So this isn't a dream that I had last night, but a summarization of a dream symbol that I've been having for some years now. I keep seeing fish tanks, I mean, A LOT. Usually what happens is that I am dreaming along, and then a room I enter will have fish tanks. It's always many of them. They are usually not just clean and inviting with healthy happy fish in them. They are usually stacked one on top of another, with low water, and way too big fish in the small space. In fact, I've only ever once wandered into a room with a fish tank that was nice looking. It was octagonal, by the way.
I get distracted, trying to add water, clean the tanks, and make everyone comfortable and happy. I hate to see overgrown algae and fish on their sides in low water, trying to breathe. I fuss, trying to find clean water, and worrying whether the PH balance is right. Sometimes I do, and I can make all the tanks clean. Sometimes I can't and I get so upset that I have to wake up.
These dreams are always really really weird in context outside of the fishtanks.
So now, whenever I go somewhere and I find a fishtank there that's dirty, I get all weirded out and have to leave.
In broad terms, the fish is a psychic being, or a ‘penetrative motion’
endowed with a ‘heightening’ power concerning base matters—that is, in the
unconscious. Because of the close symbolic relationship between the sea and the
Magna Mater, some peoples have held the fish to be sacred. There were some
Asiatic rites that embraced fish-worship, and priests were forbidden to eat it. As
Jung has pointed out, the son of Atargatis (Ashtart or Astarte) was named Ichthys
(31). Schneider notes that the fish is the mystic Ship of Life, sometimes a whale,
sometimes a bird, and at other times simply a fish or a flying fish, ‘but at all times
it is the spindle spinning out the cycle of life after the pattern of the lunar zodiac’
(50). That is to say, the fish incorporates a variety of meanings, reflecting the many essential facets of its nature. Schneider also mentions that for some people
the fish has a phallic meaning, whereas for others it has a purely spiritual symbolism. In essence, the character of the fish is twofold: by reason of its bobbin-like
shape, it becomes a kind of ‘bird of the nether regions’, symbolic of sacrifice and
of the relationship between heaven and earth. On the other hand, by virtue of the
extraordinary number of its eggs, it becomes a symbol of fecundity, imparting a
certain spiritual sense (50). In this last sense it is found among the Babylonians,
the Phoenicians, the Assyrians (4) and the Chinese (5). There are some fish that
have a secondary significance because of their peculiar characteristics: for instance, the sword-fish is associated with the unicorn (32). The Chaldaic peoples
used to portray the figure of a fish with the head of a swallow, as a harbinger of
cyclic regeneration, an idea directly related to the symbolism of Pisces, the last
sign of the Zodiac (40) (Plate IX). The fish became a primitive Christian symbol,
principally on the basis of the anagram drawn from the name for fish: ichthys, the
initials standing for ‘I-n6ov? X-pi6to? O-Eov Y-io? E-wtnp. Then it came to be
taken as a symbol of profound life, of the spiritual world that lies under the world
of appearances, the fish representing the life-force surging up.
To see fish swimming in your dream, signifies insights from your unconscious mind. Thus to catch a fish, represents insights which have been brought to the surface. Alternatively, a fish swimming in your dream may symbolize conception. Some women dream of swimming fish when they get pregnant. The fish is also an ancient symbol of Christianity and Christian beliefs. Consider the common phrases "like a cold fish", "fish out of water" or something that is "fishy" about a situation. It may also imply a slippery or elusive situation. Perhaps your dream could be telling you that "there are plenty of other fish in the sea", with regards to some relationship issue.
To dream that you are eating fish, symbolizes your beliefs, spirituality, luck, energy and nourishment. It is food for the soul.
To dream of cooking fish, indicates that you are incorporating your new realizations with your spiritual feelings and knowledge.
To dream that you are cleaning fish, suggests that you are altering your emotional expression in a way that will be presentable to others. You are censoring yourself and not expressing how you completely feel.
To dream that you see fish in clear-water streams, denotes that you will be favored by the rich and powerful.
Dead fish, signifies the loss of wealth and power through some dire calamity.
For a young woman to dream of seeing fish, portends that she will have a handsome and talented lover.
