This post is in response to questions asked by R. Thanks for your questions!
As a part of our face, cheeks can be symbols of how we present ourselves to the world, what we want people to think about us, and how we signal feelings and thoughts that may be going on inside. Depending on what is going in our lives at any particular point, this may make us feel bold, guarded or vulnerable.
To dream of being hit or slapped on the face or cheek can be an expression of shock and hurt we are trying to assimilate, that we feel we have been “slapped in the face.” This may be as a result of some favour or kindness being taken for granted or betrayed, of being let down by another’s actions, or even our own behaviour or choices. Other symbols in the dream can help point to what this action may be. Being slapped on the cheek could alternatively be a representation of shock, that something completely unexpected has caught us off guard. Dreams can try to warn us when we are overlooking or ignoring something important. A slap on the cheek may be our subconscious trying to give us a wake-up call, urging us to pay attention!
Cheeks can have interesting meanings when we look at the roles of puns. If the cheeks are large or prominent in some way, do you feel that you or someone you know is being “cheeky” with you? And is this cheekiness a fun, pleasant thing, or do you feel that someone is taking advantage, and that the cheekiness is a little bit naughty? Or might this be an urging from the subconscious to not be so timid, to be a bit bolder in some regard and have a little “cheek?” If the dream is “tongue in cheek”, could there be a joke you are missing, where things are not exactly as they seem?
To dream of both cheeks, but individually, may be a reference to “turning the other cheek.” A dream such as this may be asking us to forgive, to let an offence or insult pass by and to move on. Or it may be a reflection that we have learned to do just that, and that our personal growth has taken away the power of others to hurt us.
If we dream of one cheek more than the other, or only one side in particular, it is worth considering the role we assign to left and right in our lives. Right, for right handed people, tends to be our dominant side, the one we use to control and manipulate things in the world. A right cheek then could be the way we present ourselves to the world, what we want people to know about us, the image we project on purpose. To a right hander, the left is a side that is less used, and can represent the more passive, or the hidden aspects to our nature. The left cheek than can be about our “deeper” selves, the part of our personality we do not wish others to see, or that we prefer to control how and when it is revealed. Most of these meanings will be reversed for a left handed person.
Our cheeks can be barometers of our feelings in waking life and in dreams. Flushed cheeks can reveal shame, embarrassment, anger or frustration. If shame is indicated in our dreams, there will often be other symbols to help us recognise this, things like hiding, burying, covering or running from someone or something if we are trying to avoid the source of shame, or of revealing, uncovering, being naked or being caught if we feel confronted with our source of shame. Lifting a red cheek may be asking us to look inside at what we are ashamed of. But red cheeks can also indicate the gentler feeling of being caught gazing at the object of our affection, this is still a little embarrassing, but not really shameful – more bashful! Dreams of this nature will often include other symbols of a crush, such as flowers, hearts, the colour pink and so on, or sexual imagery if the crush is more passionate. Anger or frustration may indicated by things being broken, stretched, shattered, torn, or put under stress weighed down etc. Volcanoes, steam, explosions, other instances of the colour red, sharp or jagged objects, fists, finger nails, pulling hair and loud noises can all help indicate that anger or frustration may be at play in dreams of red cheeks. Red cheeks though, can also be signs of being happy and jolly, as Santa Claus, a clown or a person who is slightly inebriated. It usually does not take much to recognise happiness in a dream, but o dig deeper the questions to ask could be who is so happy, and how are they important in our lives? What can we learn from them?
We may occasionally also dream of cheeks that are a different colour (see my post for individual meanings of colours here: http://thedreamwell.com/2008/09/21/dream-symbols-colours/). As well as considering the meaning of the colour itself, we can look at how the cheek came to be that colour. If it was painted, was this as a mask, trying to project a certain image? Was it sacred and celebrational, representing a special ritual, or rite of passage? This can happen when we pass through a period of great learning or difficulty, or when we change life stages, such as graduating, marrying, giving birth, losing a loved one, becoming single again and so on. Painted cheeks can also be warrior signs. Have you undertaken, or are you about to undertake some great struggle? This may or may not be a “battle” that is visible in the outside world. It could be a fight against injustice, a fight to achieve a goal, a struggle to let go of a fear or limiting behaviour or belief. If the cheek is not painted, but a strange colour, is there an emotion that is dominant in your life? Could you be green with envy, or white with fear? (White cheeks may be accompanied by a statue, who is frozen, is with fear.)
A kiss on the cheek is a chaste kiss, in a dream it may indicate affection or respect, or both. When we have close, intimate encounters such as kissing in dreams, it is usually a profound and special occurrence. (See also my post The Embrace here: http://thedreamwell.com/2009/01/16/dream-symbols-the-embrace/) To be kissed, or to kiss on the cheek can symbolise that we are integrating a new aspect of ourselves into our psyche, that we are recognising and respecting our wise elder, our caring parent, our inner child, our Shadow or another important archetype. Such dreams are special gifts indeed!
To dream of cheeks is to dream of our face, and what we are prepared to face up to, and what we want others to know about us. Cheek dreams ask us to question our vulnerability and boldness, and to explore who we show the world we are, and then who we really are.