A family gathering usually is a time for family members to come together and both make and share memories. This is what makes a dream about family gathering activities quite tricky to interpret.
It’s a time for close relatives to catch up with each other and possibly even patch up whatever differences they may have.
If you dream about family gathering scenes or family reunions, your subconscious is trying to communicate to you very important themes regarding your self-image, self-confidence, self-esteem, and how you see yourself with other people.
This goes beyond your family bonds and goes to the core of you as a social being.
Not surprisingly, a family gathering dream can hold up a mirror to the dreamer’s anxieties as well as their future aspirations and hopes and dreams.
Family Gathering Dream Meaning
Generally speaking, family gathering dreams show your fear of what would happen to you in the future.
This can be a fear of loss involving your family members, but most of the time, it involves your anxieties regarding becoming distant from them on an emotional level.
As we go on our separate life paths, it’s very disturbing for a lot of people to realize that they have to walk that path alone.
As much as your parents loved you and have done their best to protect and provide for you, at a certain point in your life’s journey, you have to walk it alone.
For a lot of people, this usually happens when they turn 18 or when they leave home for college.
For other people, this can happen earlier or much later in their life.
No matter how you cut it, though, at some point, you’re going to have to cut loose from your parents.
You’re going to have to leave the nest, and I’m not just talking about your parents.
I’m also talking about your social comfort zone.
This is the place where you grew up.
This is the social circle that has always had your back.
At some point, for you to mature, much like a bird leaving the nest, you have to cut loose at some level or other, and the very idea of this separation gives people anxiety.
They might not express it in their daily waking life, but you best believe that when they close their eyes to go to sleep, their subconscious is going to send messages regarding this issue.
Your Family Gathering Represents Your Core
Everybody needs a core.
Everybody needs a place where they can draw some sort of sustenance on an emotional level.
We all have to believe that there is a figurative place out there in the universe where we belong.
This is the place where we come from.
This is the place that we can think about so that it can sustain as we face the twists and turns and ups and downs as well as the ins and outs of life.
But in reality, this place is always changing.
It’s also not a geographic place.
Instead, it is the place that you give yourself.
So in this context, your family gathering really is a reflection of your willingness to make yourself at home where you are in the universe right here right now.
This might make a lot of sense for a lot of people, but things are easier said than done.
We are, after all, creatures of habit.
If we are used to thinking about ourselves, our comfort zone, our source of strength, as well as our conceptions of who we are, these always change.
You may be easily forgiven for thinking that you’ve never changed.
Well, the way that you think about yourself has changed quite a bit, just as your circumstances have changed.
By allowing yourself to be comfortable with your changing attitude and changing self-perception, you would be better positioned to deal with whatever life throws your way.
On the other hand, if you insist on not growing up and thinking that you’re just one type of person that remains unchanged regardless of what happens in your life, you may be in for a rough landing because life is what happens when you’re making other plans.
Life is what’s out there.
It’s always changing.
And it always lays a trap for people who refuse to let their life journey change them.
One hallmark of maturity is when you allow your consciousness as to who you think you are, what you think you’re capable of, and what, ultimately, your place in the universe is to change based on your experiences.
While you should still hang on to your values, at the end of the day, you have to adjust to the way the world is, not how you imagine it to be.
Relationships Are All About Definitions
Have you ever wondered why there are certain members of your family or your inner friend circle that you have a tough time reconciling with?
You may not be enemies with them.
You may not harbor any deep resentment towards them.
But you wish you could see eye-to-eye with them.
You wish that they could understand you better.
But in reality, to dream of family members suggest that we have issues regarding self-perception in our conception of who we should be when we’re part of a circle involving family members.
This is one of the recurring themes in family gathering dreams because a family gathering reminds you that you are not just one person totally disconnected, 100% self-made, and fully in control of your life.
You are the way you are precisely because you are connected to other people.
This is a reality we cannot escape.
And when your dream revolves around family members, this suggests that your family gathering dream is trying to draw your attention to the importance of relationships in your life.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to the point that you become a totally different person or you put on a show.
Instead, it’s just an encouragement for you to open your mind about other people in your life.
They may not be who you think they are.
We have a tendency to stereotype people.
This, of course, includes our family members.
We say to ourselves:
“Well, that’s Aunt Janice! She’s crazy!”
Or “That’s my mom. She’s unreasonable!”
Or “That’s my dad. He’s a dictator!”
I hope you understand how this works.
