Dreamer's Dictionary


By Stearn Robinson

By Tom Corbett

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 11, 1986. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

With over over 1 million copies sold, this "admirable" dictionary is the  result of years of research, packaged in an easy-to-use guide telling you how to distinguish the four types of dreams, identify dream symbols, and understand meanings (New York Times).

Dreams–they belong to our most intimate experiences. In dreams, our memories, the events of the day, and our fears and expectations for the future mingle in strange and baffling ways to challenge our understanding. Now this amazingly complete, alphabetically arranged bedside reference–the result of years of meticulous research through ancient and modern sources–offers clear, authoritative, and instant insight into the astonishing meaning of your dreams.

Did you dream :
  • Flowers?… If they were fresh, expect a happy occasion.
  • Driving?… If you were at the wheel, watch your wallet!
  • Movies?… If you didn't like the show, beware of insincere friends.
  • Soap?… If it was scented, you'll find happiness in love.



From time immemorial dreams have been regarded with an interest transcending mere superstition. Their cause and their meaning have been the subject of study and investigation by learned men throughout the ages. The many references to records concerning dreams which turned out to be “events casting their shadows before them” can leave little doubt as to the importance of dreams in history.

What are dreams? Well, through the past centuries, dreams were defined as “states of consciousness occurring during sleep.” We inherited this nebulous and paradoxical definition before the rise of physics; but since the mid-nineteenth century a great deal of scientific research has been done to try to establish more clearly the nature of dreams.

Dreaming certainly belongs to our most intimate experiences. Generally, during waking hours, our reaction to our experiences is mainly emotional. In our dreams it is even more emotional because dreams are a concentrating agent for our various subjective motives. They also constitute an interrelation between the now, the past, and the future of human experience. In our dreams we create a world where space and time have no limiting power. In his fascinating book An Experiment with Time, Professor Dunne proposes the theory that all the time that is now, has been, or will be is like a river, and that you can navigate this river, forward, backward, and presumably sideways, in the vessel of your dreams.

Herder, the German philosopher, states that dreams are but the ideals of all poetic arts, while Jean Paul Richter, another German author, thinks that dreams are involuntary experiences leading to the composition of poetry. Both these writers concur with other great ones of the past, such m Nietzsche, Kant, and Novalis.

F. W. Hildebrandt wrote in 1875, “Dreams help us to inspect those hidden depths of our existence which are mostly beyond our reach during our waking hours. Dreams bring us such refined insight into self-knowledge and such revelations of half-conscious dispositions and powers that on waking up, we may well admire the sharp-eyed demon that helped us find the hidden plot. A dream can warn us from within with the voice, of a watchman stationed at the central observatory of our spiritual life. And our dreams can also warn us of the dangerous steps we have already taken!”

Most dreams are in the form of visual images. And through visual images we are able to explore the human mind. Jung, the brilliant Swiss psychiatrist, pointed this out concisely when he stated, “Visual images have the quality of the human soul!” The mental pictures you can carry over the threshold of your consciousness are unimportant mites when compared to the wealth of dream imagery.

Every human emotion and experience can be reflected in dreams. Consider for a moment the infinite possibilities. A dream may be happy or sad; joyful or tragic; frightening or reassuring; full of love or bristling with hostility; it may be religious or sacrilegious, inspiring, depressing, or amusing and so on ad infinitum.

Through the ages dreams—and their interpretations—have been recorded on cave walls and stone slabs, and one can imagine thereby that those dreamers compared notes with each other on the happenings which followed, and so through some shaggy scientific-minded cave dweller began the study of the omens, prophecies, and warnings contained in dreams which have since been woven into the very fabric of life, until they have become a part of art, literature, and religion as well as science.

The ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and others did a great deal to disseminate the dream lore of their times, and centuries later when Artimedorus compiled his Oneiro-critica on this subject, it proved so popular that sixteen hundred years later its first English translation had been reprinted thirty-two times by the year 1800. But besides, the Greek, there are ancient dream books in many languages, such as Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, German, Arabic, Russian, and even Siamese. Needless to say, no book on this subject can ever be completely comprehensive, for to be so it would have to cover the whole of human experience and knowledge.

