Sunday, 13 March 2016

DREAM INTERPRETATION: Weapons & Violence in Dreams (Knives, Guns, Bombs etc)

I have previously written a very popular Blog post about knives and stabbings in dreams. This was inspired by the fact that I have experienced many knife/stabbings dreams throughout my life and then noticed that it seemed to be a very common/popular theme after doing some internet research on the topic. As a result I wrote an article about how to interpret knife/stabbing dreams, sourcing material from many different perspectives and cultural backgrounds. You can read the original article by clicking on this link - 'Interpreting popular dream themes (5) - Knives & Stabbing'.

For a more Freudian perspective on weapons and violence in dreams, you may wish to read my article 'All Sex and Violence: Freud's interpretation of dreams and evolutionary theory' and also 'Sex Symbols: An Introduction to Phallic & Yonic Dream Symbolism'.

The response to my initial article on knife and stabbing dreams was completely overwhelming. Not only is it the most searched for and viewed post on my Blog, but many people contact me every week asking me to interpret their knife/stabbing dreams. The majority of people asking me to interpret the dream experience anxiety or confusion about the dream and why it occurred; especially since quite often the 'victim' of the stabbing in the dream tends to be a loved one. 

I have always stated that dream interpretation must be a mixture of analysing the objective symbolism (knives objectively relate to violence of some kind in all cultures, although there may be other cultural meanings or associations), but also the subjective thoughts, emotions, memories or person associations that arise, not only from the specific symbol of the knife and act of stabbing, but also other elements of the 'manifest content' (the surface content, imagery and language of the dream), such as dream scene locations, dream characters, objects, dream speech etc. It is not as simple as saying X always means this; Y always means that. 

To some, a knife/stabbing may represent a specific memory of an event; for others it may have meaning which goes beyond the surface symbolism and has been transformed or changed (by the 'dream work') to mean something so complex to the dreamer that it would be impossible for an outsider to interpret without using a method of dream interpretation such as Freudian Psychoanalytic Technique (those readers who are familiar with my Blog will note the Freudian language I have been using in this article). Therefore, I thought that I would write a new article which covers some of the same ideas and information as the previous one, but in an updated form to reflect some of the questions and queries I have received from my readers/viewers as I really want to help them unlock the meaning of their dreams. I thought that I would also include other forms of violence and weapons which may be experienced in a dream.

  • Blades (General)
A blade generally indicates that the dreamer is making some important or difficult decisions in their waking life. You must be able to make clear distinctions between available choices and may be walking a 'thin line' and must balance aspects of your life carefully. 

It may represent the idea that a problem or issue in your waking life needs to be carved up; cut into smaller pieces in order to make it more manageable ir understandable. The symbol of the knife mainly relates to division or separation - this may be the desire of the dreamer (a wish to cut something out) or a fear/anxiety that they will become separated or cut off from someone or something. 

In some dream interpretations, a knife may symbolise sharp wit or a 'cutting tongue' - it might be that there is a reference to verbal aggression or someone who makes cutting remarks or judgements about the dreamer. It may be that these are traits of the dreamer themselves. Think about the common English language idioms 'to stick the knife in' or 'stab someone in the back' or 'get the knives out' - these all relate to notions that someone is being criticised or attacked in some way. 

Typically, the symbol of the knife will represent an aggressiveness, although not necessarily always in a negative context. The knife - which has the ability to penetrate - is usually perceived as being representative of the masculine. In some dream interpretations the knife may symbolise a relationship of control and oppression/threat - someone or something in a relationship is 'cutting you down' in some way. Alternatively the knife may be a sign that there is someone or something that you need to cut out of your waking life in order to improve a situation. 

These general meanings need to be analysed within the context of the dream and the other dream language/symbolism and themes; who else is in the dream? who do the dream characters represent or what do they symbolise? what other clues to meaning does the dream contain? These are all questions which need to be considered when attempting to solve the subjective meaning of a knife/stabbing dream.

Carrying a knife in a dream represents anger, aggression, emotional conflict, division and separation. There is something in the dreamer's waking life that needs to be cut out or get rid of. It may be that the dreamer needs to sever ties or end a certain relationship. The knife symbol may also indicate sexual tension or confrontation

A knife may symbolise a need to get everything out in the open - so problems in the dreamer's waking life can be successfully confronted. Because knives are used to cut, slice and penetrate, this symbol will also relate to a need to delve deeper into a matter in order to bring about greater understanding and resolution.
  • Observing a Knife
If the dreamer merely observes a knife in their dream, this refers to frustration, anger and aggression. It can reflect the dreamer's insecurity and need for protection or reassurance of some sort. 
  • Multiple Knives
A set of knives reflects inner turmoil and the fact that the dreamer is 'battling' with himself. The dreamer may be pushing himself to act in a manner which will cause pain to himself and those close to him, but is being inhibited by his mind.
  • Female Chased by a Man with a Knife
If the dreamer is female, dreaming of being chased by a man with a knife, this typically symbolises a fear that the dreamer will be dumped and become single - they perceive that they are struggling to keep their partner happy or failing at keeping the relationship happy and stable in some way. Alternatively, it may represent the woman's desire to avoid aggressive sexual advances - a fear of penetration and masculine power. A knife may symbolise sexual immaturity and a danger in allowing this to be acted on in an unrestrained manner
  • Males Dreaming of Knives
Male dreamers often dream of knives when facing conflict over opposing ideas and agendas. A knife is symbolic of a piercing mind and intellect - if sharp and able to easily slice/cut through objects. If blunt, it will represent the opposite - an inability to get through to the heart of the matter. The dreamer may not be using his critical mind to get to the truth or core of an issue affecting his waking life. If the knife seen in the dream is double-edged - it shows an ability to both attack (i.e. impose one's will on others) and defend.

