In this section, Dream Resolution Part 3, we delve into more examples of resolution offered by dreams and how to interpret and understand their meaning and significance. The point is to learn how to answer questions and find solutions in dreams.
Dream resolution: Run away with Steve B.
A female high school art teacher dreams that she meets actor Steve Buscemi in a craft store. He is an employee and helps her look around. Romantic chemistry bubbles between them, but she is conscious of the fact she has a boyfriend in her waking life. At one point they kiss. She has feelings for him, causing her conflict.
She leaves the scene and other actions happen. Then she decides to call her boyfriend and ask him to meet for dinner. While en route to the restaurant she runs across Steve again, who tries to convince her to run away with him. She decides it’s a good idea for him to meet her boyfriend. She wakes up.
First we’ll interpret the dream, then point out the resolution it suggests.
The dreamer is in the process of applying to MFA programs. She’s excited about the prospect of returning to school but knows if she’s accepted she’ll have to move, and that could spell the end of her relationship with her boyfriend.
The craft store symbolizes her desire to continue her education in art and her process of “looking around” for a graduate program to join, and Steve Buscemi symbolizes her attraction to the idea. The dreamer is attracted to him as an actor and person, and the roles he plays in the story as an employee of the craft store (symbolizing art to the dreamer) and as romantic paramour both point to a symbolic relationship with the dreamer’s love of art. The conflict she has in the dream about her attraction to Steve and her thoughts about her boyfriend connect with her conflict over leaving her boyfriend behind if she moves to go to school. That’s what the dream means by “run away with Steve B.”
The dreamer is searching for resolution for the situation. She wants to pursue her art and keep her boyfriend.
Resolution is offered when she decides it’s a good idea to introduce Buscemi to her boyfriend. It’s a suggestion to show her boyfriend why going back to school is so important to her. Make him aware how much of her identity is wrapped up in her art. Tell him she wouldn’t leave unless something very important drew her away. Perhaps it will create the sort of bond that survives the time they’re apart. Or maybe it’ll convince him to “run away with her.”
The dream offers her a virtual reality simulation to test out a possible solution for the situation. It might work, it might not, but it does show the problem-solving function dreams offer.
Sometimes the dream is the resolution
Some dreams are themselves resolution. You reach a point when you are ready to put something behind you and move on, and have a powerful, emotional dream that catalyzes it for you. Like the next dream that offers emotional closure.
I broke up with my girlfriend a while ago and had a hard time letting go. I’ve been acting hurt and angry. Last night I dreamed I was in my car and my ex came up to the window. I told her to get in the passenger seat but instead she asked me to roll down the window. She said that I had to let go of her, and that I’ve moved on before from a breakup and can do it again. I woke up in the morning feeling like I can finally let go of her, and it’s the best I’ve felt in a long time.
The dream itself is the resolution. In it the dreamer realizes he can let go and move on. The dream catalyzes it for him so that he wakes up the next morning and the situation is resolved.
Here’s another example, from Reddit.com:
Dreams for overcoming fear
Dreams are the ultimate virtual reality and one where fears can be shown and confronted.
I am at work and find a huge, hairy brown spider. I immediately feel fear and panic and desire to run. In the meantime, one of the senior techs in my lab who I have the upmost respect for, and a little bit of fear of, catches said spider and places it in a sort of container that magnifies it and makes it look even bigger. She tries to force on me, but I want nothing of it.
This dream dramatizes the dreamer’s fear of spiders and offers a resolution for it. Fears and phobias often result from making something bigger than it really is. The dream depicts it as the spider magnified in the container. Forcing the dreamer to confront the spider is a way of saying the dream is helping him confront his fear. The co-worker is used by the dream because he respects her and learns from her example. She has no fear spiders.
The resolution is to confront his fear of spiders by using his co-worker as an example.
Dreams for resolving conflict
I am scheduled for two jobs at once and have to decide which one to go to. One of the jobs is my old high school job at a pizza place. The other job isn’t mentioned so I don’t know what it is, but I sense that it’s more important. I decide to call the pizza place and say sorry, can’t make it.
This person has a dilemma. He is being pulled in different directions by competing responsibilities and projects. His dream about having two jobs and calling off of one of them is a way of saying he can’t finish everything on his plate and needs to prioritize. His high school job is referred to because it involved a lot of grunt work. It symbolizes his responsibilities around the house for cleaning and fixing things. The other job symbolizes a book he is writing on his own, which is not technically a job but is still something at which he works hard. Lately the house responsibilities have eaten into his time to work on the book. His reaction in the dream to call off the one job expresses his desire to focus more on his book.
The resolution is to make time to focus on writing the book.
Dreams for self-protection
I’m outside a building with many entrances. I’m near an entrance, a set of glass doors like the ones at work. A female co-worker is with me. Across the inside of the building, about 20 feet away, is another set of glass doors. She talks about how it’s a good location to have fashion shows if a runway can be built to the other side. It’s very dark inside, and the floor isn’t really a floor, it’s water. Lurking in the water is a giant-ass crocodile. My co-worker reaches out and pats the crocodile on the snout. I, however, know that the crocodile could bite at any moment. I go back outside and climb some metal steps that just appear out of nowhere and don’t seem to lead anywhere except up into the air.
The presence of the dreamer’s co-worker and the reference to a fashion show connects this dream with the dreamer’s work as an instructor in fashion design. The set of glass doors is another clue that points the same direction because they look like the main entrance to where the dreamer really works.
