Interpreting dreams

What Does Dreaming About Tigers Mean?

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: July 9, 2020
What Does Dreaming About Tigers Mean?

If you have seen a tiger up close then you are fortunate to both have the experience and still be alive to read this oneHOWTO article. The largest of the big cats, the tiger's powerful build gives it a mighty presence which can be both awe inspiring and fear inducing. Their lithe movement means they can enter into your surroundings unnoticed until it's too late, just as a thought or image may enter a dream. This doesn't mean that dreaming of a tiger is a bad omen. The symbolism of tigers is much more multi-faceted. To answer "what does dreaming about tigers mean?", we have to look into its physical characteristics as well as find out what its symbolic meaning has been throughout history.

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  1. Tiger symbolism
  2. Tigers and strength
  3. Tigers in water
  4. Peaceful tigers
  5. Tigers lurking
  6. Tigers and sexuality

Tiger symbolism

Dreaming of different animals does not necessarily make for an easy interpretation. This is the case for good or for bad. It is not that these creatures have an innate meaning which can be universally applied. Rather, we experience tigers in our waking lives and ascribe certain characteristics which make sense when we consider the animal's nature.

However, even across the globe there are no concrete meanings to be found when we dream about tigers. Different cultures have different relationships to tigers, often due simply to proximity. To much of the so-called Western World, the tiger is an exotic creature which has an unknowable mysticism surrounding it. To some Asian communities where the tiger is indigenous, the tiger is a very real threat and some have been known to attack humans. This does not mean these cultures don't have their own mysticism surrounding the tiger.

The strong resonance of tigers as emblems of some greater meaning are reflected in art and literature throughout the centuries. In Romantic poet William Blake's seminal poem The Tyger, the creature has a "fearful symmetry" referencing the tiger's distinct markings. More recently, Yann Martel's The Life of Pi, has a boy stranded on a boat with a tiger after a shipwreck, perhaps connoting the closer relationship some Asian cultures have with the tiger.

In Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide, the tiger represents both a kindred spirit to the people of Southern India, while at the same time being a threat to their existence. This dichotomy can help us understand dreams about tigers. The tiger can be both a threat and a champion, a sign of impending danger and an omen for good, without taking away the possibility that they represent all of these things at the same time.

Tigers and strength

Tigers are great predators and are the largest of the 'big cat' family in Asia[1], which also includes lions, leopards and jaguars. Because of this, when we try to interpret the meaning of a dream which involves a tiger, it is possible it has something to do with its power.

Perhaps we are dreaming because we are worried about someone or something looming over our lives. Whoever or whatever they are, they are in some way imposing over us. Their strength is intimidating and we might be worried that they will overpower us.

If a tiger appears in your dream and it is intimidating or stalking you, you might be feeling like prey. You are scared, you feel like you are in a fight you can't win or that you are victimized. You might want to run away, but feel trapped, like there is no way to get out. Your dream may involve you being stalked, with you running away in fear, but it could even have you being attacked or killed (it is a popular myth that you cannot be killed in a dream, but this is untrue). You may also be so paralyzed with fear that running ins't an option.

While these can be fearful dreams, it is pertinent to remember that this is only a dream. You will wake up and realize that the dream wasn't real. What would be foolish is to ignore the meaning behind dreaming about a tiger. This powerful beast may have entered your dream realm to highlight a problem you are undergoing. It may even be a problem you were not aware of.

If you dream about a tiger attacking you, then you should think about what situations in your life are intimidating you. It could be that you have some problems at work which are hovering over you and you feel as if you can't escape them. Similarly it could be something to do with a financial situation, an upcoming event which you worry could be trying or, of course, the tiger might represent a specific person. This person could even be a friend or someone you otherwise feel close to. This could mean there is some aspect of your relationship which is intimidating you, but you are yet to find out why,

If there is something in your life who is showing aggression to you, whether it is an actual threat to your well-being or even simply a rivalry, you might need to stand up to them or converse with them. It could be a sign that you should turn the tables and be more like the tiger yourself. It could simply be that you are feeling insecure and there are problems about yourself which are leading you to feel intimidated.

