Dream Dictionary

Animals In Dreams - What Animals Symbolize in Dreams?

Animals in dreams represent primitive drives and desires, such as fear, lust and anger that can only be really understood on an instinctual level.

Thus, to dream of a certain animal could suggest an aspect of your personality that is instinctual, hidden or striving for recognition. It could also represent a part of yourself you find hard to control. And because we often assign characteristics or personality traits to animals, dream animals may also symbolize gut feelings we have about others. An attacking lion, for example, may depict how we see someone who is being aggressive toward us.

Animal dreams rouse special interest because they contain images that are familiar to us, but at the same time we recognize something that is unfamiliar and obscure. Traditionally, the characteristics of the dream animal are applied to the world of humans, often seeing the animal as a harbinger of misfortune or good luck; for example, a wolf is often thought to predict thieves or misfortune. According to Freud animals in dreams are not predictive of future events but a classic expression of repressed or unexpressed sexual and aggressive tendencies. Jung, however, argued that animals in dreams should be analyzed individually, depending on the character they portray in the dream and the association the dreamer has to them.

Jung believed that animals are sublime and, in fact, represent the ‘divine’ side of the human psyche. He suggested that animals live much more in contact with a ‘secret’ order in nature itself and—far more than human beings—live in close contact with ‘absolute knowledge’ of the unconscious. In contrast to humankind, the animal is the living being that follows its own inner laws beyond good and evil—and is, in this sense, superior and a source of inspiration and guidance.

Although animals are one of the most common dream symbols, dreams that feature them can be complex and hard to interpret. Perhaps the simplest way is to first think about how you feel about the specific animal in your waking life. You may, for example, adore cats and think of them as lovely creatures because you have a much-loved pet cat, or you may associate cats with feeling unwell because you are allergic to them. Thinking about how that animal makes you feel within the context of your dream should help you recognize if that feeling is struggling to the fore, or is already expressing itself in daily life.

If, on the other hand, you have no feelings in particular about the animal in your dream, you need to think about the quality you typically associate with it; for example, a fox with cunning and stealth, an elephant with strength and mystery, or a dog with unconditional loyalty and love. Because animals are thought to represent unedited feelings and drives, it’s possible that your unconscious used the symbol of the fox in your dream to alert you to your own or someone else’s cunning. Thinking about that aspect of yourself—again within the context of your dream—should tell you whether you need to nurture and develop it, tame it or be on your guard against it in someone else.

If you still feel puzzled, it may be that the hidden meaning lies in archetypal, traditional, legendary, mythical or magical associations. Dream animals may also embody a pun. For example, if you dream of a badger, are you feeling badgered or aggravated in some way? If you dream of a zebra, could this refer to your black and white view point?

Dream animals, no matter how problematic, offer us an opportunity to contact and explore both the parts of ourselves that we have shut away and the parts that we have yet to discover. In general, researchers believe that animal dreams mean that the subconscious has woken up and has come to life.

Our dreams will be selective and personal in the choice of animal used to portray our life situation, but as you interpret never forget that animal symbols in dreams typically represent a fundamental push toward life and living it with passion.

Animal Situations

Neither pets nor wild creatures, agricultural animals often represent personal traits that you may have tamed to a certain extent, although there is always the risk that they will escape conscious control and run wild. It’s important to reflect on the context of the dream involving a working or farmyard animal as it may reflect how you feel about the burdens and responsibilities of your daily life

To dream that you are rescuing, caring for or saving the life of an animal, suggests that you are successfully acknowledging certain emotions and characteristics represented by the animal. A wounded animal can mean a pain you need to come to terms with that has caused an instinctive reaction, such as reactive anger or terrible fear. To find yourself in the waiting room of an animal hospital suggests a desire to avoid a responsibility or commitment you have in your waking life. To see lab animals in your dream, suggests that an aspect of yourself is being repressed. Alternatively, it suggests that you need to experiment with your fears, choices, and beliefs. Try not to limit yourself.

Dreams about animals in water are symbols of our emotions. Water is a symbol of emotion because water, like emotion, constantly moves and flows. How the animal moves within the water reveals our emotional mood. For instance if the water is calm and beautiful then it shows our emotions are good.

Maternal and paternal instinct; your basic childhood need for love and protection or your own experience of being parented. A baby animal can refer to yourself when young and vulnerable; feelings or memories concerning your childhood; desire for babies; vulnerability; fundamental survival instincts such as crying out for protection and comfort and the need for dependence and bonding. If the young animal is injured or dying, this could suggest problems with maturing or dealing with adult life.

To see wild animals caged suggests that you are in control of your instincts. If you are in the cage with them, it could suggest a need to break free from constraints. If you dream of an animal tangled in barbed wire or in a trap, this could suggest an unhappy relationship with yourself or someone else. If the animal seems calm, it suggests inner strength during adversity but if the animal panics, unhappy memories or unhealthy habits are limiting your potential for development and growth.

Also known as zoomorphism, to dream that you are changing into the form of an animal indicates that you are becoming less civilized and restrained, and becoming more free and instinctive. You may be expressing your new-found freedom and independence. Alternatively, taking the form of an animal can also suggest repressed urges that need to be understood and managed. Consider also the qualities of the animal that you turn into and what happens to you in the dream. According to Jung the end of the dream is particularly significant. Favorable resolutions direct us to the most constructive ways of solving problems, whilst unfavorable dream resolutions contain a warning of negative changes. Dreaming of animal skin could mean you may have found or need to acquire the traits, power and wisdom of the animal concerned.

Domestic animals symbolize fundamental urges and drives in ourselves which we have learnt to meet and direct with reasonable success. They still have to be cared for though or they may rebel against what we ask of them. Buying and selling an animal may indicate the need for the dreamer to be aware of possible tensions with the people close to him. If the dreamer is selling an animal, this could indicate delays and frustrations; the need for inner calmness to help the dreamer through until he or sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Attempting to kill the animal within (our lower brain functions) can cause tension, depression and illness; giving in entirely is no answer either as our higher brain functions need expression also. One of the challenges of maturing and growing is to meet and relate to our ‘animal instincts’, and if possible find ways to express them positively. To dream of eating an animal suggests that you need to draw upon your own inner wisdom and energy, but it can also suggest a desire for sensual pleasure.

A common dream symbol that typically represents neglect of some aspect of your inner nature. For example, you may have been given an animal to look after, usually somebody else’s pet, while they were away on holiday and then completely forgot about the animal, only to discover it later starving, injured or even dead. This dream is reminding you that you have a responsibility to yourself and to see that your own sexual, nutritional and bodily needs are met.

These have the same interpretation as parts of the human body. If a four-legged animal has a leg or legs missing, it suggests a personality that is not fully rounded. If you dream of a tail, this could signify a need for balance and adjustment in tough circumstances. It can also indicate sexual arousal or the penis. If claws figure prominently in the dream, this could suggest spitefulness; desire to hurt; hidden aggression; clinging, or ‘getting one’s claws in someone’.

Hiding from or being trapped by animals can suggest you are feeling controlled or threatened by your urges or the emotions or feelings of others. If the animal is watching you, your unconscious is reminding you not to forget or neglect the instincts that it represents. If the animal is attacking you, this could indicate that you are in the grip of a rage that you fear you may unleash. Your dream is urging you express or deal with your anger in a controlled way. If an animal is chasing you in a dream, this may suggest that in real life you are in flight from some area of your personality that wants to be expressed. If you are trying to find refuge from animals—either by building a defense or running away—this indicates a struggle with instincts that threaten your safety in waking life. In some cases dreams of being threatened or attacked by animals may be telling you that you are repressing your instincts—perhaps being too civilized—and you should try and loosen up more. Being bitten by an animal could indicate aggression from someone close to you or that our own aggressive instincts are not under control. Any threat from a sinister animal suggests fears and doubts you may have about your ability to manage your emotions.

Animal noises

If you hear animals making sounds in your dream, you need to consider what these sounds mean to you in waking life and then to make a symbolic link. For example, if you hear an animal barking, wailing or whining for attention, these sounds could be calling your attention to the qualities that that particular animal represents to you. If you hear ominous growling, roaring or cackling, it could reflect pent-up anger either within yourself or another person. If you hear braying, it could indicate a need to overcome basic animal instincts. If you hear bleating, you may be taking on new cares and responsibilities that could be positive or negative depending on your attitude towards them.

The symbol of a deep-rooted instinct or the beast within you. Freud suggested that dreams of wild animals represented our most sensual passions, and sometimes the ‘evil instincts’ that lie deep within our unconscious. The more wild and dangerous the beast, the greater the danger that suppressed aspect of yourself will break free from the control of your conscious mind and force you to confront and deal with it in waking life. If you dream of a herd of wild animals, this could suggest you are meeting, or need to meet, aspects of yourself you have not yet learnt to direct or usefully integrate. Taming or harnessing a wild animal indicates a need to control your instincts and if possible make them productive and useful.

Do animals dream?

It seems that they do, although we can’t know for sure. All we can measure is whether or not they have REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is more or less associated with dreams. All mammals have REM sleep, and that increases the likelihood that they do dream.

Because REM sleep is recognizable in mammals and birds, but not in snakes and other reptiles, scientists think that most warm-blooded animals dream. Studies have monitored the sleep of goats, sheep, cats, dogs, rats, mice, monkeys and apes, and all had dream periods and symptoms; all except the spiny anteater, which seems to be a dream-free mammal.

Watch a sleeping dog or cat sometime, and you can tell if it is dreaming of running after something. Its eyes twitch, sometimes it moves its paws—something could be happening in its dreams.

To dream of wise animals suggests important information from your intuition or inner wisdom. This intuitive wisdom is within every one of us and the result of thousands of years of life experience. Many cultures all over the world represent great wisdom and holiness as animals or animal-headed beings. To dream that animals can talk represents a wisdom inside yourself that is innocent and simple. It could also represent your potential to be all that you can be.

Animals A to Z

More than anything else, dream animals represent powerful instinctive reactions to situations, for example, fight or flight, the urge to find a mate and protect our young, the desire to have standing and recognition within a group, and so on. When instincts need to be understood, expressed or controlled in some way animals can often appear in our dreams to symbolize them. By understanding animals in dreams and the qualities they represent, we can approach life in a more instinctive, simple and natural way. Bear in mind though that there is a huge difference in meaning between wild animals and domesticated animals in dreams. In general, domesticated animals or pets, such as a dog or rabbit, represent those urges we have more control over and are therefore less threatening to our conscious desire to be in charge. The wild animals we dream of are more threatening to our ego, but they are also more powerful, because if we can develop a working relationship with them they offer incredible potential for growth.

To dream of apes, monkeys, gorillas or baboons suggests a link with the impulsive, imprudent, inquisitive side of ourselves, such as the self-centred grabbing of food, or sexual gratification without concern for the needs of the other person. It can also suggest the ability to mimic or copy, as well the childish, foolish and infantile side of the dreamer’s character that delights in mischief-making.

On the other hand, to dream of apes or monkeys, especially if they are white haired, can link in with the dreamer’s own unconscious wisdom: the wonderful experience of existing, of being alive with all the powers of a living creature such as strength, passion, awe and wonder in meeting life and the stars. Does your dream monkey reveal a wider side of you? The three mystic monkeys cover their eyes, ears and mouth showing that they ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil’. Do you need to keep your own counsel?

Idioms: make a monkey of; monkey business; monkey with; monkey tricks; monkey’s uncle; monkey on your back.

Define what you associate with the badger. For most of us, the play on words will feature strongly as a dream about badgers can often refer to badgering people, or feeling badgered and needing to get away from the influence of other people.

Bats can see in the dark suggesting thoughts or influences that emerge from our intuition or inner wisdom.

Often represents the mother figure in dreams and depending on the dream, this image can be caring or uncaring, or possessive and all devouring. If the bear is recognized as male, then it could refer to an overbearing person, or perhaps the father figure in a person’s life.

The bear is largely a solitary animal that prefers to live and survive alone. This, and its human way of standing, may be major reasons for bears appearing in dreams. We can therefore link the bear with feelings about living alone or surviving by one’s own strength. Because of the bear’s ability to hibernate, it can also represent our ability to recreate ourselves after a period of rest and reflection.

