Literally the Best Thing Ever: Dream Interpretation

A free tour of the creepiest, most magical parts of your brain.

The other night I had a dream (stay with me!) that I was walking around NYC, only it wasn’t present day NYC, but NYC circa 1980, which I only remember because I was part of a movie about “the neighborhood,” which was being filmed at the time, and everything was very era-specific, from the cars to the buildings to the clothes. I don’t know what neighborhood it was, but I remember walking up to a tiny store, where Wren from Smithereens was the main salesperson. The store was about 900 degrees, and Wren made fun of my boots (because of course she would) and then I told her that I bought the $5,400 dress she was trying to sell me at a thrift store, “20 years from now,” for $5, and she told me to shut up. End dream.

So let’s look at what’s going on here, beyond “I watched Smithereens again six months ago, and now I’m having a dream about it.” I picked out 5 aspects of the dream and looked them up in the Dream Moods dictionary.

1. Time Travel (I’d gone back to the early ’80s.)

To dream about time travel indicates your wish to escape from your present reality. You want to go back into the past or jump forward to the future to a period where your hopes are realized. This dream also represents your romantic tendency and or your desire to romanticize everything.

Real-life application: I have been super sentimental lately, which I always am during fall, and as I’ve been feeling a bit stuck, looking forward has been my mode of handling things. Early-’80s NYC is also a time and place I’m in love with and romanticize often, so it’s not surprising I walked around in an idyllic version of it in my dream.

2. Heat

To feel heat in your dream indicates a feeling of shame or embarrassment. Alternatively, it represents purity and creative energy.

Real-life application: This is one of those gems that’s very Facts of Life theme song, in that you take the good and take the bad and take them both and there you have pretty much the definition of what it’s like to be an easily embarrassed person who likes to create stuff, so yeah, I’ll take it.

3. Boots

To see or dream that you are wearing boots refers to the power in your movement and the boldness of your position. You are taking a firm stance. The dream may also be a metaphor that you are getting the boot. Are you getting kicked out somewhere?

Real-life application: Well, I’m not getting kicked out of anywhere (as far as I know), so I’ll go with the firm stance bit. I recently had to make some personal changes (like saying no more, I guess) for my own wellbeing, so that fits.

4. Dress

To see or wear a dress in your dream represents a feminine outlook or feminine perspective on a situation. You are freely expressing your femininity. If you are a man and dream that you are wearing a dress suggests that others are questioning your sexuality. Or that you are feeling sexually insecure. To dream that you are wearing a white dress implies that you want to appear pure and angelic toward others. Perhaps you are trying to look “innocent”. To dream that you are wearing a purple dress refers to your devotion to your spouse or partner. If the dress is another color, look up the specific color for additional significance.

Real-life application: Yo! That’s pretty deep for a dress! But my dress WAS purple, so I guess it just means I’m devoted to my dude.

5. Wren (Now, this is a stretch, because you won’t find a definition for most names or characters, but with such a distinct name, I thought it was worth a look.)

To see a wren in your dream symbolizes good luck.

Real-life application: I’ll take it!

Overall Analysis

I’m feeling somewhat stuck right now, and though the steps I’m taking to feel better may lead to some frustration and embarrassment (my guess is social anxiety), I have to keep in mind that the boundaries I’ve recently set up are helping me in many ways, that I have a strong relationship in my life, and that I can channel my anxiety into creative endeavors. And hopefully, if I keep going, I’ll have luck on my side.

Not bad, right? These aren’t necessarily things I haven’t heard from others, or known myself, but when you’re feeling stuck, it’s nice to have a little boost from the back of your brain to remind you to keep moving forward.

