• When animals appear in a dream they usually represent an aspect of the personality which cannot be properly understood except on an instinctive level.

Animal with a cub

This will represent motherly qualities and therefore the mother.

Baby animals

The dreamer will be dealing with the child-like side of his or her personality, or possibly children known to him.

The hurt young animal

The dreamer may perceive a difficulty in becoming mature or facing life.

Eating the animal

The dream could be about the ‘demons’ one creates which can only be overcome by assimilating them in a constructive way. Pagan belief thought that one took up certain aspects of the animal that were superior in certain respects to ordinary’ human attitudes.

Godlike, talking awe-inspir- ing or wise animals, or those with human characteristics

Animals have not vet become conscious of, or pitted themselves against, the power from which they came so the wisdom they show is innocent and simple. It is always important to pay attention to this aspect of animal life in fairy tales and dreams, since we need to be in touch with that part of ourselves.

Helpful animals

The subconscious is producing helpful images from its depths. The figures of animals arc an easy way for the dreamer to accept that help.

Killing the animal may destroy the energy derived from the instincts. Taming or harnessing the animal shows the efforts made to control the dreamer’s instincts and, if possible, make them productive and useful.

To dream of trying to find some refuge from animals whether by building defences – or perhaps by running away – is indicative of the dreamer’s struggle with his animal instincts, and whether the action being taken is adequate. Such instincts may be threatening or damaging to aspects of the dreamer’s life.

  • When we need some sort of understanding of our own psychological urges, animals will appear which symbolise those qualities. These are:

Bear

The mother (see Family) appears in dreams in many forms, the bear being one of them. The image may be of the possessive, devouring mother or of the all- caring mother. If it is recognised in the dream that the bear is masculine the image may then be of an overbearing person, or possibly the father.

Bull

Usually the bull in a dream denotes the negative side of behaviour, such as dcstructivcness, fear or anger (for example a bull in a china shop). However, more positively, the bull is recognised as sexual passion or creative power.

Slaying the bull

indicates initiation into the world of the mature adult who succeeds in mastering his instincts and can also represent the sign of Taurus in the Zodiac.

Cat

To dream of cats is to link with the feline, sensuous side in human beings, usually in women. Goddesses such as Bast the Egyptian cat goddess arc usually represented as having two sides to their natures, one devious and one helpful, so the cat often denotes the capricious side of the feminine. The elegant but also the powerful, yet overly self-sufficient aspect of woman, may also be perceived as the cat. Chameleon The dreamer is recognising either in himself or others the ability to adapt and to change according to surrounding circumstances.

Cold-blooded animals or reptiles

The unfeeling, inhuman aspect of the instincts is often portrayed by reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. They are usually recognised as being destructive and alien.

Composite animals

To dream of composite animals could indicate some confusion in sorting out what qualities are needed. The various qualities of the different animals of which they are made up need to be assimilated and integrated. There are two potentials of development in one figure.

Half-animal, half-man

The dreamer’s animal instincts arc beginning to be recognised and humanised.

Cow

The eternal feminine, especially the mother (see Family) or mother figure (see Archetypes) is often depictcd by the cow. This is partly because it provides milk and nourishment.

Deer/Reindeer

The deer and the reindeer herd have a strict hierarchical structure. The dreamer recognises his place in the world. The deer symbolises pride/nobility

Deformed animals

The dreamer realises that some of his impulses are offensive, or revolting.

Dog

also see individual entry The dreamer may recognise a faithful and constant companion, a protector or more negatively, somebody the dreamer can’t shake off and who might make trouble.

A dog that the dreamer owned or knew at some period of his life There may be memories asso- ciated with that period of his life, which hold clues to present behaviour.

A huntress with dogs The dreamer is making a connection with one of the feminine archetypes, that of the Amazon (see Archetypes).