We are always out there putting labels on other people because we think we’re just simply describing them.
In reality, we’re barely scratching beneath the surface.
In most cases, we’re not giving these family members, which we should love and trust, the benefit of the doubt.
Instead, our perception of our family circle simply revolves around our self-interest.
You keep asking yourself:
• Am I comfortable?
• Is this person making me feel right?
• Is this person making me feel good?
Well, the problem is that it’s not just about you!
Seek to Understand First Before Insisting on Being Understood
Sadly most people have it in reverse.
When they enter a room or they start a conversation, they automatically believe that they should be entitled to be understood.
This is non-negotiable in their minds, and it’s no wonder that there are so many families that are suffering from all sorts of dysfunction, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and internal strife.
You see, part of growing up is to learn to enter any conversation or any engagement with an understanding mind.
In other words, you let go of your sense of entitlement to being understood, which is the unstated or assumed mindset of a lot of people.
When we talk to our mothers or fathers or uncles and aunts, we say to ourselves, for a split second:
“Since this person is in my family and they know that I’m a relative, they should give me the benefit of the doubt.
They should understand where I am coming from.
They, of all people, should know what my struggles are.
And if for whatever reason, they are slow to understand or they simply ignore what I think they should be noticing about me, then there’s something wrong with them.”
I know this sounds childish, but if you think about it.
This is the most obvious statement of people’s ongoing assumptions regarding your family members.
We feel hurt when we think that our family members don’t really know us.
But the problem is that we don’t give them a chance to know us.
We don’t even bother to understand where they’re coming from.
We’re constantly assuming that we are here to receive their understanding, mercy, and support.
It’s never a two-way street.
It’s as if dreams of family gatherings communicate with your inner child.
Everybody Wants to Be a Child
The great thing about being a kid is that the world has certain social conventions in dealing with you.
When you’re a kid, the world doesn’t expect you to be responsible.
The world doesn’t expect you to get your shit together.
The world doesn’t expect much of you.
After all, you’re just a child!
But at some point, as Apostle Paul says in the Bible, “When I became a man, I put childish things away.”
This is what otherwise a lot of capable and smart, and responsible adults fear.
There’s going to be a point in time when you no longer get a pass.
There’s an invisible line in time that you cross.
And guess what!
You become an adult, and you’re going to have to be more responsible (and this troubles a lot of people).
You’re going to have to seek to understand first before wanting to be understood by others.
A lot of us never cross that line.
We’re still inner children.
You can’t tell from the wrinkles on our faces and the flab around our midsections.
These may indicate age, but we’re still kids — mental and emotional children.
And it’s very addicting to stay a kid because when you’re a kid, the world owes you a favor.
It has to explain itself.
It has to treat you with kid gloves.
But when you’re an adult, you quickly discover how harsh life is because nobody gets a pass.
You’re only as good as your last success.
If you don’t work, you don’t eat.
I’m sure you’ve heard these before and many more.
That is the reality of adult life.
So when you have this family reunion or family gathering dreams, your subconscious is trying to connect you with certain motifs involving maturity.
The good news is that you can control it because you’re the one who can decide to want to understand.
You’re the one who can decide to give people the benefit of the doubt and take the loss.
I know this is uncomfortable because we all would like to win.
We’d all like to be the center of attention.
We’d all like to be given a pass.
But it’s not about us.
Maturity is all about you dying to yourself and letting the kid inside you grow up.
An adult sacrifices.
An adult commits.
An adult is willing to do what is hard and necessary today to gain a reward tomorrow.
These are all the precise opposites of being a child.
When you’re a child, you see a cookie in front of you, and you eat that cookie.
You don’t worry about tomorrow.
You don’t care if, in exchange for not eating the cookie today, you get ten cookies tomorrow.
None of that matters!
You want what’s good and feels good now, not tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself.
The Meaning of Different Family Members in Family Reunion Dreams
If you see your father-in-law in your dream in the context of a family gathering, this indicates your subconscious lack of confidence in your own personal authority.
If, for example, in your dream, you’re kind of embarrassed to talk to your father-in-law because you’re having money issues, this indicates that you haven’t quite found a sense of stability in your emotional, physical, and financial life.
A father-in-law is quite a different dream symbol than a father.
While a father may be stern, demanding, and in many cases harsh, at the end of the day, you can rightly expect that your father will at least try to understand you.
The dynamic is different with a father-in-law.
This was not the male parent you were born with.
