Pursuit dreams are a common dream theme. And they are anxiety-provoking. Why? Because we feel powerless. Thankfully, dreams provide a sensory channel to process feelings of powerlessness in a safe manner. This is significant since anxiety is a common feeling in dreamtime and an important reason for dreaming. Dreams are a profound vehicle for processing anxiety, being pursued, chased, or attacked while our ego sleeps and the unconscious takes center stage.
An animal, person or disturbing character chasing us is a classic pursuit dream that can morph into a nightmare. Psychologically, what pursues us in dreams is a representation of our “Shadow”. Our Shadow, like its name, carries the aspects of ourselves we perceive as “dark,” unacceptable and unwanted, thus we tend not to see that it is part of us. In dreamtime, the Shadow often manifests in the form of animals or people.
Ask yourself, “Who or what is chasing me?” Am I running away from something in waking life I need to face?” This could be an addiction such as sex, drugs, prescription medications, food, alcohol, tobacco, exercise, shopping, working, relationships, perfection, gambling, stealing, video games, Internet, and TV. Or is there a person you are avoiding from fear of conflict, judgement, retaliation, or rejection?
Speaking your truth, facing a fear, healing a relationship, confronting your shadow are some of the reasons a pursuer appears. Many years ago, I used to dream of a shadowy male figure chasing me and trying to break into my bedroom window or front door. These dreams were incredibly frightening and it took a long while before I realized they were about the integration of my animus (male aspect). My pursuer reflected the internal conflict I was feeling about men and issues of safety. Having felt powerless around certain male figures while growing up, I was angry, fearful, and resisted accepting and embracing my inner masculine side. It was affecting my relationship with my husband so I committed myself to becoming curious and understanding this shadow figure. Learning to integrate this aspect of me meant being more assertive, taking action, and becoming the leader of my life. This became a significant part of my hero’s journey and over time, the figure shifted from being dark and shadowy to a positive male that was nurturing, kind and affectionate.
Being pursued or attacked means it is time to stop running and face our inner fears.
Who is ‘after’ you? A person, shadow figure, animal, or some other disturbing figure? The type of character is key. Ask yourself: Who is showing up now? Though it appears the drama is outside of us, it is actually happening within us. Again, notice if there is someone in your life you are feeling overpowered by. You may be giving your power away to a boss, partner, co-worker, friend, or family member. Remember, anyone we blame for our unhappiness is someone we are giving our power to.
Pursuit dreams can make you feel anxious, but they are gifts pointing to your growth and expansion as you strive toward wholeness.
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