Dreams about sharks explained
Are you having dreams about sharks? Trying to understand their meaning and symbolism? Did you dream about a shark biting you?
If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place. That’s because this post is all about what it means when you dream about a shark.
As a psychology professor, I can’t tell you how many times this topic comes up during dream analysis discussions. Typically, it’s part of a broader conversation about the meaning of fish in dreams.
On this page, you will learn:
- The underlying meaning of sharks in dreams
- The spiritual meaning of sharks
- What dreams about sharks in the ocean means
- Why you dreamed about sharks in a swimming pool
- An analysis of shark dreams during pregnancy
- The meaning of sharks in the sky
- Shark attacks in dreams
- What shark bites mean in dreams
- Why shark teeth appear in dreams
- Catching or killing a shark explained
- The significance of shark sizes
- The color of different sharks
- What different types of sharks mean
Quick Background and bio
Before we dive too deep (no pun intended) you probably want to know what qualifies me to write this piece?
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Below, I’ve highlighted my credentials.
- I’m a licensed psychotherapist.
- I’m a board-certified clinical hypnotherapist.
- I hold a doctorate in psychology.
- I teach university-level courses in personality psychology.
In addition to the above, I’ve also received significant training on dream interpretation and hold a certificate in Jungian psychotherapy from The Zur Institute.
When you have time, you can read more about my background here.
That last bit of information regarding Jungian psychology is vital because it directly relates to why you’ve landed on this page – dream analysis.
What is Jungian psychology?
In a nutshell, Jungian psychology, often referred to as analytical psychology, is a branch of psychotherapy with origins linked to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
A trailblazer for his time, Jung infused elements of the individual self with spirituality.
Today, he is referred to by many as the Father of Psycho-Spirituality (Kilpatrick, 2006).
I’m sharing this with you because we’re going to assess shark dreams using concepts from Jung, mixed in with scientific research and lore.
Are you ready to learn more? Let’s jump right in!
What do dreams about sharks mean?
When you see a shark in your dream, think predator. In a primitive sense, your brain is wired to respond to sharks with fear.
And for a good reason.
Sharks are among the oldest creatures on the planet. They first appeared on the geologic timescale around 450 million years ago, at the beginning of the Silurian period of the Paleozoic era (Shark Savers, 2019).
We (meaning man) didn’t arrive on the scene until 66 million years later, giving sharks a 384 million year jump on us. Through adaptation, many are skilled hunters with strange abilities that researchers don’t fully understand.
An example of this can be found in the hammerhead shark; a fish that can sense the electrical fields generated by other animals. Other types of sharks have a powerful sense of smell with an ability to detect blood in the water from far away.
While your early ancestors may not have known about the science, they instinctively knew to keep their distance all the same.
Did you know the modern day tiger shark is considered an apex predator? It sure is. Apex predators are animals who are at the top of the food chain.
Spiritual Meaning of Sharks
History is replete with stories about sharks with many tales steeped in mythology. Here are a few examples:
- Some native Hawaiians consider sharks to be sacred, believing their eyeballs give them special visual powers.
- Many Native Indians believe sharks are a kind of spirit animal, sent to us from beyond to teach lessons about personal power and independence.
- Ancient druids believed sharks symbolized wisdom and intelligence.
- Pagans of the middle ages believed that sharks were a symbol of death.
Biblical Meaning of Sharks
If you are Christian, you may be curious about the biblical meaning of sharks. Here are a few examples:
- Some Christians believe that sharks represent the manifestation of the devil.
- Others believe sharks are water-based demons and therefore, unclean.
- In the metaphoric sense, several Christians have used sharks to symbolize the sinner who is still worthy of God’s graces. See Ephesians 4:7-16
Factors influencing shark symbolism
How you perceive sharks largely affects their meaning in your dreams. In other words, how you feel about them while you are awake crosses over to your subconscious while sleeping.
For example, does the sight of a great white shark scare the crap out of you? Do you think cow sharks are cute? Are you mesmerized by angelsharks?
Knowing your emotional response to these creatures will help determine what they mean in your dreams.
So, I encourage you right now to take a moment and ask yourself: How do I feel about sharks?
Shark Dreams Interpreted
Now, it’s time to explore the different ways sharks can manifest in dreams. Again, it’s super important to assess your reactions to these types of fish before assigning meaning.
In the psychological sense, dreams about sharks can represent something about your emotional state in the here and now. An example might be fear or uncertainty.
But they can also signify something positive, like being a survivor or moving past a dark and challenging period.
Finally, your cultural beliefs can also impact the meaning of dreams. For example, if you belong to a west coast Indian tribe, you may believe that seeing a shark close to shore is an omen for a hurricane or typhoon.
Here are several prevalent themes of sharks in dreams. Do any of these resonate?
