Dream Gates

Dream Gates


Dream symbols – Excremental issues

posted by Robert Moss

Toilets at Ostia.JPG“Shit is good!” The elderly Italian grocery store owner’s eyes twinkled as she bagged tomatoes and homemade pasta. “If you crap in your dreams, it means money.”

Her reading is an ancient one, still alive in many family traditions. The association between excrement and wealth isn’t silly, when we remember that gold and silver come from under the earth, the repository of night soil. One of the names of Hades, the Greek lord of the Underworld, is Pluto, which means The Wealthy. 
Sometimes our dream producers make the link impossible to miss. I once dreamed I was on the potty and produced a gusher. What might have been an explosion of diarrhea was a great burst of liquid gold. I woke laughing, feeling a happy release and also a terrific sense of possibility. 
As with any dream symbol, the poop, doodoo or kaka in your dream isn’t necessarily the same as in mine. A good guess, with many dreams of defecation, is that you are eliminating something that needs to come out of your body or your life. To “take a dump”, in a dream, may be to dump what you need to let go. When your feelings tell you that such dreams are positive, they may indicate effective cleansing and releasing, perhaps a return to good health. A bowel movement, in a dream, may herald or accompany a move beyond a blocked or stuck situation. We sometimes say, “I’m feeling constipated” as a metaphor for the sense that things just aren’t coming out of coming through as they should do.
The “Mother of All Poop Dreams” involving elimination (as the dreamer herself titled it) comes from Janice, who dreamed she was with beloved departed family members when

I
excuse myself to use the ladies room. When I finish I look in the bowl
and see  not only the biggest poop I have ever seen — but also a poop of
such nature I have never seen before.  I call my mother in to show
her and there it is:  Within the poop is another poop that seems to
be alive — sort of growling or grunting and moving.  I am not afraid, but
absolutely I don’t know what to say or think – I am more or less
standing there wideeyed trying to figure out what exactly it is.

I
didn’t like this growling poop within poop, but thankfully it is out of me and
in the bowl. I wake feeling shocked – but also released.

A common variant of the poop dream is one in which we need to go but find ourselves doing it in public. Sometimes this reflects a need for privacy in the dreamer’s life. Sometimes it’s more about whether and when it’s okay to “let it go” in front of others. Guidance on that may come from the reactions of others inside the dream. If other people in the dream don’t seem to notice or mind, that may be telling you it’s okay to let it all out. Let’s remember that in some cultures, going in public was normal bathroom procedure, as witness the picture of a Roman communal toilet from Ostia.

Colloquial phrases involving shit or its synonyms may also give us a clue to the meaning of a dream of this ilk. Relevant phrases that plop to mind include:

I’m pooped

The shit hit the fan

I’m in deep doodoo

Shit for brains

He/she is a real shit

That’s crap

On the shitlist

Time to shit or get off the pot

(the list is endless – add your own phrases)

This dream theme has been actively discussed for as long as people have been dreaming and needing to go. Some of the best pages in the most famous dream book of the ancient world, the Oneirocritica (“Interpretation of Dreams”) by Artemidorus, are devoted to ????? (the Greek word for shit, from which we derive the term “scatological”). Though I am no fan of dream dictionaries, I have a soft spot for Artemidorus, because he was always careful to note that similar dreams mean very different things according to the varied circumstances of the dreamer, and he checked on incidents that followed a particular dream.

If you see a lot of human shit in a public place, according to Artemidorus, you won’t be able to accomplish anything there. In general, it doesn’t bode well if someone is shitting on your head. But that depends. “I know of a man who dreamed that a rich friend was defecating over his head. That man received a fortune and was named the heir of his friend.” On the other hand, a man who dreamed he was “befouled with dung by a poor acquaintance” later suffered great damage from the person who shat on him in the dream.

Defecating while in bed is not a good thing in a dream, says Artemidorus; it could mean you’ll be bedridden. It could also mean that your relations with a spouse or partner are in trouble, since the bad has been defiled. On the other hand to defecate copiously while seated on a toilet means “good luck for all men”, including “the alleviation of many cares and all distress. For the body is lightest after it has relieved itself.” It’s also a happy event when you dream you relieve yourself this way at a place in nature, on a road or in a river. Watch out, however, if you dream you are pooping in a temple, a place of commerce, or a public street. 

Good stuff, though I’m not sure I’d be happy if I dreamed that anyone was pooping on my head.

Don’t be shy about posting on your own dream products!

Roman public toilets at Ostia


  • http://dreamersight.wordpress.com/ Nancy

    Although I’d like to think I’m spiritually elevated (I’m grinning), I’ve had a lot of defecation dreams. One that comes to mind is being on a bed with yellow sheets talking to a little African-American girl, who has defecated in the bed, and hoping I won’t notice. She’s covered it up with a few kleenex but it’s soaking through, to say nothing of the foul smell. As she chatters away trying to distract me, I’m wondering how to gently bring it up, as it obviously has to be dealt with, when I wake. Of course I wondered if the girl was an aspect of me, in denial about the crap in her young life.

