Perhaps it’s the New Year, or maybe there’s just something in the air, but I’ve noticed a frequency in the recurrence of some dream symbols in our dream group (Dream Interpretation with Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.) on Facebook lately.

I thought it might be interesting to explore some of the most common symbols and see what Edgar Cayce had to say. In his trance state, Edgar Cayce was not only known to offer meanings for the dreams of his reading recipients, but he could also fill in the gaps of pieces of their dreams that they had forgotten!

It’s important to note that not every symbol has the same meaning for every dreamer. Cayce said that the best interpreter of a dream was the person who dreamed it. But for our purposes, we’ll explore what could be called archetypal meanings of some common symbols, and I’ll share with you what Cayce said about why these dream images appeared.

SNAKES

Many people believe that the symbol of a snake in a dream refers to sex, and that is one possible interpretation (the male phallus or male energy). Like all dream symbols, the meaning will depend on the rest of the dream, how the dreamer feels about snakes, and what the snake is doing. When I was a volunteer at a zoo, handling a snake was one of my bravest accomplishments, so a snake in my dream might have a different meaning than in the dream of someone who is terrified of snakes.

Here are some additional meanings for the symbol of a snake as they appeared in dreams Cayce interpreted:

In a reading given in 1932, Cayce said the “serpent” for this dreamer was an indication of wisdom and temptation:

that as indicated by the serpent, which indicates the wisdom of ALL things being known to others as pertain to their proper relationships and understandings, and while temptations arise … So may it make for the overcoming of that which would hinder, or injure in any way, and bring about that peace as sought by the tempter in the vision. 

-- Edgar Cayce reading 294-136

In reading 294-159, the snake was a warning of that which could be harmful:

(Q) What was the significance of the snake [and] What is the particular lesson that should be gained …?

(A) As seen, the attitude held by the body visioning same became such as to prevent the conditions becoming harmful…

When a 30-year-old stockbroker asked about a snake in his dream in 1926, Cayce replied:

… there is seen this seething, hissing, monster, that presents loathsomeness to the entity, in the form of self's own condemnation of self…

-- Edgar Cayce reading 900-217

SEX

The meaning of sex in a dream can be puzzling for the dreamer, particularly when the action taking place is disturbing and inappropriate. I’ve seen dreams posted that included sex with a co-worker, aunt, or sister, for example. Why might a person dream of having sex with a close relative or colleague? Sex can be a symbolic representation of a partnership. Depending on the rest of the dream, the interpretation might be about a project you are working on with the other person. Perhaps the dream is foretelling a future partnership or telling you something about a current project. Sex dreams can also be about personal integration.

PREGNANCY

Sex can lead to pregnancy, so why don’t we take that symbol next?

Similar to the interpretation for sex, pregnancy can often indicate a project, but usually it’s the start of something new. Giving “birth” to something creatively, or being in charge of something that is your “baby” are other possible meanings, along with, of course, the foretelling of an actual pregnancy!

Some of Cayce’s readings also indicated that pregnancy in dreams was a call to live a healthier (both physically and spiritually) lifestyle.

The entity, or the body-self, then, may study as to how those lessons or those truths concerning pregnancy may be applied in the material plane. Let that preparation ever be made for such conditions, as that the gift to the body may be of the Lord.

        -- Edgar Cayce reading 136-70

TEETH

The symbol of teeth, particularly teeth falling out, is something I see posted frequently. According to the readings, teeth can be associated with the spoken word.

(Q) I fainted on Fifth Avenue, falling to the street and knocking out several teeth.

(A) Teeth, fainting, and the elements of the suggestions which are seen, are indicative of a cross which comes to the entity through the actions, or rather spoken word …

-- Edgar Cayce reading 136-49

This same dreamer asked Cayce about this dream, and his response again referenced spoken words:

Dreamed of teeth and my sister-in-law, [140], who said to me, 'I'll have to get all false teeth.'" (A) This, as we see, is again … indicating that there will come sharp words between the two individuals seen.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 136-7

Other possibilities, offered by Kevin J. Todeschi in A.R.E.’s Dream Interpretation app include: the maturing process (e.g., one's teeth fall out and are replaced at certain stages of childhood); eating, diet; getting involved with something or someone (e.g., "getting your teeth into it"); effectiveness, potency (e.g., "toothless" means ineffective, impotent). Teeth falling out of your mouth can also be associated with saying something you should not have said (e.g., tooth should not come out of your mouth, just as negative words should not come out of your mouth).

DEATH

Last, but not least, there is always DEATH!

How often have you been told that if you die in your dream then you will die in real life? The truth is that this symbol can often be a sign of the end of something or simply a change—and change is not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s what Cayce’s readings had to say when someone dreamed of death (and lived to tell about it!).

Our friend (136) asked and receive an answer when she died in her dream in 1925:

(Q) "Dreamed I died."

(A) This is the manifestation of the birth of thought and mental development awakening in the individual, as mental forces and physical forces develop. This, then, is the awakening of the subconscious, as is manifested in death in physical forces, being the birth in the mental.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 136-6

When (900) dreamed of death, the reading (900-189) said it was an indication of “the washing, the cleansing, the baptism, of the body; the putting away of those old ideas…”

And when this same dreamer asked about a dream that included someone else’s death (900-246), Cayce said the dream was offering a “lesson as is gained for the entity in this is that more care, more attention, more sympathy, more of the easy lessons as the entity learns, impart same to others…”

For more on dreams, how to remember them, and the meaning of a variety of symbols, visit the Dreams section of our website.