Despite Freud’s well-documented beliefs, dream interpretation isn’t a straightforward method. In fact, the majority of modern scientists and psychologists accept dreams and their meanings as unsolved mysteries. Regardless, there are some extremely common dreams that we all keep having.
Though most psychologists disagree with the current state of dream interpretation, people still choose to consult so-called dream experts. Often times, these analysts disagree. To get a clear picture, we will examine the viewpoints of four authors. Lauri Loewenberg has written three books on this topic and has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and Anderson Cooper 360. Ian Wallace is a dream psychologist who wrote The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams. Russell Grant published The Illustrated Dream Dictionary, which connects symbols in dreams with waking life. Finally, Lauren Lawrence has a New York Daily News column on dream analysis and was the host of the show Celebrity Nightmares Decoded. Based on these four sources, here are 12 common dreams and interpretations.
Loewenberg calls this dream a “red flag from your subconscious.” She believes this dream is common in people who are having a major life problem with work, relationships, or elsewhere. Grant’s work concurs with this viewpoint, even citing the same examples.
2. Teeth falling out
The experts greatly disagree on this one. Wallace views teeth as a symbol of power and confidence. This dream is supposedly a sign that something happened in the dreamer’s life that has caused him or her to lose confidence. According to Grant, teeth are a bad omen and represent a broken relationship. Lawrence has a Freudian answer to this dream. For women, she believes the dream is an example of wish-fulfillment—they want to become pregnant. For men, it is a desire for sexual stimulation.
3. Showing up to work or school naked
The experts largely agree that this dream represents vulnerability and anxiety. Wallace’s research reveals that this dream is “common to people who have accepted a promotion, gone off to a new job, or who are coming into public view.”
Lawrence has observed that only perfectionists tend to have recurring stressful test-taking dreams. She alleges that the dream reminds a person to stay alert. Loewenberg believes that in adults, these dreams draw parallels between school and a job. Because both places see a lot of pressure-filled situations, Loewenberg associates this dream with work stress.
Lawrence’s interpretation is that this dream “reveals the wish to terminate something in life: a relationship, a job, a career path, or even the past.” Grant’s dictionary emphasizes that this dream is not necessarily a nightmare. Rather, he repeatedly states that it is a dream meant to encourage a person to embark on a new endeavor or fresh start.
6. Meeting a celebrity
Wallace names this as one of the dreams his clients have the most. He believes the actual celebrity is relevant and may reveal what talents the dreamer values. In Dream on It, Loewenberg writes that celebrities are a symbol of a personal need for recognition.
7. Being chased
Despite the nightmarish feel of this dream, Wallace considers it a positive sign. He believes that this dream is supposed to encourage the dreamer to finally face a problem that has been hanging over his or her head. Loewenberg encounters this dream more often in women than men.
8. Partner is cheating
Most of these authorities agree that this dream should not be taken as clairvoyance. According to Loewenberg, “The cheating dream happens when your mate is spending too much time and attention on something that does not involve you.” Similarly, Lawrence notes a lack of trust in a romantic relationship tends to spark this dream.
9. Showing up late to something
This dream might be a sign that someone is overwhelmed and doing too much, according to Wallace. On a related note, Grant interprets this lateness as a warning: “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
Wallace claims that the dream encourages a person to let go of current issues and allow things to ”fall naturally into place.” Similarly, flying is a sign that there is an out of control situation in real life, according to Grant.
11. Being pregnant
Grant understands this dream as a sign that the dreamer is having problems. Lawrence views it as a need, either to start a creative project or become a parent. Or the dream may be representative of a new idea that has recently come to the person, as Loewenberg believes.
12. Driving an out-of-control vehicle
The interpretations of this dream are just as cliché as expected. For example, Wallace writes, “You may feel that you don’t have enough control on your road to success.” Grant warns that this is a sign that a current bad habit may become a long-term problem.