Skip to Content

Water Symbolism: What it Means to Dream About Water

Dreams can be vivid and imaginative, and they can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from reality. Many believe dreams have symbolic meanings and can provide insight into a person’s thoughts and feelings.

Dreams about water, especially, can mean many things and may be difficult to interpret. So, let’s help you out.

Dozens of tiny dew drops on a green leaf.

Water as a symbol of emotions and the unconscious mind

Since water is often seen as a symbol of emotions, dreaming about it may indicate that you’re dealing with strong emotions in your waking life.

The state of the water is a direct representation of the type of emotions you’re dealing with. Additionally, the size of the body of water and your proximity to it may also have a special meaning.

To better understand it, we’ll need to break this down into multiple symbolisms, depending on how the body of water appears in your dream.

Clear and calm water

Picture the body of water you see in your dream as your unconscious mind. A clear and calm body may symbolize inner peace and clarity of thought; you’re comfortable, and your daily life may have close to zero turbulence.

Related: What does it mean to dream of rain?

Murky and turbulent water

Dreaming about dirty and turbulent water may be a cause for concern. You may not be comfortable with ongoing events in your waking life, or you may be experiencing a degree of emotional turmoil and confusion. Consider reflecting and understanding what changes you need to make in your life.

Deep water

Generally, dreaming about deep water can symbolize the depths of the unconscious mind, as well as hidden emotions and thoughts.

a close up of dark blue waves on the sea.

And while it can represent your fears and anxieties, it can also represent your potential for growth and transformation. It’s a reminder for you to confront any fears or doubts that are holding you back.

For some people, it can also represent aspects of their personality they keep hidden from other people. Learn what it means to dream about the ocean.

Shallow water

Shallow water can symbolize superficial emotions and thoughts, as well as your lack of emotional depth or understanding. It can also represent your fear of being vulnerable or of diving deep into your emotions. 

Dreaming about shallow water may also be a sign that you’re able to maintain your composure and focus, even when faced with difficult situations. It may represent your ability to connect with your innermost thoughts and feelings and to express yourself clearly and authentically.

Alternatively, shallow water can also symbolize your need for clarity and simplicity in your life.

Running water

Emotions-wise, running water symbolizes your wish to let go of negative emotions and move forward with your life. It can also represent your lack of control over your life.

Still water

Still water in dreams indicates that you’re in a calm and peaceful state of mind and that you feel emotionally balanced. 

It can also represent your wish to attain a state of emotional calm. Or it can simply indicate that you need to rest and relax to contemplate.

Water as a symbol of cleansing and renewal

In many cultures, water is seen as a source of spiritual and physical refreshment and is often used in rituals of purification and cleansing. As such, most, if not all, existing religions preach its importance and condemn wasting or needlessly polluting it.

Related: What does it mean to dream about rainbows?

Likewise, water is a powerful symbol of purification and rejuvenation in dreams. It could symbolize different things, depending on the state in which it appears during a person’s dream. Learn more about the spiritual symbolism of water.

Pristine water

If you dream about a body of clear water, it could symbolize that you’re content with your current waking state and are experiencing a sense of balance and peace.

a still lake with rocky shore and misty mountains rising in the background.

Alternatively, it could also mean that you hold a positive outlook toward life and are devoid of negative emotions.

Dirty water

When the focus is on cleansing, dirty water in dreams symbolizes that you need to cleanse yourself of negative thoughts and focus on moving forward. It may also represent a state of stagnation and lack of progress.

Related: What Does it Mean to Dream About Fire?

Shallow water

Dreaming about a shallow body of water may represent your ability to let go of any negative thoughts and emotions that are holding you back and to move forward with a fresh and positive outlook toward life. The lack of depth is a representation of your unconscious — it’s not weighed down by daily troubles!

Running water

Here, a dream about running water may suggest that you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Additionally, since running water symbolizes moving forward, it could mean that you’re going through a period of personal transformation and growth. 

Still water

Dreaming about still water in the context of rejuvenation may represent your inner emotional state and your ability to remain calm and clear-headed in the face of difficulties or challenges.

It may also symbolize the cleansing of your mind and spirit, as well as the renewal of your energy and vitality. It may indicate that you’re ready to let go of any negative thoughts or emotions that are weighing you down and to move forward with a refreshed and positive vision.

