What Is The Meaning Of Dreams?

Learn whether dreams have meaning and if there’s any science to back this up in this article

What Is The Meaning Of Dreams featured image

5 Interpretations of Common Scary Dreams

Do Dreams Have Meaning?

Almost everyone, scientist, psychologist, spiritualist or religious is of the opinion that dreams have some meaning to the individual. The meaning of the dream may differ depending on who you ask though. So it can be difficult to discern the actual truth of the meaning of dreams. But the question of “Do dreams have meaning?” seems to be an unequivocal yes.

With that in mind, what is the meaning of dreams then? In this article we look at the meanings of dreams from different angles.

It should be remembered that the meaning of dreams is very much an individual interpretation. The meaning of a dream varies depending on the dreamer and even on the individual dreamers circumstances.

To understand the meaning of dreams you need to look deeply into the circumstances and psyche of the dreamer at the time the dream was experienced. So this post will not give you the specific answer to the meaning of a dream in most cases. But it should give you enough food for thought that you can learn to interpret your own dreams and act on what your subconscious is trying to tell you.

What Does Science Say About Dreaming?

Science, generally Psychology and/or Neuroscience, generally suggests that dreaming is the brains way of forming or refreshing long term memories. Other scientists suggest it is the brain’s way of processing recent events to help understand them or reduce the stressful impact of some events.

Science rarely has a place for the paranormal and dream interpretation is largely no different, although among scholars there is some scope for interpretation being possible. This contrasts with other areas of paranormal where most scientists just disbelieve completely.

For example, Sigmund Freud believed that dreams were an indication of the dreamers unfulfilled wishes and desires. Freud believed that dreams contained an obvious and a hidden meaning. The obvious meaning, of course, being obvious was easily explained. But the hidden meaning was something else completely. Freud also believed that in many cases, the person’s dreams were so unpleasant that the mind often covered them up with less unpleasant views and it’s this that forms the hidden meaning of the dream. The linked Owlcation article about The Psychology Of Dreams goes into significantly more detail about the science and psychology behind dreams.

What Does Dreaming Of Snakes Mean?

Snakes are one of the more common animals to feature in people’s dreams. Dreams of snakes though are complicated because they can be a positive or negative dream symbol, depending on the dream and the individual’s circumstances.

Dreaming of snakes usually refers to some kind of fear.

For many of us, when we see a snake, it invokes a strong fear response. This is understandable in many cases as snakes in real life can bite, and often that bite is venomous. The venom leads to pain, suffering or even death. So a fear response is natural – and as old as time.

Snakes can also be unpredictable, as they can strike at any time without warning. A dream that features a snake may represent the unpredictable, the unexpected, or also things in your life
that are out of control.

It could also mean that you have a fear of the unknown.

Dreaming about snakes can also refer to hidden threats. Snakes are sometimes hard to see, they blend into their background and are well camouflaged. In a dream therefore they can be symbolic of hidden threats or betrayal in your life.

If, in your dream, the snake bites you, then your dream is trying to tell you to be aware of something in your waking life that you’re not aware of yet or something that has not surfaced yet. This is probably indicative of an imminent threat. However the context of the snake bite in the dream, along with your current situation should be taken into consideration. If you provoked the snake and it then bit you, that’s quite different from the snake appearing from the undergrowth and biting you.

If you see a baby snake (or lots of them) in your dream this could mean that you are underestimating the threat in your life.

If you kill the snake or if you see a dead snake in your dreams, then this means that you are overcoming the threat in your life.

Snakes could also refer to a person that wants to harm you.
If you dream of a snake this could be a symbol of an evil or ruthless person around you. This might refer to a new acquaintance / friend who has recently entered your life.

Your dream is perhaps trying to tell you to not trust this person and to be very careful of this person. Be cautious of how much power over decisions that affect your life that you give this person.

That all sounds very negative! Are dreams of snakes always a warning of dire circumstances to follow? No, dreaming about a snake can also mean something positive.

Snakes also refer to transformation in one’s life. If you think about a snake shedding their skin, it means the snake is growing and transforming. If you’re dreaming about a snake that is shedding their skin, this very likely represents a positive change that is happening in your life. It can represent a self-renewal,
growth, knowledge, and wisdom.

However, if you are fighting a snake that is shedding, then this means that you like things the way they are, even though you are not feeling challenged or fulfilled. You may be trying to hold on to things that actually do need to change and renew. Perhaps you need to let go – let the transformation happen so you can grow.

What Does Dreaming Of Spiders Mean?

The answer to this depends on a number of factors. The biggest being whether spiders scare you or not. Then of course, it also depends on what it is within the dream that you see.

Dreaming of spiders isn’t necessarily negative though. There are a lot of positive interpretations of spider dreams too.

If you are afraid of them then spiders in a dream can mean an
instinctual fear of some person or something that is a threat for you in real life. Perhaps you have just met someone new and are trying to process if you should be afraid of them or not.

However, if you are not afraid of them you should consider positive
meanings of this kind of dream.

It is also very important to consider all the circumstances that
you see in the dream. The circumstances of the dream give us the biggest clue as to the meaning.

If you’re feeling threatened in the dream by the spider then it’s likely there is an event in your life that you are feeling threatened by. If you vanqiushed the threat in your dream then it’s likely that you know how to minimise the threat in real life and your dream is trying to tell you that.

If you were caught up in a spider’s web in your dream then it’s likely that you’re feeling trapped. This could be in your personal life or your work life. Perhaps you’re feeling like it’s time for a change but don’t see a way out. Look at other aspects of your dream to see if they give you a clue to the way out.

