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The Dictionary of Dreams and Their Meanings

Chapter 8: The Cycle of Life


From the Infinity ∞ Series, Chapter 8 Reviews - The Dictionary of Dreams and Their Meanings: Interpretation and insights into the therapeutic nature of our dreams
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The Dictionary of Dreams and Their Meanings is a guidebook for making sense of your dreams. It is not the typical dream dictionary in which you would look up particular dream symbols or themes for meanings. How this dictionary differs for other dream dictionaries is explained in the introduction of the book. In his example, The author, Richard Craze, he uses a dream about a tree to explain the difference. He says "Some dream books may say that a tree signifies growth, and if it is bearing fruit, that prophesies abundance and wealth." Craze encourages the dreamer not to be content with a generic meaning of his tree dream, but to look more closely at the tree and search for a deeper meaning specifically for you. His approach is for you to be an inquisitor, asking questions about the details of your dream until you have grasped an understanding of the dream message.

The chapters are divided into two parts (see Chapter Index below). Part One covers the history of dreams, basic concept of dreaming, and how to work with your dreams. It offers dream theories, helps for recognizing common dreams themes and unlocking dream symbolism. Part Two delves into merging our awake reality with the insights revealed to us in our dream sequences. It is also a beautiful picture book, filled with colorful imagery to entice your visual senses.

Chapter 8: The Cycle of Life

In this book review I will give detail of dream information covered in Chapter 8--as part of my Infinity Series. Craze discusses chronological ages in dreams beginning with birth and ending with death.
  • Birth Dreams
  • Childhood Dreams
  • Dreams of Youth
  • The Middle Years
  • Ageing
  • Death
I think I've already established that this book is more of a dream workbook than a dictionary. The chapter on life cycles intrigues me because I have had dreams about different stages in my life.

Birth Dreams

Being pregnant is a common dream theme of mine. Although Craze does not elaborate on pregnancy in dreams in this chapter, he does discuss giving birth in dreams quite thoroughly. He covers the types of anxiety dreams a pregnant woman or expectant father might dream and reasons why anxieties concerning their impending parenthood might surface through dreams. He also writes about birthing dreams as a metaphor in life. What does it mean if you dream about being born, or dream about giving birth? Birthing dreams often symbolize our ideas or future plans. What if you dream about a difficult delivery, or deliver an unhealthy or premature baby? Craze suggests dreaming of experiencing birthing a stillborn child could mean a project you are considering will not be able to come to fruition.

Childhood Dreams

In the next section, Childhood Dreams, Craze discusses the dreams we have about our past childhood. I occasionally will dream about being at my grandmother's house playing with my cousins or playing jump rope with my classmates in the school yard of my childhood. According to Craze, this could be me yearning to play more. This makes sense. Frightening or painful memories of your childhood might also be experienced in dreams as a means of bringing "forgotten" hurts to the surface to be analyzed and healed. Dreaming of children in general could mean a need to get in touch with your inner child. I have three grown children and will occasionally dream about them as small children. I cherish those dreams and will awaken with a smile on my face. Craze suggests when we dream of adults as children that perhaps we are trying to understand them from a root level. Have you ever dreamed about your boss being a child, it could be you are attempting to exert your own power onto an authoritative person.

Dreams of Youth

Adolescence is a challenging cycle of life, filled with growing pains, peer pressure, and mixed emotions--including experiencing excitement, danger, and having the feeling of immortality or trying to fit in. When we dream of our teen years it could indicate a desire to go back in time and relive the excitement and innocence of our youth. Having these dreams could also be a way of re-evaluating or strengthening the values that were born out of that time in your life. I never really thought too much about this period of my life being rich in dream material to ponder. So, that recurring dream I used to have about being naked in the school corridors might have a deeper meaning than just feeling vulnerable, or not.

The Middle Years

Hum-drum, the middle years. These years are generally a cycle of pragmatism and settling down. Although, midlife crisis is the smack-down in this life cycle. I had a little difficulty relating the the middle years section on dreaming. Probably, because the middle years--age 56 as I'm writing this--is my wakeful reality. My life at times feels mundane enough that I don't relish dreaming about my day-to-day work routines. Dreaming about my childhood, a birthing dream, or an outlandish fantasy theme suits me better. I'll take a flying dream any day over any other kind of dream However, a chapter on life cycles would be amiss to leave the middle years out of the picture.


Fears of getting older, anticipation of retirement, withdrawal, and wisdom are the themes touched on in the section on aging. Wrinkles and grey hairs are inescapable as we age--sans Botox or color treatments. The reality of old age setting in can be a scary prospect looming ahead. Anxieties of becoming old can creep into our dream worlds... inviting our subconscious to sort out terrifying aspects of things that are out of our control. Craze suggests waking up from a dream of being old can be a wake-up call to be more aware of how time slips by quickly, prompting us to make changes in our current life cycle. Dreams of wizened elders such as our deceased grandparents can be a way of being offered advice or understanding about your current state of affairs.


The final section of the chapter, The Cycle of Life, is naturally about dreams about death and dying. These types of dreams can be especially worrisome when the theme is about your own mortality or the death of a loved one. Nightmares can be gruesome, filled with death symbolism of graveyards, the Grim Reaper, skeletons, and other frights. Dreams of being buried can symbolize the life being squeezed out of you, not literally, but as a message to do something different to breathe more life into your existence. What your personal view of the afterlife will have an affect on what your death and dying dreams are like.

Dictionary of Dreams Chapter Index

Part One:

Chapter 1: Why We Dream
Chapter 2: Dreaming Through History
Chapter 3: The Nature of Dreams
Chapter 4: The Sense and Substance of Dreams
Chapter 5: Working with Dreams

Part Two:

Chapter 6: Abstract Qualities
Chapter 7: Nature Dreams
Chapter 8: The Cycle of Life
Chapter 9: Mind, Body, and Spirit
Chapter 10: Engaging with People
Chapter 11: Living in the World
Chapter 12: Movement, Machines and Structures
Chapter 13: Magic and Fantasy

Book Details

Author: Richard Craze
Genre: New Age
Publisher: Hermes House (Anness Publishing, Ltd, 2003,2004)
ISBN: 068137392X

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About this review: Chapter 8 Reviews from the Infinity ∞ Series (My copy of The Dictionary of Dreams and Their Meanings was a holiday gift from my sister.)

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