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Dream Symbols and Meanings

Updated on March 27, 2013

What Do The Symbols in Your Dreams Really Mean?

When we dream, there are many esoteric symbols that can be found drifting just beneath the surface of our conscious brains. These images come from the dormant, unconscious part of our psyche.

These archetypal representations can be a part of our shared "universal experience" that have common interpretations, or they can be unique in meaning to only us. Either way when we can examine and analyze these dreamscapes we are able to gather insight and new perspectives into our own subconscious mind.. Various life experiences influence the interpretation of these symbols, thus each individual's dream is unique in both context and analysis.

"Dreams are nature's answering service - don't forget to pick up your messages once in a while." ~Sarah Crestinn

The Complete Dream Book

The Dream Book: Symbols for Self Understanding
The Dream Book: Symbols for Self Understanding

Renowned psychic and teacher Betty Bethards shows how we can decipher the subconscious messages of our dreams for a fuller understanding of ourselves with her outstanding collection of 1,650 dream symbols.


Remembering Your Dreams - A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read. ~The Talmud

There are a number of ways to remember our dreams and to uncover their often seemingly cryptic, or obscured meaning. Many experts will tell you to talk to yourself during the stage between waking and sleeping. Tell yourself, to remember your dreams, If it doesn't work immediately, keep repeating the suggestion each night before bed.

According to dream researchers, if you develop a habit of recording your dreams, in time you will not only gain a clearer vision of your present life's course but you will also gather insight into your past and your future destinations.

It is helpful to do some research on the various methods of dream work or dream analysis to focus your mind as well. After you begin to remember your dreams, it is important to record them in a log or dream book immediately after waking. The longer you wait to record your dreams, the fewer details you will retain.

Interpreting Movement in Dreams

Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions. ~Edgar Cayce

Climbing - Highlights dreams and aspirations. Growth and achievement will come after facing and conquering unexpected difficulties.

Drowning - Losing control of a situation or your emotions.May represent an inability to handle a circumstance or a social situation.

Falling - May signify a fear of failure, or the loss of control and personal power..

Flying - Shows independence, positive thinking and a feeling of unlimited possibilities.

Paralysis - Loss of forward movement, stagnation and a questioning of making any big life changes..

Running - Highlights the need to be free or escape from an unwelcome situation (or obligation) from which you are dreading..

- To dream of being unable to run indicates a lack of self-confidence.

Sex - Solidifying either a close relationship with your partner. Or it can be your way of dealing with your alter ego, the part of you that you don't like.

Sleeping - Unconsciousness to the real world leading to denial and a sense of.false security.

Walking - Wanting freedom. or forward motion,. Ask yourself where is your path really leading...

Image: " --Lauri Loewenberg

Dreaming in Colors - Some colors exist in dreams that are not present in the waking spectrum. ~The Quote Garden

Beige - Everything related with this color denotes neutrality and detachment. An absence of communication.

Black - Black signifies isolation and a transition period. It appears when conflicts and friction are overshadowing your current relationships with family and friends. If however, joy is the prominent emotion the blackness could symbolize spiritual and divine forces nearing..

White - An abundance of energy and vitality.

Black and White To dream in black and white, suggests a need to be more objective in your decision-making. You need to find balance between two opposing views. Alternatively, black and white dreams can also be a sign of depression or sadness.

Blue - Blue represents truth, wisdom, heaven, eternity, devotion, tranquility, loyalty and openness. Inner peace, optimism and contentment.

Brown -Denotes worldliness, practicality, domestic and physical comfort.. This is an auspicious color to dream about, as it signifies freedom, success, money, happiness and a long-lasting union.

Gray - Related with a transition period. If bright and clear, it signifies peace, but if it is murky, it signifies fear, depression, ill health, and confusion.

Green - Green heralds growth and. simple creative projects that will bring great joy.

Dark Green indicates materialism, cheating, deceit, and/or difficulties with sharing.

Orange - The color orange in dreams indicates hope, friendliness and new social encounters..

Pink - Associated with romance and love. Relations with opposite sex.

