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Dreams about sharks arise from a lurking threat

Photo illustration of surfer being chased by a great white shark

The shark is one of the most ferocious creatures on earth, and occasionally deadly. It carries this reputation, which means most dreams about sharks don’t have a positive meaning. I have found this type of dream to be a reflection of my emotional state, my emotional struggles or whatever I have been feeling or thinking about before bed.

Common types of shark dreams

It is generally a bad sign if a shark is trying to eat you in a dream. Your dream can be an indication you have become emotional or overwhelmed by something. You might also be on the verge of experiencing major life changes.

Dream of a shark attack

If you dream of being attacked by a shark, be careful. This could represent misfortune or danger, such as an illness or accidents at work or home resulting from careless habits. If the shark circles you before the attack, it could mean you feel trapped by professional or personal circumstances and have no idea what to do.

Great white shark circling a shark cage
© Alban | Creative Commons

Professional circumstances

Perhaps you are unhappy in your job, but inertia prevents you from proactively making a change, and your job performance is suffering as a result.

Dreams of sharks biting off your arms or hands represent attacks from hostile co-workers. They might have teamed up to make you look incompetent to your boss.

Your co-workers may be sabotaging you to help ensure you make a mistake or intentionally keep you uninformed. The sharks are an indication you need to be careful at work to protect your job.

Personal circumstances

You may have told someone in your life you are not interested in romance, but are being pursued anyway. Or you may be concerned about ending a relationship you were not ready for, with someone who has deep feelings for you. Or maybe you’re just having issues in a relationship because you feel trapped.

Woman looking unhappy in her relationship
If a shark is circling in your dream, it could mean you feel trapped in a relationship.

You are the shark

If you are the shark in a dream and are attacking someone, you may need to be concerned. This represents your relationship with the people in your life. You may believe they are taking unfair advantage of you, or your actions are doing the same to them.

You may be receiving a clear message to be more assertive in your relationships.

Sharks in an aquarium

Whale shark in an aquarium with a woman watching from the other side of the glass

If the sharks are in an aquarium, your dream is telling you significant changes in your life are on the way. If only one shark is swimming, your dream may indicate the future will bring you a new romance.

Shark-filled sea

If your dream consists of a sea filled with sharks, that’s a warning. Your dream is telling you not to trust anyone. If the sharks in your dream are in clear water, consider your dream a bad sign. This is an indication you are not aware about something in your life that carries great importance. You may not realize you are in danger, or your actions have placed you in harm’s way. This type of dream generally means you are entering a difficult phase of your life.

Catching or killing a shark

If your dream involves catching a shark, it’s usually a good omen. This indicates that a problem you have had for a long time will be resolved, or you will receive good news. If you catch the shark and kill it in your dream, this means you are going to be victorious. You are most likely reaching the end of a difficult situation and your dream is telling you it is time to relax.

Dreams involving a shark’s fin

Shark fin sticking out of the water

When you see a shark’s fin in your dream, something is being revealed about you. This can mean you trust too easily or are naive. Your dream may indicate that some of your friends are not worthy of your trust.

Chased by sharks

If you are being chased by sharks in the water, you are probably feeling traumatized by a past event. The water represents the need to escape from your emotions.

If you clearly saw the teeth of the shark, your dream is also positive. A shark’s tooth is believed to be lucky. Many people wear a tooth for protection against bad luck, such as sailors and surfers who wear them for protection from the sea.

Being rammed by a shark

If you are diving or on a boat with a shark heading towards you at top speed, you are in danger. Misfortune is possible.

Eaten whole by a shark

This dream indicates you are helpless in your current circumstances. You need to use creativity to extricate yourself and move forward with your life.

Riding a shark

Photo illustration of a man in equestrian gear riding a shark

When you ride a shark in your dream, you have the power to overcome difficult events. Any issues you are experiencing can be conquered. To win, you need to gain control—either over other people, or over your own anger.

