Dreaming of Water: The Meaning of Water in Dreams

Updated on December 19, 2016
Sue B. profile image

I am a mother, a social worker, a dream interpreter, and a writer.

Water in dreams can be a powerful and mysterious symbol.
Water in dreams can be a powerful and mysterious symbol. | Source

What Does Dreaming of Water Mean?

Water is one of the most common and powerful dream symbols, and it's no wonder. Water is all around us in our daily lives and essential to life. Yet, for us as land beings, water is mysterious, dangerous, and destructive. Bodies of water are a foreign world we cannot live in. We can drown in water and experience the devastation of floods and tsunamis.

In general, water tends to represent the unconscious, a powerful and large part of who we are that we are not aware of and do not recognize as "us." Water is often associated with emotions and the expression of emotions. Emotions are often unconscious for us and we express emotions through tears.

Water can also represent maternity, primal feelings associated with our mother or our desire to become a mother. Water can be associated with the womb, the very beginning of our life, our connection to our mother (and/or the earth or God), and conception/pregnancy.

Finally, water can relate to spirituality and spiritual/religious beliefs.

Water, as most symbols, can have both negative and positive meanings in dreams. It is important to consider the following:

  • The cleanliness of the water: is the water clean and pure or is it polluted?
  • The depth of water: is the water shallow or deep?
  • The quality of water: is the water clear, cloudy, or dark?
  • The motion of the water: is the water still? Rough? Flowing smoothly? Choppy? Is it peaceful or threatening?
  • The quantity of water: is the amount of water appropriate to the setting? Is there a drought or lack of water? Is there too much water flooding the dream?

Ocean dreams should be interpreted in context.  The moon is also a symbol of emotional influence and can also have feminine meanings.  The shoreline can relate to the edge of the dreamer's conscious mind and unconsciousness.
Ocean dreams should be interpreted in context. The moon is also a symbol of emotional influence and can also have feminine meanings. The shoreline can relate to the edge of the dreamer's conscious mind and unconsciousness. | Source

Dreaming Oceans

Oceans can represent the state of your emotions and limitlessness of the unconscious and spirit. Oceans are often associated with tranquility, meditation, and retreat.

This symbol can have both negative and positive meanings. On one hand, the ocean may represent something larger than ourselves that we respect, are in awe of, or appreciate, something we go with the flow with as we sail through our life's journey. On the other hand, oceans can be overwhelming and rough. We are no match for the ocean and are unable to control it.

Are you going with the flow or drifting aimlessly?


River Dream

Similar to roads, rivers often represent your life's journey and your emotional, psychological, and spiritual state that is either supporting your journey or hindering your progress.

Are you going with the flow and allowing a higher power to influence the direction of your life or are you being too passive and directionless in your life?

Raging or muddy rivers often reflect emotional turmoil. Clear and calm rivers often reflect inner peace, balance, and harmony, a person who is not over-controlling or under-controlling, and positive feelings of joy and happiness in general.

Crossing a river may represent overcoming an obstacle or moving from one stage to another.


Waterfall Dreams

Waterfalls often relate to a great release of emotion, rejuvenation, and renewal of spirit.

Waterfalls can also have sexual connotations for people.

If the waterfall was negative, it could relate to feelings of overwhelm (if the dreamer was at the bottom of the waterfall for instance) or fears of "taking the plunge" or falling/losing control (if the dreamer was falling off of a waterfall).


Dream Pools

Pools often relate to relaxation and enjoyment associated with summer, spending time with family or friends, and vacation.

Pools can often have deeper meanings. Since they are manmade, they can represent the compartment we have built to hold our emotions. Seeing a pool may represent your need to get in touch with and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of these feelings.

An empty pool may represent feeling numb, drained, and without emotions. Although not always, many individuals with substance abuse issues report dreaming of empty pools. Perhaps escaping emotions and coming down from a high leave the dreamer feeling empty and void of all emotion.

