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13 Common Dream Symbols and Their Meanings

What are dreams but whispers of our subconscious mind, carrying a sea of meaning within them?

Some stay with us while others vanish from our memories forever. But, one thing is for sure – each of them seems to symbolize something.

Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean? For example, the man who was chasing you or the day you arrived at your school naked – these ridiculous instances must hold some significance, right?

Let’s dive into the world of dream symbols to unravel their meanings, interpretations, and significance.

Common Dream Symbols and Their Meanings

Common Dream Symbols and Their Meanings

1. Water Dreams

Water is one of the most recurrent dream symbols entailing endless possible interpretations.

You might have come across trickling streams to raging oceans in your dreams, all of which symbolize the emotions lying buried deep inside the crevices of our minds.

A dream with flowing rivers can indicate gradual yet monumental changes in your lifestyle. What’s more, the nature of the flow (smooth or turbulent) shows whether the changes shall be pleasant or chaotic.

While dreaming about indoor pools may suggest the need to relax and attend to personal desires, finding yourself alone around solitary pools can indicate an urge to simply let go and succumb to the negativities you might be experiencing.

On the other hand, rainfall can be understood as a strong indication of either overwhelming sadness or healed sorrows of the past.

Are you interested in knowing more about how water manifests itself in our dreams? We’ve got a complete guide on floods and their hidden meanings!

2. Car Dreams

Car Dreams

In dreams, automobiles may signal the start of a new journey or the end of an old one.

While interpreting the connotations of dream symbols, one must keep in mind the different nuances that affect them. Whether you are the driver or passenger, the color, shape, and speed at which the vehicle moves, all such factors supplement the meaning behind your dream.

If you are the one speeding down a lane in your dreams, it may be a depiction of a fast-paced life that your body is unable to cope with and is therefore calling out for help. However, if you are sitting in the backseat while the car remains stationary, you can take it as a sign to take charge and carve a path for yourself!

3. Flight Dreams

There are certain moments in our lives where the desire to be free burns with an overwhelming passion. But, unfortunately, this passion often gets translated to dreams, where you find yourself soaring through the air.

Flying, in itself, connotes freedom from the pressures of daily life. However, while living in a society, people get bogged down by unreasonable expectations. Your dreams of taking a liberating flight are a manifestation of these internal struggles of breaking away while trying to fit in simultaneously.

On a happier note, a more common interpretation of a flying dream would be a general feeling of joy and contentment with the current happenings in your life. It signifies positivity, self-realization, and a healthier outlook.

If you find yourself floating in your dream, your mind has found peace. There is a deep spiritual transition that has led you towards emotional stability. Even better, the determination to resort to your inner zen mode has never been higher.

4. Death Dreams

Death Dreams

The morbidity that surrounds death often clouds our judgment when interpreting dreams. That is to say; death dreams don’t always have to be a bad omen.

Generally speaking, death can symbolize finality, announcing the end of a fruitful transition. However, understanding the absoluteness of this change helps embrace newer challenges in life. Moreover, peaceful death in your dream symbolizes your willingness to accept a certain change.

Alternatively, dreaming of the death of pets or plants points to the possibility of neglect. There may be something in your life that you have pushed to the background, and it is in desperate need of your attention.

If you are the one in your dream responsible for the killing, it implies your hand in bringing changes to your life. When you consciously orchestrate your decisions and bring an end to older transitions, it also reflects on the independence of your actions.

5. Nudity Dreams

Most people have experienced the embarrassing dream of standing naked amidst a crowd of onlookers. However, the interpretation remains subjective depending upon the setting in dreams.

Any new adventure that comes with anxiety elicits dreams of nudity. The vulnerability that a naked man encounters lends itself to the life outside your dream as well. From new and uncertain relationships to starting your career, nudity as a dream symbol perfectly represents such themes.

Nakedness also entails the lack of armor. It makes everything out in the open for the world to see. Therefore, having dreams of nudity symbolizes the dreamer’s tendency to hide some aspect of themselves from others. They don a mask in hopes of conforming to their ideal self-image.

6. Elevator Dreams

Elevator Dreams

The movement of the elevator and how the dreamer operates it speaks volumes about their thoughts, desires, and emotions in their waking life.

Firstly, the upward and downward motion of the elevator denotes an abundance or lack of positive reinforcement in a person’s life. Further, if the elevator lands on the wrong floor, it suggests a slight delay in your plans.

Secondly, a non-functional elevator is a strong indication of an insecure self. Your confidence is probably failing you as your feelings spiral out of control, leaving your subconscious in a state of disarray.

Lastly, getting trapped in an elevator marks a possible feeling of frustration. Moreover, it reveals that the dreamer’s waking state of mind is caged in the conditions they have been dealt with by destiny.

7. House Dreams

Like other dream symbols, houses may have different meanings depending on their architecture and your position in them.

The house could be new, indicating the start of a new chapter in your life. Alternatively, a dilapidated house signifies your lack of attention to yourself.

The dream setting in an upstairs room versus one in the basement can imply your intellectual capacities. For example, you are someone who is overthinking decisions, or you prefer surviving on your instincts. Additionally, the basement may indicate a need to return to the roots and embrace who you are.

Does the house appear cramped? It can reflect the oppressive need to turn the other way when problems approach. On the other hand, a spacious home can represent the need for growth and development.

A fenced house is a healthy reminder that boundaries should be addressed, acknowledged, and protected.

Also Read: What is Oneirology? Definition, Pronunciation, and Everything You Need to Know Here!

8. School Dreams

School Dreams

Dreams about schools can come in varying forms. Sometimes, you may be the last person to enter a classroom, or you may even be celebrating your graduation!

A late arrival often points to your fear of an upcoming change. The unpredictability of the future scares you, and your current securities seem fickle.

If you land up in the school cafeteria, there is a looming issue that you need to address but haven’t. But as the issue simmers on the back burner, your unconscious mind is trying to create a sense of urgency towards it.

Furthermore, dreams about lockers are indicative of the dreamer’s untapped potential. It shows how lack of self-confidence leads to a restrained mind. It may also mean that the person is concealing their raw personality and insecurities.

9. Butterfly Dreams

Claimed to be a spiritual insect, the butterfly appears in dreams to awaken an inner truth.

A butterfly’s life cycle is a spiritual journey in itself as it moves from being born as a caterpillar to maturing into a butterfly. Therefore, a butterfly landing on you is considered a spiritual gift of related manifestation.

Simply put, you are being bestowed with the capabilities to turn dreams into reality.

If a butterfly lands on your face, it insinuates the need for restrained manifestation. Be mindful of your wishes, to focus on the rewards that matter most, that is, a life full of love, peace, and joy.

A butterfly in its cocoon stands for an intense need for self-reflection. The cocoon stage is the growth period, and hence there is a lot you need to let go of while trying to adapt to colossal changes in your life.

10. Falling Dreams

Falling Dreams

In general terms, dreams about falling reflect the dreamer’s fears, anxieties, and apprehensions. As you plummet towards an unknown surface, these dream symbols intensify feelings of helplessness and failure.

A slow dive from the sky indicates the severity of a decision in your life that has remained inconclusive. Almost as if you are stuck in limbo.

Often, people dream of tripping over something and subsequently falling. It points to worries about career paths or any such competitive settings in life where you are afraid of being left behind.

Suppose your dreams are about falling and, as a result, getting hurt, you are likely experiencing betrayal – most probably by someone significant in your life.

Also, falling from elevators can mean a dramatic drop in confidence. Your emotional state may be in terrible turmoil and need of care.

11. Rainbow Dreams

Rainbows are symbols that exude positivity and good fortune. Irrespective of the types that appear in your dreams, it signifies a new beginning. Their unpredictable nature invokes the unexpected laced with spirituality.

Depending on the conditions of your waking life, dreams about rainbows will create a symphony between your current and the future.

Moreover, they also imply bursts of creativity and excitement.  And if you are experiencing a creative block hindering your productivity in your personal life.  And if your dreams bring forth a rainbow, you know what to expect!

Rainbow dreams can be classified in terms of colors as well. While a faint rainbow signifies patience and spontaneity, a white rainbow stands for purity and peace.

These dream symbols are effective in motivating dreamers to transform into achievers. Its essence lies in encouragement and belief in a silver lining.

12. Money Dreams

Money Dreams

Dreams about something as valuable as money can evoke a range of emotions in a person. If you find money lying on the street or stuck to your shoe in a dream, it represents a reaffirmed sense of self-worth. Especially if you find money that does not belong to you, it signifies that you are receiving what is due to you.

Contrarily, losing money may be reflective of financial instability. It can also point to feelings of loss and failure in relations, career, or self-worth.

If you are winning money in your dreams, it marks a spell of positive energy and luck in your life.  It would be best to channel the abundance of luck into enhancing positivity.

Also, the meaning of giving money away depends on the dreamer’s feelings about the same. If the dream makes you happy, your financial life is secure and prosperous. If not, you may be experiencing a financial crunch.

13. Baby Dreams

Don’t worry; having a baby is not a prerequisite for seeing a baby in your dreams. However, baby dreams can be pretty disturbing if the meanings are unknown.

For example, if your dreams only include a glimpse of a baby, it denotes warmth and new beginnings. You are being urged to connect to the child within you and let loose.

A crying baby in your dreams is a literal cry for help from your neglected inner soul. If the baby in your dream cries without receiving much attention, the underlying significance points to your untapped potential.


Dream symbols, although vague, open up endless possibilities of dream interpretations. Knowing the meanings behind certain ominous symbols can help alleviate some of the anxiety that bad dreams induce. Similarly, the meaning behind good dreams can kindle feelings of hope and ambition.

Bonus Read: If you wish to keep track of your dreams, consider using a few amazing dream journal apps to design your go-to repository of dream recordings.

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