Friedrich Hebbell, who was a. dedicated student of dream problems, stated that “In dreams fantasy gets even with the shameless imp, Reason.” And Cicero, the Roman statesman and author (106–43 B.C.), wrote almost two thousand years ago, “nothing can be so silly, so impossible, or so unnatural that it cannot happen in a dream.” And today, almost two thousand years and mountains of research later, it is still true that nothing is either impossible or ridiculous in a dream; because a dream can be likened to a very private script, written, produced, and directed by the dreamer. Sometimes the dreamer takes the leading role, but in all cases he or she is the only audience, and each time he or she falls asleep, there is an opening of a new show, because everybody dreams—every night! At this point you may be saying, “I don’t; maybe other people, but not me!” Which may seem to be a reasonable reaction, since even those who know they dream may claim to remember times when supposedly they didn’t.

But reasonable or not, the reaction must be completely discounted. According to extensive scientific research, at the University of Chicago, Walter Reed Institute of Research, Harvard University, Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as countless learned institutions all over the world, it has been conclusively proven that everybody dreams every night. You may be wondering how such a fact could have been proven. The answer is by monitoring the nightly sleep of thousands of volunteers. By measuring their heart action, respiration, eye and body movements, brain waves, and, when indicated by these physical responses, awakening them throughout the night to inquire, “Were you dreaming?” Invariably the response was “yes,” even from those who previous to the experiment had insisted they never dreamed. Furthermore these scientific studies found that you have a minimum of three dreams a night, but you can have as many as nine. It has already been established that the congenitally deaf and/or blind dream, that children as young as eight months dream, that people of very low IQ dream no less than those of very high IQ.

You may be among the small minority who remember most of your dreams in vivid detail; or you may belong to the large majority who remember only vague parts of your dream, or you may be one of the sizable group who forgets everything. But no matter what you do or don’t remember about your dreams, and regardless of who or what you are, it is certain that you do dream. Dreaming is a natural process like breathing, and there is no way, except for the right combination of drugs, or overindulgence in alcohol, that you can prevent it.

As a matter of fact experiments with “dream withdrawal” suggest that, if you deprive a man of his dreams, you take a chance that he will eventually act out his psychotic tendencies while he’s awake, and this, in turn, gives rise to the hypothesis currently propounded in some scientific circles that as dreams allow one to go safely and quietly insane for a time each day, it is not, as heretofore believed, the sleep that is necessary for our well-being, but the dreams.

Be that as it may, the extraordinary power of the subconscious mind to dramatize problems or assimilate material only partially comprehended by the conscious mind is spectacularly documented in the field of science itself. One example is that of physiologist Otto Loewi who dreamed one night of an experiment which might prove his theory concerning the transmission of nerve impulses. He set up the experiment in his laboratory exactly as he had dreamed it, and it worked, subsequently leading to Loewi’s receiving a Nobel Prize.

And of course there is the celebrated case of the late nineteenth-century German chemist Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz who dreamed he saw a snake eating its own tail, thus forming a large ring. The dream inspired him to run tests which led to the discovery that the atoms in the benzene molecule were, in fact, arranged in a large—six carbon atoms—ring rather than the straight line arrangement previously visualized. This is considered to be one of the most important flashes of creative work in the whole field of organic chemistry.

An interesting case of clairvoyant dream solution in a different type of scientific discipline is that of the brilliant astrologer Hugh MacCraig who was trying to work out a table that would give the position of the moon from the year 1800 to that of the year 2000 in three simple steps. Not only Mr. MacCraig, but The Astrology Association of England, as well as the mathematicians at NASA and other places, were also working on the problem with no success. One night, to quote Mr. MacCraig, he “prayed on it” as he was going to bed and he awoke at 3:00 A.M. to find he had dreamed the solution. This mathematical table, which was subsequently proven to be accurate, appears in his book Ephemeris of the Moon, published in 1952.

