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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



-Melissa 2014-10-21 21:48:07

Hi Tony, please would you comment on post dared 2 oct
What would be your opinion of this rather vivid representation as i would love to hear what you would say. Thank you


-Laura Lefelar 2014-10-29 15:32:48

Hi Tony,

The day after I had a pleasant dream about swimming in the ocean you posted this link on Twitter. In my dream I am in the ocean and someone on shore (my mother?) is trying to get me to come out of the rough waters. I can’t see what waves are coming, but I’m enjoying the experience. I think, “the waves may overwhelm me but I’ll take my chances.”

Thanks for your synchronistic post.



-Rhoda 2015-01-11 18:33:15

Hi Tony

Thank you, this was a very interesting article, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.



-Mitchelle 2015-01-25 1:06:36

Pls interpret my dream for me.. I was with some friends and we were in this beach resort and the color of the water is green. They always are whenever i dream about seas or beaches. I wanna bath into the water when i jumped i almost drowned because the sea looks deeper than it appears. I made all effort to swim into the shore because i dont know how to swim in real life. When i reached the shore i looked back and looked in the water. It really appears shallow. I tried other areas of the shore to see where i can maybe bath where the water is not too deep but realized this sea really appears deeper than it may seem.


-alyse howes 2015-04-09 0:41:09

hi there im very confused on my dream can you help. i was at shore at the sea then i went in the water walking then all of a sudden the sea disappeared and just saw all the stones but that was the funny part in front of me was a mountain of stones while in still ment to be standing in the sea but the water isnt there anymore



    -Anna 2015-04-09 10:56:21

    Alyse – I wonder what you associate with stones.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/association-of-ideas-with-dreams/#Working
    The first sign of a tsunami is what appears to be an unusually low low-tide. This major withdrawal of the sea should be taken as a warning that a tsunami wave will soon follow.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/tsunami/

    As the coastal ocean waters recede from the shore, it often leaves large portions of the sea floor exposed.
    This makes it possible to see what you have built in your life; a mountain of stones. (A mountain of rigid beliefs?)
    A tsunami can wash away most of the beliefs, social structures we have built or held onto as important. Yet if we are not afraid of change and the forces that we are actually involved in, then we can find enormous power and force within us.
    Indications of great personal change are shown in dreams of earthquakes, or tsunamis, of meeting with a great woman or man, an angel or Christ like figure; an initiation; or meeting with death or something that is usually seen as terrifying that you meet without fear.
    None of these are signs of difficult change. That is because dreams are like a mirror of that inner world – and in your dream you can see you can create a world that can scare you silly, uplift you, instruct you, initiate you into new realms of yourself or even look deep into your body. Whatever you believe in is the world you live in. So why not let go of the mountain of stones you may have created and live in a world of possibilities?
    Please also read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/beliefs/
    Anna :-)


-Kay 2015-04-19 16:25:50

Hi, please help with understand my dream I dreamt this woman and her baby (about 4 month) on a small boat, at some point she gets out with her baby and walk along the beach. She is about hip deep in water and playing/ floating her baby and suddenly she gets bitten and killed by a shark. The baby escapes and swims out in the ocean, and instead of swimming back inland the baby dives deep in the ocean exploring & playing around a sunken old ship. I form a search party but we can’t find the baby and the sea now is murky and sand & not as beautiful as before & we emerge from the sea into some coast houses. (And that’s when I wake up crying because i couldn’t find the lost baby).


