Posted in Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Spiritual Practices, Truth

Dreams: The Guiding Hand of God

Today’s blog explores dreams as a vehicle for Divine revelation.  How is God speaking to you through your dreams?

How God Communicates Truth

In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I explain the infinite number of ways in which God seeks to guide, comfort, inspire, educate and reveal truth to us.  God communicates truth to us through our life experiences, opportunities for learning, physical and spiritual vision, imagination, intuition and dreams.  It is through these vehicles that we come to know our purpose, our path, to find meaning in our life and to discern truth.  Today, I want to talk specifically about dreams.


Dreams are one of the often forgotten ways in which God reveals truth to us.  The challenge with dreams is that few, if any, can be taken as prophetic or accepted as literal.  Because our dreams come to us through the creative centers of our mind, dreams can only understood to be a symbol or metaphor for a larger, deeper, broader truth.  But how do we understand the symbolic images in our dreams?  My writing mentor and teacher, Julie Tallard Johnson has the answer to that quandary.  She says that “We are the meaning makers.”  In other words, we decide what the symbols in our dreams mean through our own personal association with those objects.  This perspective is right in line with the Existential school of Psychology that would have us interpret the objects in our dreams according to the way in which we would describe the object to someone who was visiting from another planet.  For example, I once had a dream in which I had lost my purse and was trying to find it.  When interpreting the purse from an Existential perspective, I described it as “that which carries my identity.”  We interpret the items through the lens of our own personal experience and I had my purse stolen once and the most challenging part of the process was proving my identity to the bank when trying to cancel checks, credit cards, etc, hence “that which carries my identity.”  Another person might interpret a purse as “something that carries a means of exchange” or “that which carries the things that keep me beautiful.”

Dreams and Animal Totems

Beyond inatimate objects, other images in our dreams may be those of animals.  Every indigeneous culture has a tradition of meanings associated with the animals that appear in our dreams or cross our paths.   In the Native American tradition, these messenger animals are often referred to as totems.  One of my favorite books for researching the meaning of the animals that appear in our dreams is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  Ted provides, through the lens of Native American spirituality, the significance of hundreds of animals, birds and insects.   It is important, however, to weigh Ted’s interpretion along with our own personal associate with that animal, because once again, WE are the meaning makers and there is no one outside of us that knows our own personal truth better than we do.

Interpreting Dreams

If we wish to be open to the truth that God may be revealing to us, it is important to pay attention to our dreams.  When you awake from a meaningful dream, write it down.  Then, go back to the individual objects in the dream and assign a meaning to them based on your own personal understanding of that object.  If animals appear in your dream, consult Animal Speak and weigh that interpretation with your own experience of that animal.  Pay special attention to the emotions that come out of your dreams.  Were you excited, tittilated, happy, sorrowful, terrified?  How are these emotions reflective of something that might be going on in your own journey?  Finally, take the time to simply rest in the silence after the dream and the reflection to be open to what else God might be trying to say.  You might be surprised!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries