Our Dream Chat with Dr. Judith Orloff

We invited Mysterious Ways readers to share their dreams on Facebook with Dr. Judith Orloff, who then offered her analysis of the dreams. Here's the transcript of that chat.

- Posted on Mar 7, 2016

Guideposts: A dreaming woman floats in the air

Mysterious Ways Magazine hosted its first Facebook chat in February.  We asked our readers to submit their dreams for analysis by Dr. Judith Orloff.  She is the author of Emotional Freedom and Second Sight and an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA. She’s an advocate for the idea that links exist between our dreams and our physical, emotional and spiritual health. 

If you weren’t able to catch the Dream Chat, we’ve compiled a transcript for you.  Check out the intriguing dreams and Dr. Orloff’s fascinating interpretations.


Mysterious Ways: Welcome, Dr. Judith Orloff! Are you ready to help our readers understand their dreams?

Dr. Judith Orloff: I’m here and ready for your dreams!


A Visit from Mary of Guadalupe

Mysterious Ways: This dream comes from reader Gladys: “I had this dream two years ago when I was still recovering from Stage 3 breast cancer and undergoing treatment. I was at the beach and this woman appeared to me out of nowhere. She was dressed in a traditional Spanish outfit, right by the water. She just stood there right in front of me and looked at me. The dream was so beautiful. When I woke up, I felt at peace. I kind of dismissed the dream. But later I was going through a book about saints and saw the woman of my dreams again—Mary of Guadalupe!”

Dr. Judith Orloff: A beautiful dream of a saint/angel visiting signifies healing and affirmation that you’re on the right track. People who are going through treatment are sometimes blessed with dreams like this.

Maria Montoya Crosby: I was just about to write about my dream. I'm a breast cancer survivor and had a dream with a blessed Mother. Felt so real and I too woke up with such peace.

*  *  *

Exposed at School

Mysterious Ways: This dream comes from reader Veda: “My dreams seem to always involve being at school and I'm lost or I end up in the restroom exposed.”

Dr. Judith Orloff: A collective dream that many people have is being naked in front of a crowd exposed. This dream says that you felt exposed and uncomfortable at school. The dream is asking you to reevaluate the school experience to heal any areas of shame that are still festering. Also the dream is asking you to learn to set clear boundaries with how much you expose yourself to others. You must be comfortable with whatever you reveal and not expose too much where you feel uncomfortable.

Carol BC Honkanen: This is a recurring dream from my childhood as well. But I was EXTREMELY comfortable at school. I was the safest there. Home life was the place of being exposed and uncomfortable. I kinda think the school is irrelevant, but being exposed is the key.

*  *  *

Surviving Disasters

Tanessa Noll: I have a recurring dream where the world appears to be ending. Earthquakes, tidal waves, terrorists, etc. threaten humanity. I have the choice to surrender or run. I have done both. Usually, I survive, but the aftermath is full of chaos, confusion and having to start over. There are brief moments of peace and tenderness in these dreams.

Dr. Judith Orloff: The dream is telling you to reach for the moments of peace and tenderness in your life. You have gone through a lot of terrorism and threats in your own upbringing. That is what the dream is telling you—and you have survived and are courageous. Time to open your heart to those who can truly love and support you and avoid the chaotic energy vampires I discuss in Emotional Freedom.

Tanessa Noll: I often help friends and family interpret dreams but have trouble at times understanding my own. This one has stumped me for years. You are spot on and so insightful. Thank you! I'm getting this book ASAP smile emoticon

Mysterious Ways: Tanessa Noll, so glad the Dream Chat helped!

*  *  *

A Mystical Journey

Mysterious Ways: A dream sent in by Beth: “Every once in a while, I wake up in the morning, with a deep sense of knowing, that sometime in the middle of sleeping, I went somewhere mystical. I cannot remember the dream, but I know someone was there showing me something as if I was in a parallel universe. I feel so strongly about these dreams. I just know for sure that I've traveled somewhere. Is this a common phenomenon? I also feel more connected to my deeper intuition after this happens. Like I've become wiser in some way, but cannot describe any information I received whatsoever.”

Dr. Judith Orloff: In Second Sight, I talk about dreams as a place of higher knowledge. It sounds like you are being blessed with guidance in your dreams. Be sure to write it all down and follow it! It is common to find guidance in dreams, but yours sounds definitely like it coming from a deep spiritual place. Congratulations!

*  *  *

Hidden Rooms

Mysterious Ways: Reader Terri says, “I often dream of finding hidden rooms in homes that I live in. They are very vivid dreams and exciting but confusing. What could this mean?”

Dr. Judith Orloff: Hidden rooms in your psyche are calling out to be explored. What aspects could you benefit looking at? This dream is a call for introspection and exploration of new parts of yourself. A call for expansion!

Tanessa Noll: I have similar dreams. I often wonder how to best tap into those hidden parts.

*  *  *

Visits from Deceased Loved Ones

Mysterious Ways: Here’s a dream from reader Louise: “My aunt went to heaven at age 92 and my uncle has been in heaven +/- 10 years. There's a family gathering and my aunt gets my uncle from the coffin and brings him to the family party. We r aware he's back to life but has to be brought back to the coffin by midnight because he will start to decay. Gross, I know, but what is the meaning of all that and why would I dream something like that?”

Dr. Judith Orloff: Your relatives are telling you about the amazing energy in heaven and that it is something to celebrate. The dead can't usually visit for too long as they have to get back. I think that is what the image of decay means. Sometimes when the dead come to visit, it portends a death on this side so keep your eyes open. Very beautiful dream

*  *  *

A Mother’s Reassurance

Mysterious Ways: This dream comes to us from reader Anne: “My husband recently moved out after close to 15 years of marriage. Tuesday night before Valentine's Day, I was awakened from sleep and saw my mother at the end of my bed. She looked happy and healthy, unlike her condition when she passed. I jumped out of bed and hugged her. I don't remember if she said anything, all I remember is her smile. Also, later that night, I dreamed that my husband told me that he still wasn't sure yet as to what direction he was headed regarding our marriage but was still thinking.”

Dr. Judith Orloff: The dream is saying that your mother is close to you and is your angel. Often times the deceased come to you in dreams looking happy and healthy because all their suffering is lifted. In terms of your husband rethinking your relationship—most important YOU need to rethink it and see if it is right for YOU.

Tanessa Noll: I have deceased loved ones visit me in dreams. It's so comforting.

*  *  *

Living in a Large House

Mysterious Ways: This dream was submitted by reader Dana: “The ‘big house’ dreams are just that – huge houses that go on and on. I always own at least part of the house, usually all of it. Most of the time, friends and family live there, too. They have separate but often interconnected apartments. Once there was a very big lobby with elevators; once there was an attic that was cluttered, but with antiques and other treasures. Once there was a walkway that went around the outside of the second floor, with doors that opened into various large rooms with different purposes, all of which looked out over the first floor. One of the rooms was like a chapel.”

Dr. Judith Orloff: Houses are symbols of your psyche and the different parts of yourself—a chapel, which is the holy sacred part, a room for family, but you feel some disconnection from them, an attic with antiques and other treasures represent treasured parts of yourself and your life, but a warning to avoid cluttering up your psyche with the past.

*  *  *

A Dream of Flying

Mysterious Ways: This dream comes from Qian: “I used to have this dream series where I would just fly along the coast of oceans by myself (think somewhere like New Zealand or Australia, where there's lots of green & blue). In my dreams I could control my speed and the height really well using just my 'wings'— think paragliding but much smaller. Not much happens in these dreams but I just remember feeling really great while flying!”

Dr. Judith Orloff: Flying dreams are archetypal dreams reminding us of our hugeness of spirit and what we are capable of. Children often have flying dreams. The dream reminds you of how capable and free-spirited you are and to always honor that aspect of yourself.

*  *  *

A Native American Visitor

Audrey Koi: I had a vision, more than a dream. I woke up with this man sitting up on my wall. He had on a tan outfit, with the pants being fringed with Indian pants. I asked, "Who are you" and the image disappeared.

Dr. Judith Orloff: Great dream. If you got a good feeling from this man, it could be one of your guides. If you didn't have a good feeling, I would send him off. I get a Native American feel to the dream so you might want to see if you resonate with their teachings

Audrey Koi: At the time I thought it was my guide, but I have an Indian room in my house with Indian relics that I have collected over the years. My second thought was that I need to get more things to put in the room, or rearrange it. You and I are on the same page. Thanks.

*  *  *

The View from Space

Katarzyna Lekaj: I had a dream that God showed me space and how everything is built. I saw earth and everything from the distance. It was so beautiful. In the end he wanted to show me the life underneath the ocean, but I said I was not ready because I drowned in my previous life. What that could mean?

Dr. Judith Orloff: What a beautiful dream! I would be open to all that God has to show you. I happen to believe in past lives, too. Many of us have had some pretty horrible ones so you are not alone. However, it's important to deal with your fear of water or drowning, which is often symbolic of being emotionally shut down or afraid to speak out. Look at areas of your life today where you muzzle yourself and heal the fear so fear doesn't stop you from seeing all of God's Kingdom.

Katarzyna Lekaj: Thank you Dr Judith, I will do my best

*  *  *

Her Friend’s Children

Wanda Haley: Twice I've had dreams about expecting friends. Both times I saw a child with their moms. So far my dreams have predicted correctly the sex of the baby and even hair color! This is new for me. What do you think about the dreams?

Dr. Judith Orloff: I think you're really in tune with your friends. In Second Sight, read about predictive dreams and the positive healing aspects of them. I would be happy with your own development that you are so in touch and centered!

*  *  *

Friends and Family, Past and Present

Fehmi N Aydin: One of my dreams was, I was on a large cruise boat and traveling with people from my childhood, including old friends. During the trip, time was going back and forth from present to past, but people did not change. I would pass the hallway seeing someone from high school, but the next corner I would be talking to a person I know today separately, and the groups never mixed. Meals were always with family members and people from the past. Toward the end we lost light and it was dark and scary and then I woke up.

Dr. Judith Orloff: The dream is saying you have compartmentalized certain friends and family. Losing light means that you have lost clarity in seeing your friends and family members. It is very important that you see each person clearly, so you know how to deal with them. This dream is asking for your own empowerment as a person. I suggest the chapters in Emotional Freedom on Overcoming Fear and Combating Emotional Vampires so you can encourage healthy happy relationships in your life and get rid of the drainers!

*  *  *

Dreaming about an Ex-Boyfriend

Carmen Diaz: Had just broken up with a boyfriend that I loved (but didn't know I loved him at the time). So I cried myself to sleep, broken-hearted. I dreamt I was walking through my house, coming from my bedroom towards the kitchen, which is in the back of the house. When I reached the screen glass door, I see my brother Henry standing in the middle of the backyard, surrounded by tall stalks of pastel flowers that were planted in a shape of a half-moon (I have always yearned for a garden in the back). So I stepped out of the house and onto the porch. I asked Henry (who at the time lived in New Mexico) who planted the garden. He stated, "I did,” as he pointed toward his chest. Then I see the boyfriend who I had just broken up with hours before, coming towards us, he was walking from our back fence. (When we were dating, he had referenced to me that he spoke to his neighbors who lived behind him.) Then I looked at my brother Henry and started telepathizing with him and asked him what he thought of my then-boyfriend. He telepathized back, "He's a smart guy."

Then I woke up at 3am and felt the HOLY SPIRIT command me to read 2 Corinthians. Chapter One was about past relationships.

I felt really amazed, confused, and felt that dream was of the future

Dr. Judith Orloff: It sounds like Henry and spirit is telling you to give your ex another look. It is pointing out that sometimes you miss beautiful loving qualities in men. Perhaps you're attracted to the wrong men or unavailable men? Make sure the man you choose knows how to love.

Carmen Diaz: Thanks it's too late for me and that ex. This dream was 7 years ago. Always puzzled me. The ex is married. I pray that I recognize love next time and I agree with you on choosing a man who knows how to love.

*  *  *

A Recurring Dream of Being Lost

Kitty Suessbrick Best: Hi Dr. Orloff! My dream is recurring (a LOT!). I'm back at college (20+ years after graduating!) and I'm LOST. I'm usually looking for a class I cannot find and am late/unprepared for or my own dorm or anywhere else. But I'm always searching and never finding! Thanks for your help.

Dr. Judith Orloff: This is a collective dream that many people have about being unprepared in life. The dream is telling you to breathe, center yourself in your life so you don't miss out on things. Prioritize what is most important. Make sure you know what's important to you and go after it rather than just let life happen. Ask yourself what you are searching for in your life now and define a plan how to find it and be prepared with all kinds of good things to happen!

*  *  *

A Dream About Food

Daniel Hoffman: Here's a strange one I had last week: I’m at work in the office. Two of the senior editors mention a new catalog they are working on—top priority. It’s a laminated menu with photos of hamburgers.

Later: I’m on a green lawn. A coworker is gluing roasted chickens to a large tray; she flips the tray around, the chickens stay attached, and she glues more chickens to the other side.

Back in the office, I’m shown a new layout: images of hamburgers placed in diagonal rows. Someone says, “You can tell it’s their layout,” referring to the two senior editors.

I go back downstairs, hungry. My coworker is still working with the tray of roasted chickens. I ask her for one. Why buy lunch when there’s all this food lying around? She rips one off the tray and hands it to me…

Dr. Judith Orloff: This dream has multilayers. First, it's a dream about abundance. That you have an abundance of nourishment around you if you can ask for it. Also a warning about being too self sufficient. On another layer, it warns against being "a chicken" in the workplace about your ideas. Speak up, be brave. You have such talent!

*  *  *

An Unfinished Room

Lori June: Recurring dream: huge room in my house as big as a church fellowship hall. It's decades old and has a few expensive antiques but is unfinished, including the flooring. One corner is fixed nice with a rich, king-sized 4-poster bed, Persian rug, rock fireplace. Except for the corner, the room is dirty and needs hundreds of thousands of dollars for repair. I can't afford it, close the door behind me, regretful and mentally exhausted.

Dr. Judith Orloff: Great dream. The room is symbolic of you and your life. A corner of it is rich and textured but a large portion still needs to be fixed up. That's where patience comes in. Do not be hard on yourself. Be very patient with your own healing (your house). Sometimes you might feel that you can't "afford" to examine scary feelings about your past, but I suggest that with loving help of a therapist you can go to those areas to free yourself. Everyone gets tired at times, but begin again and move towards the power of the heart.

*  *  *

An Insistent Waiter

Paula Frighetti: My dream: I was in a Mexican restaurant with a group of people. We asked for the check but the waiter indicated we needed to wait. He brought us a layered tray with food that should have been included in our meal. The top tray had large dinner rolls on it, the bottom tray had rice and beans. The scene switched to another room, like a cafeteria. The waiter kept bringing pastries especially for me. I mentioned to a friend that I wasn't supposed to eat gluten, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Dr. Judith Orloff: The dream is asking you to address the people-pleasing part of yourself in your life so you don't give up too many of your needs with other people. The dream is encouraging you to speak your needs and tell people (the waiter) what you want.

Paula Frighetti: Ah! I think you hit the nail on the head. Thank you!

*  *  *

Visiting an Ex

Sharon Patterson Payne: I have had many recurring dreams over the years. I always dream that I have returned to my ex-husband's home, which I used to live in. In it I find a room that I did not know existed before. It is so beautiful and I get the feeling I never want to leave. The door and windows have no locks and I am fearful because of that. What could this dream mean? Thank you so much.

Dr. Judith Orloff: Recurring dreams are a signal from your unconscious that you need to listen to the message. The dream is saying that there is some quality that your ex has that you missed when you were with him—some beautiful quality (the room that you never knew existed!). I don't think the dream is saying return to your husband, but I do think it is important for you to identify the quality you missed and value it in other people.

Sharon Patterson Payne: Thank you so very much.

*  *  *

Along on a Raft

Marilee Griffin: I had a dream about a month ago, I was on a large lake, and it was either dawn or dusk. I was on a wooden raft, alone. I managed to go over where there were others, a group of men on a larger raft near shore, and another group of people near the shore. No one seemed to see me. Suddenly I fell into the water, and went far down, but resurfaced quickly. That’s all I remember. Dr. Judith, can you please tell me what this dream means?

Dr. Judith Orloff: Great dream! The dream is saying that you feel alone in life at times and that you feel uncentered around male energy (men didn't see you in the dream nor did they recognize you were in danger of capsizing). This dream is asking you to evaluate your relationship to your own feminine nature and look at your feelings about men. Very exciting exploration!

*  *  *

Lost on Her Way Home

Kim Griffin: I have recurring dreams where I travel to a familiar place like vacation home, work, etc. and get lost and can't find my way home. In real life, I have lost my children, both to different accidents, and was wondering what these dreams could mean.

Dr. Judith Orloff: The dream is asking you to address the feeling of why you feel lost so that you can find your tribe and your true home. Home is a powerful concept. It starts from within but it also involves finding kindred spirits. I am sure you have felt the grief of losing your children, but it might come up again to heal even a deeper layer. You are a beautiful sensitive soul. Read about empaths in Emotional Freedom. You will relate.

Kim Griffin: Thanks, I will.

*  *  *

Frightening Dreams of Violence

Liz Templeton: I have been writing down and trying to interpret my dreams for a couple months now after reading your book. I have had some amazing things happen since I have been doing this. I have very vivid and violent dreams sometimes. I have been shot, raped, stabbed, chased and even died (or thought I had died). Is this good or bad? I wake up terrified and it sometimes takes me a day or two to recover. Is this normal? Is there a way to control or not be so terrified of them when I do have them?

Dr. Judith Orloff: Glad you are using the dream journal suggestion in Emotional Freedom. Journals are a great way to remember your dreams. You are having psychological dreams in which your psyche is asking you to examine a part of your past—perhaps childhood or past relationships—to uncover what scared you. It's okay. The dream is trying to awaken you to this. Gently reexamine your past to find one or two elements that scared you (it can be an alcoholic parent, an ex who was abusive, etc.) and gently slowly begin to heal. Don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist to guide you. Know that this is a great dream helping you get over fear.

Liz Templeton: Thank you. I don't know if you get your personal messages on here, but I sent you a message a few days ago about a dream I had after reading your book that has changed my life and has me on a healing journey now to find myself. Thank you again!

*  *  *

Dreams of Being Chased

Margaret Blue: For me, as of lately, most or all of my dreams have involved myself and one or more family members being chased in some form. Just last night, it was being chased by zombies at some sort of formal event. NO LIE! Prior to that, it was 3 long-haired mobsters dressed identically, after finding a large amount of hidden money. What does being chased mean? Is something after me, or is there some old issue that needs to be buried by me that isn't?

Dr. Judith Orloff: Chase dreams are very common. They are asking you to stop in your waking life and to look at what issues or people from the past or present are chasing you. Is it your abusive parent, a drug addicted ex, someone who was cruel to you? Identify the culprit who is chasing you and heal that issue in yourself. Same goes for your family. Good healing work!

*  *  *

Tsunami Dreams

Nicole Fox: I have recurring dreams since I was 16 (I'm about to be 28 now) about tsunamis. All different people in my dream, but the same tidal wave that I have to survive and ensure survival of those in my dream with me. It's crazy. LOL. Sometimes I have a ladder to climb to get over the wave or I have to hold my breath long enough to swim under it and get to the other side.