  • Nina

    My dreams associated with the excrements and going to the toilets are ordinary and I would say they appear fairly regularly, once in two months. From time to time they are connected with taking a shower in a private or public place, but public places are more frequent. Sometimes they are modern and white, more often out-dated, which always makes me cautious about hygiene. Thanks god these public toilets and showers are kept clean in my dreams. From summer time I now remember dreaming about being in a hospital-like place and heading for the toilet. It was large and white bathroom but the toilet seat was situated too high for me and the water in the toilet container reached up to the edge. It was clean water, but obviously reflected the situation which was “overreaching me”, something I could´t handle properly.
    And I can remember two more dreams about going to the lavatory from my two friends. The first, a deeply introverted person dreaming about sitting on the toilet in front of the audience and pooing. The dream made him smile and concluded that even his dreamself prompts him to express something clearly and openly. In a real life, he is a great and inspirative communicator.
    The second friend is the opposite, very extroverted, cheerful woman. She had a dream about perching on the toilet on the top of the hill, surrounded by many people. She couldn´t poo and felt upset in her dream and after waking up.
    I guess these two examples speak volumes about how we express ourselves among others. I must confess I feel relieved that sometimes even stronga introverts in this too extroverted world succeed in being outspoken and to get heard from people. On the other hand, the tendency of extroverts to talk and talk doesn´t always mean to get the message across.
    Thank you a lot for bringing out a bit taboo topics, on a dream level.

  • Savannah

    Timely post Robert, this is ringing some bells for me! Flipping through some old journals just now I stumbled on a report titled “flushing ideas down the toilet.” I’ve come across all manner of unusual “products” floating in dream toilets, (in this instance pens, newspaper clippings, various papers) which sometimes resist being flushed; maybe some of those really were gold, and others were likely just clogging up the drain…
    A while ago I dreamt of wanting to clean up what my dream self called a ‘doggie poo’ on a mezzanine floor. There’s a bathroom nearby but the toilet bowl is filled with some kind of leafy floral soup that looks like garden trimmings and continues to recede and rise back up like a tide. Every time I think I might be able to flush, it wells back up. I find a second bathroom and in the end the cleanup is no trouble at all but oddly, on the floor I now also notice a couple of meat sausages. I decide to flush them too because I don’t suppose anyone will want to eat them now (apparently in the dream there was a decision to be made about this :-). I notice a mark left behind on the floor that looks like a spiral or a figure 8. I had always been puzzling over the possible symbolic meanings but now I wonder if the garden trimmings weren’t also diagnostic pointers from the dream doctor about digestive processes and backflow.

  • http://sothismedias.com Justin Patrick Moore

    A dung beetle walks into a bar. He goes up to the bartender and says “hey, is this stool taken?”
    One of my favorite albums is titled “Scatology” by Coil and the theme running throughout the album is Alchemy. I often relate poop in my dreams to the Nigredo phase of alchemy. It’s the base metal, the prima materia, from which Gold is made. And as you mentioned the perfect fertilizer for soils.
    I’m guessing you could write a sister post on urinating. What are the differences between piss and poop in dreams?

  • Lynne

    My dream of poop is titled “Manifesting Intention”… I pooped and then imagined or intended that my poop would turn into something edible. I was told to do this. I remember thinking in my dream that I still would not want to be the one to taste my poop, even if I was successful in transforming it! Some guy tasted it and said, in a very calm, thoughtful and non-judgmental way, that I still had some work to do as it wasn’t quite edible yet. Yep, lots of variations on a this theme in my dream life…!

  • Karolyn

    Well how timely seeing as I just had a dream a couple of nights ago where I couldn’t find a place to “do my business” at a public toilet because every one of the toilets was filled with poop and I didn’t feel like dealing with other people’s shit so to speak! However I did manage to find one that was the least fouled and when I was done there was this line of children just outside the stall door waiting for their turn. One of them, a tall, thin albino/mulatto girl stood out. Her name was Mustafa. She looked positively angelic, very ethereal. I was glad that she and the other kids didn’t have to see what was in the toilet before I flushed it.
    Upon researching the name “Mustafa” I was surprised to find it was an epithet for Allah, it means “the chosen one”. Ha! Apparently in this case cleanliness is necessary to get next to Godliness! Or perhaps it was my job, inadvertently, to clean and prepare God’s “throne” :)

