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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



-Baylee 2016-03-06 14:15:03

For the past few weeks I have been having these frequent nightmares. After I wake up I have a hard time remembering them but this morning I woke up again and I was having a dream where I was walking along this dirt road with fields at each sides and my friend Hannah came beside me and there were two other young male figures in front of us in a vehicle. Hannah and I were talking about something but I can’t remember what. We started talking about racing and then I started talking about motorcycles and that if I had mine there I could beat her. All of a a sudden I’m on a bike (a regular bike not a motorcycle) and I’m peddling as fast as a can and I start peddling harder and I’m not paying attention and I look back and I fall into an ocean out of no where. The bike flings into the water and I come up from the water and look back. Hannah is standing at the dirt road and she’s yelling at me to hurry up and come back to the road. I start trying to swim but It’s like the more I move the harder it was to get back to land. If anyone could please tell me what this means I’d appreciate it very much, Thanks.


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-03-08 9:52:54

    Dear Baylee – It will be interesting to explore if your thought to “beat Hannah” is about reaching “the two other young male figures in front of us in a vehicle” first.
    For that purpose you can enter your dream again while awake and use “Being the person” for your own dream figure as she appears in your dream; http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson
    You can explore what your dream figures feel when “Hannah comes beside me”
    and when “I’m peddling as fast as I can and I start peddling harder”.
    What do you mean with “I’m not paying attention”?
    If you play with the idea that not paying attention may be about “letting go” – about surrendering your ego – then what does it feel like to “fall into an ocean out of nowhere”?
    See also http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/water-wonderland/
    You can also explore if learning to deal with your (sexual) urges and energy is about doing it at your own pace and find your own way of expressing it, rather than feeling that you have to catch up with the men in their vehicle or beat your friend Hannah.
    See also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/active-imagination-and-dreams/
    Anna :-)


-queenie 2016-03-23 8:57:22

all i know is that i was chased or something..i was looking for a way to escape.. then i found myself walking through a very dark tunnel. i’ve thought that maybe,the tunnel has an end, and maybe i can escape from there. however, when i reached the end of the tunnel, there was a sea. a very vast ocean. it was dark because it happened during the night. then ive thought, i cant escape from there because i cant swim all the way through..i stepped back, until i tripped into a metal gate on the floor. as i looked down, i saw a prisoner underneath that gate.. because i tripped on that gate, i awakened the prisoner and i accidentally opened the gate.. the prisoner noticed me and made his way up.. i ran away from him, and from the end of the tunnel…this was how my dream ended… what do all of these mean? i was really disturbed by this dream


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-03-29 9:08:03

    Dear Queenie – In your dream you explore other ways of dealing with thoughts and feelings (memories) that are haunting you. The way “to escape” from what is chasing you, is the way into the dark tunnel; the way within.
    Entering a dark tunnel usually signifies entering into experiences you do not understand and are not fully aware of, usually past experiences that are felt but not verbalised or made conscious yet.
    What you become aware of in the tunnel is that you are a prisoner of your own fears that stop you from “swimming all the way through” when you reach the very vast ocean.
    This sea may depict a strange environment in which you believe to have no skill in surviving; something new or strange that confronts you; the boundary between unconscious and conscious.
    It takes some courage to dare to question your belief that you cannot swim through – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/beliefs/ – and to confront your own inner darkness.
    Mythologically the night sea journey is described as being swallowed up by a sea monster and thereby carried into the depths of the sea – the story of Jonah. Psychologically it is the experience of one’s life energy turning inwards and descending back toward its root or source. In doing so our poor vulnerable self-awareness, our tiny spark of consciousness is carried beneath the protective boundary of waking awareness into its own depths. This is akin to travelling into the darkness of sleep with awareness. Sleep, after all, is a strange country in which our waking self seldom if ever travels.
    Imagine – if you have not already made the journey – delving into the level of yourself where your eyes no longer see, your body sense of form or size and touch have disappeared.
    There is no hearing of the external world. You are sinking into the country of what we call the mind or consciousness, the world of sleep, death and dreams, in which the usual boundaries of experience are taken away. Here you meet – given form by your fears and cultural symbols, as if with real bodies – your own fears, the pains buried deep in your past, the residues of all past actions so far unredeemed; http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/opening-to-life/
    But you also meet the wonder of an enormously enlarged awareness, the sparkling immediacy of questions answered, the splendour of bodiless life linking in love and mind with an infinity of others. Here you experience the vision of the spirit’s journeys into time and space, and its life in eternity. Here you are the genderless consciousness of angels; http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/archetype-of-the-night-journey-the-search-for-self/
    Anna :-)


