This blog post is the result of me analyzing the plethora of dream characters that I’ve interacted with over the years. There’ve been a number of especially vivid dreams of mine where the characters knew way too much to be typical figments of my imagination, or acted in manners that completely contradicted their waking-world counterparts. It took a great deal of guidance through prayer and mediation to determine that in these extreme cases, the characters were much more than mere creations of my dreaming mind.
When I analyze my dream characters, I separate them into 3 categories: Manifestations of my subconscious mind, Projections of somebody else’s subconscious thoughts, or Illusions of something nonhuman disguised as a normal person.
97% of the time, dream characters fall under the category of “Manifestations”; these individuals are nothing more than creations of our imagination. Manifestations of the people we know are usually created by how they interact with us in the waking world and/or how we perceive them to be. These make up the vast majority of dreams, and can hint at unresolved issues with our relationships that haven’t been properly addressed.
This is where we need to take caution when analyzing dreams: just because you might dream about somebody you know treating you poorly doesn’t mean that they’re truly your enemy. It would be unwise to constantly assume that these most common sort of dreams are warnings against people we know. However, such a thing isn’t impossible.
Think of this as a dream-style astral projection; would-be literal projections of somebody else’s thoughts or consciousness towards you.
But remember, most of the time, the person you’re seeing in the dream is nothing more than a creation of the dream itself. In order to verify whether or not you’re dealing with a true “echo” of a real person, you’d realistically need to see an affirmation of their true personality in the real world. For example, if somebody you know in a dream suddenly acts maliciously towards you, you’d need absolutely verifiable proof in the real world that they’re as bad as the dream showed them to be. All in all, only about 2% of dreams contain an echo of another person.
There was a guy who occasionally stopped by in the dining hall where I used to work at college, a decently nice guy. I had a dream of him laughing maliciously at me, and the next day, he clearly refused to come near my station. I was alarmed after waking up at how vastly different his attitude towards me was, and this confirmed it.
A much more uplifting change happened about a year later. During a later semester, I received an odd urge to pray for a guy who I disliked for his seemingly disdainful attitude towards me whenever we crossed paths. I didn’t want to even think about him, but I told God that I’d do it. That night, I had a dream where this same guy desperately ran up to me and begged me to tell him that I was ok after going through a rough patch. The next time I saw him, I didn’t even recognize him at first because of how calm, humble and peaceful he was.
Even then, these sorts of dreams tend to be extremely uncommon. Given the occurrences I’ve dealt with personally, you should only assume that you’ve dealt with a true projection of somebody else if you can prove to yourself that what you saw/heard from them is who they really are. Something to watch out for when making the distinction is whether or not you can clearly remember what the person said to you. Most of the time, dream dialogue is too murky to recall. As such, if you can remember to the T what the person said to you, you might’ve encountered an echo of their thoughts about you.
There’s also another possible category for dream characters, although it’s even rarer; there are times when our dream visitors are much more, or much less than human.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)
This is my favorite category to analyze. When I say “Illusions” here, what I’m referring to is a unique dream case where the “person” you’re dealing with isn’t even human to begin with. Of course, you need absolute concrete proof before you can draw this conclusion. Getting that proof is, for obvious reasons, extremely difficult and requires an extreme amount of careful determination. Illusions are the rarest category for a dream character to fall under, and only 1% of dreams tend to have these appear.
The best example I can give, out of the vast plethora of dreams I have to memory, is the following dream I had from the summer of 2015.
Malice vs Valor
The stress in our house was massive because it was clear at that point that my soon-to-be ex-stepdad was utterly incompatible with us. One night back then, after a particularly rough shift at my bagel shop job, I had a dream where it was winter on our wraparound porch, and I sat on the bench, bemoaning to God how exhausted I was after “Mom” had screamed horrible things at me. I didn’t know what was going on, and it was salt in the wound of everything else happening at that time.
Queue one of my most beloved big brother figures from high school randomly appearing at the end of my street, walking straight towards me with his eyes closed. In a handful of seconds, he had walked up to our porch, and took me into a firm embrace. I can still see myself finally breaking down into tears in that hug, out of relief and just being overwhelmed.
All of a sudden, “Mom” materialized out of nowhere behind us, screaming at him to get away from me. At that moment, he jerked his head up, opened his eyes, and glared at her, with a sternly scrutinizing look at her. It looked like he was seeing right through her, understanding something that I couldn’t at that moment. After this, the last thing I saw was a sudden change of scenery with “Mom” glaring up at me with seething hatred as I lay in my bunk bed.
It took a couple of years and even more bizarrely vivid dreams like these for me to understand just what exactly was going on. This dream was the harbinger for an acutely Catholic twist on my dreams from then on. And the theme of “Mom” despising me for whatever reason continued, until I asked God for help on the matter. Obviously, how this dream version of “her” treated me was and still is an absolute antithesis to how she treats me in the real world, and with that knowledge and a bit of divine intervention, I got to the bottom of what I was dealing with.
The next summer, I entered a dream with this malicious version of “Mom” approaching me with a sneer. I glared at her, and watched her form flicker for the briefest of seconds. I couldn’t clearly make out what I saw, but I still remember seeing something crimson, scaly and reptilian in her place.
As for the identity of my big brother figure, I knew that while he was undeniably good, he had to be more than the guy I looked up to. While it may be a stretch to some, after what I’ve seen in my dreams, I came to the conclusion that this was the actual first time I encountered Michael the Archangel in a dream.
There’s also a little trick I learned from my experiences that anybody can use to determine if something evil is sneaking around in your dreams. When dealing with inhuman impostors such as the aforementioned thing posing as my Mom for so long, simply praying or speaking the name of God will provoke them into revealing their true intentions/self. After all, they hate God more than anything else, and won’t be able to hide their rage at the mere mention of Him.
Another subcategory of this is something excessively abnormal that I’ve dealt with in my most recent dreams. In place of the aforementioned evil things posing as my loved ones, what seemed to be the embodiments of specific spiritual evils have started to appear instead. I categorize these entities as Illusions because they don’t truly fit in the other categories.
One of the best examples I can offer features Michael the Archangel as the main character. In this dream, he defeated several eerie members of a floating temple who didn’t shed a drop of blood when they were slain. One of them tried to trick Michael with a bit of apparent hospitality, meant to lure him into a false sense of security. Of course, that wouldn’t ever work on an archangel, and within seconds, the entire temple was overcome. In hindsight, they were embodiments of the sin of maliciously posing as benevolent in order to harm others.
Something I still need to remember whenever I try to analyze my dreams is that they’re mostly just dreams. I’ve had a very nasty habit in the past of taking some dreams as indicators that somebody was about to betray me, when the dreams were just random nonsense like dreams tend to be. Most dreams aren’t visions, though a rare minority can be.
And more than anything else, it’s far better to ask God what He knows went down in a dream than to make your own assumptions.