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Life began in the sea, at the depths. Our blood is salt in the same degree as the ancient sea, and thus we have an inner sea. In your dreams it represents the universal and fundamental processes of life in you. Awareness of these processes are not easily accessible to your conscious mind, but are nevertheless constantly influencing you and what you do.

When you do at times have some consciousness of this level of yourself, it is often experienced as a huge ocean of mind, the collective unconscious as Jung called it. It feels like nature’s memory, where all experience is stored. So in your dreams about the sea, you may be accessing some aspect of this immensity.

Most of the activities that underlie our physical and mental life are beyond our awareness. For an immensely important period of development your being existed in a pre-conscious, pre-verbal state as it grew from the single cells of sperm and ovum to the foetus and new born child. But even after birth there was a timeless period before speech and self-awareness were achieved. Therefore a great deal of your experience and drives lie outside of, or underneath, the clear conceptualisations gained with speech, and your sense of self. Occasionally something – an ache in the chest, a strange emotion that unsettles you – may emerge into consciousness, then disappear. The sea, with its surface and hidden depths, lends itself to depicting this human experience of known and unknown regarding yourself. The enormity of the sea is also a visible image of the enormity of your own inner world – much of it unknown and lying in pre-birth or pre-speech – and also the relationship you have with the processes underlying your existence, that you exist in yet know so little about. The sea holds vast treasures, curiosities, and your history. Not simply because life emerged from the sea, or your blood is as salt as the ancient sea, but because so many ships and shorelines are now beneath the waves. Sometimes these can be recovered, and this too is an image reflecting your relationship with your own deeps.

Therefore the sea may depict a strange environment in which you might have no skill in surviving; something new or strange that confronts you; the boundary between unconscious and conscious; the processes and the origins of your life; the wisdom, still unverbalised because locked in process rather than insight, of your existence; source of the huge life drives, such as that urging you toward independence, mating and parenthood; a symbol of infinite energy, potential or consciousness, in which human existence is only a tiny part; The waves of experience we face in life, some acceptable, some threatening.

Although some writers say the sea may represent ones mother, and the situation one meets in becoming independent of her, it is probably better to think of the sea representing the state of being and awareness we emerged from in our mother’s womb. That is, a non striving, non demanding existence in which our needs were usually met without a personal struggle or without any defined sense of self. Therefore a sinking into the sea could be seen as a sinking back into this loss of personality or personal striving and independence. A struggle to survive could be partly a difficulty with existing by ones personal effort and work – the difficulty of ‘keeping ones head above water’ in life and being independent.


Going under the sea: Bringing internal contents to consciousness; remembering the womb experience; letting our ego surrender a little; looking at death.

If there is a sense of hugeness or depth: Going beyond the boundaries of experience usually set up by our conscious self or ego.

Learning to swim: Learning to survive in a new environment, such as happens when we emerge from childhood into adult sexual drives, or the school or work environment. At such times anxiety or uncertainty may threaten to engulf us just as it does when we learn to swim. Dealing with life needs us to be able to meet such feelings without turning back. See: swimming.

Rescued from the sea: See: air sea rescue.

Sea shore: This is similar to beach if you are on the shoreline, the border between everyday life and your unconscious sources of motivation energy and life. But if you are looking at the beach from a distance, it could suggest a different way of life, somewhere you haven’t reached yet, or are leaving behind. So it could depict change or somewhere you are trying to get to or reach.

Tide: Rising and falling of feelings such as love, pleasure or sexuality; may refer to ageing when going out; tide in our affairs. See: beach; fish; water.

Tidal wave: Any release of emotional or sexual energy. The reason this image is used is that when we feel enormous release of emotions such as might happen when we fall in love, have a baby, or are publicly condemned, our ego often feels carried along by the experience rather than in control. We may have learned how to ride such waves as surfers do. This requires confidence, daring and balance. If we can do it we can open ourselves to much greater range of feeling or change than if we felt threatened. Even happiness may be repressed due to feeling threatened. Anxiety or depression is one of these enormous waves that may threaten to engulf us, and so is one of the human conditions the tidal wave represents.

As a tsunami it is saying that some tremendous change has happened deep in you and in the world. Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes on the sea bed. So many people are dreaming about them at the moment because of the enormous change going on around us and within us. So learn to face them without fear and be ready to meet change in your life and in your family.

Waves: Impulses, feelings and emotions, such as sexuality, anxiety, anger.

Idioms: All at sea; plenty more fish in the sea; lost at sea; stranger things happen at sea; between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Example: ‘My husband, and I were standing looking at the sea’s surface. It was just falling night. I saw a mass of dark shapes, thought it would be a school of fish. Then we were looking at water birds, maybe ducks, again dark shapes as the light had almost gone. Then there was a hole in the sea, like a belly button, I was wondering what it was, how was it being made, was there something under the water? Something very big was coming up to the surface very close to me. It shot me to wake.’ Ginny Q.

