QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Dreams Department

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Question

I am curious about the symbolism of dolphins. I often have dreams about water and water creatures, such as whales and other sea-life. But one summer I had a dream where I was playing with dolphins and having so much fun. In my dream I am lying on my back on the floor of my living room with my arms crossed over my chest. I feel myself transforming into a dolphin, my arms melting into my body, my body gliding in the water. I woke up having the sense that I would have become the dolphin if the dream had continued. I was terrified but also felt seduced by the feeling of my metamorphosis into this other creature. It was so real that some part of me still believes I would not be here as a human if I hadn't awaken when I did. Do dolphin dreams mean something special?

Answer

Dolphin dreams are not only quite common, but usually quite delightful for the dreamer. Although the particular meaning of your dream will be unique to you, some examples of dolphin symbolism through history may enrich the dream image. Not only are dreams, dolphins and dissolving a part of the symbolic grouping of the Greek god Dionysos, but there are found dolphin and dream stories throughout Western history. Dolphins are found in many grouping of the gods, including Apollo, Poseidon and Athena. Generally speaking, the dolphin is seen by the ancient Greeks as a guide to worlds unknown.

It doesn't escape observation that since dolphins keep people from sinking too deeply into the sea in waking life, that they can also do the same in dreams. The exploration of the boundaries of what it means to be human and non-human are commonly mediated by dolphins.

Researcher Trisha Lamb Feuerstein has been studying the connection between dolphins and dreams for years and has noted several interesting themes. One is that dolphins will often communicate they will *always* be there to protect the dreamer. One dreamer reported dreams of dolphins (and whales) when she is going through a crisis and finds they soothe and calm her.

This kind of communication is often reported as deep, wordless, telepathic, profound, reassuring and anciently wise. It can extend to other deeply moving experiences which can put the dreamer in contact with a deep spiritual nature. Awakening from these dreams is often described as serene, peaceful, happy, energized and blissful.

In some of the dreams, the dreamers become a dolphin and feel what it is like to have a dolphin body, but not usually dolphin consciousness. They are accepted as a member of the dolphin social group and invited to return.

Dolphins seem to emerge for humans in countless forms and offer us many opportunities. Dream dolphins allow us to feel connected to the world of nature and spirit, and can guide us into waters that would normally be to deep for us to travel.

For more on dreams and dolphins, visit the Trisha Feuerstein's Cetaceous Creatures Site:
Dolphins, Whales, and Dreamtime, A Research Report by Trisha Lamb Feuerstein (San Francisco, CA: DreamGate Publications, 1996)

2/20/98

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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