In movies and shows and books and such, it’s a common theme for a character to have a recurring dream. I feel like we often see that dream repeat exactly as it did before, with maybe a slight variation to account for a change in the character’s psyche or circumstance, or as part of a revelation about something the dream was supposed to be telling them.
I’ve never had a recurring dream, not in the Hollywood way, where it’s frame-by-frame the same as a dream you’ve had a previous night. I do, however, have thematic elements that have appeared in multiple dreams, making them similar to others I’ve had while not being quite the same.
A recurring theme for me is knowing that I’m able to fly, but being unable to figure out how. The first dream I remember of this sort had me as an owl — only, as is the way with many of my dreams, I wasn’t really the owl but only witnessing the character of the owl from inside — who couldn’t quite figure out how his wings worked.
I think part of the genesis of this dream was my dedication to the Animorphs series of books when I was young, because in those books, the main characters transform into animals and then used the animal’s instincts to guide them through actions the animals can take that humans can’t. Flying is one of those actions. The character in my dream was an owl, but he was lacking the instincts that told him how to fly. In my recollection, he never figured it out.
In more recent variations on this theme, I’m generally a Powered person of some kind (Powered as in the people we see in some of my posts here, who have superhuman capabilities because of their excess life energy) who knows that one of their powers is flight but can’t figure out how to use or control it. Sometimes, in the dream, I or the person I’m portraying figures out how to fly. Sometimes I/he doesn’t.
The mechanism is always the same, when I’m trying to figure out how to fly. I lean forward. It sounds odd to put into words, but that’s how it works in the dream. I lean in the direction I want to fly, but mentally, and not physically. These dreams usually aren’t frightening, except on the occasion I forget how to fly and I’ve already gone high up in the air. Those moments make my breath catch.
Similarly, there are dreams where I’m a Powered person who can phase through walls, treating them temporarily as though they aren’t physical barriers to my passage. In these dreams, I usually know how to use my power, but I have trouble using it. An ongoing theme in these dreams is phasing part of myself through something only to lose both my focus and my ability to continue phasing.
I think my most common recurrence in dreams is, in fact, my teeth falling out. Sometimes I’ll go months without it happening, and sometimes it will happen multiple times in a week. It always happens differently, but the result is always the same: I end up with a mouthful of loose teeth, which swish around like a collection of bloody Chiclets until I figure out how to spit them all out.
Do you have dreams that recur, or thematic elements that present themselves over and over?