Since lily pads float on the surface of the pond, they may show you that you desire an emotional break. Lilies are often associated with mourning.  Water lilies may indicate feelings of sorrow and grief.
Since lily pads float on the surface of the pond, they may show you that you desire an emotional break. Lilies are often associated with mourning. Water lilies may indicate feelings of sorrow and grief. | Source

Dreaming Ponds

Ponds are often associated with tranquility, quiet time, the need to sit quietly with oneself and reflect, and being emotionally calm in general.

Although pools contain emotion since there is no outlet, they are natural bodies of water and often represent the quiet, tucked-away emotions and unconscious self that has been present all along but not yet fully explored.

Ponds typically contain a lot of life. It may be beneficial to explore what is contained in the pond. Are these plants or animals natural to the pond? Are these plants or animals thriving or dying? The qualities of the life surrounding the pond may give you further insight into your current emotional state.


Faucet Dream

A faucet often represents the dreamer's ability to control the expression of his/her feelings. If you dreamed of a faucet, do you find you are able to turn your emotions on and off easily? Dreaming of a faucet you cannot control could mean you are attempting to over-control your emotions and are feeling overwhelmed. Your feelings cannot be completely contained and will gush through whatever barriers you have put up.

Dreaming of water that is too hot could relate to "hot" emotions beyond your control such as anger or passion. Dreaming of water that is too cold could relate to "cold" emotions such as depression, sadness, and difficulty being in touch with your emotions.

A leaky faucet could relate to an indicator that something within you needs some maintenance or attention. It could mean your regulation of your emotions is not in is best shape and you need to review where you are putting your energy.

If you are focused on the drain, perhaps you are feeling drained by your own decisions or by others.

A bubble bath is the ultimate form of relaxation.This could mean you have released your worries and negative emotions.
A bubble bath is the ultimate form of relaxation.This could mean you have released your worries and negative emotions. | Source

Dream of a Bathtub or Shower

Bathing often relates to self-renewal, cleansing, and shedding the past burdens, stress, and emotional residue from a situation.

Seeing a bathtub or shower in a dream may indicate the need to relax, take a break, and take care of emotional and/or spiritual concerns.

Bubble baths may indicate a need to pamper yourself and find time to relax. If you associate bubble baths with your youth, the dream may relate to a need to honor your inner child and make time for the little things that make you happy and carefree.

Dreaming of watching rain hit a window can indicate that spiritual ideas or insights are entering your consciousness.
Dreaming of watching rain hit a window can indicate that spiritual ideas or insights are entering your consciousness. | Source

Rain Dream

If you are a movie buff, rain may relate to a turning point in your life since it often rains during movies at a significant turning point.

Rain dreams can be negative as well as positive. Although it could be a symbol of depression, sadness, and shedding tears, it could also relate to grace from God (or a higher power) and forgiveness.

If the dreamer gets wet, it could be a symbol of cleansing and becoming more in touch with a greater purpose and emotions/spiritual thoughts that were always there waiting to be discovered or rediscovered.

Dreaming of a jetty or pier in a lake could represent self-reflection into the unconscious leading to emotional and spiritual growth.
Dreaming of a jetty or pier in a lake could represent self-reflection into the unconscious leading to emotional and spiritual growth. | Source

Dreams of Lakes

Lakes are similar to ponds in that they are natural (usually) and can be a place of peace of mind but may also reveal the dreamer's lack of an emotional outlet. Lakes are larger than ponds and tend not to carry a meaning of solitude the way a pond does.

As with all water dreams, the quality of the water and the overall context of the scene is important. A lake may represent the emotional state of the dreamer. Turbulent water tends to mean emotional turmoil.

As with all symbols, lakes can refer to something very personal to the dreamer. It is worthwhile to explore your experience with lakes. Perhaps this was a place you would vacation with family when you were younger for instance. In this case, the lake could represent fond childhood memories or a retreat to the security of the past.

A bridge over a stream may mean you are making an emotional transition.  Are you attempting to avoid your feelings or are you overcoming an emotional issue?
A bridge over a stream may mean you are making an emotional transition. Are you attempting to avoid your feelings or are you overcoming an emotional issue? | Source

Stream Dreams

Streams can represent the flow of emotions for many dreamers. Streams can also represent new and inspiring thoughts or ideas. A stream may indicate to a dreamer that thoughts are spontaneous, free flowing, and not over-thought.