To dream of catching a catfish, denotes that you will be embarrassed by evil designs of enemies, but your luck and presence of mind will tide you safely over the trouble.
To wade in water, catching fish, denotes that you will possess wealth acquired by your own ability and enterprise.
To dream of fishing, denotes energy and economy; but if you do not succeed in catching any, your efforts to obtain honors and wealth will be futile.
Eating fish, denotes warm and lasting attachments.
Seeing fish swimming in your dream means insights from your unconscious mind. Thus to catch a fish, represents insights which have been brought to the surface. The fish is also an ancient symbol of Christianity and Christian beliefs. Consider also the common phrases "like a cold fish", "fish out of water" or something that is "fishy" about a situation. It may also imply a slippery or elusive situation. Dreaming that you are Seeing or eating fish, symbolizes your beliefs, spirituality, luck, energy and nourishment. It is food for the soul. Seeing a dead fish means disappointment and loss of power/wealth. Dreaming of cooking fish indicates that you are incorporating your new realizations with your spiritual feelings and knowledge. Dreaming that you are cleaning fish, suggests that you are altering your emotional expression in a way that will be presentable to others. You are censoring yourself and not expressing how you completely feel.
Some people believe that when you dream about fish you will soon find out that you or someone you know is pregnant (water of the womb). Others believe that if you see fish in your dreams, it is a forecast for sickness and poor health. In Christianity, Christ is at times represented by the fish symbol (spirituality). These water dwelling animals may represent messages from our unconscious and indicate to us how well we navigate through our emotional waters. They could symbolize body and soul nourishment and navigation through the unknown depths of our selves.
To fully appreciate the symbolic meanings of fish, we must first consider their watery domain.
Water holds ancient symbolic meanings dealing with the subconscious and depth of knowledge. Water contains all the mysteriousness of the unknown.
Consider the murky depths of the ocean – we never know quite what to expect there. Even seasoned oceanic explorers are still awed by their findings from the deep.
Water holds endless mystery to us – it represents that which is certainly there, but cannot be seen.
Water has also been known to be a womb symbol and as such, an emblem of birth, fertility and woman-ness. This association comes from many ancient flood myths, and the “from water springs life” concept.
Given the wonder that its domain holds, the fish too has similar symbolic meaning. There are numerous species of fish, but the creature in general holds some prime symbolic meanings:
The fish was sacred to the Greco-Roman mythology, where it held symbolic meaning of change and transformation. We see this in the myth of Aphrodite and Heros when they turned themselves into fish in order to escape from the ferocious Typhon.
In Christianity, the fish is a symbol of abundance and faith as observed in the Biblical story of fishes and loaves. There are also several Biblical references as Christ and his disciples being “fishers of men.” Here, man is represented as the transformational fish and the ocean is a symbol of the abyss of sin in which man finds himself.
Pagan traditions recognized the fish as a feminine symbol of fertility and an attribute of the Goddess. Water is a natural emblem of the flow of the Divine Mother principal, and as such, all creatures of the water (including fish) are aspects of the fertility and power of the female deity.
As an ancient Celtic symbol, the symbolic meaning of fish (salmon, specifically) dealt with knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and prophecy. Ancient Celts believed the salmon derived its wisdom from consuming the sacred hazel nuts from the well of knowledge (Segais). Further, they believed to eat the salmon would mean gaining the wisdom of the well too.
In ancient Eastern Indian mythology, the fish is a symbol of transformation and creation. This is observed in the ancient flood myth in which Vishnu transformed himself into a fish (Matsya) to save the world from a great flood. In this form, he guided king Manu’s boat (which contained the select few survivors & seeds of life to re-create the world after the flood subsided) to safety.
Ancient African creation myths tell of Mangala, the creator, planting seeds in the cosmic womb. From these seeds two fish erupted, and were set forth into the cosmos upon the waters of creation. We see from this myth the symbolic meaning of fish yet again deals with fertility and creativity by embodying a new phase of initial life. ( click here for other twin symbols).
In China, the fish is symbolic of unity and fidelity as it is noted that fish (particularly koi) often swim together in pairs. With this in mind, fish are often given as wedding gifts in the form of charms or figurines to present the newly-wed couple with an auspicious sign of fidelity and perfect union. They also represent fertility and abundance due to their ability to reproduce in speed and volume.
