Spiritual Dreams, Physical Dreams, and Understanding Them

“Now when the gate of the senses is closed during sleep, these other impressions began to emerge confusedly, and the dreamer becomes aware of experiences in another world. But … these experiences consist at first merely of pictures engraved in the spiritual world by our mental activity attached to the physical senses. Only developed Lotus Flowers make it possible for manifestation not derived from the physical world to be imprinted in the same way. …
“This is the beginning of life and activity in a new world. The [student] must learn to take stock of everything he observes in his dreams, exactly as though he were awake.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Gate of Senses

While our physical senses are very useful to us in the physical world, they can be a hindrance in the spiritual. So those of us who have not developed their spiritual self to a great degree will find it almost impossible to see dreams or visions while awake and active. It is much easier to do so when asleep and the physical senses are mostly inactive.

Lotus Flowers

Steiner uses the term “Lotus Flowers” to describe those who have been spiritual students long enough to achieve some degree of enlightenment. The Lotus Flowers are as much in the spiritual worlds as they are in the physical. Sometimes, more so. Not only do such people find it easier to remember their dreams than others, they dream differently.

Physical and Spiritual Dreams

It may be hard to tell which dreams are spiritual and which are about the physical and mental world of matter. Sometimes a dream can seem to be physical, but it is information to aid in spiritual growth. Other times, a dream may use spiritual symbols like angels, but actually be an allegory from some physical problem or issue. One can spend a lifetime studying the meaning of dreams and still not know it all.

Dreams may be about the past, the present, or the future. Generally, dreams about the past can be ignored. It’s too late to correct the past. The only time they are important is when they are trying to warn us tat we are about to repeat some past mistakes.

Dreams about the present can be important. They may warn us of physical illnesses or problems that we are not yet aware of. Or they may warn us of illness our relatives or pets have. They may also be warning us of bad decisions we are making, at work or home. For example, we might dream that we are being examined by a doctor we don’t recognize. This may be a warning that the doctor we are seeing is missing something and we need to chance doctors.

Dreams about the future are usually the most important and the most likely to be spiritual dreams. They are usually the most difficult to interpret since they are about things that haven’t happened yet. That is why it is important when we have such dreams to write them down with as much detail as we can remember. Some prefer to use a digital recorder instead of writing, which is fine. The detail are important because they can help in interpreting the dream. For example, you may dream you are being chased by a bear. What clothing you are wearing at the time seems irrelevant, but the color of the shit may give a hint of why the bear is casing you and what the bear represents.

Spiritual Dreams from Spirit Worlds

When dreams are truly sent to us from the spiritual worlds, it isn’t too hard to know. They will not give us hints about how to make money, get a better job, or cure a physical ailment. They will be about the need for spiritual growth, on a personal level or group level.

I remember some years ago I dreamed that I was trying to get to a temple at the top of a mountain. I was traveling with a group of other students fro the spiritual school I belong to. Then I noticed what appeared to be a shortcut to the top and started following it. The others ignored me, and took the longer path. Soon I found myself stuck and unable to reach the temple. The other had already reached it going the long way. This dream was a warning that taking shortcuts is generally not a good idea when it comes to growing spiritually.


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