Sharks in the ocean
If you have a dream about sharks swimming in the sea, it could symbolize the following:
- Feeling vulnerable to something that threatens your happiness.
- A subconscious fear around a decision you need to make.
- Fears about becoming emotionally or physically involved with a romantic interest.
- Worries that you are being set up for failure.
- Concerns that someone is after you and wants to do you harm.
- Anxiety around dying, usually accompanied by dreams about death.
What do sharks in a swimming pool mean?
If you had a dream about a shark (or sharks) in a swimming pool, there are multiple possible meanings.
Here is what it could mean:
- Worries about someone you love being in a vulnerable situation.
- Concerns about something unexpected happening.
- A subconscious fear of water.
- Deeply rooted fears about something from the past coming back to bite you.
- Anxiety around a planned trip or vacation.
- Apprehension about a toxic family member or close friend.
- Someone you are crushing on turning out to be dangerous.
- A belief that you don’t look good in a swimsuit and that others will “eat you alive” and humiliate you.
- A message from the unconscious suggesting you have a problem with alcohol [see alcohol and depression post].
- A threat to your happiness or the happiness of someone you love.
- A subconscious fear of success at work or school.
- Anxiety about money [see dreams about money]
What do shark dreams mean when you are pregnant?
Women who are pregnant sometimes have dreams about sharks.
If this theme is popping up while you are asleep, it could mean:
- Pregnancy worries and concerns over your baby’s health.
- A belief the wrong person impregnated you.
- Concerns that your baby will be overly aggressive.
- A secret wish that your child will be an alpha male.
- A worry that your baby will grow up to attack you.
- Symbolic of a difficult pregnancy.
- Worries that something or someone will devour your child’s happiness.
- An indication that your baby needs more protein.
What dreams about sharks in the sky means?
You may be having odd dreams about sharks appearing in the sky. Some people report seeing them swimming across the horizon or resting on a cloud.
Here is what these types of dreams might mean:
- Symbolic of spiritual growth because fish represent your spiritual side [see Pisces personality].
- Worries about flying or getting on a plane.
- A subconscious fear of heights or open spaces.
- A manifestation of anxiety about the future.
- A Mental reminder of a risk you are taking.
- Nervousness about the unknown, accompanied by a fear of embarrassment.
- Something exciting is missing from your life.
- The manifestation of an aggressive personality.
- A desire to be challenged either mentally or emotionally.
- A secret wish to be independent and single while in a relationship with another.
- A symbol that you need shark cartilage to combat joint problems.
What is the meaning of shark attack dreams?
Did a shark attack you in your dream? Did you see a big one, like from the movie Jaws, attack someone you love?
If so, your dream was extraordinary. Some cultures believe shark attack dreams are sent from the spirit world to warn us of pending danger.
Others believe when you dream about someone being attacked by a shark, like a family member or friend, it is a harbinger of death (Betts, Blair, & Black, 2012).
One thing is for sure – we know these types of dreams are rare and therefore deserve special consideration.
Here’s what it could mean:
- Deeply rooted fears about someone close to you being harmed.
- An emotional scar from the past that has resurfaced in the here and now.
- A manifestation of a specific phobia related to water or sea creatures.
- A feeling like someone is circling in on you and going for the kill.
- Anxiety around a sports competition and loss.
- You are afraid of being caught doing something wrong that may have terrible consequences.
- A mental projection from the subconscious linked to guilt about something you’ve done.
- Long held fears around feeling exposed or vulnerable to judgment.
- A foreboding symbol that a family member will soon die.
- You will be busted by your supervisor for lying.
- The subconscious manifestation of impostor syndrome.
What do shark teeth mean in dreams?
Did you see shark teeth in your dream? Was it a single tooth or an open jaw of teeth?
If the answer is yes, I have some good news for you. The ancients tell us that seeing shark teeth in dreams is almost always symbolic of something good.
Here is what it could mean:
- Encouragement from the deep recesses of your mind to lean into your psychic abilities.
- A conduit to channel supernatural powers.
- A sign that good luck is coming your way in the form of money, a new romance or a job.
- An indication that you should include the number three in your next lottery purchase because shark teeth have a triarchic shape.
- A powerful symbol that you will meet a water sign soon, like a Scorpio man.
- Your triumph over a threatening situation.
- Seeing one tooth means you are struggling with someone who has a sharp tongue.
- An open jaw of shark teeth symbolizes your victory over an enemy.
- A physical symbol of wisdom passed on from your spirit guide.
- A visual reminder to keep your promise to keep a secret.
- Worries that a first gay experience may be revealed.
What is the meaning of a shark bite in dreams?
Did you dream a shark bit you? Was your leg bitten off or perhaps your hand? After the attack, did you immediately wake up?
