People in Dreams

People in dreams generally represent something other than literally themselves!

Most persons in dreams, even family members, are symbolic of something or someone else. The language of dreams is “parable”. Their name or most notable feature may be symbolizing something. Dreamers, then, rarely receive personal information regarding their friends, associates, neighbors, extended family, fellow church members, etc. unless that information is highly relevant to the dreamer.  Remember, most dreams are for the dreamer’s personal insight and direct benefit, not someone else’s. “Someone else” should be receiving and searching out the meaning of their own dreams.

The difficulty in interpreting the meaning of people in dreams is primarily in discerning just when a person is not symbolizing something or someone else (but literally depicting themselves), because there are exceptions up to 10% of the time.

Additionally, mothers and fathers tend to assume their children in dreams carry a literal meaning. We wouldn’t want to be wrong about a warning dream! But the question is still the same, “Is this dream about my child literally, or is it about something I have birthed in my life?” Untangling the riddle becomes more difficult, of course, the more children you have!

We suggest: before assuming that a person in a dream literally represents themselves and is not symbolic, consider these 10 categories of symbolism concerning persons in dreams! And remember, we are not talking about things that can represent people here (creatures, objects, etc.), but what people in dreams may symbolize!


10 CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE AS SYMBOLS IN DREAMS

1. PROPER NAME MEANING

This very common possibility involves a person’s proper name symbolizing the meaning of the name. We placed it first on our category list because we’ve personally seen this hundreds of times.

Aaron = messenger of light

Alex = protector

Ann = grace

Ben = right-hand man

Charles = free

David = beloved

Frank = honest

John = gracious

James/Jacob = supplanter/deceiver

Mary = bitter

Rick, Richard = wealth and fame

Robert= famous brilliance

William = protector

See PROPER NAMES in our dictionary for more examples and links.


2. HOMOPHONE

This category is rarer than PROPER NAME MEANINGS due to the much more limited possibilities of word play. Keep your eyes peeled for the use of homophones, however.

Oprah Winfrey = win free

Sharon= share on

Baron= barren

Justin Timberlake= Justice


3. MATCHED PAIR‒ PROPER NAME

Here, a person symbolizes another person with the same proper name.

This option is common when available. It is of course limited to your association with two people who share the same proper name, usually the first name.

Russell- One of our son-in-laws is named Russell, so when we became involved in a legal dispute where the attorney also had the name Russell, we knew when our son-in-law started appearing in some crazy dreams, they were about the attorney.

Helen- Both my mother and mother-in-law were named Helen. I often dreamed of one of them, and generally (but certainly not always) one Helen in a dream referred to the other. Equally, as often, however, the Helen represented the meaning of the proper name which is bearer of light, or shining light which carries a spiritual significance.

So why do these dreams have to be such difficult riddles sometimes. The answer is addressed in Proverbs 25:2 2‒ It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter; and in 1 Corinthians 13:12‒ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.


4. MATCHING TRAIT

Another interpretation category is a person/group symbolizing another person/group with the same outstanding trait, profession, or title. We’ve seen this category in numerous dreams.

Large family may represent another large family. Our family is larger than average with 5 children (currently 16 of us including grandkids). From time to time, family members dream of a family that we know, an even larger family. The dreams all but once referred to what was going on in our own family. The exception was one dream which referred to another large family we had become involved with during a difficult situation.
See category #7 first on this, but extended family may represent a church family. In one example, I dreamed that I served a huge buffet to my extended family. I had enough food so that extra containers were stored beneath the tables. My cousins enjoyed it so much that I suggested I serve them monthly. Before long, the pastor of the small inner-city church I was attending announced to me that the adult Sunday school teacher was taking a week off once a month to teach at a nursing home. You can guess that I was asked to teach monthly. The extended family in my dream turned out to have depicted my “church family”.
One sister/brother may represent another sister/brother in the family. Whether the dreamer is a sibling or is dreaming about a particular child, the possibility the one sibling or child is depicting another should not be left unexplored.  Context and application are the best clues.

A sister or brother could potentially represent a sister or brother in Christ, or someone who is like a sister or brother, though we can’t remember such a dream example.

One attorney represents another attorney; one teacher, another teacher, one Pastor represents another Pastor. Several friends of mine have experienced strange dreams of particular pastors. Many of these have symbolized another specific pastor, but some of these pastors fit into CATEGORY 6‒TRAITS ALONE.
In a series of later dreams, I interacted with Tom Tancredo, a republican congressman who had just changed to the Independent party to run for governor. Since his outstanding trait was independence, I knew he was representing a son of ours who could be characterized as independent, even from early childhood.

Glenn Beck has appeared in a couple of my dreams and clearly symbolized my brother because of his very strong will.

