Dream Interpretation Animals | Dream Meanings
(see by specific creature or habitat, Carcass, Fur, Zoo)
The primitive wildness within and a yearning to return to nature.
A threatening animal reveals hidden aggression or unexpressed anger toward something or someone. Alternatively, this may mean that you personally feel threatened by someone perceived as predatory.
Taming an animal: Bringing (or wishing to bring) yourself under greater control, especially characteristics like a hot temper or overly intense passion (see Whip).
Native Americans believe that the spirits of animals appear in our dreams as teachers and guides. In this case, read that animal’s entry for more insight into its lessons.
Killing an animal: Consider what the creature itself symbolizes.
For example, killing a bird signals a fear that you are somehow stifling personal freedom or vision (see Carcass).
Jung felt that the central self was often represented in dreams as an animal, specifically the elephant, horse, bear, bull, fish, or snake.
Consider the creature’s positive and negative characteristics or integral qualities as they reflect upon the way you behave.
For example, are you being bull-headed or figuratively bearish?
Freud and others attach sexual significance to dreams of animals; dream interpreters, however, regard the dream of a number of domestic animals as auguring happiness, while wild animals symbolize enemies.
Animals in dreams represent primitive drives and desires, such as fear, lust and anger that can only be really understood on an instinctual level.
Thus, to dream of a certain animal could suggest an aspect of your personality that is instinctual, hidden or striving for recognition. It could also represent a part of yourself you find hard to control. And because we often assign characteristics or personality traits to animals, dream animals may also symbolize gut feelings we have about others. An attacking lion, for example, may depict how we see someone who is being aggressive toward us.
Animal dreams rouse special interest because they contain images that are familiar to us, but at the same time we recognize something that is unfamiliar and obscure. Traditionally, the characteristics of the dream animal are applied to the world of humans, often seeing the animal as a harbinger of misfortune or good luck; for example, a wolf is often thought to predict thieves or misfortune. According to Freud animals in dreams are not predictive of future events but a classic expression of repressed or unexpressed sexual and aggressive tendencies. Jung, however, argued that animals in dreams should be analyzed individually, depending on the character they portray in the dream and the association the dreamer has to them.
Jung believed that animals are sublime and, in fact, represent the ‘divine’ side of the human psyche. He suggested that animals live much more in contact with a ‘secret’ order in nature itself and—far more than human beings—live in close contact with ‘absolute knowledge’ of the unconscious. In contrast to humankind, the animal is the living being that follows its own inner laws beyond good and evil—and is, in this sense, superior and a source of inspiration and guidance.
Although animals are one of the most common dream symbols, dreams that feature them can be complex and hard to interpret. Perhaps the simplest way is to first think about how you feel about the specific animal in your waking life.
You may, for example, adore cats and think of them as lovely creatures because you have a much-loved pet cat, or you may associate cats with feeling unwell because you are allergic to them. Thinking about how that animal makes you feel within the context of your dream should help you recognize if that feeling is struggling to the fore, or is already expressing itself in daily life.
If, on the other hand, you have no feelings in particular about the animal in your dream, you need to think about the quality you typically associate with it; for example, a fox with cunning and stealth, an elephant with strength and mystery, or a dog with unconditional loyalty and love. Because animals are thought to represent unedited feelings and drives, it’s possible that your unconscious used the symbol of the fox in your dream to alert you to your own or someone else’s cunning. Thinking about that aspect of yourself—again within the context of your dream—should tell you whether you need to nurture and develop it, tame it or be on your guard against it in someone else.
If you still feel puzzled, it may be that the hidden meaning lies in archetypal, traditional, legendary, mythical or magical associations. Dream animals may also embody a pun. For example, if you dream of a badger, are you feeling badgered or aggravated in some way? If you dream of a zebra, could this refer to your black and white view point?
Dream animals, no matter how problematic, offer us an opportunity to contact and explore both the parts of ourselves that we have shut away and the parts that we have yet to discover. In general, researchers believe that animal dreams mean that the subconscious has woken up and has come to life.
