Hi,I'm Jules, a LPC, and welcome to JustAnswer. I am reviewing your question now, and will post back with your thorough reply briefly :)
Your dream is really interesting. I feel that it is important that I share a bit with you about the theory that I most like to refer to, but also the theorist so that you understand the perspective that i work from. I tend to rely on symbolism of the dreams and focus on what your personal emotional response is to the dreams. i rely on a Jungian perspective for the significance. "According to Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious. Dreams are not attempts to conceal your true feelings from the waking mind, but rather they are a window to your unconscious. They serve to guide the waking self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to a problem you are facing in your waking life." (resource:http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtheory/jung.htm) "Some researchers believe that dreams help you to tackle stress. Dreaming is a necessity and helps to recharge the mind and revitalize the body. In dreams, negative emotions tend to occur twice as often as pleasant feelings. Fear and anxiety are the most commonly expressed emotions in dreams, followed by anger and sadness." Jung also believed that you can interpret your own dreams by focusing on the emotional response and looking for correlations. I also like this explanation of recurring dreams: resource: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtypes/recurringdreams.htm)
"Most dreams contain messages that serve to teach you something about yourself. However, soon after you wake up to go about your daily routine, you tend to quickly forget what you dream about. The message in recurring dreams may be so important and/or powerful that it refuses to go away. The frequent repetition of such dreams forces you to pay attention and confront the dream. It is desperately trying to tell you something. Such dreams are often nightmarish or frightening in their content, which also helps you to take notice and pay attention to them.
Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation, transitional phase in life or a problem that keeps coming back again and again. These dreams may recur daily, once a week, or once a month. Whatever the frequency, there is little variation in the dream content itself. Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life - past or present.
The repetitive patterns in your dream reveal some of the most valuable information about yourself. It may point to a conflict, situation or matter in your waking life that remains unresolved or unsettled."
Let us look at the symbolism in your dream. The most obvious symbolism is the recurring image of the Virgin Mary-- this has both a positive and negative aspect and we can explore both of these. The affirmative aspect of the Virgin Mary is that she is a symbol of love and compassion. Depending on spiritual beliefs, she is a gateway to our Source or God. She is liaison to a higher power and also healing. An alternative interpretation to this is that you may have some fears about your sexuality or even struggles in relationships. You may be feeling that you have a repressed fear of allowing your guard down to have a relationship. The portrait may be a reminder of what you need to focus on, maybe you feel that you have gotten away from some spiritual roots, or you may be struggling with something that keeps you from finding harmony- maybe you feel that you have connected with some negative influences and it is time that you "purge" or rid yourself of what holds you back from either spiritual growth or relational growth. You experience fear in the dream, suggesting that you are worried or scared about your own achievements or that you have "lost" or repressed aspects of yourself. You may struggle with your own congruence at times. The best way to overcome a fear is to admit the fear and deflate the power that the idea of "fear" has over you.... As far as the beach, a beach is often a place of vacation or "transition" between work and play. Some people go to the beach for relaxation and to find serenity. "To see the beach in your dream symbolizes the meeting between your two states of mind. The sand is symbolic of the rational and mental processes while the water signifies the irrational, unsteady, and emotional aspects of yourself. It is a place of transition between the physical/material and the spiritual.
To dream that you are on the beach and looking out toward the ocean indicates unknown and major changes that are occurring in your life." (dreammoods)
Overall, I believe that your dream indicates that you are processing some sort of turmoil (inner or external) about your position or direction. You recognize that you need to purge negative energy (doubt, fear, negative people) and focus more on your spiritual path and maybe even focus more on your affirmations. You may need some support in finding your confidence to address certain areas of your life. There is nothing wrong with asking for guidance from a nurturing source. Even the symbolism of the church in your dream suggests this-- you are looking to be uplifted in some way.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. I am also going to send you a book that I love as an additional resource. Just let me know if you would like it.
I also came across something today that I thought was interesting-- Virgin Mary can also represent spiritual emptiness. There is another interpretation that it may be that the Virgin Mary is attempting to send a message to you about a situation. Some people believe that Mary is a sign of finding an answer or a solution to a recurring problem. Again, you know your circumstances better than others so you will know what fits you the best.
I found someone who had a dream that included the Virgin Mary and she was able to process her personal interpretation of the dream. I thought it was interesting because she felt that it conveyed a very clear message. I am sending you the link and you can click on it and read her message. Maybe there is a correlation for you.
I am also sending the book that I had mentioned earlier.
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