Have you ever dreamed that a snake crawled right in front of your path? Have you dreamed of a tiger staring you in the face? How about a docile house cat laying by your side. The symbolism of animals can take up many different forms in the dreaming landscape.
When you dream of an animal, the first thing you want to do is figure out what that animal means to you. I like to remind my clients that their personal associations with an animal can bring additional and pertinent significance to a symbol in their dream that other people might miss.
So what does this look like? Say you dreamed a spider was crawling up your arm. I personally don’t like spiders, especially after suffering a brown recluse bite, so my immediate thought would be “ick!”. But what if you love spiders and have had pet tarantulas your entire life. Well, you would not have that negative association that I put on the creature.
Collective Unconscious Meaning
Above and beyond your personal meaning, we can also tap into what the collective unconscious has gathered about an animal. You can figure this out as well by thinking about the animal and doing a little research. Where does the animal live? What do they eat? Are there any distinct habits they are known for?
Let’s take the example of a snake. A snake sheds its skin so a big part of their symbolism has to do with renewal – getting rid of something and starting over again. What other animal makes such a dramatic act of removing something that was once a part of themselves? Snakes also have been used as symbols of the feminine, kundalini energy and medicine over the years. Which of these examples works best with your dream theme?
Animal Books and Decks
Another avenue that you can take is to look into what other people have gathered as information concerning certain animals. There are some great books out there, perhaps the most widely known is Ted Andrew’s Animal-Speak. I do not actually own a copy of this – but I should really get one as this is one of the most widely recommended guide to animal symbolism.
You can also pick up one of the many animal themed decks that are on the market these days. Many people love the style and illustrations of The Wild Unknown’s Animal Spirit deck. What I love about this deck is the writing in the guidebook and their take on the meanings of different animals. Another popular deck is Jamie Sams and David Carson’s Medicine Cards. I have an older edition of this deck that I purchased as a preteen and although I really want to love these cards, the author’s descriptions and meanings just don’t speak to me. Another beautiful deck is The Fifth Element Life’s Animal Kin deck. I do not own this deck, but it has beautiful illustrations which include helpful keywords on each card.
So how do you choose a deck and know which meanings are the “right” ones. Simple. Go with what you are drawn to. The reason the Medicine Cards don’t work for me is because they are not meant to right now. Maybe in the future, but currently The Wild Unknown’s deck is what is calling my name. By going with your gut you will find a deck that will help you decipher the meanings behind those animals in your dream.
So what animals have popped up in your dreaming world recently? Have you run into any snakes or spiders?
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