In our dreams strange and unusual creatures exist. Some fascinate us, some terrify us. Monsters seem to come from somewhere deep in our imagination, and can create a particularly strong impact. We tell children that monsters aren’t real and smile indulgently as we explain them away. But somehow it seems different when we dream of monsters ourselves as adult. So why is it that we dream of monsters?
Things in our dreams are usually symbolic, and very few more so than monsters. Monsters are our very own personal symbols, often cobbled together from different creatures in stories, films and even mythology. Monsters can come from deep within our subconscious, so they may have a very important message to tell us. The very nature of monsters, that they are creatures of imagination, usually indicates we are dealing with something we don’t want to face, or something we don’t understand.
We can go back to the basics of dream work to understand what our own monsters mean to us. We can describe how the monster make us feel, and then look for situations in life where we are feeling the same way. Are we feeling threatened? Harassed? Under pressure? Is this something we are feeling at work, in a relationship or with a choice we have to make?
We can also try the action of describing the monster in basic words as we would to a child. We can look at the colour of the monster and what it it is doing. (see “colours” post.) Is the monster big and overwhelming, or sneaky and sly? This may indicate how we feel about a certain problem or dilemma in our lives. Remembering also, that symbols in our dreams are usually a reflection of parts of our own selves, monsters can be a part or our own personality we don’t want to admit to. Is the monster angry? Maybe there is something in our life that we are mad at ourselves for, and now need to forgive ourselves. Is the monster faceless, maybe even invisible, but hounding us none the less? This can be a problem in life, a behaviour or issue that we are running from. Now it might be time to face the creature that pursues us. Very often a bad monster dream can be about the parts of our own personality we like the least. These kind of dreams ask us to face what we don’t like, change what we can, and be kind to ourselves for those things beyond our control. Is the monster hungry, and maybe wants to eat us? This can indicate we have a habit, maybe even a compulsion or addiction that is “consuming us.” It might be time for a more balanced approach to life. Are we attacking the monster, trying to kill it? This might be an angry reaction to a part or our-self we can’t accept. Maybe we should stop judging ourselves by other people’s standards, and accept and love ourselves for who we really are. Or it may be a symbol of illness, and our body trying to attack an invading infection or disease that our subconscious mind is aware of.
Monsters in dreams can be our fears made manifest, but not all dreams of monsters are bad ones. Sometimes a monster can be harmless, helpful or even amusing. Such dreams may come after we face a scary monster in our dreams, or as we start to confront the problems or concerns we have in waking life. These kind of dreams may help us to understand the transitions from fear to freedom, with the changing monster helping us understand our own transitions. Some monster dreams may be of mysterious, but not particularly worrying monsters. These kind of dreams may indicate a powerful period of transformation occurring, with new skills and outlooks on life developing inside us that we cannot fully understand or recognise yet. We may even be lucky to have a visit from a part of ourselves deep within our subconscious mind, that arise like a creature from the deep to help or guide us at an important juncture in our lives.
The thing to remember with monster dreams, is that they come from within our own minds. If we can be brave and true enough to really face and understand them, most monsters aren’t really so scary after-all. In fact, they may even turn out to be our friends.