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35 Dream Symbols and Their Meanings

Howard is a regular lucid dreamer who enjoys exploring and learning about the dream world.

If you've ever had a dream and wondered if it might mean something, you're in the right place. Here are some common and some unusual dream symbols.

Keep in mind that dream interpretation is not a science. This article presents some commonly accepted interpretations of various dream symbols.


1. Aliens

This could represent an "alien" or unfamiliar part of yourself that needs attention if you're going to be complete. Is there a part of yourself you're denying or neglecting?

It could also be an unfamiliar quality in someone else that you have to deal with. Maybe you're avoiding it because the quality is so foreign to your personality.

2. Babies

The obvious interpretation is a desire to have a baby.

Babies also represent the self, indicating a desire to be cared for or to receive unconditional love.

A baby could also represent the real or original you, the person you were before outside forces shaped you into someone else.

Another interpretation is that something has been "born"—an idea, a realization, or anything else that could affect you.

3. Birds

Dreaming of a bird could represent a call to nature. Have you become detached from the outdoors?

If the bird is flying, it's a call to a higher purpose. Has your focus become too mundane?

Some birds, like vultures or ravens, are associated with death.

4. Boats

If you're on a boat going away from shore, this could be drawing attention to an unconscious part of yourself that needs examining.

Watching a boat is associated with a transition of some kind.

If you've missed the boat, you could be getting a reminder of a missed opportunity or a warning that you soon will miss something.

5. Bicycles

Bicycles are associated with balance. Does the context of the dream tell you what needs to be kept in balance?

6. Cages

Cages are a constraining force. Dreaming of one could be telling you that something about yourself needs liberating, or that something is getting out of control and needs to be reined in.

7. Chasing or Being Chased

Being chased could mean you're afraid of something, either an outside force or something within yourself.

If you're chasing something or someone, it could represent a part of yourself that you want to get rid of, as in, you're chasing it away. Alternately, it could be something you're trying to catch—something external or a internal. The feeling during the chase should give you some insight on this point.

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8. Darkness

Darkness can represent the unconscious, death or uncertainty. The tone of the dream should point you in the right direction.

It might also mean you need to realize something because you're "in the dark" about it.

9. Death or a Funeral

This could mean something about yourself has come to an end or should end. It might be time to move on to something else.

10. Driving

If you're driving and it's going well, a common interpretation is that you're in control.

If you're driving but the vehicle is hard to control, it could mean you feel at the mercy of others.

If you're a passenger, it could mean you're too passive or relying too much on others. If the driver is taking you somewhere you're not happy with, maybe it means others are running your life.

11. Falling

Dreaming of falling could represent a failure, falling short of something.

It could also mean you're not solidly grounded in some way. Are you trying to jump ahead too quickly without the proper foundation?

12. Fences

A fence means you're cut off from something. Is there something in your life keeping you from what you want?

Alternately, it could represent a barrier that you need to put up. Is there an unhealthy influence that should be blocked off?

If you're sitting on a fence, it could represent a decision that needs to be made.

13. Fights

A fight in a dream could be interpreted as a battle inside yourself. Maybe a part of yourself that's been repressed wants to manifest itself.

It could also mean you want to oppose some outside force or person that's been encroaching on your life.

14. Flying

Flying is associated with freedom—you might be shaking off things that have restrained you in the past.

It could also mean you're "flying high", that you're excelling in some area.

15. Getting Stuck

If you dream of making your way through a particular space but end up getting stuck, it could mean you've started something that can't be finished or will be too difficult.

It could also mean you feel confined by something—a person, a situation or your own limitations.

16. Hallways

A hallway represents a transitional phase in your life. It's going to take you somewhere else. If there are multiple doors, you have options. If it only leads one place, you have to decide to go ahead or go back. What did you do in the dream?

17. Jokes or Humor

A joke could be carrying a message that your conscious mind would reject. The humor is making it more palatable, getting it past your defenses. Pay attention to what the joke is about. It might be important.

18. Ladders

Were you climbing the ladder or descending on it? Going up can mean reaching a higher level of awareness. Going down can mean descending into the unconscious.

If you're not on the ladder, it could mean there's an opportunity in life to climb to a higher level in some way.

19. Lateness

This could symbolize anxiety about missing an opportunity or failing to live up to expectations.

20. Lions

Lions are almost always associated with power. It could represent you. It could also represent your father or a father figure.

Lions are also a symbol of pride. Are you overestimating your abilities or bragging too much?

21. Mazes or Labyrinths

A part of yourself, buried in your unconscious, might be lost. Are you denying something important to you?

22. Mirrors

A mirror shows us who we are. What does the dream mirror show you? If you look normal, it might mean you're happy with who you are. If the reflection is distorted or strange, it might mean you're experiencing an identity crisis. Are you living like your real self, or the way others want you to be?

23. Money

The most obvious interpretation is that you're literally concerned about money, as many people are.

Money is also a symbol of power. Having money allows us to do many things. Dreaming of money could mean you feel able to handle whatever is happening in your life. Alternately, if you lack money in your dream you might not feel equal to your responsibilities.

24. Royalty

A king or queen could represent a parent or parental figure.

25. Running

Running could mean you're avoiding something. Running as exercise could be a message that you're neglecting yourself physically.

26. Schools and Tests

A school could represent something from youth that hasn't been dealt with.

A test could represent some other form of test you're facing now.

27. The Sea

The sea can symbolize the unknown—a part of yourself or a new situation.

28. Snow or Ice

Either of these could represent something in you that has gone "cold" and need thawing—an emotion or something that used to be important but now isn't.

29. Stealing

Taking something that doesn't belong to you might symbolize a desire that isn't being met. The item you're trying to steal might indicate what area you feel is lacking.

30. Sunrise or Sunset

This could be a symbol for the beginning or ending of something significant to you.

31. Teeth or the Mouth

Teeth that are loose or falling out might represent concern over getting old or losing vitality in some way.

It's noteworthy that sensations in our mouth can be felt while we're sleeping and can carry over into our dreams. Dreaming of having a dry mouth or a problem with your teeth could simply be related to how your actual mouth feels at the time.

32. Telephones

A ringing phone could mean your unconscious has a message for you. Your reaction to the phone should help sort out the meaning further. Do you answer it quickly? Do you avoid it? Do you try to answer but are unable to?

A phone could also represent communication in general.

33. Unwrapping a Package

The package or gift could represent something in yourself. Unwrapping it is looking for something within you. Is it easy to open or difficult? This could indicate how deeply you'll need to look in yourself to find the quality in question.

34. War

A battle might represent a conflict within yourself, between the conscious and unconscious. Identifying the enemy could give more insight into the meaning.

35. Weddings

A wedding can symbolize a union of different but complementary elements in your life or in yourself.

It could also be a reminder of commitments that need to be kept.

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