My previous article regarding dreams and how they’ve influenced my life started the same way I’d like to start this one: It has been an age-old debate as to what exactly dreams are.

Many questions have arisen on the topic, and dreams are filled with so much speculative history that it has become a concept of wondrous intrigue. Throughout documented time, dreams have been revered, feared, judged, and interpreted. Entire careers have been created for the purpose of understanding dreams, and entire lives have been spent driven toward answering the question: what are dreams and how can they help us? 

This article is not meant to answer these questions specifically, but to shed light on one aspect of our dreamscape which I have personally studied in depth: our dream sanctuary.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people about their dreams from an analytical perspective. Every single person I’ve talked to rarely experiences recurring settings in dreams, but there’s always one dream, and it’s always one aspect of each person’s dream which is consistent: the feeling masked behind the setting.

Sure, the specific setting may change in each recurrence of the dream, but the person dreaming always knows it’s the same place.

One of my close friends’ “Sanctuary” is in the depths of a forest alongside a beach.

Each time she dreams of this place there is something highly relevant to a stressful part of her life, something which she needs to think through that ultimately helps her through whatever hardship she is facing. My sanctuary is a palace with hundreds of rooms and off chutes – skyways to separate buildings, and a racetrack for a driveway.

After a lot of thought and research into this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that dream sanctuary is a representation of our subconscious mind. The best example I have out of all of the sanctuaries I’ve discovered is my own, the palace.

Within this palace, there are many locked doors, many things which my subconscious knows my waking mind is not prepared to accept or face.

Also, there are many levels, many buildings, and the external influences which can alter the layout of this palace. It is so vast that I could never imagine exploring all of it, even if I was dreaming all of every day, but every room and hallway seems to hold significance. 

I’m 26 years old and have only dreamed with myself in this setting on 4 occasions, but each time was a significant part in my life, and each time, reflecting upon the dream helped me to get through a particularly hard time. 

Aside from the feeling of familiarity and significance, these dreams can be recognized by how vivid they are, and how well we remember them the next day. That is because our subconscious construct represented in a dream state is just that, a viewport into our own minds, and at a time that our minds “want” our conscious selves to remember.

I do believe that about 80% of our dreams are significant and that dreams are entirely based in the subconscious realm, sometimes even to the extent of bringing the astral realm into our perspective.

Great caution must be used in interpreting dreams, though

Our logical minds have a tendency of seeing what we think we want to see and creating justifications to believe what we think we want to believe – as such, our own analysis of our dreams may very well be completely wrong and should not be acted on, only speculated about.

I have warned many people of the issues which acting on personal analysis could create, and absolutely do NOT want any of my readers thinking they’re qualified to act on what they interpret their dreams to mean.

Only use them and what they show you for speculative figuring and leave any conclusions you reach as a part of your overall view on reality, but not a driving factor.

Nick Harding, B.Sc.

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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Mikal

    Mine, interestingly, is an actual sanctuary… or, more precisely, a church with hallways and stairs that seem to go on forever. Only once in a dream have I reached the bottom of the stairs, and all there was is a small concrete space and a locked, steel door.
    I have no idea how many times I’ve been in the church in my dreams. It used to be a very common location. I only go there occasionally now.

    1. Nick Harding
      Nick Harding

      Mikal,

      That’s interesting, I’ve never talked to someone who had a spiritual base in their sanctuary. I have found, though, that, with age, we stop visiting our sanctuaries as often.

      1. Avatar
        El

        I have several sanctuaries, all of them being a pathway / shortcut that ended up getting me lost. i don’t think there’s any good interpretation of my sanctuaries, it’s like telling me I’m lost and i don’t know where I’m going. anyone relate to this?

  2. Avatar
    Jessica

    I’ve only had this dream setting twice now, and I’m not sure I’d consider it a sanctuary but a recurring setting none the less.

    The first dream about a month ago I was exploring a home of someone I didn’t know. They weren’t home but it was obviously “lived in” and not abandoned. I walked through a few rooms and came to a bathroom. I noticed a handle on the bathroom’s built-in shelving so I opened it and found a secret room. The room was dated, the walls and floors were covered in white furry shag and it was freezing cold because someone had left the window open and it was the dead of winter outside. It was desolate and a bit ominous.

    Then last night I had a similar dream. I was attending a small social gathering with people I did not know. I broke away from a game of charades to look around. I found a bedroom and a bathroom, decorated differently than the previous dream but similar layout. In the bathroom was the same handle on the built-in shelving which also led to a secret room. This room was a very swanky bedroom, decorated with high end pillows, sheets and curtains.

    I’ve left quite a bit of revealing detail out of these two scenarios but I think the recurring setting of a secret room is very interesting. I think it’s my minds way of going into my subconscious.

  3. Avatar
    Ana

    I have a few recurring dream locations, although weirdly enough both of them are warped versions of something in my life.
    The first is the location of the condominium where I used to live as a child; but in place of the parking lot is a grassy field with a swing set, and the whole layout of the condos has changed too. The second place is a school, which doesn’t look anything like any school I’ve attended in my life.
    I don’t know what it means at all.

  4. Avatar
    brittany mckay

    when i was around 5 or 6 i had a recurring dream for about over a year. i was older and looked different but i new that the person was me, i would walk over a bridge everyday to school im guessing, there was always a truck with two men in it, my dream would kind of pause or fast forward through time to where i would be done with my things i had to do and i would be walking back over the bridge with the same two men in a truck. the very last dream i had was the men in the truck were chasing me in there truck and i ended up jumping off the bridge and never had the dream since. always wondered if it meant something.

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    Pocholo Bacalso

    I came to this article to find meaning. I have dreamt for the 3rd time of a same place. Perhaps it is my sanctuary now. Everytime I went there, I had a different feeling and different person who I am with. I first gone to my sanctuary with my Mother, as I felt lost I also felt worried as I think the road is getting harder and getting no where. I did able to get around the place. The second dream was when I was with my wife we entered the road as where I exited on the first I dreamt there, it was a surprise how I came about to be on that road again but then I have already appreciated the view and what it has. The third time I dreamt of that place was this time I was with my brother. Surprised again why I was able to find myself again on that sanctuary, this time I am excited and the depth of the place I know seems got bigger. I know now what can we see and do on that place. I have even suggested where we can camp. It was just weird.

  6. Avatar
    Shamiran

    This is a very interesting perspective on this topic. What is even more interesting is you and I have the same dream “sanctuary”. The Palace has secret passages and a ton of huge rooms. Everytime I dream of this place during a significant part of my life, it is like I find a new part of this huge palace. I go through all the rooms I remember from previous dreams, and then find a secret passage like a doorway in the ceiling, and then it kind of ends? Lol

  7. Avatar
    Keegus

    I actually have two places that reoccur in my dreams and the layout doesn’t change much. The first is a warehouse and each time I’m dreaming of it I’m actually trying to steal something. It’s never the same thing, once it was a remote control car(not anything I’ve ever had an interest in) and another time it was guns in a crate like you’d see in an Indian Jones movie, as examples.

    The other is similar but different to my childhood home. My early childhood was spent living in a trailer park and the dream setting is very similar to this trailer park, but the mobile homes almost seem more substantial or permanent than actual mobile homes. It’s also surrounded by much more wildlife and trees than the trailer park I grew up in, and sometimes there is a viney looking doorway or gate to the forest.

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    Meg

    What do you think about having multiple “sanctuaries” I have quite a few places I re-visit in dreams, one is of a house with a room that is absolutely terrifying and I can never go in it. Curious to know thoughts.

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    StarHaze

    Hi there! I’m almost 24 (in two weeks) I found this article because I am trying to figure out why I keep going back to the same planet and city for the past three nights in a row. Kinda driving me batty. I have had reoccurring settings before, this place I’ve been to before but I was in a different part of the planet. Also have been in the Galaxy on a space ship too but we always port at the same planet. Just trying to figure out why this is happening! Is my dream sanctuary a different planet? It feels so real when I’m there.

  10. Avatar
    ari

    i’ve talked to my friends about this specific place in my dreams that reoccured maybe two times, perhaps it had a meaning or interpretation of some sort but i wasn’t really sure. this place had a much of a strange setting, i always firstly woke up on top of a bunkbed in a room, i remember blood covered my sheets at the second time it happened. i get out of the room to discover that i’m in some sort of island resort that was pretty much always raining and thundering. it had this dock and everything, i remember this one time i even thought about buying my cousin this one toy that one of the vendors there sold. so skip to some parts, it shifts to this setting, probably still the same place cause it was raining and thundering and all. but it goes to this one kind of fancy dinner restaurant place? it had chandleirs and all that, there were waiters and everything. i remember this one area where all the stock wine glasses were still. and the dream ends there pretty much. anyone have their interpretations for this? been bugging me since, felt something with that place of some sort.