-Brenda 2016-03-30 6:27:52

I dreamed I was swimming with 3 of my high school friends of which I am no longer friends with. While we were swimming a huge wave like a Tsunami swept us to the shore. we ran to the closest building and we were safe. Once the wave settled I and one of the friend decided to go back to swim. As we got closer to the water the wave again started and we were running for cover. As we were running I notice that the eldery people we just seating looking at the wave and their faces seemed like they have given up. This sight made me weak I lost hope and started giving in as well. I then heard machine gun shots as I turned around to look at the wave, it had changed into two evil looking women one was very pretty and one was just an ordinary person nothing pretty about her. then I said this was the devil in this wave . What does sthis wave mean??


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-04-04 10:30:37

    Dear Brenda – A tsunami can indicate a tremendous and fundamental change in you. Most people now know that tsunamis are caused by massive earth changes under the sea. These changes are part of the natural order, and often show themselves to people in their dreams. So they can be understood as an expression of our personal adaptation to enormous changes. They 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.
    Remember that tsunamis are dangerous in waking life, but are the expression of your inner life in dreams. They are not dangerous and need not be avoided or run from while asleep. Meeting a tsunami 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, which decision may change your perception that “the devil (evil) is in this wave”.
    Evil is ‘live’ spelt backwards. In dreams the sense or presence of evil is often depicting those things you have so repressed that they are no longer properly alive and healthy. Repression has turned them back upon you making them an internal evil. They therefore need meeting and being brought into proper recognition and expression; http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/opening-to-life/
    Anna :-)


-Lynne 2016-04-20 20:08:32

Hi Tony,
I have a dream frequently about sea.. Its not the same dream repeating, but in different fashion. The theme is i am always in the sea.. Can’t even say it’s a bad dream of good dream too. I am confused what to predict about this incident. Actually sometimes I see I am walking the steps above the sea.. But suddenly breaking the steps n falling in the sea. The next dream is.. The steps is on the surface of water.. In d gap of the steps water is there. In here I am jumping n holding the step each by each n going inside the water. I can see the waves moving in both dreams. Can u please help me?


-Tashi 2016-06-17 19:08:29

I dream of sea.. always a night sea….but all those are not same dreams…once I saw myself walking on the surface of water …and once I saw myself in a house ..probably it was mine …just near the shore..where water touches it and is getting inside ….once I saw tides coming to a huge rock…and myself on that rock ..and I am ..in reality a bit afraid of deep waters ..but in these dreams …such night seas don’t afraid me ..I do not fear the night tide..or the deepness…it doesn’t bother me …
Plz tell ..what does it mean …I m afraid ….


-Christina 2016-06-29 7:12:39

Hello Ana Tony
Thank you so very much

I opened an old little rustic door/window of our large open house and then I saw the beach and dying horses lying down – They do not eat and drink salt water
Suddenly the waves came crashing in my window
I closed it just in time
But the sea was trying to come inside
I managed to close it, but The wind pulled our window out
But I didn’t worry because the house was open,
and the water would go out as it went it


-Bridget 2016-07-17 13:51:47

I had a dream that I was on a beach when we realized a storm was coming. Everyone stared leaving the beach but my mom took me into her car and there was a freeway on the beach heading towards the storm. We were going to beat the storm heading slightly into it instead of leaving behind us which was sunny and storm free. Looking down the winding beach, I saw two huge fish the size of boats thrown on the sand. They were still alive. We were astonished by their size and I wondered if we would male it before the deep blue skies overcame us.


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