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He's Sleeping Like an Angel, Then the Devil Has to Horn In


Dear Cynthia: This dream has been recurring for about four years. I have wings just like an angel and am flying through the sky when a flying red devil starts chasing me. The devil creature gets closer and closer, gaining on me. I wonder what will happen when it finally catches up to me.

Is this a sign? Why do I keep having this dream?

--DAVID S. HAN, 17, La Crescenta

Dear Reader: To answer your last question first, you probably will continue to have this dream until you interpret it successfully. Recurring dreams nag us until we understand and deal with them.

Your dream depicts the human conflict between good and evil, and reflects the normal developmental process of maturing and making appropriate choices. You are good, and your angel's wings give you the power to soar to new heights. You are free to choose and to achieve. The flying devil represents temptation.

We all are constantly put in the position of dealing with temptation. Sometimes--perhaps when the devil gets close enough to us--we do something about which we later feel badly. But temptation and evil serve important purposes in our lives: In deciding to reject or embrace them, we are forced to define ourselves. Making right choices helps create confidence and self-esteem.

Perhaps you can stop this dream from recurring by planting some seeds before you go to sleep: Simply visualize the flying devil and remind him that you will always be more powerful than he is, and that he will never catch you.


Dear Cynthia: In my recurring dream, the details vary but the gist is the same. I come across a cage containing a bird I have forgotten to feed. I never seem to get around to feeding this bird. In fact, I can't find any food.

--PAULA, Carson

Dear Reader: The type of bird in a dream, and any personal associations you have with birds, can be significant, but, generally, birds (since they can fly) represent freedom. A pet represents a living thing whose care is our responsibility. A cage represents a loss of freedom. Food, of course, is required to sustain life and is symbolic of physical, emotional and spiritual sustenance.

So, as I see it, you are not nurturing your free will. You feel as though part of you is locked up, unable to express itself. And you don't believe that you have access to the nurturing you need, so you accept the situation.

Paula! Empower yourself here, woman! It's your life. Determine how and where you feel powerless, and take steps to make change.


Dear Cynthia: I have a recurring dream in which I have a long distance to walk but I am very tired. I always end up walking on all fours, using my arms to propel me, which makes the going easier. What does this mean?

--K. KRUMM, Los Angeles

Dear Reader: The long walk represents your life and the lessons along the way, which individually can be tiring. Walking on all fours reminds us of the animal world, symbolizing that we rely on our instincts to get to our goals. Since this "makes the going easier," you are being reminded by your unconscious mind that over-intellectualizing can make life more difficult. Simplifying the process can be helpful and good.

Arms are symbolic of the way we embrace life. Using your arms to propel you indicates that you welcome all that life has to offer.


Many of you have written to me asking if I have written a book about dreams, or which books about dreams I would recommend. These are a few of my favorites:

* "The Dream Encyclopedia" by James R. Lewis (Visible Ink, 1995).

* "The Dream Book: Symbols for Understanding" by Betty Bethards (Element Books, 1983).

* "Your Shadow" by Robin Robertson (A.R.E. Press, 1997).

* "Dreamcatching: Every Parent's Guide to Exploring and Understanding Children's Dreams and Nightmares" by Alan Siegel and Kelly Bulkeley (Harmony Books, 1998).

If you are unable to locate any of these at your bookstore, try

Helpful though these and other books may be, it is important to remember that the most important associations with any dream symbols are your own. Write down anything that comes to mind, and if the significance isn't immediately clear, try looking up the words in a regular dictionary. Often, just reading an accurate definition can help you recognize the symbolism.

* Behavioral therapist Cynthia Richmond's column appears every other Tuesday. To contact her, write to "In Your Dreams," Life & Style, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; send a fax to (213) 237-0732, or e-mail her at Please include the name of the city where you live and a daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 100 words and cannot be returned. "In Your Dreams" should be read for entertainment purposes only.

* In two weeks: What significance does color play in our dreams?

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