"It is a most elusive fish. O fishy, fishy, fishy fish! That went wherever I did go." --Monty Python, The Meaning of Life
The meaning of dream fish may be somewhat hidden, but not quite as elusive as Monty Python's fish.
Looking at the symbolism of water may make the fish symbol less elusive. We looked at water in this article: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art365.asp
Whereas water itself generally symbolizes the emotions and fish as underwater creatures may be symbolic of emotions and intuition, they also have other meanings as well.
Fish have a rich mythological history. Normally the fish is associated with Christian mythology, with the fish standing in for Christ. It is interesting to me that Christ referred to himself as the "Alpha and the Omega" and the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil are also usually found in tandem with alpha-tocopherol! Do you suppose Christ had a sense of humor?
This funny observation aside, Christ is normally represented as the fish as a symbol of sacrifice, a nourishment of people in body, mind, and spirit. He is also symbolized as the fish due to the "ichthys" Greek acronym ICThUS: Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon, Sigma. Iesous Christos Theou Huious Soter--Jesus Christ God Son Saviour.
Christianity does not have a corner on the fish symbolism market, however. To the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Phoenicians fish were symbols of fertility. In Sumerian mythology, the god Ea had the body of a fish and tail of a goat which became ultimately morphed into the astrological symbol of Capricorn. Native American spirituality regards the fish as a being symbolic of deep, mystical insights due to its ability to swim into the depths of the unconscious. Chinese Feng Shui utilizes the gold fish as a prosperity symbol.
The Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology gives us the story of Fionn mac Cumhaill and the "Salmon of Wisdom". The salmon was an ordinary salmon transformed by eating nine hazelnuts that fell from nine hazelnut trees into the Fountain of Wisdom. Legend stated that whoever first ate of the flesh of the fish would gain all the wisdom of the world. A great wizard caught the fish and was cooking it when he was called away. The wizard asked the boy Fionn to watch the fish for him. While doing so, oil from the sizzling fish splattered on Fionn's finger. He instinctively put his burned finger into his mouth to cool and thus accidentally gained all the wisdom so many had actively sought.
Each of these myths eloquently demonstrate the meaning of dream fish. Fertility, emotions, wisdom, spirituality, intuition, insight--these are all associated with the dream fish. The myth of Fionn in particular reveals the Jungian thinking on fish symbolism--that they are usually associated with redemptive insights that can appear out of nowhere--insights that come from deep within the unconscious mind, unsought and unbidden.
Outside the realm of mythology fish have other more common meanings. These meanings can be found by looking at the activities of waking life fish. Check your dream for what kind of fish are appearing. Are the fish wild or pets?
Pet fish are kept in aquariums and are readily observed. The phrase "living in a fishbowl" means living a life that is afforded little privacy and under constant scrutiny. Does this adequately describe your current emotional state? If you are dreaming of pet fish or aquariums, look at the state of the tank. Is it clear or is the water murky? The condition of the tank will give you clues to your own emotional state as well as the state of your current home environment. If the fish are not being fed properly this can point to feelings of malnourished emotions, spiritual emptiness, or the ignorance of one's own intuition.
Wild fish swimming in schools can symbolize cooperation or familial harmony. A school of fish may also be a play on words for a learning experience.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: