What does it mean to dream about animals?

Chased by an elephant…

ElephantDream: I have been chased by an elephant.

DreamsMaster: In general, an elephant often symbolizes strength and wisdom. An elephant is also associated with strong memory. In some cultures, an elephant has spiritual significance and may represent good fortune. The real question is, what does an elephant mean to you personally? How would you describe an elephant to someone who had never seen one? Not just its appearance, but also its personality? As you describe the elephant, think of how you personally identify with these traits. The elephant could represent these aspects of yourself that you find unacceptable or threatening and are trying to avoid facing.

There’s also the expression “an elephant in the room”, which refers to something of obvious concern that people are refusing to acknowledge. If you are familiar with this expression, explore the possibility that the dream could represent a major concern in your life that you’ve been trying to ignore but is “chasing after you” for attention.

Another way to work with this dream is to imagine asking the elephant why it is pursuing you, what it wants from you. This dialog between your conscious and unconscious self may reveal some interesting new awareness.

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Chased by lions…

Chased by lionsDream:  Being chased by lions and being bit from behind. My young son has been dreaming this over and over for a month or so.

DreamsMaster: A lion generally symbolizes strength, power, courage, pride and leadership. It may also symbolize cruelty, especially if it has turned on you. The core question is whether the lions in this repetitive dream represent certain others in your son’s life that he’s feeling threatened by, or if they represent another aspect in his life or a trait in himself that he’s trying to run away from.

The fact that this dream began about a month or so ago is a significant clue to its meaning. Have your son think back on what started happening in his life back then. Did something of concern occur at school? For example, is he being bullied by someone he perceives to be a leader of an intimating group? If he cannot identify any external threat like this, ask him what else he may feel threatened by, such as overwhelming demands of school and fearing falling behind (“being bit from behind”). Most likely an event in his daily life triggered this feeling of being threatened, and the threat persists.

Regardless of whether the perceived threat is external or internal, work with your son to draw on the lion’s courage and transform the symbol from a threat to a friend. Have him draw a picture of a lion that represents strength, power and protection, and then encourage him to hang the picture where he can look at it frequently. Once he can tap into his own personal power and with your support face the threat head on, the dreams will become less threatening and likely cease altogether.

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The tortoise and the mall…

MallDream:  I dreamt about many tortoises big and small. The leader of them was my grandmother who has passed on. They were on their way to the shopping mall. As I went to kiss her she smelled like pee and I just walked away thru all of them and left my mother with them alone at the mall.

DreamsMaster:  Tortoises in dreams frequently represent ancient wisdom, in more modern times represented by the saying “slow and steady wins the race” as in the story of the tortoise and the hare. A tortoise may also represent “carrying the world on your back”, while the shell itself represents a layer of protection.  What do you personally think of when you think of a tortoise?

Next, what is your personal association to a mall? Would it be a normal occurrence for your mother and grandmother to go to the mall? If it were my dream, going to a conventional mall might represent taking on commonplace and conventional values.

In the dream, your grandmother is the leader of the pack. Was this true when she was alive? In other words, was she the matriarch or symbolic head of the family, the carrier of “ancient” or “conventional” wisdom? After she passed on, did your mom step into this role, just as she does in the dream?

Then there’s the detail about your grandmother smelling like pee when you went to kiss her. Was the kiss an overture of intimacy or obligation? And then you were turned off by the smell of pee. Repulsed, turned off, turned away. To urinate or defecate in a dream may represent expression of unpleasant feelings. When I project myself into your dream, I interpret this scene as feeling obligated to demonstrate respect for my grandmother, yet being repulsed by her feelings about things, perhaps her position or outlook on life.

You included a note about your personal life circumstances (which I’m omitting in this public post). How do you feel your grandmother would have reacted to your current situation? Your mother? Do you feel their values are more “ancient” or out-dated than yours in regards to this life path? At the end of the dream, you move ahead and leave them behind. The pack is moving too slowly for you, and you need to move on. Think about how this theme may fit in your waking world – how the matriarchs and others in your family or social network are moving too slowly for you – you have the need to move on ahead.