    -Anna 2015-04-20 15:17:09

    Dear Kay – In dreams we are nearly always facing ourselves, and what we do is always a virtual reality that we can experiment in and try out all manner of behaviour.
    So the images and fears you experience in your dreams are projections upon the vast screen of your mind. They are all projections from you; the sharks, the sea, the mother, the baby etc.
    Your dream baby is very special to you. It doesn’t matter that perhaps the baby in your dream is the child of another woman, it is still the baby of your dream. Like any baby, it is something new and vulnerable that has come to life – come to your life.
    I see your dream baby as a wonderful part of you which is willing to explore in a playful way something which has “sunk to the bottom of your unconscious mind”; an old ship.
    This sunken ship could be about a relation-ship which ended – perhaps with your true self -and/or it could be about illness or death.
    Can you relate to any past issues – long past even, because it is an old ship – in your life which you did not look at and/or digest yet?
    I also feel it is important for you to explore what you associate with the mother who got killed, for as I see it, it is this part of you which needs “to get out of the way”, so the part of you which is symbolised by the baby can explore freely.
    Could the mother in your dream be about “we do not (dare to) look at whatever happened”?
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/association-of-ideas-with-dreams/#Working
    When you do not know what the ship could symbolise, you can use this approach too to see if you can get a closer look at it or in it.
    When you start to search for the baby and you cannot find her there is a lot of inner turmoil; “the sea now is murky and sand & not as beautiful as before”.
    Whenever things are so unclear in your inner world, the best approach is to just sit and wait till you can See again, which is also what your dream reflects; “we emerge from the sea into some coast houses”.
    Please also read http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/diving-into-the-depths-of-mind/
    I hope this gives you a start.
    Anna :-)


-Ashwarya 2015-05-09 9:05:06

Hi.. I am very confused regarding what I saw today and it was very disturbing.. I saw that as soon as people around me touched the sea water,they turned into devils who drank blood.. They harmed people around them and one of the person was my very close friend.. I feel like puking out seeing that dream.. I was very disturbed when I got up.. Tried to search online but never gained anything.. In fact I even saw my Nani who is not well these days but in the dream she never talked.. She only did her work.. There was a time when the sea water took me away in the waves and instantly I started coughing in reality and when I woke up I felt exhausted..
Please tell me what this means


-Renata 2015-05-13 3:24:08

I’m heterosexual, but I always had curiosity to have sex with a woman. I did sex with a woman and the same night I dreamed I was in a building (I think the same woman I had sex), this building was pasted on the beach. I saw the big waves, suddenly has a very large and enter the building I am. I try to hide and watch through a small window (which now appears the house of my mother). I was afraid of the wave. There are times I dream a lot with waves, I’m always afraid of them, and they almost never reach me. I found interesting his explanation of waves and sexual impulses. Do you could better explain to me my dream. Thank you.


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-05-13 8:53:39

    Dear Renata – I feel your dream merely expresses that you do not use your (sexual) experiences as a means to release “old” ways of looking at/perceiving something and giving meaning to it, for you are afraid of the waves and so you do not “ride the waves of inner change”. You often dream about being afraid of waves, because you did not find the right approach yet. LIFE is patient though and willing to help you see again and again.
    A (huge) wave is 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 can learn 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 feel threatened. Even happiness may be repressed due to feeling threatened.
    What is withholding you is the “small frame of reference” – “and watch through a small window (which now appears the house of my mother)” – you look through from your inner mother’s point of view.
    A frame of reference is a complex set of assumptions and attitudes which we use to filter perceptions to create meaning. The frame can include beliefs, schemas, preferences, values, culture and other ways in which we bias our understanding and judgment.
    A common persuasion method based on framing is reframing; to “enlarge the window you look through”.
    When beliefs are challenged/questioned you make room for alternatives and thus for looking at/perceiving things differently and this way you can create new possible meanings.
    Please also read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/personal-growth/
    Many people do not realise that they have an inner mother equally as powerful as an external mother. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with your mother, and they are what makes you the person you are. This is true even if your mother was never there for you – you still have all the memories of her not being there for you filed under ‘Mother’. The memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. Such an inner mother can appear in dreams because you are still deeply influenced by what you hold within you.
    See also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/self-observation/
    Anna :-)


      -Renata 2015-06-03 0:45:37

      Yes, many years ago I dream with big waves, and never reach me, I’m always running away from them or see them from afar. Nearly two years I’ve been experiencing a very painful process of knowledge act (existential crisis). Many things have changed in my life, I got divorced, I lost many things, crisis in the profession and depression. And it is precisely this period that dreams wave has been more constant. There were times I dreamed of beaches, calm sea, where I could go and swim; other dreams I could see huge creatures in the water. Today for the first, I think I managed to surf a wave. I do not quite remember the dream, but I was on the beach, the wave comes, I allow myself to take me through it without fear. I go to the top, floating and down (a good feeling), the wave goes and I see that there is no danger.

