For as long as human beings have been able to recognize that they have had dreams and convey them to one another, they have done so. In doing so, analysis and interpretations have been tossed around since before Jesus' sandals were sewn.
The cycle of our sleep consists of four stages and lasts for about an hour and a half to two hours. Some will argue that there are five stages. These people consider those first five to ten minutes when you are initially falling asleep, those moments when a sneeze can wake you up, the first stage of sleep. The four stages of sleep repeat themselves over and over throughout the night, but it's in the last stage of sleep, when we're sleeping the heaviest, that we have the dreams that we are most likely to remember. This stage is REM.
Some say what we dream depends on what we were thinking about just before we fell asleep. The imagery of our stifled thoughts creep to the cinematic horizon of our dreamscape inhale by exhale until...REM hits...and then, we have full blown Emmy award winning dreams playing out inside our heads. Colors that shouldn't be, come to be. Sounds that scream, merely whisper. Animals talk, and furniture walk. Sometimes people appear from the past, happily delivering messages of joy.
But dreams aren't always like the love child of a Skittles ad and a tampon commercial... amped up on LSD. When dreams go bad, we've been taught to call them nightmares. As a Poet, I deal with a rich and spicy spiritual brew of individuals. All of them boiled up in a cauldron of concrete life. I've been given a grandiose amount of theories on nightmares.
If someone dead visits you in the land of REM and asks you to go somewhere with them, do not go. Maybe he/she will ask you to walk to the store, go for a ride, or take them to work. I've been told that you are in control of your own dreamscape. So! If your dead Uncle Tommy stops by and says "Hop in! Let's roll down to the liquor store and get a forty!", then run like the wind! You better wake up with your blankets wrapped and twisted all around your legs!
I've also been told that if something torturous happens to someone you do not know while you slumber, you are psychically connecting with a crime being committed somewhere at that very moment in time.
There's a vast world of dreams and nightmares that go unexplained and twice as many websites, books, and psychics who will claim to know exactly what your dreams mean. There are people who will allow the thoughts in their minds to disrupt their sleep to the point of insomnia and sometimes rock the boat of their sanity. I say we were all created at the upper echelon of creation. We are able to make decisions and choices and we can CHOOSE not to allow thoughts to disrupt our lives to the point of destruction.
Our conscious lives are MEANT to be a dream. Our subconscious lives sometimes become a nightmare. We watch horror movies by choice. Why do we get so scared when our minds force us to watch them while we're sleeping?