Some mental health professionals are now of the opinion that we can learn to interpret and use our dreams, which they believe to be mainly an extension of the situation we live in when awake. This theory is amazingly (and amusingly) similar to that of the ancient interpreters who considered not only the dream content significant but also the personality and social/economic position of the dreamer.

Dr. Stanley Krippner, of the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Laboratory, suggests that our dreams can often be used to expose problems that we may refuse to recognize consciously and by so doing can lead to positive corrective action.

There are a great variety of theories as to what shapes dream content, but all authorities agree that dreams represent mental activity that occurs when conscious control is removed. It seems very likely that current avenues of investigation of DNA and RNA will eventually show that certain types of dreams now classified as “clairvoyant,” “precognitive,” or “retrocognitive” are locked into one’s genetic coding through the experiences or emotions of one’s ancestors.

Dreams have been veiled in mystery since the dawn of time, and in this century, which has already seen men exploring space and walking on the moon, it seems reasonable to assume that the veil will be at least partially lifted. Whatever the current scientific advances may be, there are many who remain interested in the old traditions and superstitions of “oracles,” “omens,” and “portents” in dreams, and the purpose of this book is to offer to those, for pleasure as well as for information a reference synthesis of ancient and modern interpretations.


To interpret your dreams you must bear in mind that the first step is to learn to distinguish between a valid prophetic dream and one that has no subconscious or clairvoyant significance.

Dreams of a prophetic nature usually occur to you during the deepest part of your night’s sleep; for most of you this will be between 2:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M. By this time digestion has usually been completed, your body muscles are normally relaxed, and your mind is mainly free of the day’s events. Dreams which occur under these conditions are generally worth your efforts at interpretation.

Persistent or recurring dreams can be traced, almost invariably, to some physical or psychological cause and as a rule have no prophetic significance. However, a dream that recurs only two or three times is a different matter and should be seriously considered.

Dreams which have no significance (although they may be more vividly recalled than meaningful ones) are:

Those that yon have after you have overeaten or overindulged in alcohol before going to bed.

Those that can be traced to external physical conditions, such as a man who dreamed he was being attacked by a tiger and awoke to find that his bridgework had somehow come out and his teeth were actually pressing into his thigh. Or you may dream that you are adrift on a floating iceberg and wake up to find the heat has gone off in your room and your blankets are on the floor.

There are also various noises: for instance, traffic, hammering, an airplane flying low, loud music, and so forth which may not actually awaken you but which can nevertheless influence your dream. You have, no doubt, at some time dreamed you heard bells ringing and you woke up to realize that your telephone or doorbell has been or is ringing.

If you have been deeply grieved or very frightened, it can influence your dreams, and dreams that occur during illness, fever, or following a shock must be discounted. Also dreams that you have after seeing a disturbing play, movie, or TV program.

And, obviously, dreams connected with people, things, or situations that have actively concerned you during the current day should be ignored.

A certain group of common dreams, which occur to almost everyone at some time appear to be more easily recalled than others. This is because they produce decidedly unpleasant sensations, and dreams of this type should be considered as prophetic only when they cannot be attributed to external physical conditions as listed above. They fall into the following categories:


Being helplessly pushed or drawn into danger by some irresistible force.

Being nude or nearly so and unable to cover oneself or find clothes.

Floating or flying through space.

Being unable to cry out for help in the face of visible danger.

Being unable to move away from approaching danger.

Unless the dreamer can be absolutely certain that no extraneous physical cause existed during these dreams, they should be ignored.

Prophetic dreams usually fall into one of the following categories:

PRECOGNITIVE—the interpretation of which usually foretells important events.

WARNING—the interpretation of which may suggest the nature of an impending danger.

FACTUAL—the interpretation of which simply confirms or emphasizes a situation that the dreamer knows about.

INSPIRATIONAL—the interpretation of which suggests a solution or course of action in regard to a personal or business problem.

The interpretation of dreams, like any other skill, becomes more interesting with practice. Perseverance is essential in learning a new language, and dream symbols are a language of the subconscious mind.