Instead, this is the male parent that you got when you married your wife or husband.
Totally different dynamic!
There is a sense of lack of choice, and this is precisely what makes dreaming about dealing with your father-in-law in a family gathering so refreshing.
When you are dealing with your father, at some level, you get to act like a child.
You know in the back of your mind that if worse comes to worst and push comes to shove, your daddy will understand.
After all, he has known you since you were very little.
So if it comes out that you can’t get your act together, he will understand.
He would be disappointed, but he will understand.
Well, you don’t get that dynamic with your father-in-law.
His judgments sting more because you’re trying to prove to him that his daughter or son made the right choice by picking you as a spouse.
Any sign of disappointment from this person strikes you at your core, and it’s very easy for people to just hang on to that resentment.
Most people would say:
“Well, this person is just a very difficult person.
He doesn’t know me.
He doesn’t care to know me.
He is a stranger.”
Notice that line of thinking.
Notice that you’re taking the spotlight of accountability away from yourself.
There’s no need for you to change.
It’s all about that person.
But in many cases, if a person is a real, mature adult, they’re just describing what they see.
If you have a drinking problem, then you have a drinking problem.
They’re just describing what they see.
If you can’t hold a job, can you really fault them for saying that you seem to have a problem holding down a job?
Fathers-in-law, in the context of family reunions, represent the concept of judgment and discernment.
As I’ve mentioned above, you can try to deal with this by just dismissing the person.
Maybe you’re casting them out of your emotional support system.
Maybe you’re thinking that you are positioning them as a total stranger or an unwanted intruder in some sort of family reunion.
But in reality, whatever they say, both in your waking life and in your dream life, can actually help you.
I know this is not a popular idea because it stings.
In fact, the typical father-in-law doesn’t sugarcoat.
If they say you’re getting fat, you’re getting fat!
If they say you’re always broke, you’re always broke.
There are no two ways about it.
See this as an opportunity.
This person has absolutely no incentive to lie to you.
In fact, they just want to give you the raw truth.
Now, if you keep interpreting that as a raw deal, that it is a reflection of their flawed character, that is up to you.
But when you do that, that inner child that I’ve described in the section above refuses to grow.
You become stubborn.
It drags its feet, and guess what.
It just makes itself worse off.
The more you insist on remaining a child, the harder you make it for people who emotionally depend on you, like your spouse and your children.
What Does It Mean to Dream Of Your Mother-In-Law in a Reunion?
The mother-in-law archetype in dream symbology involves a lot of contrasts.
We’re all familiar with the nagging, judging, exacting, and conniving mother-in-law.
This person, in the popular mind, is motivated by stubbornness in refusing to let their child grow up.
The child, of course, is your partner.
In the mainstream imagination, it’s not surprising to see the mother-in-law cast as some sort of villain.
Nothing seems to make them happier than your own personal unhappiness and misery.
Let’s put it this way.
There aren’t exactly many shouts of praise for mothers-in-law.
But mothers-in-law also represent the chaotic or feminine side of judgment.
You have to understand that when your father-in-law judges, it is based on fact.
It is based on values, and whatever prescription is given to you, it is pretty straightforward.
Follow it and things will improve.
Refuse to follow it, and things will continue to get worse.
With mothers-in-law, there is an added emotional component because your sense of self-worth is sucked into the judgment.
And it’s no surprise that this dream symbolizes the emotional order of your relationships.
But you have to understand that even though a lot of people feel anxiety when it comes to mother-in-law dream images and symbology, just like the father-in-law, this person’s appearance in your nighttime vision is actually an invitation for you to confront self-esteem issues, self-control problems, and self-destructive instincts.
When you dream about a family gathering, please understand that your mother-in-law is the dear reader of your psyche.
I know it’s hard to accept and, for many people, hard to believe, but she actually wants the better version of you to come out.
She is actually well-intentioned.
The delivery might use a little bit more work.
The words that she chooses might need to be toned down and be less butting.
But again, like the father-in-law dream image, you shouldn’t try to completely side-step what they’re trying to say.
One key thing that makes the mother-in-law different from the father-in-law is that the mother-in-law’s psychic message to you involves pronounced change.
What she is saying symbolizes not just a series of prescriptions.
These aren’t just steps to unleash the better version of you.
Instead, she’s also laying out an emotional path that you need to go through for your best version to truly burst forth.
Mothers-In-Law Disguised as Challenges
What if I told you that for a lot of people, the change that they need to go through is not happening because they’re not challenged enough?