Since streams are smaller than rivers, they may give a gentle, slow feel to the dream. In most dreams, the stream ends up relating to a little hint or a spark of something significant that can grow and develop over time for the dreamer.


Dreams of Floods

Floods can be damaging. In dreams, they tend to relate to emotional pain, devastation, and feelings of overwhelm.

Floods can have many different characteristics within a dream. It is important to explore if this was a biblical-type flood (destroying your world and starting over), a slow flood, or a threat of a flood.

Threats of devastation that do not actually materialize in the dream relate to excess worry, fears and negative thinking. This aspect of a dream may be most helpful to the dreamer because what needs to be addressed (negative thinking patterns) is in the dreamer's control.

Some dream dictionaries will tell you a flood relates to pent up sexual desires. This is a narrow interpretation of this significant symbol since sexual feelings are just one of the many feelings that may overwhelm and we may repress or experience in a rush or in which we may feel swept away. In general, feelings need to be expressed and acknowledged in some way. When they are ignored or repressed, tension builds up. Eventually, the feelings overwhelm and flood, forcing the person to express them one way or another.

This inner dynamic and struggle between over-controlling and being controlled by the emotions is not a healthy one. Emotional well-being is achieved when we find a balance in which we regulate emotions steadily instead of blocking them or being overtaken by them. Floods tend to tell us we lack harmony between our mind, emotions, body, and spirit.

Rainboots can symbolize protection.
Rainboots can symbolize protection. | Source

Puddles in Dreams

Puddles often represent the emotions we have overlooked. They can be minor although they may develop into something bigger the dreamer will need to address down the road. The location of the dreams may be significant to the meaning. For example, dreaming of walking down a path and encountering a puddle so large you would need to either turn around or walk through may indicate that in order to proceed forward–the dreamer will need to process the emotion.

Dreaming of a wave threatening a city may relate to something that's threatening your world.
Dreaming of a wave threatening a city may relate to something that's threatening your world. | Source

Dreams of Waves and Tsunamis

As with most symbols, waves can have both negative and positive meanings.

Riding a wave is a positive symbol of effectively managing emotions and difficult challenges in life. This often represents the dreamer's ability to go with the flow at times and act decisively and deliberately to work with circumstances at hand. This type of flexibility allows the dreamer to surpass obstacles and achieve goals.

Creating a wave demonstrates the dreamer's ability to control emotions, thoughts, and behavior and use creativity and their own personal power/choices to shape the circumstances around them.

Tidal waves and tsunamis tend to relate to emotions that are sweeping away and threatening the dreamer. These emotions may relate to a real situation that is troubling and threatening the individual (financial troubles for example) or the dreamer's perception of their place in life and negative anticipation of future events. When emotions and past issues are repressed and avoided, they push back until they are acknowledged by the dreamer. Problems often grow and become overwhelming when ignored for too long.

Emotions represented within floods and waves are often layered. The wave may have begun with negative and dark emotions that were compounded with the dreamer's feelings about their feelings and the expression of these feelings. This type of dream may indicate to the dreamer a need to address the anxiety and fears associated with addressing the deeper emotions that have been avoided over time.


Dreams of Aquifers or Underground Pools

Since aquifers are an underground layer of water, they often relate to the unconscious and unconscious emotions. Although not visible, these unconscious aspects of self are present and may influence the emotional terrain of the dreamer. Dreams of aquifers can be very positive. Since aquifers are often the source of water levels within other bodies of water, the dreamer may be exploring the core issue or underlying cause of emotional distress.


Dams in Dreams

Dams are a rather direct symbol indicating the dreamer is repressing emotions that need to be expressed. This is not natural and cannot be sustained. If it continues over time, the dam eventually will burst because the repression, avoidance, and compartmentalizing of emotions is not an effective way to manage emotions. This method of emotional regulation often backfires for the dreamer.


