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Teeth falling out, Missing Your Exam, Can’t Speak: Tarot and Anxiety Dreams

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, my overactive mind usually treats me to one of the bizarre and vivid anxiety dreams that I have on a rotating roster.

My favorite is the one when I am staying at an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean. It is the last day of my vacation, and I still haven’t found the beach or gone swimming in the ocean, and I haven’t been able to find the other buffet dining area where the food is actually good.

A close runner up is the one where I am back in university, and I don’t know what my schedule is, so I keep missing lectures and I won’t be ready for exams and I won’t get my degree. Usually this includes me being enrolled in classes that I’m sure to fail (like anything math related) but I can’t figure out how to get to the registrar’s office and drop them.

These sound ridiculous (and hilarious) to me right now, in the light of day. But in the dream world, they are disconcerting to say the least, and terrifying at their worst.

It may be comforting to know that we share many of the same themes in our anxiety dreams. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Being chased
  • Being naked in public
  • Teeth falling out
  • Losing your voice
  • Missing a plane or other transportation
  • Drowning or falling
  • Can’t find something or somewhere or someone
  • Being back in school/failing an exam
  • Natural disasters

Are any of your recurring dreams on that list?

And, what does the Tarot have to do with anxiety dreams anyways?

  • The Tarot can help us to see and clarify what is causing these dreams. Sometimes this is all we really need to release them, to take them off constant repeat, and to get some perspective around them.
  • And, we can use the Tarot to change the dream.

1. Clarify what is causing the dream.

Look through your Tarot deck and find a card that best captures the theme of your dream, or how it makes you feel, or actually depicts one of the aspects of the dream. Lay it out in front of you. Now, keep that dream in your mind, shuffle the cards, and lay out three more cards to answer these questions:

Card #2 asks why the dream is coming up now. You may already be painfully aware of why, or you may not sure be sure. Either way, this card will help you to access the root cause of the dream.

Card #3 asks about the main message of the dream. What is it trying to tell you? What is it asking you to see, acknowledge, or put into perspective?

Card #4 gives you insights into how you can address the cause of the dream, so that it doesn’t need to keep coming into your sleep each night. Look for a practical action here, something specific related to your life. Is there something that needs to be said? Is there a pattern of behavior or thought that it would be beneficial to shift or end? Does the card suggest a ritual or a spell that you can enlist to help you to clear that energy?

If the message from the spread isn’t completely clear, you can invite those cards to appear in your dreams that night however they wish, with the intention being you will see whatever you need to see to understand your reading (and that recurring anxiety dream) more deeply.

2. Use the Tarot to CHANGE the dream.

Write down the main points of the anxiety dream, the action as it occurs in sequence, as if you are remembering the plot of a movie or a book. Then, choose a Tarot card for each of those main points. Do this actively, look through the deck to find cards that match those plot points.  Take yourself through the story of the dream, speak it aloud, with the cards to help you along.

Then, there are two ways you can go.

Shuffle your cards, and ask your heart and mind to help you to change or resolve the dream. Randomly draw a card to lay over each of those other cards that you chose to represent the main points of the dream. Now, take yourself through this new story, tell it to yourself, create a new dream with the cards to guide you.

OR, do that same activity, but actively choose the new cards. Create a dream that you desire, craft a story that you want to see in your dreams, change the ending of the dream to one that brings resolution, or triumph, or peace.

And finally, invite those cards and that story into your dreams that night. Look at the cards just before you go to sleep, pull the images into your mind, and tell yourself that you are going to guide your dreams this time.

A good night’s sleep is a blessing. A pleasant dream lifts us away from our concerns and worries and takes us to a place where anything is possible. An unpleasant dream can reveal what needs to be seen and cleared. If you want to understand your dreams more deeply, or you want to try to direct, guide or choose your dreams, the Tarot is a powerful, inspiring and creative way to do this.

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