Ginny and her husband had been exploring the content of their dreams. The image of the sea shows Ginny sensing there are enormous depths to her own being, and something big – a previously unconscious complex of insights and feelings – is becoming conscious.

Example: ‘A small speed boat was at sea. But the sea dissolved anybody who fell in. One man fell in but held himself together as a blob of water and jumped back to the speedboat. I remember the words ‘The sea is a great solvent’.’ Tim P.

Tim is aware of his unconscious sense of being a part of the huge ocean of life or energy. In it one might lose sense of identity. In the end, identity is ‘held together’ by ones own belief in oneself.

Example: ‘I am either standing at the edge of the sea or near, when suddenly enormous tidal waves appear in the distance and are coming closer. I know they will engulf me, I turn and run away. Sometimes they do overtake me, other times I wake up.’ Mrs A. V.

We can run from pleasure and wider insight, just as much as from pain or fear.

On the first night I slept with my present wife I noticed she struggled with her breathing. While she was asleep I spoke to her suggesting she would relax and allow her breathing to be easy. Within moments she responded. This encouraged me and I suggested her whole body would relax, and the barriers within her dissolve, allowing healing and well-being to be experienced. Within ten minutes she suddenly awoke and told me a dream.

She was at the rear of a house sunbathing with her family, feeling very relaxed and happy. As she sank into the enjoyment waves, like a tidal wave began to roll up her body. The pleasure was so intense she couldn’t take any more and woke up.

See: Fish; Water; the unconscious



-Jill 2014-08-06 1:54:06

I dreamed about swimming in the sea reaching for the end rope (usual rope that limits people to swim beyond those ropes). Then when i reached it i rested for a while seeing one of my crush swimming to where i am. When he arrived we both rested. When the dream is getting longer the place where were resting that was supposedly a bamboo like structure that we could sit on turned into a super mini island that only 4 people could fit in with covered cloth of a tent. And everytime i jump into the water i can see everything super clear down there but everytime i get my head up out of the water my sight will turn black and takes time to go back to normal vision.. And everytime that happens i get confused and afraid something not normal is happening with my sight and trying to figure out what was happening to me. After that both of us rested again and went back to the shore. Then the scenario again was like i went back our resting place at the sea, when i looked outside i saw my crush, he looked at me like he wanted to go near me but he looks shy. And when i felt that feelings of him, i called him and ask him if he wanted to rest at my resting place just like what we did the last time..When i looked out at the shore a man, i called him professor, was about to go see us.. Then i told my crush our prof is coming. And before he get into us my crush went back to the shore, leaving me there until the prof arrives at our resting place.. And as a student who doesnt want his prof watching us around, i immediately said i have to go back at the shore.. I swam back the shore floating until i felt my head banged at the sand of the shore as my cue that im at shore already..i stood up and go. Then the scenario turn night at the school where were supposed to discuss something and when its my turn i together with my crush and bestfriend put our visual aids at the board.. And ii discussed about my confusion everytime i jump at the sea water and why i see nothing when i get my head out the water.. I was like looking for an answer and questioning my prof… That was my dream.. Pls help me interpret it. Thanks!


    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-10 10:57:49

    Jill – Your question about why you see nothing when you get your head out of the water is a simple one. But it arises because of your confusion. It is because you are mixing up your physical life with your inner dream life. Your dreams occur in an alternative world of experience with very different rules. The dream world is almost entirely expression of information in symbols, symbols that are telling you about you inner life, and have nothing much to do with your inner life.

    Therefore the message of the symbols of the dream is saying that when you put you head under the water of the ocean you have a supper vision in your INNER WORLD. When you get your head out of the water you still are using you inner vision and so area adjusting to your physical senses, which according to the inner ability is like being blind.

    The usual rope that limits people to swim beyond those ropes represents the normal abilities of vision. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/questions-2/#Summing and http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/

    You have a talent for seeing and exploring the inner world, try using http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/methods-of-awakening/



-Belinda 2014-08-13 23:43:16

You love writing about sex don’t you?
I think you’re in the wrong profession


    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-18 8:27:32

    Belinda – Yes I do, because sex was a major cause of misery for me, so I had to find a way through. It took years. But I also write about the sea, consciousness, human life, exploring dreams, children, spiritual life, and a thousand other topics. See http://dreamhawk.com/books/my-books/

    But during my life I have worked as a shop assistant – photographer – kitchen porter – trained nurse – telephone exchange operator – van driver – builder decorator – plumber – electrician – television aerial erector – radio and TV broadcaster – journalist – author – group leader teaching LifeStream, dreamwork and self help – therapist using dreams and LifeStream – newspaper columnist – cook – parent what next!!!.