Purple - Great aspirations and understanding of both the visible and invisible world. Creativity, dignity, devotion.

Red - This is an indication of intense passion and sensitivity in your emotional relationships. Symbolizes raw energy, force, vigor, aggression, power, and courage. Red is also the color of danger, shame, sexual impulses and desires.

Yellow - In pleasant dreams, the color yellow is symbolic of intellect, energy, agility, happiness, harmony, and wisdom.

- On the other hand, if the dream is an unpleasant one, then yellow represents cowardice and sickness. This color also signifies confidence in spite of opposition.


The Hidden Meaning of Dreams

The Hidden Meaning of Dreams
The Hidden Meaning of Dreams

Interpret the hidden messages revealed to you in your sleep. Begin by mastering techniques to remember your dreams and learn to keep and use a dream diary. See how to use dreams to solve problems, explore past lives, and look into the future. By deciphering the language of your dreams, you can achieve greater spiritual awareness and lasting happiness.


Animals in Dreams

Dreams are free therapy. Consult your inner Freud. ~Grey Livingston

Birds - Flying birds are a sign of prosperity, a feeling of freedom, or a burden being lifted.

Butterflies - Related to beauty and grace. Butterflies indicate prosperity and wealth.

Cats- Associated with an independent spirit, female sexuality, creativity, and power, cats can also represent misfortune and bad luck. The cat could indicate that someone is being deceitful or treacherous.

- Attacking Cats- Represents one's enemies; if the dreamer succeeds in dispelling them, he will overcome great obstacles and earn fortune and fame.

- A Cat with No Tail- Signifies a loss of free will.

- A White Cat- Denotes difficult times ahead.

Coyote - Know as a trickster, rogue and thief, he means disappointment or serious disaster ahead.

Crow - Seeing a crow means major disappointments. Grief and misfortune loom ahead.

Dolphins - Symbolizes spiritual guidance, intellect, mental agility and emotional trust. Dolphins represent a willingness and ability to explore new emotions.

- Riding a Dolphin- Represents one's optimism and giving nature.

Doves - Symbolizes peace, tranquility, harmony, affection and innocence.

-White Dove- Represents loyalty, love, simplicity, gentleness and friendships. It may also signify a message and blessing from the Holy Spirit.

Eagle -Associated with far-sighted vision and power they symbolize the realization of ambitions and the fulfilling of desires.

Elephant - Associated with wisdom, memory and the power of persistence.

- Riding an Elephant- Indicates control of the unconscious and overcoming fears.

Frog - Folk tales say that dreaming of a frog means good fortune, happiness and friendships.

Modern dream interpretation regards the frog as a symbol of transformation; therefore a frog in your dreams, represents a potential to change or something new and unexpected coming.

- If a Man Dreams of a Toad- Represents their feminine- motherly aspect which protects and warns us against danger.

- Leaping Frogs- Indicates a lack of commitment. It may also suggest a need to take some major steps towards a desired goal.

- Catching a Frog- Signifies carelessness concerning one's health.

- Hearing a Frog Indicates incomplete tasks.

Horses - Symbolize strength, power, endurance, and virility.

- Black or Dark Horse- Signifies mystery, wildness, and the unknown.

- White Horse- Signifies purity, prosperity and good fortune.

Insects - Denotes financial gain or a mystery solved.

Lamb - Lambs represent innocence purity and vulnerability. In dreams they symbolize deception.

- Holding a Lamb-Signifies some sacrifice.

Lion - Associated with nobility, strength and pride. Success will depend upon coping with opposition. Also represents the strength of a valuable friendship.

- Attacked by a Lion- Indicates obstacles to overcome.

Owl - Symbolizes wisdom, insight and virtue. The owl is also synonymous with death and darkness.

- The Hoot of an Owl- Denotes disappointments and forewarns death in the wake of joy and health.

- A Dead Owl- Signifies a narrow escape from illness and death. Warns of the approach of a deceitful person.