Bears in dreams may also link to feelings we have about becoming independent, or meeting strength and independence in someone else, or even wild rage as ‘the bear with a sore head’. If the latter is the case, it could suggest your relationship with someone who is touchy or grouchy or powerfully possessive in a smothering relationship. It could also indicate the danger of sudden unpredictable reactions.

Idioms: look out also for possible plays on words, such as bare facts; bearing with something or someone; bearing ones soul; bearing in mind; a bearer of tidings; come to bear; overbearing; getting one’s bearings; bear fruit; bear-hug. If there is a hint of money in the dream, this might refer to a ‘bear market’. Does your dream bear mean that you need to take on the power of the bear? Can you ‘bear’ up—keep your spirits raised—or do you need to enlist help to do so?

Many dreams feature beasts or animals that are of no particular characteristic or type. In some cases the beast is terrifying and we awake with a feeling of dread. Such creatures are usually an expression of memories, or instincts and drives, which have been repressed or avoided in our waking lives for one reason or another.

Beavers are typically associated with industriousness and independence, although the word does also have sexual connotations with the female sexual organs. If a dam is being built, this could suggest holding back feelings or the need to conserve energy. In Native American tradition the beaver is considered holy and if a beaver should speak to you in a dream, this may be an expression of your inner wisdom trying to make itself heard.

Boars are symbols of the magical spirits that protect the woods. If they appear in dreams, they can suggest protection from danger and hardship in waking life.

When bulls appear in dreams they might refer to powerful instinctual responses that can sweep us along or cause problems if we try to deny them. Such instinctual urges may be to do with lust and desire, anger at people invading our space, paternal or maternal love and protectiveness, or simply an aggressive bullish trait within ourselves or someone else. It can also suggest personal traits to do with being earthy, basic or sexual in our approach as well as strength, obstinacy and power. If the bull is aggressive, this shows the frustration that can arise from basic drives being thwarted. For example, a person may have a high libido and feel frustrated with a partner who does not care for sex as much. If the bull is wounded or killed, this suggests a killing of natural urges or drives for sex and procreation. If the bull is sacrificed, this can suggest generosity and self giving. The ridden bull indicates harmony between instinct and decision making. In many cultures or myths around the bull there is the theme of the Hero confronting and overcoming the bull; for instance Theseus and the Minotaur. Victory over the bull therefore represents the human struggle and victory over instinctual or reactive forces influencing consciousness. From this victory a new life or consciousness can be born.

Idioms: like a bull in a china shop; red flag to a bull; take the bull by the horns; bull at the gate; scoring a bull’s eye. For example, if your dream is of someone acting like a bull in a china shop, knocking everything over, it could be a warning to slow down and take more care. If you dream of hitting the bull’s eye, it means you stand every chance of achieving your goals. If you are a bully in your dreams, perhaps you are trying to impose your will on others. If you are being bullied, you need to stand up to someone.

Suggests the dreamer’s ability, or the ability of someone the dreamer knows, to face adversity—especially over the dry and barren aspects of life. It may also link with inner strength, endurance, patience and plodding perseverance. Occasionally the camel’s hump may suggest pregnancy or the desire for children.

Jung saw cats in dreams as representing the hidden or secretive side of a person’s nature. Cats often feature in dreams of women to represent the urge to care for someone or in some cases a desire for sex and the need to reproduce. In men’s dreams, a cat or group of cats may refer to a woman or group of women, or to the intuitive side of men’s nature, perhaps warning him of hidden dangers; cattiness, jealousy in a relationship. On the other hand it can also suggest independence, stealth and fertility. An alley cat indicates promiscuity. In some dreams, a black cat, depending on.

Big cats

Stealth, ferocity, power, strength, cunning and the will to survive are suggested by wild cats in dreams.

Assertiveness and fierce anger.

The leopard’s spots—which can be seen as eyes—represent watchfulness or the need for it. As with all the big cats, leopards in dreams suggest anger, speed, courage, passion and, in some cases, cruelty.

Generally a positive symbol that suggests physical strength and success in waking life. It can also suggest self-assertion or the need for it to be expressed in waking life because of the lion’s roar. If, however, the lion is small or injured or in a vulnerable situation, this could suggest that the dreamer feels he or she is in a dangerous place, but also that these difficulties can be overcome with strength and daring. If a lion is chasing you, this is most likely due to a struggle with natural feelings of anger or aggression.

