Working With Dream Themes: Huge Waves Rolling In

Dreamwork works with the waves of the soul.

Image via Pinterest

A very common dream theme, and one I get asked about the most, is dreaming of huge waves rolling in at a beach. Living in Hawaii makes this dream theme a common enough experience to have in waking life on a daily basis. The ocean is a part of all of our lives. However, people who live far from the ocean, or have never actually seen the ocean, often have this kind of dream.

The ocean is one of those powerful metaphors in nature that touch us at a deep level. For many people it represents the profound and often inscrutable inner recesses of our souls—full of mystery, strong currents, and wondrous and terrifying creatures. It is no wonder that so many people find it satisfying, relaxing and comforting to be at the beach, watching the waves roll in. It is a gentle way to attend to and hear the call of our deeper selves. Attending to our dreams of the ocean, its waves and its creatures is a similar way of observing the tides and manifestations of our souls.

Some Dreamwork Questions Related to the Ocean and Waves:

What do the ocean, the waves or the creatures in the water mean to me?

  • What does the ocean look like in my dream? Is it placid, or is it stormy and filled with gigantic waves?
  • What in my life reminds me of the feeling of the ocean in my dream?
  • Can I see creatures swimming in the ocean? Are they frightening, amazing or in great numbers?
  • What do the creatures remind me of in my life?

Where am I, the dreamer, in relationship to the ocean?

  • Am I on a distant hill, on the beach, on a boat, or bobbling in the midst of the waves?
  • What am I feeling about the ocean and any waves that are occurring?
  • If out of the water, are the waves rolling towards me or someone close to me?
  • If in the water, how am I handling it? Am I swimming well and managing the big waves passing over me?   Am I drowning or reaching out for help?
  • What in my life reminds me of this situation? If in my dream I am feeling terrified swimming in the midst of huge waves, is there some situation in my waking life where I feel I am in the thick of an emotional struggle that might threaten to pull me under?
  • If I am on the shore, how in my waking life am I watching distant changes that could move in my direction?
  • What do I feel about that?

Observing and participating in ocean dreams by asking such questions can help us become practiced and seasoned swimmers in the vicissitudes of life.  We will come to appreciate the beauties and wonders of the ocean of our souls as we develop skills to deal with the tides. As we say in Hawaii, a surfer is one who plays with the waves, but a waterman is one who knows all about the ocean. Which shall it be?

Working with Dream Themes: Dream Lovers

Lover as Muse

Gustave Moreau, Hesiod and the Muse (1891)—Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Meeting and possibly making love with a very attractive person in a dream is a quite common dream theme, no matter whether it is someone we know in waking life or a mysterious lover who only populates our dreams. In the dream, these encounters are often marked by passion, beauty, and wonder so vivid that upon waking we feel driven to act on the dream—no matter if the person is someone in waking life who is unavailable, a poor choice or someone we don’t know or haven’t even encountered yet!

The importance of the dream is not so much the person referred to but the energy that is evoked in the dream. Powerful energy does, indeed, need acting upon and that is what the dream is asking us to do. However, before going and doing something foolish or regrettable, the thing to remember is that the dream is all about the dreamer. That highly attractive and lovely soul you are encountering is perhaps an aspect of your own loveliness or quality, and it is that which is asking you to recognize in yourself!


In the dream you are falling for a writer who is physically attractive and highly competent as a writer. Before you go associating this person with someone you know who is a writer, you might ask yourself: Have you thought about becoming a writer? Do you have writing skills you haven’t developed? If so, this dream perhaps is telling you that the profession would be attractive to you and that you would be competent at it! It is like your muse inviting you to this possibility.

If you actually know a writer in waking life that you think this dream symbol represents, you may want to pursue the relationship in real life if the person is available emotionally or otherwise. That person may have a lot to teach you about writing and life itself. The good news is that if this person is a jerk in waking life, or is married with three kids, or you are married, you can still nurture that wonderful energy by recognizing that it is part of you—you can value it by learning about the craft of writing, starting writing, and getting feedback on your writing. Your love will blossom to fruition with the development of a whole new aspect of yourself and you will have avoided a possibly disastrous relationship!