Please note that I am not a fan of gendered dream meanings usually. I recognise that some dreams will be gendered by their nature - for example, a female may be more likely to dream of being pregnant or a mother, just by virtue of the fact that biologically only a female can experience these life events, although that does not suggest that a male might not dream about this themes. My issue with gendered dream interpretations is that they tend to focus on 'traditional' gender roles and generally, there has been progression in our understanding of sex/gender which contradicts a lot of these stereotypes or assumptions meaning that traditional interpretations are no longer credible or sustainable. Therefore, as with all information about dream interpretation which suggest a specific meaning can be placed onto dream themes and symbolism, the dreamer should take the 'objective' meaning of the dream as a starting point and then apply their own understanding and personal experience, rather than simply accepting the notion that there is only one meaning which applies to everyone.
  • Being Stabbed in a Dream
To dream of another person holding a knife represents a loss of control or power in a situation or relationship - the matter is out of the dreamer's hands and in control of someone else. It may be that the dreamer perceives this situation as harmful or threatening to their interests. The person holding the knife may be symbolic of a source of dominant masculine power in the dreamer's waking life. To dream of being stabbed symbolises the dreamer being wounded by someone's words or actions - particularly within a domestic scenario. 

A knife wound symbolises masculine or animalistic aggression and power

It may also represent feelings of guilt, shame and disgrace. The dreamer perceives that someone wants to see them lose or get hurt in some way. The dreamer may be placing themselves - or perceiving themselves to be - in a position where they are vulnerable and open to being victimised by someone or a situation in their waking life. 

Being attacked by many knives at the same time is indicative that the dreamer perceives himself to have many enemies or opponents and suggests a need to take pre-emptive action to protect oneself
  • Stabbing Another Person in a Dream
A dream of stabbing (the dreamer stabbing or the dreamer being stabbed by another) may indicate a struggle for power, inadequacy, betrayal or sudden shock

Dreaming of stabbing someone else represents the fact that the dreamer is taking out their anger or aggression on others. It may represent a desire to restore the dreamer's independence in a relationship or situation. It can also symbolise wanting to feel another's pain or know your actions are hurting them. The dreamer may also wish to take someone important away from someone else

Dreams of stabbing someone else are incredibly common and one of the main dream themes I am asked to interpret. If a dreamer wishes to understand why they are dreaming or have dreamt about stabbing someone else (or attacking them with a knife), they should consider the following:
  • Is this a dream character or a real-life person known to the dreamer? If it is a dream character, did this DC have any qualities/characteristics/traits which indicate who they symbolically represent? Focus on who the dream character may be and any personal associations linked to this person/a person in a certain role (such as a boss or authority figure for example)
  • If the person in the dream represents someone the dreamer can identify from their waking life, what are the dreamer's waking thoughts and feelings about the person they are stabbing/attacking with the knife? What is the state of the relationship with this person? Positive? Negative?
  • Does the dreamer have any actual memories or personal associations linked to knives? For example, a childhood accident? To give an odd analogy I always associate plastic knives with cream cheese - I cannot say why, but I assume that at some forgotten point in my life I used a plastic knife to spread cream cheese and this memory has endured, albeit in a vague form.
  • Cutting Yourself with a Knife
Cutting yourself with your own knife is symbolic of deception or disappointment. It may be that the dreamer is deceiving themselves and is aware of the fact and that confronting the truth of a matter may hurt them. 
  • Different Types of Knives/Stabbing/Cutting Dreams (Random)
Highly polished knives may indicate worry or anxiety. Giving a knife to someone as a gift symbolises the severing of a relationship with the person receiving the knife from the dreamer, or vice versa. If someone gives the dreamer a knife as a gift/present, it may mean that the dreamer perceives that person (the knife-giver) as someone who wants to sever their relationship or separate themselves from the dreamer in some way. Depending on who the knife-giver dream character is, and how the dreamer views them in waking life will determine whether this is experienced as positive or negative.

A broken blade indicates ambiguity, ambivalence or confusion regarding the waking life decision. The dreamer may have experienced counter-productive circumstances from their current actions. It may also symbolise the idea that anger is not the solution to problems - it is a warning to address waking situations calmly. Rusty knives represent dissatisfaction, domestic disputes and the separation of lovers - the relationship is perceived by the dreamer as being tarnished, ruined and useless or irreparable in some way.

A butter knife symbolises ease and simplicity. Attempting to cut something with a butter knife indicates ineffectual actions and difficulty in completing tasks. The dreamer is lacking some skill, knowledge or insight and may be embarrassed by their impotence or failure to perform. The butter knife may also symbolise the act of spreading something around; gossip/disease etc; or that the dreamer/someone represented in the dream is 'buttering someone up'.

A dull or blunt knife symbolises the fact that hard work will lead to little gain or a bad result. The dreamer is putting far too much effort into a waking life situation and is not getting enough success or reward to justify continuing to work at it or try to achieve what they are hoping for - consider adopting a new stance or technique, as the current approach is 'not cutting it'. The way they are handling a waking life problem - their coping mechanisms or methods are not fit for purpose. Another interpretation of a blunt knife is that the dreamer is aware or fears they may be unable to defend themselves adequately; it may be that they feel under attack in their waking life and subconsciously recognise that they are unprepared/unarmed and therefore unable to protect themselves. As Freud symbolised weapons - particularly those which are long, pointed and have the ability to penetrate flesh as represented the male phallus, a blunt knife which cannot cut or perform as it should may reflect the dreamer's fears of sexual impotence.

A knife grinder/sharpener represents a loss of freedom and autonomy, or additionally, a heightened desire for separation or conflict in the dreamer's waking life. The dreamer is preparing or improving their ability to face such conflict or strengthen their power against an enemy - sharpening their 'weapons' ready to tackle something they feel strongly about. Also, a knife grinder appearing in a dream may indicate that someone is taking liberties with the dreamer's personal possessions. If the dreamer is female, the symbol of the knife grinder represents unhappy union and drudgery. A dreamer who dreams of sharpening a knife may be facing sexual temptation or the instinct to cheat on a partner or friend.

Dreaming of a pocketknife represents the notion that a good friend is hiding his or her true feelings, or alternatively, confidence that the dreamer can deal with any problem which suddenly arises - they are armed and prepared. It may also be interpreted as a sign the dreamer is repressing or hiding a problem in his waking life - typically feelings of anger and resentment, given the typically aggressive meaning attributed to the symbol of the knife/blade.

A penknife represents hidden intentions (because it is usually associated with being hidden in a pocket and may be disguised as another item - i.e. with the blade folded away) to defend a permanent choice or decision in the dreamer's life. It can indicate preparedness to stand your ground or an inability to discuss your true feelings with others

A dream about an electric knife represents the dreamer's power to get down to the truth of a situation quickly and easily - it presents little work for the dreamer and they can slice through the peripheral/surface of something to get to the heart of the matter. 

A butcher's knife represents conflict which is severe, drastic or unsympathetic. A butcher's knife is usually bigger, sharper and more dangerous/brutal than a normal domestic one - it has to be able to go through flesh, sinew, muscle and bone. There is a problematic person in the dreamer's waking life (or a situation causing some problems to the dreamer) which requires the dreamer to give 100%, but does not offer any reward or anything in return. Someone wants the dreamer to fail. A butcher's knife may also symbolise unyielding beliefs or absolute unwillingness to compromise when dealing with such issues. The dreamer may fear that someone is out to get them, leaving them with nothing - or these actions on the part of the dreamer in relation to another person. A meat cleaver represents bravery and courageousness - and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong

Dreaming of being sliced by a knife during an operation is symbolic that something needs to be cut from the dreamer's waking life. The dreamer needs to make a drastic change or change their habits. If the dreamer is performing the operation on another, this means they are facing a deep problem or dealing with repressed issues. They are 'cutting away' the layers to reveal and deal with what lies beneath the surface.

Finding a knife in a dream represents luck and profit in the dreamer's waking life. To pick up a knife symbolises that the dreamer is facing some quarrel or dispute which needs to be addressed. A knife in a sheath or scabbard represent a buried or settled quarrel or problem. A knife on a covered table indicates to the dreamer that he can rely on his friends' loyalty, while a knife seen with other household appliances or objects symbolises an invitation of some sort. Losing a knife tends to indicate loss in business, assets of financial security.
  • Typical Islamic Interpretations of Knife Dreams
In many cultures, the knife is symbolic of survival, protection and retribution. Islamic interpretations of the symbol of the knife state that the knife is representative of the dreamer's servant, right-hand man or someone else who protects the dreamer's interests in some way. The sharpness of the knife represents the implementation of the dreamer's will. 

A knife entering a sheath - like in Freudian dream interpretations - would symbolise male penetration of a female. If a bachelor obtains a knife in a dream, it is a symbol that he is to soon be married or feels ready and prepared for marriage, whereas if a woman dreams of handing a knife to another woman, the knife symbolises the love interest of the dreamer - it may be the surrender of her claim to this person's heart

Swallowing a knife represents the idea that the dreamer will 'consume' or take some of their child's inheritance or resources intended for their offspring

Typically, in Islamic interpretations of the knife symbol, the knife will represent the dreamer's son. For example, some interpretations suggest that dreaming of stealing a knife indicates heightened love for a son over and above other children of the family, while dreaming that you have been given a knife as your sole weapon is indicative that you will have a son, or find some form of brotherhood with another male - particularly in situations of conflict. If a pregnant woman dreams of a knife, it symbolises that she will give birth to (or hopes to give birth to) a male child. Like a knife, a male is considered to be an asset to the household.

Lacerating your own hands with a knife in a dream suggests that the dreamer is to witness something spectacular in their waking life. Holding a knife means that finances are due to come to the dreamer, although if the knife is poor or deficient in some way, this may be less than expected or needed

A table knife represents someone who is lazy and cheats at their work, while using a table knife symbolises the fact that a project supported by the dreamer is void or will not come into fruition

Strangely, if a teacher or someone who has care and responsibility for children dreams of stealing a knife, Islamic interpretations suggest that this means the dreamer is sexually tempted by children and has desires to abuse a child in their care. I am not sure whether this is a particularly apt interpretation - it is extremely dangerous to link what is essentially an innocent dream experience (we should have no moral qualms or guilt associated with our dreams, as we are - unless lucid - not in control of what we dream of) with a very heinous and evil waking predisposition or propensity. Obviously, care should be taken when reading meanings into any dream. I am not an expert in Islamic dream interpretation, but include Islamic interpretations I have found (and cross-referenced) during my research for completeness and because many of my valued readers request the inclusion of this information. I do not endorse any particular interpretation, especially none which posit that all dreams can be interpreted according to objective and universal symbolism and meanings.

Islamic interpretation of the knife symbol also highlights the meanings of proof or evidence - the dreamer may require a witness to assist him in his 'testimony' or 'trials' - a sharp knife would indicate that this 'witness' will come up to proof, while a blunt knife means the opposite. To dream of a 'trial' where the dreamer carries a knife which is sheathed, indicates the dreamer will defend themselves perfectly by themselves, without the assistance of others. A knife sharpener represents a teacher of adroitness, sageness or skills - and additionally, the dignified bearer of adversity, sobriety or a decisive person. In the negative, it can symbolise a troublemaker or vile personality who possesses some of these traits. 
  • Freudian Interpretation of Knife/Stabbing Dreams
Freudian interpretation of a knife, blade - or anything sharp and pointed which can cut or penetrate - typically refers to the psycho-sexual and phallic, specifically the penis. The dreamer who dreams of objects with a sharp edge desire to rush headlong into instinctual action without restraint.
  • Daggers
Daggers tend to relate to ideas of sacrifice - consider who the dagger is pointing at. If it is pointing at the dreamer, it may mean that they will have to make a sacrifice or compromise in their waking life. If it is pointed at someone else in the dream, it may be that the dreamer perceives it necessary for this person to make the sacrifice. Like most weapon dreams, a dagger dream can be interpreted as a 'defence dream' or an 'attack dream' depending on the context.
  • Swords
A sword is a symbol of power and bravery, because we associate sword fights with knights/warriors and historical warfare. Fighting with a sword may therefore be a sign that the dreamer is fighting for some form of honour or 'cause' and is willing to stand up for that they believe in. Like all dreams about bladed weapons, the sword dream may be interpreted as a symbol of division and separation - the dreamer needs to consider if there is anything in their waking life they are trying to 'cut out'. Typically, due to the heroic associations, the sword is a positive dream symbol and may be linked to idealism and justice. If the sword is double-edged, this may reflect the fact that a situation has two sides to it; one may be positive and the other negative, although it may not be clear to the dreamer. There is also a competitiveness associated with swords - it is a sign of dominance and authority. If the dreamer dreams that their sword is taken from them by another, it may indicate that they are in a losing position in a particular waking 'battle' and may need to surrender.
Dreaming of a gun is a sign that the dreamer may be experiencing or feeling sexual aggression. Dreams about guns tend to be associated with violence, for obvious reasons, and the main interpretations being aggression, anger and perception/feelings of danger. The gun is a powerful symbol which can represent protection, attack or defence, depending on the context in which is appears in the dream. Gun dreams are often interpreted as reflecting potential conflicts of passiveness and aggressiveness; authority and dependence. The dreamer may be seeking shelter and protection, as symbolised by the image of the gun. A gun is symbolic of power and pride.