Idioms: lion’s den; lion’s share; head in the lion’s mouth

Shares the same qualities as all the big cats, with an emphasis on the vigilance and the keenness of the lynx.

A Christian symbol, representing power to protect against evil. It also suggests anger and fierceness.

Similar to the lion in many ways but with the emphasis on uncertainty and unpredictability. For example, tigers in dreams may suggest the possibility of plans changing unexpectedly. It can also warn against trusting a new acquaintance. The tiger can also represent sexuality but, depending upon how it is presented in the dream, a sexuality of uncertain elements—for example, will I be attacked or ignored.

Idioms: fight like a tiger; paper tiger.

what the dreamer associates with it, may indicate good or bad luck or fear in general. If the dream suggests cats are to be feared, this can indicate fear of the female in oneself, fear of females or a particular ‘catty’ female, or difficulty in meeting feelings and intuition. If you are allergic to cats and dream of one, it might signify a negative and threatening reaction to a situation or relationship. If cats speak in your dreams, this suggests sexuality, femininity and an ability to express it.

Idioms: copycat; bell the cat; cat and mouse; cat’s whiskers; cat out of the bag; cat and dog life; cat on hot bricks; something the cat brought in; a cat’s paw; cat amongst the pigeons; while the cat’s away.

Often this represents male sexuality, or sexual intercourse, but it can also suggest untrustworthy acquaintances. If moving to chrysalis stage, this suggests you may be moving towards making very profound life changes. If already a chrysalis, a new aspect of yourself is forming and is ready to emerge. Caterpillars may also indicate a desire to withdraw from social activity.

The dreamer is recognizing in themselves the ability to change and adapt to circumstances.

The unfeeling, cold, almost inhuman element in some human instincts is often suggested by cold-blooded animals or reptiles.

To dream of animals mixed up with each other, for example, half animal-half man, could suggest confusion in finding the best approach to a situation in waking life. Perhaps the qualities of the animals in the dream need to be assimilated and integrated? The dream could also suggest that the dreamer is recognizing his or her potential for development.

Similar to the bull in many ways but suggesting the female aspect of a person’s nature, in particular a willingness to put the needs of others before one’s own. Cows can symbolize motherliness, receptiveness, nurturing and the feminine energy that can lead or direct the masculine energy in oneself. They may also indicate being taken advantage of by someone in some way.

The gentle side of oneself that can be hurt or wounded easily by cynicism and aggression or criticism. Generally, a deer symbolizes vulnerability and, in some cases, lovesickness. In a man’s dream, the deer may depict a young woman the man is in pursuit of. If the dreamer is pursuing a deer, this indicates success in overcoming fears. If the dreamer sees himself killing a deer, this is a warning dream to indicate the possibility of someone hurting them in waking life through no fault of their own. To dream of a stag suggests male sexual drive and virility, courage, and both life and healing energies. The stag may also represent a man or father figure that the dreamer admires in some way and the dream expresses the dreamer’s desire to become more like the admired person. Finally, a deer or reindeer herd have a strict hierarchical structure and the dream could suggest that the dreamer needs to recognize his or her own place in the world. Is it time for you to branch out from this place in the world and make new connections? Are you in the process of renewal or do you need to be?

The dinosaur indicates the most primitive, unsocialized, basic urges of human nature such as fear, reproduction, and survival. Such instincts are still alive within us and need to be integrated otherwise they remain in a primitive form, perhaps in conflict with our personality. To dream of dinosaurs could also indicate some aspect of our personality or approach to life that is outdated and no longer needed for survival.

The dog depicts natural urges that are well integrated, but still have the tendency to revert back to the spontaneous or ‘wild’ state quite easily. For instance, our anger might usually be well under control but, if someone teases us, we might unexpectedly erupt with uncontrollable anger. Like the cat, the dog can also represent affection or caring. A black dog suggests depression or fear of death.

Idioms: die like a dog; dirty dog; dog eared; dog eat dog; dog in the manger; gay dog; go to the dogs; let sleeping dogs lie.