Submit a dream of your own to the DreamsMaster…

Big black snake draining me…

Black snakeDream:  Someone handed me an alligator in one hand and a big black snake in the other. I pushed both away because I didn’t want either but the snake jumped on my right hand and bit me between my thumb and pointing finger and wrapped itself around my hand and wouldn’t budge. I was screaming for help from my mum I couldn’t get it off until my sister (whom I’m not speaking to) came and cut it off with a knife. When I looked at my arm, it was visible that it had drained me. I was so hurt and crying uncontrollably that my mum didn’t help me when I needed her.

DreamsMaster:  This dream has very strong symbolism. Dreams are personal to the dreamer and only the dreamer can truly determine their meaning, but here are my impressions, see what fits for you.

Intense feelings are evoked in the dream: Fear, powerlessness, pain, abandonment. Can you associate these feelings to what has been going on in your life recently?

The two people in the dream are your sister and your mum (interesting that the dream starts with you being handed an alligator and a snake). Although it’s your sister you’re not speaking to in the waking world, the dream suggests she is in fact an ally, and that your mum may actually be contributing to this distressful situation. In the dream she’s unavailable to you, abandoning you in your time of need. Is there some truth to this in the waking world, which you’ve been trying to deny?

Alligators and snakes are both cold-blooded reptiles. Cold-blooded is often a metaphor for lacking sensitivity. Snakes in particular often represent betrayal, and this one is black, sinister. In your dream it’s the snake that’s the aggressor, the object that drains you physically. Perhaps in the waking world your sister has been that aggressor to you, draining you emotionally, yet your inner eye still sees her as a source of strength and support. In the dream your mum is the one causing you the most grief, being distant and unsupportive.

Is this dynamic playing out for you in your waking life? In other words, do you sense that your mum in some covert way is contributing to the problem between you and your sister? If what I’m saying seems to fit for you, perhaps it’s time to bring this family conflict out in the open to find resolution. If that’s not possible at this time, find something else in your life to replenish the life energy that the conflict is draining.

See more dreams about Snakes…

Skunk turns nasty…

White skunkDream: I am in my house. I have a beautiful white skunk in the house. The skunk loves to be patted by everyone and acts more like a cat, rubbing against my legs. Then all of a sudden the skunk turns nasty…biting me and others. I attempt many times to evict the skunk from the house and every time the skunk reappears back in the house trying to bite. My ex husband of 25 years appears, grabs the skunk by the nape and drowns the skunk in a lake that has just appeared. I cry because I didn’t want the skunk to die…I just wanted it to stop biting. I dreamed this 3 times last night.

DreamsMaster: A powerful dream with a powerful message, based on the repetitive nature of the dream and the emotional impact it made. Let’s see what we can do to unearth that message.

The skunk is the focal point of the dream, the main symbol to explore. I will project some of my own meanings onto that skunk, but remember it’s up to you to determine what fits best. As you read on, pay attention to what thoughts and feelings come to the surface for you.

A skunk is generally known for its guarded, protective nature. It’s also sometimes considered the ultimate pacifist, as it’s generally nonviolent and unaggressive and relies on its repulsive scent to ward off others that are considered a threat.

The skunk in your dream is beautiful, pure (white), affectionate, loving. More like a cat, which is often considered a symbol of femininity. This initial image of the skunk is warm and inviting, and easy to embrace.

Suddenly the skunk becomes nasty, biting. It’s as if this loving, trusting being has suddenly turned mean, bitter, “stinky”, inconsolable. Like a preverbal child, the only way it can communicate its displeasure or discomfort is through its behavior. I wonder, if the skunk could talk, what would it be trying to communicate?

Consider now that this skunk is a representation of you. A beautiful, gentle, loving spirit, with another side that is angry, biting, trying to get your attention. This “nasty” side is unacceptable to you and to others in your space. Do other adjectives come to mind for you in regards to how you would describe this skunk?

It’s interesting that in the dream your ex-husband takes charge of the situation by drowning the problem. Water in a dream often represents one’s emotional state. From your perspective, was your ex-husband someone who tended to suppress (drown) uncomfortable emotions, in himself as well as in you?

Think back to the events of the day before the dream and what was on your mind when you went to bed that night. This may help bring additional clarity. My sense is that the core message is about self-acceptance, and there’s still some unpleasant grief inside needing expression.

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