A dog guarding gates, being near a cemetery In dreams this indicates the guardian of the threshold, and creatures which must be put to sleep or tamed before there can be an initiation into the underworld Domesticated (tame) animals When we dream of domesticated animals we arc aware of those parts of ourselves with which we have come to terms. There are passions which arc being used in a controlled way although there is the suggestion that those passions were never very formidable. Elephant To see an elephant in a dream is to recognise the qualities of patience, long memory, strength and fidelitv. In the more esoteric sense it signifies radiant and glowing wisdom.

Fox

A fox in a dream tells of hypocrisy, cunning and slyness.

Frog

A period or act of transformation (a frog transforms from a tadpole and moves on to the land). There is something repugnant which is turning into something of value (i.e. a frog into a prince). Also see Snake as all reptiles have the same significance.

Goat

To dream of a goat is to recognise creative energy and masculine vitality. It may also represent the dark side of human nature, promiscuousness and sexuality.

To be riding a goat is to be trying to come to terms with the dreamer’s relationship with the dark side of his nature. The goat may also represent the Devil or Satan. It is also the symbol for Capricorn.

Hare

The hare highlights intuition, spiritual insight and intuitive ‘leaps’. Intuition may be debased into madness by fear or ignorance. Because of its association with the moon, the hare can, in its negative aspect, signify the Priestess/Witch aspect of femininity or the Priest/Sorcerer of the masculine (see Archetypes). In its positive imagery however it is the radiant hare (often holding its baby in a cave) and thus the Mother of God.

Hedgehog

The hedgehog can represent evil and bad manners, or literallv our inability to handle a ‘prickly’ situation.

Horse

The horse in a dream represents the energy at the dreamer’s disposal.

A white horse depicts the spiritual awareness of the dreamer; a brown one the more pragmatic and down-to-earth side, while a black horse is the passionate side of the dreamer’s nature.

A pale horse is taken to indicate death, and a winged horse depicts the soul’s ability to transcend the earthly- plane. If the horse is under strain or dying there is a severe weakening of the dynamic power that carries the dreamer forward. Ibo much pressure may be being experienced in our lives. If the horse is being harnessed to a cart the dreamer may be concentrating too hard on thoroughly- utilitarian objectives.

In a man’s dream, a mare will denote the Anima, a woman; or the realm of the feminine (see Archetypes).

In a woman’s dream, being kicked by a horse may indicate the Animus or her relationship with a man.

A horse that can get through any door and batter down all obstacles is the collective Shadow (see Introduction) those aspects of the personality which most people attempt to suppress.

The horse as a beast of burden is often the Great Mother (See Introduction). or mother archetype (see Archetypes). In modern dreams the car has largely taken over from the horse as a symbol with many of the same associations (see Car and Journey Sections).

Hyena

The hyena is generally taken in dreams to signify impurity, instability and deviousness.

Jackal

The jackal is associated with the graveyard, and therefore with Death. As a scavenger it is also a cleanser. Esoterically, it is the servant of the transformer, guiding souls from the earth plane into the light.

Jaguar

The jaguar’s main qualities are its speed and balance. It stands for the balance of power between the dark and light forces. Kangaroo This somewhat exotic animal often stands for motherhood. and also strength. Lamb The lamb is the innocent side of man’s nature. It is said that evil cannot withstand such innocence.

Leopard

The leopard represents cruelty and aggression, and traditionally the deviousness of wrongly used power. Lion The lion stands for majesty, strength and courage. It can also represent the ego and the passions associated with it. If the dreamer is struggling with the lion there should be a succcssful development as long as the dreamer is not overpowered, or the lion killed. A man-eating lion shows that an aspect of the personality- has slipped out of alignment, putting both the dreamer and his surroundings at risk. A lion lying with a lamb There is a union, or compatibility of oppositcs; instinct and spirit going hand in hand. Lizard also see Reptiles The lizard appearing in a dream represents instinctive action or ‘one-track’ thinking.