Sea-dwelling mammals much loved by man. However, despite their fondness for human companionship and joyous sense of fun, dolphins in dreams can foretell anxious times ahead; this is especially the case if a dolphin is seen leaping out of the water.

In the Bible, the ass carries Christ and is often thought to represent humbleness and humility but it can suggest the stubbornness arising perhaps out of long-entrenched habits and automatic behavior. Generally the donkey represents the plodding, longsuffering body and its basic needs, and a dream in which the dreamer is riding on a donkey hints at progress, even if it is slow. Do you feel impatient with your progress or overburdened? Are you refusing to give way on an important issue? Don’t forget about Eeyore, of Winnie the Pooh fame. Eeyore is a depressed and sluggish donkey. Are you feeling that way?

A dream that features a donkey braying implies that the dreamer is on a liberating journey from some kind of family or health trauma. A dream in which the donkey is tied up attests to the dreamer’s fierce will power that can ‘move mountains’ if directed towards a positive goal. If the ass or donkey is being ridden by or pulling someone else, you may be feeling you are doing all the hard work in a relationship, or working like a beast of burden.

To dream of an elephant is to recognize the qualities of patience, long memory, strength, wisdom and loyalty. It’s a particularly good sign if you are riding it. If other people are riding the elephant, it could suggest help from a friend or a close strong friendship. To feed an elephant suggests meetings with people in key positions. If you run from a herd of stampeding elephants, this could suggest being afraid of your own strength or inner power. If a rogue elephant stampedes, it could represent a chaotic element in yourself that threatens to wreak havoc in the waking world if it isn’t controlled. The question is, can we meet this enormous strength and energy in ourselves and learn to direct it positively? The elephant’s trunk is sometimes said to be a sexual symbol indicating the ability to satisfy needs.

Idioms: white elephant; pink elephants; rogue elephant; memory like an elephant. Is there a memory you are holding onto that you need to get rid of? Do you need elephantine strength for a task?

Suggests the wild drives or emotions that can carry us along, or trample us.

Suggestive of inquisitiveness—the ability to ferret or find out things—as well of selfish actions that can injure another person’s feelings. (The ermine was traditionally linked with virgin saints and thus purity.)

A fox symbolizes shrewdness in dealing with life’s challenges, but also a tricky person or relationship, or false or deceptive rumors. It also suggests unpredictable behavior and a refusal to conform. If the dreamer chases a fox in a dream, it suggests that he or she is too detached from reality and is in danger of floating in a sea of untruths. Do you need to be as ‘wily as a fox’ at present? Does your dream fox need protection from the hunt and if so, what can this be linked to in your daily life?

Symbolic of the deeply unconscious psychobiological processes which can transform us from a tadpole/sperm into an air-breathing frog. In dreams, frogs suggest an extra, deeper element to ourselves and if we can integrate it, our life will become richer. The frog has also been associated with the power of resurrection and renewal by meeting that which we find difficult or repulsive in life and ourselves. The frog into the prince story suggests this power to transform the dark, unformed side of oneself, the toad or beast, into something which is fully aware and radiant.

Game animals

Game animals—notably the deer, rabbit and hare—offer encouragement, and dreamers should view their presence optimistically. The rabbit’s renowned ability to breed offers the promise of fertility in women and virility in men. Hares are closely associated with the moon goddess and they suggest an ability to see the magical in everything. Deer are also viewed as animals of the spirit. Due to the branching nature of their antlers, stags have been linked with the ‘tree of life’, and are thought to impart intuitive wisdom to those who dream of them.

Traditionally a symbol of virility, and so if a goat appears in a woman’s dream, it can be linked to a lover she desires, or to fertility and procreative power. Similarly, if a goat appears in a man’s dream, it attests to the amount of importance he ascribes to his virility and, in context with the rest of the dream, should be interpreted in this way. It can also suggest the ability to ‘climb’ and survive difficulties, personally or socially. Occasionally it is connected with natural drives which, if they become repressed, are associated with the devil. If the goat is attacking, this may indicate somebody butting into your life or some form of conflict.

Idioms: separating the sheep from the goats; get my goat; an old goat (an aging man still lusting after women).

