Dream interpretation - waves,tidal waves and tsunamis as dream symbols

Our studies have included many tidal wave and tsunami dreams. So by linking the tidal wave to the background information provided we can start to decode what a tidal wave represents in practical dream analysis.

But at the start of such a study we can try to guess what a tidal wave means. A tidal wave is a huge unstoppable event. It sweeps all away before it. There is nothing you can do - you simply have to seek shelter as best you can. So lets see if we can spot situations which involve emotions and thoughts like we have mentioned. Try this dream.

THE DREAM - A huge wave is coming at me. I am certain there is no way to survive this and I am very scared.

A couple of days previously the dreamer was overwhelmed by something that was happening in her life. So we can quite clearly see that the tidal wave could have represented this situation which had overwhelmed her. The dream does not have much in the way of meaning. Its probably just recording her strong emotions as she was overwhelmed. By looking at the background info we see what has clearly caused this dream.

Such a method can be taken a stage further. Sometimes when just one big issue is on our minds we know we will surely dream about that issue. So when you do dream look for issues which you know have triggered your dream. Think of the next example. But this time we will read the background information first. The dreamer was really wanting to complain about someone at work. However, the dreamer was also scared of this woman who knew some dubious people. The night before the dream he had been thinking - "I will be protected at work if I complain. However, I am sure to meet her in some dark alley somewhere and she is likely to seek revenge". Now here is the dream.

THE DREAM - I am with someone who is threatening me. This tough looking man has a knife and looks vicious. But luckily this policeman is there to arrest him immediately. Even though he has been arrested he is still in front of me and still appears very threatening.

Later, I am on the south beach at Scarborough. Then suddenly I see this huge tidal wave. Its mountainous. I start running up the hill to escape the waves. I run as fast as I can. The waves come up the hill but they are much smaller than I expected them to be. Later, I am on the beach at Cayton, and another tidal wave is building up. This one I cannot escape as it hits too quickly and I am trapped against the cliffs. I try to save my life as best I can.

Now having read the dream can we see how it connects to reality. Clearly the man threatening the dreamer could represent the woman who the dreamer was intimidated by. The police are clear symbols of his wish to be protected from her if he complained. But what of the tidal wave. This huge unstoppable force could represent the huge backlash which the dreamer expected from this woman if he complained. How else could we link the dream? Well in real life the dreamer felt that the woman would seek revenge and he particularly feared meeting her in some cold dark alley. The dream even hints at this in a rather abstract way. The first tidal wave is on a very popular beach full of people. The big tidal wave which overwhelms the dreamer was on a remote isolated beach. You can even see similarities between the "cold dark alley" and the "trapped against the cliffs on a remote beach". So if you look at this dream carefully it contains all the vital elements of this thought - the threat, the wish to be protected, the huge unstoppable force, being trapped where no one can see. The symbols are a little odd. But the dream mind will always use odd symbols. The dreams we have are not meant to be remembered and the metaphors are sometimes rather odd. But reading and analysing the dream we can see how it represents this thought - "I really fear her. I think I would be protected at work. However, she would not forgive me if she lost her job and would seek revenge. Maybe not immediately but one day I would meet her in a dark alley where there would be no one there to save me".

Now try to analyse this next dream in reverse. But try to think about this background information. The previous day the dreamer went to a funeral of her uncle who had died in prison. She loved him dearly but he had been a hardened criminal - drug dealing and gun dealing being just two of his known offences. Whilst at the funeral she was thinking about the other people attending the funeral. Many were just like her Uncle and the dreamer was thinking how all those in the room would end up just like her Uncle - dying in jail or dead due to drug abuse or murdered.

THE DREAM In the dream, I am in this hotel room, watching the news, and there is a story on about a disastrous tidal wave that swept through Africa. In the dream I think wow that's horrible, and go to the window of my room, and I can see a wall of water far into the distance, so I grab my son, and my shoes, and run to tell everyone we have to leave now. Everyone is busy getting drunk, and getting high, and they don't listen, including my mother, I begged and pleaded and cried, pointing out that they would die if they didn't come with me, but no one cared, they all just laughed and acted as though I was overreacting. So I put on my shoes, picked up my little boy, and started down the stair of the hotel. When my foot hit the last step, I was suddenly outside, running for the hills, and reaching the hillside, start scrambling up pulling my son with me, (Think Elijah Wood and LeiLei Sobieski in Deep Impact), and I get to the top with my son and look back. I can see my family, sitting there in plastic lawn chairs drinking, watching as though it can't bother them when the wave crashes over them and heads my way. The wave stops at the peak of the hillside, and my son and I only got our toes wet. Then I woke up.

Now analysing this dream by linking it to the day before makes good sense. The people are going to be swept away because they have not listened to the sensible advice given to them. This exactly mirrors reality as all the people at the funeral would never listen to advice to give up their lives of crime. The dream always emphasizes the key way in which this the dreamer expresses her emotions regards this - seeing all this evil reinforces the dreamers wish to protect her son and shield him from those who descend into a life of crime. So actually the dream captures the key emotions that she felt at this funeral the day before. She felt those who followed the life of crime would be swept away and that this reinforced her own wish to protect her son from those who commit crime.

Try this next dream but try to think about the following background information. The dreamer was thinking about the state of her relationship with her boyfriend. She was worried that he did not seem to need her any more and she feared that he would break up.

THE DREAM I am on a beach. The waves are getting bigger and bigger so I decide to head for the higher ground (for safety).

If you were to sum up this dream then you would say that the dreamer was preparing for the worst. That was the case in real life as she was worried that her boyfriend would break up with her. So like many dreams the story in the dream captures the exact same set of emotions that she felt in real life. In the dream she was preparing for the worst during a tidal wave whilst in real life she was preparing for the worst with her boyfriend.

Now try this dream.

THE DREAM I am in a harbour. The sun is shining and its a nice day. Then suddenly the winds picks up and a storm starts. I can see people trying to desperately get to the shore. The seas are very choppy. I am trying to save my granddad. I then realise the fear of tidal waves. I desperately try to get to some high ground. I am at the top of the cliff yet I then see the tidal wave come. Its huge and will surely sweep us all away.

The background information to this dream surely revealed its meaning. The dreamer feared the worst with his health. He was retired and disabilities had been allowed to go unchecked and he was steadily getting worse. The day before the dream he was especially worried and he was fearing that things were getting out of hand.

So its clear that the dream captures his emotional state and worries about his health. He fears being swept away as his illnesses get steadily worse. Saving his granddad is a symbol for himself. It was a symbol for his own old age - or at least him coping with getting older – feeling old and tired like a granddad.

So try to think in terms of thoughts processes and emotions which have been especially strong. If a dream truly links to the mind then it will translate into some vital thought which your mind was working on the day before. During the night you have a chance to think over emotional and intellectual problems. Your dreams represent your intuitions. If you are in touch with your emotions then you will probably know what could trigger your dreams. Write down some quotes to describe your emotions right now. Think of the types of things that you would tell friends or write in a diary.

THE DREAM I was with my co-worker in some place with water(probably a tank). My co-worker threw something into the water and bubbles and ripples started to emerge. Then this huge whale sprung up from the tank. It was causing a huge tidal wave which I was afraid could hurt us.

In real life the dreamer was having trouble at work. His supervisors and managers were arguing between themselves. So in trying to link this dream to reality we could say that these arguments were causing 'huge waves' within the company. The dreamer feared it would affect her. So the dream was about the dreamer fearing getting drawn into a dispute with between people higher up the scale in her company.

Now try this next dream. The dreamer had written down one or two quotes about things on his mind. He had become anxious at work because things were very tense. He was almost at the point of losing it. He was not considerate to others and was starting to think only of himself.

THE DREAM - I was near the edge of the sea. It was in some sort of café or building. The waves were really very high and I was thinking how it was very rough. I felt that if a big wave came it would be dangerous. So I headed inland. I found this tall hotel type building. Then I saw this huge tidal wave come. I had no regard for the other people in the first building and simply intended to save myself.

So if the key feeling on the dreamers mind was "I am starting to lose it at work. The tension is getting to me and I am thinking only of myself" then we can see how the dream portrays this exact feeling. The waves represented the tension and problems. He was starting to recognise the level of tension and was seeking shelter from these work problems. Above all in the dream and in reality he is concerned only for himself.

The dream therefore is monitoring his tension levels. His intuition is also noticing that the dreamer is starting to lose consideration for himself. But in really difficult moments we need to think of ourselves. During any disaster or fire we will tend to think only of ourselves - its a completely natural reaction.

DREAM SYMBOL STUDIES : Real dreams featuring tidal waves

DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : Dreams deal with emotional concepts forming in our minds. Think up some quotes which capture your feelings from the day before such as - "I feel as if I cannot trust my sister any more", or "I am starting to enjoy work much more now",or "I really should phone my mother up". Its likely that such intuitions will link heavily to a dreams meaning.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : Think of a Tsunami’s in a dream as representing a word or phrase such as "swept away". Then think of several quotes which capture your intuitional feelings from the day before such as "I was tired at work yesterday. We had a huge rush of customers" , "I am not getting along with my sister right now" or "My foot seems to have healed well". Now look through those quotes and see the words "swept away" seem relevant within those quotes.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : The link between dreams and the day before is really very strong. Thats no coincidence. During the day we store up all thoughts in short term memory banks. Then at night we begin to transfer these thoughts and integrate them into long term emotions. So dreams then will tend to concentrate on the day before and on ways in which our emotions have altered.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : Dreams use associations. So think carefully through a dream. A little phrase or anything may jog your memory about something that has just happened. The facial expression on some character within a dream may mimic the way someone acted the day before. Just look for odd little connections. If you spot one then its likely that the dream links to some intuitions linked to those symbols.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : The fact is that dreams represent your thoughts. So simply work the process in reverse. Look for evidence of your thoughts in your dreams. If for instance the day before was very stressful then look for evidence of that stress. Exactly which symbols could represent that stress.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : Dreams tend to be about the new things in your life. When understood properly they link to events that have just happened or to feelings forming in our minds. So write down these new feelings. It could be that these key new feelings are what your dream means. So when you say that you feel very guilty then look for situations which capture guilt or things related to guilt.
DREAM INTERPRETATION TIP : Do not try to impose simplistic meanings on dreams. Its easy to see a tidal wave in your dream and say that you feel overwhelmed by feelings about something right now. Dreams use symbols in complex ways. Think of the following phrases - "I was overcome with emotions by what she said yesterday", or "I wish I could sweep away all those bad feelings that my boss is generating in me", or "My grandmother cannot seem to cope with any major problems nowadays". These different quotes use metaphors in different ways and some do not even apply to the dreamer but to people they care about. Dream symbols tend to build such rich and varied meanings.


TIDAL WAVES : A tidal wave is a very strong symbol and can simply indicate that there is something stronger and more powerful that will just sweep us away without warning. It may symbolise our wish to protect some vulnerable family member. It may link to some larger force such as need to follow the true path of religion.

But tidal waves are also symbolic of our feelings. They may show that we are overcome with strong feelings on an issue. The sea in dreams symbolises the feelings we have and the land the facts about some issue. For the sea to sweep over the land shows that we are making very emotional decisions, possibly based on insufficient evidence.

KEY WORDS(Pick a quote which captures your feelings right now. Think especially of the day before the dream) :
- "totally unable to cope"
- "I am simply unable to resist such a strong force"
- "they will be swept away"
- "Its a force which is stronger than me"
- "My health is spiralling out of control"
- "jumping to conclusions"
- "overcome with feelings"


TSUNAMIS in dreams : What do tidal waves symbolise in real dreams.
SWIMMING in dreams : An essay exploring the different meanings of swimming in dreams.
BOATS : What is the symbolic meaning of boats.
DROWNING : What does drowning mean in real DREAM SYMBOLISM
Dream Dictionary : An A to Z of symbolic meanings with every meaning for each symbol