Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Dream symbols – Tsunamis and Monster Waves

tsunami.jpgYou are facing a killer wave, rushing at you like a moving mountain of water. You are fleeing from it, but you can’t escape and it crashes over you, pushing the air from your lungs and you surface from sleep terrified and gasping for breath.

This is a rather widespread experience in sleep dreams. I’ve heard versions of it from hundreds of dreamers. What’s going on here?
You could be dreaming of something that will blow up in your life with the emotional force of a rogue wave, even a tsunami. The dream may be a prompt to look at the kind of situations in your regular like that threaten to overwhelm you, and how you can better cope when those situations arise. This may lead you to shape a survival strategy that is simple as this: 
- Remember to breathe
- Let the storm wash over you
- Put yourself in a protective bubble
Then again, your dream of a killer wave could also be a psychic preview of a natural disaster. Many people shared dreams with me in advance of Hurricane Katrina and the terrible Asian Tsunami of December 2004 that appear to have been rather exact precognition of coming calamities. There is nothing strange about such premonitions. We are connected to all life on the planet, and mass events cast a shadow before them in the collective mind. Let’s notice that a dream of a tsunami – or any other natural disaster – may be both personal and transpersonal. It may symbolize overwhelming stress or emotional drama in your life and also
contain a vision or preview of an external event.
My current research into the evolution of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythic imagination has led me to think about another possible context of understanding for dreams of a giant wave. The author of The Lord of the Rings was haunted by a recurring dream that first came upon him in early childhood, of a great wave that overwhelms a whole country and hurls its people and cities into a rift in the earth. In a letter written near the end of his life, Tolkien said this about the “ineluctable Wave” that came upon him again and again:
I had the dreadful dream of the ineluctable Wave, either coming out of the quiet sea, or coming towering in over the green inlands. It still occurs occasionally, though now exorcised by writing about it. It always ends by surrender, and I awake gasping out of deep water
Tolkien became convinced that his dream of the Wave (note his upper case) came out of “ancestral memory” of the fall of Atlantis. He never managed to escape the Wave, and perhaps never tried, believing that the repeating dream had hurled him back across time to the scene of an actual cataclysmic event.
However, we are not condemned to go on being drowned or overwhelmed, in our dreams or in our lives. A dreamer with whom I have worked reported a very happy evolution in her initially terrifying dreams of a monster wave after she began to practice our Active Dreaming techniques, which include going back inside a scary dream – wide awake and conscious – and seeking to confront and resolve the fear on its own ground, which in this case is the flooded beach or the seabed. 
When she agreed to go back into a dream of being drowned by a killer wave, she found that she was able to imagine herself inside the protection of a glass bubble. As the wave crashed over her, her heart pounded but she was able to breathe. She stayed in this scene until the wave receded. Later, in a spontaneous night dream, she discovered – to her amazement and joy – that her dream self could actually catch the wave, and ride it. She carried the happy energy and poise from this dream into waking life situations that had previously overwhelmed her with a sea of emotion.
Even if we feel we can’t change the dream of the monster wave, we can learn from Tolkien to borrow its raw energy and apply it to creative work. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that with out his terrifying dreams of the “ineluctable Wave”, Tolkien might not have been driven to give the world his greatest work. You can read more about that here
  • Wanda Burch

    The sometimes dual nature of these dreams is worth considering for every dreamer, isn’t it. A woman in California shared her dream of the 2004 Tsunami in which she saw details of the actual events but in her dream she also saw her husband clinging for his life in the top of a tree where the great wave had taken him. This segment drew a scene from his future with a illness but also hinted at the breaking tsumami in their relationship together.
    Another dreamer dreamed of what she thought was a terrorist attack [after 9/11] in the Boston harbor, which presaged in exacting details a stroke months later.

  • Robert Moss

    Wanda – Your tsunami dream story is a good and sobering example of how a dream of catastrophe can have this dual nature, presenting elements that are both personal and transpersonal. It takes sensitivity and practice to gauge which side of that duality is the more pressing. The smart thing is always to explore both.

  • Azima Lila Forest

    I have heard many people tell of tsunami or other drowning dreams in which they struggle and struggle and finally give up, only to discover that they can breathe underwater. In working with these dreams, we have found that they often had to do with being able to deal with emotional or spiritual situations in waking dream that they previously felt they couldn’t. Surrender and live!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment JayBee

    I had a dream about massive rogue waves in the distance, even evolving into a tsunami like overflowing of the tide..but in the dream I am not scared but excited. The waves are in a distance from me and I have the desire to take pictures and remember it. When the waves come ashore, they are gentle and I am able to move away from the water. Again, no sense of fear, only excitement and amazed. I am wondering the significance in the emotion and how it corresponds to the meaning of the dream

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kathy

    i had this dream that me and my boyfriend were walking along the water front and a storm came up. people were all along the river walkinn with their friends family and children and these huge waves started coming over the walkway and people were being washed away. my boyfriend and i were on an upper level path and were running and the earth started to risea and fall. huge waves were coming up and we stopped and this wave came and the ground rose and when the ground went down the wave sucked us down. i watched the light at the top disappear as we got sucked down hundreds of feet and i started to breathe in the water. i was drowning and lost hold of my boyfriend. suddenly i was caterpolted back to the top and gasped for air and woke up from this awful dream what does this mean im so scared.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rasmus Weissfeld

