Last night, I had a very intense, vivid, powerful dream, where instead of being a human, I was a bear who could shape-shift to look and talk like a human. I've been a lot of animals in dreams, but never a bear, so this was a first. And I'm really curious what a dream like this might mean.
In my dream, I was essentially doing an RPG-style raid, but in real life; I forget what we were trying to take, but it was some sort of artifact or treasure that had been stolen and kept in a castle, and we were trying to get it back. Always unsuccessfully. It was a relatively modern setting, though; after each attempt, we'd go hang out in an average hotel room and watch TV while planning our next attempt.
It was a fairly large group; maybe a dozen people, all of whom were either people I know, or people who seemed very familiar. We made several attempts, without success, but thankfully also without major casualties, since most of the fighting was hand-to-hand. Minor casualties, however, were in copious supply.
During one of our attempts, I was hurt pretty badly, which revealed a deep secret: I was actually a bear, shape-shifted to look like a human, but I could only hold that form with concious effort. And apparently, it took a lot of energy to do that; once I reverted to bear form, I very quickly regained strength that I never had in human form. Even while wounded, I beat up one or two of my attackers, and scared the pants off the rest of them, allowing my friends to escape.
Unfortunately, I also scared the pants off my friends, and our efforts to retake our stolen-thing kinda fell apart after that. Some just stopped talking to me in general; others were notably uncomfortable. I had to explain a few things, once I recovered; all bears potentially had this ability, and had human intelligence, we just didn't have human communication abilities except in human form. Most bears didn't do this, though. And I was utterly terrified of showing anyone my true bear self. This didn't clear up the discomfort at first, but a few friends really wanted me to shift to bear form more often because they wanted to snuggle; I think I did that maybe once, toward the end? It took a LOT of coaxing, though.
One of my friends revealed to me that he was also a bear, because apparently we couldn't sense each other in human form? He told me about one or two others in the group, too. All of us were terrified to let anyone see us in non-human form, even each other, so we didn't band together or anything.
One of the more supportive non-bear friends had an idea: If I pre-emptively reverted to bear form, while on our mission, I'd be *unstoppable*. It took a LONG time for me to feel the same way, but after much coaxing, I did eventually allow a couple people in the group to see me revert to bear form in our hotel room, and sure enough, one of them snuggled up! This also allowed the ones in the room to see that it was still me, as gentle and caring as always, but a little more growly and a lot more fluffy.
So, we went for it again. The supportive humans rallied as many of our friends as possible; some still wanted nothing to do with me, but about half came back. I tried to convince the other bears to reveal themselves and do this with me, but none would, and only one of them (the one who first told me about the others) joined the raid at all.
With a smaller group, we did a stealthier approach this time; the plan was that I would go in as a human, and we would attempt to come out without fighting at all, but if we did have to, I'd slip away, revert, and then attack.
Everything went according to plan, at first; we had 7 people, and four of them (including the other bear) stayed in the main hall, while I went up to the top of the tower with two others to get our stolen thing. We loaded it onto a flatbed cart, and we seemed to get away without issue, but a guard saw us just as the elevator was closing (again, a very modern castle, apparently). So, I shifted in the elevator, climbed on top of the stolen thing, and instructed the others to stay behind me when the door opened; which was kinda funny, because I forgot that I couldn't talk, until one of them kinda petted me on the head and told me stop growling and use my paws.
The elevator door opened, and sure enough, there was a guard standing right there, but he was unarmed, and he had apparently only been told to call in on the radio when we got down there. I pinned him into a corner, and growled right in his face, which caused him to faint, but he had already called in. So, fighting ensued; we did a lot better than usual, but one of the only guards with a gun shot me. I was still moving, but weakened. The other bear, however, decided to revert (to the surprise of the rest of the group). He attacked my attacker, so I could get out of the heat of the fighting. Things weren't looking good, but the other two bears (who didn't even come along, supposedly) kinda popped out of nowhere, finally tipping the odds in our favor for the first time.
At that point, my alarm went off, so I don't know how it would've ended. But a lot was happening there, and I'm really curious what sort of meaning this dream might have.