Being Chased in a Dream

C: Hey! I’m Cecilia!

A: And I’m Amelia! This is 1800Dreamzz!

C: And that’s Dreamzz with 2 zz’s! And right now we are in the middle of fall! We’re doing all the spooky things - I decorated my house and you carved a pumpkin!

A: Yes! And you’re doing a witchy paint night this week! You guys, it’s free, it’s virtual, it’s spooky. It’s at 8pm on Wednesday September 30, 2020 at 8pm CST. If you can’t make it, you can catch it at a later time!

C: It’s going to be great! We’ve got a ton of other fun things in store over the next few weeks so be sure to check out all of our programming on our Facebook page. This includes our episodes! We are talking about spooky stuff!

A: Yup! Last week we talked about shadow selves in dreams, and this week we are looking at what is means when something or someone is chasing you. It reminds me of one of my favorite Halloween songs by Rockwell, “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me.”

Have you ever had this dream, Cecilia?

C: *riff riff* What about you, Amelia?

A: I don’t know if I would say “chased” so much as “pursued” - I’m often pursued by a scary person who is wanting to do me harm!

C: What does it all mean?

A: Well! Today’s a little more sciencey than usual, so let’s jump in.

C: As opposed to what, the incredibly scientific practice of dream analysis we usually operate within?

A: Look, we’ve got to keep the lights on. Our sponsors want us to broaden our sources. Just kidding! Okay but seriously. Cecilia, what games do you remember playing on the playground?

C: *riff riff*

A: These games help us learn to play with others, keep us moving, and I think they help our brain with learning to perceive threats. So yeah, whether you’re playing tag or hide and seek versus having to outrun your older brother because you ate all the fries from Wendy’s (kind of a true story, my brother told me to save him some fries, and I literally saved him four - he didn’t chase me, but I had to perceive the threat) your adrenaline is running. What’s happening in your brain? Fight or flight!! And now I think freeze is in there. I haven’t thought about this since psychology class, so here is some brain science for you from Healthline. When your brain perceives a real threat, the amygdala will send messages to your hypothalamus which stimulates your autonomic nervous system (ANS), releasing adrenaline and cortisol and you go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Your heart rate speeds up, you get sweaty, apparently your blood can thicken so it can clot better if you get hurt, your pupils dilate so you can see better, your ears can hear better, and your pain reception is lowered so you can keep moving and survive etc. Cecilia, are you a fighter, a flighter, or a freezer?

C: *riff riff* So does this happen in a dream?

A: Kind of! We’ll get to that, I promise, I just wanted to set the mood of what our body is experiencing in a threatening environment. Now that we’re all sweaty with fear and antici-

-pation, let’s talk about it! In a lot of dream meaning circles, being chased by anything can indicate a fear of running from or avoiding something in real life that the attacker represents to you in a dream.

Who or what is chasing you? Is it a person? Do you recognize who it is or is it a stranger? Is it you!? What personality traits to you attribute to them, because this may symbolize what it is you’re running from. Aunty Flo says “Whatever is pursuing you in your dream is your unconscious mind letting you know that you need to face responsibilities. This dream means that you are running from responsibilities that need to be sorted out.” So are you being chased by your fitness instructor who’s trying to help you get into shape? Or what if it’s a donut for similar reasons?

C: *riff riff* What if it’s an animal?

A: This one is really interesting because dream analysis is already so subjective, and one’s internal symbolism for animals varies so greatly from another’s! For instance I have no real negative connotations with lions so my lion symbolism will mean something different to a person whose friend got too close to the lion cage at the zoo and was mauled by a lion - I don’t know! That said, lions are a good one to analyze. Cecilia, what do lions represent to you?

C: *riff riff*

A: Lions have been around a long time, they have an association with royalty that goes way back, Herakles wears the lion head, they’re a part of tarot imagery, they are super ferocious and excellent hunters, and they’re strong - in fact they’re on the strength card of the tarot deck! Lions have this valiant and courageous persona, and someone like the Cowardly Lion is funny for us because it goes against our notions of lions! BUT courage is not the absence of fear. So to be running from a lion may be running from power and strength that is inside of you.

C: So being chased by a rabbit will likely have different symbolism that being chased by a snake! *riff riff* What are some other examples of things chasing you?

A: The Cut has a great article about what could be chasing you and why and they include locations - aka thinking about where you’re being chased and how does that influence what dream? So what does it mean if you’re being chased through a building? Since a building represents you, think about what the building represents - if it’s your childhood home, are you avoiding something in your past? Or if it’s an unfamiliar building, it may have to do with elements of yourself that are unfamiliar or that you have pushed away.

C: *riff riff* What if you’re being chased outside?

A: This article suggests the dreamer to consider the landscape. They say, I love this, “If the landscape had a personality, what would it be?” If it’s a desert, is it dry and lifeless with no end in sight? Or is there more than meets the eye? Or if it’s something like the Pacific Northwest, does the rain represent emotion, or a hindrance from escaping?

C: *riff riff* What if someone is chasing you in a car?