    Back in 2003 I started getting into Lucid Dreaming. As a result I was writing down my dreams most mornings immediately after waking up. On December 22nd 2004 I had a dream that I entitled tsunamis and Noah’s ark. In my dream (not a lucid dream) I was walking around inside a big water pipe of some kind. The water was outside the water pipe and not inside as it normally would be. Suddenly the pipe started falling apart and water started coming into the pipe. I ran out of the pipe and over to some village which was nearby (I was in what looked like a third world country). I started yelling to people that that the water was coming and that everyone should crawl up into the trees. Then the water came. lots of it. While we were all in the trees we collectively started building some type of big boat from the branches of the trees. Then I woke up. 4 days later 250.000 people died in the tsunami.
    It was a very weird experience that started making me look into how future events might influence our dreams. My take on it is that a positive or negative emotion sends out a burst of energy. That energy is not restricted by time and space but does in fact travel a bit forward and a bit backwards in time. The bigger the burst the further back it can travel and the stronger the energy. When tens of millions of people all experience something terrible all at the same time they collectively sent out such a big burst of negative energy which then travels backwards in time where it can be picked up on by people on a subconscious level. If the burst of energy hits you while you are dreaming your subconscious might push it into your conscious mind and incorporate it into your dream.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Erika

    I just had a dream last night of a tsunami. Someone was telling me: a tsunami is coming. (I was always calm, but curious). I said: yes? show it to me. (and I remember every single detail). The person showed it to me. There were like 3 of them. But we pointed out the biger one. It was a huge one. But the shape was curious because it was like a triangle with the top cut like a trapezoid very defined and obviously with the turning of water with bubles like a wave.
    I have to repeat that I was not anxious. I was just thinking… ok… so lets start running and lets see how we solve it ! and then we found (I do not know who was the other person – looked like an islander – helper)a cement made ladder that is normally used to pass a bridge from one side to the other of a traffic street… but it didnt have the bridge..
    The ladder had 3 floors. When we were climbing it, the whole ladder tower started to move. At first, I thought it was because there was many people, but then, I realized that there were not that many… then I started analyzing what could that be and I found out that it was a result of the wind… was too strong, because the wave was closes and the wind was advising about it.
    I saw people on the third floor, the last one, which was an open concrete deck and as the tower was moving, I wasnt sure that was going to be the right one to stay in, because I thought that the tower was going to fall once it was hit by the wave. Then I asked the other person: lets see how the second floor is doing, so we can take a decision… and the second one looked better… It gave me a little one of confidence because I saw someone that I had spoke with before… but in the third one I had seen a friend… When I was between the third and the second one trying to take the right decision… my husband woke me up to get organized to work…
    I got a little frustrated because I wanted to be until the end of the story. I was not affraid. I just knew for fact that I was going to survive. When I woke up… I took a decision: I was going to stay on the third floor and if the wave was higher or stronger and I couldnt stay there… I was just going to swimm with the wave. I am a good swimmer.
    I am sorry for such a long story.. but if you have any comment, I really thank you. I am in florida. We are on September. Is the huracaine season yet. We, my husband and me, started driving to work and there was a huge black cloud… and the rain was very hard… it was very curious.
    Also, I am passing for a hard financial situation, and my family is also close to have it… and I am the only one who is going to be able to help them with that… and is going to be until the end… because the do not have a retirment plan.
    So as you wrote in your article, both situations can be the explanation for my dream.

  • mindylorrie

    i dreamt my baby was swept away by a flood while i held her in my arms .. the water was brown..noone wld tell me for days that she was dead.. my husband kept saying she is ok she is with someone.. then i found out she died.. in the dream i was crying uncontrollably.. what does it mean?

  • WilmaWonka

    My daughter has a recurrent nightmare. She describes it as a red wave-like entity but not water. She says its more like a pile of ants but not ants. She awakens sweating and crying with fear. She says she is terrified. Luckily, this only happens 2-3 times per year. I understand the wave and overwhelming translation but it’s not water so there’s no way I could help her relax and let it “wash” over her. Any suggestions?

  • Dreamzrreal

    I had a dream that I was with a crowd of people on a beach and lots of people were in the ocean surfing. I was in the ocean and after a bit we started getting massive waves (much the same as the firm perfect storm) and there was nothing I could do. I was engulfed with the wave but I was ok, I wasn’t gasping for breath or anything. I remember thinking that my holiday was over today. I came out of the ocean and walked up some cliffs where a massive wave came over me again and I remember thinking ‘where will it take me’ ‘will I fall down these cliffs’ I was ok with my thoughts. I was ok after the wave had passed. I met a lifeguard and I asked her ‘are there lifeguards on the beaches in Malibu and she said ‘no’. I thought that was strange. Then I woke up. Make of that what you will!

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