Dreaming a Hose or a Sprinkler

Do you feel like you are being "hosed" in a situation?

Hoses and sprinklers can relate to how the dreamer is directing emotion. Where is the dreamer directing his or her emotions? Is it appropriate or displaced?


Tears in Dreams

Tears in general relate to positive and healthy expressions of emotion that have allowed the dreamer to grow from a psychological and spiritual standpoint. Depending upon the context, tears can also indicate pain, compassion, and healing.

The symbol of a teardrop may relate to the wisdom the dreamer has gained through a tough and emotionally-challenging experience.

Sweat in Dreams

Sweat can relate to the need for hard work in order to achieve one's goals. It can also indicate to the dreamer the need to cool down. Sweat may relate to specific emotions such as anxiety, nervousness, and frantic worry.


Dreams of Sewage

This dream often represents the lowest of the low emotions. Sewage can relate to the emotions that have been discarded and disowned because the dreamer perceived them as vile and shameful. Sewage can also relate to the dreamer having low self-esteem and not valuing their life, their emotions, and/or their spirit.

Sewage can show the dreamer that unattended and unexpressed emotions are festering inside and becoming toxic.

What about you?

What Kind of Water Do You Dream?

See results

Water: Religious Interpretations

Water is significant to many religions. Water is a primary building block of life. Without water, there is no life. Its significance to humans and the earth is often found in religious texts. The dreamer's beliefs and exposure to different religious practices may impact the dreamer's unique personal symbolism of water.

Water is often used for cleansing and purification, both physical and spiritual. It washes away impurities and can make something look brand new.

Water also has the power to destroy. Many cultures share flood stories and parables. Water is a force that is respected for both its power to destroy and create.

Water: Buddhist Perspective

Water is used during Buddhist funerals. Dreaming of water may relate to someone's passing or the concept of death.

Water: Christian Perspective

Water is used in many Christian rituals. Dreaming of water may relate to baptism and could be interpreted as liberation from sin and cleansing of the soul.

Water: Hindu Perspective

In Hinduism, water is believed to possess spiritually cleansing power. Hindus regard water as sacred. Many places of worship or holy lands are found close to water, especially where two bodies of water meet. Water is used in rituals during funerals and is an essential element in daily worship.

Water: Islamic Perspective

Water is used ritualistically in Islam as a means to cleanse and purify. Muslims cleanse themselves with water before they approach God.

Water: Jewish Perspective

In Judiaism, water is used for ritualistic cleansing to maintain purity. There is an emphasis on "living water" i.e. water from oceans, rivers, streams, etc. Water can relate to the great flood, parting of the Red Sea, or mikveh. A mikveh is a ritualistic bath used after someone has contact with a corpse or menstruation.

Water: Shinto Perspective

Water is present during Shinto rituals for the purpose of purification. Waterfalls are especially significant for purification.

Water Dreams: Positive or Negative?

In your dreams, is water a positive or negative symbol?

See results


Submit a Comment

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 24 months ago

    Thank you so much for your comment, rjbatty. I have been interested in Carl Jung and have read some of his materials. Lately, I tend to read current studies and opinions. The International Association of the Study of Dreams has a lot of interesting information. While research is interesting, I do like to understand how others interpret their own dreams. Exploring our own dreams really helps us understand our own subjectivity, I think. We can really help each other by highlighting when an interpretation is based on fears or negative. It is simply liberating to me to realize that our dreaming is something we can change over time as we change ourselves. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  • rjbatty profile image

    rjbatty 2 years ago from Irvine

    Your interpretations are good. Did you study Jungian psychology? Not many people seem open about the psyche and its symbols, but you seem to have a firm grasp. I appreciated reading this.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 2 years ago

    Kristen Howe-

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing your dream experience. Your water dreams sound so positive and peaceful! I would associate your dream with how you are approaching life. It gives me the impression of feeling balanced, at peace with the world and yourself, having confidence and succeeding at your endeavors without feeling challenged by or competitive with others.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Sue, great hub. My dreams usually have a body of water--lately it's an ocean and a lake, peaceful and not filled with rapid waves. I'm swimming in the lake at my own pace and not in a race. Sometimes there's boats there in the harbor. Any ideas?