As a general guide it is best to assume that any action or event in which the dreamer does not take part but is merely an observer is a warning. However, where the dreamer is actually one of the participants in the drama, the message should be interpreted as one which personally affects the dreamer.

A useful list of some general rules for dream interpretation is as follows:

Clean or shiny objects or conditions are usually good omens, but dirty or dull ones forecast obstacles and/or difficulties.

Going up indicates success or improvement, going down signifies reverses.

Successful efforts in a dream are a good omen, but unsuccessful efforts forecast difficulties, except in the case of those specifically listed as dreams of “contrary” or “contrast” in meaning.

If a dream involves an illness to the dreamer, it is advisable to have a medical checkup.

Dreams involving members of the dreamer’s family with whom the dreamer is on pleasant terms generally pertain to business advancement, but if the relations are unpleasant, the reverse is forecast.

In order to interpret your dreams with some degree of accuracy, you must remember that dreams are made up of many elements. There is usually one main factor or feature that will stand out in your memory and that is the one which you should consider first; but you should look up all the other elements as well and add them to the interpretation. You should not overlook even the most minor or minute detail as it may easily have an important significance.

For example:

Your dream involves attending a party; it is likely that you will have to look up foods, flowers, strangers’ clothes and so forth before you can work out an interpretation.

If your dream concerns an unfamiliar room, you may have to look up furniture, wood, carpets, color, and so on, as all these details may have an influence on what the dream is trying to tell you.

When attempting to interpret a dream, there are a few basic rules to bear in mind:

Make sure the dream is potentially a prophetic one and not merely of the digestive or “cheese” variety.

That the feature of a dream which is most vividly and clearly recalled when you awaken is the most important element, and the significance of other aspects and factors of your dream must be related to its primary meaning.

The vividness and clarity of your dream is an indication of the importance of the event or warning forecast by the dream. A dream only half remembered or vague and hazy, if worth interpreting at all, is unlikely to have any important significance.

Timing. The imminence of the forecast interpreted from a dream may be calculated by the proximity of the dreamer to the main feature of the dream. For example, if the main factor was paisley, which signifies success through hard work, the success should materialize fairly soon if the dreamer were handling or eating the parsley, or if it were close at hand. If the parsley were just observed by the dreamer, or at a distance, the realization is likely to be delayed.

If the interpretations of the minor factors or details of a dream appear to contradict the significance of the main feature, it is an indication that the meaning or forecast of the main feature will be delayed or modified by the secondary interpretations.

The purpose of this section is to help you make the most of your dreams. According to Aristotle, “the skilful interpreter of dreams is he who has the faculty of observing resemblances.” Try to cultivate that faculty and you will soon become adept at understanding what your dreams mean.


Abandon. The interpretation of this dream depends on its aspect. If, in your dream, you abandoned something of a distasteful nature, you will soon hear favorable financial news. However, if in your dream you abandoned someone close to you, it signifies trouble, but don’t worry, you can overcome it by heeding the warning. If you dreamed you were a witness to an abandonment of any kind, it indicates you will hear some news which will be important to you. To dream you have been abandoned is a dream of contrary and means you will have a reconciliation or a quick recovery from trouble.

Abbey. If you saw this structure clearly and in daylight, it is generally a good omen. Peace of mind and freedom from anxiety will soon be yours. If seen in gloom or at night, it predicts sadness, but of a temporary nature.

Abdomen. A dream of contrary. If you dreamed you had pain in this region, you will have success due to good health and vigor. But if you dreamed of your abdomen being exposed in any way, it is a warning of unfaithfulness or treachery on the part of someone you trust. Be cautious with confidences.

Abduction. To dream you are being abducted indicates success against opposition whether business or social. If you dreamed someone else was being abducted, then you will soon get unexpected news.

Abhorrence. The interpretation of this dream depends on its aspect. If your feeling of distaste seriously disturbed you in your dream, it is a warning of danger or difficulties of an unforeseen nature; but, if you were merely annoyed by the feeling in your dream, you will overcome your problems.