      I dont know if the waves are about my sexuality, I never had problems with it, these things, in fact, does not affect me. I had the experience, I liked it, and if there other, I’ll take good liking.

      I dont know, but perhaps the waves are my emotions. I feel I need to change my emotional condition, mature in many ways. You’re very right that I have not found the approach right one yet, that’s exactly how I feel.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts :)


        -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-06-03 5:15:37

        Dear Renate – I am happy to hear that your recurring dream changed and that you were able to experience what it is like to ride a wave (of change).
        Often we have to wade through a whole range of approaches to life which does not work for us – they probably did for our parents – and sort these out before we find a way which resonates with our inner being. So keep on keeping on and trust that you can continue to allow this process of individuation (maturing).
        See also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/individuation/
        Anna :-)


          -Renata 2015-11-06 17:06:16

          I had a horrible dream :( One of the worst with wave. I was on a beach (I think), with my mother and another person (perhaps my aunt). A strong wave came and covered our feet; my mother was closer to the sea and she has real fear of the sea, I tell her to exchange places. When I get up, I see many waves, large, dark and threatening. However, this time, it is not only in one direction. I see them everywhere, they surround us and they will cover us, we say we will die. At this point, we are only a small piece of land, as an island, with the waves coming from all sides. Then, maybe another dream, the scenery changes: we are already on dry land, there is no waves. I don’t remember very well that part. I’m in an archaeological dig (I work at it in real life), I’m trying to piece together parts (paste). Someone show me parts found. Then, perhaps in the same dream, my aunt embodies a spirit, she’s like possessed; It is an evil spirit, perhaps a demon. In this part, I awakened me scared.

          In real life, my mother has cancer; my aunt who embodies the spirit, she is sick too, but not cancer (this my aunt, in real life, in her religion embodies spirits). In real life, the past few days, I don’t feel well, I think my depression is coming back. I was away from my home town for a business trip (and my mother) for a few months and I’m going back now. I need to go back for my mother, but I’m not happy to return.
          Thanks for u help.

-Christine 2015-06-24 10:46:14

I’m having recurring dreams where I’m in a hotel room, and can see the sea from my window, and am longing to go swimming in it (it’s calm, clear, and beautiful). But as I go looking for a swimsuit to put on, something happens in the dream to distract me, or prevent me going swimming – usually the dream changes into some stressful event happening that I have to go and deal with. I keep wanting to go and enjoy swimming in the sea, but never getting there.

I’d be grateful for any feedback you have about this dream! Thank you.


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-06-26 7:37:56

    Dear Christine – In general dreams recur because there are ways you habitually respond to your internal and/or external world. Because your attitude or response is unchanging, the dream that reflects it remains the same. It is noticeable in those who explore their dreams using such techniques as described under processing dreams, that recurring themes disappear or change because the attitudes or habitual anxieties that gave rise to them have been met or transformed.
    Please also read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/recurring-dreams/
    In the context of your dream I see your being in a hotel room as a symbol of your need to get away from pressures, demands and duties that you face, for instance at home or at work.
    Though you recognize your own needs to calm and clear your mind and body – “I can see the sea from my window, and am longing to go swimming in it (it’s calm, clear, and beautiful)” – you do not take care of them and put needs from others first.
    Your recurring dream suggests that it is time for a change.
    Your mind is aware of the calming and creative influence of the sea and so you could use the Power of Imagination to get a break from your demanding outer life.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/water-wonderland/
    Your IP number shows that you do not live that far from the coast and so you might even consider using the wonderful influence of the real sea.
    To better understand the healing influence of water please google “Why Being Near The Ocean Can Make You Calmer And More Creative” and read the article in the Huffington Post.
    Good Luck!
    Anna :-)


      -Christine 2015-06-26 12:46:42

      Thank you so much, Anna. That makes a lot of sense, and I’m exploring and reading through the links you gave. The Water Wonderland exercise/experience sounds very powerful, and I will definitely be trying it. Also now exploring and reading through more of Tony’s site, and finding it full of wisdom – so thank you both.