Our dreams will be selective and personal in the choice of animal used to portray our life situation, but as you interpret never forget that animal symbols in dreams typically represent a fundamental push toward life and living it with passion. See also BIRDS; REPTILES, FISH AND AMPHIBIANS; PETS.
More than anything else, dream animals represent powerful instinctive reactions to situations, for example, fight or flight, the urge to find a mate and protect our young, the desire to have standing and recognition within a group, and so on.
When instincts need to be understood, expressed or controlled in some way animals can often appear in our dreams to symbolize them. By understanding animals in dreams and the qualities they represent, we can approach life in a more instinctive, simple and natural way.
Bear in mind though that there is a huge difference in meaning between wild animals and domesticated animals in dreams. In general, domesticated animals or pets, such as a dog or rabbit, represent those urges we have more control over and are therefore less threatening to our conscious desire to be in charge. The wild animals we dream of are more threatening to our ego, but they are also more powerful, because if we can develop a working relationship with them they offer incredible potential for growth.
To see wild animals in your dream is generally a good omen pertaining to business, but the interpretation depends on their at- tude; if they were calm, your affairs will prosper, but if they attacked you (or each other), you can expect some reverses.
See also Lion, Dog, Cat, Bull, Cow, Horse, etc.
Animals often represent, in general, the qualities or defects with which they are traditionally associated. So, the dog may represent loyalty; dove, peace; turtle, longevity; tiger, power; etc. However, like in the other entries of this dictionary, you must always take into account the personal circumstances of the dreamer. If, for example, the dreamer has been bitten by a dog, her unconscious would hardly associate the figure of the dog with fidelity. On the other hand, animals refer to our most primal instincts and our basic desires. The dream may be calling attention to some aspect of your nature that you repress or underestimate. In any case, it is advising you to try to be more spontaneous and less rational.
If you dream of eating an animal, it means that you are assimilating natural wisdom.
If you fight against it, it means you are having trouble with your hidden self, rejected by the conscious.
If the animal is guarding a treasure then the material passions are preventing you from spiritual fulfillment.
Its meaning depends on whether it is about domestic or wild animals. While the wild animal is indicative of secret enemies and professional problems, the domestic one announces the return of absent friends and reconciliation. To own, feed, and care for them, especially if they are ruminants, indicates wealth and good businesses. Those endowed with horns predict happiness.
Carl Jung said that all wild animals indicate latent affects (feelings and emotions that we do not readily deal with). They are also symbolic of dangers (hurtful and negative things) being “swallowed” by the unconscious.
The interpretation of the animal in your dream depends on your relationship with it in daily life. Animals represent the qualities in our character or specific aspects of our personalities. They could symbolize our more intuitive and instinctive parts, or they could serve as messengers for the unconscious. Please look up each animal individually by name.
1- When animals appear in a dream they usually represent an aspect of the personality which cannot be properly understood except on an instinctive level.
Animal with a cub
This will represent motherly qualities and therefore the mother.
The dreamer will be dealing with the child-like side of his or her personality, or possibly children known to him.
The hurt young animal
The dreamer may perceive a difficulty in becoming mature or facing life.
Eating the animal
The dream could be about the ‘demons’ one creates which can only be overcome by assimilating them in a constructive way. Pagan belief thought that one took up certain aspects of the animal that were superior in certain respects to ordinary’ human attitudes.
Godlike, talking awe-inspir- ing or wise animals, or those with human characteristics
Animals have not vet become conscious of, or pitted themselves against, the power from which they came so the wisdom they show is innocent and simple.
It is always important to pay attention to this aspect of animal life in fairy tales and dreams, since we need to be in touch with that part of ourselves.
The subconscious is producing helpful images from its depths.
The figures of animals arc an easy way for the dreamer to accept that help.
Killing the animal may destroy the energy derived from the instincts. Taming or harnessing the animal shows the efforts made to control the dreamer’s instincts and, if possible, make them productive and useful.
To dream of trying to find some refuge from animals whether by building defences - or perhaps by running away - is indicative of the dreamer’s struggle with his animal instincts, and whether the action being taken is adequate. Such instincts may be threatening or damaging to aspects of the dreamer’s life.
2- When we need some sort of understanding of our own psychological urges, animals will appear which symbolise those qualities. These are:
The mother (see Family) appears in dreams in many forms, the bear being one of them.
The image may be of the possessive, devouring mother or of the all- caring mother.
If it is recognised in the dream that the bear is masculine the image may then be of an overbearing person, or possibly the father.
Usually the bull in a dream denotes the negative side of behaviour, such as dcstructivcness, fear or anger (for example a bull in a china shop). However, more positively, the bull is recognised as sexual passion or creative power.
Slaying the bull
Indicates initiation into the world of the mature adult who succeeds in mastering his instincts and can also represent the sign of Taurus in the Zodiac.
To dream of cats is to link with the feline, sensuous side in human beings, usually in women. Goddesses such as Bast the Egyptian cat goddess arc usually represented as having two sides to their natures, one devious and one helpful, so the cat often denotes the capricious side of the feminine.
The elegant but also the powerful, yet overly self-sufficient aspect of woman, may also be perceived as the cat. Chameleon The dreamer is recognising either in himself or others the ability to adapt and to change according to surrounding circumstances.
Cold-blooded animals or reptiles
The unfeeling, inhuman aspect of the instincts is often portrayed by reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. They are usually recognised as being destructive and alien.
To dream of composite animals could indicate some confusion in sorting out what qualities are needed.
The various qualities of the different animals of which they are made up need to be assimilated and integrated. There are two potentials of development in one figure.
The dreamer’s animal instincts arc beginning to be recognised and humanised.
The eternal feminine, especially the mother (see Family) or mother figure (see Archetypes) is often depictcd by the cow. This is partly because it provides milk and nourishment.
The deer and the reindeer herd have a strict hierarchical structure.
The dreamer recognises his place in the world.
The deer symbolises pride/nobility
The dreamer realises that some of his impulses are offensive, or revolting.
Also see individual entry
The dreamer may recognise a faithful and constant companion, a protector or more negatively, somebody the dreamer can’t shake off and who might make trouble.
A dog that the dreamer owned or knew at some period of his life There may be memories asso- ciated with that period of his life, which hold clues to present behaviour.
A huntress with dogs The dreamer is making a connection with one of the feminine archetypes, that of the Amazon (see Archetypes).
A dog guarding gates, being near a cemetery In dreams this indicates the guardian of the threshold, and creatures which must be put to sleep or tamed before there can be an initiation into the underworld Domesticated (tame) animals When we dream of domesticated animals we arc aware of those parts of ourselves with which we have come to terms. There are passions which arc being used in a controlled way although there is the suggestion that those passions were never very formidable. Elephant To see an elephant in a dream is to recognise the qualities of patience, long memory, strength and fidelitv. In the more esoteric sense it signifies radiant and glowing wisdom.
A fox in a dream tells of hypocrisy, cunning and slyness.
A period or act of transformation (a frog transforms from a tadpole and moves on to the land). There is something repugnant which is turning into something of value (i.e. a frog into a prince). Also see Snake as all reptiles have the same significance.
To dream of a goat is to recognise creative energy and masculine vitality. It may also represent the dark side of human nature, promiscuousness and sexuality.
To be riding a goat is to be trying to come to terms with the dreamer’s relationship with the dark side of his nature.
The goat may also represent the Devil or Satan.
It is also the symbol for Capricorn.
The hare highlights intuition, spiritual insight and intuitive ‘leaps’. Intuition may be debased into madness by fear or ignorance. Because of its association with the moon, the hare can, in its negative aspect, signify the Priestess/Witch aspect of femininity or the Priest/Sorcerer of the masculine (see Archetypes). In its positive imagery however it is the radiant hare (often holding its baby in a cave) and thus the Mother of God.
The hedgehog can represent evil and bad manners, or literallv our inability to handle a ‘prickly’ situation.
The horse in a dream represents the energy at the dreamer’s disposal.
A white horse depicts the spiritual awareness of the dreamer; a brown one the more pragmatic and down-to-earth side, while a black horse is the passionate side of the dreamer’s nature.
A pale horse is taken to indicate death, and a winged horse depicts the soul’s ability to transcend the earthly- plane.
If the horse is under strain or dying there is a severe weakening of the dynamic power that carries the dreamer forward. Ibo much pressure may be being experienced in our lives.
If the horse is being harnessed to a cart the dreamer may be concentrating too hard on thoroughly- utilitarian objectives.
In a man’s dream, a mare will denote the Anima, a woman; or the realm of the feminine (see Archetypes).
In a woman’s dream, being kicked by a horse may indicate the Animus or her relationship with a man.
A horse that can get through any door and batter down all obstacles is the collective Shadow (see Introduction) those aspects of the personality which most people attempt to suppress.
The horse as a beast of burden is often the Great Mother (See Introduction). or mother archetype (see Archetypes). In modern dreams the car has largely taken over from the horse as a symbol with many of the same associations (see Car and Journey Sections).
The hyena is generally taken in dreams to signify impurity, instability and deviousness.
The jackal is associated with the graveyard, and therefore with Death. As a scavenger it is also a cleanser. Esoterically, it is the servant of the transformer, guiding souls from the earth plane into the light.
The jaguar’s main qualities are its speed and balance. It stands for the balance of power between the dark and light forces. Kangaroo This somewhat exotic animal often stands for motherhood. and also strength. Lamb The lamb is the innocent side of man’s nature.
It is said that evil cannot withstand such innocence.
The leopard represents cruelty and aggression, and traditionally the deviousness of wrongly used power. Lion The lion stands for majesty, strength and courage. It can also represent the ego and the passions associated with it.
If the dreamer is struggling with the lion there should be a succcssful development as long as the dreamer is not overpowered, or the lion killed.
A man-eating lion shows that an aspect of the personality- has slipped out of alignment, putting both the dreamer and his surroundings at risk.
A lion lying with a lamb There is a union, or compatibility of oppositcs; instinct and spirit going hand in hand. Lizard also see Reptiles The lizard appearing in a dream represents instinctive action or ‘one-track’ thinking.
The main quality associated with the lynx is its keen eyesight, thus in a dream it can often portray objectivity. Monkey The monkey characterises the infantile, childish and arrested side of the dreamer’s character.
The qualities of mischief, impudence and inquisi- tiveness all belong to the monkey. While these are often seen as regressive tendencies, that of lively- curiosity maintains a necessary lightness of spirit.
The mole is often taken to represent the powers of darkness, but can often signify the blind persistence and determination which enables the dreamer to succeed. Monster/Dragon also see Dragon in D Section A fear which is beyond understanding, usually welling up from within rather than from the outside world, is often represented in dreams by monsters and dragons.
The devouring monster The dream may deal with a recognition that ultimately we arc all absorbed back into a greater whole.
If the dreamer gets the better of the monster he will have mastery over his own fear of death, and may be able to harness this forcc for his own use. Cutting out the monster’s heart or other vital organ, or lighting a fire inside it, depicts the struggle against the dark forces of the underworld.
Also see Vermin
The mouse’s quality of timidity can often be addressed in the dreamer, if it is recognised that this can arise from turbulence and lack of understanding.
The otter is uniquely equipped to exist within its chosen element of water and to be able to gain subsistence from its environment, all things the dreamer may- need to develop.
The ox depicts the ability to be patient, and to make sacrifices for others.
Parts of animals
(the limbs, eyes, mouth, etc.)
These have the same significance as parts of the human body (see Body).
If the four legs are particularly emphasised possibly in contrast with a three-legged animal the whole rounded personality with all four functions of the mind fully developed is being highlighted. Pig or Wild Boar The pig is taken in Western belief to indicate ignorance, stupidity, selfishness, and gluttony.
The dreamer’s better self may be beginning to recognise these unattractive qualities in himself. Without such recognition there can be no transformation or mastcry of them. Pigs and jewels There is a conflict between the lower urges and spiritual values. Perhaps there is a failure to appreciate spiritual values. Big litters of piglets can represent fruitful- ness, although sometimes without result, since the sow can depict the Destructive Mother (see Archetypes). Wild Boar The wild boar depicts the archetypal masculine principal, and therefore the negative Animus in a woman’s dream.
The dreamer may be evading an issue that should be challenged and dealt with more daringly.
A trauma from the past, or from childhood, may be causing difficulty. Rabbit Rabbits appearing in a dream can mean one of two things.
The obvious connection with fertility could be important or it could be that the trickster aspect of the personality could be coming to the fore (see Hare).
A white rabbit may show the dreamer the way to the inner spiritual world and, as such, act as a guide.
The ram is a svmbol of masculine virility and power, and by association has those qualities of the sign of Aries in the Zodiac.
also see Vermin ‘flic rat signifies the diseased and devious part of the dreamer or of his situation. It can also represent something which is repulsive in some way.
The dreamer may be experiencing disloyalty from a friend or colleague.
To dream of reptiles indicates that we are looking at the more frightening lower aspects of the personality. We may have no control over these, and could therefore be easily devoured by them. We are afraid of Death or the death process, but must go through a process of change in order to be reborn.
Dreaming of a seal suggests that we are at one with the clement in which we live.
Also see Snake
The serpent is a universal symbol which can be male or female or it can be self-created. It can signify death or destruction or conversely life and also rejuvenation.
It is the instinctive nature and is also potential energy. When the power of the instinctive nature is understood and harnessed, the dreamer comes to terms with his or her own sexuality and sensuality and is able to make use of the higher and more spiritual energies which become available. In a man’s dream a snake may appear if he has not understood the feminine or intuitive part of himself, or when he doubts his own masculinitv. In a woman’s dream the snake may manifest if she is afraid of sex, or sometimes of her own ability to seduce others. Because of its connection with the Garden of Eden, the serpent is the symbol of duplicity and trickery; and also of temptation. Sheep The sheep is renowned for its flock instinct, and it is this interpretation which is most usually accepted in dreams.
The helplessness of the sheep when off balance is also another aspect which is recognisable, as is the apparent lack of intelligence.
The god-fearing, ‘good sheep’ and also the passive and ‘sheepish’ may have relevance within the context of the dream.
To dream of sheep and wolves or of sheep and goats is to register the conflict between good and evil.
Sinister Animals Any threat from animals indicates the fears and doubts the dreamer has over his ability to cope with the stirrings of the unconscious. Snake - also see Serpent. Snake dreams occur like serpent dreams - when the dreamer is attempting to come to terms with his or her more instinctive self.
Inevitably, this has to do with the recognition and harnessing of energies which have been suppressed and thwarted. Since the most primeval urge is sexuality, the image of the snake is the most primitive one available.
A snake twined around the body or limb
This indicates some form of bondage, possibly being enslaved to the passions.
A snake, or worm, leaving a corpse by its mouth
This can sometimes represent the sexual act (the little death), but can also signify the dreamer’s control of his or her libido.
A snake in the grass This image denotes disloyalty, trickerv and evil. With its tail in its mouth This image is one of the oldest available to man and signifies completion and the union of the spiritual and physical (see Shapes, Circle). Being swallowed by a snake This shows the need and ability to return to the ultimate, and lose our sense of space and time (see Eating). Because snakes are such a low form of life, while also being in some cases poisonous, they have become associated with death, and all that man fears. Snake twined around a staff or similar (see Caduceiis) The unconscious forces that are released once the dreamer reconciles the opposing sides of himself create healing, rebirth and renewal, and this is universally represented as two snakes entwined round a central staff.
It is a symbolic representation of the basic form of DXA, the ‘building blocks’ of life.
The colours of the snake may give additional insight into the meaning of the dream (see Colours). Squirrel The squirrel represents the hoarding aspcct of our personalities.
The tiger signifies royalty, dignity and power and is both a creator and a dcstrover
To dream of toads is lo connect with whatever the dreamer may consider ugly in life, or in his behaviour. However, implicit in that ugliness is the power of transformation and growth into something beautiful.
For a toad and an eagle to appear is to note the difference between earthly and spiritual values.
Transformation of animals In dreams, the metamorphosis of the dreamer or other people into animals and vice versa shows the potential for change within any situation.
The unicorn is a symbol of purity and traditionally could only be owned and perceived by virgins.
It is a return to, and a resurgence of, an innocence necessary in self-understanding, and it often suggests the control of the ego and selfishness.
In dreams vermin may represent the enforced contemplation of something that is unnecessary or that has invaded one’s spacc.
Animals with backbones often give an understanding of the qualities associated with that animal.
The smaller and lower orders of animal signify the unconscious, the higher orders the emotions.
The whale, because it is a mammal which lives within water, indicates the power of resurrection and rebirth man’s abilitv to come back from the dead.
The weasel traditionally highlights the devious, more criminally oriented side of ourselves.
see Sinister Animals
Usually wild animals stand for danger, dangerous passions, or dangerous people. There is a destructive force arising from the unconscious, threatening the safety of the individual. Such a dream may be a way of understanding anxiety.
Domesticating wild animals The dreamer may- have come to terms with his or her wilder side.
Dreaming of wolves may- indicate that we are being threatened by others, whether singly or by the pack.
The dreamer may- have cruel sadistic fantasies without taking responsibility for them.
The She-wolf The hussy; but also the carer for orphans and rejected young.
The dreamer may be suffering either emotional or spiritual wounds.
This animal has the same significance as the horse, but with the additional meaning of balancing the negative and the positive in a very dynamic way.
3- By understanding animals and their symbolism we approach life in a more simplistic and natural way.
An uncontrollable animal symbolizes the lust for sex. Docile animals such as pets reveal a state of contentment and pleasant companionship, but the pet itself may be in danger. Wild animals such as the bull, leopard, lion, and so on are considered symbols of desire for sexual fulfillment.
To see wild Animals in a dream is generally a dream of contrary; but there are a few special Animals such as LION, LEOPARD, TIGER, which carry distinct meanings. Any very unusual creature, such as a crocodile, is a bad sign. Domestic Animals have separate meanings, and the CAT and DOG are not considered good dream omens. Cows and Bulls depend upon their attitude; if they are peaceful, they are a good omen; but if they attack you, then expect difficulties in your business ventures.
Animal dreams can have several different meanings, depending on the specifics of your dream: Wild animals, especially if threatening, mean you feel out of control in a situation.
If you tame a wild animal in a dream, you achieve success through expressing yourself honestly.
If you are attacked by a vicious animal and you manage to kill it, you will triumph over your rivals.
Dreaming of domestic animals (such as pets), if unfamiliar, can mean you feel pressured to be something you’re not.
The same meaning applies to dreaming of wild animal babies (of any type of wild animal).
Dreaming of farm animals suggests that you are ready for growth. It’s time to start exploring your potential. Also see “Cow” and “Chickens” for more specific meanings.
If you dream that you kill a gentle animal (example: you’re driving and you run over a deer), something you are doing in real life goes against your values and you are “killing” a sweet part of yourself. You must change your behavior and stop acting against your instincts or a part of yourself will be lost or damaged. Talking animals in dreams serve as messengers of the unconscious. Pay attention to what they say, for they are trying to help you to trust your instincts and intuiton, and possibly warning you of dangerous or negative emotions that you have absorbed from others. Animals attacking other animals in your dream means you are feeling a deep conflict with someone you are close to. This dream may also suggest that you are scared of showing your true emotions and desires, because you think they are too powerful for others to deal with.
