An important concept to keep in mind about the characters you see or the characters you become in your dream is to first consider how they represent an aspect of your own self. The dream characters may appear in your dream to call attention to certain qualities that you are lacking. They can depict or exaggerate certain qualities as a way of focusing your attention on them. Some people in your dream can also represent your unfinished communication with them and they may continue to appear in your dream until the conflict is resolved.
Every character in a dream is important whether a villain or romantic partner. Rather than viewing all characters as merely parts of your own personality, a better approach is to consider them messengers, reflections or complements. In this way, a dream can be more accurately interpreted.
- Invisible Partners
Dreamers often report being with a person whom they can’t see, an elusive or invisible ghostly individual who stands or sits alongside them in the dream. Invisible partners usually represent your intuitive side, the part that picks up psychic cues around you. Or they can represent a secret side of your personality that you seldom show to others or even to yourself. They usually play the role of guide in the dream.
- Dream Friends
Our friends in life often make up for qualities we lack. They may possess attributes we need to take on and call our own. They may also enter our lives to present us reflections of earlier relationships with sister, brother, mother or father. In addition to offering us companionship, they psychologically help us grow towards wholeness by reflecting the pieces of ourselves yet to be integrated. They, like everyone else in our lives, can be considered teachers whose lessons may be overt or covert.
Our dreams of friends reflect all these roles. Our friends sometimes appear in our dreams as representatives of different aspects of our personality, expressing attitudes and traits we either overly identify with or those we deny. For instance, a best friend who is usually curt and opinionated may reflect your own opinionated self or they make up for the fact that you seldom express your likes and dislikes.
By making a mental list of a friend’s traits you can better understand the attitudes and qualities their character is reflecting back to you. Sometimes dreams are about our friends and not ourselves, revealing the inner life of someone we have grown close to. In this case, we have a window open into their soul and we can help them with the information we receive in our dreams.
- Family Members
Family members are our closest relationships and are the subject of many of our dreams. In many dreams, you get to witness your interactions with them in a way that best describes the attitudes they express, the conflicts you play out with them, or the feelings you hold about each other. Dreams of family members also reveal the emotional strongholds that influence your attitudes and self-worth.
For example, if you are still living with your father in a dream or letting him drive your car, your dream is expressing the powerful influence he has on your psyche and life choices. The father represents patriarchal values and defines a way of moving outward in the world in the area of personal achievement. Mother represents the nurturing style and emotional tendencies you incorporated from your mother.
Your night dreams will reveal how their patterns are still influencing your choices and feelings. Sisters and brothers share a family history. In dreams, they signify the ways you coped with any dysfunction in your family system. Dreams where you are with your siblings usually mention you are working on emotional wounds left over from childhood. They also mention the close bond you formed out of your common experiences.
Villains such as an armed gunman, robber, pirate, tyrant, the Devil or the Angel of Death point to your fears. In dream theory, they are referred to as the “Shadow”, a repressed or denied power in the subconscious that threatens your wellbeing. Like the Grinch (who stole Christmas) or the Wicked Witch of the West, the shadow may indicate the power of evil, which must be confronted and challenged in order to win back your innocence and embrace fulfillment. A dream in which you are being chased by an assassin, for instance, may represent a deep fear of aggression that if not unmasked can weaken your ego.
- Minor Characters
Minor characters, despite their cameo appearances in a dream, may bring a big message. Their message may be conveyed through some action or enactment in the dream. Their attitudes and their identities can be represented by the clothing they are wearing, an object they hold, or through the behavior they enact. For instance, a character’s Victorian dress might suggest that he or she is expressing outdated values that suppress sexual expression.
Or if a messenger in a dream appears in army fatigues, he may have arrived to recruit the dreamer to some social action, such as promoting peace. Many of the minor characters in dreams are really archetypes, imprinted characteristics conveying inherent psychological traits.
It is important to remember that each and every character in a dream is important to the message of the dream. Therefore, identifying each character’s traits, role and influence in the dream is critical to the dream’s interpretation.
- Romantic Partners
A mysterious stranger who embraces you with a kiss and wins your heart is the lover archetype. The lover is a composite of the qualities and traits of a complement and is the reflection your masculine side (if you are a woman) or your feminine side (if you are a man). The archetype holds the power of the unity in your soul and appears in a dream when you are learning to balance the masculine (creative intelligence) with the feminine (emotional intelligence). A romantic partner may also arrive in a dream to mention the dreamer’s need for love and intimacy.