A: Like we’ve talked about, cars in dreams are a really important symbol for your movement in life and your journey. To be chased by a car, do you feel like your destiny is coming for you and you’re trying to avoid it? This same article encourages the dreamer to think about the make and model, and especially the driver, and consider which of those things they feel like they may be running from in real life.

C: What if you’re the one doing the chasing?

A: I feel like this one might be less common than being chased, but Dream Moods suggests two meanings: 1) it could mean that you have a goal or ambition that you are working towards, or 2) that you’re struggling to catch up, either with others. I know we’ve talked about this before, at least off the podcast, but I wonder if anyone who expected to be living the American dream has ever had this dream of chasing something because we have this expectation

C: *riff riff* Okay, now I want to go back to the brain stuff you promised me, let’s talk about Queen Amidala - wait do you know who that is, non-Star Wars watching person?

A: Someone who’s listening might. And yes thank you for the reminder. Queen Amidala aka the amygdala, is a small part of the brain that is part of the limbic system and helps process emotions, particularly fearful ones. When it senses a threat, the amygdala pretty much starts your fight, flight, or freeze response, and it is one of the few parts of the brain that is active during sleep!

C: Just in case I need to fight, flight, or freeze in my dream?

A: Actually kind of! It is believed that it is letting you work out scary real life threats but in the safety of your mind. Here’s something from Bustle: “Chase dreams — as well as nightmares about burglaries, being stalked, and other terrifying interpersonal interactions — use our in-born fight-or-flight instincts to express our fears, our anxieties about our day-to-day lives, and our relationships with our own inner selves.

And sometimes, frightening chase dreams are part of the way our brains react to the trauma of actually experiencing real-life danger — nightmares of being chased, followed, or otherwise pursued in a scary way are very common among people with PTSD.”

C: Whaaat!? So maybe it has nothing to do with any of what you talked about, it could just be your brain letting you test out your ability to survive?

A: Potentially! But I still think a lot of what we discussed is true.

That said, we have to do some episodes on brain science and dreams - the amygdala is a super interesting part of the brain - it’s synonymous with the Lizard Brain because while it processes all emotions, we as cave people needed the amygdala to perceive threats and survive. Now there’s more evidence pointing to it being an overall emotional processor. Neuroscientifically Challenged says “It is active during the processing of positive stimuli as well, and therefore believed to be more complex than simply a threat detector… It may be involved with assigning positive or negative value to stimuli and with the consolidation of memories with either a strong positive or negative emotional component. It is also still being explored in a variety of other behaviors including addiction and social interaction. Thus it’s functions are diverse and not fully understood.”

C: So then Carl Jung’s idea about the collective unconscious, which The Complete Book of Dreams refers to as “a part of the mind that contains a store of information common to all humans,” could be true because of biology?

A: I, as a scientist, would have to agree! Obviously though one of the challenges with the collective unconsciousness is that it is literally colorblind. So while we all have the same brain biology, we are not all the same color, therefore experiences held by people of different races will be different. And in the same way we do not all have the same color, we do not all have the same sex organs, and we don’t all identify under a same gender or sexual orientation, and therefore again, we are faced with the lack of research and inclusivity of research. What does it mean when a person of a marginalized population is being chased? A lot of these dream blogs don’t go into that.

C: That’s actually a good segue for part 2! A: Oh would that be I Had a Dream Once?

C: Yes, today’s listener submitted dream goes as such: “So, I have recurring dreams of me saving people, strangers or people in my life, and being a protector. I fight people and it's like I'm a superhero. This has been happening for about 3 years now. Now, the past couple of nights, I have been seeing cops or cop cars watching me. First, I was walking down the block of my old house that I lived in during high school and the cop was in the car watching me on the street, I felt like he was following me. I am a black woman, and I definitely have trauma involving the police, so I didn't like that. However, in this dream, Archangel Michael came to me. For context, I do have a connection to angels. He appears and all I remember is he tasked me with finding his son and I felt like his name was Nathaniel.

The second dream has to do with my boyfriend. He also had a dream about me the same night. In the dream, we were living together in a place with a dry climate. Desert flowers and cactus. We lived over a bar, and we got the opportunity to set up a little weed shop in the bar, directly next to the bar. And suddenly, a cop comes into the bar. He pokes around the weed station, and I feel scared, but he never says anything or looks upset. The officers are also always white men. And we just moved on.

Love your podcast 💜”

A & C: *riff riff*

A: Well, that’s all we have for today!

C: We hope you enjoyed learning about being chased in dreams!

A: Stay tuned for next week when we talk about death in dreams! Just straight up death.

C: You all asked for spooky, so here we are! And don’t forget to check out our LIVE Paint Night this Wednesday, September 30 at 8pm CST! It will be available to watch on demand afterward if you can’t make it at that time!

A: I’m so excited! I’ve got my little easel and paints ready! If you like painting, we’ve got you covered! If you like history and cemeteries, books, baking, and parties, you are set for the season.

C: Hopefully all this fun elicits good dreams that you will send to us at (with two zz’s!) And check us out on instagram and facebook. Sleep tight!

A: And remember, don’t let the chasing dreams bite! Night night!