-mia 2014-08-19 4:52:11

I dreamed i was in the plane and the plane does difficulty landing. But we landed safe in the dark street with trees. And then the next thing, i was in the wavy ocean alone.


    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-24 11:40:09

    Mia – I feel that you have been going through a change that has been difficult for you. But now it feels safe or okay and you feel alone. It may seem a new feeling but being in the sea is a sign that the change is one in which you will grow a great deal. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/alone-2/



-Jessica Hall 2014-08-25 17:47:44

I have had many dreams, most include either me breathing underwater, calm despite the overwhelming depths, or of sea urchins overwhelming me on my insides as I try to get them out, an everpresent struggle. Nevertheless I have always breathed underwater, and I used to see tidal waves the moment I take a step towards the sea. I remmeber most of my dreams.

One dream I am most curious about is a weird one. I dream I step outside my house and into my neighborhood. We are underwater, but the water is clear, and I can see it ending at the clouds in the sky. It is clear as if there is no water, and I am breathing calmly. What does this dream represent?


-Ness Baldwin 2014-08-27 9:52:05

I dreamt that i was riding in a ship with my father then at the middle of the trip the boat begun to sink in a swallow and very clear sea.


    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-28 10:15:33

    Ness – It suggests that you are becoming more independent of your father. The ship represents a life journey that you make together and its sinking is the time for you to strike out for yourself. You are in no danger because the water if shallow and clear. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/questions-2/#Summing



      -Ness Baldwin 2014-08-29 8:28:08

      Thank you Tony! God bless!


-limuel 2014-09-13 23:05:53

I dreamed of a vacation house with a deck beside the water. I saw a big rock and people surfing and a person scuba diving. The water was blueish and so clear. It has a two huge rocks in the ocean.


-Jane 2014-09-14 19:00:57

I dreamt that instead of clouds there was water in the sky, like the sea. It was quite calm, though the water was rather dark than light. What could that mean?


-maahi 2014-09-19 4:25:26

I saw myself sleeping pleasingly on huge ocean


-nandita bhosle 2014-09-21 18:20:04

I was sitting in a boat with my cousins and I reached opp end then after get ng down I saw police searching for smethng in sea then they get SME box and they Started saying hurayyuy we got it and I woke up


-Taha 2014-09-24 7:44:34

I have been having recurring dreams for the past few months, of rising sea level. I observe the sea rising up on the land, and I see myself running towards higher grounds, while the sea waves are chasing me through different paths.


    -Tony Crisp 2014-09-28 11:37:46

    Taha – Your dream is probably a sign of your inner life, often shown as the sea, trying to reach you. You have two definite levels of you, and often people are totally unaware of one of them. Your waking life you know as you, but your inner life that controls all of your life functions and is trying to communicate with you is unconscious. But when people start to get near to realising this immense part of them they react in fear, as you did by running away. Please read http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/questions-2/#Summing



-Melissa 2014-10-02 13:52:00

Hi Tony, i am a very in-tune lucid dreamer and i recently dreamt that I was standing on a sandy sea shore listening to the beautiful sounds of the waves crashing and a baby boy washed up onto the beach to me and into my hands while my daughter stood next to me calm and happy. I believe i have accessed some of the immensity of the collective consciousness as a way to heal and move forward in the progression in this life, this is what my interpretation of this dream would be as I have recently moved countries twice in the last 4 months and left my old life in the country of my birth behind with all its struggles and sadness and i have been about to embark now finally on beginning again i feel this was a positive dream to receive a gift of a child from the sea would seem to me like a new beginning with the hopes of love and happiness especially as my partner passed away recently in the last two years and we set his ashes free in the ocean , knowing that anywhere we go to the ocean in the world he is a part of it, as we all are a part of everything from beginning to end in constant ebb and flow.
What would be your opinion of this rather vivid representation as i would love to hear what you would say. Thank you


-hajjaj 2014-10-03 23:44:04

Salam alaykom
i had a dream first night i was upon the hills looking to the ocean ;and second night i was swiming with confidence till i reached a rock with a hall inside i tried to get out from it but i couldn’t so i decided to back to the beach because the ocean wasn’t calm so i turn back swiming and dving with confidence till i reach the beach and then i saw 2 guys that are not religious i told them if you did see my personal phone that i left in sands and fajr called


-sari 2014-10-04 17:37:49

I was standing on the seashore with a man. and the sea was crystal clear with white surf rolling in


-dnice 2014-10-04 17:40:29

was standing on the seashore with a man watching the sea and sky they were both crystal clear and the water was calm and blue with white surf rolling in


-Lisa 2014-10-08 1:49:47

Dear Tony,
I dreamt that my mother and I were going to a memorial – like a war memorial – but rather than a memorial to the deaths of people, it was a memorial to the death of 9 million (!) sea creatures – seals, whales. I think it was mammals rather than fish who were the subject of this huge extinction. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks.


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