Whenever your mind produces imagery of a predator biting you, it is an indication of someone or something that you fear.
- A family member will betray your trust.
- Your partner will cheat on you.
- Getting caught cheating on your girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Being double-crossed at work by your boss or a coworker.
- A psychological replay of past trauma.
- Apprehension about some aspect of your personality being seen by others.
- Feeling vulnerable, particularly if the shark bites you in the bathtub.
- Subconscious anxiety around body weight and overeating.
What does it mean to dream about catching or killing a shark?
Did your dream involve catching a shark? Did you kill one with some type of device?
Many people experience this dream scenario. Should you experience this type of imagery, consider it a sign of good luck.
Here is what it could mean:
- Your victory over a health scare.
- A loved one is finally healing from something life- threatening.
- A spiritual symbol of strength and courage.
- A sign from the spirit world that something positive and life-changing is about to happen.
- A visual representation of your sexual energy.
- The projection of a fear you have overcome and conquered.
- Your ability to defeat an enemy.
Do Shark Sizes Mean Anything?
You may be wondering if the size of a shark means anything. According to some psychological constructs, it may.
Here is what it could mean:
- Large sharks symbolize significant life problems.
- Medium sharks represent short-term challenges.
- Small or tiny sharks suggest minor issues that been with you for a long time.
Shark Colors Explained
If you are like many dreamers, you probably saw different colors of sharks. But does this mean anything?
In the psycho-spiritual sense, the answer is yes.
Here is what it could mean:
- Blue sharks represent fear.
- Green sharks symbolize health.
- A yellow shark is symbolic of your soul.
- A black shark represents death or a dead person.
- Orange sharks represent life and energy.
- If you see a shark with green eyes, it’s a sign of wisdom.
- A blue-eyed shark symbolizes clarity and intelligence.
- Sharks that are grey relate to childhood fears.
- Sharks with black eyes are symbolic of evil.
What Do Different Kinds of Sharks Mean in Dreams?
There are more types of sharks in the oceans than I can list on this page. That said, the kind of shark you saw may hold meaning.
Here are some possibilities:
- Sand sharks symbolize someone smart and cunning in your life.
- Great white sharks represent a person or thing you genuinely fear.
- Bull sharks are symbolic of a bully or someone nasty.
- Hammerhead sharks are thematic of someone stubborn.
- Nurse sharks represent a caretaker (i.e., parents).
- Sandtiger sharks are symbolic of someone aggressive at work.
- Zebra sharks symbolize diverse thinking.
Other Shark Dream Meanings
Dream interpretation and analysis have always been subjective. In truth, nobody has a corner on precisely what any dream means.
When exploring your subconscious, I encourage you to look at the big picture and focus on themes. Remember, a dream can’t be taken literally.
For example, dreams about being chased or hiding often relate to anxiety and not a person.
That said, there are several possibilities to consider when focusing on shark dreams:
- Worries you have about the future.
- Concerns about the safety of someone you love.
- Fear about being in open water.
- Some aspect of your personality you don’t like.
- An addiction to a substance or behavior that you are struggling to overcome. Drugs, alcohol, and gambling are examples.
- A phobia about being bitten by an animal, like a rat (see what dreams about rats mean).
- A mental replay of a traumatic event from your past.
Why You Need A Dream Diary
The best way for you to understand your dreams is to keep a dream diary. Think of this as a tool that you can call on to quickly record imagery and events.
The diary you create can be as fancy or as basic as you’d like. Many people use a cheap notebook pad and a pen. In the final analysis, what the diary looks like doesn’t matter.
What you write inside, however, does.
In addition to keeping a diary, it may also help you to pick up a book related to dream symbolism.
I always encourage people to buy the Complete Dictionary of Dreams by Lennox (visit Amazon for price). This resource is packed with insights that you can use to decipher all the things you see in dreams.
Bringing It All Together
Dreams about sharks can be scary. But they can also be mesmerizing. Hopefully, the material shared on this page has helped you to see the different possibilities.
Remember, what you see in dreams is mostly influenced by how you perceive the object. Additionally, your emotional state should be factored into the equation.
Finally, taking certain types of medications can cause nightmares. Are you taking drugs?
Thanks for stopping by.
Betts, M., Blair, S., & Black, D. (2012). Perspectivism, Mortuary Symbolism, and Human-Shark Relationships on the Maritime Peninsula. American Antiquity, 621-645.
Kilpatrick, S. (2006). The Psychospiritual Clinician’s Handbook: Alternative Methods for Understanding and Treating Mental Disorders. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Press.
Shark Savers. (2019). 450 million years of sharks. Retrieved from Shark Savers: http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/biology/450-million-years-of-sharks1/
Main picture: Deposit photos. Others downloaded from Pixabay.com, Pexels.com and YouTube