The Night Sky in Dreams

Abstract Painting

Nocturne by Jo Jackson

I’ve learned to pay attention to the quality of light in dreams as a clue to how conscious the problem or situation is that the dream illustrates. If the dream takes place in full daylight, it’s likely to be about a situation I’m familiar with. If the dream plays out in the dark, it’s likely that the meanings of the dream are ones that are newly arising in my consciousness.

When I was expecting my first child, I had a dream that Kwan Yin appeared to me in the night. We stood in the backyard of my childhood home, gazing up at the night sky, full of stars and constellations I’d never seen but which were familiar to my dreaming self. She told me that I could have chosen to remain there, in the heavens, but I’d chosen to live during this time, when even the prey had become predators. I saw a deer attacking something in illustration.

The dream had other elements, and though it was a “big” dream in terms of emotional impact, I’ve never found it written down in any of my journals. (I kept my dream journal more sporadically then.) But I’ve thought about the dream often, especially of the night sky, so vivid in the dream, and its association with “Heaven.” The suggestion in the dream, that I could have stayed there, among the stars, I’ve always understood to mean that if my soul had chosen, I could have remained disincarnate, in the heavens.

For me, there’s an association with being part of something larger than myself when I think of Heaven. It’s a place of love, of returning to the great ocean of spirit, that part of me that often remains largely unconscious. This is true for other dreamers as well, as Jeremy Taylor notes in The Living Labyrinth: Exploring Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams, and the Symbolism of Waking Life.  “Dreams in which the archetypal energies of the collective unconscious make themselves known often use … imagery evocative of the “fathomless ocean,” the “infinite sky,” “angels” (and/or “demons”), “ancient lost continents and civilizations” and so forth. (p. 57)

It is the very depth of the night sky, the impossible distances between the stars that look so near to one another, that evoke a sense of the divine. The incomprehensibility of it stands as a metaphor for the Divine, God, All That Is, the Unnameable.

Constellations are a wonderful example of how we use projection and pattern seeking. Cultures all over the world see patterns in the stars and assign mythological meanings and stories to those patterns. So in that sense, seeing constellations in my dream would invite me to look at the ways I assign meaning and seek relationships between things that might not be near one another at all. Seeking relationships between disparate elements in my life is a form of creativity, so seeing the night sky in my dream carries all of those connotations.

7 comments to The Night Sky in Dreams

  • Karen Robinson

    What a beautiful, evocative post! I’m thinking back to times I’ve dreamed of the night sky, and they all have a wonderful feeling of freedom and joy, even when the actual plot of the dream is pretty prosaic. The two I remember off the top of my head involved flight. In one, I was actually flying, sitting on a stick like a broomstick and flying above my daily commute route while a lovely theme song in full orchestral score played in the background. In the other, I was swinging on a swing while the stars wheeled overhead. And I was also waving my hand at the sky, making rectangles form among the stars. That sounds more meaningful than I think it really was: at the time I was teaching using a smartboard, and when I would drag a finger across it a rectangle would form, so the imagery was from my daily life. But the incredible feeling of joy was anything but ordinary.

    • Laura Deal

      Thanks, Karen! Thanks for sharing your dreams and that feeling of joy. I’d suggest that just because an image comes from waking life, doesn’t mean it has no meaning in the dream. The dream could use any symbol it wants, so if I were working the dream I’d be looking for metaphoric resonance with the rectangles as well as the other parts of the dream.

  • Karen Robinson

    Well, it was a while ago, but the feeling was one of being in control. When I use the smartboard, I’m creating images, and it felt like that. Waving my hand and order appears in the heavens.

  • abdul

    I had this dream that it was nighte and i was looking up at the stars and someone had connected the dots to every constolation and all of them were clear and obvious and then all of a sudden i heard a trumpet sound as if jesus had arrived and i became very afraid wondering if i was ready to meet him also iam a sagitarius and in the night sky my attention was pointed towards sagitarius wich was depicted by a bow and arrow . I would like to know the meaning of this

    • Renece

      I had a dream just like that expect before the constellations a lightning stroke and started a fire but when i saw d imagines of aries,arrow,bow and a man i became worried saying god is ready to come

  • Laura Deal

    Hi Abdul–thanks for stopping by! For me, the phrase “connected the dots” really stands out. If it were my dream, it’s showing me some place in my life where I’ve understood something I didn’t before, and am seeing patterns revealed. The night sky would suggest this is happening in the part of my psyche that is less conscious. The bow and arrow suggest getting to the point, or forward action.

  • Terra

    I have a dream that I was sitting on a thick, grey ledge and looking at the night sky with my two favorite actors. Kim So Hyun, the girl, at the right side and Yeo Jin Goo, the boy actor, in the middle and me at the left. We were all looking at the constellations, and the night sky admiring it’s beauty, and when I look down we’re thousands of feet below.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>