When animals appear in dreams they deserve special attention because dreams enjoy employing animals as stand-ins for some aspect of one's self. Animals symbolize the untamed and uncivilized aspects of who you are. Thus, to dream that you are fighting with an animal signifies a hidden part of yourself that you are trying to reject and push back into your subconscious. Many cultures assign specific symbolism or meaning to animals. For example, birds may be viewed as messengers or harbingers of something about to enter the waking life or the consciousness. Some Native American cultures believe that the animal will leave neither the dream or waking life until its message has been delivered and understood. To see animals in your dream represents your own physical characteristics, primitive desires, and sexual nature, depending on the qualities of the particular animal. In everyday life we use animal traits as behavior comparisons such as:
- Sly as a fox
- Quiet as a mouse
- Hungry as a bear
- Proud as a rooster...and so on.
Or, how about when a group of human females get together to chat..."They sound like a bunch of chickens" :-) We also use animal traits as desirable qualities to aspire to, for instance:
- The gracefulness of a cat
- The loyalty of a dog
- Thriftiness of a squirrel
On the flip side, we also use animals to portray negative aspects:
- Dirty dog
- Fat pig (or cow)
- Mean as a snake
These are sayings and beliefs that we are all brought up with. Every culture has their own and these will carry over into your dreams. When an animal does appear in your dream, take note of whatever quality it is displaying and think about some of our everyday sayings like the ones above. This would be the first consideration when interpreting what a particular animal represents.
The fantasy or mythical animal is just as real as any other animal as far as symbols are concerned. We grow up with wondrous stories of these creatures and they live in our consciousness. Many people (and not just children) do in fact dream of dragons or unicorns and such. So, if you are lucky enough to be one of them, be sure to take it as a powerful message! When dreaming of birds pay attention to the type, as they all have distinctive behaviors. If you dream about a particular type of bird then you'll know that you need to look into their specific qualities. If you are lucky enough to dream of some kind of reptile, look for coming changes and opportunities in your life. Some dream of beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers and of course...spiders. Seemingly, everyone seems to dream about spiders at some point. For many, they simply represent fear. However, others have a different view on spiders and other types of insects that commonly appear in dreams. Many of us dream of animals - mammals that is - more frequently than birds, insects, or reptiles probably because we relate to them on a more intimate level. Cats, dogs and farm animals show up in dreams all the time and that makes perfect sense since these are the animals that we care for in our daily lives. However, wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears (Oh my!) also show up in dreams quite a bit because they portray such powerful aspects that you can't help but pay attention to and wonder about it. So, when you do get a wild animal in your dream...take the time to explore the meaning, or even try to go back into the dream to get more information from these animals.
To dream that animals can talk, represents superior knowledge. Its message is often some form of wisdom. Alternatively, a talking animal denotes your potential to be all that you can be. To dream that you are saving the life of an animal, suggests that you are successfully acknowledging certain emotions and characteristics represented by the animal. The dream may also stem from feelings of inadequacy or being overwhelmed. To see lab animals in your dream, suggests that an aspect of yourself is being repressed. You feel that you are not able to fully express your desires and emotions. Alternatively, it may suggest that you need to experiment with your fears, choices, and beliefs. Try not to limit yourself.
Animals are one of the most frequent of symbols that appear in dreams. Because we see them in so many ways, such as the cunning or trickery of the fox or coyote, the strength and mystery of the elephant, the loving fierceness of a lioness with her cubs, and the almost unconditional love dogs give us, the animal in our dream can express a very wide spectrum of meaning or feelings. Refer to the specific animal in your dream. Animals, like most dreams symbols may have different meanings. Always go with the meaning you feel has the most resonance to your particular situation and most accurately reflects your association with the animal in question. Also, try to examine the animal in context with and in relation to the other symbols in your dream. If, for example you are dreaming about your dog, look to see where she is, what her environment is like, what activity she is engaged in, etc., as this will help give you a complete picture of the dream landscape.
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