Everyone’s dreams are different, but there are many recurring themes in the dreams of people all over the world that have been explained long ago by sages of ancient China.
No matter how confusing or unusual your dreams seem, it is certain that this is a sign that your brain is trying to communicate with you. Below we cover10 common themes of dreams and their interpretations according to Chinese dream theory.
Chinese Dream Interpretation Theory
'Zhou Duke Interprets Dreams' (周公解梦Zhou Gong Jie Meng) is the classic Chinese text that is the basis of most traditional Chinese dream interpretation theory. It's traditionally attributed to the Duke of Zhou (reign 1042–1035 BC), revered as the 'God of Dreams' and the 'First Sage', but was probably compiled in the Confucian teachers era (551–230 BC).
1. Dreaming about Losing Teeth
Teeth symbolize people's self-protective and attacking instincts. If you experience tooth loss in a dream, it could represent many different things in your life.
Losing a tooth in a dream mainly manifests two aspects of life according to Chinese dream theory: one is making a major change, and the other is to making a major decision. If you feel a lot of pressure when making a decision or changing your life, this often shows through the loss of teeth in your dreams. See more on Dreaming about Losing Teeth — Dream Meanings (Chinese Theory).
2. Dreaming about a Snake
The snake is the animal we see most commonly in our dreams. The popular saying among Chinese folk is that dreaming of snakes is a symbol of wealth.
However, in the ancient psychological analysis of dreams, snakes not only represent wealth, but can have multiple meanings depending on context such as sex, wisdom, or intuition. Learn more on Meanings for Dreams about Snakes.
3. Dreaming about People We’ve Known
Various people often appear in our dreams. From friends to celebrities, people we know well and people we don’t know so well appear in our dreams for various reasons. Sometimes people from the past also appear in our dreams.
If you dream of a childhood friend, it may mean that you miss those beautiful days without stress and heavy responsibilities. It may also symbolize the pressure you endured as you grew up.
A dream of a colleague or friend who has not been seen for many years symbolizes the dreamer's reflection and subconscious appraisal of his/her life’s course.
4. Dreaming of a Childhood Home
Dreaming of a childhood home, hometown, or village generally symbolizes psychological complexes formed in the dreamer’s subconsciousness during childhood, and these issues have not yet been resolved or explained.
When a childhood home dream occurs, it often implies that the dreamer has regressed into issues related to his/her family relationships and conflicts.
5. Dreaming about a Dog
Generally, dogs in dreams have three kinds of meanings:
1. A dream of a cute pet dog is a mirror image of the dreamer, symbolizing the dreamer’s fragility and helplessness.
2. A dream of a tamed watchdog symbolizes the dreamer's psychological needs for safety, loyalty, and protection, which usually appear in female dreams.
3. A dream of being bitten by a wild dog or evil dog symbolizes some kind of trauma, anxiety, or conflict that have disturbed the dreamer recently.
6. Dreaming about Getting Lost
It is indeed scary to lose yourself somewhere in real life, and it also feels very bad it happens in a dream. Getting lost in a dream is a very common theme. These dreams may make you feel that you don't know the way home or are lost in a new place.
No matter where you are lost, these dreams usually mean that you feel uncomfortable in your situation. Whether you have just moved to a new place or just started a new job, being lost in your dream is your brain’s way of saying that it is not adapting to your new environment.
7. Dreaming about Being Chased
This is a dream that almost everyone has had. Escaping from the things that chase you in your dreams usually indicates that you are trying to avoid the things you need to deal with.
If someone you don’t know is chasing you in your dream, it warn of a situation that you are avoiding in your personal or professional life. It may be a problem that needs attention at work or at home.
If an animal is chasing you, it is a typical manifestation of suppressed anger.
8. Dreaming about Falling
Dreams about falling are extremely common. These dreams usually involve being on some kind of height, such as a balcony, cliff or other structure, and then falling down.
Typically, in the process of falling you will feel very scared, your back muscles will contract, and then you will suddenly wake up.
Falling dreams show that you are afraid of losing control of the situation. People who have such dreams often lack guarantees of safety and strong support in real life, or it may be a sign that you are worried that what you are doing will not go as you intended.
9. Dreaming about Tests/Exams
Even those who have been away from school for many years sometimes find that they return to that environment in their dreams, taking an exam again in their dreams. The nervous feeling of sitting down to take a certain test can be so real, even if it is just a dream!
If you dream about taking an exam or undergoing some form of review, the dream highlights the anxiety or tension you are encountering in your waking life. Whether in your professional life, personal life, or even academic life, this dream tells you that you are facing a worrying situation that you are not prepared for.
10. Dreaming about a Ghost or Having a Ghost Nightmare
Dreaming of ghosts in nightmares often indicates that the dreamer hopes that he/she will receive attention and recognition from others. Ghost dreams may be due to various reasons, but the most common one is the dreamer not being paid attention to in real life or always being ignored by others.