- Tidal waves have enormous power. In dreams, the power of the wave represents valuable energy in you that needs expression.
Tidal Wave Dreams, Revisited
by Jenny Davidow
Copyright 2012. Please reprint only with author name and live link back to this blog.
Of all the posts I’ve written in the last two years, this post is the most read and most “searched.” Why do tidal waves have such a powerful impact on our subconscious? Is there some kind of primal force or symbolism at work here? Read on, and let me know what you think!
Suppose there’s a huge tidal wave coming toward you. The moving wall of water is so large, you can’t ignore it. It is moving so fast, you can’t out-run it. Suddenly you feel alone and very small, paralyzed on the shore.
But what if you could go deeper into this dream or nightmare, and discover what the tidal wave has to say to you? The meaning of the dream is hidden inside the symbol of the tidal wave, and in the opposition of the large and powerful wave to the small and powerless dreamer.
When I help a dreamer explore a tidal wave dream, I ask the dreamer to imagine being in the dream again — and then switch perspectives, to step into the “tidal wave” as a symbol. This step is the beginning of a process I developed and named the Inner Dialogue. By speaking as the “tidal wave,” the dreamer gets to the deeper layer of subconscious meaning. The process is spontaneous and not something you would normally think to do. But switching perspectives always reveals much more than what the dreamer consciously thought he or she understood.
Here is an example of what a tidal wave might have to say in the Inner Dialogue:
I’m an angry wave. I’ve gotten bigger and bigger over time. I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of being “shored up.” Now I’m going toward the dreamer, so fast she can’t escape me.
What I want to say to the dreamer is: I’m angry because you have ignored me for a long time. You think I’ll just stay in the boundaries of the ocean and not come onto land where you are. I’m sick of being shored up by you. Now you’re going to feel the full force of me.
At this point, some people would argue, “This is not an energy I want to get to know.” But even when a dream symbol comes dressed in a scary wrapping, its energy has value and offers a larger awareness or perspective to the dreamer.
Inner Dialogue allows the dreamer and another symbol to communicate with each other, as if still in the dream. Right away, when the tidal wave addresses the dreamer, you can detect how angry it is at being ignored and expected to “stay in the boundaries.”
More is revealed when the dreamer takes her turn to speak to the wave:
I am the Dreamer. I feel very small and powerless.
What I want to say to the Wave is: I’m paralyzed with fear, looking at you, Wave, coming toward me so fast. I am sure you’re going to crush me beneath your enormous mass. There’s nothing I can do.
Even a common symbol or dream, like this tidal wave dream, has very personal information embedded in it. Every dream is like a letter from your wise self, telling you what you need to know so you can have better balance between your head and heart, your logical and intuitive abilities.
Every detail of a dream is an important clue, pointing you toward the meanings that will give you surprising insights and new awareness of what has been going on inside you. I have found that dreamers react to these insights with relief and recognition.
Notice that puns and slang expressions give clues too: “I’m an angry wave. I’m tired of being shored up.”
Translating the Dream Metaphor
To translate the metaphor of the tidal wave in this dream, I took the details and wording of the wave’s dialogue and then posed it as an open-ended question to the dreamer:
Is there a way in which you feel angry, ignored, and expected to stay in certain boundaries?
The dreamer in this example had an immediate reaction. Before now, she had only identified with her “dream self,” feeling powerless and small in the face of this angry wave. But when asked if something in her felt angry, ignored, and expected to behave a certain way, she easily recognized herself.
There’s a way in which I stop my anger, my assertiveness.
I’m afraid of ‘making waves.’
I feel I have to be ‘nice.’ But then I get ignored.
In a very short time, the dreamer had touched on the core of a hidden problem, an inner conflict that had produced her tidal wave dream. When she shored up or stopped her assertiveness and anger, she disconnected with an important part of herself. The huge energy of the wave is also her energy, I told her. It is a natural part of her, a beautiful part of her, and part of the whole of who she is.
The wave had been angry because it felt ignored by her. Surprisingly, under the scary wrapping, the energy of the wave could be experienced as something positive. On a certain level, the wave was actually seeking out (chasing after) the dreamer in order to restore balance. It rushed toward her, wanting to reconnect with her.
I reminded her,
The energy of every dream symbol is also your energy. That wave’s power is yours too.
Can you imagine having even a few drops of that wave’s power inside of you?
If you had a little bit of that wave’s power and used it in your life, what would change?
She answered in a firm voice,
I’d “make waves.” I’d tell people how I feel, assert myself rather than let people push me around.
Dreams want to change. They point out imbalance. Through Inner Dialogue, we have the opportunity to reclaim the energy that has been split off from our conscious awareness. We can turn toward the energy that seemed at first foreign to us, fearsome or destructive. We find, when we dialogue with any symbol, that it has something of value to offer us. We discover strength and beauty where we hadn’t expected it — in ourselves.
In the last part of the Inner Dialogue, I invite the dreamer to turn her insight into action. She thinks of some current situations in her life where a few drops of the tidal wave’s energy would help her.
She imagines and senses the tidal wave energy inside of her in those previously difficult situations. Now the tidal wave is giving her the strength to stand tall, to move forward and be true to herself — even if it means “making waves.”
A remarkable characteristic of dreams is that they are very fluid. Once you understand a dream and translate its message into a constructive action you can take, the dream changes. The energy stuck in a repeating symbol or recurring nightmare, like the tidal wave, is now free to morph into something new.
In later dreams, the dreamer may find herself riding a wave with great pleasure. Or she may discover new dream symbols appear in place of the wave — perhaps friendly horses and other animals that represent this energy which she now values as an essential part of herself.
Have you had a tidal wave dream? Or a dream that brought up similar feelings? Read Jenny’s comments on readers’ tidal wave dreams here.
What do a tidal wave and a speeding train have in common? Read more…
Whether you’ve experienced a tidal wave dream or not,
I invite you to share what this post has evoked in you.
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I look forward to hearing from you.
Copyright (C) 2015 by Jenny Davidow
For more information about the Inner Dialogue, a method I developed to work with dreams and subconscious images, please visit my website, www.JennyDavidow.com.
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