Common Dream Symbols
Here are a few common dream symbols.
This list is *not* meant to be comprehensive,
just a small guide to help you get started. I prefer to interpret symbols within the context of the dream they
appear in, rather than piece by piece which would leave too much room for error. There are thousands of
symbols, and it depends upon the context of one's own personal dream as to what they all mean for him/her.
Look at it this way...a dream is like a puzzle, and although there are several pieces that are quickly pieced
together because they are so obvious, the puzzle isn't complete until all the pieces are placed together bit by bit.
Then you have the complete picture...until then, you'll only have disjointed images that don't add up to anything
coherent, and you'll still be confused.
So please remember that and try not to piecemeal a dream...it needs to be fully interpreted or it will most likely be
totally wrong. That is why I rarely answer emails where people are asking the symbology of 1 single symbol
unless they show they are interpreting the entire dream and just need a little help.
One last important thought: I get so many emails that go something like this: "I dreamed that my boyfriend
cheated on me...does this mean he will in waking life?» and «I dreamed that my father died...I'm scared! Is this a
precognitive dream?" Most dreams are * NOT * precognitive, and once one learns the subtle differences between
a precognitive dream v.s. a regular dream, they are easily discernable and will put your mind at ease. The first
thing everyone should consider is the typical universal symbology of the dream images. For instance, death
symbolizes the end of something that's ready for change, and a new beginning. Most people start out highly
resistive to changes of any sort, and see any upcoming change in their life as something foreboding and scary.
Death dreams are usually about change.
Dreams about a boyfriend cheating on you are most likely--though not always--fear-based dreams. There may be
a nagging fear eating away in your subconscious that is breaking through in a dream, or you may have fear of
abandonment issues rooted in childhood that are affecting your dreams and this would then be a signal for you to
get a handle on this problem before it grows into something that could hurt the relationship. Or it could be that
you noticed inattentive behavior towards you by your boyfriend, while he has been spending less time with you
and being cryptic when you ask him questions, so a warning flag in the form of a dream has appeared to help you
become more aware and start dealing with this issue.
The above are several examples of how dreams can be fear-based or showing your negative viewpoints more
than anything else, and one should not suddenly dump their boyfriend because they dream he cheated on them.
It's been done many times, and it's a sad commentary on just how important it is for people to learn how to
understand their own dreams more effectively, to save themselves much heartache. Once you learn how to do
this, you will be relieved and amazed at how much clearer your life becomes. It no longer seems like one big
puzzle. That said, let's get to some common dream symbols!
These are not 100% right in every person's situation, but they are common symbols and their meanings to give
you a point of reference to go by. Evaluate your own individual dream against this info to see if it feels right in
your case. If it doesn't--chuck it and move on. Have fun exploring!
TEETH : My most popular requests for dream interpretation are by far, dreams about teeth falling out.
Apparently this is quite disturbing to people who have this dream...they simply MUST know what it means! In
my experience, a dream about one's teeth falling out usually symbolizes that the dreamer is having a challenge
getting their voice heard, or feelings acknowledged. This may be referring to their conversations with a particular
person such as their significant other, boss, or friend; or can be generalized for people who are shy, to include
almost everyone they come in contact with. The dreamer needs to brush up on conversational skills, believe in
the value of their own opinion, learn how to be less intimidated by aggressive people, and become more assertive
and make their voice heard. Once they do that, this dream (which is a common recurring dream) should evolve &
show improvement...or disappear altogether.
PEOPLE : Every person that appears in a dream is supposed to represent an aspect of one's Self, and
not actually be about that other person at all; rather, it is a quality or characteristic about that person that your
dream is focusing on, and how it applies to YOU. Try to think about what aspect(s) this could be. It can be
something you admire and wish to emulate and incorporate into your own personality, or it could be a more
negative characteristic that you may dislike intensely in your waking life, but which is telling you something about
yourself and your beliefs, judgements, & attitude. It could be a call to alter your thinking in some manner, in
order to be more open-minded and accepting of this aspect in their and your own personality, because it is
hampering your spiritual growth & making life harder for yourself. The other person in your dream is always
mirroring something back to you about YOURSELF. Try to discover what that something is, and go from there.
Once you get it through your head that the other person's appearance in your dream is NOT about them, but
really about YOU, then you will get much more successful interpreting your own dreams. This takes constant
reinforcing--I still find myself wanting to think it's about that other person instead of me. The only exception I
know of is if the dream is precognitive.
FLYING : usually represents freedom from the physical body, as we experience in sleep & while
dreaming where we don't use our physical bodies but instead use our mental & spiritual bodies to experience our
dreams. It's one of the first things people attempt to do when they gain control of their dreams and start lucid
dreaming. Everybody seems to have a natural inclination to want to fly, unless that is changed by a fear of flying
due to a frightening incident in their waking lives. Flying = freedom; either a desire for freedom, an »escape« from
restraints in your physical life (like a mini-vacation for the mind) or any number of possiblities. Tie it in with the
context of your dream...what were you doing in your dream besides flying? How did it make you feel? etc. Also,
the type of flying I'm referring to, here, is the person flying on their own without an airplane or any aircraft at all.
That would be a different symbol dealing with spiritual awareness, among other things.
SCHOOL : This type of dream relates to your current »lesson in life,« and if you learn how to
interpret it, you'll find out how you are progressing...yes, folks, you're still taking tests and getting graded! Our
»true selves« are our souls, and not our physical bodies. You are a spirit/soul having a physical dream, not the
other way around. Ever feel like your life is like a play, and you are acting out some role that you don't even
understand, even suprising yourself with your actions sometimes? Bingo! When we sleep, that proverbial "Veil of
Forgetfulness» that prevents us from «cheating on the test" is lifted, and we are shown what type of progress we
are making (or, *GULP*, not making) and given guidance on what to do next. We always have free will in our
waking physical lives, though, and if we stubbornly refuse to finish our tests, then we have that right--but we are
doomed to repeat it until we pass it; and each time we turn away from it, the next time it will be more unpleasant
until finally we are forced to acknowledge it's importance for our growth. The things we consider vitally
important in our waking physical lives are not nearly as important as the TRUE reason we are here, which is to
overcome our shortcomings so that we may get closer to our Source/God/Higher Power. To avoid learning the
lesson is like forcing your soul to a fate similar to the mythical greek god named Sisyphus (thanks, Leah!) who
was doomed to keep rolling a boulder uphill for eternity, only to watch it roll back down & have to repeat the
same tedious hard labor again & again. That sounds like school to me! So pay heed to the messages in dreams
about schools, and you may advance faster. Do you *really* want to repeat kindergarten AGAIN?
CAR or VEHICLE : This is supposed to symbolize you in your waking life, in your physical body.
Your physical body is used by the soul pretty much like we use a car...it's driven for awhile and we give it
gas/nourishment & repairs as needed until it stops running, and then we go back home. Pay attention to your car,
which symbolizes your VESSEL/physical body. Are you behind the wheel, or is someone else in control? You
want to be in charge of your life, naturally. What is the color & condition of this vehicle? Do you seem to be
driving it the right way, on a safe road in good condition, or is the road rocky, winding, or suddenly ends at a
cliff? That would signal you need redirection. The bigger the vehicle, the more energy you may be successfully
using for your daily lessons, depending on the context of your dream. Note all clues as to how you are faring, and
make adjustments accordingly.
HOUSE : You drive a car, but typically you LIVE in a house/apartment. Dreams about a HOUSE
symbolize a larger aspect of your Self, and the aspects of Self which make the whole. Each room is said to
symbolize a different aspect of your Self; for example:
AN ATTIC symbolizes your Higher Self, and your spiritual development & progress. Look at other symbols in
the attic of your dream, and try to evaluate what they mean. Also pay attention to the feeling you experience in
your dream...is it pensive, enlightening or what, exactly? All these things are clues for you.
A BATHROOM would symbolize the need for cleansing/purging/elimination of something in your life that isn't
quite working, or that has served it's purpose and now it's time to move on.
A KITCHEN would symbolize the need or act of supplying nourishment or food for the
body/mind/soul...whatever is currently »cooking« or developing in your life. If the food is plentiful, you have what
you need. If the cupboard is bare, time to go shopping for new nourishment, and you need to figure out what is
needed for that »shopping list.«
A DINING ROOM is similar to the kitchen, but has more to do with immediate needs for supplying & utilizing
nourishment, and less with the preparation or taking stock of those needs.
THE MAIN ROOM or LIVING ROOM symbolizes your daily interactions with others, and often you will have
other people appearing in your dreams in this room. Remember, they represent aspects of YOUR Self, and not
themselves. (See PEOPLE, above)
BEDROOMS symbolize the unconscious mind aspect of your Self, rest, dreams, sometimes sexuality issues in
THE UPSTAIRS symbolizes your spiritual awareness aspect of Self, or the Higher Self that holds all the keys or
knowledge to this life's role you are acting out, and always has your higher good looked after, no matter how it
might seem otherwise.
THE DOWNSTAIRS/BASEMENT symbolizes your subconscious mind aspect of Self, which deals with habits,
old coping skills, automation, ego. That's usually the part of our Selves that makes us feel »torn« between
knowing we should do one thing, but inexplicably ending up doing the opposite. (Don't you HATE that??) Old
belief patterns & fears have to be corrected, if that is the case. Tackle & overcome it, and you will feel much
more peaceful about your life.
THE GROUND FLOOR of a house represents your daily agenda; what's currently going on in your life.
REVISITING OLD HOUSES FROM CHILDHOOD OR EARLIER TIMES: This points to issues that probably
are resurfacing in your current life, and need to be looked at, analyzed, and healed so you can move forward and
not look back. If you find yourself repeating the same old tired mistakes, or dealing with the same old tired fears,
chances are you will have this dream.
A HALLWAY symbolizes that you have reached an area that is necessary to journey through in order to get to
the other side, and it may be a narrow path that has to be traversed with care and awareness. If you have that
»closed in, claustrophobic feeling« then you need to expand your awareness/open your mind to more possiblities
for completing this phase of your journey.
A PORCH symbolizes perhaps a metaphor of being undecided, such as the saying, "I'm still on the porch on that
decision." It could be symbolic of being contemplative, or uncommitted or withdrawn. It could be something
entirely different such as being on the threshold of a new sense or an extension of Self. It depends on the entire
context of the dream. Back or Front Porch? Screened-in or open? Messy or neat? Sparse or furnished? All
these details add to the overall symbolism.
TORNADO : this symbol points to emotional turmoil, as in a »whirlwind of emotions«; and/or rapid
or sudden changes in your life. It is a sign to »get a grip« on what is possibly spinning out of control & deal more
effectively with your emotions. Meditation and finding some private »think time« for yourself would be a good
PINK : the color of love in all it's forms. Often used to show healing through love.
RED : passion, anger.
BLACK : the unconscious mind; void; death of the old.
GREY : fear, confusion.
WHITE : truth, »coming clean«, purity; can also be symbolic of death & new beginnings.
GREEN : healing, growth, newness.
BLUE : spirituality; could be a metaphor for »being blue« (look at context of dream).
YELLOW : peacefulness, hope (as in »sunny disposition«); could be a cowardice metaphor.
NUMBERS : I am not a numerologist, and you would likely do better to contact one via a search
engine. I will put a few basic numbers here.
ONE : unity, completeness.
TWO : balance of yin-yang principles, or male/female energies-either it's needed or it's achieved.
THREE : (common dream symbol) the trinity of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit; the 3 principles uniting in
harmony, as in body-mind-spirit harmony. This dream has an important spiritual message for you--pay attention!
FIVE : changes!
What, you want more? Ok, basic numerology involves adding double digits together oftentimes, but there are
exceptions--here is a link I recommend that can be of great help, and you can get a free reading that's pretty
amazing. Here is the link: NUMBERQUEST @
TELEPHONE : This is considered a »message« symbol and you are to pay close attention to it.
Are you the one doing the calling, or being called? Are you having difficulty with the phone in some way, or is
someone annoying or threatening as they talk; can you not hear anyone on the line...what is said and who says
it? All this needs to be factored in together within the full context of the dream. Do look at this symbol closely.