Peacock - Can represent spring, birth, new growth, longevity, and love. It is a good omen, signaling prestige, success and contentment in relationships and careers. Alternatively, the peacock signifies pride, confidence and vanity. The want to be admired that ends only in disappointment.

Pig - Usually denotes good fortune and success coming one's way because pigs are thought to be greedy but smart.

Raven - Disaster and unhappiness to come. Injuries caused through deceit.

Reptile - Gossip and hidden enemies. The need to be cautious in business affairs.

Snake - The snake may refer to a someone near being callous, ruthless, and untrustworthy. As a positive symbol, snakes represent healing, transformation, knowledge and wisdom. It is indicative of self-renewal and positive changes.

- A Snake Ready to Strike- Means treachery where least expected; killing it means victory over enemies.

- To be Bitten By a Snake- Signifies hidden fears and worries.

Spider - Denotes a need to be cautious in current endeavors in order to earn fortune. Domestic Happiness.

Swans - Seeing swans, signifies a prosperous outlook and wonderful experiences. They also symbolize good health and a mystery revealed.

Turtle - Symbolizes wisdom, faithfulness, longevity, and loyalty. Opportunity for advancement. Alternatively, beware of secret enemies.

- Being Chased by a Turtle- Indicates that the dreamer is hiding behind a facade.


I Dreamed

by Chuang Tzu

I dreamed.

I do not know how long I dreamed, or what came before.

The dream was my world and I was content within it.

And as I dreamed, a man spoke to me and said:

Once I dreamed I was a butterfly.

I knew I was a butterfly and did not know I was a man.

Suddenly I awoke, and there I was, visibly a man.

I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly,

Or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming that I am a man.

I turned to ask the man what he meant by this,

But saw only my own reflection in a moonlit pool.

As I gazed upon the image, I was struck by how this man was me and yet not me.

While my hands were old and wizened, his were young and smooth.

While my skin was dark and rough, his was fair and soft.

Yet in his eyes I saw myself, or rather who I would be had I been born another.

Curious, I reached down to touch the shimmering surface.

It was then that I realized I was looking up through the pool

As he gazed down upon me from the world above.

Once again he spoke:

You are that which I would be but cannot.

You follow a path I dare not follow.

You live a life that I shall not lead, for I have chosen another.

You are one facet of my soul, among many.

Each with their own purpose, will, and spirit.

It is said that life is not a problem to be solved,

But a reality to be experienced.

This is truer for you than you know or can imagine.

With this, a cloud passed over the moon and the dream began to fade into darkness.

I am awakening.

Your Dreams and Thoughts?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Dag nabbit good stuff you whrrepisnappeps!

    • VictoriaHolt profile image


      6 years ago

      I'd like to know what water symbolizes, in all it's forms. Waves, calm, rain, flooding etc.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      great information

    • lisln profile image


      6 years ago from Denver Colorado

      well put together

    • ManfromModesto LM profile image

      ManfromModesto LM 

      6 years ago

      This is a decent basis of standard A = B dream interpretation. Holloway's book on dreaming is the most historically interesting (I've read them all... and threw away all but two). The best way to interpret a dream is not a list. "Interpretation belongs to God." The two most famous dream interpreters of all time both said this: Daniel and Joseph. I have a nice site with 114 unique posts (still writing, of course!)

      It is not the best name, I know. But, all the obvious names were taken!

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 

      6 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      I love this lens. I very vivid dream ever since I can remember. Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      What a beautiful lens, thank you so much.

      Liked and blessedOctober Blessings. Please add to the Plexo, thank you!

    • jeffersonline profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm going to have to talk to myself more - my dream memories evaporate immediately. Lovely lens, can't move on from here without sprinkling a little Angel Dust...

    • OMENA777 profile image


      7 years ago

      Love your lens, Thanks. I dream a lot and in color since I can remember.