If you dream of being an animal, it could be an expression of your primitive desires, physical characteristics or even your romantic longings. Animals in dreams symbolizes the untamed and uncivilized aspects of yourself. Think about how you felt in the dream, and how you acted, for clues to your dream’s meaning. Also look up the specific type of animal you were, for further analysis.
If you dream of lab animals, you need to experiment with your fears, choices and beliefs. Try not to limit yourself by what others think you are capable of.
If you dream of a dead animal, an aspect of yourself is being repressed. You feel that you are not able to fully express your desires and emotions.
If you dream of experiments being done on animals, you will encounter difficulties in carrying out your goals and plans. However, if you rescued the animals from the experiments, you are successfully facing emotions and characteristics represented by the animal.
If you dream of hybrid animals (half one creature, half another), this symbolizes that you are beginning to incorporate different sides of yourself as you grow and mature into a fully-formed personality. Look up the animals that the hybrid was made of, for additional meaning about these sides of yourself.
(See Sound of animals)
See individual animal names.
Animals most often represent that aspect of ourselves, or parts of our personality, that are present in our ordinary life.
It is generally given that the more primitive the animal then the more primitive or deeper the layer of consciousness that represents.
To dream of being bitten by an animal may be a manifestation of a fear of animals. What the animal is doing in the dream is also very important, if say, a pig is dancing, then maybe that means that the side of you that likes to over indulge is very happy with that. But if the pig were crying then that might indicate an inner urge to curb and over indulge in habit.
Symbol: Animals represent, as Archetypes, the depths of our unconscious or our instincts. Animals in dreams are always repressed symbols of our urges—a dream language of the forbidden.
Bear: a symbol of vitality, power, and endurance (particularly in women’s dreams). See Bear.
Fish: a fear of losing love; your partner is “slipping” through your fingers, but when the fish is alive, it is a sign of successful planning. See Fish.
Dog: extremely repressed sexual urges. See Dog.
Insects: repressed anger, emotional stress, family problems. See Flies, Insects.
Cat: a symbol of female eroticism, and sometimes a repressed desire for independence. See Cat.
Cow: female sexual urges—but always combined with patience and calm. See Cow.
Lion: glorified and powerful physical contact between men and women.
Mouse: a symbol of the female; the fear of mice is an expression of the dreamer’s fear of a vet-to-be-acknowledged femininity. See Mouse, Rat.
Horse: aroused, but unrealized physical energies, or controlled vitality. See Horse, Horseback Riding.
Serpent: a phallic symbol; women who dream about serpents suffer from unfulfilled sexuality; a serpent crawling up your legs means sexual desires have been awakened. See Dragon, Serpent.
Small animals often symbolize a small sibling; large animals usually stand for the dreamer’s own character traits and repressed cravings. Animals with human voices: a warning not to let other people hurt or take advantage of you. Dead animals are a sign of changes in your personal situation.
Depth Psychology: Animals are a symbol of primitive character traits, like greed, passion, or anger.
The other symbols in the dream are very important.
The symbolism of animals is highly complex, as different creatures have been used to represent a variety of different notions.
A proper interpretation also depends on one’s personal associations with animals. Generically, animals symbolize the physical, instinctual, “animal” self, and wild dream beasts that one cannot specifically identify usually represent this aspect of the self (or “beastlike” people in one’s environment). One should be careful about this generalization, however, because certain other, more specific animals (e.g., birds) can symbolize precisely the opposite (e.g., the higher self or the soul).
To see animals in your dream is indicative of certain aspects of your personality. Depending on what animal you see, it may reflect your outer appearance, your primal needs and wants, or fantasies relating to sex. Animals can represent your wild and uninhibited side. Thus, to dream that you are fighting with an animal implies that there is some aspect of your personality that you dislike or are trying to avoid. Also read about the type of animal that is appearing in your dream.
To dream that animals can talk indicates insight and intellect. Pay attention to the words it utters; the meaning being conveyed may represent your ability to achieve all that you desire.
To dream that you are saving the life of an animal indicates that you are aware of some personality traits that you have in common with the animal. In addition, you may feel as if you are lacking a particular attribute or you are insignificant in the scheme of things.
