Dreaming of Water: What Does It Really Mean?
Water is one of the most common and powerful dream symbols, and it's no wonder, considering how essential it is to life. Although we can't live without it, water is also mysterious, dangerous, and destructive. Bodies of water are places we cannot live.
What Do Dreams About Water Mean?
- In general, water represents the unconscious, the place our minds go and the thoughts we have when we're not paying attention. If you are underwater in your dream, this might indicate feeling drowned, overwhelmed, or swallowed up by unconscious thoughts, emotions, urges, or memories.
- In dreams, water is often associated with emotions and their expression. The surface of the water represents the dividing line between the consciousness and the unconscious. The type, shape, motion, and other characteristics of the dreamed water express the dreamer's conscious or unconscious emotions.
- Water can also represent maternity, those primal feelings associated with our mothers or our desire to become a mother. Water can be associated with the womb, the very beginning of life, the primordial soup, or to our connection to maternal figures, the earth, God, or conception/pregnancy.
- Finally, water can relate to spirituality and spiritual or religious beliefs.
How Do I Interpret My Dream About Water?
Water, as most symbols, can have both negative and positive meanings in dreams. It is important to consider the following to help you analyze and asses your particular dream's meaning.
What to Consider When You Have a Dream of Water
- The cleanliness of the water: Is it clear and pure or polluted and murky?
- The depth of the water: Is it shallow or deep?
- The quality of water: Is it transparent or opaque, warm or cold, peaceful or ominous?
- The motion of the water: is it still, rolling, flowing smoothly, or turbulent and choppy?
- The quantity of water: Is there a drought, or is there too much water flooding the dream?
Dreaming of 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, but they're also subject to powerful forces of nature that we can't control.
The shoreline might indicate the edge of a dreamer's conscious mind, the division between what is known and seen and what is hidden. Being tossed by waves or set adrift in an ocean may reflect feelings of impotence or loneliness.
This dream 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?
Dreams of Waves, Tidal Waves, and Tsunamis
As with most symbols, waves can have both negative and positive meanings.
- Riding a wave is a positive representation of effectively managing emotions and difficult challenges in life. This may represent 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 or making 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 overwhelming and threatening the dreamer. These emotions may relate to a real situation that is troubling 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 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.
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 trusting nature or a higher power to influence the direction of your life, or are you being passive and directionless?
- 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.
Dreams of Waterfalls
- Waterfalls often relate to a great release of emotion, rejuvenation, and renewal of spirit.
- Waterfalls can also have sexual connotations.
- If the waterfall was negative, it could relate to feelings of overwhelm (if the dreamer was pinned at the bottom of the waterfall, for instance) or fears of "taking the plunge" or falling/losing control (if the dreamer was being conveyed over the waterfall).
Dreams of Pools
Pools often relate to relaxation and enjoyment associated with summer, spending time with family or friends, and vacation, but they can also 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.
Dreaming of Ponds
Ponds are often associated with tranquility, stillness, the need to sit quietly with oneself and reflect, and being emotionally calm in general.
Although ponds contain emotion, 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 creatures are 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.
Dreams of Faucets and Drains
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, or do you yearn for that kind of emotional control?
- 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 such as anger or passion. Dreaming of water that is too cold could relate to "cold" emotions such as depression, sadness, lack of love, 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.
Dreams of a Bathtub or Shower
Bathing often relates to self-renewal, cleansing, and shedding the past burdens, stress, and emotional residue of 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.
Rain dreams can be negative as well as positive. Although rain could be a symbol of depression, sadness, and shedding tears, it could also relate to grace from God (or a higher power) and forgiveness.
- Rain may indicate a great, cleansing release of emotions. Dreaming of rain may allow you to shed symbolic tears.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Dreaming of a jetty or pier in a lake could represent self-reflection into the unconscious leading to emotional and spiritual growth.
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.
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?
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 kind of flood (destroying your world and starting over), a slow flood, or the looming 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 thought 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.
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.
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.
- Discovering an underground pool might be like finding a deep and untapped part of yourself.
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 will eventually burst because the repression, avoidance, and compartmentalizing of emotions is not an effective way to manage them. This method of emotional regulation often backfires for the dreamer. If you dream of a dam, you might take some time to reflect about what you're avoiding and holding in.
Dreaming of 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, release, or 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?
Questions About Leaks, Flooded Houses, Being Trapped Under Water, and Underwater Creatures
What does it mean when you dream of a water leak?
In this dream the water might represent emotions or it might also represent resources in general. If the vessel to hold the water isn't working and water is spilling, leaking, or getting lost, it may indicate feelings of impotence, lack of control, waste, and loss.
What does it mean if you dream about water flooding your house?
We all like to count on our homes to be safe living spaces. If you dream about your home being swallowed by water, it may indicate feeling endangered or threatened. Again, the water might also represent emotions and point to recent overwhelming emotional changes at home.
What if you dream of being trapped or living underwater?
People often dream of being underwater. Sometimes it's an anxious feeling, but other times, it's not. In dreams like this, it's not the amount of water to notice, it's how it makes you feel and what it might represent. Have you been enclosed or submerged in something new? Can you survive or even thrive in an unnatural setting?
What if the water is full of fish, whales, jellyfish, or other slippery creatures?
If the water represents your emotions or your unconscious thoughts, then finding it full of sneaky, slippery, squirming things with teeth can be quite unnerving. Your unconscious mind might be trying to draw your attention to the hidden threats or fears you're facing inside yourself.
What does it mean if you dream of a shark tank?
The underwater creatures might represent dangerous or threatening people or emotions in your life.
Religious Interpretations of Water
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 is used during Buddhist funerals. Dreaming of water may relate to someone's passing or the concept of death.
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.
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 is used ritualistically in Islam as a means to cleanse and purify. Muslims cleanse themselves with water before they approach God.
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 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?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.