Prophetic Dreams: Are You Dreaming the Future?

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A prophetic dream is one that involves images, sounds, or messages hinting at things to come in the future. Although prophetic dreams are mentioned in the biblical Book of Genesis, people of many different spiritual backgrounds believe their dreams can be prophetic in a variety of ways.

There are different types of prophetic dreams, and they each have their own unique meaning. Many people believe that these glimpses of the future serve as a way of telling us which obstacles to overcome, and what things we need to steer clear of and avoid.

Did You Know?

  • Many people experience prophetic dreams, and they can take the form of warning messages, decisions to be made, or direction and guidance.
  • Famous prophetic dreams in history include that of President Abraham Lincoln before his assassination, and those of Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, prior to his death.
  • If you have a prophetic dream, it's entirely up to you whether you share it or keep it to yourself.

Prophetic Dreams in History

In ancient cultures, dreams were seen as potential messages from the divine, often filled with valuable knowledge of the future, and a way to solve problems. In today's western world, however, the notion of dreams as a form of divination, is often viewed with skepticism. Yet, prophetic dreams play valuable roles in the stories of many major religious belief systems; in the Christian bible, God says, “When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.” (Numbers 12:6)

Some prophetic dreams have become famous over the course of history. Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, famously dreamed that something terrible was going to befall her husband, and begged him to stay home. He ignored her warnings, and ended up being stabbed to death by members of the Senate.

Abraham Lincoln is said to have had a dream three days before he was shot and killed. In Lincoln's dream, he was wandering the halls of the White House, and encountered a guard wearing a mourning band. When Lincoln asked the guard who had died, the man replied that the president himself had been assassinated.

Types of Prophetic Dreams

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There are several different types of prophetic dreams. Many of them come across as warning messages. You may dream that there is a roadblock or a stop sign, or perhaps a gate across a road you wish to travel. When you encounter something like this, it's because your subconscious—and possibly a higher power, as well—wishes you to be cautious about what lies ahead. Warning dreams may come in a variety of forms, but keep in mind that they don't necessarily mean that the end result is etched in stone. Instead, a warning dream can give you hints of things to avoid in the future. By doing so, you may be able to change the trajectory.

Decision dreams are a little different than a warning dream. In it, you find yourself faced with a choice, and then watch yourself make a decision. Because your conscious mind is turned off during sleep stages, it is your subconscious that is helping you work through the process of making the correct decision. You'll find that once you wake, you'll have a clearer idea of how to get to the end result of this type of prophetic dream.

There are also directional dreams, in which prophetic messages are delivered by the divine, the universe, or your spirit guides. If your guides tell you that you should follow a specific path or direction, it's a good idea to evaluate things thoroughly upon waking. You'll probably find that they are steering towards the outcome in your dream.

If You Experience a Prophetic Dream

What should you do if you experience what you believe to be a prophetic dream? It depends on you, and the type of dream you've had. If it's a warning dream, who is the warning for? If it's for yourself, you can use this knowledge to impact your choices, and avoid people or situations that could put you in danger.

If it's for another person, you may want to consider giving them a heads up that there may be issues looming on the horizon. Certainly, keep in mind that not everyone will take you seriously, but it's okay to frame your concerns in a way that is sensitive. Think about saying things like, "I had a dream about you lately, and it may not mean anything, but you should know that this is something that has popped up in my dream. Please let me know if there's any way I can help you." From there, let the other person guide the conversation.

Regardless, it's a good idea to keep a dream diary or journal. Write down all of your dreams when you first wake up. A dream that may not seem prophetic initially may reveal itself to be one later on.


  • Hall, C. S. "A cognitive theory of dream symbols." The Journal of General Psychology, 1953, 48, 169-186.
  • Leddy, Chuck. “The Power of Dreams.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 4 June 2019,
  • Schulthies, Michela, "Lady Macbeth and Early Modern Dreaming" (2015). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 476.
  • Windt, Jennifer M. “Dreams and Dreaming.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 9 Apr. 2015,
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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "Prophetic Dreams: Are You Dreaming the Future?" Learn Religions, Aug. 29, 2020, Wigington, Patti. (2020, August 29). Prophetic Dreams: Are You Dreaming the Future? Retrieved from Wigington, Patti. "Prophetic Dreams: Are You Dreaming the Future?" Learn Religions. (accessed March 28, 2023).