The symbolic meanings of animals in dreams are very complicated. Different animals have different archetypal meanings, and the interpretation of animal dreams depends on the relationship between the individual and the animal.
For example, dreaming of a huge animal in your dream and feeling that you are tiny at the same time indicates that you may be isolated, or be despised or belittled. Dreaming of talking animals may symbolize that you want to use your instincts or your inner nature…
Chinese dream theorists have mused over this for centuries. Here we present a quick guide to interpreting the meanings of the most common 20 animals that appear in dreams according to Chinese theory with more detailed content on key animals linked.
Chinese Dream Interpretation Theory
'Zhou Duke Interprets Dreams' (周公解梦Zhou Gong Jie Meng) is the classic Chinese text that is the basis of most traditional Chinese dream interpretation theory. It's traditionally attributed to the Duke of Zhou (reign 1042–1035 BC), revered as the 'God of Dreams' and the 'First Sage'.
Meanings of 20 Common Animals in Dreams
Generally speaking, animals symbolize the body, instincts, and the dreamer’s character, based on ‘Duke of Zhou Interprets Dreams’.
1. Dog Dreams
A dog in your dreams usually represents a very loyal and reliable companion, or a protector. If the dog you dreamed of once belonged to you, or was a dog that was very familiar with you in a certain period of life, it means you cherish the memories of that period of time.
2. Elephant Dreams
An elephant symbolizes patience and wisdom. People who dream of elephants have an indication that they are recognizing their patience, good recall ability, stability, and careful character.
3. Lion Dreams
A lion represents dignity, strength, and courage. For the dreamer, it expresses his/her sense of self-worth and enthusiasm associated with his/her reality.
4. Cat Dreams
Cats often haunt our subconscious world. Cats in dreams often represent gentleness and a little cunning. They are also often used by the subconscious mind to symbolize women. See more on Dreaming About Cats.
5. Monkey Dreams
A monkey dream symbolizes that the dreamer is full of vitality, freedom, and agility, which may be closed off. Dreaming about a monkey often expresses the dreamer's inner desire to escape from a rigid and oppressive reality and get rid of a mediocre life situation.
6. Bear Dreams
Although bears are dangerous, they act awkwardly. Dreaming of bears may indicate that the dreamer has too many worries in his/her heart.
7. Chameleon Dreams
A chameleon in a dream means that the dreamer recognizes his/her ability to adapt to the environment and change with the environment.
8. Unicorn Dreams
The unicorn represents purity and regeneration. Dreaming about a unicorn exposes the dreamer’s current selfish ideas or inner longing for love.
9. Horse Dreams
In a dream, a horse symbolizes the energy available to the dreamer. A white horse represents the dreamer’s spiritual consciousness, and a brown horse represents his/her enthusiastic side. However, a gray horse symbolizes death, and a winged horse symbolizes the dreamer’s soul’s desire to eliminate a lack of faith/religion.
See more on the Chinese zodiac Horse.
10. Snake Dreams
Snakes are cold-blooded animals, representing evil, cunning, deceit and temptation, but dreaming about snakes mostly has auspicious meanings.
For example, a woman dreaming of a snake is a sign of a happy life, or that she will be able to give birth. A business person dreaming of a snake indicates that his/her dream will come true, and there is the joy of promotion and fortune in store.
See more on Dreaming About Snakes.
11. Dolphin Dreams
Chinese people have always regarded the gentle and clever dolphins as their best friends.
To dream of a dolphin indicates that the dreamer will achieve success with his/her wisdom, and that life will be happy and auspicious.
12. Fish Dreams
In traditional Chinese dream interpretation theory, dreaming of fish has always been closely related to wealth. Psychologically, fish not only represent tangible monetary or material wealth, but also opportunity.
13. Parrot Dreams
Parrots are good at imitating others’ speech. A parrot in a dream means someone is haunted by or mired in rumors.
14. Tiger Dreams
The tiger is fierce and symbolizes difficulties. Dreaming of a tiger indicates that you will face difficulties. See more on the Chinese Zodiac Tiger.
15. Ant Dreams
Psychologically, the ant symbolizes troubles and unclear thoughts, indicating that the dreamer is disturbed inside, emotionally agitated, and unable to clarify their thoughts.
16. Bat Dreams
Bats are nocturnal animals, which symbolize darkness and fear. Dreaming about bats means the dreamer has inner anxiety or suffers from fears.
17. Sheep Dreams
Sheep are cute and docile animals. A sheep in a dream represents ‘happiness’ and ‘harvest’ according to Chinese dream theory.
Although different nationalities have different interpretations of the meaning of sheep, dreaming of sheep is undoubtedly a good sign. The situation of the sheep in the dream indicates the current living conditions of the dreamer.
18. Pig Dreams
A pig in a dream generally indicates the dreamer’s current career and life status. Dreaming of a pig is generally a good sign, but if the pig in the dream is fierce and malicious, it shows that the dreamer has difficulties in his/her current life.
See more on the Chinese Zodiac Pig.
19. Butterfly Dreams
On the spiritual level, a butterfly in a dream or meditation symbolizes the liberated mind on one hand and immortality on the other. Generally, a butterfly in a dream symbolizes relaxation and freedom.
20. Rabbit Dreams
A rabbit in a dream reflects what the dreamer is like, or refers to the image of the dreamer’s self or someone around him/her.
Dreaming of a well-behaved little rabbit is a good omen, indicating a happy event or luck. See more on the Chinese zodiac Rabbit.
Other Archetypal Animals that Chinese Dream Theory Covers in Detail
Lice are irritating and represent a loss in dreams. If the dreamer sees lice in his/her dream, he/she is in a disadvantageous situation and must be careful that others don’t fool him/her. See more on Dreaming About Lice.
The rat always appears in an opposing role, so in a dream, the rat implies harm. If the dreamer drives away the rat in the dream, it means that he/she can overcome difficulties and overcome problems or enemies. See more on Dreaming About Rats.
Dreaming of spiders means that by being energetic and careful in work the dreamer’s income will grow satisfactorily. Dreaming of spiders weaving webs implies that the dreamer has to work hard to be successful. See more on Dreaming About Spiders.