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Hand Me a Dream

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by David L. Kahn

In Journey to Ixtlan, Carlos Casteneda asks us to look at our hands in our dreams. In dreams things change, so when you look again they are different. Noticing those differences can incite awareness from unconsciousness. Looking at your hands within a dream is a method of lucid dream induction that has worked for many over the last few decades.

Beyond lucid dreaming, there are other reasons why paying attention to your hands within a dream may be interesting and useful. Though any symbolism within a dream is unique to the individual, the hands as imagery in dreams provide examples of common archetypal icons and figures of speech within everyday language. For example, in weighing out a decision we often hear the phrase, "On one hand..." and "On the other hand..." In a dream the options you are weighing may literally show up in your hands.

How you use your hands within a dream is very telling. Do you have a firm grip on something? Are you hanging on too tight? Clichés are a dream's way of making a point. In the following example, hands are used for guidance and protection.

I am outside of a building with my daughters. We are leaving this place. It is cold outside, but I know that I have the car warming up. I know they will be warm when I get them to the car. I hold their hands as we walk. I think the car is about a block away. I don’t actually feel cold, but I assume that they are.

Some other functions of hands that have shown up in dreams include work, "handing" something over to someone else, being a "helping hand", and counting. Again, clichés are very common in dreams and, along with the function you are using your hands for, can give significant clues to what your hands are trying to tell you. In the next example, the dream hand is used to point something out.

...There is a computer desk in the garage. He goes to it and then walks over to an area in front of the garage using his hands to point out a 3-dimensional rectangular area. It is a bit in front of me, but he points it out as the area that I should stand in.

In this case a hand is being used for directions, much like a police officer may use for traffic control. "Go this way" is the message.

Dreams of hands are, in a way, the ultimate in sign language. Dreams themselves are essentially complex interactive signs, and we use our hands numerous times each day to express ourselves. Within a dream, we have the unique opportunity to see what our inner perceptions are of our hands and how we use them.

About the Author

David L. Kahn is author of A Dream Come True: Simple Techniques for Dream Interpretation and Precognitive Dream Recognition (Cosimo, 2007) and columnist for The Lucid Dream Exchange. He is a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and the World Dreams Peace Bridge, and was a presenter at the 2007 IASD PsiberDreaming conference. His website is

Article added: February 21, 2008

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