A Guide To Symbols And Their Meanings

Introduction

Some of us will experience bizarre dreams every now and again, some weirder than others. When these bizarre dreams come, they can leave us wondering why we are getting them, and what is the talking broccoli that sent us to speak to the King of the Fridge in our dreams really telling us.

Dreaming

Okay, that’s a weird example, but it does leave us wondering why we have these dreams and how their meanings can be applied to our lives.

In our dreams, we get a stream of seemingly random imagery that makes no sense. However, our dreams are just us expressing ourselves in unique ways that make sense to our brains when it happens, but perhaps not to our waking conscious minds.

We seek to help you understand what your dreams are really trying to tell you, so that you can decode those bizarre messages left for you by your brain in your sleep.

Symbolism In Dreams

Symbolism In Dreams

Whether you remember them or not, we all have dreams. They can be happy, joyful, adventurous and fun, or they might be frustrating, frightening, awkward, and bizarre. Some dreams can even be boring, or calming.

Every night, you can have anywhere from one to six dreams, depending on how long you sleep for, and how many times throughout the night you enter rapid-eye-movement.

It is likely you will not remember every dream you have, however, you may remember the last one before you wake up, or you may remember vivid dreams. Some of us even have recurring dreams, which we usually remember.

Finding the symbolism behind the dream can be tricky. It is not always the same for everyone, and most of us will wake up totally befuddled by what our brain is doing while we let it take control at night.

All you really need is a good google to help you figure it all out.

What Are Dreams?

However, before we get into what the symbols in dreams mean, let’s look at what exactly dreams are.

Dreams might seem a bit odd when we think about them, mini-movies our brain creates while we sleep. The premise is weird. However, it is something very normal.

Dreams are thoughts, images, and sensations that occur in our life, we may even experience sounds too.

There is no real evidence about what dreams consist of, but it is accepted that dreams represent a collection of our thoughts, feelings, struggles, emotions, events, people, places, and symbols, all relevant to us in one way or another.

We can dream over multiple stages of sleep throughout the night, however, our most vivid dreams will occur during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

Dreams have many functions, some will appear to assist in the formation of our memories, help with integration, and problem-solving, as well as the consolidation of ideas about ourselves and about the world around us. It is basically our brain’s own weird way of processing information.

Dreams also assist in processing information and with regulating our moods too. Some would say that dreams hold leftover thoughts and feelings from the day before, acting as a way to get it out so that it does not consume time the next day.

There is still much for people to learn about dreams. Nightmares are one of these things. It is known that people with PTSD have nightmares, and are more likely to have them, but people without PTSD have nightmares too. This is assumed because dreaming is a very emotional process.

20 Most Common Symbols

20 Most Common Symbols

While there are many things we can dream about, there are some common symbols we all dream about at one point or another. This does not mean that the universe is sending us a message about these things.

Instead, our subconscious uses these things as symbols to alert the waking mind of our own feelings and thoughts. Dream symbols can tell us about things we are feeling that we may not have acknowledged.

1. Animals

2. Babies

3. Being Chased

4. Clothes

5. Crosses

6. Exams

7. Death

8. Falling

9. Water

10. Food

11. Demons

12. Hair

13. Hands

14. Houses

15. Killing

16. Marriage

17. People

18. Money

19. Mountains

20. Being Trapped

What Do They Mean?

What Do They Mean

What dreams mean is still left up to interpretation. If you were flying in a dream this could be relative to wish fulfillment, or if you were on a plane recently, or went bungee jumping, this might also be the reason.

Remember that while these things are symbols in our dreams, that they are not always symbolic, sometimes they may be a memory of something we did recently, and our brain is telling us we enjoy that (if it is a good dream).

Dreams can also be subjective to things you have done, as well as being symbolic.

Animals And Their Meanings

Many of us will dream of animals. We love animals in our waking hours, and many of us have pets. It would not be surprising for our pets to show up in our dreams, and they are a regular part of our waking lives.

However, if you do not have a pet, or if the animal is not your pet, it can also mean other things. Animals typically represent the part of us that feels connected to nature and survival.

If you were being chased by a predator, this might mean you are holding back repressed feelings such as anger and emotion.

It is well worth looking into the specific meaning behind the animal you dream of, as every animal has a specific meaning relative to it.

Babies And Their Meanings

If you have a baby, you might dream of them often, as they will likely be the biggest part of your life.

