I don’t believe dreams mean a darn thing. However, I think psychiatrists and old-time Ozarkers had/have one thing in common in that they did/do put a lot of stock in dreams, albeit for different reasons and from very different perspectives.
While psychiatrists look inward, Ozarkers looked outward when it comes to dreams. To quote directly from folklorist Vance Randolph’s 1947 book, “Ozark Superstitions”:
“To dream of muddy water means trouble, to dream of snakes presages a battle with one’s enemies, to dream of money means that the dreamer will be poorer than ever before.
“A dream of white horses is unlucky, and may mean sickness or death in the family. A dream of death is good luck if the dream comes at night and usually signifies a wedding, but to fall asleep in the daytime and dream of death is very unfortunate.
“A dream of childbirth is always welcome, a sign of a happy and prosperous marriage. The man who dreams repeatedly of fishes will attain great wealth. To dream of chickens is bad luck, and the vision of a black boat means an early death.”
It is also supposedly bad luck to dream about cattle; dreaming about a hoe or a rake is a sign of a happy marriage; girls who always dream about storms and floods will marry into money; and it is good luck to dream about pigeons or doves and, of course, signifies future romance.
To continue directly from Mr. Randolph:
“The first dream that one has in a new house, or when sleeping under a new quilt, will nearly always come true – many mountain girls are anxious to ‘dream out’ a new quilt or coverlet. The same may be said of a dream related before breakfast, or of one dreamed on Friday and told on Saturday.”