Dream Cast: Swimming in Black Waters

Julia from Los Angeles, CA writes:

Hi Cortney,

I recently had a vivid dream about rivers containing black waters that started to run through the world. Some rivers were calm, while others were choppy, like the waves in the ocean. People quickly adapted to these black waters and resumed their usual water-sport activities in them. Although the majority enjoyed the unusually colored waters, I remember the distinct fear I felt looking at the ominous black liquid, and yet at the same time, I was immensely curious.

Suddenly, I was on a train and heard a rumor that if the water is calm, a person can actually stand on it. After hearing that, I looked out the window and to my amazement I saw that indeed a family of three was on top of the calm black waters, playing Frisbee with each other, happy as they can be. As I continued to puzzle over my inexplicable fears, I saw a dear ex-co-worker of mine speaking to a small group of people nearby, stating that no one should be in those waters because there are in fact huge snakes and other dangerous creatures lurking about.

This dream had an impact with me as it felt so real even after the fact. Can you tell me what black waters can possibly symbolize and why I was so afraid of them? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hello Julia,

It seems you’re exploring–from a distance–the subterranean levels of the psyche. Water symbolizes the emotions and the unconscious, while the color black symbolizes the unknown, secretiveness, power or negativity. If you put these two symbols together you get a dream about the mysteries and perils of one’s inner life.

The dangerous creatures represent the danger of allowing negativity to rule one’s life. You witnessed people “swimming” in the blackness, unaware of what was going on inside them and around them. They just got used to living with anger, resentment, envy and such. Some people were content to live on the surface, never exploring the depth of their inner world. You can get used to living that way, too, at least until you’re forced to confront your emotional issues. That’s when calm waters become turbulent.

Your fear of the blackness suggests a resistance to facing your “shadow” self, which is the dark side of your psyche (everyone has one!). Emotional exploration and healing will help conquer any pesky “creatures” inside you, so you swim in clearer waters.

Sweet dreams,


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