Yet, if you do not have a baby, dreaming of one can mean many things. The obvious symbolism here might be that you have a real desire to reproduce, and you want to have a baby.

However, you probably know if this is the case. It can also mean other things too, it could be a symbol of your own vulnerability, or a yearning need to feel loved, cared for, and adored.

Babies as symbolism in dreams can also signify a new start in life. The need to start anew. If you dreamt of a baby in a work environment, this might be a symbol that you need a fresh start in your career.

Being Chased And It’s Meaning

Being chased is a common dream, a lot of people will have this one, at least once or twice in their lives.

You always need to take into account how you react to being chased in your dream, as it will say a lot about how you are feeling right now.

Being chased is a very common dream symbol across many cultures, and it means that you are feeling threatened. You should take into account who is chasing you, as the chaser may be symbolic too.

Try to figure out who it is and why your mind associates this with them, and how they might be a possible threat in your waking life.

Clothes And It’s Meaning

Dreaming about clothes does not mean simply wearing clothes in a dream, but it refers to when they have a significant role to play in your dream.

Clothing makes a statement for us in our waking lives, and so in a dream, clothes make a statement about how we want others to perceive us.

If you dream that you are weaning shabby clothing, for example, then you might feel unattractive, or worn out.

If you dream that you are changing what you wear, this might reflect a need for a lifestyle change, or a change in how you feel about yourself.

It all depends on how you feel and react to the clothing in your dreams as well. If you react negatively to what you wear, it may mean a need to ‘get changed’.

Crosses And It’s Meaning

Crosses are a broad symbol. They are very dependent on the person who is dreaming of them. If you are religious, then it may be a reference to your beliefs.

If you have missed a church service recently, seeing a cross in your dreams may be an inner desire to go to church again.

However, some also see crosses as a symbol of balance, death, or even the ending to a particular phase of our lives.

They can have varying meanings depending on the person themselves and the situation. Take a look at the specific circumstances of the dream to get a better idea of what they are trying to tell you.

Exams And It’s Meaning

Have you ever dreamt you are back in school, and you are late for an exam, you wake up panicking then realize, you haven’t been in school in years! We’ve all been there.


However, this particular dream does have a unique meaning. Dreaming of exams signifies self-evaluation. The content of the exam may reflect a part of your personality, or your life, becoming under inspection.

Of course, if it was your favorite subject, and you have been feeling nostalgic lately, this is likely also a reason.

If you are late for the exam, then your brain might be telling you that you are in need of more control in your life. If you didn’t revise for this exam, then this may also be the same.

Consider the topic, and how you feel in the dream.

Death And It’s Meaning

Death is never a pleasant topic. However, it does crop up in our dreams from time to time. When it does, we need to look at what it is telling us.

The death of a friend or loved one presents change, such as endings and new beginnings. This is not a psychic prediction, simply, it is your brain’s way of saying that things will change soon.

Of course, if you are recently bereaved, then dreaming of death can also be your brain’s way to try and help you come to terms with the loss, and process things.

It is also not uncommon to dream of the recently lost person. Remember, dreams help to store memories, and your brain may just be dreaming of this person to help you remember them in these sad times.

Falling And It’s Meaning

Falling is a very common dream, symbolically it relates to anxieties, and letting go. It can also represent letting go, losing control, or somehow failing after a success.

Look at how you react when you fall. If you panic, it may be that you feel out of control in a situation.

However, if you are calm and accept that you are falling, it might mean that you have come to terms with the situation, having accepted it and are stronger.

How you react has a big part to play in falling dreams. Think about what happened before you fell, and who was present, this may indicate what in your waking life may have brought about these anxieties, or loss of control.

Water And It’s Meaning

Water symbolizes our inner selves. Our inner minds, how we feel, and the state of our unconscious minds at the present time.

The type of water, and state of the water, signifies how your mind is feeling right now. Chaotic, crashing waves would be a symbol of uneasiness, perhaps, anger, panic, rage, or upheaval. On the other hand, a calm and shimmering lake could mean inner peace and a restful state of mind.

If you have been near water recently, or if you are avidly into water sports, then water may appear more in your dreams, and hold more relevance to your everyday activities than that state of your unconscious mind.

Remember that while these things have meaning, our waking activities and lives can also have input too.