  • Janice

    Hi, Robert! Oh. Yes! I remember this dream very clearly. Perhaps, I expelled what some might refer to as “irritable bowel?”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Lynne – This seems to me like a terrific variant on the theme of “if you’ve got lemons, make lemonade.” And on the more directly linked theme that we “need to get our shit together.”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Karolyn – Oh that’s funny, about cleaning “God’s throne”. Thanks for bringing in, so vividly, the theme of needing to clean up after other people. I’m not familiar with the names of saints and angels of the toilet, but “Mustafa” may now be a candidate!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Janice – Now you are making me think of all the things that “growler” might suggest. A good thing to eliminate, in any version.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Savannah – Thanks for adding to our menu of toilet bowl (and overflow) possibilities. Some of these images, for me, reflect the state of the digestive system and what we put into it. Others speak to me about the need to discern what I need to flush and what I need to salvage. Oh yes, and for me as a writer, it seems that the recurring image of a “paper jam” is now being transferred to the toilet bowl in some of these dreams. Following that pipe, I notice that my creative process can get clogged when I have too much material, drafts etc – and the way through this (for me) is to let that stuff go and start afresh.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Justin – Very funny, your dung beetle joke. The Jungians will be wagging their alchemical tales (and tails) over your reference to nigredo, which is certainly relevant. There can be significant differences between dreams of urination and defecation, and no doubt I’ll need to write a sister piece….

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Nancy – You take us into the recurring question of whether to take a dream personally or transpersonally. Of course, dreams can often be both. I would follow you in looking at the little dark-skinned girl as a shadow aspect of myself, trying to ignore the crap. And yet, and yet her moving image makes me think of all the vulnerable children in our world who may be shit-scared, with reason, and in need of help.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Nina – Thanks for these most interesting examples. The dreams of the introvert and the extrovert read like good illustrations of Jung’s theory that dreams “compensate” for waking attitudes and behaviors. They also remind us that one of the things we can do with a dream is to compare the behavior of the dream self with that of the waking self and then choose, consciously, to transfer something from one to the other. Thus the introvert might borrow from the dream self’s willingness to let it all out in public, and the extrovert might think about when it’s appropriate to hold back…

  • Your Name

    A different aspect to the dreams about pooping that have been posted so far: I dreamed that I was sitting on a toilet pooping while a lover (a real-life lover) observed me and spoke to me from an adjoining bedroom. I realized that the gradient of intimacy between us had advanced to where I did not feel uncomfortable about this level of “exposure.”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    I like your take on this variant of the poop dream, and hope that this “gradient of intimacy” continues to be smooth and upward in the waking-life relationship. “Nothing to hide” might be my bumper-sticker from this dream.

  • http://www.wandaburch.com Wanda Burch

    I have more “pee” dreams than “shit” dreams, but one memorable recurring collection that involved both. In that dream, in several manifestations, I would go into a communal bathroom, presumably to take a shower; but the showers were not clean and the toilets were all in open cubbies with no full enclosure. The toilets were rarely clean in these dreams, and I would go up and down the center aisle until I found one that was acceptable – and then wait until I was alone in the room. Someone always walked in just as I had settled on the toilet seat. In later versions of this dream, everything was clean and I no longer was bothered by someone coming in. ‘Must be I worked everything out in waking. In other dreams I am distracted inside the dream, not completing what I need to complete or not concentrating on a task because I need to find a bathroom. I have perfected now being able to find the bathroom in the dream, find the “relief” I need, and get back to the dream task – quite an accomplishment since these dreams always left me dissatisfied.
    My most memorable shit dream was one in which another person who frequented workshops in which I was a participant appeared. She was having personal problems and peculiar mental issues. In my dream she was in a tub of shit and no one could help her. She vanished from my waking – and the shit she carried with her has not been missed.

  • Nessie

    I have had poop dreams most of my life, but especially when I was a child. The theme was often of searching for a public toilet, yet none that I found seemed to be satisfactory. Either it was unflushed from the person before, or the door did not close and left me exposed or there was no paper and the emotion of shame was always present.The toilets I found were always very old fashioned and unappealing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment sumblakguy

    My shit dream was actually shitty n I was online lookin 4 what it means…I was reversing my car (driving of course) and I though I had to cart but I shit n it was diarrhea.I thought it was so real n I was embarrassed a little…nobody laughed though and I wasn’t hiding it although I was ashamed…what does this mean?

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anonymous

    Thank you for this post. This was one of the only things I could find online to get some clarity on what just happened to me. I literally “pooped the bed” and I’m utterly flabbergasted! I can’t believe this happened to me! I’m trying to find out what the spiritual significance of this event is. I certainly DO have a lot to let go of, and (I think I just did!) so I’m grateful. The clean up part is not so much fun…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dhurate

    Last night I had a dream that I was pooping on my bed and then I woke up to clean it and it was soooo much poop. This description says that it is not good, I might be bedridden and it really scared me !