What Does Dreaming About Tigers Mean? - Tigers and strength

Tigers in water

Unlike your pet moggy, tigers love the water. Like the tiger in Ghosh's novel, they can inhabit areas which are on the edge between land and water. This state is known as being liminal, like the waves against the shore of a river. It is not quite one or the other, but on the threshold between two areas.

If you dream of a tiger in the water, especially if you see the tiger on the shore, it could be a sign that you are on the verge of something. Whether you are starting a new job, relationship or any new chapter in your life, it can be a big change. It is likely these feelings will also seep into your subconscious.

The meaning of the dream can depend on the behavior of the tiger. If the tiger is nervous to go into the water, perhaps you are concerned about whatever this next stage is. If the tiger goes in with confidence to the water, perhaps it is your subconscious self trying to reassure you that you are strong enough to move forward.

Peaceful tigers

While dreaming of tigers can involve scares or feelings of intimidation, you might equally see a tiger which is more noble and reserved. If this were to happen in your dream, it might have more to do with yourself than with another person or situation. While a tiger in a dream could represent a friend or foe, it might also be a representation of yourself.

If you have been intimidated as we discussed before here, perhaps your dream is trying to show you this is no longer necessary. While tigers can be ferocious beasts, they are also part of a select group of animals known as charismatic megafauna. These are creatures which are big and intimidating, but are also impressive and dominant. This is one of the reasons they were voted as "human kind's favourite animal" as were the results of a worldwide poll in 2004[2].

Perhaps dreaming of a majestic beast like the tiger means you need to accept your own majesty. It could be another sign of a transitional phase into a new you. It might signal will power and strength, proving to yourself that you are also capable of great things.

Tigers lurking

If tigers are trying to stalk you, then it could be a sign of aggression. However, tigers are also known for not attacking unless they have been upset or someone has got in between mother and cub. They are relatively lone animals which often lurk in forests or near rivers, as they don't like to be far from water.

This can mean many things if you dream of a tiger being in this state of lurking and stalking. Perhaps you hear a tiger's growl in your dream and try to find it (or stay away from it). You may even see stripes in the distance.

This could be a sign that you are living a life which is full of unpredictability. The tiger is strong and agile, but it is hard to know. This force could be good or could be bad it depends on how you react against the dream. Sometimes it is more important to acknowledge and accept what a dream might be saying to you rather than understanding its exact meaning.

If the tiger in your dream is lurking in the shadows, it could also have something to do with your own feelings. There is a shadowy element to these tigers and, in your dream, they might be hiding something you don't even know about.

What Does Dreaming About Tigers Mean? - Tigers lurking

Tigers and sexuality

Tigers are very much linked to sexuality, in the waking world as much as a dream state. Evidence of it working might be scant, but in some Eastern medicinal practices, the tiger's teeth and bones were ground down to be used for many purposes. One such purpose was for sexual virility. The ground up tiger was consumed as an aphrodisiac or as a restorative. The thinking was that you will have the same sexual power and prowess as a tiger has in spades.

If you are dreaming of a tiger it could mean that you are struggling sexually. Perhaps you are having sexual dysfunction problems or you just aren't having any sex at all, causing frustration. Equally, you might be having a period of your life where you are having a lot of sex and are concerned about the repercussions.

If you are worried about sexual health or have some other concerns and you dream about a tiger lurking, it could mean there is some element of your sexuality which is latent. Maybe you have feelings regarding your sexuality which need to be explored, but you are concerned about them. Perhaps you need the strength of a tiger to face the challenge. As long as you are wanting to address healthy sexual issues which will not cause harm to you or others, then perhaps it is time you address the problem.

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What Does Dreaming About Tigers Mean?