Feb 10, 2023
Vehicles in dreams and the path of your psycho-spiritual growth
What might be the symbolic meaning of vehicles in dreams?
Vehicles of various types…cars, bicycles, planes, you name it…have featured in my dreams one way or another regularly over the years. Just a while ago I dreamt about a huge rental truck the size of a five story building with a billboard on the side of it, reading “starring Dan, Elma, Allen, and Keith!”, pulling into a beachside parking lot against the backdrop of cliffs and the sun setting on the distant oceanic horizon.
In this dream: I was driving the rental truck even though it was supposed to be Elma’s role. She can no longer see very well. I park our rental truck right next to the cliff in a semi-paved parking lot. It is a bit windy. Seabirds circle above us. Federal agents begin to gather around the truck in order to inspect it. All of us leap out of the truck and onto a pile of soft blankets. After the completion of the inspection procedure, this rental truck will be crushed. From where we are, we can see the sun setting in all of its fiery glory in the distance. Beachgoers are strewn about here and there on the beaches. There is a feeling of bittersweet finality in the air.
If you have ever dreamt about vehicles in your dreams, you may wonder about their meaning. Since all dreams speak a universal language of metaphor and symbol, every image in a dream is a symbol capable of providing a meaning of some sort. People, places, and objects are symbols masterfully curated to be a part of the drama your nightly dreams present. They are creatively woven together to tell a particular story from a particular perspective in such a way that all you need to do is recall the dream and relive it in order to sense to its latent meanings.
So what might be the various symbolic meaning of vehicles in dreams?
“Dreams are the workshop of evolution”Sándor Ferenczi
As vehicles are designed with the function of carrying people from one place to another, its most obvious meaning is a means of some kind for people to get from point A to point B. For example, in the dream of which I shared a brief glimpse at the beginning of this article, “something” of a rather large capacity has carried the multiple aspects of me, symbolized by the names Dan, Elma, Allen, and Keith, to what appears to be its final destination as the rental car is due to be crushed after inspection by federal agents. In order to explore the meaning of the vehicle in this particular dream, I asked myself “What in my life might have the capacity to carry my relationships with these people whom the dream has named? Which parts of me reflect the same qualities these people also embody?”
Given the names of my family members and childhood friends were displayed in larger-than-life sizes on the side of the rental truck in my dream, what came to my mind immediately is that my shared past with them, enshrined and preserved in the form of my memories and ongoing relationship with them, might be what the huge rental truck is symbolizing. Indeed, this rental truck was the size of a building, and I have shared an important part of my life with these people. Importantly, because Elma was supposed to be the driver in this dream, and she has incidentally also been the person who’s brought all of us together in our waking lives, it may specifically be that the role Elma has played is coming to an end. As a matter of “fact”, I had to take over as the driver within the dream because Elma could no longer see very well.
“Awake and through the power of language, we are able to keep in touch with others. Asleep and dreaming, we use a different language to tell ourselves stories about ourselves that we have not heard before.”Montague Ullman
Still, if vehicles are designed to get the dreamer from point A to point B in the dream, what do the points of departure and destination themselves symbolize? What about the path traveled? The most poignant path, in my mind, is a person’s path of psycho-spiritual growth and maturation. I readily read any and all of my life’s experiences in that light. Therefore, the point of departure might be who I was before I got on the vehicle, and the point of arrival might be who I have become as a result of the experience of my traveling in or on this vehicle. In this dream which I titled “Goodbye Sunset Truck”, I am aware we have toured around the country or along a protracted circuit, much like a band who has toured an entire continent. I do not know, however, where we begin. Regardless, the length of time that has passed while we have traveled and the size of the rental truck tells me that this has been a long journey. Therefore, I probably have grown much psycho-spiritually as a person compared to where I started, as I am now even the person who has to take over to drive the truck. There is a sense of glory and finality in this dream, which the setting sun reflects, but which is also my felt sense. Perhaps the dream is saluting the journey we have all made together psycho-spiritually. In fact, all of us receive a soft landing as we jump out of this 5-story tall rental truck. A pile of blankets stacked several hundreds of pancakes high awaited us below. I know, as we often do in dreams where no explanations are needed, where we are now is the final destination for this rental truck. The truck did not belong to us anyway, and it is now due to become flattened sheets of metal after federal inspection. The rental truck has served its purpose.
In addition to being a symbol of carrier-in-movement, vehicles clue us in on the kinds of path we are traveling on. In a dream, the symbolic meaning of the path can be as revealing as the vehicle that is traveling upon it. For an airplane the path would be found in the sky, where ideas and freedoms of expression may facilitate the travel. For the boat, it is the lake, or river, or the sea. Bodies of water often symbolize emotions and spirituality. For the times when horses were still the dominant mode of transportation, prairies and the mountains are the natural environments wherein the man and horse can move freely according to their instincts. Open spaces, oneness with nature, and perspectives are what gives life to this form of motion-motivation.
Wherever and whenever vehicles appear in your dream, consider not only the meaning of the vehicle itself, but also the path this vehicle travels on as a metaphor for the path our soul travels. Traveling on the path of all paths, we may see our work, relationships, and ultimately who we are as human beings as vehicles for taking not just ourselves, but the entire planet towards a destination that is worth driving for.
Article by H.D. Lee
Founder of Nomadic School. Committed to the spiritual adventure of his own life and the role of midwifing beauty, goodness, and truth into the world, H.D. Lee is here to share what he has learned through his teachers and peers in transpersonal psychology, spirituality, and the arts