Furthermore, in Buddhism, the fish symbolizes happiness and freedom. Also the fish makes an appearance as one of the eight sacred symbols of the Buddha: 1) Conch, 2) Lotus, 3) Parasol, 4) Wheel, 5) Knot, 6) Pair of Golden Fish, 7) Banner of Victory, 8) Vase.
Lastly, in Norse and ancient European cultures, the fish had symbolic meanings of adaptability, determination, and the flow of life. It was observed by these cultures that fish often display enormous attributes of adaptability in the wild, and they adopted these characteristics for themselves. Salmon were commonly revered for their determination in their annual pilgrimage to their spawning grounds – the entire journey swum against the current.
The fish is generally symbolic of decision and grace. The message of this graceful creature that dwells within water energy (emotions) is open-mindedness and decisiveness. Fish people are deeply psychic and heed their intuition (emotions and feelings) when making decisions, which may cause them to swim away from a situation until clear. The fish asks us to be sure that it is not fear holding us back from something that may be of great benefit to our lives. Peace is resumed when a decision is made, however you may change your mind guilt free, at any stage in your life.
Transformation of the spirit, the type of fish reveals certain strengths and traits, fish in general show how to swim the currents of life, use of intuition to navigate effectively, aids in attuning to the world of emotions, the un/subconscious and other-worlds, heightened senses including visions, dreams and related psychic abilities. Do you currently feel stuck? The river says its time flow. Fish can show how to ride the tide to new adventures.
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the symbol for water is a wavy line with
small sharp crests, representing the water’s surface. The same sign, when tripled,
symbolizes a volume of water, that is, the primaeval ocean and prime matter.
According to hermetic tradition, the god Nu was the substance from which the
gods of the first ennead emerged (19). The Chinese consider water as the specific
abode of the dragon, because all life comes from the waters (13). In the Vedas,
water is referred to as mâtritamâh (the most maternal) because, in the beginning,
everything was like a sea without light. In India, this element is generally regarded
as the preserver of life, circulating throughout the whole of nature, in the form of
rain, sap, milk and blood. Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and
the end of all things on earth (60). Although water is, in appearance, formless,
ancient cultures made a distinction between ‘upper waters’ and ‘lower waters’.
The former correspond to the potential or what is still possible, the latter to what
is actual or already created (26). In a general sense, the concept of ‘water’ stands,
of course, for all liquid matter. Moreover, the primaeval waters, the image of
prime matter, also contained all solid bodies before they acquired form and rigidity. For this reason, the alchemists gave the name of ‘water’ to quicksilver in its
first stage of transmutation and, by analogy, also to the ‘fluid body’ of Man (57).
This ‘fluid body’ is interpreted by modern psychology as a symbol of the unconscious, that is, of the non-formal, dynamic, motivating, female side of the personality. The projection of the mother-imago into the waters endows them with
various numinous properties characteristic of the mother (31). A secondary meaning of this symbolism is found in the identification of water with intuitive wisdom. In the cosmogony of the Mesopotamian peoples, the abyss of water was
regarded as a symbol of the unfathomable, impersonal Wisdom. An ancient Irish
god was called Domnu, which means ‘marine depth’. In prehistoric times the
word for abyss seems to have been used exclusively to denote that which was
unfathomable and mysterious (4). The waters, in short, symbolize the universal
congress of potentialities, the fons et origo, which precedes all form and all
creation. Immersion in water signifies a return to the preformal state, with a sense
of death and annihilation on the one hand, but of rebirth and regeneration on the
other, since immersion intensifies the life-force. The symbolism of baptism,
which is closely linked to that of water, has been expounded by St. John
Chrysostom (Homil. in Joh., XXV, 2): ‘It represents death and interment, life and
resurrection. . . . When we plunge our head beneath water, as in a sepulchre, the
old man becomes completely immersed and buried. When we leave the water, the
new man suddenly appears’ (18). The ambiguity of this quotation is only on the
surface: in this particular aspect of the general symbolism of water, death affects
only Man-in-nature while the rebirth is that of spiritual man. On the cosmic level,
the equivalent of immersion is the flood, which causes all forms to dissolve and
return to a fluid state, thus liberating the elements which will later be recombined
in new cosmic patterns. The qualities of transparency and depth, often associated with water, go far towards explaining the veneration of the ancients for this
element which, like earth, was a female principle. The Babylonians called it ‘the
home of wisdom’. Oannes, the mythical being who brings culture to mankind, is
portrayed as half man and half fish (17). Moreover, in dreams, birth is usually
expressed through water-imagery (v. Freud, Introduction to Psycho-Analysis).