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 2 years ago


    Thank you for your comment. I apologize for replying so late. At this point, I wonder if this dream of water had since resolved for you or changed. Regarding this dream you shared, it sounds like the water in the basement relates to suppressed or forgotten emotions that are inescapable. The dream is showing you that pumping them out- bringing them out- with the help of others could resolve the issue. I would relate this to the need to express and release these emotions possibly by speaking with others or expressing yourself in some way. I hope this was helpful for you!

  • kmartel profile image

    K D Martel 3 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

    Hi Sue!

    this is the best interpretation of water I have ever read. Love the way you take each context of water and break it down. I too had a strange dream last night, the reason why I read your article. But, the context is different. I dreamed of being in my basement, but it was huge and I shared it with a neighbour that I had never seen. I had water OVERFLOWING from hundreds of places, pipes, cracks, corners, some dripping, some puddling and some falling from way up in constant streams..I was freaking, all I could think was I have to pump all this extra water, I have too much groundwater coming in! My neighbour on the other hand had some experts who were telling him that they would pump out the extra groundwater and no more water would come into his basement. I asked them to help me and they said, well, as your neighbour. I asked the neighbour, but he seemed to preoccupied to help me. They started pumping out the extra water and his overflowing stopped, mine continued. Very vivid dream. I knew none of the people in my dream.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 4 years ago

    carrie lee Night-

    Thank you so much for commenting and taking the time to read my hub. Your dream sounds interesting. Do you think it reflects how you feel about your emotions or the emotional situations you face? Crazy little tidal waves would make me feel like I am on wild ride but still able to handle it all. Have a good one!

  • carrie Lee Night profile image

    Carrie Lee Night 4 years ago from Northeast United States

    Interesting ! :) Thank you for writing this hub. I have tidal wave dreams once in a while....they are crazy little ones. Have a great weekend ! :)

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 4 years ago


    Thank you for sharing your dream and taking the time to comment. Water is certainly associated with so much for people including life and pregnancy. Your particular dream would be an anxiety dream for me because being in the ocean without land in sight would certainly be scary and would give me the sense that I have reached the point of no return. For you, it seems like this dream communicated for you that you were pregnant. I wonder how you were feeling about this and if you felt nervous at all and had feelings associated with how you would likely feel in the setting of your dream in waking life. Interesting dream! Thank you again for sharing.

  • moiponetsoka profile image

    Moipone 4 years ago from South Africa

    Once i dreamed that i was in the middle of an ocean, with no land in sight. nowhere to swim too. Learnt that i was pregnant with my First child.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 4 years ago


    Thank you for sharing your dream experiences with me. Water dreams can be so powerful. In your particular case, it seems like these water dreams reflect something spiritual for you. Your dreams sound beautiful and energizing. If these were my dreams, I would take note of the body of water I encounter. An ocean would show me how expansive and infinite the universe and God truly are.

  • viryabo profile image

    viryabo 4 years ago

    Thank you for this article Sue.

    For the most part of my dreaming life, i dream of water a lot. Always tranquil and serene, i dream of wading in clean clear water that is always still.

    I have always found the need to know what it always means - these water dreams, and as i always have clear recollections of dreams, i always yearn for interpretations.

    I have become your follower now. Im glad to find a hubber whose articles will help me have a better understanding of my numerous dreams.

    I am known as a dreamer and always try to understand each dream the best way i can. One thing that's certain is that when i awake from my water dreams, i feel engulfed in total peace.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 4 years ago


    Thank you for sharing your dream. This dream of the ocean sounds like you are not in touch with unconscious emotions that need your attention. It would sound like emotional turmoil. My suggestion would be to find a way to "get wet" in these dreams so that you can begin to get more in touch with this part of yourself and shed some light onto its meaning and what needs your attention.