Freudian dream interpretation suggests that most weapons represent sexuality and sexual power. A gun being fired may be symbolised as ejaculation

Consider what type of gun is seen in the dream - is it an automatic/machine gun, which has the potential to spray rounds of ammunition without aim or focus? This may mean that the dreamer's anger is not directed at anyone, but had the potential to cause chaos in a general situation. Is it a revolver? Is there a situation in the dreamer's waking life where they feel something is repetitive or going round in circles? Is it a handgun/pistol and therefore easily concealed? Is it a shotgun and therefore associated with being pre-emptive? A smoking gun may be a sign of guilt. Here are some possible interpretations based on the type of gun which is observed in the dream:

A rifle  may represent a decision or action taken by the dreamer (or someone else represented in the dream) which is precise and targeted towards a certain outcome which was in that person's sights. The dreamer was aiming perfectly for a certain outcome. Whether the dreamer manages to successfully hit their target is symbolic of whether they achieve their aim. Seeing a rifle in a dream may also reflect the dreamer being specific in communicating a problem in their waking life. Therefore, on the whole, the rifle is seen as a positive dream symbol in this respect. 

A shotgun represents a decision or action which has the power to have long-lasting and significant consequences, either for the dreamer or another person. Typically, the shotgun will represent a decision which is dramatic and perhaps sudden and ill-conceived, hasty or unwise. A shotgun can deal with a problem - or react to it - in a single shot. If a 'bad person' (dream character) is holding a shotgun, it may be that they are acting in a way which is sabotaging the dreamer's situation. This meaning is even more relevant where the gun is a sawn-off shotgun. The shotgun may also symbolise the seeking of revenge.

A revolver symbolises the dreamer's awareness that they are faced with limited decisions or a lack of choice - they have few opportunities to act and may be under pressure.

A machine gun reflects a decision which decimates or wipes out all other options - it is an 'all or nothing' scenario which removes all other options. The dreamer may be cutting down all obstacles which block their way in a certain aspect of their waking life; and not letting anything affect or influence their decisions or choices. The dreamer may also be taking out all the competition which is in their path. The dreamer may also have a complete lack of awareness of the possible consequences of their actions because they are responding with instant anger and aggression, and not thinking through their actions - in effect, they are out of control in a particular area of their waking life. Therefore they are risking massive collateral damage. Dreaming of being attacked by a machine gun is symbolic of a fear that the dreamer will be overpowered by a situation, with multiple areas of their waking life being threatened at the same time. Decisions made by another person - who perhaps represents competition or opposition to the dreamer - have a massive impact on the dreamer and they are unable to adequately defend themselves from the fall-out. 

A handgun or pistol tends to reflect self-preservation and protection. The dreamer is trying to prevent change or influence (by another) over a waking decision or situation and is therefore exerting control and acting in defence.

Bullets/ammunition represent power or influence; inner strength or resistance. It may be that the dreamer has self belief i.e. 'emotional ammunition'. In a more negative context, bullets may represent a poor decision which has turned against the dreamer in some way. If the ammunition is stored in boxes, it may be that the dreamer has the necessary motivation, resources and reserves to confront a threatening situation, or may be a sign that the dreamer anticipates the danger of competition. Bullets and ammunition are also associated with the temptation posed by negative habits or emotions. Dreaming that someone else has bullets which could be fired at the dreamer may be a sign that the dreamer feels under threat and perceives (or knows) that someone has 'ammunition' against them.

  • Shooting Someone Else with a Gun
  • Shooting someone else with a gun may be a sign that the dreamer is hiding or repressing anger towards someone (symbolised by the dream character who is being shot at by the dreamer) in their waking life. By pointing a gun at another person, the dreamer may be blaming them for something - who is the dreamer 'gunning for'?

    Shooting someone else with a gun has been linked to the act of making a decision - 'biting the bullet'. Is the dreamer is shooting a 'bad person' it may be that they are making a decision in their waking life to overcome negative patterns of thinking or behaviour, whereas shooting a 'good person' may be a sign that the dreamer is succumbing or surrendering to something negative and making a poor waking life decision which has immoral implications.

  • Being Shot by Someone Else
  • Being shot by someone else in a dream may be a sign that other people are trying to help the dreamer make necessary changes in their waking life and the dreamer should place their trust in such people. The dreamer may feel victimised or singled out for some reason - it is possible that they are experiencing some form of confrontation in their waking life. 

    Being shot in a dream may represent the fact that the dreamer's waking life decisions have embarrassed them or failed in some way. A waking situation has turned on the dreamer as a result of a bad decision/choice - it may not necessarily be a decision or choice the dreamer had control over, it may be that someone else had acted in a way which has harmed the dreamer.

    If the dream character shooting at the dreamer misfires or fails to hit their target in some way, it is possible that the 'competition' or 'opposition' has failed to control the dreamer in an aspect of their waking life. 

    A 'bad person' with a gun is a symbol of negative personality traits or emotions that might control the dreamer's decision-making (i.e. fear, guilt, dishonesty, jealousy etc) or a bad situation which the dreamer fears could get out of control. In the alternative, a 'good person' with a gun represents the positive personality traits or emotions which may be governing a waking situation (i.e. courage, confidence, honesty etc).