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment marc

    Great article. I have a recurrent dream where I am on the toilet, defecating but I can’t ever finish as I am being interrupted by all sorts of people. Any insight is welcomed. Again, thanks for this

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Natalie

    I’ve had the strangest dreams I’ve been told. I always wondered if they completely held weight to my way of life or if it was just me in my head.
    But I’ve never dreamed about crap.
    “I was on an adventurous trip with my dance team. Somewhere in Europe but great weather. We were having a ball racing each other to each new event. I remember it like it was an entire day/night episode. We went out and partied hard from performing to social dancing to clubbing to after hours at our luxurious hotel. I remember having to take a huge crap. And then went back to hangin. Then I’m awoken by a lady friend and it’s morning. She says, ‘come see’ and we both went to the toilet to stare at the strangest, biggest poop you ever did see. It was massive like an elephant’s and almost artistic looking. She left and I tried flushing it. It took 3-4 tries and it even shot out from the barely closed toilet seat and then I sealed it shut and flushed it down.
    Well I woke up I actually did have to go my morning poo. Which is unusual bc it usually takes 10 Min after I wake up before I go 2.
    No matter, does it mean pot of gold or letting go of the past? I’d sure like to know.
    Thanks for reading.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jim bob

    I just dreamt I shat the bed in shop toliet. Actually, there was a bed in the shop bog, strange. Anyway, it was of extreme amount and I got up in the dream and cleaned as much as I could. A weird one!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Roula

    Yesterday i dreamed i was pooping in a toilet somewhere after i finished i saw many girls coming in and complaining of the dirty smell coming from shits… I was feeling confortable and positive… What does that mean??

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lawson

    i my dream i saw people tearing open pipe of shit and they were just there looking at the shit as it was pouring out on the floor i wasn’t doing anything myself i was just staring at them.then later they were asked to bring the out all the shit in the pipe hole since the pipe has alreadt be torn opened so they took some bucket and started fetching out the shit and all of the shit are fresh ones looking like what they just shat on the man-hole that very moment, so after the scene i was standing with some other friends and but none od them were involved in the packing out of the shit,,so later i decided to leave my friends when i realized i had no money on my pocket then call one on my friend to give me a certain amount of money he smiled and then refused then suddenly just pit hand into his pocket and give me the sum of monmey i have asked, i have been very worried to know the meaning of the dream thats why i have posted it here,,i really need an urgent interpretation

  • karma

    I dreamt that I removed my bowels and my mother and father was there and these two guys that I Don not know it seemed like one guy was waiting for a young lady of interest to get finished washing up but its weird to me and I was so embarrassed

  • gigi

    I dreamt I was going to make love with my partner but i had to go number two. There were three restrooms but two of em were occupied.I ran to the third one and sat down but I couldnt g
    o cause suddenly I would realize I Was sitting outside in the toilet naked. So I would run back in the and I would use the restroom in a baby portable bathroom after that I cleaned it with baby wipes as I was cleaning it. I would get ma hands full of feces but eventually I would clean it up. Then I woke up

  • Tofuface

    I keep dreaming that I accidentally poop a tiny bit while in public and am forced to hide it. I wake up remembering the discomfort of having let a little go in my pants. I also have dreamt that I pooped a little bit while asleep. In the dream I wake up to realize I had done this.

    Today, my partner woke me up kissing me all over my body. I fell back to sleep and dreamt that while he was kissing me, he tooted and to his surprise a little bit of feces hit the floor. I thought he went to get a rag to clean it up, but he never came back. Then I woke up .

    • liam_lin

      I had the exact same dream.

  • jacy

    I just had a dream that I was in a public place like walmart or target and I had a bowel movement in the store. Ironically it was an unused functional clean toilet in the Isle with toilet paper that I used without any hesitation. People were looking but still shopping around me like it was normal to see a grown man in the store take a crap. It seemed like I was on the toilet about 30-45 minutes with a green diarrhea type bowel movement once I was done I felt great! I was searching for a sink to wash my hands in then I woke up.

  • andre nugent

    Had a dream last night, I went to the bathroom in my house but before I could release my belt buckle from some light blue jeans that I had on I just kept defecating in my pants, then when I thought I was done I shat out fecal matter I past a turd the size of a 4 yr old.. What’s that about?

  • Joela

    I dreamt a man wanted to help me have a baby and we were in a hospital/office type place, in a large clean room with a bed, desk, toilet, phone, and other medical and office stuff. I asked him to find out if he was fertile or had any STDs, so he was on the phone with his doctor when I decided to go #2 in the toilet in the large room. There was a large window looking out to more office space, but the angle was such that the workers could not quite see the toilet area. And the man either didnt notice I was going #2 – or else he didnt mind. I felt a little nervous. And while I was sitting there, I wondered why he didnt ask me if I were fertile or had STDs. After he got of the phone, we were going to have sex on the bed, I think.

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