Why are Dreams SO Weird?


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So you have had another dream where you walk into work in your undies. And not your nice undies either, but the ones with Micky Mouse on them. Maybe you need to get your dreams interpreted before you think that arriving at work in your smalls is an inspired idea.

Why on earth do we have dreams and why are they so freaky? Truth be told, no one knows for sure why we wake up feeling like we have been wandering inside a Salvador Dali masterpiece. If you are miffed by your dreams, you are not alone. In fact, even sleep scientists are lost in the netherworld. There is no universally agreed-upon biological definition of dreaming. Some clinical evidence shows that dreaming happens most often when we are in REM sleep (rapid eye movement – when our eye balls appear to be breakdancing). During REM sleep our brain activity is most like it is when we are awake. But as yet, we are all pretty much stumped and nothing has been proven for sure.

During our lifetime we will spend 6 years dreaming – about 2 hours a night. We seem to spend a lot of time floating through this strange reality. Renowned psychiatrist Sigmund Freud postulated that dreams represented our unconscious desires, and even wrote a book pontificating about the subject. However while on the surface this seems credible, if we take a good look at Sigmund we kind of have to take his ideas with a pinch of salt. He was the one, after all, who claimed women had penis envy.

So then who has the answers? What ARE dreams?

A person who is a self-proclaimed expert in the field is dream analyst Mick Sheridan. He runs a Dublin-based business called Aisling Dream Interpretation – Aisling being the Irish word for dream or vision. Sheridan has been interpreting dreams for about 20 years, enjoying increasing success with every year that goes by. So how did this otherwise normal chap get into dream analysis? While in the middle of an IT degree, his sister dragged him along to a dream interpretation course because she didn’t want to go by her lonesome. Intrigued by it, he soon made it his life’s work.

Now Sheridan is running classes of between 10 to 14 people at a time, and his web site has been running for over 15 years with 400,000 hits per week. He interprets dreams over the phone or via email. You can have your eccentric night-time adventures interpreted for a small cost. So if you are indeed dreaming about doing your taxes in a tutu, a translation is easily within your reach. Dream interpretation may have tremendous value if you are in a bind and you don’t know where to go next for advice.

So what does Sheridan himself think dreams are? “Dreams focus on the most important step in our lives at the present time. This could be how to restore your health, how to improve your relationship or career, or it could be simply telling you what you need to accept about yourself. The first step, as with any journey, is always about finding out where you are. Dreams show you this and map your journey to where you need to be. The key to unlocking dreams is through understanding the symbols on the map.

“If you are stressed, your dreams will show you where the stress is coming from and attempt to relieve it. If your relationship is on the rocks, your dreams will zero in on it and either try to breathe life back into it or tell you to move on. When it comes to career, dreams are very specific. They don’t hold the punches and will let you know what you are good at and what you should not be doing. If you are a writer at heart they will relentlessly remind you to write. If you should be working with kids they will show you that. If you push your career at the expense of your identity they will reel you back in and remind you who you are.

“We each have special abilities and these show up in our dreams. For example, some people have a strong intuition and their dreams will encourage them to use that ability while steering the course of their career. Others may have leadership qualities, so your dreams will push you in that direction. It may be something you don’t recognise in yourself. Whatever it is, your dreams will reveal it and push you towards a more fulfilling life. Your career should fit in alongside who you are and not consume you over an extended period of time. If it does you are in the wrong career or approaching it from the wrong perspective. Life is not meant to be a pilgrimage and your dreams will always remind you of that.”

We had some people give us their dreams for interpretation:


I have a seriously recurring dream where my teeth starting falling out one by one and then before I know it, I’m spitting them out – and there are loads of them! It’s a horrible dream (and I know I don’t like the dentist, but hey).

Teeth in dreams indicate your reproductive system or raising children. Animals carry their young around with their teeth. To lose their teeth would mean they cannot raise their young. We often forget that we too are animals in the animal kingdom. Loosing teeth indicates losing the ability to have or raise children through a physical condition or through the onset of menopause. Dreams of losing teeth can also be triggered due to a number of nonphysical conditions such as if your child is leaving home to go to college or to live on their own, and you are concerned for their ability to cope on their own. It could show that you are losing a grip on a situation or life in general. Or, if you feel completely helpless in a situation and you can’t do anything to get out of it.

