Common Dream Meaning and Symbolism
I get a lot of emails asking about dream meaning, dream symbolism and requests to interpret dreams.
I've a theory about dream meanings; outside of that, it's common knowing dreams are powerful and intensely personal to the dreamer.
Yes, I can offer interpretations from the impressions offered - but these meanings are from my perspective. In the end, the dream is a coded message, and only you have the authentic decoder to unlock the true meanings.
What if you're stuck? What if you've worked for months to decode a specific dream meaning and still the answers will not loosen themselves from whatever grips they are lodged.
Great question. You can go to an interpreter, who can serve as a catalyst in unveiling a bit of shadow from your perception so that the light of clarity is cast upon your dream meaning.
Or, you can continue to pan for symbolic gold; swirling the waters of your awareness around the details until, at last, the sparkly nuggets of meaning surface.
To help you in your quest for personal understanding and dream meaning, I've written a few pages on common dream symbols.
These meanings are broad and general. They are offered with a goal to spark new ideas within you that will aid in solving your own dream mysteries.
Where did I get these specific dream symbol meanings from? Over the years, these are the symbols most commonly asked of me for interpretation.
Meaning of colors in dreams can be found here.
More dream meanings will likely be added as time allows.
Dream meaning of blood deals with life, fluidity, passion and that which sustains us. Blood dreams get right down to the nitty gritty of emotional issues that have been coagulating deep beneath surface life experience, those aspects that dwell in the deepest fathoms of our awareness. Some messages that may manifest from blood include a sense of guilt (dreaming of blood on our hands), overburdened or weak and needing to take rest (loosing blood in our dreams), challenges with making social connections or emotional ties (seeing someone else's blood).
Another foundational dream symbol, the body speaks from our dreaming mind in terms of stability, action, knowing, basics, foundations and structure. The body may also offer clues into our status of health. In our conscious realm, we rely most heavily on our physical senses for understanding - our bodies are big sensory devices, endlessly interpreting (taste, touch, smell, hearing, seeing). So, when we dream of bodies, it may be a call to pay closer attention to our surroundings - get a deeper sense or interpretation of our environment.
According to Dr. Carl Jung, the building is symbolic of us, and the condition of the building will be telling about our current status (emotional, mental, spiritual and particularly physical status). The dream meaning of buildings may also point to social status, specifically building a network in business relationships. Buildings also remind us of progress, and could be a sign of advancement, promotion and building on a solid foundation. I'm a bit twisted - buildings look phallic to me, so I often interpret them as a sign of a need to thrust creative power into a receptive outlet (told you I was twisted). See also dreaming of houses.
They are the macrocosm of thought. The moisture (rain) they hold is the macrocosm of emotion. So, clouds in dreams talk to us about the balance between our analytical (thought processing) mind and our touchy-feely emotions. Dark clouds hint to a brooding nature, perhaps a situation in which we have dark feelings about something, but are unable to (mentally, constructively) express these feelings. Bright puffy clouds indicates a healthy disposition, a hopeful outlook and a state of well-being. See also dreaming of water.
The dream meaning of soil or earth is very similar to the body because it deals with our roots, stability and foundations. When we dream of dark, rich soil it is a message of fertility, birth and suggests now is an optimal time to plant the seeds of our creativity with the promise of prime growth. If we're viewing barren lands in our dreams, it's time for renewal - take a holiday, go to a spa - do what you've got to do to refresh your inner landscape. Here's a link to my post on dream meaning of mud you may be interested in too. You may also dig my page on earth symbols here.
Understandably, the dream meaning of eyes deals with perception. Eyes interpret light, and so when we dream of them we're dealing with a greater vision, illumination, enlightenment, understanding and even our concept of reality. Injured eyes may indicate we're not seeing the facts clearly, or we're simply unable to face certain truths at this time. Closed eyes may either indicate surrender to a situation (leaving it to faith) or choosing avoidance over action. Eye color in dreams is subject to your interpretation too. Eye patches suggests perception is marred, not all the facts are known, and it might be time to explore all the details. You may also be interested in my entry on dreaming of eyeglasses and my full-page post on symbolic meaning of eyes (in general).
Dream meaning of faces should be interpreted according to the expression on the dream face. These are pretty explanatory. Happy faces elicit meanings of joy, harmony, peace, prosperity. Gruesome or unpleasant faces indicate turbulences, discontent, hostility, worry, inner displeasure. Illuminated faces are often portents of higher knowledge dispensed to the dreamer (maybe from a loved one, spirit guide or angel). A dream face with no features points to a heavy reliance on faith, spirituality or extrasensory perception to gain understanding over the use of physical senses. Also see dreaming of eyes (above).