Meaning of a shark dream while pregnant

If you are pregnant and dreaming about sharks, there are you possibilities for what it means. They include:

  • Your secret desire is giving birth to an alpha male
  • You believe you were impregnated by the wrong person
  • You are concerned about the health of your baby
  • You are concerned your baby’s happiness will be taken away
  • You are afraid your baby will be too aggressive
  • You are having a difficult pregnancy

Dreaming about different types of sharks

The type of shark in your dream is just as important as the water. Calm or rough waters are linked to the state of your emotions. In my dreams, the consistency of the water represents how I am feeling. The type of shark can represent a number of things:

Great white shark

Dreaming of a great white shark is very common. According to research, half of all shark dreams feature this creature. I believe this is due to the great whites frequent appearances in media such as movies, books and TV.

Huge great white shark

This dream often means your emotions are on the verge of becoming troubled, or you are nervous about something you are experiencing. If you are nervous before you go to bed, the great white shark dream can be quite common. If the great white shark is attacking you, you may be searching for a way to overcome recent troubles.

Giant sharks

Dreaming about a giant shark is not a good sign. This is usually a warning regarding an upcoming danger in your life. What you experience can completely change your life. Your dream is telling you to be extremely careful.

Hammerhead sharks

You will know if the shark in your dream is a hammerhead because of its distinctive T-shaped head. This dream is an indication that you are fearful about how a person close to you will react.

Dead shark

Man with a dead shark on a jetty

If there is a dead shark in your dream, you are most likely experiencing some type of relief. The attention you have devoted to something for a long period might now be diverting to something else. A difficult situation may come to an end. A dead shark can be a symbol of good things in your life coming closer.

Baby sharks

A baby shark in your dream is generally six to 12 feet in length. If you are dreaming of baby sharks, you’ve taken an immature approach to a particular matter, which has brought about a bad reaction. Your emotional state is linked to your dream. To smooth out issues before they grow more serious, you should speak with the person or people involved.

Shark symbolism

The meaning of your shark dream could be related to danger, aggression, impulsiveness, power, instability, anger, vulnerability, or issues with control. A shark in a dream can be an indication that someone is threatening you and protection against a possible attack is required. The danger may be in your surroundings or environment, foul play, deceit or your enemies.

Sinister shark in dark water
Most, but not all, shark dreams carry sinister meanings.

Dreams of sharks can occasionally be positive. If they correspond with an increase in your confidence, then take them as encouragement to chase your dreams. (Not your shark dreams, your other ones!) Remember that you’ll need to take action to reach your goals.

Sharks can signal advancement or opportunities, with a warning to not let someone else steal your glory.

The meanings of shark dreams vary, but the most common shark symbolism involves aggression, deception and ruthlessness. They most frequently evoke fear and feelings of vulnerability.

Spiritual and biblical shark meanings

Sharks are prevalent in mythology. A shark dream to many Indigenous people is the representation of a spirit animal. They believe sharks are messengers from beyond, sent to instruct about independence and power. Some Hawaiians believe the shark is sacred and carries special visual powers with its eyes. During the Middle Ages, pagans believed sharks symbolized death. These fish were symbols of intelligence and wisdom to the ancient druids.

Shark with very penetrating eyes
Those eyes! Some cultures believe they have a sort of superpower.

Sharks also have biblical meanings. You may be familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale. Well, that might not have been a whale. The original Hebrew text does not specify whale, but merely “big fish” or “great fish.” A shark is more likely to eat a man than a whale. Some Christians believe sharks to be water demons, and unclean. Others believe they represent the devil. Metaphorically, Christians sometimes use sharks as symbols of sinners who ought to seek the grace of God.

Final thoughts on shark dreams

Dreams about sharks can have a variety of meanings, depending on the specifics of your dream. The type of shark, water, and the environment are revealing, as are the actions of the shark. I recommend writing down your dreams when you first wake to ensure you remember the smallest—and often most important—details.

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