    • Kevo1986 LM profile image

      Kevo1986 LM 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens, it appeared randomly when I added 'related lenses to my lens' I'm glad it appeared, thank you.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Our dreams are sometimes a manifestation of the physical state we are in while we are asleep. Our emotions and our fears can sometimes manifest in our dreams intensely. :)

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image


      7 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Very intriguing lens, blessed! I have been having versions of the same dream for about 20 years now about a company where I worked long ago for a very long time and had many friends. Someone from there is always showing me around, showing changes, remodeling, whatever... Twice I have had a new person showing me around and later found out they had recently died. Kinda spooky. I have "dream visits" from my late mom too, where she is showing me around her new place. Sometimes other late relatives drop by her house. It's very comforting! I try to remember as many dreams as I can. Many times later in the day I'll be doing something mindless like peeling potatoes and a dream will suddenly pop into my head.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This was really helpful.Many times I have a dream that Im falling. Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fascinating! I love to dream. But I don't really want to keep a record of them. Most of the time, I'm just unloading garbage. In my mind, a lot of garbage goes in. I have got to get it out!! That's what my dreams are for. Yep. Yep.

    • mjtaylor lm profile image

      mjtaylor lm 

      7 years ago

      I dreamed of a whale last night! I was riding it. I've been remembering a lot of dreams lately. Nice lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @jjjkidos: anyone know what that means

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      anyone know what that means

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i dreamed of a white spirit by my bed

    • rangiiria profile image


      7 years ago

      In a recent dream I was talking to a friend - he could interpret dreams unfortunately he now lives in another country :(

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 

      7 years ago

      I don't often remember my dreams, but I did last night. . . .I dreamed I was eating a giant marshmallow- when I awoke, my pillow was gone! Ta, dump, dum. Fascinating lens. I have bookmarked it to discuss it further. I just have a hard time accepting the idea of 'universal sybolism'.

    • Dmarieinspires profile image

      Dana Marie 

      7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

      I hardly ever remember my dreams, will have to try what you suggested. Thanks

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 

      8 years ago from Kansa, USA

      Dreams are often confusing so this helps to clear it up a little bit, thanks.

    • samsaradakini profile image


      8 years ago

      @KimAnisi: precisely so. i was having a trauma in 2005 or so and kept dreaming of my fish in the fish tank jumping out and i am in a panic that they will die. this dream was recurring with slight variations upwards of twice a week.

      after a few months of this, i finally came online and found several symbolic meanings. the one that i was able to closest connect to started me on the right path of thinking and i was able to heal from my trauma believe it or not. [in my case: water = subconscious, fish = xtian symbol = christ truth...and at the time i was hating god.

      didn't take freud to figure it out; i was rejecting god/my truth/christ-truth/highest self and i was suffering. as soon as i understood this, i had an epiphany and began releasing the toxic 'water' so to speak.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! I remember my dreams every morning and have several dream books that I don't refer to anymore. Blessing this lens!

    • samsaradakini profile image


      8 years ago

      i love dreaming and figuring out what they mean. i dream in color and it blew my mind when psychs were saying we did not. there is so much more to dreams, our subconscious, and even our brains that we don't know, than do. and even then, some people do not remember their dreams {claiming they do not dream} - ever - and then there're folks like me... vivid, colorful adventures at night and exciting astral projections during naps. it's a fascinating topic! thanks for the lens.

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 

      8 years ago

      All schools of psychology agree that dreams are important - but no two schools can agree on their meaning - perhaps the answer is in our dreams themselves and only we can understand them for ourselves

    • KimAnisi profile image

      Kim Snow 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      In general, a nice lens, but very basic descriptions, e.g. colours can have so many different meaning depending on their shades and brightness or darkness (and white means a little more than you wrote). But it's a good start to get people started, so to say! Well done!

    • KimAnisi profile image

      Kim Snow 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      @NickMadge LM: Symbols in dreams always have very individual meanings. If I dream of a seagull, for example, it means something different for me than it would for others because for me the seagull is a symbol of dreams coming true. For other people seagulls just mean nothing at all. It's good to have a guide about what symbols can mean in general, but you will always need to ask yourself: "What does this mean to me?"

