Falling, flying, showing up naked to school or work; everyone has had strange dreams at one time or another. But what are the meanings behind them? Some dreams are very straightforward and some need a little more interpretation. Luckily, since so many of us share the same common dreams, we can learn what messages they are trying to convey.
10 Common Dream Symbols and Their Meanings
Falling: Having a feeling of falling while dreaming is very common and can represent a sense of letting go, failure, or loss of control. This does not need to be a negative thing, though, as this can stand for letting go of people, places, and things that no longer serve your highest good.
Being Chased: Many people remember their dreams in which they are being chased, simply because the anxiety produced by these dreams is so vivid and memorable. This is a very common dream symbol that represents running from something in your life or avoiding something that you are too afraid to face in your waking life. These dreams are very beneficial because they show us what we need to address in order to move forward.
Water: Dreams that feature water elements are a reflection of the unconscious mind and our emotional state. The quality of the water – calm, choppy, clear, cloudy, cold, hot, etc. – can provide more insight into the true state of your emotions. Dreaming of drowning symbolizes emotional stress or the fear of being overcome by emotion.
Teeth: Teeth falling out is, surprisingly, a very common theme. This reflects anxiety you may have about your appearance or general self-confidence issues. Anxiety can manifest into teeth-grinding at night and this may show up in your dreams. Some also suggest that dreaming about your teeth means you actually need to visit the dentist.
Nudity: Who hasn’t had this dream once in their life? Showing up to a public place stark naked typically symbolizes a feeling of vulnerability and being exposed to others. If you notice a specific body part is being exposed, this can help you understand what you are feeling vulnerable about and start to work on this in your waking life.
Flying: The feeling of flying in a dream can be extremely euphoric and freeing. This can represent a sense of control over your life and experiences. On the other hand, trying to fly and being restricted or tethered to the ground can be very frustrating and indicates that you need to break free of something that is holding you back in your life.
Death: Dreams involving death, especially that of a loved one or yourself, can be very distressing, but typically symbolize an ending and/or a new beginning. With death always comes birth or rebirth, so try to see this as a positive symbol, rather than something to fear.
Sex: Dreams about sex can represent a literal desire for sex or intimacy, or they can symbolize much more, depending on the nature of the sexual encounter. For instance, is your partner in the dream your partner in your waking life? An ex? Someone of the same sex? Is the act itself passionate? Boring? Wild? These factors can indicate aspects of your life or yourself that you wish to express.
Paralysis: Feeling paralyzed or trapped in a dream can be unnerving, but keep in mind that in the state of REM sleep, your body is actually physically immobilized. This can translate to your dream world and cause an intense feeling of not being paralyzed. This can also represent a feeling of lack of control or helplessness in your waking life.
Nightmares: Beyond common stressful dream symbols, some people experience debilitating nightmares or night terrors. This can usually be tied to extreme stress or emotional trauma in their waking lives. Some nightmares are also recurring, so it is suggested that people who experience this try to keep a dream journal to record as much as they can as soon as they wake up. Then, they can try to interpret what the symbols in their nightmares represent.
These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of dream symbology! To learn about other common dream symbols, there are a ton of great free web resources available. My favorite is www.dreammoods.com, where you can type in a word or a phrase that describes your dream to find detailed interpretations about what it could possibly mean! From there, you must interpret the dream according to your own unique situations. Once you become more aware of your dreams and actually realize you are dreaming, you may be able to achieve a state of lucid dreaming, where you can control your dream world.