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    Steph

    I don’t have any sanctuaries (almost everywhere is stressful), but I’m wondering if other people go to the same imaginary places over and over again in dreams? For example, there’s a certain section of my “city” that has restaurants. Whenever I end up there, I’m like “yeah, this place has good burgers and if we go over there, they have a certain kind of food, etc.”. I know the biking and hiking trails (even though they’re not real). I know where the waterfalls are. But it’s always different events, although I remember events in those places from previous dreams. I haven’t met anyone else who dreams like this, so I’m wondering if there is anyone out there that does!

    1. Avatar
      Kasper

      I don’t know if this is what you mean but I have dreams where the events are very different but it’s the same location – my primary school. I wouldn’t describe it as a sanctuary though, and I’m not exploring the place as others are describing, it’s more just the backdrop of my dream, but it’s a pretty accurate representation of what school actually looks like.

      I have had dreams where I have fled from huge monsters chasing me all over the school area and just last night I had a dream where I was attending a magicians show, which warped into a sort of conference for magicians where I myself knew some magic tricks – as we walked out of the conference I realized it had taken place in a classroom in my old school.

      I have probably had 5-6 very different dreams that turned out to take place there, all very vivid and detailed and easily remembered when I wake up.

    2. Avatar
      Ashlynne

      This sounds so similar to my reoccurring dreams. I go to the same “city” almost every night. I mostly visit what i can the hospital or the hotel.. however, i know this city is by the ocean, since i have seen hundreds of different events happen here, I’ve had trips with my family here. Last night, i even had dinner with my grandparents in the hotel and it was far to vivid, i was even reading the menu. It feels so real.

  12. Avatar
    Jason Simpson

    I have two sanctuaries. One is around a junction that five roads meet. It’ feels like a junction I got lost on my bike as a child (around 9) but it’s not. I fly in this dream but I need to get home. I feel like I can fly big distances with confidence but as soon as a need to go the short distance home I can’t get off the ground. I’m from England but I remember flying over Brazil and other countries, over long distances over seas but I’m always attached to the junctions. Sometimes I feel like I was concious that I was flying when I was dreaming. I always feel like I’m going to get in trouble at the junctions. Get beaten up by a gang who are looking for me. I run around the streets to avoid them. I’ve had this dream over a dozen times.
    The other space is a corner of a playing field on my old school. It’s dawn or dusk. I’m grounded there. Stuck almost. No need to go anywhere else. I remember picking magic mushrooms there when I was around 14 and taking them in school with a friend. I’ve had this about 4 times.
    I think both places feel like I had life changing experiences at the time of being a child and they seem to call me back in my dreams.

  13. Avatar
    Jackie

    I have had numerous dreams that occur at one of my favorite places as a child: my grandparents old home. They had it built on a piece of land they purchased around when they married. It had a lot of property that my sister & I would go exploring for hours each day. My grandparents divorced when I was around maybe 10, and they moved out of that home. But just like you mentioned, my dreams are altered in the context of what’s happening but I always know that the setting is at this home. It’s a bittersweet feeling each time I wake up. I love the memories from this place, but I miss it deeply.

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    Patricia Pacheco

    I was so very interested when i saw this article! I have always been a vivid dreamer, since I can remember. For years, when I dream I go to the same place. It is a composite of actual places from my waking life. Some of the people are from my real life, others are just familiar to me in my dream life, some are composits of people I know or knew in my real life. It is like living 2 separate lives- one when I am awake, one while asleep. The dreams are (or seem) very long. I sleep a great deal when I am able to sleep. I don’t know anybody else that has this wonderful sleep life- most people I talk to don’t remember their dreams. Mine are so detailed- sometimes break my heart- but I would be devastated if the dreams ever stopped. Please help me- do you know of anybody else this happens to?

  15. Avatar
    Nicole

    I suppose I have two, one typically nightmare based and one, I guess, for a ‘normal’ dream. The nightmare one is similar to yours, many layers but more of a house. Attic, basement, a few floors. But more stairs, just these tiny little hallways with stairs connecting every room, stairs going up and down and sometimes just no where. I always end up in the basement, hiding behind like a boiler in this tiny room. I can never remember what it is that I’m hiding from.

    The regular one is a grocery store, one I don’t remember ever going to. Most of it is like any other store, food isles the frozen section. But the middle two isles are seemingly miles long covered in books and clothes, blankets and purses all on sale. And that’s where I always find myself. Near the front where these really old looking registers are, mostly wood, but still having the computers, no plug ins. I’m always trying to get out but something or someone that I’m attached to is always there and I can never bring myself to leave. Typing that out really helped me start to figure that out. Maybe I just feel trapped

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