        -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-06-28 9:57:12

        Dear Christine – Thank you for expressing your appreciation for Tony’s Life Work – I have passed it on to him – and for your helpful feedback.
        Anna :-)


-CHRISTINA 2015-07-12 19:26:40

I always dream of the sea these days. 2 forms of indoor seas (strange) and 2 other that exceed their supposedly natural boundaries. I have no idea what this means. PLEASE HELP ME


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-07-14 15:50:35

    Dear Christina – I believe that the indoor sea is a symbol of your unconscious mind and the 2 other seas that exceed their supposedly natural boundaries reflects the collective unconscious.
    The confrontation with the (collective) unconscious mind is about stilling the conscious mind to allow other aspects of self to express. It is an opening of self to receive something that has not yet emerged into the small bright light of your personal awareness.
    Our ego tends to be afraid of what might emerge from the unconscious mind, and some daring is asked to gain a glimpse of or an experience of what lies under the surface of your individual life.
    To get a better understanding of the unconscious please read http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/the-unconscious-2/
    Anna :-)


-abdullah 2015-08-19 9:30:02

Mostly I dream about mighty shores of sea. They fall over me. I try to keep myself safe from those shores but where ever I go, I find them over me.


-Aguy 2015-09-10 6:49:09

I was surfing in a mad sea people around were partying and I was scared to lose the man I love for another girl I am friend with.


-Canan 2015-11-26 11:03:19

I would like to share one of mine which I had this early morning.

My dream started in a latin american country, which does not exist in real life. I’s visiting places, getting acquainted with new people, totally exotic and exciting.. Then I ended up in a shore which was awesome. It was calm, no waves were there, all sunny.. Then I see big&disturbing plazas, like those in new york and then everything went down. Sea seemed horrible with huge, big waves, there was no sun and suddenly I was the top of one of the plazas. And I jumped out of it into the sea. I tried to escape but everywhere was full of buildings and no empty space was there. I came out of the sea and started to climb one of them, but now I had no clothes. I saw an open window, it belonged to a rehabilitation center. I entered into it to find some clothes but was also escaping from doctors, and at the end, I was trying to run away from not being noticed by anyone else.

I’m always having such complicated dreams and I’m not sure whether there is a message for me or it’s just my imagination. Thanks so far


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-11-29 11:38:44

    Dear Canan – You wrote; “I’m always having such complicated dreams and I’m not sure whether there is a message for me or it’s just my imagination.”
    I do not see this as an either/or choice. I believe a dream can be a product of your own imagination/creation and while exploring a dream you can become aware – get a message about – of what you are creating and/or exploring in your inner world; http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/#MakesInner
    I also trust that when you learn to explore your dreams and get a deeper understanding of what they are expressing, that you will not perceive them as complicated anymore.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/practical-techniques-for-understanding-your-dreams/
    The way I see your dream is that it expresses how you deal with becoming aware of your inner world.
    You start to explore different areas of your inner world, which can be seen as a world that does not exist in real life; http://dreamhawk.com/news/summing-up/
    You then explore the difference between an inner world that is empty; not all the way filled with attitudes, beliefs and habits – “Then I end up on a shore which was awesome. It was calm, no waves were there, all sunny” – and an inner world which is filled with everything you have built there; like http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/beliefs/ and http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/habits/ and you become aware how unhappy you feel in this disturbing “inner plaza.”
    This realisation causes huge inner changes and feelings of confusion and fear, which are expressed by the huge and big waves and the absence of light.
    You decide to try to escape from it and your dream shows you that you cannot escape from yourself.
    I believe that being naked is a symbol of becoming aware of how you really feel and while you make an effort to climb out of the difficult situation you find yourself in and enter your inner world again, instead of running from it, you are once again overwhelmed by fear (of inner healing and change?).
    Perhaps you feel like exploring why you are afraid of inner healing and growth? http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/personal-growth/
    Anna :-)


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