  • profile image

    Char-Bakes3 5 years ago

    Hi ive had the same sort of dream a few times but its not consistent im standing watching the ocean but its always rough and dark around me and some times im on a boat or just standing on the shore observing, a couple of times ive been standing there watchibg the break wall were waves crash right in front of me and i just stand and watch im confused on what it might be,

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 5 years ago


    Your dreams of water in a negative way sounds like they could relate to negative emotions. The water leaking through pipes would relate to the emotions that spill over. I would wonder if the pipes aren't your wind pipe expressing emotions you are trying not to.

    The snow and ice would relate to emotions you suppressed and are frozen. since you are driving through them, they are making your path more difficult and are influencing your direction in life.

  • profile image

    TobyT 5 years ago

    I have had dreams of water for the last five nights, always in a negative manner. Excessive water leaking thru my homes pipes. Sliding down water & ice hills. Driving thru snow, water & ice and almost wrecking. Always with a lot of people standing around just watching my distress.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 5 years ago


    Thank you for sharing your dream. Dreaming of those who have passed could mean many things. You may want to click on my profile (my name) and find the hub about dreaming of messages from the dead.

    Here, the lack or river sounds like it has a more spiritual reference for you. Do you feel blocked spiritually in some way and not able to fully engage in a remembrance and honoring of your friend? Also since you feel you cannot enjoy the water, it is possible you are struggling with confronting some intense feelings. If you do not connect with your friend, you may be dreaming of the distance you may feel now that she has passed.

  • profile image

    auntiem1 5 years ago

    I keep having dreams of my best friend who passed a year and a half ago. Each dream is similar as her and I are going with a group of people to party at the lake or river. Sometimes we are going to go floating or watch an event. I can never get in to water to enjoy the fun, I see her but never get to hang out.

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 5 years ago

    shot up-

    Dreaming that someone is dead when there are alive can show a disconnect with that person or an aspect of self you associate with that person. Something would need more of your attention.

    The pool of water can be your unconscious emotions. The fish and the lobster could be what you are aware of. I would associate pain with the lobster. The dog delivering a small puppy would relate to hope and the potential for personal growth.

  • profile image

    shot up 5 years ago

    i dream that my son was dead what does this mean to me and before that i was dreaming that i was in the pool with water ive seen some deferrent kind of fish, lobster their then later i saw a dog deliver a small one puppy what does this means to me...........

  • profile image

    MeganSkyD 5 years ago

    Hmmm interesting but how come whenever i dreamed of water, i always got more money coming in?

  • sharonchristy profile image

    Sharon Christy 5 years ago from India

    Great article!

  • profile image

    ksinll 5 years ago

    Very thorough and insightful. I have water dreams a lot and explaining the different types helps shed light on how to interpret. Hope to see more of your dream hubs!

  • Sue B. profile image

    Sue B. 6 years ago

    Jlbowden and Glen Stok-

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my hub and comment. I am too embarrassed to admit how long it too me to write this hub. Water really is everywhere!

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Wow! You really covered all the bases for different ways water is involved in our lives. It makes one stop and think. We take water for granted. It's a major influence in our lives and we couldn't life without it.

    With that said, I have suddenly realized that I don't quite remember having had any dreams about water. But now that I read your Hub, I plan to try to watch for it, as it may be interesting to see how it may relate to what's going on for me in my life or in my present state of mind. As you explained, it could be very 'telling' to get a better understanding of our emotions.

    Really enjoyed this interesting and enlightening Hub. Voted up.

  • Jlbowden profile image

    James Bowden 6 years ago from Long Island, New York

    Hi Sue:

    Excellent article about the different forms of water and how they can be related to our dreams. If I were to dream subconsciously about a particular body of water it would definitely have to be an ocean. Because I often relate oceans to making me feel more relaxed deep down inside, but at the same time in full control of my environment, or other things around me. I guess you could say a sense of power. Never remember half of my dreams but you can be sure of one thing, after reading your article, I will no doubt start having dreams about water-maybe even a wet dream or two-who knows? Then again that could be a good thing in a way. Awesome and interesting article which I also voted up. Hopefully will see you at our next hubmeetup.



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