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Interpreting the Significance of Blood in Dreams
Dreams involving blood can be disconcerting—after all, blood quite literally sustains life. In the waking world, our blood keeps us alive by transporting oxygen to our vital organs, so seeing blood anywhere, especially in a dream, can be cause for consternation. Don't assume the worst just yet, though. When it appears in our dreams, blood, like anything else, is just another symbol in need of interpretation.
What Does Blood Symbolize in Dreams?
- Loss of Vitality, Power, or Control
- Initiation and Life Cycles
- Emotional Pain
- Feelings of Guilt
- Emotional Distress (Blood Disorders)
1. Loss of Vitality, Power, or Control
If your dreams involve you, another dream character, or an animal losing blood in some way, you may want to ask yourself if there is an area in your life in which you feel drained. Are you in a relationship with someone—perhaps a lover, a friend, a family member, or a co-worker—who is draining you of your energy?
Do you feel preyed upon by someone in your life? Is there a situation in which you feel helpless, paralyzed, or trapped like an insect caught in a spider's web? Lost blood in dreams is often a stand-in for feelings of having one's life force slowly drained away by either a person or a situation that is becoming metaphorically vampiric. Take a step back and ask yourself if any part of your life feels parasitic or one-sided. Can you think of any people or situations that make you feel the way you did in your blood-loss dream?
There is a distinct difference between losing one's lifeblood (or having it taken) and offering it willingly as a sacrifice. A sacrifice is a voluntary offering—a giving away of something important for the good of someone or something else.
Blood in dreams may be indicative of personal sacrifice. Could your dream be alerting you to the fact that something you are currently engaged in (or considering) might require a sacrifice of time, money, or possessions for the good of someone else? If so, is this a sacrifice you are willing to make?
Alternatively, the appearance of blood in a dream could be a warning that an impending sacrifice you are considering making (e.g. moving to another state to be with a romantic partner or canceling therapy to save money) may not truly be worth it. Be careful not to hand over your "life's blood" to anyone or anything that only intends to feed off of you or your resources.
When is blood not blood? When it's calling your attention to its color. Dreams involving the color red are often intense and multi-layered. The symbolic meaning of the color red ranges from romance to anger to hatred to love, so interpretation can be difficult.
The easiest way to get to the heart of what a color you see in a dream is communicating to you is by asking yourself how it made you feel. Think about the blood in your dream and try to interpret its color as a feeling or an emotion. People with certain types of synesthesia naturally associate colors with feelings, but for those without, this may take some effort. This should give you deeper insight into the meaning of the blood in your dream.
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Blood is a common element of initiation and rites of passage. And while there is excitement in looking forward to walking into a space where something you've never dreamed was possible is just around the turn, allow yourself to grieve any sacrifices you've made to make it to where you are.
4. Initiation and Life Cycles
Women mark their passage from childhood to adulthood when menstruation begins. The rite of circumcision is an important part of the beginning of a Jewish boy's life. Both of these examples illustrate the significance of blood in initiation rituals. So how is this relevant to dreams? Much like in the waking world, blood in dreams can be symbolic of initiation, transformation, or milestones.
When blood appears in your dreams, it may signify a metaphoric initiation or the beginning or end of a cycle. Life is cyclical because the close of one period means the start of another. Endings (of relationships, jobs, school years, etc.) are often accompanied by sadness, which is to be expected. Keep in mind, however, that with each ending comes a new beginning. Something you've never dreamed was possible may be waiting just around the corner.
If you're dreaming of blood, look to your waking life and ask yourself whether there is anything that is coming to a close. The blood in your dreams may signal that an initiation into something brand new is on the horizon.
5. Emotional Pain
When we see blood in dreams, we often wake feeling disturbed and frightened. Sometimes those feelings dissipate shortly after waking, but often they stay with us throughout the day, causing a pervasive sense of ongoing concern. Because feelings are crucial to dream interpretation, it is wise to check those feelings rather than ignoring them.
