Have you ever woken up worried or afraid because of some horrible dreams and what they could mean? Everyone one time or the other have had such experiences that raise doubts, anxiety, or fears as to what their dreams could mean. While some persons remember their dreams, some others don't. Whatever the case, the problem for many still lie in understanding and interpreting their dreams. If you fall within this category then this message is for you. Even though the Bible mentions severally dreams as means of Divine revelation, however, there's a thin line between dreams with revelatory significance and those caused by manipulations of some evil or some bodily (or psychological) changes. And for this reason, a good knowledge of this 'thin-line' is important. You may have read or heard many things about dreams and their possible meanings but HERE I WILL GUIDE YOU not just with theories but with copious examples to help you discover and classify your dreams. If you wish to know read slowly...
Matthew 1:18-24
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’...When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.


1. Dreams are imaginary events or succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations seen in the mind while sleeping. Hence dreams are symbols or copies of reality, not the reality itself, but points to it and must be interpreted as such. From time immemorial dreams remained issues of deep concern since the contents and purpose of dreams are not fully understood but are interpreted based on one's world view (scientific or religious worldview) hence there are several interpretations of dreams, sometimes conflicting interpretations. But here we shall be using a Christian interpretation and classification of dreams drawn from Biblical symbols and what they represent. 

2. The Josephs in the bible (both Old and New Testaments) are known to be men of dreams- men who God blessed with the gift of dreams and revealed future things concerning their own lives and others through dreams. Four times, it is recorded, that St. Joseph the husband of Mary not only had revelatory dreams about his life but also about the lives of his wife Mary and the child Jesus as well (Matt 1:20, 2:13, 20&22). Hence we can say that some dreams are direct while some others are indirect. It is direct when the symbols seen in the dream tally with the reality experienced. Because of this line of difference, yet another problem arises. How then can we classify and understand the symbols of dreams into a Divine revelation, evil manipulation, and bodily/psychological changes?


Revelatory dreams could be good or bad pointing to something that should be followed or avoided. Dreams that fall within this category are experienced by those whom God favours with such gifts. People of this sort always see their dreams come to pass, and over time they develop the ability or skill of differentiating their 'normal dreams' from revelatory dreams. It is a rare gift and those with this ability are few. The Joseph's in the bible fall within this category of persons, and such persons are marked by a certain spiritual disposition to hear the voice of God even within their own fears, worries, and problems surrounding them. Hence the Bible tells us in the worries of St. Joseph about Mary the Angel of God spoke to him in a dream and guided his actions (Matt. 1:20) and again when he was afraid on the choice of where to settle down, he was directed by the angel of God in a dream (Matt. 2:22). This revelatory ability of dreams is also given to those prepared for it, hence some by the holiness of life and deep prayer are given this opportunity sometimes in their lives. St. Joseph's had this internal spiritual dispositions for this gift as the bible describes him as a man of honour or just /upright man (Matt.1:19) and elsewhere the Bible says the just man will never waver/sin...(Ps. 112:6), and since the Lord does nothing without revealing to his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7), it won't be strange to find a 'spiritual man or woman' possessing this gift.

It should be stated first that not all bad dreams are for evil or manipulative purposes. Some could be caused by bodily/psychological changes, hence attention is needed here. Now what clearly delineate this from the other is the presence of sin, fear, ungodliness, etc associated with it. 
Here I shall be more specific with examples: A 'married man or woman 'who is not sex-starved' by their spouse but have repeated sexual encounters in the dream with a known or unknown partner and wakes up feeling like he/she had actually done the act even when he/she stays on same bed or room with his/her spouse is highly probable to be under evil manipulation. Now if this also repeatedly happens to an unmarried person, when one has not exposed themselves to sexual provocations whether by text, video, picture or thoughts and one repeatedly wakes up in such horrible state, marked by weakness, doubts and fear, it is nothing but manipulation. 
Now what clearly marks evil induced dreams is the regularity of repeated pattern of the experience. Such dreams sometimes could be sweet to its victim such that they desire it, even when the desired action is sinful. For instance seeing one's self by seaside always, swimming or turning into a fish, eating always in the dream with unknown persons or in unknown gatherings (when one is actually not hungry or starved), seeing oneself always marrying or espousing unknown persons when one is married or single or seeing oneself with children and with an unknown husband, could as well be manipulative. 
The purpose of manipulative dreams is to keep its victim in some form of bondage which many times manifests physically in their lives in other forms such as disappointments, setbacks, rejection, great losses, etc. A sinful life is the best invitation to these type of dreams.

