Dreams Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I find that I often have dangerous water in my dreams, usually threatening to flood the city I'm living in. There is this impending feeling of doom and helplessness, like right before something really big is about to happen, like a hurricane or river flood.


Impending doom, especially from elemental sources like water, land and air are particularly disconcerting. The water in your dream will have a meaning for you that only you can decide in the end, but there is a long history of water symbolism that might be useful in enhancing your journey of discovery.

Early people recognized water and watery things as belonging to their own domain and this was known to the Greeks as the Realm of Poseidon, Lord of Oceans, Earthquakes and other fluid movements that were seen to be what all the land rested upon.

Psychologically, we rest on our emotional world. All the reason in the world is useless when we panic, when we are furious, when we despair. To move into that realm and not be drowned is the work of a lifetime, but also one of life's great masterpieces.

To dream of an approaching tidal wave may indicate that I have an apprehension about the emotions that are welling up inside of me -- I fear being overwhelmed, or "drowning" in the feelings and being unable to control my world and all I have achieved. Floods are also a mythic way to re-fresh and create something new. Many mythic kingdoms were flooded and drowned by their gods to make way for something new. The reason I am casting this in such mythic terms is due to the opportunity that large scale doom and disaster dreams bring to us.

Rudolf Otto coined the term "Numious" and it means the terrifying, awe-inspiring, experience of the Sacred Up Close. The feeling right before a major natural event can provoke this sense of wonder and awe. If I were to have a dream about floods, I would be on the lookout for a way to make some major changes to projects that I had been involved with.

If I am dreaming about this watery doom, I am also now conscious of this water and can learn to take the full impact & force of my emotions. I can learn to "swim". As we become even more conscious, we can even learn in dreams to breathe water! This will often happen after the acceptance of a new way of being occurs.

Remember, however, that Poseidon's watery realm is magnificently large and holds a whole universe of meaning. Just what this dream will mean for you will come from your exploration of its many paths. As long as you are not afraid of getting you feet wet, the delights of the water will be yours!


Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.


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