Sometimes, when we are experiencing intense emotional or spiritual turmoil, we can almost feel it in our blood. In fact, in times of intense terror, it is possible to actually sweat blood. This process occurs when blood vessels become so tightly constricted that the tiny capillaries close to the skin's surface actually burst open, causing a light, thin layer of blood to appear on the skin.
If you are dreaming of blood, look to your waking life and see if there are circumstances that are causing you extreme psychic pain or emotional duress. If there are, it may be wise to take immediate steps to exorcise them from your life.
6. Feelings of Guilt
Because blood is symbolic of the life force, the spilling of blood is a particularly heinous crime. Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, who was unable to wash the blood off her hands after staging a murder scene, could certainly attest to this.
While you likely aren't guilty of literal bloodshed, perhaps there is something in your life for which you feel accountable. Are those feelings the product of self-criticism and neurosis or are they valid? Do you have metaphorical blood on your hands? If so, it might be time to come clean, confess, make amends, and give yourself the gift of a clean conscience.
7. Emotional Distress (Blood Disorders)
If you dream of having some sort of blood disorder, don't rush to interpret it as a prophecy of impending medical issues in your waking life—dreams are rarely that black and white. Instead, it might be best to look at your dream through a more symbolic lens.
Dreams of blood disorders can indicate emotional distress. A dreamed blood disorder may be standing in for feelings of despair or depression. It may also indicate that one feels emotionally wounded to the point where recovery no longer seems possible. Do you feel that sadness has seeped into the blood of life itself?
If this interpretation rings true for you, it is important to keep in mind that feelings are just that—feelings. They are neither prophecies nor indications of reality. The only thing absolute about feelings is that they are how you feel.
If your life has become "disordered" in some way, it may feel impossible to sort things out, but that is not necessarily so. A disordered life can always be re-ordered and stood aright. You can re-establish yourself. It's ok to feel hopeless about your emotional state so long as you believe that it can and will change for the better. Bringing order back from chaos is a challenging process and one that might require help from others to complete, but you can make it happen.
- Blood in Dracula: Symbolism, Imagery, and Significance
Learn about some of the concepts blood represents in "Dracula."
- Watch a Meteor Smack the Blood Moon in This Lunar Eclipse Video
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- A Curious Case of Sweating Blood
This is a scholarly article on hematohidrosis—a very rare condition in which an individual sweats blood.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Madailein Aisling Ireland
Ebaby on January 27, 2020:
I dreamed i was spilling blood out of myself in some way and I was floating in it and then I dreamed that I was being shot multiple times while I was in the blood what does that mean please somebody help me
viscount flyte on December 31, 2019:
you're just engaging in escapism or bourgeois decadence.
the problem is capitalism.
if you disagree you will be put in the GULAG.
Shawn on August 28, 2019:
I dreamt about my recently deceased brother being murdered brutally with a knife in front of me, and we hadn't spoken for a year or so prior to his death because he was making some bad life choices.....I often feel as though I should have stood by him, helped him get back on track, but I didn't, and can't change that now. For me, I think the blood represents guilt, and emotional pain......I hope to someday make sense of it, and find peace for my brother's soul first, myself second.....he was my older, and only brother making bad choices by drinking, getting in trouble, not looking out for his kids, becoming untrustworthy to me as a brother, and that combination of things led me away from him....I spend a lot of time wondering if I should have forgiven him, and stood by him to help him get it together, or if I was justified in my decision to stop talking to him.....in the end, he died in the ICU, alone from some combination of drugs he took, which may or may not have been intentionally used to take his life...... I will never know. All I do know, is that like myself, he didn't have much of anyone left in this world to turn to, and I will always wonder if I should have forgiven him, and possibly saved his life......
Noh on June 22, 2019:
In a very recent dream I had wiped my nose staining a white rag with blood. I panicked but then just took it easy.
Doghudje obukohwo Anthony on June 17, 2019:
my sister dream of seeing blood in d sky pls I need to know d meaning