To see lab animals in your dream represents a personal attribute that you are hiding from yourself and others. You need to gain confidence and face these emotions, even if you feel as if you will be overcome by them. Be more open-minded and willing to try different things.
By understanding animals and their symbolism we approach life in a more simplistic and natural way. In shamanism, one of the most ancient belief systems, animals are an intrinsic part of the shaman’s (wise man or priest) journey into other realms. They are protective as well as being teachers. Godlike, talking, awe-inspiring or wise animals, or those with human characteristics: animal wisdom is simple and uncomplicated and, therefore, is innocent. In dreams and myths we personalize this quality.
It is always important to pay attention to this aspect of animal life in fairy tales and dreams, since we need to be in touch with that part of ourselves.
Material aspects: When animals appear in a dream they tend to represent an aspect of the personality that cannot be properly understood except on an instinctive level. Below are some common images that occur in dreams.
Represent people, according to color and character; research accordingly
We think of animals as having intelligence that is basically instinctive. In this way, dreams that feature animals are helping us tap into our own instinctual nature.
The first element of any interpretation of an animal that appears in your dream is to investigate the special trait that the particular animal represents. You will find many such interpretations within these pages, but a little research will yield great results if your dream animal is not listed.
The animal’s behaviors and habits will illustrate the instinct that is being highlighted.
The second facet of your interpretation will come from what the animal is doing in your dream.
The activity it is engaged in will correlate with some type of movement (or obstacle to movement) in your waking life.
The dream may be asking you to stop trying to think your way through a situation and instead turn to your instinctive nature for an answer.
Talking animals can be demonic spirits posing as spirit guides. Running on all fours in a dream like an animal may represent a subconscious feeling of being powerful
Animals emerge from the Lower World as powerful archetypes and energies. They may lend their wisdom, attributes, and supernatural powers to the dreamer.
The appearance of any animal in a dream may point out that man and nature are not separate but are intricately connected.
Like any other animal, human beings have developed certain physical and behavioural traits. Some of these traits, such as a newborn baby attempting to suckle the breast, are rooted in millions of years of past experience and can be thought of as instinctive. We can observe such traits in a dog in such behaviour as cocking of the leg in male dogs. We can see some of our own traits in such things as the human desire to elect leaders. Many of these habits are physiological or social. In our dreams we represent these drives or habits in the form of various animals. Our restrained sex drive or aggression may be shown in our dream as a dog on a lead.
The power of drives such as the urge to parenthood via sex might be shown as a horse which we are trying to control. More than anything else, though, our dream animal represents our powerful reactions to situations, reactions developed through centuries of human experience in frequently terrible situations. This aspect of ourself is rooted in the older portions of the brain.
The animal in our dreams has commonly been seen only as the sex drive.
A careful examination of animal dreams, though, shows this to be untrue.
The animal represents all our biological needs and responses, which include survival and hunger, reproduction; parental urges; need for exercise and rest; social drives, fear reactions, anger, urge to provide (for young and mate); home/nest building; territory protection, social hierarchy, etc.
If these aspects in an individual are damaged or traumatised, we see parents who have lost their natural bonding and caring for their child; individuals who have no sense of social status or responsibility, enabling them to be criminally violent; disturbed and misplaced sexuality. Dominating or attempting to kill out the animal in us can cause tension, depression and illness.
The common escape into dry intellectualism is a cause of internal conflict. Complete permissiveness is no answer either, our higher brain functions need expression too. So one of the challenges of maturing is how to meet and relate to our ‘animals’, and perhaps bring them into expression in a satisfying way. Such drives are fundamentally a push towards life.
It must be remembered that where sex or sexuality is mentioned, I am not simply referring to the sex act. I mean sexuality in its overall aspect, which includes the urge towards parenthood, and the love and caring connected with it.
(Brain damage or certain drugs or chemicals can diminish the ‘human’ levels of function and only the animal and lizard levels are expressed.) Below are listed some common ways animals are used in our dreams.