Dreams about bathing are a fairly common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one has been covering this ground at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary", to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s dreams about bathing. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.
What do dreams about bathing mean? In the same way a bath cleans and refreshes your body in real life, bathing in a dream also represents cleaning -- an emotional or psychological cleaning. "Because water in dreams often indicates your emotional nature, a dream about bathing can be a dream in which you are releasing emotions that have built up during the day," notes O'Connor.
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about bathing? "The most important aspect of a dream about bathing is to consider what current events in your life -- work, relationships, your health -- are bringing up emotional issues that your psyche is trying to release in sleep," says O'Connor. "Think of bathing dreams as a detox for your psycho-emotional-spiritual system." Ask yourself where your thoughts or emotions may be toxic and then determine how to effectively handle the situation.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about bathing? According to most dream intrepreters, including O'Connor, avoiding a particular dream is not recommended. Dreams tell you about yourself and can help guide you in real life. To induce a bathing dream, though, she suggests taking a long bath before bedtime and thinking about the sensation of bathing as you drift to sleep.
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about bathing? "Even though the experience of bathing is fairly universal these days, where we bathe and how often varies from culture to culture. In the West, we tend to think of bathing primarily as part of daily hygiene," notes O'Connor. "However, some eastern and mid-eastern cultures consider bathing part of a spiritual process of cleansing and purification. In that case, dreams of bathing in those cultures would also have a strong spiritual significance."
Who tends to have dreams about bathing most frequently? Those who dream about bathing most likely have unsettled thoughts or a "dirty" situation in their life that needs to be addressed. These generally include emotionally distressing or stressful situations.
What does it mean if I'm extremely dirty in my dream, but have no access to a bath? "Dreaming of being extremely dirty has to do with how you are feeling about yourself in general or in a specific situation ongoing in your life," says O'Connor. Do you feel you haven’t “come clean” about something? Where are you feeling guilt in your life? Feeling burdened with “dirt” and unable to find a place to bathe indicates that you may not know how to change the situation or your role in it. "A dream such as this can be a good prompt to ask for help," she explains. "Talking the situation through with an objective person will help you sort out your feelings and enable you to 'let go' of the emotional residue."
Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in metaphysics and is author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary." In addition to her work as a dream analyst and author, O'Connor is a keynote speaker and entrepreneurial coach. She enjoys inspiring others to act on their most cherished dreams and create lives of joy, fulfillment and success.