Lynx

The main quality associated with the lynx is its keen eyesight, thus in a dream it can often portray objectivity. Monkey The monkey characterises the infantile, childish and arrested side of the dreamer’s character. The qualities of mischief, impudence and inquisi- tiveness all belong to the monkey. While these are often seen as regressive tendencies, that of lively- curiosity maintains a necessary lightness of spirit.

Mare

see Horse

Mole

The mole is often taken to represent the powers of darkness, but can often signify the blind persistence and determination which enables the dreamer to succeed. Monster/Dragon also see Dragon in D Section A fear which is beyond understanding, usually welling up from within rather than from the outside world, is often represented in dreams by monsters and dragons. The devouring monster The dream may deal with a recognition that ultimately we arc all absorbed back into a greater whole. If the dreamer gets the better of the monster he will have mastery over his own fear of death, and may be able to harness this forcc for his own use. Cutting out the monster’s heart or other vital organ, or lighting a fire inside it, depicts the struggle against the dark forces of the underworld.

Mouse

also see Vermin The mouse’s quality of timidity can often be addressed in the dreamer, if it is recognised that this can arise from turbulence and lack of understanding.

Otter

The otter is uniquely equipped to exist within its chosen element of water and to be able to gain subsistence from its environment, all things the dreamer may- need to develop.

Ox

The ox depicts the ability to be patient, and to make sacrifices for others.

Parts of animals

{the limbs, eyes, mouth, etc.)

These have the same significance as parts of the human body

(see Body).

If the four legs are particularly emphasised possibly in contrast with a three-legged animal the whole rounded personality with all four functions of the mind fully developed is being highlighted. Pig or Wild Boar The pig is taken in Western belief to indicate ignorance, stupidity, selfishness, and gluttony. The dreamer’s better self may be beginning to recognise these unattractive qualities in himself. Without such recognition there can be no transformation or mastcry of them. Pigs and jewels There is a conflict between the lower urges and spiritual values. Perhaps there is a failure to appreciate spiritual values. Big litters of piglets can represent fruitful- ness, although sometimes without result, since the sow can depict the Destructive Mother (see Archetypes). Wild Boar The wild boar depicts the archetypal masculine principal, and therefore the negative Animus in a woman’s dream. (See Introduction). The dreamer may be evading an issue that should be challenged and dealt with more daringly.

Prehistoric animals

A trauma from the past, or from childhood, may be causing difficulty. Rabbit Rabbits appearing in a dream can mean one of two things. The obvious connection with fertility could be important or it could be that the trickster aspect of the personality could be coming to the fore (see Hare). A white rabbit may show the dreamer the way to the inner spiritual world and, as such, act as a guide.

Ram

The ram is a svmbol of masculine virility and power, and by association has those qualities of the sign of Aries in the Zodiac.

Rat

also see Vermin ‘flic rat signifies the diseased and devious part of the dreamer or of his situation. It can also represent something which is repulsive in some way. The dreamer may be experiencing disloyalty from a friend or colleague.

Reptiles

To dream of reptiles indicates that we are looking at the more frightening lower aspects of the personality. We may have no control over these, and could therefore be easily devoured by them. We are afraid of Death or the death process, but must go through a process of change in order to be reborn.

Seal

Dreaming of a seal suggests that we are at one with the clement in which we live.

Serpent

also see Snake

The serpent is a universal symbol which can be male or female or it can be self-created. It can signify death or destruction or conversely life and also rejuvenation. It is the instinctive nature and is also potential energy. When the power of the instinctive nature is understood and harnessed, the dreamer comes to terms with his or her own sexuality and sensuality and is able to make use of the higher and more spiritual energies which become available. In a man’s dream a snake may appear if he has not understood the feminine or intuitive part of himself, or when he doubts his own masculinitv. In a woman’s dream the snake may manifest if she is afraid of sex, or sometimes of her own ability to seduce others. Because of its connection with the Garden of Eden, the serpent is the symbol of duplicity and trickery; and also of temptation. Sheep The sheep is renowned for its flock instinct, and it is this interpretation which is most usually accepted in dreams. The helplessness of the sheep when off balance is also another aspect which is recognisable, as is the apparent lack of intelligence. The god-fearing, ‘good sheep’ and also the passive and ‘sheepish’ may have relevance within the context of the dream. To dream of sheep and wolves or of sheep and goats is to register the conflict between good and evil.

