Dream Animal Symbolism

Animal Symbolism And Dream Meanings

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Avia

Common Animal Symbolism Associated With Dream Meanings: Dreams and animals go together like traffic and weather. These two are an unbeatable combo for gaining insight and personal wisdom. Why? Because animals are pure, switched-on energy. They have no ulterior motive, no ego, no baggage to keep them from expressing the primitive essence of Nature.

Dreams are kind of the same way too. Dreams come from a place of pure potential. They spring from the fountain of our unconscious. Even though dreams might be tinged with our ego, they are still a form of primal energy.

Together, animals and dreams form a dynamic duo offering us raw data about the innermost depths of our psyche, our bodies, our perception, emotions, environment…you get the idea. Animal symbolism in dreams is worthy of a closer lookie-loo. Investigating our animal dreams can lead to powerful epiphanies and forge grand connections between our intuition and Nature. In short, animals in dreams represent the wild side of ourselves.

Logically, different animals in dreams will have different meanings. However, there are a few universal meanings that can be applied when we dream of any animal, bird, fish, insect, etc. These common core meanings are as follows in the list below.

“The interpretation of dreams is a great art.”

animal dream meanings
animal dream meanings

Common Themes When Dreaming of Animals

  • Purity
  • Instinct
  • Survival
  • Balance
  • Provision
  • Protection
  • Adaptation
  • Primal Urge
  • Resourcefulness
  • Sensory Perception

Keep these cornerstone themes in mind while interpreting your dream meanings. Combine these meanings with your dream animal symbolism. Then apply these symbolic features to what’s going on in your life. Try to open a dialogue between your dream animal and your deeper self. This dialogue will answer pressing questions you may have about your circumstances.

This article is written with the intent to encourage and inspire you to heed the call of the wild in your dreams. It is my utmost hope this page on animal symbolism associated with dream meanings will get your intuition ignited and open broad vistas of understanding.

“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.”

~Chief Seattle

A List of Common Animal Symbolism and Dream Meanings

You’ll notice I’ve included a “Dream Question” for each entry. I often find asking the right question about a dream is an effective way to get meaningful answers. So, if you’ve dreamt about an animal, try asking yourself the “Dream Question” and really ponder it. You may find this question extremely helpful in your interpretations.

Happy interpreting! 


Symbolism: Transformation, Freedom, Beauty, Soul, Spirit, Creativity, Change
Dream Meanings: Countless cultures around the world identify the butterfly with the soul. If you think about it, this is a lovely metaphor. Butterflies speak to us about evolution and metamorphosis on a spiritual level. Dreaming of the butterfly may imply a time of dormancy – a time in which we undergo soulful, inner contemplation. This refers to our “chrysalis” stage. A chrysalis is a hard, protective covering in which the butterfly undergoes its magnificent transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Bear this elegant transformation in mind as you interpret your butterfly dreams. Allow yourself to curl up in a warm, safe place so you can gently process your personal development. Embrace the theme of creativity and freedom in your expansive growth. Butterfly dreams remind us that change is inevitable. With time, a little effort and patience, that change can be glorious, thrilling and as beautiful as the butterfly itself. Get more butterfly meanings here.
Dream Question: “What changes am I facing and how can I prepare myself for them?


Animal Symbolism: [female/doe] Sensitivity, Grace, Harmony, Guidance. [male/stag] Virility, Passion, Power, Instinct
Dream Meanings: Whether a doe or stag, dream deer implies guidance to good things. Early man (pre-industrial) observed deer as super-savvy at tracking herbs and edible greens under blankets of snow. In essence, the deer helped our ancestors by guiding them to good eats. Deer in dreams often show us the way to things that heal and nurture our soul. Dream deer are also a sign to be “on point”. Deer will ask you to be alert and sensitive to your environment. Keep a keen understanding of what is going on around you and how outside influences affect you. Dreaming of deer also hints to regaining balance – especially in terms of harmonizing with Mother Nature. Deer encourage communion with the outdoors. They ask us to be sensitive to the rhythm and spirit of Nature. The stag in dreams is symbolic of owning your power. This noble creature advises you to be fearless in revealing your majesty, your strength and your assets. The doe in dreams conjures an element of tenderness, grace and beauty. She asks you to love every bit of who you are and let your inner beauty shimmer with soulful style. Get stag meanings here, and more on deer meanings here.
Dream Question: “How can I more deeply trust the guidance I am receiving?


Symbolism: Peace, Tranquility, Hope, Love, Purity, Spirituality
Dream Meanings: The dove has earned high honors in a litany of cultural perspectives. For example, the dove is a sacred symbol of Venus, Eros and Aphrodite – all deities who represent love and affection. By association, the dove in dreams will coo to us about our love lives, as well as elements in our world that carry meanings of love to our hearts. Christianity denotes the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In this light, dove-dreams are a gentle reminder to refocus on our spirituality; take note of the “sanctum sanctorum“…the “holiest of holy’s” in our lives. Doves in dreams point to altruism, which is the practice of selflessness, sacrifice for a higher cause. Dove-dreams can also navigate us into new heights of inspiration, particularly in matters of the heart. Do you aspire to love more deeply? Are you aching to make a positive difference in the world? The dove in your dreams is a bright beacon leading the way to accomplishing these admirable goals. Dove dreams are also a sign you are magnificently capable and equipped to love more, give more, and spread peace within your realm of influence. See more symbolic dove meanings here.
Dream Question: “In what ways can I unfurl my spiritual wings with a goal to spread peace and love more effectively?


