt without warning?

Volcano dreams often represent anger. Do you feel if you let your feelings out there will be an explosion?

The heat and explosiveness can also represent sexual passion.

50. War

War dreams can represent actual wars that we’ve seen in the media or battles we may be confronting in our relationships, at work, at school or within ourselves. Is there an area in your life where you’re putting up a fight? Is there an aspect of yourself you feel conflicted about?

A war dream may be a wake-up call for you to sort out a conflict in some area of your life. The dream itself may give you clues and possible solutions to the conflict. For instance, if in a war dream you surrender rather than go into battle, maybe your dream world is suggesting you consider a more conciliatory approach when dealing with this particular conflict in your waking life.

War dreams can also warn your body of illness. On some occasions, your unconscious can become aware of an illness before symptoms are present and your dream world go into “battle” against the approaching sickness.

51. Water

Water in your dream is a great indicator of how you are travelling emotionally. When your emotional life is in turmoil you may dream of waves crashing at your feet or of being engulfed by a tsunami.

When life is calm and pleasant the water in your dream may be still, calm and inviting.

Dreams about water can also represent the unconscious. We can dream of water when we are bringing unconscious issues to the surface in our day-to-day life. Cloudy waters may represent a lack of clarity in your emotional life, while muddy waters may suggest you are dealing with some unpleasant emotions.

Women often dream of water during the first trimester of their pregnancy, which may reflect the forming of the amniotic cavity.

52. Wearing the wrong clothes

Many of us have had a dream where clothes betray us. We’re at school in our bathers or at work in sports gear.

Clothes represent our outer public self and if we dream we’re wearing the wrong clothes, we may be feeling self-conscious in our waking life, or we may feel ill prepared in one area.

If you’re a teacher and dream you’re in front of the class in a police uniform, you may be struggling to strike a balance between teaching and discipline.

If your neck-tie is tight, you may feel constrained by a situation.

53. Wind

Wind is one of those elements in a dream that can be as soothing as a light summer breeze or as horrifying as a twister.

A breeze in a dream may indicate that in your waking life there is a hint of something new in the air. It may be that something light and breezy has entered your life and, while this new thing has not swept you off your feet, it has gently moved you.

If the wind is gusty and dangerous it could be you’ve lost your footing in some aspect of your waking life. Maybe there is a lot of movement in your life, which is creating a feeling of instability.

54. Winning the lottery

Lottery dreams feel fantastic but what does it signify if your numbers come up? These tend to be “wish fulfilment” dreams.

If you are experiencing a financial crisis in your waking life, a lottery dream will be a reflection of your desire to escape from the stress and worry. Some people might encourage you to go out and buy a lottery ticket. Personally, I don’t believe a dream will alter the statistical chance of you winning the Lotto. However, if you can afford it, I guess it is a nice way of bringing your dream into your everyday world.

Alternatively, this dream may not be about money at all, but about your numbers coming up in some area of your life. Perhaps you have a new relationship, fell in love with your job or started something new in your life that has you feeling lucky and blessed. In this case your dream may reflect your real- life metaphorical windfall.

55. Work

As work plays an important role in our adult lives it frequently features in our dreams. Dreams about work are often about our sense of responsibility and duty. If the photocopier keeps jamming in your dream, it may be you are in a bit of a “jam” at work.

If you dream your colleague is sitting behind your desk, maybe you are feeling anxious about your job security.

Alternatively, work dreams may not be about work at all, but a message from your dream world that you have something you need to work on in the real world. For instance, if you dream that your wife or husband is at your place of work, perhaps you have some relationship issues that require your attention.