In past cultures, the hare was often given great respect. It stood for intuition, rejuvenation and resurrection, and thus of the immortal nature of humans. Because of the hare’s habit of bounding up suddenly from hiding places, to dream of a hare suggests sudden, powerful intuition. If the hare appears as a supernatural figure giving advice or as a sacrificial animal, it indicates the ability to draw on hidden potential and make great changes in life. On the other hand dreams about hares and rabbits can also symbolize timidity and inhibition as far as sex is concerned. Having said that, if the hare is running or in flight it could suggest that great changes are about to take place, and a positive change in status, environment and finance are on the cards. If a person dreams he is eating a hare, this can suggest that he or she is envious of someone’s good fortune or that someone is envious of them. There is a legend that a hare breeder has only to tell a hare to kill itself and it will do so, thus showing its capacity for self-sacrifice. Are you making sacrifices at the moment? Are you thinking clearly or doing yourself an injustice?

If a hedgehog or porcupine appears in a dream, it might indicate that the dreamer, or someone they know, is very prickly, easily offended or irritated by the remarks or actions of other people. It might also represent a vulnerable part of oneself that is quick to withdraw, but can react by lashing out and hurting others.

A dream about a hippopotamus suggests the dreamer is suffering from feelings of inferiority. He or she is not satisfied about him or herself, both physically and mentally. These feelings do not always have a basis in reality but represent how the dreamer views him or herself. The hippopotamus is considered to be clumsy, ungainly and overweight, and the dreamer may also feel this way about themselves. Whether true or not in waking life, this inner feeling of being a loser will hold the dreamer back and prevent him or her succeeding in life. The dream implies that the image the dreamer has of themselves is a figment of their imagination. If they could only shake it off and see themselves in a less critical light, they would feel much better about themselves and be able to attract success into their life. Dreams about hippos can also represent concerns about fertility and childbirth as the female hippopotamus represents the Egyptian Great Mother, Amenti, the goddess of childbirth.

Studies show that the animals that most often appear in dreams are horses, along with cats and dogs, and women seem to dream of horses more often than men do; indeed, Artimedorus of Daldis (2nd century AD) lists horses amongst the most common dreams of women. Some dream interpreters suggest that horses represent male sexuality.

According to Freud, horses symbolize the sexual drive. Jung noted that horse dreams could often be indicative of health conditions. Horses, like dogs, represent urges and passions in ourselves that we have learned to harness or direct, and in general they represent positive things that are about to happen in a dreamer’s waking life. Horses suggest the sort of enthusiasm or feelings of well-being that can carry us through the day and through life. Having said that much depends on the context of the dream; for instance, if the dreamer falls off the horse, this may suggest relating badly to urges and passions and the resulting tension this creates. If the horse is wild, this suggests undirected energy, such as sexual desires which override personal or interpersonal needs.

Idioms: back the wrong horse; from the horse’s mouth; don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; horse sense; you can lead a horse to water; wild horses; workhorse; horsing about; getting on your high horse; eat like a horse; back the wrong horse; beating a dead horse. For ‘equestrian issues’ and dreams concerning working or domesticated horses.

The appearance of a hyena in a dream suggests taking advantage of someone, or being taken advantage of. A dream about an attack by a hyena may foretell an attempt to ruin the dreamer’s reputation.

Similar to ‘dog’, but a wilder version. The jackal is a cunning scavenger and as a result is sometimes associated with death. It can also see in the dark and the ancient Egyptians believed the jackal to be a pathfinder in the underworld—i.e. the unconscious—leading the dead to the other world or enlightenment. Be aware too of the ‘Jackal and Hyde’ phenomenon that exists inside all of us.

A dream about a hopping kangaroo suggests a problematic relationship, or the potential for problems, if one person spends too much time with other people or refuses to commit. It could also indicate problems with concentration and focus in waking life.

The childlike, vulnerable, dependent, innocent, pure part of a person that Christlike has the power to defeat evil. A dream about slaughtering lambs will suggest success at the expense of peace of mind. If wolves or dogs are tearing lambs apart, it means innocent people are suffering at the hands of unscrupulous others. A dream about carrying lambs means that the dreamer is carrying the burdens of the people he or she loves happily. If lambskins appear in a dream, this suggests that the dreamer or other people have been deprived of joy and comfort.

