Everyone has crazy dreams occasionally.

Maybe you’re the one who only gets them sporadically and laughs it off, or maybe you’re the person who gets them so often that you wonder what on Earth is causing them and how your brain can dream up ventures that would make Alice’s trip to Wonderland seem like a normal walk through the park or a visit to the grocery store.

If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. I’m that way, too. No matter what, most nights my dreams take a turn for the topsy turvy and I wake up questioning how on Earth my mind creates these situations during the dead of night after a perfectly normal day.

In fact, last night I dreamt I was taking a college psychology class taught by my cat, Glimmer, who then asked me to stay after class to discuss the possible switch from Friskies Picnic Crunch to Meow Mix—something about lifestyle changes and eating healthier.

There are a lot of different opinions on why people have super odd or vivid dreams. Some of the more common reasons you will hear are diet, emotional state, medication, pregnancy, or big life changes. But even if you’re completely healthy, not pregnant, and emotionally sound, if you don’t get these types of dreams often, you’ll still get them occasionally, just because you’re human. No one really knows why, and that’s because every culture or psychologist has a different opinion on why.

According to an eHow health article, “very strange dreams are products of the goings-on in the subconscious mind,” which can give us insight into our lives. Unfortunately, that insight apparently has to be in riddles. That is why some people see the need to use dream dictionaries, which give dream interpretations such as dreammoods.com or mydreamvisions.com, where you can interpret the symbols within your dreams. Considering dream interpretation began in ancient times around 3,000 B.C., according to dreammoods.com, it may be impossible to know the origin of why certain symbols are interpreted the way they are, but they’re pretty widely accepted.

Different cultures believe dreams have different purposes or meanings, and it’s changed over time. According to dreammoods.com, the Chinese used to believe that an individual’s soul left their body at night to visit a dreamland. People in ancient Egypt believed that if you were someone who had odd or vivid dreams, then you were blessed—special. The native Americans believed that dreams pointed you in the direction of your meaning in life—your roll—your fate.

Today, most people just believe we dream because that’s how it’s always been or they believe that our dreams have meanings—that our dreams are our subconscious speaking to us. And the opinions of researchers differ drastically.

Sigmund Freud, a psychologist who studied dreams, believed that dreams represented our unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. He believed they were our repressed dreams. And Carl Jung, a Swiss psychotherapist, believed that dreams are what we repress during our waking hours—that they provide messages about the parts of ourselves that we neglect in our every day lives. This About.com article gives some other top theories. 

According to a WebMD article, Tom Scammell, MD, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says no one knows why we dream. “There is a strong movement in the research community to research how sleep improves memory and learning,” Scammell says. “One speculative possibility is that dreaming allows you the opportunity to practice things you may or may not ever have to do, like running away or fighting off a predator.”

So are the crazy dreams you’re having normal? Absolutely. What do they mean? Well, given the vastly different opinions of people around the world that have changed over the years and the fact that there is still no consensus whatsoever, it’s really up for you to decide if your dreams have meaning. But if it hits March and you keep having that dream that your Christmas tree is chasing you through an endless field of red ladders and talking daffodils, you should maybe look into that.