Dreaming time is a rich and diverse alternate reality, offering an entirely new world experience and possibilities. Dreams can be richly rewarding and should not be dismissed or pushed to the side. Some believers believe that dream time is our true reality, and our “waking” hours are merely a time for studying and enacting our dreams.
It’s easy to write off an elaborate dream as vivid imagination, but often dreams are direct expressions of our own states of being - our subconscious and conscious chatters that find voice when our mind slips into slumber. In many ways dreams are the realities we manifest when asleep, just like the realities we manifest and inhabit during our waking life. These dreams resonate directly with our energetic state of being - how we are emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Be it a beautiful adventure dreaming of soaring with birds or a nightmare in the deep down under, your dreams are windows to your own self. Very often they are signs and insights that you miss out or ignore in your waking life, wisdom that comes knocking on your door because you just aren’t listening when awake. What you dream thus is more than just a wild fantasy - it is a picture of what and what you are, painted from the inside out. And it is here, while asleep and dreaming, we are very often helped by our animal friends.
Dreaming of Animals
For some of us, animals reach us through dreams and visions throughout our lives. Animals are there to be our friends and to help us on our journeys. Sometimes, animals come to us in recurring dreams, giving us thoughts about past lives, inspiration, and even feeding our souls when we need it most.
In the natural world, no one animal is more important than another. After a recurring dream, we may go out and buy “totems” to decorate our homes and not realize why we are compelled to do so. Whether the animal comes to us as a spirit guide in our dreams or is a pet companion, the animal represents a lesson; the animal is the teacher and afterward, it’s there to comfort us in our time of need.
“For myself, one of the most profound and mysterious dreams and totem in my life came as a dream; I’ll call him Buster a dog. Always appearing by himself, very muscular, and seemed bigger than life, he usually comes to me out of thin air and stands to my right side. Finally, after developing some of my psychic abilities and talking to Buster after I woke up, and many dreams later I found out he was there for protection and to give me strength, which I felt I had not fully developed at that time. It has been said different animals represent core emotions and concepts, just another way of releasing bottled-up feelings, if we so chose. Buster still comes to me and I always welcome his kind-hearted eyes gazing at me and we talk and enjoy each other’s company.” - Psychic Tori
Your dream animal represents an aspect of you. Every scene, every individual, every animal you encounter in your dreams mirrors an aspect of your own soul, your own self back to you - just like they do in waking life. Whether it is a panther who graces your nocturnal adventures or a cute little rabbit, whether you are running away from them or diving deep into the abyss on their backs, animals you dream of are metaphorical fragments of your own self.
A Saint Bernard could represent your undying loyalty while a lone wolf could symbolize your hunger to explore and roam through life on your own terms. A butterfly is a common symbol of gentle transformation while a vicious rodent could indicate your own ruthlessness in life. There is a vast volume of information available online about the symbolism of animals, the energies they embody. However, it is always vital to first ask yourself what you own mind says on the matter, how it views an animal - it is after all the author of your dreams.
Psychic Levana explains how the key to interpreting animals in dreams lies in your feelings:
“The most inspiring dream as well as the most disturbing dream I have had have involved me swimming with a python. Yet one left me floating in bliss for days after while the other forced me into reflecting on my recent choices at the time. By itself the python represented an impartial energy - a creative force that lay within me and was looking to unleash itself. It was my own life choices and experiences at each point that gave the python its context, that colored the dream enchanting or scary. I am sure to be quite jittery if I ever found myself swimming with a python in real life, but how I felt during the dream told me exactly which aspects of my subconscious I was exploring and their character - reassuring or challenging.”
When interpreting your own dreams, don’t be quick to judge the animals you meet. Instead, listen to their message not just by watching their actions or speaking to them, but also, and more importantly, by observing how you feel and what you are thinking while they are with you.
Work with the Dream Animal’s Energy
Even if you spent your whole dream running away from an animal, it might serve you to explore their energy, find their message and dive into it. A predator brings certain positive attributes with it which when tapped into can help us find the key to personal evolution and transformation. In Levana’s dreams for instance, knowing that the python embodied an inherently creative force helped her focus on how she was channeling her own creative energies and the choices she was making. Since she was swimming with the python, and water is a direct metaphor for emotions, she knew the dream was the direct results of her recent experiences with family and loved ones.
You could of course meditate on a dream and invite the spirit of the animal into your waking life to discover its message. But whichever path you choose to explore your dream, make sure to let no animal presence go unnoticed. Even the smallest of them can have the biggest insights for you!
Animal Symbolism in Dreams
When an animal makes an appearance in your dream, it could be very significant to understanding what your subconscious is thinking and feeling. By interpreting your dreams, you can unlock what that meaning is. Here are some of the most common dream animals and clues as to what they represent.
Dream Meaning: Hawks
There are a couple of common hawk dream interpretations. The first meaning is that you have ambitious goals that will require courage and determination to accomplish them. The second is that there's something suspicious going on around you, and you will need to be cautious. If you're unsure of which of these is the cause for seeing hawks, consider having a chat with a psychic online to discuss the dream and get some insight.
Dream Meaning: Fish
Fish make their way through dreamy waters that may represent your subconscious, spirituality, or a situation that's not yet clear. Dreaming of fish can mean that you need to bring something to the surface and examine it more thoroughly. Dreams of fish often precede news of a pregnancy as well. If you're eating fish, you're craving food for your soul.
Dream Meaning: Cats
Cats provide a lot of possible meanings in a dream. Cats are mysterious, secretive, and altogether magical. You'll surely note the air of sorcery in the eerie glow of a cat's eyes as they stare off at "nothing" or their uncanny attraction to all things mystical. In your dreamscape, cats represent sorcery. They typically appear as a message of warning. Someone close to you may be deceitful or untrustworthy. Consider your confidants carefully.
If a cat is aloof in your dreams, it could mean you need to distance yourself from a bad situation or person. Cats also represent independence and could signal that you need to learn to be more independent.
Dream Meaning: Dogs
The unending cheer and friendliness of dogs is a prime indicator of their warm and comforting nature. Dogs represent friendships, warmth, and trust in your dreams. A friendly dog in the dreamscape carries a promising message about your relationships. You will soon meet new friends or find your current friendships deepening.
How the dog is behaving in your dream can shed light on why you're dreaming of a dog. If you encounter an angry dog, it can indicate that you should be careful of a potentially dishonest friend. If a dog bites you, it means you have a guilty conscience for something you did to someone close to you. An attacking dog could indicate that you're acting on impulse, while a barking dog is representative of damaging gossip.
Dream Meaning: Horses
Horses are often considered symbols of good luck, as is the horseshoe. They also represent strength and vigor. Riding a horse symbolizes enjoying a position of power. Perhaps a promotion is near at hand. If you fall off a horse, a major hurdle is ahead, but you can overcome it if you're willing to get back in the saddle.
If you see a wild horse, it may indicate that you need to tame your primal nature to achieve success. Alternatively, a horse running in your dream may represent wanting freedom to break away from confinements. This could mean you feel constricted in your job. Perhaps you're not able to have the freedom to succeed, and your next step is to look for a new job. Alternatively, you could feel confined in your romantic relationship. Let the horse inspire you to take that leap over the fence and run to new adventures.
Dream Meaning: Bears
The majestic bear represents power and strength. As a guardian, this animal can also stand for protection. Bears are extremely family-oriented, which is why you often hear the phrase "Mama Bear." Dreams about bears are often meant to draw your attention toward family matters. Consider what the bears are doing and how this might relate to issues in your family right now.
Dream Meaning: Tigers
Tigers are fierce and powerful. Dreaming of a tiger may indicate that you need to take a stronger stance in a situation. Perhaps it's time to step up into a leadership role. Tigers can also represent sensuality, seduction, and the power of the feminine. If you dream of a caged tiger, you have feelings that you're not confronting. A wild tiger invites you to take hold of your full potential.
Dream Meaning: Ants and Other Insects
Ants and insects are very common elements of dreams. They represent something that is bugging you, especially when the bugs are crawling over you within the dream. If you see bugs in your dreams often, it could mean that there is something or someone bugging you in real life that you haven't taken the time to deal with. If you avoid resolving the issue, the bugs will show up again and again.
Spiders are also very common in dreams, often representing something that is scaring you. Read more about the symbolic meaning of spiders in dreams.
Dream Meaning: Alligators
Alligators are versatile creatures that have formidable strength both on land and in the water. Seeing an alligator may indicate that it's time to work on your adaptability or strength. The thick skin of the alligator may represent a need for you to develop thick skin as well and let go of minor, earthly concerns. If you're running from the alligator in your dream, there's something that you're afraid of confronting. Take a lesson from the alligator's belly crawl and ground yourself thoroughly to help you deal with it.
Dream Meaning: Snakes and Serpents
Many people have a general fear of reptiles, which can surface in their dreams. If you've always been afraid of snakes, it can be unnerving to have them come up in your mind every evening - but is there a bigger meaning behind this nightmare?
One reason why you might be dreaming of snakes is because you feel that your anxieties are catching up and threatening you. A snake vision can alert you to upcoming changes in your life - it's not just a nightmare, but a fair warning.
A snake dream can also indicate a yearning for more creativity and wisdom. This is a more common interpretation if the snake wasn't directly attacking you in your vision. In any case, there seems to be more positives you can take away from this recurring dream than negatives.
If your subconscious is trying to tell you to wake up and listen, serpents will appear in your dreams. Serpents are thought to represent psychic energy and dreaming of serpents could be your subconscious telling you that it's time for a tarot reading to get some clarity for your situation. If a serpent bites you in a dream, you should be wary of new people that come into your life. One of them could be very untrustworthy.
These are just some of the most common animals that appear in dreams, but the possibilities are endless. What animals have appeared in your dreams most recently? What do you think they mean for you? What about when you actually see certain animals, rather than dream about them, does the meaning change? Learn even more about 13 Common Animal Meanings and Signs.