    If the dreamer dies from a gun shot it may be that the dreamer has failed in some way and has been overpowered by another person or a situation out of their control. It is possible that the dreamer is feeling they have been excluded or been shut out from something.
    • Having a Gun Pointed at You
    If the dreamer has a gun pointed at them this may represent the fact that someone (whoever is represented by the dream character pointing the gun) is targeting the dreamer with negativity in their waking life.
    • Shooting Yourself with a Gun
    Dreaming of shooting yourself with a gun may represent the fact that you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in your waking life (consider the English idiom 'shooting yourself in the foot'). The dream may symbolise a need to reevaluate the dreamer's waking life in order to make some improvements. Accidentally shooting yourself with a gun is emblematic of 'screwing yourself over' or acting with oversight of some important factor or issue. The dreamer may feel they are not competent or responsible enough to handle the power they have been given over some aspect of their waking life. If the dreamer is shooting themselves on purpose it is reflective of a situation where they are self-imposing failure.
    • Witnessing a Shooting
    Witnessing a shooting may represent a shocking or sudden final decision being made - there is some form of change in process. It may be that something is being ended or terminated ruthlessly (consider what/who it is which is being shot at). Something is failing or being cancelled out and there may be a conflict of interests at the heart of a waking life situation.
    • Loading a Gun
    Loading a gun may be a sign that the dreamer needs to control their temper and are ready to defend themselves. The same interpretation is often given when gunpowder appears in the dream - there is the potential that events may 'blow up in the face of the dreamer' i.e. the dreamer's anger may backfire on them and have bad consequences. The dreamer is being warned that they need to be controlled and cautious. 
    • Gun Fails to Fire
    If a gun fails to fire or jams in some way this may mean that the dreamer feels powerless in a waking situation and may need to approach the situation from a different angle or perspective. The dreamer may not feel equipped to make an effective waking life decision or choice and may lack courage or will-power. A malfunctioning gun may also reveal fears of sexual impotence - or actual sexual impotence. This is because Freud associated weapons such as guns or knives with the penis (the male phallus).
    • Hiding a Gun
    Hiding a gun may be a symbol that the dreamer is repressing their anger.
    • Bombs
    A dream about a bomb may literally symbolise the fact that the dreamer is in a potential (or actual) waking life situation which is explosive (either emotionally or physically).

    A bomb may also symbolise a sudden shocking announcement or piece of news which has significant consequences. Think about the phrase 'dropping a bombshell'. Typically the symbol of the bomb in a dream will be linked - like all weapons - to aggression, violence, dominance, masculinity, threat, danger and sexuality. In popular culture sexy women are described as 'bombshells' and in the Freudian context, a bomb exploding is often linked to orgasm, which is an explosive climax. More that most other 'weapons' dreams, dreams about bombs symbolise vast and sudden changes which can happen out of the blue and for which the dreamer may be wholly unprepared. Of course, dreaming of bombs may also reflect waking fears about war, conflict, terrorism and a breakdown in order and harmony.

    If the dreamer is making a bomb it is likely that they are under enormous pressure and unable to find a solution, so are considering drastic and highly detrimental measures out of desperation and despair. The dreamer needs to remain calm and controlled and reassess the situation.

    A bomb threat can symbolise the anger, aggression and outbursts which the dreamer is repressing. These feelings are building up and coming to the surface and making the dreamer feel that they are about to explode. The dreamer is under pressure and needs to relieve some of the tension building in themselves. A timebomb would also have the same potential interpretation attached to it - think about the phrase 'ticking timebomb' - a threat is imminent and is causing panic and anxiety in the dreamer who knows that events have the potential to be explosive and destructive. The dreamer is anticipating the forthcoming and inevitable consequences of something they fear greatly.

    The dreamer may also feel threatened or terrorized by someone or something in their waking life. 

    Defusing a bomb is often a positive dream symbol as it shows that the dreamer is acting under immense pressure, but has maintained some degree of control and precision and been able to avoid the explosive consequences which the situation threatened. The dreamer may have figured out a way to avoid or diffuse a potentially volatile waking life situation effectively and has therefore been successful in solving a problem

    Seeking shelter from a bomb/a bomb shelter typically suggests that the dreamer is protecting themselves from the angry or explosive outbursts of another person or situation. In other interpretations, it may be symbolic of a secret the dreamer is keeping concealed for their own protection or the protection of another - by sheltering an emotion or thought, the dreamer is maintaining control and preventing an explosive response or devastation being caused.

    A nuclear/atomic bomb is representative of a fear that everything will be wiped out and destroyed - the dreamer lacks any form of control and feels unprotected and vulnerable in a grave situation.
    • Arrows
    Dreaming of arrows is commonly associated with emotion. If an arrow is fired at the dreamer it may mean that they have significant emotional investment in a relationship. This relationship may be targeted for some kind of special attention; the dreamer may want to 'heal' a relationship in some way. Due to mythology (Cupid/Eros), arrows are often linked to love. Again, like blades, an arrow would be considered to be a masculine symbol because of it's elongated, pointed shape and its ability to penetrate. Think also about the symbol for masculinity/maleness - it is an arrow shooting off from a circle. Some interpretations suggest that an arrow represents a need for the dreamer to trust their own instinct in order to move forward successfully. 
    • Darts
    Darts appearing in a dream can mean that the dreamer wants more out of life. It is considered to be a symbol of strength, and this is even more so if the dart seen in the dream is red. It may indicate that the dreamer is aware that they will come out on top of a certain waking situation as long as they aim properly and take their time, rather than acting in haste. Consider how darts tend to be used in real-life; they are thrown towards a dartboard - in order to hit the right target (i.e. a bullseye or other number on the board), the thrower must make judgments as to the distance and trajectory the arrow needs to fly. This is the same approach the dreamer should take towards waking life events. 