Now we can decipher what the crocodile symbolizes: the dreamer’s supervisor. There’s something dangerous lurking beneath that person’s surface personality. The giveaway is the co-worker’s action of patting the croc on the snout. It reflects how the co-worker deals with the same supervisor more nonchalantly than the dreamer, not recognizing the danger lurking in the situation, same as the crocodile lurks below the water.
The runway is understood in this context as protective measures to keep some personal distance from the person. It’s a way of saying “don’t get too close.” And it can be interpreted as a suggestion over the long run to build personal inroads with the supervisor, get to know her better, using fashion as the bridge. Then maybe she won’t seem so bad.
The resolution is found in the final scene. The metal steps that lead up to nowhere. At first glance this detail might appear to be random and meaningless, but it’s actually a suggestion for the dreamer to take steps to protect herself from getting too close with the supervisor. She is safe from the croc while up on the steps, and it means emotionally and personally safe. The same imagery could be interpreted as similar to the phrase “road to nowhere,” but in the context of the dream the steps are understood as a resolution.
Recognizing potential for danger
Last night I was having a normal dream. Some kid from the grade above me back in high school is with me in my old town lifting up sewer grates to show me that there are tunnels under them. Suddenly I realize there is a Black Widow spider on me. No matter what I do I can’t get it off ’cause it crawls somewhere else or its webs stick on me. It never bites me though. But I feel uneasy and it makes me wake up.
Everything about this dream ties together when you know that the Black Widow symbolizes the dreamer’s ex-girlfriend. The same girl contacting him, and he senses her schemes to get back into his life, the manipulative things she does to get her way and her web of intrigue and drama. He can see his way through the webs she spins and wants nothing of it, symbolized as trying to get the spider off him.
The setting is his old town because it’s an old relationship. The old schoolmate is someone the dreamer perceives to be smart about relationships, symbolizing how the dreamer is wise to what is ex is up to. The sewer tunnels symbolize her secret intentions and underhanded ways. You could say she is trying to tunnel back into his life.
The resolution is the dreamer needs to trust his instincts and not fall for his ex’s schemes. The dream gives him a graphic way of seeing the situation that makes it very clear what he thinks of his ex and how he feels about her attempts to get back into his life.
Recognizing potential to develop
I have these recurring dreams. I see black, and hear a man calmly dictating a story to me. I hardly remember these stories, but they are often bizarre or strange (but fascinatingly so). While he tells the story, faint but still clear imagery of the events in the story shows in my vision. At times, some sound will be mixed in, and it is often very realistic.
These recurring dreams are showing the dreamer that he has a real talent for narration. He’s a born storyteller. The resolution is to continue to develop that talent.
Answering life’s biggest questions
I graduated from high school four years ago and dream I’m back at school. I work on an assignment with my peers. I ask the teacher a question and am irritated by the response. My peers tell me I won’t graduate. This enrages me and I toss some desks. I know it’s the guidance counselor’s fault. I go to his office but it’s empty.
Use what you know about the D3 System to analyze this dream:
- Setting is classroom inside a school. It’s a setting commonly associated with learning, preparation, and self-discovery.
- Characters are a teacher, peers, and the dreamer. They appear to tie symbolically with the setting. Note: the counselor is not pictured in the dream but is still important to the story, as you’ll see in a minute.
- Symbols: the desk, though in this case I think it’s just a prop, not meaningful in itself. You’ll see why.
- Actions: given a school assignment, asking questions, tossing desks.
- Reactions: Irritation, rage, seeking out the counselor.
- Resolution: TBA
Another important factor is the feelings sparked by this dream. The strength of the feelings and reactions show that the dreamer feels strongly about the underlying subject. Now, for the big reveal.
The simplest way to view this dream is it’s a story about being given an assignment and failing at it.
Now build around that idea. What’s the main assignment a person has after graduation? Finding what comes next: job, career, more education.
Imagine you’re the dreamer and you’re four years out of high school and going nowhere in life. That’s the life context you need to connect the dots in the dream.
Now look back at the dream. The dreamer is given an assign, and while it’s not stated in the dream, think of it as “figure out what to do next in your life.”
Next look at his reaction. He asks questions of the teacher and doesn’t like the response, summarizing how he feels about the advice he’s gotten from adults who are supposed to be able help him with his “assignment.”
His peers tell him he won’t graduate. If graduate means “make it successfully to the next stage of life,” you see why he reacts so strongly. He knows subconsciously what it really means (simple fact #1 about dreams) and reacts. The prospect of being a loser in life and failing to take his place as a young adult in society enrages him. Tossing the desk is simply an expression of his strong feelings.
Why seek out the school counselor? Because it’s the counselor’s job to help students decide what comes next after graduation. The counselor’s office is empty because the dreamer has no one to guide him. The implication is he needs to figure out how to take the next step in his life.
We analyzed the dream and traced it to its source, understanding the meaning and significance. The rest is up to the dreamer, to find the resolution. The dream gave him everything he needs.
Six months later I received a message from the person. He resolved the dream by joining the Navy. He found his place in life and was happier than he’d ever been.
More example of resolution in dreams
In a dream about saving a drowning baby, the resolution is to recover a sense of childlike wonder and enjoyment of life. The dreamer is becoming old and grizzled before his time.
A dream about two tornadoes shows the dreamer’s need to drop one of two writing projects, and also shows him why he hasn’t done it already.
The resolution of a dream isn’t always obvious, but it’s always important. The point of interpreting your dreams is to do something with the information.
We’ve now concluded our exploration of Step 1: dream story elements and narrative components.
Next lesson: Introduction to Step 2: Interpret Symbolism and Story Analysis