Transition, cycles, fragility, development - all the delicate beauty flowers convey are mirrored in our dreams. Blossoming flowers in dreams carry a sweet scent of growth, development and becoming more aware of ourselves within the context of our environment. Faded, wilting or dying flowers indicate the passing of a season, a chapter of our life experience is coming to a close. Flowers (like soil/earth dream meaning) also point to health, and the condition of our dream flowers can help us in our healing practices. The color of flowers can also be telling in our dream interpretation. See my page on symbolic meaning of flowers here.
Dream hands signal communication, generosity, industry, activity, receptivity and control. Open hands indicate an open heart, a willingness to receive deeper knowing on a spiritual level. Praying hands carry the same meaning, but the learning comes from a more structured source (seminary, college, church or organized study). Clenched hands conveys a feeling of wanting to take action, but feeling incapable of doing so. Other aggressive hand gestures hint to the same - frustration due to feeling helpless or a lack of control. See my full-page post on symbolic meaning of hands here.
Ever had the naked dream? Common interpretations will reveal a dream of being naked (particularly before a group of peers) is a sign of insecurity, humiliation, shame or feelings of vulnerability. I don't buy it. I think dreaming of ourselves in the buff indicates a return to our natural state. "Be yourself" is the message I get. Further, dreaming of ourselves nude may be a message to become liberated, get a taste of true freedom, break out of conformity, limitation and the ties that bind.
This one wasn't a common dream symbol among the requests for interpretations, but there were a few questions, and I dream of planets pretty often, so I'm throwing it in the mix. When those bright beauties light up my dream life, I associate the dream planet with the actual personality of the planet. Our Greek friends can help with this (you know, Mars, the god of war would indicate aggressive, heat and assertion). They're all archetypes and can enhance our understanding. Non-specific planets speak to us of influence (what orbits your awareness, and what kind of influence do you have over it - or vice versa). See my page on planet meanings here.
Kind of a no-brainer, dream meaning of storms conjures up questions like "Who or what am I allowing to rain on my parade? What storms are brewing within my emotional being right now? Are tumultuous emotions accumulating and why?" Torrential storms are an obvious sign of discontent - usually due to a feeling of helplessness over the situation ("acts of God" or "there's nothing I can do" that sort of mentality). Storms often brew in our dreams when we've got some serious fears we're glossing over in our conscious lives.
Dream meaning of streets and roads meander in our minds when we are on a specific path. Dream streets may point to a destination after a long, arduous trek in our personal evolution. They may also indicate a philosophical/spiritual journey we've embarked upon. In this case, the condition of our dream streets will clue us in on our progress in our spiritual walk. Streets also point to navigation, a message we may need to check in, or stop and get directions or help in our current situation. My blog post on the meaning of crossroads here may also help your interpretations.
This one is a biggie. I've had the dream too. Teeth falling out. Very unsettling. It points to an underlying belief or fear we have no control over our lives. It may also indicate a loss experienced. Or, a fear of losing something/someone of great value. I've read some interpretations in which teeth are associated with sexual prowess. I'm not sure I buy that one either. Perhaps more befitting is the concept of speech and the act of speaking when dream teeth come to chatter. Losing them may indicate a fear of losing our voice (metaphorically speaking) . Otherwise, the condition of dream teeth may clue us in on our ability to verbally express ourselves.
Power, control, navigation, direction and innovation. Vehicles are devices 100% reliant upon humans to create, operate and maintain. That's a powerful symbol of will. Vehicles also point to the ability to escape. Don't like what's going on? Jump in a car and leave it behind. That's how the dreaming mind often processes conflict - in terms of escape. Dream vehicles are also symbolic of navigating our way through the various mazes we find ourselves in. Dream meaning of vehicles may indicate a need to consult a map (education, mentors, spiritual texts, whatever) for guidance.
Dream meaning of weapons aim at aggression, assertion and action. These are also phallic symbols (in my opinion) and so speak of masculine (yang) energy. Dreaming of weapons points to a propensity to settle difficulties through force, maybe even violence. Weapons may also hint to themes of provision (you know, hunter-provider archetypes). Weapons (particularly swords) may also carry sacred symbolism, mysticism and ritual. At its core, dreaming of weapons points to a fine balance between lack and gain in conjunction with our methods of obtaining what we want.
Dream meaning of wings carry messages of "spread your wings and fly" to new locations (physical moves), understanding (gaining knowledge through study, school, etc) or flying to new spiritual heights. Dreaming of wings themselves may indicate it's time to work on inner landscapes, or a prompting to fly into the realms of spirituality. It may also encourage a spring cleaning of the mind (sweep away rubbish thoughts) to gain clarity in thought about a certain troubling situation. I've written more about the meaning of wings here. You may also be interested in my dreaming of angels entry.
I hope you have enjoyed this page on common dream meaning and symbolism. Again, these are just my observations that have served me. Your own interpretation is the one to yield the greatest harvest in understanding.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!