Associated with solitude, seclusion and the avoidance of human company, the mole can represent the attitude of a recluse. It might also indicate problems festering beneath the surface, as in molehills.

Suggestive of the mousy, shy or timid part of the self, dreaming of mice could also suggest small but important developments or subtle changes that can gnaw away at our self-esteem. Dreaming that you are a mouse could mean you feel dull, undistinguished and lacking in confidence in waking life. The sexual organ which goes in and out of a hole is another association. If a person sees a mousetrap or a mouse caught in a trap, it could mean they need to watch out for people who gossip or take advantage of them.

Ancient cultures saw the otter as a pure, holy creature and to see an otter in a dream suggests an ability to adapt to circumstances without ‘drowning’ and to clearly see what is really going on under the surface of everyday life.

Very similar to ‘bull’, with the possible exception that oxen are often castrated, so dreams in which they feature could suggest frustration. Can you recognize the strength of the ox within yourself? Are you engaged in a task that demands great commitment?

Pigs are symbolic of a life governed by untamed physical needs and passions; they can also suggest impossible ventures, or inappropriate behavior and neglect of the spiritual side of life. By contrast, amongst the peoples of the East, a dream about a pig is interpreted as a good dream that attests to prosperity.

Idioms: pig in a poke; happy as a pig in shit; make a pig of oneself; pig in the middle; pigs might fly; pig headed; piggy bank (is your dream linked to savings?).

The rabbit breeds easily, so in dreams it is often linked to sexuality. It is also associated with the soft, vulnerable part of ourselves that can be easily hurt or hounded. If the dreamer is hunting wild rabbits, this could suggest that they are being criticized, attacked, ‘hunted down’ or hounded.

Representing masculine sexual energy, the ram can also indicate a refusal to conform or be part of a group, together with an unconscious desire to lead rather than follow.

Idioms: battering ram; ramming one’s point home; like a ram among sheep.

The rat is a symbol of fears and anxieties, or is the diseased or devious part of a dreamer or his or her situation. It can also represent something which is repulsive in some way. The dreamer may be experiencing disloyalty from a friend or colleague. Other associations are of dirt and squalor, or of time gnawing away at our life and the unacceptable parts of oneself. By contrast, dreaming about a pet rat suggests the opposite: vulnerability and the responsibility for caring.

Idioms: rat on someone; rat race; smell a rat; feeling ratty; cornered rat; rats leave a sinking ship.

Dreaming of a seal suggests the dreamer is at one with the life they have chosen to lead. If the seal is wounded, injured or hunted, the opposite might be suggested.

Sheep in dreams represent the aspects of oneself that conforms to social pressures, such as feeling part of a crowd or being herded by others. Dreaming of sheep can also suggest aspects of ourselves that are the same as other human beings or working hard to accomplish a goal. If the dreamer is caring for sheep, this may indicate a desire to grow spiritually.

Idioms: make sheep’s eye at someone; follow like a sheep; being sheepish.

The squirrel represents the hoarding aspect of the personality.

To dream of a toad suggests that the dreamer needs to become aware, and come to terms with, what is ugly in life, or in his or her behavior. However, the ugliness does have within it the power of transformation and growth into something beautiful.

A symbol of purity and a return to innocence; can also suggest the control of the ego, and selfishness.

Dreams involving any sort of vermin suggest that you need to contemplate, or take into consideration, something that is unwanted or that has invaded your space.

The weasel highlights the devious and more dubious side of our personalities.

The whale is a mammal that lives beneath the waters and it suggests the power of rebirth, our ability to reinvent our approach to life, or circumstances in life which are holding us back.

Dreaming of a wolf suggests that the dreamer may be feeling threatened by other people, or may be vulnerable in some situation. The wolf, as suggested by fairy stories like Red Riding Hood, also represents the female fear of powerful male sexuality, and yet might also figure in female sexual fantasies. Wolves are also symbols of repressed sexuality and anger.

Idioms: wolf at the door; wolf in sheep’s clothing; cry wolf; throw to the wolves; a wolf (a man who lusts after women and pursues them like a predator).

In dreams, the zebra has much the same significance as the ‘horse’, but with the additional meaning of balancing the black and white aspects of the personality into a powerful whole.