Consider it your subconscious saying, »HELLOOOOO!?!«
BABY & or PREGNANCY : newness or creation in your life; a new aspect of self is being
formed and coming into being! Or you may just be worried to death about that unprotected sex you had a few
weeks ago and will be dreaming next about contracting AIDS, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia and numerous
other STD's so your subconscious is hammering at you for being stupid. Hopefully it's the first symbol. Did you
know that 63% of these infections occur in persons under age 25? But, I digress.
Various Bird Symbology :
White Dove : well known symbol of peace; a symbol of the Holy Spirit descending on Christ, as depicted in many artistic works. A
pair of white doves is a common symbol of love and devotion.
Mourning Dove : commonly thought of as a potential symbol of upcoming death to someone you know, but only if it is seen in
unusual circumstances and not just eating at the bird feeder or sitting on a telephone line.
Eagle : Among the 7 mortal sins, depicts pride; among the 4 cardinal virtues, justice. Symbol of John the Evangelist, depicting spiritual
cognition, faith, healing and ascension. Similar powerful symbol of the Great Spirit to the American Indians, who use it's feathers in many
ceremonial dress & implements.
Goose : symbol of fidelity and loyalty. Could also be a metaphor for
»being goosed« or »acting like a goose.«
Ostrich : closing eyes to unpleasant facts. Just mentioning »Y2K« will make many ostriches out of you! <smile> Also a symbol of
meditation, since the Ostrich parent does not sit and hatch it's eggs, but lets the sun do it's work while it guards them vigilantly.
Owl : wisdom, as portrayed in so many children's stories and cartoons.
Peacock : pride, vanity and showing off due to the male's proud strut; but the male does this as part of his mating ritual to get the
attention of the female, so I would apply this as such. It is used to symbolize the American CBS network, and a metaphor could be
»showing your true colors.« The peacock also symbolizes joy in the afterlife. True story: my mother & I visited my grandmother's grave
one afternoon to find a living, breathing peacock standing there staring at us. When I found out that it symbolized »joy in the afterlife,«
you can imagine how special that was. How often does one find a peacock standing on a grave? Coincidence, my foot!
Nightingale : symbolizes yearning and pain; in Christianity it
symbolizes the longing for heaven.
Raven : intelligence; oftentimes depicting things we really prefer not to hear.
Stork : instantly recognizable in our culture as a symbol that a baby has been delivered or is due, possibly due to the young stork's
habit of gratefully feeding it's parents when it becomes a fledgling; or due to the stork's return after winter migration, when nature begins
Swan : transformation, as in from »ugly duckling« into a beautiful swan. Also symbolizes loyalty and fidelity.
Turkey : Is any American unfamiliar with the symbology of »Turkey Day?« Also referred to as a metaphor often used to describe
something as being silly, or an embarrassing failure or dud.
Vulture : impending death, or a metaphor for waiting to take advantage of someone in dire trouble, as in »the vultures are circling.«
Egg : symbolizes primal beginnings from which all life springs forth;
also in Christianity this is a symbol of resurrection (ever wonder where the thought of Easter Eggs came from?), as in Christ breaking out
of his tomb similar to a chick breaking free from it's egg. Could also have metaphorical influence, such as the age-old question, "Which
came first--the chicken or the egg?» In this manner it could be saying, «Some questions can never be answered by mere humans, so quit
agonizing over a problem without solutions and deal with what-is, as it is."
Other types of symbology involving birds : metaphors such as
»bird-brain«, »You eat like a bird«, "birds of a feather flock
together,» «that's for the birds», «A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the
bush», «feathered friends", etc. Just apply the metaphor to the context of your dream to get the gist of what the symbology entails. Also
helpful is relating bird dream symbols to song lyrics. Think of how many different songs mention birds in one way or another.
** More to follow as time permits ** But please remember--I'm not putting an A-Z list up here. It will be in my
book, or you can check the book list available on the links page. Good luck!
** Remember, all these are generalizations and each individual dream must be interpreted on it's own merit, by
the individual dreamer. You can take in suggestions and advice, but don't see them as gospel in your case unless
it truly seems to fit your dream scenario and FEELS RIGHT to you. Your intuition will let you know if you have
hit on something; otherwise you'll feel a nagging sense of doubt.