Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Top 10 Dream Symbols to be Aware of

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Top 10 Dream Symbols to be Aware of 1
Photo by RANT 73. Digital Art. Flickr. Copyright 2021.

Dreams are linked with our subconscious mind. Although there is a struggle to bring forth scientific evidence, it is not unusual to find that various cultures have multitudinous, profound meanings attached to dream symbols.

 Dreams hold the power to invoke inexplicable emotions within us. Most of us, at some point, would’ve had dreams that left us feeling bizarre or overwhelmed for a long time after waking up. 

Dreams are greatly influenced by our body’s physiological and psychological condition. Often, the symbols that appear in our dreams manifest the messages our mind and body are trying to convey to us, rendering their interpretations subjective. Therefore, it is important to recognize the dream symbols and be acquainted with their connotations. Listed below are the top 10 common dream symbols to be aware of.

1. Tests


Tests or exams are one of the most recurring dream symbols often indicative of trials or challenges in waking life. Uncontrolled stress, internal or external pressure, and high anxiety levels related to studies or an important exam are the major reasons for such dreams among students.
However, dreaming of exams in adulthood may be interpreted as new challenges or trials in life. Finding yourself sitting completely unready for a test, failing a test, running out of time, or sitting for a test with a foreign language and unable to decipher the text – all these scenarios are associated with unpreparedness, fear of failing, fear of the unexpected, and typically symbolic of self- criticism.
On the other hand, a positive result in the test or feeling relaxed before taking up the test would signal that you’re confident and successful in achieving your goals.

2. Being Chased

Dream symbols and books
Photo by Comfreak. Pixabay. Copyright 2021.

To say that being chased in a dream by a shadow, a person, an animal, or any other unknown entity can be disturbing would be an understatement. Being one of the most common dreams, it is symbolic of suppressed fears or worry. 

Generally, a signal from the unconscious mind that you need to confront a particular issue you fear or have been avoiding in real life, in such dreams, who or what is chasing you holds great significance.

It would also be helpful to gauge whether you’re running from something or trying to hide from something you fear facing in waking life.

3. Falling or Rotting Teeth

Dreaming about your teeth rotting and falling off can be an unsettling experience. Such dreams often represent letting go of something for good or fear of loss.

In the Chinese culture, losing teeth also means you’re feeling guilty about lying to others or yourself. Rotting teeth are frequently associated with feelings of emptiness or being lost and signal that something is holding you back from moving forward.

Also symbolic of the loss of confidence, dreaming of falling teeth may mean you need to pay more attention to yourself to create a positive self-image.

4. Falling

How many times have you jerked awake in the middle of the night, the muscles on your legs or arms spasming, making you feel as if you just had an actual fall? These are sudden muscle contractions called myoclonic jerks that often accompany falling dreams.

Falling in your dreams may indicate that you’re burdened and anxious over something in your waking life that makes you feel out of control. Oftentimes you keep falling, struggling to hold onto something but only grasp air. 

It may also reflect anxiety over not being able to keep up with what is happening around you, feeling lost, and inferior.

Alternatively, falling dreams can also have a positive tone. It is possible that as you were falling in your dream, you felt liberated. The feeling of freedom that comes from letting go of something you’ve been holding on to too tight or too long may indicate you are successfully moving on from something that had been holding you back.

5. Nudity

nudity in dreams
Ava Sol

As bizarre as they are, naked dreams are a sporadic theme for a great number of people. Such dreams are commonly affiliated with deeply rooted vulnerability. The trigger for such dreams depends on the situation and the person; it may have been an embarrassing incident at work or a situation where you felt powerless.

Occasionally, you might find yourself in a naked dream, frantically trying to cover yourself up, but the people around you don’t seem to notice or care. Such naked dreams imply that there might be something in your waking life that you’re worried about that isn’t actually a big deal to others.

It is also possible that you’ve seen or caught naked by the people around you in your dream which may give birth to overriding emotions of being exposed or embarrassed. However, if a naked dream leaves you feeling humiliated or shaken, it may hint at a deeper issue that you need to pay attention to.

Such situations may also be a challenge that encourages you to overcome your fear and help you become a more authentic version of yourself. Nudity is also symbolic of fresh starts or sexual desires.

6. Flying

flying as a dream symbol
James Lee

Flying as a common dream symbol is interpreted on the basis of various factors such as your control over the momentum or its lack thereof. There is hardly anyone who does not yearn to fly high up in the open sky. Oh, the freedom. It is exhilarating and empowering.

Flying may be symbolic of escaping or breaking free from something that holds you back or traps you. In its very essence, flying is correlated to the notion of freedom and the courage to go beyond your limits, take risks, and seek opportunities or perspectives beyond what is perceived as normal.

The sense of flying high in your dreams may mean that you’re finding success in your life or simply discovering new perspectives that make you feel more empowered. On the other hand, flying closer to the ground may imply you are holding back and not releasing your complete potential.  

7. Death

connotation of death
Grant Whitty

Dreaming of death is not a psychic prediction of any sort. In fact, dreaming of death alludes to a dramatic change in the waking life of the dreamer. 

The death of a loved one in a dream might imply a change in your relationship. This may be a perceived change from your side only; maybe you realized something that completely changed the image of that person in your mind.

Death dreams are also symbolic of new beginnings.

If you dreamt of yourself dying, it may be interpreted as you going through a major transition in your waking life. 

8. Water

water as a dream symbol
Jong Marshes

Water is believed to reflect our inner selves – deeply linked with the state of our unconscious mind and our emotions. The flow or movement of the water suggests the state of your emotions. The motion of water – stagnant, gentle waves, or turbulent seas, ruminate how you are managing your emotions in waking life. 

Perhaps, you dreamt of turbulent waves and storms but they were out of your reach, or you found yourself at a safe distance, simply observing. This may indicate that you’re aware of your tumultuous emotions but aren’t doing anything about them.

The dream may be indicative of something negative if it’s murky or disruptive and something positive on the other hand if the water is clean, sparkling, and still.

In essence, your distance from the water, the motion of water, and its state, pieced together alludes to how much control you have over your emotions in real life.

9. Animals

a leopard
Gwen Weustink

Animals in dreams reflect our inner psyche – our most wild, natural, and authentic self. These dreams are symbolic of our primitive thoughts and indicative of our deepest emotions and desires.

Appearance of wild animals or being attacked by them may suggest that an emotion or an urge you had been trying to control, flared up to the surface.

The animal itself, the circumstances or the situation in which the animal appears, and it’s behavior are all reflective of our deepest emotions.

Each animal that appears in your dream is associated with diverse connotations.

10. Demons

fear of the unknown
Stefano Pollio

Demons as dream symbols primarily epitomize evil. Therefore, dreaming of demons could be one of the most unsettling experiences which may leave you feeling gloomy and on edge for a long time.

Often the appearance of demons is associated with negative energy. This can be linked to a negative experience you recently had or high stress and anxiety levels.

Demons are symbolic of something you fear facing in your waking life –  something that makes you uncomfortable and you would rather avoid.

Frequently, such dreams also lead to sleep paralysis, wherein you wake up during the dream phase of your sleep.


The dreams that we tend to remember distinctly transpire during the REM sleep. All dream symbols have various meanings and what they’re indicative of depends entirely on how you interpret your dreams in relation to your real life experiences. 


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