If, for example, somebody fails the stock market trading, the worst thing that can happen to that person is for them to lose money little by little over an extended period of time.
I know that sounds crazy because any loss of money is, of course, bad.
But if you want to become a good trader, you need to be slapped around, possibly even tortured by your bad decision.
It has to be in your face.
It has to be palpable.
It has to be unmistakable.
Black and white!
That’s how you learn.
But if you fail sideways where your trade doesn’t exactly break out but doesn’t exactly flop either, you’re just in La-la land for Lord knows how long.
And what happens is the money that you could have taken out of an investment and put into something else and made a lot more money remains frozen.
It’s useless for that period of time.
Imagine the opportunity costs.
Now, if your investment tanks, that is a hard lesson.
You’re more likely to pick apart the lesson and be aware of where you dropped the ball.
This increases the chance that you will become a better trader because now you’re learning from your mistakes.
A mother-in-law image in your dream says things in a harsh way.
They also say things in an emotional way.
But this is a positive sign because if you’re like most people, if they candy coat hard truth that you should reflect on or they gently “remind” you of the need for hard work in certain areas of your life, there’s a good chance that their bending over backward for the preservation of the relationship with you, will not do you any favors.
Have you ever noticed that people who surround themselves with “yes people” and “enablers” tend to end up in a very bad place?
Michael Jackson surrounded himself with people who just said yes to his worst instincts.
Either they adored him so much, or they feared being cast out of his social circle, so they just kept saying yes.
You don’t need those types of people.
The harsh, judgmental, critical, supersensitive mother-in-law in your dream symbolizes the part of you that is really going to hold your feet to the first.
This is the voice that you need to listen to.
If you’re going to hell, the last thing that you want is to believe people that you’re going on the right path and that following your worst instincts are not going to harm you.
They’re so afraid of hurting your feelings, but at the end of the day, their refusal to stand up to you or give you the unvarnished truth actually does more harm.
The great thing about a mother-in-law is that this dream symbol in reunion or gathering dreams represents truth.
This is the kind of truth that we know deep down in our core, but we’d rather not mess with it.
We’d rather remain children.
We’d rather think that things remain easy.
So understand how important listening to the mother-in-law image in your family gathering dream is.
What Does It Mean to Dream of a Family Member Dying During a Reunion?
The death of a family member during a family reunion is obviously very stressful.
The good news is that this type of event in your dreams rarely predicts similar events in your waking life.
Instead, this is actually a very positive dream, even though it is emotionally stressful.
The death of a family member means the death of an influence in your life, and this can be a signal to you to be more self-aware.
It could be a signal to you that you can’t continue the way you’re going and that there are alternatives.
It means that whatever anxiety you’re confronting with don’t have to be permanent.
You have to understand that death is actually a good sign in certain contexts.
Death brings peace.
Death brings serenity.
Death is often the end of the struggle.
Whatever sense of unease you may have that’s been dragging on for so long is cut short by death.
Use this symbolic conclusion in your favor.
Family Gathering Death Dreams and Emotional Thinking
A lot of people have a problem with emotional thinking.
I’m sure at some point, you’ve suffered from this, too.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re going about your day, and then all of a sudden, you think about somebody, and your day is no longer the same?
Maybe you’re upset.
Maybe you’re a little bit depressed.
Maybe you’re anxious.
Whatever the case may be, you just think about that person or what they say, and it just completely throws you off.
This is due to the fact that you cannot separate your feelings from your thoughts.
You are at their mercy.
Well, thoughts are not emotionally neutral.
You have to be aware of their emotional payload.
Otherwise, you’re going to be at their mercy.
You run the risk of being in the wrong emotional place the moment you start thinking about certain things.
Master Your Emotional Payload
When you see the image of a family member dying in a family reunion dream or family gathering, this indicates a growing ability on your part to separate your thoughts from your emotions.
You have to be more proactive.
You can’t master this technique by instinct.
This skill doesn’t just fall in your lap.
It doesn’t work that way!
Instead, you have to be proactive in terms of your day-to-day practices as far as your thoughts and emotions go.
I practice mindfulness, and the great thing about this personal practice is that it has enabled me to master my thoughts and make them slaves of my personal values.
I know that’s kind of a big boast, but I was able to pull it off through sheer practice.
And if I can do it, you can do it too.
Think of your thoughts as clouds.