    Some dream interpretations suggest that a game of darts is an indication that the dreamer is finding a waking situation difficult, especially in relation to expectations.
    • Spears
    Spears also have a very Freudian interpretation due to their elongated, pointed shape and their ability to penetrate flesh - they are associated with the masculine and the phallic. Dreaming of throwing a spear may be a sign that the dreamers needs to get straight to the point - and may indicate sharpness of intellect. The throwing of the spear may be perceived as the dreamer asserting their will and power and may represent honour, directness, commitment and strength. In some dream interpretations, the symbol of the spear is representative of a primitive and animalistic aggression and power. If you dream of having a spear thrown at you, it may be a sign that the dreamer feels that someone has them singled out for attack in their waking life - they are being targeted in some way. 
    • Hammer
    A hammer is both a positive sign of creativity and building; but when used as a weapon, may be a symbol of destructive force. A hammer may be representative that the dreamer is searching for the right tools to equip them in a waking life situation. If the dreamer dreams that he is beating someone with a hammer, like many weapon dreams, this is a straightforward sign of aggression. It may be that the dreamer has the 'right tools' to express his aggression in a productive way; but alternatively, the dreamer may have chosen the wrong outlet for their anger and must evaluate their waking situation. If the dreamer dreams that someone else is hitting them with a hammer, it may be a sign that the dreamer is feeling guilty about something (we associate hammers with the gavel of a judge). The dreamer may have been responsible for 'building' a negative situation which has backfired in some way.
    • Poison
    A dream about poison may be symbolic of negative influences. If the dreamer dreams of poisoning someone else, it may indicate that the dreamer is aware that they are the negative influence and are leading another person astray in their waking life: consider whether there is the possibility that you are toxic to a person or situation. The dreamer should try to think about whether they are spreading unpleasantness or corruption
    Being poisoned by another may be a sign that the dreamer is aware or suspicious - at least on a subconscious level - that someone in their waking life is a toxic influence on them. What does the poison taste like? Is it bitter? The poison may represent negative emotions such as bitterness, jealousy or rivalry.

    Additionally, there may be a positive connotation read into a poisoning dream - if the dreamer dreams that they are poisoning their enemies it might mean that they are overcoming or defeating a problem without needing to 'get their hands dirty'. The dreamer is successfully removing something negative or undesirable from their life. If the dreamer poisons themselves, it may be that the are causing themselves harm by engaging in dangerous behaviours - therefore feeding on something damaging and toxic, figuratively speaking. Perhaps the dreamer is in a relationship which is unhealthy, or indulging in a problematic habit. 
    • Nunchucks
    Nunchucks tend to be associated with the dreamer's defensive stance in relation to something in their waking lives.
    • Catapult/Slingshot
    Catapults/slingshots may reflect a recent or imminent drastic change in the dreamer's waking life environment. It may be a sign that the dreamer has control over a waking life situation, or their own emotions. Dreaming of being launched from a catapult is a sign that the dreamer feels they are - or will be - moving forward in life very quickly, or being propelled into a new direction, situation or experience - the dreamer is on a 'fast track' to success and is feeling like there are no limits to their current life plans. The catapult, when used as a weapon by the dreamer is largely seen as a positive dream symbol.
    • Hanged by a Rope or Noose
    To dream of being hanged by the neck with a rope or noose of some kind represents insecurity and fear of being seen as a failure. The dreamer is anxious they will be embarrassed in some aspect of their waking life and is worried that their weaknesses or failures will be publicly exposed to others. The dreamer may be feeling insignificant, humiliated or publicly shamed in some way. The dreamer may be feeling dependent on others (or something) and lacking support - they can't get their feet on the ground or feel they have a solid foundation beneath them. The dreamer may also feel they are repressing or limiting their self expression in some way. 

    To dream of hanging someone else may be a sign that the dreamer is intentionally exposing another person's weaknesses or failures and rejoicing or taking some pleasure in their downfall. It may be a warning that the dreamer is acting maliciously or negatively towards the person represented by the hanged dream character. The dreamer wants to draw attention to the hanged person's inferiority or negative traits and is trying to eliminate or overpower their influence - with the attention of others. The dreamer is trying to seek some kind of glory by killing off another. An alternative interpretation is that the dreamer is under pressure - something has put a noose around their neck and is holding them captive.
    • Guillotine
    To dream of a guillotine is a sign of severance. It may be a sign that the dreamer is severed from their spirituality or beliefs (since the head is being severed from the rest of the body). Additionally, it may be a sign that the dreamer is feeling disconnected from another aspect of themselves or their waking life. A guillotine may also represent a loss of emotional control or irrationality ('losing one's head'). The dreamer may also be in fear of punishment for something they feel guilty about in their waking life. 
    • Electrocution/Electric Shock
    To dream of being electrocuted or given an electric shock is a sign of a sudden and drastic change in the dreamer's waking life. Electricity represents a powerful force which has both creative and destructive power. On another level, it is associated with sexual energy ('sparks flying') and therefore may be read as a sexual dream symbol. Electricity can temporarily paralyse - if the dreamer dreams of being electrocuted, it may be representative of the fact something is stunting them in their waking life - physically, emotionally, intellectually or financially. 
    • Being Hit by a Car or Vehicle
    The dreamer should consider what kind of vehicle is being used as a weapon within the context of the dream and what this vehicle represents. Typically, being hit by a car in a dream is a sign that the dreamer's lifestyle. goals or beliefs are in conflict with another person's. It may also reflect a 'jolting' experience the dreamer has experienced, which may have dented their pride in some way. If the dreamer dreams of running down another person with a car or vehicle, it may reflect an awareness that the dreamer needs to hurt someone else in order to move ahead and achieve their own goals. 
    • Whips
    Dreaming of being whipped represents punishment (the dreamer may be feeling guilty about something), abuse or unhappiness. The dreamer may feel that they are someone's 'whipping boy' - the person who takes all the punishment for another, whether justified or not. If the dreamer whips someone else it may reflect that the dreamer perceives that they are using someone else as their 'whipping boy'. The whip is a weapon of torture and abuse - who is torturing or abusing who? It may be a symbol of emotional punishment. Alternatively, the dreamer may be whipping themselves in a form of self-flagellation - they are punishing themselves for something. The whip is also a symbol of control - is the dreamer controlling someone else (by 'whipping them into submission') or being controlled ('under the whip')? The dreamer should also consider whether there is anything in their waking life which is enslaving them.
    • Truncheon, Baton or Cosh
    A truncheon, baton or cosh is a sign of authority, dominance, order and control - as these 'weapons' are typically associated with law enforcement/policing. Being beaten by a truncheon is a sign that the dreamer may be misbehaving or acting inappropriately in their waking life, but allowing others to take the blame or responsibility for their actions. Beating another with a truncheon is a sign that the dreamer needs to be more dominant and forceful with others.
    • Ninja Stars
    Ninja stars represent newness and creativity. The dreamer needs to confront something and find a solution to a waking problem. The dreamer needs to take direct action to remove something negative from their waking life, and possess the power to do so effectively.
    • Being Attacked by Animals
    Being attacked by animals which have been set onto the dreamer as a weapon can reflect animalistic anger and uncontrolled aggression. The dreamer may have a built up on pent-up anger/aggression which is likely to be unleashed uncontrollably or ferociously. The dream is reflecting the dreamer's primal instincts. The animals which are attacking the dreamer should be interpreted within the context of what that animal represents or what associations it holds for the dreamer. The animal may reflect people or situations in the dreamer's waking life, or aspects of themselves with which they are in conflict. The way in which the animal attacks the dreamer may also be highly relevant to the meaning of the dream. An attack by an animal may also reflect an overpowering or threatening situation.
    • Burned by Fire
    To dream of being burned by fire is emblematic of a waking situation which the dreamer can no longer ignore, because it is a 'burning issue' or 'burning them up' in some way. Something is causing the dreamer to become heated - it may be a situation with either aggressive or sexual overtones. Being burned alive may also indicate that the dreamer is victim to their 'burning ambition' or feels like they are being 'burned' by a waking situation or person who wants to embarrass or humiliate them. The dreamer may have experiences the long-term consequences of an unpleasant social situation and is anxious to avoid this situation being repeated - therefore, the dream may be serving as a reminder that last time the dreamer 'had their fingers burnt'. The dreamer may be 'feeling the heat' of a waking life situation which is threatening them or putting them under pressure in some way.

