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Universal Symbols in Dream Interpretation

Updated: Aug 15

Hello! In this blog post I wished to share what I believe is a very interesting email (shared with permission) from a client that I think offers a very good example of the validity and helpfulness of dream interpretation. Enjoy!


Dear Saveta,


I have a question about a specific dream I have been experiencing at least 3 to 4 times a week for about a month, about a car. By colour and make, it does not match my current vehicle in my waking life. I cannot seem to get rid of the feeling that there is significance to the pattern and regularity of my dreams regarding this car. I seem to alternate between seeing myself drive the car and seeing the car sitting still. Any ideas on the subject Saveta, would be much appreciated.


C.T. Goderich, ON


Dear C.T. thank you for taking the time to email about your dreaming experiences. You unfortunately, have not provided me a great deal of details. I would like to have known the condition of the car, was it in good working order? Were you comfortable driving? What was your emotional state when you awakened from these dreams? However, not to worry; I will take a crack at answering your question.

First, let us start with a brief, but helpful breakdown on dream interpretations. I personally categorize dreams into these elements.


Psychological burn off dreams. Typically very emotionally intense in theme, events and people depicted are usually very uncharacteristic, if not bizarre, in their behaviour and/or appearance. Talking spiders, flying cats or warm and loving mothers-in-laws (I am sure you get the idea).

The dreamer typically awakens feeling disorientated, agitated mentally or emotionally and sometimes physically as well. They typically are not indicators of the dream being prophetic (warning about the future).


In addition, there rarely is a time element, calendar, clock, seasonal details (snow, plants blooming), etc. to indicate some kind of indication of time. These dreams can feel very intense, but are essentially not trying to communicate helpful information, but instead are giving your psyche an opportunity to stir things up and help you burn off some steam mentally and emotionally, so to speak.


What I call self-awareness, or signaling dreams. These dreams tend to present to warn or alert you to… often unexpected changes in the future, but normally what I call self-centered potential concerns i.e. health, unresolved emotional issues, etc. A very common and classic dream scene for example, is to dream of losing your teeth; this is a clear and frequently accurate warning for the dreamer to be careful with regard to their health and to investigate thoroughly any health concerns no matter how innocent they appear.


Prophetic dreams are the next category of dreams. These dreams can and do depict pertinent information about your future. Different from other dreams, in these dreams other people or pets for example, tend to behave appropriately, there usually is a clear time element depicted ... (for example large obvious clock in the recurring dream showing clock face ... with hands positioned at 10:15 could be interpreted that events indicated are likely to take place on the 15th day of the tenth month).

In addition, most importantly individual objects, people, etc. can and do hold specific symbolic significance. Special Note: This is, in my opinion, why many people are turned off and confused by the majority of these pulpy dream dictionaries that are out there.


Regrettably, the majority of these books have the tendency to represent every definition of a dream subject, as consistently holding a future prophetic significance, which often times is completely inaccurate.


By moving beyond these cheesy dream dictionaries, the accurate meaning of universal symbols can be understood and interpreted providing accurate information about your future.


Back to your original question, regarding cars. Cars as a universal symbol (meaning it applies the same meaning in everyone’s dreams) symbolizing a person’s career or job path and/or situation.

By dreaming for example, that you had difficulty starting a car, you are trying to drive, could be interpreted to indicate delays if not missed opportunities career or job wise in the dreamer’s future.

Consistently driving around in an unfamiliar car could be interpreted (based on individual details through the dream) that the dreamer is subconsciously or consciously craving a change to a new vehicle (career path or job) to take them where they really wish to go.


I found it very interesting the details about the car not being anything like your own car in waking life. This is an important point of clarification – if it was for example a prophetic dream warning possibly against driving your own car, your own current vehicle would likely have been part of the recurrent dream experience.


Just to offer a final if not curious point. I had a participant in a dream workshop I taught share with me a reoccurring dream she said happened 2 to 3 times a week for about 4 months. It took her this amount of time to connect to what the dream was trying to tell her. At the beginning of the dream, the car was shiny, running smoothly, in good condition. Progressively though it lost its luster, often stopping with a clunk. The dreams continued until the car completely conked out, wheels falling off, lights failing, etc. One week after the car totally malfunctioned and stopped moving entirely in her dreams, she shared with me that she had received a shocking and much unexpected layoff notice! Dreams most certainly can talk; we just need to know how to listen.

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