Sinister Animals Any threat from animals indicates the fears and doubts the dreamer has over his ability to cope with the stirrings of the unconscious. Snake – also see Serpent. Snake dreams occur like serpent dreams – when the dreamer is attempting to come to terms with his or her more instinctive self.

Inevitably, this has to do with the recognition and harnessing of energies which have been suppressed and thwarted. Since the most primeval urge is sexuality, the image of the snake is the most primitive one available.

A snake twined around the body or limb

This indicates some form of bondage, possibly being enslaved to the passions.

A snake, or worm, leaving a corpse by its mouth

This can sometimes represent the sexual act (the little death), but can also signify the dreamer’s control of his or her libido. A snake in the grass This image denotes disloyalty, trickerv and evil. With its tail in its mouth This image is one of the oldest available to man and signifies completion and the union of the spiritual and physical (see Shapes, Circle). Being swallowed by a snake This shows the need and ability to return to the ultimate, and lose our sense of space and time (see Eating). Because snakes are such a low form of life, while also being in some cases poisonous, they have become associated with death, and all that man fears. Snake twined around a staff or similar (see Caduceiis) The unconscious forces that are released once the dreamer reconciles the opposing sides of himself create healing, rebirth and renewal, and this is universally represented as two snakes entwined round a central staff. It is a symbolic representation of the basic form of DXA, the ‘building blocks’ of life. The colours of the snake may give additional insight into the meaning of the dream (see Colours). Squirrel The squirrel represents the hoarding aspcct of our personalities.

Tiger

The tiger signifies royalty, dignity and power and is both a creator and a dcstrover

Toad

To dream of toads is lo connect with whatever the dreamer may consider ugly in life, or in his behaviour. However, implicit in that ugliness is the power of transformation and growth into something beautiful.

For a toad and an eagle to appear is to note the difference between earthly and spiritual values.

Transformation of animals In dreams, the metamorphosis of the dreamer or other people into animals and vice versa shows the potential for change within any situation.

Unicorn

The unicorn is a symbol of purity and traditionally could only be owned and perceived by virgins. It is a return to, and a resurgence of, an innocence necessary in self-understanding, and it often suggests the control of the ego and selfishness.

Vermin

In dreams vermin may represent the enforced contemplation of something that is unnecessary or that has invaded one’s spacc.

Vertebrates

Animals with backbones often give an understanding of the qualities associated with that animal. The smaller and lower orders of animal signify the unconscious, the higher orders the emotions.

Whale

The whale, because it is a mammal which lives within water, indicates the power of resurrection and rebirth man’s abilitv to come back from the dead.

Weasel

The weasel traditionally highlights the devious, more criminally oriented side of ourselves.

Werewolf

see Sinister Animals

Wild animals

Usually wild animals stand for danger, dangerous passions, or dangerous people. There is a destructive force arising from the unconscious, threatening the safety of the individual. Such a dream may be a way of understanding anxiety.

Domesticating wild animals

The dreamer may- have come to terms with his or her wilder side.

Wolf

Dreaming of wolves may- indicate that we are being threatened by others, whether singly or by the pack. The dreamer may- have cruel sadistic fantasies without taking responsibility for them.

The She-wolf The hussy; but also the carer for orphans and rejected young.

Wounded animals

The dreamer may be suffering either emotional or spiritual wounds.

Zebra

This animal has the same significance as the horse, but with the additional meaning of balancing the negative and the positive in a very dynamic way.

  • By understanding animals and their symbolism we approach life in a more simplistic and natural way.
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