The focus in one dream was a couple. The dream indicated that the dreamer would not be able to continue relationship with this couple although they were best friends in real life as well as in the dream. This was due to an issue the wife had. As life played out, the couple in the dream turned out to represent another couple. What was the same about the couples that that one could symbolize the other? Both couples were best friends with the dreamer, and both were of the same race (but different than the dreamer).

5. TRAIT ALONE

This category is different from MATCHING TRAIT in that a person does not symbolize another person at all, but his/her title, profession, or outstanding trait itself!

You may have to stretch to wrap your head around this concept, but it’s a very strong possibility when it comes to interpreting people in dreams.

Our children in dreams more often than not represent something we have birthed. If this is the case, consider the following: If we have several children in reality, the distinguishing factors of the child in the dream might be a clue as to the application of the dream. Is the child your newest child, the child most like you, the oldest child, etc.?
Sometimes the person dreamed of is distinguished outstanding features such as eager student, outgoing personality, contentious, etc.. The dreamer can ask him/herself, “What makes this person distinct? What is the outstanding feature of the person?”
Once when we were involved in a real estate transaction, we needed a high appraisal. I dreamed of a friend’s father who happened to be a congressman. He was a liberal democrat which meant that the appraiser would be liberal (just what we needed!).

BOSS‒ Someone in authority

CHEF‒ A creative person who is processing ideas

DOCTOR OR NURSE‒ Need for healing (any type)

FARMER‒ Concerning cultivation or seed and harvest, like fishing for business, church members, etc.

FIREMAN‒ Rescuer

JUDGE‒ God as judge

LAWYER‒ Jesus our advocate

PILOT/DRIVER ‒ Someone is in the driver’s seat in an area of your life. This can be good or bad.

PASTOR‒Another pastor or a spiritual authority

POLICEMAN‒ Spiritual authority

PRESIDENT OF USA‒ ultimate or final authority

A person or group from a different race than the dreamer may be referring to a person or group of another race, but not the same one. I have often dreamed of a group of Asians which clearly symbolized blacks.

Another possible metaphor is that persons are foreigners, not of the same spirit or belief system.

To a light-skinned person, a dark-skinned person may also indicate darkness of spirit. My mother dreamed shortly before she died of a black man at the door with a glittery purple and red costume on. It unfortunately turned out to symbolize the trustee to her estate, my brother (purple= authority, and red= battle). Treachery and legal battle followed!

Yes, we can address controversial elements because they do appear in dreams. If you see this life-style as sin, whether that is true or not, consider ignoring your bias when it comes to dream interpretation. The symbolism we’ve seen may look different than Christians might anticipate. Rather than symbolizing an abomination, here’s what we’ve seen.

First, these persons in dreams indicate a spirit, either a disposition/orientation/perspective/attitude or a literal spirit. This is focusing on one issue. In particular, we have seen this refer to a spirit of independence, that is, an attitude of no need for a partner of the other gender. If you’re married and dream that a gay person lives with you, you most likely simply need to deal with some pride issues. If your spouse dreams this, he or she might consider the same thing.

father, judge, pastor, US President, doctor, king, boss, coach, attorney, potter, hair stylist, life guard, mother, sheriff, etc.

6. RELATIONSHIP

Here, a person symbolizes his/her connection or relationship to you, but may not represent a literal person. Don’t forget to consider this possibility because it’s utilized in dreams frequently. The examples will help you define this option.

In a recent dream told to us, the dreamer saw his best friend taking him somewhere that he was received well, a place that everyone knew and loved him. The dream has not played out yet, but when asked who his truest best friend is, he told us “Jesus”. We suggested that he expect to be taken somewhere exciting, but perhaps not by his friend.

In another recent dream, the dreamer relayed a scene where he was accompany by a close friend. When putting the scene in the dream context as well as his life context, the close friend is most likely his wife!

When we experience these dream themes, we are often being told about something we are partnered with such as job, school, girlfriend. See WEDDINGS AND MARRIAGE.
Sometimes, when you the dreamer see yourself doing something in a dream, if you are married, you may be actually symbolizing your spouse since “the two have become one”. We have seen that one play out.
This dream theme is very common and often the dreams keep repeating. Generally, because dreamers have not trained themselves to translate the metaphors, they assume that these dreams must be more literal than symbolic and are about an upcoming encounter with these EX’s.

Quite the opposite is most likely. EX’s generally represent something in the life of the dreamer rather than depicting the literal person.

These dream themes actually mean that an enticement will resurface in an area of past failure, particularly in romantic relationships. Beware, dreamers of EX’s, because you may be lured toward someone who appears attractive and positive, but is not going to be in your best interest. The contexts in those dreams often provide clues as to who the person is, what role they are playing, or what action is going on.

