Funny Poster with Snail-Astronomer and Pumkin-ObservatoryThree Types of Dreams

With few exceptions, such as prophetic or lucid dreams, dreams can be organized into three categories:  mental, physical and spiritual. Each of these categories has a corresponding purpose in the various aspects of our lives.


Mental dreams generally reflect the routine processing of the experiences of the day and the thoughts and feelings we have in response to these events. Most dreams are in this category as most of our life experiences aren’t typically out of the ordinary. Although it could be argued that the times we live in make everyday life more intense. Mental dreams function like a daily “data download,” categorizing and processing information before it is sorted and stored into the long-term memory of our infinite subconscious data bank. Mental dreams also process the relative significance of important events of the day, ranking certain content as “high priority,” and arranging for a dream bulletin to reach our awareness. They generally act as a commentary on what we’re doing, thinking, aspiring toward or fighting for in our waking life. We may not remember all these messages, but they do get transmitted. This feedback affects how we respond the next time a similar situation appears. Dreams offer us a chance to give ourselves a report card, determining where we did well or where we need to improve.


Physical dreams often address health issues or physical imbalances that reveal themselves in dream symbols.  Health or medical dreams can function as early warning systems if recognized for what they are. Death dreams sometimes appear as strong health warnings that are intended to “frighten” us into paying attention. Nightmares are believed to be a dramatic attempt to “get through” to the conscious level after repeated attempts at symbolism that were ignored. In this vein, nightmares may be a category of physical or health dreams. Some cultures believe nightmares are important harbingers of coming events. Human nature often stubbornly resists change. Nightmares can act like a “shock treatment,” dramatically capturing our attention. Decoding the symbols in the nightmare reveal where in our body/mind the warning is pointing.


Sometimes called “big dreams,” spiritual dreams are believed to be messages from our soul to our conscious mind. The big dream deals with spiritual guidance, contact with higher realms, and has the intent of providing knowledge and bestowing power. A dreamer in ancient times who sought a dream oracle, such as the Oracle of Delphi, did so in the hope of having a big dream. This seems to be shamanic in nature. Big dreams usually repeat the same theme in a slightly different way over several nights. Memories of a big dream are generally vivid and emotion-packed. At other times a big dream can be so startling that the experience is like being awake, and the memory remains clear and stark, and does not fade with time. Big dreams are often literal, and their messages should be taken seriously.

In any of the three dream categories the most important thing to notice first are your feelings. Dream feelings, what you’re experiencing in the dream, seem to foreshadow how things may work out in waking life. For example, if you’re feeling fear in a dream, chances are if you recognize and face what frightens you, the issue you’re concerned about won’t happen. On the other hand, if your dream is filled with joy, you can expect smooth sailing with the project or person. If anger is present when you wake, look out, as that suppressed emotion may erupt unexpectedly in waking life.

No matter how skilled and insightful another person’s analysis the dreamer is the ultimate authority where dream meaning is concerned. It is your dream and books and experts are only guides. Recognition of meaning is often accompanied by some physical sensation such as a chill, or a certainty in the pit of the stomach, a so-called “gut reaction.” Each person has built-in internal radar that defines this sense of accuracy.

Grounding a dream in waking reality is thought to deepen understanding. Take some action that imprints the symbols and brings the dream into the waking dimension. This sends a powerful feedback message to your soul and subconscious that you’re paying attention, taking heed, and applying your lessons.  Some dreams stay with you through the day. Others are so powerful their impact remains over years. Always remember to ask for a dream.

Try keeping track of the dreams you remember over a month and placing them into one of the three categories. You might see how the issues relate to one another and determine if a particularly vivid emotional dream is related to an issue you have ignored. Now the stakes are being raised.

Julie LoarAbout The Author: Julie Loar is the multiple award-winning author of six books and dozens of articles.  She has a BS in Psychology, has done postgraduate work, and has been certified in numerous professional training and development programs.  Julie was a Human Resources executive in two major corporations, and an independent training consultant, working with large companies.  Her latest book, Goddesses For Every Day:  Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World, (available at Satiama) has won three national awards.  Her popular astrology feature appears in ATLANTIS RISING magazine, and she is a featured contributor on John Edward’s web site, where she has her own internet TV show.  She has traveled to sacred sites around the world, researching the material for her books and teachings.  Each year she leads a sacred journey to Egypt.  Visit her at


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