Dr. Judith Orloff: This is a dream about you feeling overwhelmed by something in your life that's happening or by fear. The dream is asking you to learn to ground and center yourself—meditation is a great skill I discuss in Emotional Freedom. The dream is also asking you to examine the overwhelming aspects of your current life or childhood and heal those sources of overwhelm.

Nicole Fox: Hmmm. That makes sense. Thanks Dr Judith. Great insight

*  *  *

Forgetting a Child

Carol BC Honkanen: I used to have a recurring dream that I had forgotten my son when he was an infant. What does that mean?

Dr. Judith Orloff: In Emotional Freedom, I talk about anxiety dreams. This is a very common dream among mothers. Mothers have a certain amount of normal anxiety, particularly when their children are born. It is perfectly natural to feel that way!

Carol BC Honkanen: Dr. Judith Orloff: It was terrifying. (Especially since I allowed my ex-husband keep custody of him.)

Carol BC Honkanen: I still don't understand what the dream meant. Being "natural" for a mother doesn't mean anything to me. It is also natural to have flying dreams, but at least you give meaning to that.

Tanessa Noll: I think she is saying this was an anxiety dream. Your real-life fears about your son were playing out in the dream. I could definitely see such a dream being terrifying!

Carol BC Honkanen: ehhhh

Carol BC Honkanen: Flying could be terrifying. It still doesn't mean anything. I am not an anxious person so those words don't even compute.

*  *  *

Prophetic Dreams of Family

Dianne Williams: Last year I dreamed that my sister and her husband returned to the US from their daughter's home in New Zealand where they are helping her raise her sons. In my dream they returned to their own home and prepared it to get ready for their daughter and grandsons. Also, they were building an in-ground pool for the boys (8 and 6 years old) and the excavated area was unfinished and covered with a big blue tarp. In June this dream actually came true except for the pool part. In my dream it wasn't clear if they were all going to stay in the US or return to New Zealand because I woke up. However, in reality, they all returned to New Zealand and within a month of them all returning, my young nephews were baptized into the Catholic Church. There were many other elements in my dream, including friendly farm animals and zoo animals and long green fields flanked with woods and trees in autumn colors—lots of this reflecting memories from childhood. But this was the first and only time I know of that I had any dream that seemed even remotely prophetic. Can you confirm that is actually was a prophetic dream and if I should watch and wait for more?

Dr. Judith Orloff: In Second Sight, I discuss prophetic dreams. Sometimes especially with people we love we have these kinds of dreams. It certainly seems like you did have one. You have a beautiful family and love them madly.

The unexcavated part regarding the children means there is some uncertainty in your mind about something that is happening to them—but more will be revealed. Be sure to explore who they really are with them and accept them for who they are. The dream says there are still more areas to explore with regard to them.

Dianne Williams: Thank you so much for your response! I do indeed love my family madly and things continue to develop for them in NZ, which will keep them from returning to the US for quite some time.

*  *  *

Blessed by Mary

Agnes Gerke: Help me, please. [I dreamed about] Mary in the desert in a yellow dress and yelow burqa.

Dr. Judith Orloff: Don't dismiss this dream! It was a guidance dream in which Mary showed up for you to bless you. Know that Mary is your guide for the future!

Agnes Gerke: I also had a vision on TV, that Mary is at the helm of the ship. Last I saw a ship on Dominic Purcell's instagram. I do not know what to do.

Dr. Judith Orloff: Mary is at the helm of the ship of life and death. In your meditations, focus on her. She is a powerful influence on you. Ask her for guidance about your life.

Agnes Gerke: Thank you so much.

*  *  *

Sharon Henderson: How do I tune in for the chat?

Mysterious Ways: Hi Sharon, the chat just ended, but you can ask Dr. Orloff a question via her website.

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