Many who experience dreams fall within this category. Since dreams (even revelatory ones) could be induced by psychological processes such as fear, anxiety, thoughts etc, this one extends as well to bodily processes such as hunger, sickness, pregnancy, job, riches, family, friends, marriage, etc that makes up one's milieu. Hence its more likely that an expectant mother or pregnant lady sees herself with children in her dreams, a young man may experience a wet dream, a young lady ovulating may experience seduction or sex in the dream, a sick person may experience dreadful/horrific beings, unending chase or falling in dreams, etc.

First, try to recall and examine the symbols of your dreams. Many do not take time to do these but plunge into fear and spontaneous prayers. Compare those symbols to your state of life to see if there is any relationship with those symbols. The objects of dreams are symbols and many a time these symbols are indirect pointing to something else entirely, hence I recommend they be decoded accordingly using biblical equivalents or what is generally accepted symbol of such in your milieu, culture or environment because God reveals things to us in space and time which includes every element of our existence, culture and language. 
For instance, a coffin generally symbolizes death, a tortoise is a slow animal, etc But always interpret whatever symbol in light of God's revelation in Jesus Christ, then you shall not be misled. This is the path followed by our fathers in the faith. The prophet Daniel is known to study and search the scriptures in prayer when confronted with difficult questions or mysteries beyond his understanding (Dan. 2:17-19& 9:2-3). 
Of course, you should pray and listen to the impulse of your spirit-man and not to the voice of fear and panic. Unfortunately, these can perfectly be done by a recollected and meditative person- one who prays effectively and not just spontaneously. It requires some 'special skill' acquired over time through deep reflection and study of divine mysteries revealed in the Bible and learning from good Spiritual mentors. 
No wonder majority panic after some horrible dreams and deny themselves some good or stop some good act because of dreams or remain in bondage because of trivialised dreams they should have taken seriously. It is not right. Just as eating in a dream could be as simply caused by hunger, in some other cases, I have handled it was a demonic infection or poisoning. Just as having sex in a dream could be caused by changes in bodily processes, it could as well be a manipulation. Several cases I have handled in this regard was caused by an evil possession which was resolved through exorcism. Just as it is not wise to panic over every dream, also don't trivialise every dream (most especially when you are living in sin) or observing a series of prayers and spiritual exercises. 

TASK: To understand mysteries requires that you are connected to the God who reveals mysteries (Dan. 2:27). When you are not connected to God you live in fear and cannot discern the very events of your daily experiences, talkless of symbols in dreams. Submit yourself to God now and he will guide and direct your steps. Pray now: Lord open my eyes and my mind that I may begin to understand my dreams. May the Lord grant this request for you in Jesus name. Amen.


©Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ
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Post a Comment


  1. Thanks Fr!
    Although for me I hardly get scared of any dream or even border to get the interpretation... I just simply pray over it and immediately I forgets about it and feel relaxed...

    1. Good for you. there are persons who worry themselves so much and panic over small things. God bless you

  2. Thank you so much Padre, this has been really helpful

    1. God bless you and I bless God for your life. Please share.

  3. Thank you Father. A very balanced teaching. Some other persons have taught about ignoring dreams entirely, adopting a wholly scientific approach but I am grateful to God for the gift of dreams

    1. Thank you Joachim: many a time preachers and teachers lack encounter hence they only replicate what others have written but have no encounter to balance theories

    2. Thank you Joachim: many a time preachers and teachers lack encounter hence they only replicate what others have written but have no encounter to balance theories

  4. Thanks you father,
    My own case is that I forget my dreams most of the times, but I'm not always afraid, instead I just pray over it.

    1. Ok, then you don't have much to worry. God bless you


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