Abject. To dream of being abject indicates coming financial reverses. If the abjectness altered during the dream, the reverses will be temporary. If, in your dream, you responded kindly to an abject approach, it means a financial benefit is on the way.

Abnormal. To dream of anything that is not normal—i.e., a horse with feathers, a woman who hops like a kangaroo, an airplane flying backward, etc., means you will shortly have a pleasing solution to your worries.

Abortion. For a man this dream portends failure in his current interest, whether it concerns love or money. For a woman it is a warning to look after her health.

Abroad. To dream of going abroad by ship means you will make an influential new friend in the near future. To dream of being abroad, in foreign places, indicates an unsettled condition and a probable change of location.

Abscond. For a man this dream is a warning of treachery among his associates. For a woman it means that she must be careful not to give her affections unwisely.

Abstinence. A dream of contrary. To dream that you abstain (by choice) from drink or from any sort of temptation is a warning against over-confidence. But to dream that you abstain from necessity indicates that success and prosperity are on the way.

Abundance. If you dreamed of having an abundance of one thing, it is a warning to conserve your resources; but if you dreamed of having an abundance of a variety of things, it is a very fortunate omen.

Abyss. This is an obstacle dream. If you avoid the fall, you will overcome your difficulties; but if you fall into the abyss, it is a warning that you must be extremely careful in your business dealings.

Acacia. To see it in bloom or smell its fragrance is a lucky omen for your most secret hopes—or passions.

Academy. Any dream involving this type of institution promises new friends and experiences, but it also warns that these may lead to costly speculation. Be cautious.

Accelerator. Using it to increase the speed of a car (or any other vehicle) indicates that you will achieve your objectives through your own efforts. If, in your dream the accelerator jammed or you were unable to control it, it is a warning to beware of a habit which could turn into a vice if you’re not careful.

Accent. If you heard yourself or others speak with an unfamiliar or foreign accent, you will hear news from a distance which could involve a hasty trip.

Accept. The interpretation of this dream depends on its aspect. If it involved a proposal of marriage and you accepted (or were accepted), it is a dream of contrary and you can expect a rocky road to romance. However, if you persevere, it may, in time, smooth out. If the dream involved the acceptance of money or anything else of value, it portends success in pending business matters. Acceptance of anything which is fake or counterfeit suggests you may be too trusting, so re-examine your current relationships. To accept an invitation is a forerunner to an inheritance or an unexpected gift.

Accident. The meaning of this dream varies greatly depending on the circumstances and surroundings, but as a rule it is a warning. If you dreamed of an accident, as such, you would be wise to avoid unnecessary travel for a few weeks. An accident at sea pertains to love affairs, on land, to business affairs. If possible, you should avoid the thing that was involved in the accident (for the twenty-four hours following the dream), i.e., if you dreamed of a car crash, walk for a day but be careful crossing streets! Steer clear of planes, trains, horses, knives, sharp instruments, fires, electricity, high places, or whatever pertained to the dream accident, for at least a day; and if you can’t avoid them, take extra precautions. See also Insurance.

Accompany. To accompany a stranger in your dream means that your enemies will fall into their own traps. If you were accompanied by a stranger, you can expect some exciting and beneficial events before long. If you were accompanied by friends, expect a change of environment. If you had or gave musical accompaniment to singing, you will soon have cause to sing joyously.

Accordion. If you heard this instrument, the meaning relates to the sound; if it struck you as doleful, you may expect some sadness but not of a deep or lasting nature. If the sound was lively and bright, you will soon have some gay social times. If you were playing the accordion, your love and/or personal affairs will be totally satisfactory. See also Music and Musical Instruments.

Accost. If you were accosted by a man, a false friend may try to impugn your honor. However, you can expect money in the form of profits or a legacy if you were accosted by a woman, a beggar, or anyone known to you.

Accounts (Accountants). This is one of the rather rare straightforward dreams. If you were having difficulties of any kind with your accounts, it is a warning not to lend money and to guard your credit. If, on the other hand, your accounts balanced easily, you may definitely expect a profitable proposition to come your way.



On Sale
Feb 11, 1986
Page Count
384 pages