Interpreting dreams

What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea?

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: March 23, 2022
What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea?

When we're underwater, sounds become distorted, vision refracted and we enter a realm which subverts our usual experience. When we sleep, a similar distorted reality becomes apparent. Like the difference between a heavenly dream and a nightmare, some people become fearful while in the water while others feel more natural there than they do on land. When it comes to dreaming of the sea, this sometimes serene, sometimes fearsome entity can be a sounding board for our subconscious feelings and emotions. If we want to interpret what does it mean when you dream of the sea, we need to look at what the sea itself and how we interact with it mean to our own circumstance. oneHOWTO provides some insight so your dreams can help you address the issues of your waking life.

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Calm seas

When dreaming of the sea, the first thing you might notice is its condition. The reason this is important for dreams is because the sea is like the giant mood ring of our subconscious. Whatever state the ocean is in will be a reflection of how we feel. If the sea is calm and tranquil, we might be in a place in our life we will feel a similar calm and free from stress. Perhaps we have gone through a tough time and we are only now finding ourselves in a place where we can have a little perspective.

Equally, dreaming of a calm ocean might be aspirational. We might currently be going through a troubling time and our subconscious is trying to give us a break by producing these soothing images of gently rolling waves. Some may even see their dreams as precognition - viewing something in a dream state which will later come through in consciousness[1]. The science behind this, however, is sketchy at best and a dangerous avenue for those in a state of poor mental health. For more meanings, you can check out what dreaming about water means too.

Turbulent seas

On the other hand, if you dream of being in rocky seas with crashing tides and looming waves, you may not be in the best of mental places. If your subconscious is in turmoil, it is possible the ocean in your dreams will reflect this. Further still, the sea in your dreams might represent something more specific outside of yourself.

When we're in the sea, we are at its mercy. If it is calm, it will let us drift gently back to shore. If it is raging, then it can suck us down to the murky depths. If there is something in our lives which is bringing us down, a stalled career, a broken relationship, a feeling of guilt, financial problems, then we can feel like it is smothering us also. We might feel trapped, like there is no way out and that we cannot possibly stand up against its incredible might.

The sea in your dreams might also change states. You might go from calm to tumultuous back to calm and further still. If this is the case, then perhaps your life is in a similar tumult. You go from periods of quiet to mania and get caught up in these difficult rhythms. Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you that you need a little more stability in your life, to row yourself back to shore.

What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea? - Turbulent seas

Where are you in relation to the sea?

Where you are compared to the sea is important in your dream. If you are on top of it, in a boat then it might mean you have security, but are worried about how steadfast it will hold. Maybe you have a job in a difficult market. You dream of being on a boat in a rocky sea. This job is keeping you stable, but if the sea becomes too rough in the dream, then maybe you worry the market is going to take this security away. If you dream the boat sinks, then maybe you are worried about an upcoming turmoil in your future. Similar feelings might occur in relationships or any other circumstance you feel a lack of control over.

If you are riding the waves on a surfboard, this could be a better omen. You might be in difficult waters, but instead of letting them wipe you out, you are taking control and riding on top of them. You might be enjoying the ride, but this is in part because of the risks you are taking. If you are confident on the board, then you might be ready to take on choppy waters. If you are unsure, then you might need to reconsider your circumstance.

Dreaming of tides

One place you may be in your dream in relation to the sea is standing on the shore. Shores are very important symbols throughout history. Before people realized the science between the moon and the tides, ancient cultures saw the waves and the celestial skies as being connected in some way. This is because the shore, the tide, the horizon and the sky all represent cycles in life. The tide might leave during the day and come back at night.

If you are dreaming of standing on the shore and watching the tide ebb and flow, it could be that you are in a cycle in which you feel stuck. You are repeating patterns of behavior which are become detrimental to your soul. This could be how to relate to another person, people in general or to yourself. Again, the condition of the ocean at this point is important. If you have been looking for stability and you calmly watch the tide come and go, perhaps it represents a time where you are OK with your life. The repetitiousness is a reassurance that life moves on and you are at peace with it.

As the tides also look out to the horizon, you might be standing in the surf. This place of being both on the beach and in the water is known as liminal. Liminal stages are those of transition. If you are in a place in your life where you are not sure of the future, but know you want to be out of the past, then you might dream of the sea in this way. Maybe you want to jump into the sea, but or scared. Maybe it is time to move back to the security of land.

What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea? - Dreaming of tides

Dreaming of being under the sea

Just like the song from Disney's The Little Mermaid, being under the sea might be a colorful cavalcade of adventures. If you dream of being under the sea and are exploring it in a state of wonder, your dream is probably reflecting a similar state of wonder in your life. Maybe you are in a new relationship, a new place or some other circumstance where you get to investigate. Just as the majority of the sea is unexplored, a new change can be refreshing and bring up new opportunities.

If you are underwater and having a frightening experience such as drowning or being chased by a sea monster, then this can mean the opposite. The pressures of your life might be getting on top of you and you feel suffocated. Think about what these pressures might be and address them before you metaphorically drown.

If the sea is deep and cavernous, then the pressures might equally seem deep. They may even be rooted so far in your subconscious, you have trouble accessing them in a conscious state. If you have recurring dreams of being in a deep sea, but cannot work out what it mean you may need to seek some advice from a mental health professional. This is particularly so if you are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious.

Dreaming of the ocean

The difference between the sea and the ocean is that a sea is part of a larger ocean partially enclosed by land. We might not make much of a difference between them in our dreams, but the reason why the ocean is important in our dreams is because it is so vast. If you are floating down in a deep sea, this can represent the feelings of despair. People often refer to this as falling into despair, just as you may fall into the water of the sea.

If we look out the to ocean and see ourselves in relation to it, it is not difficult to feel small. Perhaps we have been feelings of insignificance or loneliness. We don't feel like we can affect much in our own lives or others and our self-esteem is correspondingly low. If you are feeling like you have poor self-worth or that you are insignificant, you might dream of being lost at sea. Speak to someone. Know that you have just as much right as anyone to be on this planet and consider whether or not you have some issues of depression you may need to tackle.

What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea? - Dreaming of the ocean

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What Does it Mean When You Dream of the Sea?