The expressions ‘risen from the waves’ and ‘saved from the waters’ symbolize
fertility, and are metaphorical images of childbirth. On the other hand, water is, of
all the elements, the most clearly transitional, between fire and air (the ethereal
elements) and earth (the solid element). By analogy, water stands as a mediator
between life and death, with a two-way positive and negative flow of creation and
destruction. The Charon and Ophelia myths symbolize the last voyage. Death
was the first mariner. ‘Transparent depth’, apart from other meanings, stands in
particular for the communicating link between the surface and the abyss. It can
therefore be said that water conjoins these two images (2). Gaston Bachelard
points to many different characteristics of water, and derives from them many
secondary symbolic meanings which enrich the fundamental meaning we have described. These secondary meanings are not so much a set of strict symbols, as
a kind of language expressing the transmutations of this ever-flowing element.
Bachelard enumerates clear water, spring water, running water, stagnant water,
dead water, fresh and salt water, reflecting water, purifying water, deep water,
stormy water. Whether we take water as a symbol of the collective or of the
personal unconscious, or else as an element of mediation and dissolution, it is
obvious that this symbolism is an expression of the vital potential of the psyche,
of the struggles of the psychic depths to find a way of formulating a clear message
comprehensible to the consciousness. On the other hand, secondary symbolisms
are derived from associated objects such as water-containers, and also from the
ways in which water is used: ablutions, baths, holy water, etc. There is also a
very important spatial symbolism connected with the ‘level’ of the waters, denoting a correlation between actual physical level and absolute moral level. It is
for this reason that the Buddha, in his Assapuram sermon, was able to regard the
mountain-lake—whose transparent waters reveal, at the bottom, sand, shells,
snails and fishes—as the path of redemption. This lake obviously corresponds to
a fundamental aspect of the ‘Upper Waters’. Clouds are another aspect of the
‘Upper Waters’. In Le Transformationi of Ludovico Dolce, we find a mystic
figure looking into the unruffled surface of a pond, in contrast with the accursed
hunter, always in restless pursuit of his prey, implying the symbolic contrast
between contemplative activity—the sattva state of Yoga—and blind outward
activity—the rajas state. Finally, the upper and lower waters communicate reciprocally through the process of rain (involution) and evaporation (evolution).
Here, fire intervenes to modify water: the sun (spirit) causes sea water to evaporate (i.e. it sublimates life). Water is condensed in clouds and returns to earth in
the form of life-giving rain, which is invested with twofold virtues: it is water, and
it comes from heaven (15). Lao-Tse paid considerable attention to this cyclic
process of meteorology, which is at one and the same time physical and spiritual,
observing that: ‘Water never rests, neither by day nor by night. When flowing
above, it causes rain and dew. When flowing below, it forms streams and rivers.
Water is outstanding in doing good. If a dam is raised against it, it stops. If way is
made for it, it flows along that path. Hence it is said that it does not struggle. And
yet it has no equal in destroying that which is strong and hard’ (13). When water
stands revealed in its destructive aspects, in the course of cataclysmic events, its
symbolism does not change, but is merely subordinated to the dominant symbolism of the storm. Similarly, in those contexts where the flowing nature of water is
emphasized, as in the contention of Heraclitus that ‘You cannot step twice into
the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.’ Here the reference is not to water-symbolism as such, but to the idea of the irreversible flow along a
given path. To quote Evola, in La tradizione ermetica: ‘Without divine water,
nothing exists, according to Zosimus. On the other hand, among the symbols of
the female principle are included those which figure as origins of the waters
(mother, life), such as: Mother Earth, Mother of the Waters, Stone, Cave, House
of the Mother, Night, House of Depth, House of Force, House of Wisdom,
Forest, etc. One should not be misled by the word “divine”. Water symbolizes
terrestrial and natural life, never metaphysical life.’
This indicates birth (of some person).
To dream of clear water, foretells that you will joyfully realize prosperity and pleasure.
If the water is muddy, you will be in danger and gloom will occupy Pleasure's seat.
If you see it rise up in your house, denotes that you will struggle to resist evil, but unless you see it subside, you will succumb to dangerous influences.
If you find yourself baling it out, but with feet growing wet, foreshadows trouble, sickness, and misery will work you a hard task, but you will forestall them by your watchfulness. The same may be applied to muddy water rising in vessels.
To fall into muddy water, is a sign that you will make many bitter mistakes, and will suffer poignant grief therefrom.
To drink muddy water, portends sickness, but drinking it clear and refreshing brings favorable consummation of fair hopes.
To sport with water, denotes a sudden awakening to love and passion.
To have it sprayed on your head, denotes that your passionate awakening to love will meet reciprocal consummation.
The following dream and its allegorical occurrence in actual life is related by a young woman student of dreams:
``Without knowing how, I was (in my dream) on a boat, I waded through clear blue water to a wharfboat, which I found to be snow white, but rough and splintry. The next evening I had a delightful male caller, but he remained beyond the time prescribed by mothers and I was severely censured for it.'' The blue water and fairy white boat were the disappointing prospects in the symbol.
To see water in your dream, symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment. To dream that water is boiling, suggests that you are expressing some emotional turmoil. Feelings from your unconscious are surfacing and ready to be acknowledged. You need to let out some steam.
To see calm, clear water in your dream, means that you are in tune with your spirituality. It denotes serenity, peace of mind, and rejuvenation.
To see muddy or dirty water in your dream, indicates that you are wallowing in your negative emotions. You may need to take some time to cleanse your mind and find internal peace. Alternatively, the dream suggests that your thinking/judgment is unclear and clouded. If you are immersed in muddy water, then it indicates that you are in over your head in a situation and are overwhelmed by your emotions.
To dream that water is rising up in your house, suggests that you are becoming overwhelmed by your emotions.
To hear running water in your dream, denotes meditation and reflection. You are reflecting on your thoughts and emotions.
To dream that you are walking on water, indicates that you have total control over your emotions. It also suggests that you need to "stay on top" of your emotions and not let them explode out of hand. Alternatively, the dream is symbolic of faith in yourself.
Seeing water in your dream, symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment. Seeing calm, clear water in your dream means that you are in tune with your spirituality. It indicates serenity, peace of mind, and rejuvenation. Seeing muddy or dirty water in your dream indicates that you are wallowing in your negative emotions. You may need to devote some time to clarify your mind and find internal peace. Alternatively, it suggests that your thinking/judgment is unclear and clouded. If you are immersed in muddy water, then it indicates that you are in over your head in a situation and are overwhelmed by your emotions. Dreaming that water is rising up in your house means your struggles and overwhelming emotions. Hearing running water in your dream indicates meditation, reflection and pondering of your thoughts and emotions. Dreaming that you are walking on water, suggests that you have supreme and ultimate control over your emotions. It may also suggest that you need to "stay on top" of your emotions and not let them explode out of hand. Alternatively, it is symbolic of faith in yourself.
To dream that you or something is dirty, represents your anxieties and feelings toward sex. The dream stems from low self-esteem and feelings of being unworthy. You need to purify your mind, heart and body.
Dreaming that you or something is dirty, represents your anxieties and feelings toward sex. The dream stems from low self-esteem and feelings of being unworthy. You need to purify your mind, heart and body.
To dream that you are happy, may be a compensatory dream and is often a dream of the contrary. You may be trying to compensate for the sadness or stress in your waking life.
Dreaming that you are happy, may be a compensatory dream and is often a dream of the contrary. You may be trying to compensate for the sadness or stress in your waking life.
To dream that something or someone is low, signifies something that is beneath you. Perhaps, you are feeling superior and are above some situation. Alternatively, the dream signifies something that you may have overlooked.
