I surf around on WordPress every now and then and see what other people are writing about insects. Good news: Are you troubled by dreams of ectoparasites? Now there is a solution!
The symbolic meaning of Lice (at Symbolic-Meanings.com).
But I digress.
Generally, the more florid my dreams, the more likely that I’ve eaten something regrettable just before bedtime. (Burritos before bed–not a good idea.) Dreaming of lice perhaps means that you are concerned for your health, or that you saw something on the news that made you fear them. Head lice are a pretty common occurrence in kids, and it’s a major problem I’ve covered before. But — a spinal condition? Overwork? From her post:
“When Lice come to our attention in our dreams, it can be an indication that our subconscious is trying to tell us to let go of some pesky people or ideals in our lives. When we are being “sucked dry” by too many responsibilities, too many obligations, or torn in too many directions by well-meaning people, the Louse will come to our attention as a message to withdraw ourselves and resist being pulled into situations we do not wish for ourselves.
The fact that you were dreaming of Lice around your head and down the spine indicates that you may be dealing with some challenging thoughts (the head & spinal cord being symbolic of the nervous system & the origin of thought), that there are many choices before you – and all of them may be “bugging” you.”
This seems a little over elaborate. How about just “you’re freaked out your kid will get lice. They are creepy”?
From farther down in her lice post:
Furthermore, the Louse never takes more from its host than either can handle (for to do so would destroy its own livelihood). This is a message that we can all learn from. Sometimes when Lice are in our dreams it indicates that we are either asking too much from our loved ones, or they are asking too much of us.
That is not true. Exanguination by lice does happen, although it’s usually limited to small animals. This idea that nature is in balance and as it should be is overly romantic, and a common mistake in New Age-y types.
My grandparents had Edgar Cayce’ dream books when I was a kid, and I spent some time thinking about his system of symbolism. Carl Jung also mentioned insects occasionally; but mostly in a way to relate to synchronicity. Which… is completely unsupported by evidence. Like this dream interpretation stuff. Eventually, I rejected it all.
There is a fairly large body of work about dream interpretation that has a more scientific background. Some of the coolest insights comes from neurological work on dreaming deficits in brain-damaged patients; it’s helped locate a lot of the actual brain structures involved in dreaming.
Generally, bizarre dreams are hugely over reported; most dreams are simply the same as everyday experiences. From a scientific review paper:
“Taken together, these detailed descriptive studies provide a consistent picture of REM dream reports as portraying a reasonable simulation of the dreamer’s waking world. The dream scenario is original, but not usually fantastic, and the emotions are generally appropriate to the situation when they are present….
Despite the originality and creativity that is displayed in the cognitive production of dreams, and even given the aspects of dream content that are not understood, most dreams are more realistic and based in everyday life than is suggested by any traditional dream theory. In addition, much dream content seems more transparent than might be expected by clinical theories that emphasize disguise and/or symbolism in understanding dreams.” [emphasis mine]
Feel free to offer up your more interesting insect dreams in the comments!
Domhoff, G. W. (2005). The content of dreams: Methodologic and theoretical implications. In M. H. Kryger, T. Roth, & W. C. Dement (Eds.), Principles and Practies of Sleep Medicine (4th Ed., pp. 522-534). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.
S. Schwartza, T. T. Dang-Vuc, A. Ponza, S. Duhouxa, P. Maquetc. (2005). Dreaming: a neuropsychological view. SCHWEI ZER ARCHIV FÜR NEUROLOGIE UND PSYCHIATRIE 156: 427-439.