Water as a symbol of the passage of time and life and death

Water is often seen as a symbol of the passage of time, as it’s constantly moving and changing. 

Likewise, a water dream may suggest that the dreamer is experiencing a significant change or transition in their life, or that they’re feeling the effects of time passing. It could also indicate the desire to make the most of the available time.

Related: What Does it Mean to Dream About a Flood?

Additionally, dreams about water can be a symbol of life and death. This is often the case in literature and art, where water is used to represent a final journey or a passage into the unknown. 

The underworld is often associated with water in many mythological traditions. For example, crossing a body of water is often seen as a journey into the realm of the dead. In this way, water can symbolize the end of life and the transition into the afterlife.

A great example of this is the short story “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D.H. Lawrence, where the main character walks into a still, murky lake in an attempt to commit suicide. Water is used to symbolize the transition from life to death, or, in other words, a portal to the afterlife.

Related: What Does it Mean to Dream About Fish?

Running water 

Concerning the passage of time, dreaming about running water may symbolize a lack of control over your life. It means that your waking life is unfolding too hastily, disallowing you from finding time to relax and contemplate.

water pouring into a hand in a natural setting.

Running water may also symbolize the quick passage of time and that the end of an aspect of your waking life is nigh. It could mean you’re growing distant from a person, event, or part of your daily life.

Deep water

In the context of life and death, dreaming about a deep body of water may be a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of making the most of every moment.

It may also be a sign that you’re facing a major change in your life and that you need to let go of the past to move forward.

Still water

Still water could symbolize that you have a firm grasp over the events unfolding in your life and you’re experiencing a great sense of balance.

It could also mean that you’re at the midpoint of your life when everything is as it should be and a great sense of harmony is at play.

Clear water

If you dream of water that’s so pure and clear that it seems otherworldly or ethereal, it can symbolize the transition into the afterlife or the passage into a realm beyond the physical world. This is oftentimes the case for people with terminal illnesses.

Dreams about clear water come off as liberating and reassuring. Morbidly enough, they may bring a sense of comfort to those who are nearing the end of their life.

Dirty water

In relation to life and death, dirty water could symbolize a person’s lack of or decline in health.

From a religious standpoint, dreams about dirty water may represent a person’s lack of faith and escalation of their bad deeds. They could mean that the person is leading a sinful life they unconsciously may not be proud of.

Related: What does it mean to dream about storms?

What does dreaming of watching a body of water symbolize?

Dreaming about watching water can be a symbol of emotional introspection, spiritual contemplation, and the need to connect with the unconscious mind.

view of cliffs and ocean from an old arched window.

In other cases, this dream can be a sign of calmness, serenity, and peace. It could also symbolize letting go of stress and anxiety and living in the present moment.

What does dreaming of walking into water symbolize?

For some people, walking into water in a dream can represent a willingness to dive deep into their emotions and confront their fears or challenges. It can also represent a need to connect with their spiritual side and explore their unconscious.

Alternatively, dreaming about walking into water can be a sign of change and transition. It can also indicate the need to let go of the past and move forward with your life.

Finally, it may symbolize a transition from life into death. This is especially the case after witnessing the passing of a loved one. Dreaming about them willingly walking into a body of water may symbolize their journey from life to the afterlife.

What does dreaming of being underwater symbolize?

For some people, dreaming about being underwater may be a reflection of their unconscious mind and emotional state. It could represent your feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control in a situation in your waking life.

In some cases, dreaming about being underwater could also symbolize your feelings of hopelessness and despair in your daily life. It could indicate that you feel lost and unable to take a step forward. If this is the case, reach out to friends and family for support and comfort.

a girl with brown hair and a red dress swimming underwater.

Or, sometimes, this dream may indicate your fascination and love for the ocean and water!

Learn more about what dreams are and why we dream!

Generally, the state of the water you’re dreaming of is a clue of the possible meaning your dream holds. For example, dreams about clear water represent inner peace and calm. Murky water, on the other hand, represents a decline in health or instability.

It’s always a good idea to reflect on the specific details of the dream and what it might mean for you. For instance, consider whether the dream is representative of your waking life or that of another person. And consider its tone. Is it lonely, vivid, or surreal?