Again, our children in dreams more often than not represent something we have birthed or begun. See PREGNANCY & BABIES.
Our father in a dream may be literal, but generally:

1. Our father in a dream may represent our Heavenly Father, especially if our real father is or was a reasonably good role model (though all fathers are far from perfect).  This can be true even if the father is depicted as soon to die since in some seasons of our lives, it SEEMS like God is dead so to speak; that is, sometimes it seems like He has abandoned us. But take heart, those seasons are a temporary part of life to mold and purify us.

2. Our father in a dream may represent our literal father-in-law or step-father. (And of course, after eliminating the other possibilities, any person in a dream may be literal, but most (90% or so) persons in dreams are not.

3. Our father in a dream may represent an authority figure such as a boss or someone who fathered something in our lives.

4. Our father in a dream may represent the father of lies, which would be Satan. One of our children recently dreamed that we received a phone call informing us that his father/my husband had died. Yikes! Don’t you love those! The interesting part was that prior to the phone call, his father was racing a race car which was a Cobra. Since a cobra is a most venomous and deadly snake, could this not be interpreted as the father of lies dying in our son’s life? We suggested that he revisit the personal condemnation lies that he had believed as a teen or in recent years (you will never become anything, nothing will ever change, you won’t be able to succeed at anything, you won’t succeed at relationship, etc.) and ponder which one or ones were still encircling his mind from time to time. It will be interesting to see what happens, and we’ll report back on this one.

A person’s mother or parents in a dream may be literal, but generally:

1. Our mother in a dream may represent the motivation behind something, the origin of something, or the nurturer of something. Make sense?

2. Our mother in a dream may represent the Holy Spirit, especially when accompanied in a dream by our father so that we’re now talking about a set of parents. “What?” you say, “Now you’re really getting crazy!”

Remember, the totality of God is described as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In a simple family, there also three: father, mother, and son. So mother could represent the Holy Spirit. And remember, these terms for God express who He is on our terms since we can’t really comprehend the eternal realm.

Someone asked me, “Then why wouldn’t the whole family of 3 appear in our dreams? Why would we have dreams about our parents without a son there?” In a literal since, maybe that could be supported theologically, but perhaps we shouldn’t get too theological. Dreams are parabolic anyway and certainly confusing enough as it is (Proverbs 25:2‒ It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. 1 Corinthians 13:12‒ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.)

See the dream at the bottom of this page for an example on a mother symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

3. A mother may represent someone “mothering” as in providing advice or serving (cooking, cleaning).

    • In one recent dream, the mother turned out to be the dreamer’s attorney.

In another, it was a girlfriend working her tail off to get a commitment.


7. QUANTITY OF BLESSING OR CURSE

This interpretation category can be described as a group of people symbolizing the amount of blessings or curses for the dreamer to expect.

If you have a dream about your immediate family, it very well may be literal, relatives and strangers generally carry a different meaning.

However, dreams about lots of relatives (extended family) coming into your home may indicate the amount of blessings which will be entering your life soon.
On the other hand, if you dream about a bunch of strangers entering your home, that’s not a good sign, and indicates curses or a negative season. We’ve dreamed this theme multiple times and seen it play out. My advice, if you’ve getting dreams like that, is to seek your creator and ask what it is that may have opened the door for that, what you need to open yourself to, or what you need to learn in order to be the person He desires you to be. You may be able to shorten the season.

This category is based on both universal and scriptural element types. To understand the universal connotation, one has to remove himself from today’s global and multicultural perspective. Historically, clans built walls around themselves and put a high value on their tribe. Others were seen as threats and outsiders.

This was also true of the Hebrews. There were Jews and everybody else! And remember that their scriptures clearly reflect their emphasis on the value of children, who were considered blessings; the more the merrier.

For more information on this topic, visit BLESSINGS AND CURSES‒ YOU CHOOSE.

8. DECEASED PERSONS ALIVE

Generally, these dreams mean that: Something this person represents will resurface.

This category is the opposite of DEATH DREAMS. While Death Dreams depict someone currently alive in reality dying or dead in the dream, Deceased Persons Alive dreams depict a decedent as now alive!

These dreams may bring out strong emotions which range from highly disturbing to quite exhilarating. We get asked a lot about these dream themes.

Dream of loved ones once-again-alive may be very dramatic and impressive which may indicate that the application of the dream is pretty important to the dreamer. Here are a couple of examples.

Background: This dream took place 4 ½ years after my father had died and 6 months after my mom. The brother who was assigned to be the sole trustee surprised us with behavior so treacherous that it would make a good movie. The story began to unfold is ways that looked like justice would save the day. But several months into the legal battle, it began to look like the brother might get away with a good deal of his schemes. In fact, it seemed like God had abandoned the other siblings.