    To see someone else burned in a dream may reflect feelings of fiery, burning passion which the dreamer feels towards them, or the notion that this person deserves to be 'burned' or 'roasted' (i.e. shamed or humiliated) in some way. The dreamer might be sacrificing another person for their own gain. It may also be a sign that the dreamer is harshly or ruthlessly removing this person from their lives and 'burning their bridges' with regard to this relationship. 
    • Drowning in Water
    Dreaming of being drowned in water is a symbol of waking life pressures which are overwhelming and overpowering the dreamer, who may feel they are struggling for their own survival. Will they stay afloat? Will they sink or swim? The dreamer may feel they are 'in over their head' or 'in too deep' with regard to the waking situation. The waking life problem may be an emotional one, as water often relates to emotional states in dreams. The dreamer needs to keep their 'head above the water' and take control of the situation, facing reality. The waking life situation may also relate to relationships, responsibilities, social obligations or finances - the dreamer should consider what aspects of their waking life is causing them concern or anxiety and what pressures they are under which may be getting on top of them. If someone is holding the dreamer underwater the dreamer should consider who this dream character represents (or what element/aspect of themselves is being projected in the dream) and how this person/aspect of self is overwhelming or threatening them.
    • Cannon
    To dream of a cannon is representative of a potentially explosive or devastating action - direct action is being taken or needs to be taken. The dreamer is trying to defend themselves against attack or criticism, real or perceived, in their waking life. A cannon is usually used to defend a homestead - what is attacking the dreamer's safety and security? The dreamer may not be acting rationally or in a controlled way (they may be acting like a 'loose cannon'). Being shot out of a cannon is often perceived as having a phallic or sexual meaning, as Freud believed that the cannon represented the penis.
    • Being Thrown off a Building/Pushed from a Height
    To dream of being thrown off a building or pushed from a height may represent that the dreamer is being pushed into the realm of their subconscious - is something in their waking life forcing them to confront repressed thoughts, feelings, wishes or desires? The dreamer may be in the process of learning about their inner self on a deeper level. Additionally, being thrown or pushed from an elevated height may mean the dreamer fears failure or not succeeding in a particular waking task which is causing them anxiety. The dream may also mean that the dreamer is worried about losing a position of power or superiority (falling off their pedestal) - they are being brought down to earth by something or someone. If the dreamer dreams of throwing/pushing someone else from a height it is likely that this reflects the dreamer bringing another person down - removing them from a position of power
    • Stoning
    Dreaming of being stoned to death is symbolic of moral judgement or guilt - the dreamer may be feeling guilty about something, or anticipating punishment. Stoning someone else is symbolic of the dreamer's tendency to throw insults and blame at another - the dreamer concentrates on the flaws and failings of others, without looking towards his own shortcomings
    • Buried Alive
    Dreaming of being buried alive is a sign that the dreamer needs to let go of things which are causing him anxiety or fear - something is getting on top of the dreamer and they are being submerged under the weight of a waking situation or concern which they feel is trapping them. The dreamer has allowed a situation to build up around them which is threatening to destroy what they have. It may be a sign that the dreamer is aware - or fears - they are making some form of mistake in their waking life. Dreaming that they are dug out or rescued from their grave is thought to be representative that something will save the dreamer from their waking struggle or that they are aware that they will eventually succeed in rising to the surface and triumphing over what threatens to bury them. 

    Additionally, the dream may reflect a fear of death or the end of a relationship - this may be especially so if the dreamer dreams of burying someone else alive
    • Being Gassed/Poisoned by Gas
    Being gassed in a dream is thought to refer to a loss of emotional control - the dreamer's emotions are threatening to leak out and escape. Alternatively, it may mean that someone or something in the dreamer's waking life is having a noxious effect on their wellbeing or trapping them in some way. Gas is usually invisible - it may be a sign that the dreamer is unaware of exactly what is having the toxic effect on them - they are able to perceive the threat, but cannot see what it is. The dreamer may be anxious that someone is deceiving them.
    • Beaten with a Stick/Caned
    To be beaten by a stick/being caned represents a failure to fulfil expectations or obligations/promises or perhaps that the dreamer is lying to someone or themselves about something.  
    • Cut by Broken Glass
    To dream of being cut by broken glass has many meanings. Broken glass in a dream reflects shattered hopes dreams, relationships or promises - are any of these things 'cutting' the dreamer in his waking life i.e. hurting them or having a detrimental effect? Something is fragmented and may be having a harmful effect on the dreamer's emotional state. 
    • Grenades
    To throw a grenade in a dream is a symbol for pent-up anger and aggression - the dreamer should consider who/what they are throwing a grenade towards (is there a target?) or whether they are just throwing the grenade recklessly into a crowd or environment. The dreamer is unable to continue to repress emotions which are threatening to explode at any moment (the moment of impact). To dream of a grenade being thrown at you represents the obstacles others are putting in their path.

