Dreaming of swimming over a dark depth always brings feelings of unknown dangers and uncertainty. This dream symbolism begs for clarity but that’s often hard to come by, especially online, since almost everyone with a keyboard seems to have a different interpretation of the meaning of water.
So, to help you out a bit, we thought we’d come up with ten or so interpretations of dreams involving swimming in dark water that are based on psychology and objective science as much as possible.
Hopefully, we’ll manage to shed at least some clarity on your questions about what does dark water in dreams mean with the following 10 common interpretations.
How to interpret dark water in dreams?
The most common interpretations of dark water in dreams are usually steeped in negativity. Whether it’s swimming and drowning under tall and dark ocean waves or trying to stay at the surface of a dark lake with its deceptive darkness underneath, such dreams often feel like nightmares even when there isn’t much actually happening in them.
What’s more, even though such dreams can often feel similar, there are some key differences that can lead to widely ranging symbolism and interpretations. Let’s go over the 10 most common ones.
1. You don’t feel safe in your surroundings – whether with good reasons or not
Probably the most standard meaning of a dark deep water swimming dream is that your psyche doesn’t perceive your surroundings and current environment as “safe”. Such perception may or may not be objectively correct, of course. Sometimes we feel perfectly fine in unsafe circumstances, other times we feel terrified in safe environments due to past trauma.
So, whether there is something genuinely “wrong” in your environment and current life circumstances or whether you have some past trauma that’s making you feel unsafe, having a dream about swimming in dark water indicates that you need to make some changes and either switch your environment or modify your perception of it.
2. You are not particularly trustful
Other common negative emotions that can lead to dreams about swimming in dark water are those of general distrust toward people. The folks we interact with on a daily basis are a part of our environment, after all, and are often the source of most of our adversities.
So, especially if you’ve been having some major family drama recently or you are working in a highly competitive professional field where you constantly have to interact with people you don’t trust, then it’s perfectly natural to start seeing more and more dark water in dreams.
3. You are afraid of betrayal
The more actively worse version of the above interpretation is that you have major fears of betrayal from someone close to you. In situations where you’re dealing with several people and you not only don’t know who to trust but fear or know that some of them are working against your interests, you will likely start experiencing nightmares of monstrous sea creatures swimming in the dark waters beneath you.
Such a situation can be the source of many sorrows, both through nightmares and in your waking life. Naturally, a nightmare of this sort should be a loud alarm bell and a major wake-up call for you, both literally and metaphorically.
4. You are at least a bit insecure
If the dreams you’ve been having have more to do with general anxiety and fear of swimming at night and/or in dark waters, another interpretation might be that you are just insecure about some aspects of your life.
This type of uncertainty isn’t as immediate of a concern as some of the other issues that can lead to dark water dreams nor does it necessarily require urgent measures. However, insecurity is also not exactly a positive or productive state to be in so you might want to look into it.
5. You are afraid of failure
The thing about dreaming of swimming in dark and/or turbulent water is that it shows a fear that you – quite literally – don’t have any ground to stand on. This is similar to fears of suddenly falling after walking on a seemingly hard surface – it betrays a fear of failure.
This is a pretty common fear, especially for those who are trying to achieve new and big things such as entrepreneurs, writers, and others. It can be the source of a lot of distress, however, so, if you’ve identified such fear and it’s major enough for you to have nightmares about it, talking it over with a trusted friend or a professional therapist might be a good idea.
6. You are afraid of drowning
For a more direct and obvious interpretation, a dream of swimming in dark and cold water, especially alone and at night, can simply mean that you are afraid of swimming and drowning. Identifying such fear is pretty simple, especially if you’ve just recently started to – or have been pushed to start – learn how to swim.
Whether you choose to stop trying to swim or try to overcome your fear is up to you but dreams related to this fear are perfectly normal.
7. Your thoughts and emotions have felt a bit too clouded and over-stressed recently
Another interpretation of middy water or dirty water in dreams is that your emotional state has itself been somewhat “muddy” as of late. When we feel that our emotions, thoughts, and judgment are clouded, unclear, and uncertain.
Such a dream can be easy to recognize if it involves you swimming through the dark water in search of something deep underneath or another person who was supposed to be with you. Another similar version of this dream has the dreamer swimming around in an attempt to get out of the lake, sea, or ocean, but is unable to find the right direction.
If you’ve been suffering from lots of stress and burnout lately, and you find that you have a hard time making decisions, a dream like that should be a clear sign that you need some rest.
8. There may be a few too many things you’ve been pressuring down into your subconscious
The next common symbolism of dark and murky water is that you’ve been pushing a lot of deep emotions away from your conscious mind lately. This is a common thing to do for people who are overworked and are under a lot of stress, or for those who don’t have close relationships with trusted people around them.
In cases like these, it’s very common to just bury some thoughts, feelings, and especially past trauma deep underneath. This isn’t exactly “healthy”, however, and a dream of swimming in dark water should show you that you need to let some steam out and face some of the emotions you’ve been trying to avoid. This is admittedly often difficult so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you have to.
9. You should consider whether you have depressive or suicidal tendencies
Probably the most unfortunate but sadly common interpretation of dark water in dreams is that you have severely depressive tendencies and maybe even suicidal ideations that go way beyond simple “negative thoughts”. Mental illness such as depression isn’t anything to joke about or be ashamed of but it is something that requires immediate action.
What’s especially terrifying about such dreams is that they sometimes don’t even include turbulent water or fear of danger. Instead, there is often dark but calm water that almost brings a feeling of tranquility and sadness masked as “comfort”.
Dreams like those are ones that should urge you to act as much as possible as they show that you are not only depressed but you’ve accepted that depression as your natural state of being.
10. You are looking for new beginnings
The one good interpretation of dark water in dreams that is occasionally true is that the dreamer’s relaxation at the prospect of transformation. That’s because dark water in dreams sometimes symbolizes fertility, pregnancy, belongings, and a mother’s womb.
The spirituality behind such dreams is also often associated with prosperity and passion and the dreamer also often dreams of clear water with waterfalls and the occasional water lily.
The way to make out such “positive” dark water dreams from the nightmares above is in whether the dream felt like a nightmare or left you energized and positive when you woke up. In the latter case, you just might be one of the lucky few who dreamed of swimming in dark water as a symbol of purification and rejuvenation.
In conclusion – what does dark water in dreams mean?
Dark water in dreams can have multiple possible interpretations for the dreamer but it almost always relates to strong emotions, pressure on your consciousness, and a desperate need and search for enlightenment.
Most such dreams are understandably negative but can be used as an incentive for positive change. In the rare cases that such a dream has a positive spin, it’s also a sign that you may want to change some things in your life.
All in all, dark water in dreams isn’t as strikingly nightmarish most of the time unless it involves drowning or a “fear of monsters” dynamic but even when it’s a mildly calm dream, it is still very significant and symbolic.