I recently found a dream diary from high school at my parents’ house, and though I couldn’t remember any of the dreams (They were from 1997, man! Give me a break), I giggled at my super-serious analysis, and noticed that every single dream that I’d analyzed meant “your heart has been broken, but you will find love someday!” which is the only thing I wanted anyone to tell me in 1997, though I wouldn’t have believed them if they tried. The only thing I believed was my own brain and the possibly magical secrets it was trying to send me. I was clinging to possibilities, and hope for brighter days, and the safest place for me to find both was in the darkness of sleep, when the lights of the world went out and the projector inside of my mind flickered on, spinning tales only I could see. ♦


1 2


  • Aparna October 28th, 2013 11:24 PM

    I can never remember my dreams but I have really intense daydreams (though this may be a side effect of senioritis) and I completely zone out and can’t hear anything that is going on around me!!

  • soviet_kitsch October 28th, 2013 11:24 PM

    i LOVE dream moods. i’ve been using it every morning after i wake up for months now. my dreams are very trenchant and sometimes prophetic, which is pretty much the bomb.

  • Lex C October 29th, 2013 12:17 AM

    This is beautiful, especially those last sentences. Read Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui! It involves dreams and psychoanalysis; real trippy too.

  • FlaG October 29th, 2013 12:26 AM

    I’ve been known to laugh in my sleep too. Both my mother and my ex-boyfriend have confirmed it (on two separate occasions, btw). Plus I have also talked in my sleep.

    I’ve always found the concept of lucid dreaming incredible, but I can’t seem to ever ‘activate’ it myself :\

  • katie October 29th, 2013 1:06 AM

    my roommate just told me today that I laugh in my sleep. apparently its terrifying. lolz.

  • Monq October 29th, 2013 1:44 AM

    This literally is the best thing ever. I love trying to interpret my dreams (well the parts that I remember at least). It’s very interesting to see the things your subconscious maybe trying to tell you sometimes. Great article, Rookie!


  • hellosailor October 29th, 2013 3:49 AM

    I always have dreams where I’m in love with someone lovely and I feel so happy and all squirmy on the inside but then I wake up and it’s a little heartbreaking. It always feels so real. (Also odd because I’ve never been in love and not particularly in a rush to be.) Guess it’s a sign I’m in need of a little TLC, haha.

    • Jolinnn October 30th, 2013 11:28 AM

      I have the exact same thing! It’s just too sad to wake up then…

  • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake October 29th, 2013 4:39 AM

    I’m a lucid dreamer too! I only just realised now that I am, but it’s cool! Sometimes I have really interesting dreams that are like a movie playing in my head, and I want to stay asleep to see how it ends.

    On another dream-related note, does anyone ever get that feeling in a dream that they’re sort of… falling really suddenly and violently? And then they wake up? It’s hard to describe.
    Does anyone know what that’s called?

    • caitocaitlin October 29th, 2013 12:58 PM

      It’s called a hypnic jerk! It’s very common, as far as I know. Hypnagogia, the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, is so full of weird phenomena.

      I get sleep paralysis ( sometimes, and even though it’s terrifying and I hate it, in a way it’s interesting to actually experience my own brain being stuck in between like that.

      • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake October 29th, 2013 6:14 PM

        Ok, thanks!

  • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake October 29th, 2013 4:39 AM

    Great article by the way pixie!

  • Bethany October 29th, 2013 6:19 AM

    Oh my gosh this article is everything <3

    Also when it comes to submissions do you reply to emails even if the work is not quite right for Rookie? Like some magazines might give a no thank you :) whilst some will only send a reply back if they want to use work? Either is fine of course I was just wondering!

    Oh, and sorry to be a questioning Quentin, but like on average, how long does it take for Rookie to get back to ppl? I know you get sooo much stuff zipped your way so I'm imagining it must take months and months!!

    Thank you and sorry for asking so many questions!!!


  • pizzaface October 29th, 2013 6:49 AM

    Wow, I loved reading this! Great article!
    Though I never remember what I dream :( And learning Lucid dreaming seems kinda scary to me….