    • Punching/Using Fists
    Dreaming of punching or using your fists is a sign of aggression, which may be repressed - this is true whether the dreamer is the one punching or the one being punched - it may be that they are the source of anger and aggression or that these feelings are being directed at them from someone in their waking life. Being unable to throw a punch is a sign that the dreamer is feeling futile and powerless - they may be experiencing problems in defending or standing up for themselves in a waking-life fight of some sort. On a more positive note, the dreamer punching someone/something may be symbolic of the hidden power the dreamer possesses within themselves.
    • Kicking
    Dreaming of kicking may be symbolic of hasty actions - perhaps the dreamer is expressing anger or aggression in a hasty way without fully thinking through the potential consequences. It may be that a dream about kicking is a sign that the dreamer needs to slow down and reevaluate a waking situation before acting. 

    Again, like other dreams which involve the violent use of the body as a weapon, a kicking dream may refer to pent-up aggression which the dreamer feels unable to express in their waking life. 

    Alternatively, some interpretations suggest that a dream about kicking - particularly if it is the dreamer being kicked by another - is symbolic that the dreamer is fearful or anxious about strong competition they are faced with in their waking life. Being kicked may also refer to the fact the dreamer sees themselves as a victim and is feeling sorry for themselves. This would be especially true if the dreamer dreams of being kicked while on the ground.

    A kick may be a sign of motivation - something is kicking the dreamer into action. This would be a positive interpretation of a kicking dream, as would the notion of 'kicking someone into touch' or 'kicking a bad habit'. 
    • Biting
    Dreaming of biting someone else may be a sign that the dreamer is aware they are putting too much pressure on someone in their waking life. If the biting presents difficulty (i.e. the teeth are not sharp enough), perhaps the dreamer has bitten off more than they can chew with regard to a waking life situation. Consider who is being bitten and the waking life context in which they are involved. The dreamer who dreams of biting another may have repressed aggression which is childlike - or results from childhood sources - and requires attention.
    Dreaming of being bitten by another person reflects the dreamer's perceived vulnerability and also, unresolved emotions or insecurities
    • Wrestling or Boxing
    Wrestling or boxing in a dream is symbolic of a struggle in the dreamer's waking life. Typically, the person who wins at the wrestling/boxing will be the person the dreamer subconsciously perceives to have the stronger position in relation to the struggle - so if the dreamer loses at the wrestling or boxing, it may be a sign that they are likely to lose in the waking 'fight'. 

    In wrestling dreams, it may be that this is a symbol for the dreamer's wrestle with some aspect of their own identity or life - their opponent may reflect a projected fragment or part of themselves (with which they are wrestling or in conflict) and therefore special attention should be paid to the dream character or person with whom the dreamer finds themselves wrestling in the dream and what associations they make for this person. 

    In Freudian dream interpretation, wrestling is symbolic for the sexual act.  
    • Martial Arts/Kung Fu
    Martial arts or kung fu represents that the dreamer should re-direct their energies and focus them towards achieving their goals. It may be that there is an obstacle in the way of the dreamer succeeding at their long-term goals, and the dreamer must be prepared to dedicate themselves to overcome this. The dreamer needs to learn - or apply - discipline and control when dealing with a waking life challenge. Dreaming of using martial arts successfully against an enemy/opponent is a sign that the dreamer already possesses the required discipline and will power, while if the dreamer has martial arts used against them, it may indicate that they lack discipline and control and are not focused. Dreaming of martial arts may also be a sign that the dreamer has achieved balance in their waking life - or perhaps needs to work on achieving this balance, depending on the context of the dream and whether the dreamer is using martial arts/kung fu skills competently against another, or having martial arts/kung fu used against them by others. 
    • Experiencing Strangulation/Suffocation
    Dreaming of strangulation or suffocation (or being asphyxiated/smothered in some way) is actually quite a common dream theme. Dreaming of being suffocated may simply be a sign that the dreamer is under too much pressure in their waking life. Dreaming of being strangled may be symbol that something is preventing the dreamer from thriving and developing (perhaps creatively, intellectually or emotionally) - something is cutting off their oxygen and draining the life from them in some respect - the dreamer should consider if someone or something is having this effect on them in their waking life: what is stifling the dreamer? There may be something in the dreamer's waking life which is causing them to feel overwhelmed and powerless - consider who it is in the dream who is doing the strangling or suffocation. It may also be that a dreamer dreams of strangulation or suffocation because they suffer from actual breathing difficulties while asleep - often physical sensations which occur in a dream may have some real-life source. 

    Dreaming of strangling/suffocating another person may be a sign that you need to remove this person from your life, or at least address what behaviour/actions this person represents. The dreamer is 'killing off' something negative. Consider who the victim is and what associations you make with regard to them. The strangled/suffocated person may also represent an aspect or element of the dreamer themselves - one which is not being given an opportunity to breath and thrive. 

    Strangulation and suffocation is often linked to emotional restrictiveness: something is holding the dreamer back from expressing part of their identity. This aspect of self might be reflected in the dream character who the dreamer is strangling/suffocating. 

    Strangulation/suffocation dreams are also linked with the voice and speech - is the dreamer being prevented from speaking out about something, or voicing an opinion, thought, feeling/emotion, or desire? Is the dreamer afraid to speak out? Is someone trying to silence the dreamer, or alternatively, is the dreamer trying to silence someone else? 

    Have you had a violent dream about a weapon not featured in this article? Leave me a comment below and I will update the post to include any popular choices which I have failed to include in my original version.


    1. What does it mean when you are just talking to someone and you dream that they randomly stab you in the bottom of your spine right above your buttocks with a screwdriver

    2. I've had repeated dreams where I beat random classmates up. I wouldn't say I beat them to death, but I am definitely not empathetic at the time and I'm very angry. Nobody tries to stop me in these dreams and i'm unafraid of any consequences. Thoughts?

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    4. My boyfriend had a dream the Devil was slicing or stabbing him what does that mean