A symbol of individuality—of private thoughts. The windows symbolize the possibility of understanding and of passing through to the external and
the beyond, and are also an illustration of any idea of communication. Hence, a
closed room lacking windows may be symbolic of virginity, according to Frazer,
and also of other kinds of non-communication. Many rites involving the
enclosureimage are performed to mark the reaching of puberty, all over the world.
The legend about Danae, shut up by her father in a bronze tower, pertains to this
particular symbolism. There is a Siberian legend concerning a ‘dark house of iron’
which is also relevant to it (21). We might also mention the ‘vase with a lid’, one
of the eight emblems of good luck in Chinese Buddhism, and a symbol of wholeness, of the idea with no ‘exit’, or, in other words, of supreme intelligence triumphant over birth and death (signified respectively by the doors and windows of
the room) (5). This explains why the hermetically sealed room may possibly be
a variant form of the ‘vase with a lid’.
To dream that you are in a room, represents a particular aspect of yourself or a specific relationship. Dreams about various rooms often relate to hidden areas of the conscious mind and different aspects of your personality. If the room is welcoming or comfortable, then it signifies opulence and satisfaction in life. If you see a dark or confined room, then it denotes that you feel trapped or repressed in a situation.
To dream that you find or discover a new room, suggests that you are developing new strengths and taking on new roles. You may be growing emotionally. Consider what you find in the discovered room as it may indicate repressed memories, fears, or rejected emotions. Alternatively, such rooms are symbolic of neglected skills or rejected potential.
To dream that you are in an empty white room, indicates a fresh start. It is like a blank canvas where you want to start life anew. Alternatively, the dream means that you are trying to isolate yourself. You do not want any outside influences.
To dream of a yellow room, suggests that you need to use your mind. You are feeling stimulated mentally.
Dreaming that you are in a room, represents a particular aspect of yourself or a particular relationship. Dreams about various rooms often relate to hidden areas of the conscious mind and different aspects of your personality. Dreaming that you find or discover new rooms, suggests that you are developing new strengths and taking on new roles. You may be growing emotionally. Seeing an appealing or comfortable room in your dream means opulence and satisfaction in life. Seeing a dark, eerie or confining room indicates that that you feel trapped or repressed in a situation.
To dream that you find something, suggests that you are coming into contact with some aspect of your psyche or unconscious. You are recognizing a part of yourself that was previously repressed or undeveloped. Alternatively, it represents change.
To dream that you find someone, indicates that you are identifying new facets of a relationship. You may be taking the relationship to a new level and/or direction.
Dreaming that you find something, suggests that you are coming into contact with some aspect of your psyche or unconscious. You are recognizing a part of yourself that was previously repressed or undeveloped. Alternatively, it represents change. Dreaming that you find someone indicates that you are identifying new facets of a relationship. You may be taking the relationship to a new level and/or direction.
To dream that you lose your balance, suggests that you are having difficulty weighing your options and choices in some situation.
To dream that you are breathing rapidly, indicates that you are experiencing some anxiety, tension, or fear concerning a new situation in your waking life.
To dream that you are breathing underwater, represents a retreat back into the womb. You want to return to a state where you were dependent and free from responsibilities. Perhaps you are feeling helpless, unable to fulfill your own needs and caring for yourself. Alternatively, you may be submerged in your own emotions.
To dream that you cannot breathe, indicates that you are feeling exhausted. People who suffer from asthma often have dreams of not being able to breathe.
Dreaming that you are breathing rapidly indicates that you are experiencing some anxiety, tension, or fear concerning a new situation in your waking life. Dreaming that you are breathing underwater, represents a retreat back into the womb. You want to return to a state where you were dependent and free from responsibilities. Perhaps you are feeling helpless, unable to fulfill your own needs and caring for yourself. Alternatively, you may be submerged in your emotions. Dreaming that you are holding your breath indicates your stubborn state of mind. Your views may be one-sided and the dream is telling you to be open to the opinions of others. Dreaming that you cannot breathe indicates that you are feeling exhausted. Dreaming that you have bad breath, suggests that you are misleading others.
To see the side of something in your dream, suggests that you are not approaching the problem directly.
To dream that your sides hurt, suggest that what may seem like a lighthearted situation can turn out to be harmful.