Food And It’s Meaning

Food can appear in our dreams too. Isn’t it annoying when you have a delicious meal in your dreams, and then wake up craving it, not knowing how to make it? Argh!

Food does not always symbolize a delicious meal you had lately, or something you are craving.

Sometimes, food can be symbolic, too. It can often symbolize knowledge, because it nourishes the body, much like information, and learning nourishes the brain.

However, this is not always the case, and sometimes food can just be food. Take into account the way it appeared to you in your dreams, and how you reacted to it. Food is most likely to represent knowledge, where you seek it out for nourishment.

Demons And Their Meaning

When you dream of demons, it does not mean Satan has his little minions crawling into your brain.

Demons are symbolic dream creatures, they will usually represent you, or a particular person around you.

They are sneaky, evil little entities that tend to represent repressed emotions. Think of the phrase ‘inner demons’. In some cases, the demons in your dreams can be your inner demons.

You may feel the need to change your behaviors for the better if you find that demons appear in your dreams a lot, as it may be a self reflection.

However, if there are a lot of negative people around you, then this may also be a representation of these people and how they are not a good influence on your life.

Hair And It’s Meaning

Hair can be very symbolic in dreams, though we would not realize it. Freud had quite a lot to say on this topic.

Freud believed that there were significant ties between hair in dreams and sexuality. He said that abundant hair might symbolize virility, whereas cutting off hair would show a loss of libido.

However, hair can have other meanings too, as like clothes we often express ourselves through our hair. Hair being cut off might be off, or lost, can represent the very real fear of hair loss and going bald.

However, as our hair is often very closely tied to our style, hair loss could be a fear of loss of ourselves and our uniqueness, or it could be closely related to how we often think about how others view us.

Coloring our hair in our dreams could also signify change too.

Hands And Their Meaning

We always have hands in our dreams, they are always present, so how can they be symbolic?

Well, our hands and what we do with them can be symbolic. If we find that our hands are tied up in our dreams, then it might be trying to show us that we are feeling futile.

Washing our hands can also be a signifier of feeling guilty.

If you look at your hands in a dream, then this is actually a good way to become lucid.

Hands can be more significant than we may have thought. Think about the situations in which these motions appear, and it may help you find out what your hands are trying to tell you as you sleep.

Houses And It’s Meaning

Houses are a common part of our lives, we need a house to have a good quality of life. So, it is no surprise that they appear in our dreams from time to time. However, while they can host a whole load of dream symbols, one of the most common is that the building represents your inner mind as a whole unit.

Each room and floor might represent different memories, emotions, or meaningful events.

The house is the sanctity of your mind, so pay attention to what goes on here, and who is inside your ‘house’. If you have nightmares in your house, pay attention to what happens, as it might give you an idea as to why you are having nightmares, unwelcome people might be getting into your psyche.

Killing And It’s Meaning

When people ‘kill’ in their dreams, it can make them worry that there is a psychopathic side to them, or that they are a closeted murderer, however, this is not the case.

Killing in your dreams represents your desire to ‘kill’ off a part of yourself. So, this might mean that there is a part of your personality which no longer serves you well anymore, and is holding you back, and thus you desire to kill it off.

This can be why you kill in your dreams, pay attention to why you kill that ‘person’ or ‘part of your persona’, what do they do? How do they act? This can help you figure it out.

Similarly, killing in your dreams can represent hostility toward a particular person.

Marriage And It’s Meaning

Marriage in your dreams can make for a very nice, or at least, a very interesting dream. Dreaming of marriage can represent the literal desire to get married. However, always pay attention to how you react, it may give you a hint on how you feel about this.

You may dream of marriage as people have spoken about it recently, or perhaps you have been to a wedding lately. How you react and feel in your dream might help you realize how you feel about the concept of marriage and getting married.

Dreaming of marriage can also mean that you need to, or want to, merge the feminine, and masculine parts of your inner self.

People And Their Meanings

We all have other people turn up in our dreams. Sometimes they are people we know, and are versions of people we may have seen in movies or on television.

However, people we do not know popping up in our dreams can be reflections of our own self, they might demonstrate aspects of our personality in specific ways, that may be most prominent at this moment in your life, or that may be needed more at this time, and are announcing themselves.

In this case it is important to recognize what these dream characters offer you, in how they act, and relate them to aspects of who you are. If a dream character appears, and they are a bit stubborn, perhaps that is the persona you require right now to get things done.

