Dreams Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I have a different and distinct character and personality in my dreams. I am a flyer. At any point and time in my dreams, I can easily choose to fly for various reasons and purposes such as teaching someone else to fly, or getting out of a messy situation. What does flight of this type mean?


Dream flying can take many forms as you mentioned, and in a survey I saw (Magallon, 1995), it is the number one fun activity that people like to do dreaming, when they realize that they can. Because there are so many kinds of flying and reasons for flying, there are also many different meanings. As a matter of fact, Shafton (1995 p. 6) found over twenty four explanations of flying in dreams by contemporary experts.

These ranged from Freud's idea that it is a reconstruction of the joy of being tossed around as a child by adults to Alan Hobson's theory that it is the result of neuron firings from the brain stem to Walter Bonime's feeling that it represents the person's desire to flee responsibility and limitations of nature. Who is right? The most self empowering answer seems to be the one that you can choose that will satisfy both the need for the answer to fit and at the same time carry you forward in life.

Delaney (1988) has noted that dream flying can easily lead to another wonderful dream activity, dream lucidity. Once you realize that you are flying, it may occur to your that this is not something one can do in waking reality. Ah, hah -- so this must be a dream! At the point you become lucid (aware you are dreaming while you are dreaming) you then have some really fun options with dream flying. Some people like to test their skill, seeing how high or low, how fast or slow they can fly. Others like to visit far away places or see friends.

This dream sport is so popular, there is even a on-line club devoted to flying and other fun activities in dreaming called the Fly-by-Night Club.

Reference Materials: Living Your Dreams: Using Sleep to Solve Problems and Enrich Your Life by Gayle Delaney, M. V. (Revised Ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row.1988

Presentation during the 1995 Regional ASD conference, Integral Institute, by Linda Lane Magallon (San Francisco, CA., 1995)

Dream Reader: Contemporary Approaches to the Understanding of Dreams by Anthony Shafton (Albany, NY: Suny Press, 1995)


Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.


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