When you were a kid, you probably looked up at the sky and imagined what the clouds looked like.
One cloud might look like a bicycle, and another cloud might look like a pony.
You can use your imagination to make them look like anything in the world.
Well, when you were a kid and you were looking up at the clouds, you also probably noticed something else.
As big and wonderful or as dark and menacing as a cloud may be, eventually, it passes overhead, and another cloud replaces it.
Always remember that because thoughts are that way.
As distressing, depressing, and worrisome as a series of thoughts may be, eventually, they disappear, and another set of thoughts replaces them.
What if you look at your thoughts just the way you look at clouds passing overhead?
What if you refuse to judge your thoughts?
What if you simply acknowledge them?
Do you say to yourself, “That is Marcy, a girl I dated in junior high school”?
So the image of Marcy enters your mind, and you acknowledge the thought, and then it hangs on for a while then another thought replaces it.
Maybe it has something to do with stuff you need to do at work.
Whatever the case may be, Marcy is gone, and she’s gone precisely because you refuse to hang on.
You refuse to dwell, and you refuse to fall into the familiar rabbit hole of wondering what went wrong, why she hurt you, or if you could have done something better when dealing with a situation, and so on and so forth.
See how much better that is to just acknowledge, let go, and then let the thoughts flow?
That’s how you take control over your thought patterns instead of letting your thoughts trigger all sorts of strong emotions that lead you to think and say things that may lead to regret.
What Does It Mean to Dream Of Your Parents?
If you’re dreaming of your father or mother, this indicates your issues and realities regarding your roles in life.
I know this is saying the obvious, but throughout your life, you will be involved in many roles.
You’re somebody’s child.
You’re going to be somebody’s parent, boss, follower, employee, supervisor, church member, or even church leader.
We have many different roles, and how we assume and function in these roles is colored strongly by our relationship with our fathers and mothers.
When you see these roles in your dream, and the context involves a family gathering, your subconscious is trying to draw your attention to just how aware you are of the importance of roles and whether you’re defining your roles properly.
If you’re struggling in one role (for example, you’re struggling at work or at school), it may have something to do with how you see yourself in that role.
And upon further analysis, it may have something to do with how you define that role.
A lot of people struggle in life unnecessarily because they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
They badly define their role, and they’re trying to act for Role B when they have Role A.
Do you see how this works?
Or, more accurately, do you see how this doesn’t work?
So by taking a step back and opening your mind to what your role really is, maybe you can then adopt the right emotional attitude, and things will be smoother.
I’m not saying that everything will be completely drama free, but if you were more open-minded and more proactive in really defining your role, then things would probably be smoother.
At the very least, you would show less signs of resistance, resentment, or regret.
For instance, if you see yourself as a husband in a family gathering dream, this is a role.
“What are the memories from my past that I’ve been hanging on to that define this role?
Can I do a better job?
Where is this supposed to lead to?”
The Hard Work Is in Awareness
When you come across people who’ve gone through counseling or some sort of relationship work, you probably will come across the term “hard work.”
They will tell you:
“It was hard work getting in touch with my feelings, trying to communicate with each other and thresh things out, so every piece falls into place.”
Well, one key part of the subconscious mind that you need to work on is that hard work really isn’t the definition.
Usually, when people say that they’re putting a lot of hard work into counseling or in just their day-to-day lives, they’re dealing with their parents or their children or their significant other or the people around them.
What they’re really trying to tell you is that they’re trying to put people into slots, redefine people, let people know where they’d fit or shouldn’t fit.
This happens a lot when it comes to subconscious images of grandparents.
But in reality, if you’re dreaming of your grandparents, dreaming of yourself being a husband or wife, the role is really about definition.
If you start with the wrong definition, which is, of course, informed by expectations, all the hard work in the world is not gonna help you because you’re barking up the wrong tree.
In fact, you’re gonna be suffering a tremendous amount of opportunity costs because all that time that you’ve unwisely invested trying to put a round peg in a square hole could’ve been used more profitably.
So the key here is to define people not based on who you want them to be but who they truly are.
In many cases, this is not always obvious.
In many cases, people themselves are confused.
So when you have a dream about family gatherings, you automatically assume that the people there have a right to be confused.
You can’t expect them to already know the answers because they’re just like you.
We’re all going through this maze throughout life, and it changes us while, at the same time, it has dark corners.
It has confusing detours, and there are plenty of opportunities to get lost.
So a little bit of understanding goes a long way.
Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.