Money And Their Meanings

We might dream of money because, well, money does make the world go round these days, and we may dream of having more of it to better our lives.

However, money can be a symbol as well as a literal aspect of life that we may dream of.

In our dreams’ money can symbolize self-worth, how we see ourselves in the world. How much money do you dream of, do you dream of a lot of money (high self-worth), or little (low self-worth).

Money can also symbolize that you are anticipating a changing beginning in your life, likely positive ones, as money is often seen as a positive thing to obtain.

Mountains And Their Meaning

We all know that mountains are obstacles.  People climb mountains in their waking lives to challenge themselves and overcome them.

If you dream of successfully climbing a mountain then this can bring about a true feeling of achievement, perhaps meaning that you have or will achieve something great, or perhaps that you need that feeling right now.

Similarly, if you view a landscape from the top of a mountain, then this can symbolize reviewing life without conscious prejudice. Of course, if you have recently been out trekking or hiking then it is likely relative to this, and more of a memory than symbolism.

Being Trapped And It’s Meaning

Being trapped (physically) is a common and terrifying nightmare. The nightmare of being trapped is very, very common, and so is the underlying meaning too.

To be trapped in your dream, often means that you feel trapped in real life, likely a real life inability to escape or make the right choice. If you are trapped in a job you hate, a relationship that is not healthy, or a living situation that is not suitable for you, you may dream of being trapped.

How Can They Be Interpreted In Your Life?

How Can They Be Interpreted In Your Life

When we often have weird dreams that stand out to us, but we cannot quite figure out why we are having them, we seek to understand them and figure out why they are happening.

Figuring out our dreams can take some time, and some thought. You are basically seeking to unravel the logic of your own subconscious mind, so it is your brain Vs you.

There is no solid evidence about the meanings of dreams, different things in our lives have different meanings and associations, as we give to them.

However, no two people’s dream meanings will ever be identical, and this is why you need to figure out for yourself what your dreams mean.

Your dream meanings will likely be closely tied into how you see things, your unique stage of life, and what is going on around you.

Having unique and weird dreams may, simply, just be your brain’s way of asking you to pay more mind to your life and the world around you.

Start Taking Notes Of Significant Symbols In Your Dreams And If They Reoccur

To start your journey to find out what your dreams are trying to tell you, it is worthwhile getting a dream journal and making notes on the significant symbols (or events) that take place in your dreams, and note if they are reoccurring.

This can help you to pinpoint certain things, and narrow down what they may mean. You do not have to write the whole dream down, just the important stuff.

Note down reoccurring dreams, as these might be trying to tell you something, and if you haven’t caught on, they may occur again, especially if it is relevant to something going on in your life, and how you should face an issue.

Evaluate What Is Going On In Your Life And If Anything Needs To Be Changed

When trying to understand what your dreams are trying to tell you, it is essential to evaluate what is going on in your life, and if you need to change anything. If there are aspects of your life in which you are not particularly happy, then you need to evaluate this and see how you can change it.

Look at your notes on your dreams, and see if any of the dream symbols you have encountered might be relevant, there may even be pointers to help you tackle the issues you have going on. Your brain is crafty, and it might be giving you the answers you need indirectly, while you sleep.

Trust Your Instinct And Embrace Your Dreams

In modern society, we have forgotten the laws of nature, and that although we are human, we are also animals with instincts. Trust your instincts, and try to embrace your dreams and what they are telling you.

Doing so can make facing many of the situations in our lives much easier. Rather than thinking the straightforward human way, remember that you should trust your instincts, and your dreams are part of this.

Things need not be as complicated as we tend to make them, so take the advice of your subconscious mind, and things might be a bit easier.

Summary

Sleeping

We all dream, and some of our dreams will be bizarre, there is no doubt about that. However, those bizarre dreams we often have can have more meaning than we might think.

Dreams can have symbolic meanings behind them, it’s not mystical, magical, or a message from god. It is a message from our subconscious to our conscious, letting us know how we are feeling, what emotions we need to acknowledge and how we need to face the things going on around us.

The contents of our dreams might be a little weird, however, they can help us to better ourselves and do better for ourselves, so it is worth taking note of them and listening.

Dreams are a conversation within the self about the self on a deep, subconscious level. While we are busy living our modern lives, our brain is reminding us that we matter too by telling us in our dreams.

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