If you see a spider spinning a web, but admire its beauty and don’t feel threatened by it, then this can signify your own creativity is about to be given a boost. A spider web is indeed a beautiful thing and very creative. A spider places a lot of effort into building its web. If you’ve recently started a project, see it to its conclusion and enjoy the creative aspect of this project.

If you are the spider in the dream, perhaps in the center of the web, it can be one of two things depending on the rest of the context of the dream. You may be wanting to isolate yourself. Taking some time for yourself is not a bad thing. But you may be casting your web to trap other people. This isn’t necessarily such a good thing, so perhaps your subconscious is telling you this.

Dreams of spiders and spider webs can be related to so many different things in your life and the answers we’ve given above are just a small sample. We’ve written an article about Dreams About Spiders and will link it here shortly if you would like to read further.

What Does Dreaming Of Being Chased Mean?

These dreams can be very interesting to interpret, particularly if you evade your chasers by flying away from them. Alternatively, in some dreams of being chased, you find yourself running away from the chaser but feeling like you’re stuck and unable to outrun them.

Science has a little bit to say about the dream of being unable to run away in your dream, relating to the chemicals that paralyse your skeletal muscles during dream state. This is rather important otherwise you would act out your dream and potentially be running down the street even though you’re unaware of it. https://www.livescience.com/21653-brain-chemicals-sleep-paralysis.html has some answers to the neurotransmitters involved in this process.

However, this isn’t the whole reason why people feel unable to run in their dreams. It’s often a sign that you feel trapped in your life. That no matter how hard you try to get out of a situation you’re unable. The circumstances are chasing you and you are trying to run away from them. If, in the dream, you turn and face the chasers, this is an indication that you should do the same in your waking life. The circumstances should be beholden to you, not the other way around.

Sometimes, in a dream, you can run away. And you keep running away – and hiding. But the chasers still find you, where-ever you go. This too can mean that you’re feeling overwhelmed or trapped by your current circumstances. When you wake up, look at the areas you ran to, who was in those areas (if anyone) who might be able to help you get through this time in your life. If there’s no-one else around in your dream, this signifies that you feel alone with your troubles. If you don’t stop running the circumstances will catch you and overwhelm you.

If you are alone in your dream, it’s worth trying to seek out someone when you wake up. Someone you trust who can help you make sense of what’s going on in your waking life.

The dreams I have where I am being chased I often end up flying away from the chasers. Usually they are unable to fly – whereas I am. This is a reminder to me that I am not captive by my circumstances. The chaser represents an aspect of my life that I may feel trapped by, situations that I don’t like. My subconscious is reminding me that I can soar above all that and escape – even if it feels impossible.

Sometimes you might feel like you’re being chased in your car rather than on foot. This might have a slightly different connotation for you. It may feel like you’re a passenger in your own life – that the events of your life are catching up to you and you’re not in control of your destiny. This can illustrate a crisis of confidence. Perhaps you don’t feel that you are good enough to take control of your situation. This is especially true if you are being chased in a car and you are the passenger not the driver.

It’s important, especially if this dream is recurrent, to realise that even if you feel alone, you are not. Even if you have no friends (which you probably do, you just don’t necessarily realise) or feel like you can turn to anyone – there are professional organisations that can help. If you are feeling overwhelmed and this dream has highlighted that for you, seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist. They probably can’t help directly – but what they can do is point you in the right direction. You are not alone. And you can beat your circumstances with the right help.

What Does Dreaming Of Dying Mean?

These can be the scariest of dreams. Hopefully they’re extremely rare for you because I’m sure they’re quite concerning for you if they’re regularly happening. Which may be why you’re here.

Fortunately, dreaming about dying does not mean that you are about to die.

It’s incredibly rare that a person actually dreams of the actual event of dying itself. More often than not you’ll wake up at the point of dying. This is probably due to a sudden release of adrenaline as the body (and other areas of the brain) don’t necessarily know the difference between dreams and reality. The adrenaline wakes you up.

There are stories on the internet and standard press that it’s impossible to die in a dream because the dreamer themselves will die if they die in a dream.

I can tell you from personal experience that is completely untrue. I have died in a dream. Only one, to be fair. But if the dreamer would die if they die in a dream then how am I typing this. I have also heard another person relating to me their experience of actually dying in a dream. She too was very much alive afterwards.

So what does dying in a dream actually mean?

This usually means the beginning of a new you. Perhaps a new regime in your life, or perhaps the old ideas you had about who you were, or who you want to be are dying. A new you is being born. This is a good thing! Embrace these changes and look at them to determine which ones of them you want to hold on to and which ones you’re happy to let go.

Sometimes you might get a glimpse of what life after death looks like if you die in a dream. This can give you hope that there is something there after you die – although whether that’s actually accurate or not is for you to decide!


As you can see from this article, the meaning of dreams can change a lot depending on the circumstances the dreamer is in during their waking life, as well as the context around the dream. It’s very difficult in an online article to interpret ones dreams and the examples we’ve given in this article are very general in nature. They may not be reflective of what your specific dream means.

For specific dream answers we’d recommend contacting either a dream interpreter directly or, if they’re deeply troubling dreams then it could be worth contacting your doctor/physician for further advise on how best to manage them.

Unless otherwise specified, all images are attribution free stock images from Pixabay.com – however, we like to give credit where it’s due so there it is 🙂 Thanks Pixabay users, you’ve got some fab pictures.