Teeth can also indicate that you need to be more or less assertive. If a dentist is repairing your teeth it means that you need to be more assertive and stand up for yourself. For example, a work situation where you feel you would get fired if you speak up. The dream is healing with the intention of giving you renewed vigour to get a grip on the situation. If a dentist is filing down your teeth it means you need to be less aggressive or assertive when it comes to the subject matter of the dream.

Mary’s response

I had read that spitting out teeth was related to wanting to get something off your chest. I also read that it was something to do with your sexual desires or your need to express yourself more…I was fascinated by the response whereby ‘the dream can be triggered through being in a situation where you feel you cannot stand up for yourself or have lost your grip’ – this is certainly worth fleshing out more!


This dream started about 4 years ago (when I met my partner Greg). I’m constantly getting lost in my dream and I don’t recognise where I am. I feel threatened, vulnerable, lost and very much alone. I go to ring Greg on my mobile but it won’t work. I end up redialling the number time and time again, but for some reason I can’t finish dialling it and have to start over again and again and again…I hate this dream and usually wake up in a right tissy – the only consolation is that Greg is beside me and I feel safe again!

This is about communication in your relationship as phones indicate communication and Greg is the target in the dream. Getting lost is common in dreams and is about where you are on your path in life. The dream is encouraging you to discover who you are through communication with your partner. The really fantastic thing about relationships is they are the one place where we feel safe being ourselves. We share things with our partner that we would not share with anyone else. In an ideal relationship we can do this without fear of reproach and it creates a safe environment for us to deal with issues that without the support of a partner we would be afraid to face alone. So all that being said – what gives you the same feeling that you had while lost and unable to communicate in the dream? The dream is asking you to address that now. The key is communication.

Jenny’s Response

I honed in on the words ‘support of a partner’. For me, I think this dream reflects the fear of being left on your own, being so independent that you’ve forgotten how to share your life with someone else. Perhaps it’s about learning to trust again after being hurt and not quite getting there! Perhaps it’s about the fear of being rejected. I do think the dream interpreter has given me food for thought and I will endeavour to communicate better with my partner – perhaps I’ll start by showing him this article!


I have a dream that I am completely enraged with someone and am punching them repeatedly. I don’t usually know this person but am still very angry with them, and don’t feel better after kicking the bejesus out of them. It just makes me more infuriated. What does this mean?

Dreams can allow us express anger without having to go to jail! This can be about any number of things. Depending on the gender of the person you are punching in the dream it can be about conflict with a parent of the same gender. This would be past conflict but is a release from the bottled up emotion around it. It can also be about dealing with a boss who does not allow you stand up for yourself in work. The dream allows you let off steam as pent up rage is obviously bad for your health. Lastly it can be about conflict with yourself and that can be anything that can really make you mad at yourself.

Susan’s response

This is an interesting interpretation. The gender of the person I am beating up is always female. I do have anger at my mother for the way I was brought up, however we are on the road to repair, thankfully. I will have to see if I have these dreams around the times when my mother and I are fighting!


The most intriguing dream I have is a flying dream. Sometimes I dream that I know that I can fly and so I do fly, but when I’m flying I realize that I can only fly because I believe I can and as my belief wanes I start to fall and have to concentrate on believing I can fly to lift myself up again.

This is a common dream. Since you cannot physically fly, to dream of flying symbolises that you have a strong intellect which you can use to mentally rise above a problem. In the dream, when flying you are looking at things from a higher perspective. This is a very practical ability and you are most likely aware you have it. When you’ve had enough of a particular problem you can step back and consciously decide to see the bigger picture. You will almost always feel exhilarated upon waking from a flying dream. This is because all your problems have become smaller through your dream. Flying also indicates that you have the ability to project your mind onto others. You can use this to good and bad effect. It is very useful in marketing, sales and teaching.

John’s Response

It’s interesting that the analyst hit upon abstracting and analysing problems. As a software engineer, that is very much what my job involves, and I believe that, in the wider context, I have the sort of mind that would systematically rise above problems to get a perspective on them. I’m not sure about the mind control aspect, but now that it’s been pointed out to me, I might just give it a try!

For more dream interpretations, click here.


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