    • NickMadge LM profile image

      NickMadge LM 

      8 years ago

      Thisis an interesting lens, thanks. Although I've always wondered whether dream symbols have universal meanings or whether they would vary from person to person. I mean is seeing a Spider in a dream going to mean the same thing to someone who is afraid of them, as with someone who keeps them as pets?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My dreams rarely involved animals (though sometimes I dream about snakes) but it's always colorful :D

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these dream symbols and meanings. Blessed by an Angel and featured on my brand new Angel lens:

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting Lens, Thanks.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful lens on dream symbols ~ I dream a lot, but somehow most of the times, I can't remember my dreams. I do sometimes remember them quite vividly, but for mostly I only remember scattered parts. Though I do get flying dreams a lot. Happy New Year! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • rwoman profile image


      8 years ago

      Terrific lens!

    • staceylynnpayne profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, I am going to make this a FAVORITE since it's a lot of information I want to keep coming back to! Thanks!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Really like your lens, very informative and interesting. 5 stars!

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Interesting. I've had a few of those dreams before...nice to know the meaning behind them. Squid Angel Blessings :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to dream of falling. Now I understand it is my fear of failure. Am too old now to fear failure so I haven't had this dream for a long time. Thanks for this lens. I understand more.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      eeSo I had this dream that I was walking in the woods behind my school and I saw a pack of werewolves hunting a group of deers I steped on a twig and the wolves stopped running after the deer and started chasing me.I accidentally tripped and I could feel claws ripping into my flesh then it was over I got up and almost ran all the way home when I got to my house I rushed into my room to see how badly I was hurt I looked into a mirrior and was shocked there was not a single scratch on my back the next day I went to school and I could hear almost everything.What happened next surprised me the group of boys that only talked to each other came right over to me and sat down at my table and started telling me that I was awerewolf now and that is when I woke up.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great lens totally answered my questions and didn't scare me. Loved it!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I keep having a dream about my grandparents' home in my hometown. Growing up, we were very close so I felt safe & secure there. In my dream, my grandparents aren't there. I didn't know where they were & thought they were in the hospital. I dream I'm sleeping in a bedroom when I notice it's unusually dark. Pitch black & realize there's no electricity. My aunt living next door had electricity. I realized either my G-pa didn't pay the electric bill (highly unusual) or someone had cut the electricity - probably to break in. We lived in the country. I went looking around & distinctly remember checking doors & locks. But the front door was open. I ran out the back door, standing outside feeling safer outside. I tried my cell & couldn't get service. I was very scared. Finally I managed the courage to go back in & I got a light to come on & there, in my presence were literally millions of demons. What does this mean?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      3 great enemies of happy home

      A marriage is either a success or a failure because of the ingredients that are present or lacking in it. Your home is either a little heaven on earth or an abode of diabolical spirits. A good marriage is an outcome of prayer, diligence and hard work. In the same vein, a bad marriage is caused by prayerlessness and unhealthy attitudes. It takes a lot of effort to experience success and happiness in marriage. The step that one should take is to deal with hindrances to success in marriage. If you really want to enjoy your marriage, you must deliberately and painstakingly deal with the enemies of a happy home.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      greetings from gothic temptations

    • MikkiGVee profile image


      10 years ago

      Congrats! This lens has been named the Sweet Dreams HQ - Lens of the Week!

    • teamlane profile image


      10 years ago

      Very artistic monarch. Blessings! ~ Colleen :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      A beautiful lens!! Very evocative images, and highly original!

    • MikkiGVee profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a truly amazing lens on the subject of dreams. 5 stars. You've definitely done your research. Would you consider submitting it to the new Sweet Dreams Group?

    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      10 years ago


    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      10 years ago

      Very nice looking lens! 5*

    • kerbev profile image

      Kerri Bee 

      10 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I have a lot of teeth dreams, and a lot of dreams where I realize at the final exam that I forgot I had signed up for that class and never went to class.

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 

      10 years ago from Chicago area

      Great lens - very enjoyable and informative.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Another Excellent lens *****

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful lens! The graphics are wonderful. I am featuring it on Jeremy Taylor on Dreams . ***** to you


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