Common Dream Symbols

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The topic of dreams is a very broad and interesting one. People have looked to dreams for answers for as long as humanity has existed. The mind of the dreamer can bring premonition, prophecies, and the tools to heal deep rooted issues in our psyche. There are plenty of people who believe that dreams are just the wasted, recycled fragments of day-to-day information that play in the cinema of the brain while we sleep. While I do think what we do and see in a day can affect our dreams, I believe most dreams have deeper symbolism that can help us unlock certain things in ourselves. In this article, we are going to dive into five of the most common dream symbols and their meanings!

Teeth Falling Out

It might sound weird if you have never had this dream, but dreaming of your teeth falling out is a very common symbol. When your teeth fall out in a dream, this can symbolize a feeling of inadequacy, stress, or insecurity. Teeth are bones, and our bones are symbolic of structure and secure life. Is there some area of life that you feel you could do better in? This dream often occurs in transitional moments in life. If your teeth become loose but fall into your mouth, causing you to choke, this can mean there is something on your mind that you are not expressing. Alternatively, it may mean that something you have said may come back to bite you. The other details of a dream can help determine why certain symbols appear. Take note of who else is in the dream, the overall feeling of the dream, and any other symbols that stand out. Those details can assist in analyzing the meaning of the dream.


The most basic reason for dreaming of water is emotion. Depending on the context and surrounding details of the dream, it often represents healing, new opportunities, and in many cases, pregnancy and birth. Dreaming of water in the form of a tsunami or hurricane can mean the dreamer is experiencing some kind of emotional upheaval. To dream of drinking water can represent a need for emotional or spiritual enrichment and renewal. If you find that to be true, try doing a meditation or ritual involving water. Personally, I get the best results when meditating close to water.


This is one of my favorite symbols, as it is heavily used in my dream language. If possible, take note of the vehicle being driven in the dream. Vehicles represent the life of the dreamer. What color as the vehicle? Was it a nice, shiny new car that was easy to drive? Or was it an old rust bucket that wouldn’t even start? These details can be representative of how the dreamer is feeling about their path in life. Who was driving? Was it the dreamer, or someone close to them? The driver of the dream vehicle represents who is in charge of the dreamers waking life. In my own dreams, I am often driving a familiar vehicle on a crazy, winding road. I am driving way too fast, and have almost no control of the car. I get to a point in the road where I have to make a choice: follow the road up a hill into heavy traffic, or follow the road down a very steep hill that leads to a broken bridge collapsed under shallow water. There are tons of symbols there, but I want to focus on the control of the vehicle for now. I was in the drivers seat, but was going so fast I had no control of the car. Right now, I think that means I am leading my own life, but with little idea of where it was leading me. Have you had a similar dream?


This is another very broad symbol for dreams, as each animal has its own meaning. To keep things a bit concise, I will list three common dream animals and what they can symbolize!

  • DOGS- dreams involving dogs can symbolize loyalty, affection, and wild instincts. Dogs can act as messengers or guardians between worlds. Take note of your dream dogs demeanor. Dreaming of a large black dog often represents depression or death. Similarly to the Death card in a tarot deck, this doesn’t always mean literal death. It can be a message or warning of a transition or rebirth in life.
  • CATS– Cats in dreams are symbolic of independence, feminine sexuality, and creativity. Dreaming of a cat trapped in a cage can signify your own independence or creative passions being locked away. If a man dreams of a cat or many cats, it can be a warning for him to beware of jealousy in a relationship. Cats (and dogs!) can act as surrogate symbols for female dreamers, shown in place of a baby. Cats can also carry messages between worlds.
  • HORSE- Horses show up in female dreamers more often than male dreamers. They can symbolize enthusiasm and driving energy that carries us in waking life. A talking horse can be symbolic of your own inner voice, so pay attention to the message it is giving you! Being afraid of a horse in a dream can mean you are afraid of others seeing your wild side. Finally, horses can indicate movement, travel, and transition.

Naked Dream

Ah, yes, the naked dream. We have all heard it. The tale of waking up late and rushing to get to school or a meeting, only to realize you forgot to get dressed. Panic ensues, embarrassment overtakes you as you try to hide. If you have had a similar dream, it has a very simple meaning: vulnerability and anxiety. Did you have this dream after receiving a promotion at work, or right before a big presentation of some kind? Simple stressors in life can make us feel anxious. Even if you are calm on the surface in waking life, when your conscious mind goes to sleep your unconscious may send this kind of dream to let you know how you are really feeling. Being in your birthday suit in front of a dream crowd may have you feeling embarrassed even after you wake up. If that happens, remind yourself that it was just a dream. Try to find the stressor that lead to the dream, and work on feeling more confident about it. Life only gives us what we can handle, you will do great at whatever it is!

I have been studying/practicing dream analysis and interpretation for 10+ years, and it has remained a fascinating topic. Do you have something to add to these symbol interpretations, or want to share a dream of your own? Leave a comment below, or email me at

Reference material:The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams: The Ultimate A-Z to Interpret the Secrets of Your Dreams by Theresa Cheung