In the course of a dream, you’ll often find yourself moving from one place to another and/or other dream characters will be moving around. That sets up the potential for an important dream experience–being blocked or blocking others. Assuming these dream people don’t represent real people in your life, they’re showing you obstacles to growth or progress. Let’s examine three dream fragments I had from three nights in a row, all involving this kind of blocked activity, so that you can see how these dream characters can help you.

The Dreams

Dream #1

I’m walking along a path that curves around the side of a mountain. I come upon a woman with short dark hair who’s blocking my way. She’s standing next to a cave. She starts talking to me about the work she’s doing. I try to figure out a way to get around her.

Dream #2

I want to get to a bookshop. In order to get there, I need to climb down a steep spiral stairway made of cardboard boxes down to a lower floor. I take a step down but then freeze. The whole thing looks precarious to me, and I’m stuck terrified at the top of this thing. I don’t know what to do.

The owner of the bookshop comes along and wants to go down, but I’m in the way because I can’t seem to go down or get out of a position that will allow me to walk away. He’s very frustrated with me.

Dream #3

I’m at a hotel on a mountain. I walk down one of the corridors, which is outside. My father is coming towards me. I move to the right to let him pass. He, however, veers to my side and pushes me off the side of the mountain. I grab onto a post that’s there and manage to swing myself back to the ground. I’m appalled because my father paid no attention to what was happening to me and nearly killed me.

People as Obstacles in Dreams

For the three dreams above, I just want to focus on the dream characters and the blocks that they represent.

Dream Character #1

In the first dream, a woman is blocking my way as I walk a path that circles around a mountain. As a woman, she represents the “feminine” side of me, which includes emotions, the unconscious, and intuition.

She has short dark hair. Hair covers the head, which is the center of consciousness, so we can see hair as an extension of awareness. When it’s short, this can show gaining some awareness because short hair exposes the head more to the light. Dark hair (as opposed to blond or light brown hair) can represent being in the dark about something. The combination of short hair and dark hair shows the potential or beginnings of awareness.

So this woman represents the potential or beginning of awareness through my emotions or intuition. This fit the situation I was dealing with at the time, which involved making a choice: work more hours at my day job or work more hours on my business. This really meant a choice between what I felt I should do and what I really wanted to do. My intuition was telling me to go with my desire and spend more time on my business.

Men from the 18th century reading in a bookstore

Bookshops in dreams can represent a place of knowledge. Note the painting also shows a staircase leading down to the books, which can symbolically imply that knowledge is found within lower levels of consciousness. “The Bibliophilist’s Haunt or Creech’s Bookshop” Painting by William Fettes Douglas, in the public domain.

Dream Character #2

The second dream character is the owner of a bookshop. We can see books as representing knowledge. Furthermore, the bookshop is at a lower level, which as I mentioned in my post on stairs in dreams can represent a lower level of awareness.

So this is a “male” part of me that has knowledge that’s hidden from the waking me at the time of the dream. This could represent logical analysis, consciousness, and actions. In this case, logical analysis and actions made the most sense because the choice I had to make also involved long-term rewards. All it took to see them was some wise reflection and moving forward with my business to understand how they could come to me.

Dream #3

In the third dream, the person in my way is my father. When dream characters are people you know, you want to explore some of their most characteristic attributes to discover what they might represent. My father was one of my abusers, so he’s often (though not always) a negative figure. He was completely disconnected from his emotions and made every decision based purely on logic, so he represents that way of thinking.

This relates to the decision I had to make between working more hours at my day job (something I felt obligated to do) and working more hours on my business (something I wanted to do). My father is the part of me that has a tendency to ignore emotions when making decisions and go off of pure logic.


You can explore dream characters who are in your way or whom you’re blocking through creative visualization. This is a low pressure technique that gives these dream characters a chance to have a dialogue with you.

Make sure you’re in a quiet environment and will have some time to yourself. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Do some deep breathing to relax. Then, visualize yourself in some environment that’s comfortable for you. It could be the dream setting or a neutral setting, like in a park or on the beach.

Summon the dream character to join you. You can ask them to tell you or show you what they want you to know. Don’t, though, try to push them to communicate with you. Let them share their knowledge with you only if they wish and as they wish.

If the visualization doesn’t give you an answer, you might try again the next night. I wouldn’t, though, recommend that you try for more than 3 nights. If after 3 nights you don’t get a response, take that as a sign that you’re not yet ready to hear from this dream character. Pay attention instead to the development of your dreams and notice if the dream person appears in a different guise or under different dream circumstances where approaching them might work better. Then try again.

Dream characters are never just about the dream characters. They’re also about how you interact with them because that shows you how you’re interacting with parts of yourself. When we examine how I interacted with the three dream figures, who all had something to do with obstacles to making this decision between my day job and my business, we see the following progression:

  1. I see my intuitive and emotional side as being in the way of my progress.
  2. I, on the other hand, am in the way of the part of me that can wisely reflect on my situation and take wise action.
  3. The tendency to make a decision based purely on logic, without considering what I really feel, has placed me in danger, but it’s not too late. I can still save the situation.

The dreams followed the progress of this decision. My intuition and emotions told me what was right, but because it conflicted with my sense of duty, I considered them a nuisance. Luckily I’ve learned not to completely ignore my emotions, like my father did (hence he doesn’t actually kill me).

It was clear to me what I wanted, but it took deeper reflection to recognize that my desire was also more practical. I resisted it (hence I was in the way of the bookshop owner) but did finally come to the realization that long-term success and abundance lies in my business, not in my day job.

Perhaps the greatest sacrifice we make is the sacrifice of comfort, though often it’s an illusion. I would have to sacrifice the feeling (not the reality, mind!) of security that working more hours at my day job was giving me. I was going to have to trust that the Universe would provide for me as I needed it if I would just cooperate with It.

The final dream is ambiguous. The presence of my father shows the presence of his influence (emotional distance and pure logic) in dealing with this decision. Letting him take control of the situation could lead to a nasty fall (failure). However, I wasn’t defeated yet. I could see what was happening and still save myself.

People who block your way, or who you block, have a lot to tell you about what you’re struggling with. Such dreams are likely to involve strong feelings of anger, frustration, and confusion, always a tip-off that something important is happening. They’re doing you a favor, so view them as helpers, not adversaries.