More often than not dream signs take the form of things or events that would be considered impossible or highly improbable in the waking world. Some examples of dream signs are breathing under water, flying or taking unusually long jumps, oversized/undersized objects or people, and of course purple skies and green cats. Dream signs are also sometimes more subtle: light switches that don’t work (device failure, which is very usual), suddenly returning to work at an old job, being late (also very common), losing the ability to scream, the speech patterns of friends being unusual, having trouble running or walking fast, and of course arriving somewhere naked. Another very common dream sign is having your teeth or hair fall out.
If we are not intently looking for dream signs during sleep, we will accept everything—no matter how strange—as we would during the waking hours. Quite obviously if you were allowed to think analytically in your dreams, the absurdness of some of the above situations would be quite apparent to you. Even if you stop to question something in a dream you’ll usually become quickly distracted by something else and lose your transient rational-train-of-thought. For instance, it may occur to you that you shouldn’t be able to leap over the entire parking lot, but then it may suddenly dawn on you that you’re 5 minutes late for work and you’ll rush into the office, completely forgetting about your parking lot adventure. Within our dreams we generally accept whatever happens—we usually just go along for the ride. It takes training to spot and fully-realize the obscurities inherent within our dreams. You have to instill the idea within your head that if a blue dog should happen upon your path, it’s very likely that you’re in fact dreaming.
Locations can provide a profound hint that you’re dreaming. For instance, if you’ve lived in New York all of your life but you suddenly find yourself in Japan tasting the local cuisine and speaking to locals in their native tongue, alarms should be going off and that little voice in your head should be asking, “How did I end up here?” If that little voice of yours cannot come up with a relatively feasible answer, you’re dreaming. Behavior can be a strong indication that you’re dreaming as well: if your friend, who is usually venerably ethical and moral, spontaneously decides one day to go out and start robbing banks with you as his or her driver, you just might be dreaming. Perhaps at the time you’ll come up with a reasonable explanation for holding people at gunpoint while you steal their money, but in the morning you’ll be kicking yourself. Thus, it is extremely important that you train your mind to recognize these abnormalities and nonsensical situations, so that you can take advantage of them. Instead of casually noticing 8 feet tall pigeons strolling by the wayside, you should stop and say, “8 foot pigeons? Wait a minute, that can’t be right…I must be dreaming!”
Personal Dream Signs
Personal dream signs are dream signs that frequent your own dreams. You may find you often “wake up” without any hair, when the day before it was down to your shoulders; or, you often run out of gas on your way to write a final exam. To determine some of your personal dream signs, you need to actively keep a dream journal. After a number of entries have been entered you should go through and examine your dreams and look for recurring elements (situations, environments, people, objects, etc.) Keep in mind that what you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily have to be out of the ordinary—your dream signs may in fact be very ordinary. Of course, it helps if your dream signs are unusual with respect to the real world, for then it will be easier to trigger the analytical part of your brain upon encountering your dream signs. Regardless, you are simply looking for things that are common within your dreams. Become familiar with your personal dream signs and review your dreams over and over that include them. Essentially you should be trying to train yourself to spot your dream signs, which will aid you in your quest to induce lucid dreams.
If you’re interested in reading about others’ dream signs or sharing some of your own, you can join our discussion in the Dream Signs and Recall forum on our message board.