How to Interpret Animal Dreams

When you dream of an animal, take note your thoughts and feelings about it. Is the animal ferocious? Gentle? Cunning? Adorable? Are you frightened or delighted by it? Most likely, the qualities you perceive in the animal represent qualities inside you. These traits are likely connected to your instincts, urges or habits.

The following dream from Rakesh in Karnal, India illustrates the importance of taking into account the dreamer’s feelings about their dream symbols:

Pursued by Bull and Buffalo

About two weeks ago, I dreamed of being chased by a black buffalo with long horns. I am crying for help and somehow manage to escape. Then a few days later, I dreamed of a white bull. He is walking in a dry, deep river, heading in the opposite direction of a stream. I am walking on the bank of the river with my wife. The bull looks at me and starts approaching us. Somehow we mange to hide ourselves in a small hut occupied by some laborers on the riverbank. But the bull starts breaking down the door of the hut. We have to light a fire to save ourselves. Please clarify the significance of this dream and if there is any danger in the future.

Bulls are sacred to many people in India, especially to those who follow Hinduism. Rakesh didn’t mention his religion, so I don’t know if the bull has any spiritual significance for him. The color black usually denotes negativity, while white usually symbolizes purity and spirituality. However, in some cultures, white is a symbol of death or unhappiness. If the bull and the color white are positive symbols for Rakesh, his spiritual side might be trying to break down the door of his resistance so it can become more important in his life. Lighting a fire may also denote the awakening of his spirituality, which turns out to be his saving grace and a positive influence on his marriage.

With any animal dream, it’s also important to take note of how the animal is acting, which will reveal how the traits represented by the animal are influencing your life. This alarming dream from Deirdre in Honolulu, Hawaii is a good example of what actions can signify:

Battle of the Birds

I am on holiday with my family, and I have a nest with a big white bird that is smothering the other colorful baby birds in it. I decide to fix the matter by making separate nests. When I do this, however, predatory birds attack my baby birds and they are destroyed. I am shocked. I then get on an airplane, and last I remember, I’m shooting for the sky.

Since the dream characters are parts of Deirdre’s psyche, both the predatory birds and helpless baby birds are qualities inside her. It appears that she’s experiencing an inner tug-of-war. The stronger part of her nature, as symbolized by the big white bird, is subduing some qualities that are trying to develop, as symbolized by the baby birds. She described the babies as colorful, which might symbolize the more “colorful,” perhaps less conventional parts of her personality. They might also represent her creativity.

What’s more, although these warring traits may seem irreconcilable, it’s important that she integrate them into her life, because separating the “nests” will cause her stronger side to kill off the fledgling qualities.

Another clue is that she is on vacation with her family. Deirdre might think about her family history and see if there’s something in her past that would cause her to subdue her more colorful side, which is obviously trying to thrive. Seeing the larger picture of what’s happening (airplane ride) will help her move forward.

Although a dream animal is usually a part of you, it can reveal qualities in another person or the effects of your relationship with them. Liz in Bronx, New York shared this creepy dream about a past relationship:

Terrifying Tarantula

Hi Cortney, I’m wondering if you can give me some insight on this dream: I am awakened by a large tarantula spider crawling on my naked body. When I try to get up I see my ex-boyfriend at the bottom of the bed. There is a second smaller spider at my groin area. My ex tells me not to move and that they will not bite me, but I can’t trust him and I start freaking out, startling myself awake. What could this all mean?

Liz is being held hostage by her former relationship in some way. It’s not her ex-boyfriend that’s controlling her, but likely her negative feelings about him, or what took place between them. If she has any lingering anger or resentment, her feelings will influence her life to some degree.

The spider on her groin area probably symbolizes a troubling issue about sex, trust or personal power that she needs to explore. It’s interesting that her ex told her not to move as the spiders crawled over her, as if that would make her safe. It’s a good sign that she didn’t believe him! Being passive won’t help Liz deal with her feelings. It seems she’s ready to take action on resolving any negativity she may have as a result of the relationship.

All animals have positive and negative characteristics. The key is to discern your dream animal’s message and embrace its positive qualities.

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