The dream: In this night vision, I had to revisit my father’s corpse in the morgue 3 days after his death. When I entered the room, I noticed that his eyes were open, then moving slightly. As I wondered if this was some normal biological reaction, they totally came alive! I hugged and conversed with him and then went to get my brother (not the trustee).

Interpretation: Going on the interpretation for Deceased Persons Alive dreams, “Something this person represents will resurface”, I was encouraged. If my father in the dream literally represented himself, he would be taking our side because he was a man of integrity. We could take comfort and expect some justice. If my father in the dream represented my Heavenly Father, the result is the same. Perhaps the symbolism is both signifying confirmation. Now, months later, as the battle goes on and on, I continue to take comfort from such an impressive dream.

Sometimes the deceased person in a dream, although a loved one, represents something negative. Sometimes this person represents a curse, perhaps a generational curse. If the topic sounds intriguing (or if you’re beginning to wonder if you’re cursed, check out this on-line information For more information on this topic, visit BLESSINGS AND CURSES‒ YOU CHOOSE.

The Dream‒ In this dream, the dreamer is confident that the deceased person, a father-in-law, does symbolize a curse or something negative. Fortunately, the man could not stand up in the shower. So that tells us that cleansing (forgiveness) when put in place will render the curse unable to stand.


9. INDISTINCT PERSON

The facial features of the persons in this category are not memorable or impressive. In fact, we may never be shown the face at all! Take note of these. They may not represent a literal person, but a spirit perhaps within a person.

In these dreams, we can’t recall the face, but we get a good feeling from the person, as if they are familiar, maybe a friend. This is a positive (and even Biblical) symbol. The person represents something good, blessing, or a good spirit connected to someone.
Strangers in dreams when they are indistinct are generally a bad sign. The feeling that they are unfamiliar goes hand in hand with a sense of tentativeness or caution. That may indicate a bad spirit connected to someone or a curse.
Sometimes we never actually view the face of a character in a dream. Perhaps they are positioned behind us or there is simply darkness within a hood. These people generally represent an actual spirit such as the Holy Spirit, a demonic spirit, or a spirit of greed.

10. REPRESENTATIVE

With this possibility, a person symbolizes a group of people. Not as common, but always a possibility depending on the context of the dream.

I once dreamed of US Senator Al Franken who had just been sworn into office.  In this dream, he represented all the Washington politicians who were like-minded. The example below provides another example.


DREAM: a young man dreams that he is considering asking his girlfriend from middle school to marry him since she just called off the wedding she’d planned with another guy. He decides not to, but when his brother says that it would be OK to just invite her to a family dinner, his mother has the opinion that even this would not be a good idea.

DEFINITIONS:

X-girlfriend = Category #6 CONNECTION‒ an enticement will resurface in an area of past failure. Beware, because you may be lured toward something or someone which you are still attracted to, but is not good for you.

X-girlfriend = Category #4 MATCHED PAIR TRAIT‒ one x-girlfriend represents another x-girlfriend. The dreamer feels that both applications most likely apply.

Brother = Category #10 REPRESENTATIVE‒ After eliminating several other categories, the dreamer feels that his brother represents the family in general since this brother and his wife hosted the last holiday gathering and was hosting the upcoming family gathering in the dream.

Mother = Category #6 CONNECTION‒ definition #2, our mother in a dream may represent the Holy Spirit.

INTERPRETATION/APPLICATION:

The dreamer concludes that the most likely scenario is that his most recent girlfriend, who is currently dating someone else, will break that relationship off and contact him to see if she can get it going again. He feels that hearing from her shortly would be a sign that the dream was a prophetic warning, and he says he will not agree to converse with or meet with her.

Although most persons in dreams (around 90% in our experience) symbolize something or someone else, exceptions are not unusual. So, in maybe 1 in 10 dreams, a person can be interpreted as that literal person.

These persons are generally limited to family, someone who holds authority over the dreamer, someone who is partnered in some way with the dreamer, or someone who potentially could have significant effect in the dreamer’s life.

Expect the other elements in the dream to remain symbolic. This principle applies to other dream element categories as well. Maybe one in 10 will be literal within a dream.

And by the way, a dreamer’s entire immediate family (or most of them) in a dream are usually literal rather than symbolic.

CAUTION ADVISED
In addition to element symbolism, dream interpretation is based on a myriad of factors which should be considered before drawing conclusions. All dictionary entries are for suggestion purposes only, and we cannot guarantee that the information on this post -including comments- applies to your dreams. We believe, however, that we do an exceptional job of vetting dictionary entries through actual dream experience. Comments may be used in posts and for training purposes.

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