Symbolism: Going with the flow, Emotional status, Hidden meanings, Direction, Fertility, Self-knowledge
Dream Meanings: Fish in dreams are ephemeral swimmers of the subconscious. Consider: In real-life, fish are always just below the surface of our vision. Even though we may not see them all the time, fish are certainly making waves beneath our ability to see. Emotions can be the same. Fish in dreams may point to feelings that are stirring underneath our every-day awareness. When you dream of fish, it might be a good idea to take emotional inventory. Are you harboring hidden grudges? Hidden desires? Dream-fish can help you flush out those feelings tucked deep within. Water is their realm, and water is symbolic of flushing out, purification, and emotional renewal. By association, dream-fish can assist in getting our emotions back in harmonic flow. As a fertility symbol, the fish is a messenger of new birth. This could be in the form of a new baby on the way. Or, it could mean the birth of a new idea, project, or direction in life. More about fish meaning and symbolism here.
Dream Question: “How can I let my emotions flow in a positive direction?


Animal Symbolism: Endurance, Strength, Partnership, Devotion, Intelligence, Control
Dream Meanings: Horse meanings in dreams can be diverse. All dream animal meanings vary depending upon color of the animal, environment, and what the creature is doing in your dream. This is especially true with horses. If you consider, the horse has been an ally to humankind for centuries; helping humans accomplish tough work up to and beyond the industrial era. Dreaming of riding or working with a horse is a sign of finding a partner to help you get whatever work you need done. Dreaming of wild horses suggests a need for freedom, a time in which you need to stretch your wild, creative muscles and race into a new pasture of expression. White horses are often symbolic of intelligence, intuition and a clarity of focus. Black horses in dreams are symbolic of information or developments that aren’t fully clear right now; there is a mystery or secret that needs to be revealed. Overwhelmingly, dream-horses are symbolic of control of raw energy. Horses in dreams may encourage harnessing high-voltage urges or emotions and funneling them into a beneficial project, task or direction. Horses in dreams remind us of our tremendous power, beauty and endurance. They also remind us to reign our animal urges if we feel out of control. Learn more about horse symbolism here.
Dream Question: “How can I harness my natural power to reach my destination?


Animal Symbolism: Sensitivity, Fertility, Speed, Luck, Home
Dream Meanings: Bounding bunnies in our dreams indicate a need to focus on hearth, home and family. Rabbits in real-life are incredibly prolific in making babies. By association, rabbits in dreams often point to new life, and taking care of large families. Rabbits are also uber-sensitive to their environment; ready to bolt to safety at the slightest hint of danger. In dreams, rabbits suggest the same. Dreaming of rabbits may indicate an innate fear nagging at you, and a need to seek safety from threat. Countless cultures (Asian, Native American, Celtic) consider the rabbit as a lucky sign – an omen of good stuff coming in the future. Your rabbit dream may be a message of some good fortune coming your way. The rabbit is also linked with the moon. In dreams, rabbit-moon symbolism speaks to us about progress, productivity (fertility), cycles of time, intuition and illuminating our ideals about our environment (family, home, etc). Working with the rabbit in dreams will render speedy results. The rabbit is a fast teacher, and will put you on the fast-track to clear understanding . Get more rabbit symbolism here.
Dream Question: “What’s the best path to insure the safety and well-being of myself and family?


Symbolism: Patience, Progress, Consistency, Creativity, Travel, Protection
Dream Meanings: We all know about the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The turtle wins the race by taking the slow and steady path. That fable is a theme in our turtle-dreams. Turtles/tortoises in dreams suggest the need to stay calm, and methodically plod on. Terrapins in dreams ask us to slow down, be patient, take one step at a time to reach our desired outcomes. Consistent, steady progress is a big theme for dream-turtles. Dream-turtles are also symbolic of protection. This refers to their hard, protective shell. In dreams, turtles may imply a need to armor ourselves or protect our assets from potential harm. Turtles in dreams may also point to upcoming travel plans. If this is the case, expect to receive a burst of inspiration and creativity in your travel-adventures. Turtles are associated with new ideas and creativity due to their association with the moon, water and tons of creation myths in which they are featured. Find out more about symbolic turtle meaning here.
Dream Question: “How can I effectively pace myself and be more patient in my endeavors?

Final Thoughts About Dream Animal Symbolism and Meanings

These are just a few animals and their meanings in dreams. Each of these creatures have loads more information to offer for our interpretive sojourns into the dream realm. This is just a smattering. I highly encourage everybody to do further research into dream animals and their meanings for a well-rounded perspective.

I’ve written more on animal symbolism and dream meanings. That article delves into bees, cats, dogs, elephants in dreams and more. It’s worth a look-see if you didn’t find your dream animal here. Check out Animals in Dreams here. I’ve also got a goodly amount of supportive information about dreams in general. Just check out the links at the end of this page for more dream meanings.

As always, thanks for reading, and may all your dreams be replete with magical meanings.

Mighty brightly,

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