  • pizzaface October 29th, 2013 6:51 AM

    For the people who know that they talk/laugh in their sleep, there is this app you can install and it records you in your sleep whenever it ‘hears’ a sound.
    And then when you wake up you can hear what you’re all saying :)

  • elliecp October 29th, 2013 9:55 AM

    this is the coolest! I’m really into interpreting my dreams, as I often have quite weird and vivid ones…so I’d love to find out what they mean! <3

  • Mary the freak October 29th, 2013 11:36 AM

    This is totally awesome!

  • whiskeytangofoxtrot October 29th, 2013 1:44 PM

    I love creating epic adventure sagas while lucid dreaming!

    I also get crazy anxiety dreams about work that usually involve labrynths (sadly sans David Bowie) and timed puzzle solving.

    Waking Life, by Richard Linklater, is a FANTASTIC movie about dreaming.

    • whiskeytangofoxtrot October 29th, 2013 1:46 PM

      I also love that the word for sleepwalking is ‘somnambulate’ That word rolls around in the mouth well.

  • Monroe October 29th, 2013 6:04 PM

    I’ve never met anyone who had dreams like me. My dreams are like a horror movie playing out. There is no chaos or unexplained stuff or random jumps to a different scene. And they are almost always bizarre and horrible. I’ve had dreams of screaming aliens, children killing each other, gas chambers, cannibalism, beheading, etc.. Sorry to be disturbing, but I’m just wondering if anyone else is like this?

    • ghostgrrl October 30th, 2013 2:40 PM

      I have really awful dreams a lot too! I mean I also have nice normal ones, but the ones I remember are so scary! When I was a kid I had recurring dreams of being chased around by this creep who was definitely going to kill me. Recently the ones I can remember are this one dream where my brother was slitting me open with razor blades, one where my mom was covered in these disgusting boils and she kept saying “I’m fine, I’m fine there’s nothing wrong with me!” (I’ve analyzed that and I’m pretty sure I know what it’s about). I always have dreams about zombie apocalypses also. Do you ever have any nice dreams?

  • Naomi October 29th, 2013 8:30 PM

    i am so into this

  • Monroe October 30th, 2013 5:47 PM

    now that you mention it I don’t think I can remember ever having a dream that I enjoyed. I’ve had weird ones that aren’t necessarily bad, but never a true good dream.
    And I have never had a zombie dream, but I’ve had TONS of apocalypse dreams. (In a recent one an angel ran around the earth at like a billion miles an hour until it split apart..)

    • ghostgrrl October 30th, 2013 9:19 PM

      I never have any really very happy dreams, either. A ‘good dream’ for me is like making out with a cute dream boy. Apocalypse dreams are so horrible! I usually end up having to kill my family members bc they get bitten by zombies. Your dream is so weirdly specific! I also have colored dreams like they will be sepia toned or black and white. Whenever I have bad dreams I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Do you think that your dreams count as night terrors?

  • ChuckyCheese October 31st, 2013 2:20 PM

    Don’t forget Dream Bible. Here’s another glitter definition for you. Something a bit more positive I’ll bet.

  • Pocket Cow October 31st, 2013 6:25 PM

    I’m also a lucid dreamer! Handy when it comes to nightmares. I can always recognize I’m dreaming and wake myself up! Also, a few nights ago I had a dream I was alternately Paul Dano / observing Paul Dano fall in love with a girl and take her to prom in a rural midwestern American town. It was weird waking up because “I” fell in love and didn’t want it to end…. Hmm.

  • Monroe November 4th, 2013 10:35 AM

    I wouldn’t call most of them night terrors, though there was this one that was so horrible and REAL that I woke up crying and in shock. (it was a dream where by the end I knew it was a dream, and I tried to wake myself up, but I couldn’t) But usually I think they’re just bad dreams that are very graphic.

  • PartyHasArrived November 5th, 2013 12:28 PM

    I can’t believe someone likes writing down their dreams, too! Am I the only one who controls them, though? Like making myself fly and stuff?