Dreaming of a disaster is rarely fun but can always tell us a lot about our personal life, about potential emotional instability we’re facing, about fears for the near future, and more.
A dream about a calamity such as tidal waves sweeping over a city has way too many interpretations but deciphering the different meanings such dreams can have is as informative as it is fun.
So, let’s go over the 18 likely explanations for what does it mean when you dream about a tsunami.
A tsunami dream – here are 18 most common interpretations
A dream of a tsunami does tend to come with mostly negative connotations but you may be surprised that it’s sometimes pointing in a positive direction too. A tidal wave is a powerful symbol as is water itself.
The various dream interpretations we’ll list below vary a lot depending on your emotional state and current life circumstances which you know better than we do.
So, to help you figure out what’s the meaning of dreams about tsunamis in your case, we’ve broken down the following options into several categories based on the exact type and scenario of the dream.
You dreamed about a tsunami crashing over you while you were in the water
A dream about tsunami waves can have a different meaning as well as a different form. Most commonly, however, such dreams show the dreamer in the water, near the coastline, and with the giant wave bearing down on them from behind.
1. You may have a major fear of drowning
To get the most obvious interpretation first – a fear of being swallowed by the ocean usually just represents a crippling fear of drowning. The uncertainty inherent to learning how to swim is why a lot of common dreams have the dreamer struggling with tall waves and turbulent water.
It’s also common for tsunami dreams to be basically exaggerated replays of past painful memories of trying to swim as a child.
2. You may also be feeling like you’re drowning metaphorically in real-life problems
A different but also common symbolism of tsunami dreams is that the dreamer feels like drowning in emotional turmoil or a particular disturbance in their waking life. When we’re feeling burnt out at work or showered with issues, we often internalize those feelings with the sensation of being swallowed up by a deep dark ocean.
3. You feel chased by major issues you don’t think you can escape from
Many dreams of trying to swim to shore before a tsunami wave reaches you symbolize our desperate attempt to get away from an imminent disaster.
Such dreams are particularly depressive as they are usually accompanied by the terrifying realization that even if you reach the shore in your dream, the tsunami is still going to get you.
You dreamed about being chased by a tsunami on the shore
Another common alternative for giant tidal wave dreams portrays the dreamer on or near the beach, looking at the incoming tidal wave from dry land. Most such dreams have the dreamer try to run away from the wave, usually unsuccessfully, while in other dreams we simply stay put, resigned to our fate.
4. There have been a lot of significant changes in your life lately that you don’t feel you can handle well enough
The difference between trying to get away from a tsunami in the water and on dry land is that the latter usually feels slower and is steeped in much more anxiety rather than terror. This tends to indicate a general anxiousness over some aspects of your life that have been pestering and threatening you for a while rather than something incredibly urgent.
5. You feel like the very basis of your reality is being destroyed by some major life problems and changes
Another key aspect of facing a tsunami on land is that the huge tidal wave tends to sweep everything along its path. Such dreams usually show the dreamer the destructive force the tsunami has over their environment, showcasing a real-world fear that your life and environment are getting ruined by certain problems.
You dreamed about a tsunami from a safe distance
An interesting and rarer variation of this dream has the dreamer observing the cataclysmic even from afar. In such dreams, we watch the tsunami wave hit the coastline and the city on it without being directly physically affected by it, usually because we sit on a tall hill nearby.
6. You are introspective enough to observe your deeper feelings from afar
This interesting variation tends not to have a nightmarish feel but is rather calm instead. There tends to be an intrinsic fear in such a dream but that’s closer to awe rather than horror. So, the more accurate interpretation here would be that you are starting to pay attention to the emotional turmoil of your subconscious which is often expressed through deep ocean water in dreams.
7. There are things happening to people around you that you want to help out with but feel like you can’t
An interpretation that has more to do with the real world is that we are distraught about having to see family members, friends, and other people close to us suffer without being able to help them. Such a dream also has the dreamer observe a tsunami from afar but is steeped in much more despair and feelings of helplessness at the sight of the cataclysm.
You dreamed about struggling to swim on top of the tsunami
Drowning is one of the most common fears people have and it’s not surprising that nightmares about swimming in turbulent waters are common nightmares too. A dream about trying to swim on top of a tsunami wave is usually about more than just drowning, however, because of the significance of the wave itself.
8. You are attempting something risky and monumental
Instead of trying to swim away from a tsunami, some dreams have the dreamer swimming on a huge tidal wave, be it on a surfboard or not. The sensation of such a dream is usually an exuberant mix of terror and excitement which symbolizes the emotions of trying something new and different in your life such as a start-up.
9. You feel like your life is going out of control and you can’t stop it
A dream of tsunamis also often symbolizes overwhelming feelings that we struggle to control. Such a dream will also have the dreamer swimming or surfing on top of the waves almost as if in an attempt to stop and control them, usually to no effect.
You dreamed about successfully riding or surfing on a tsunami
A polar opposite of the above dream is the scenario of you successfully riding on top of a tsunami. This may feel like a surfer’s dream but it can happen to everyone from time to time, usually with very positive symbolism and implications.
10. You feel on top of the world in your waking life
A rare positive symbolism for a tidal wave dream is usually true when the dream has the dreamer ride the wave with ease. Such a dream tends to occur after the dreamer has just experienced an overly positive and long-awaited significant event in their life and they feel near-invincible.
11. You’ve been going through a lot of self-reflection and you feel like you finally understand yourself better
The emotional equivalent of the above symbolism usually takes a similar form – you are surfing or swimming on top of a tsunami with absolute ease. When such a dream symbolizes self-reflection and higher emotional intelligence, however, it’s usually calmer and with a more introspective view of the elements of water below the dreamer, symbolizing you rising above your hardships.
You dreamed about trying to outrun a tsunami
A different version of the “tsunami-hitting land” dream involves the dreamer not just facing the tsunami but actively attempting to run away or hide from it. Such dreams are usually extremely hectic and have a very mixed feeling, twisting and turning between a nightmare and excitement.
In many cases, the dream ends before it’s become clear whether or not you’ll manage to run away from the tidal wave, but in rare cases, the dreamer reaches safety before waking up.
12. You are trying to run away from your problems
There are dreams about being hit by a tsunami on land and then there are dreams about being chased by a giant wave as if it’s a horror movie villain. And the symbolism of the latter is indeed similar to that of a dream of a horror movie chase – it shows an attempt to run away from your negative feelings or the distress you’re experiencing in your real life.
13. You believe in the power of the conscious over the subconscious
Another alternative of this scenario has the dreamer successfully outrun a tsunami. The symbolism here usually points toward the perceived positive changes of the psyche triumphing over the issues the subconscious mind is struggling with. Whether such a triumph is really possible is a different question altogether.
You dreamed about going over the aftermath of a tsunami
A different kind of tsunami dream has the dreamer walking over the destruction caused by the flood and the huge waves. Such a dream doesn’t so much have the panic of many of the scenarios above but is rather steeped with depressive and dysphoric feelings.
14. Your emotional state feels in ruins
A slower and arguably even more depressive kind of nightmare, this dream has the dreamer walking over the ruins of what’s left of a tsunami coming to your hometown. The symbolism here usually is that you are so heavily buried in negative emotions that you feel entirely ruined. Such a dream tends to indicate severe depression that usually requires immediate professional help.
15. Your waking life itself feels devastated by recent events
The almost exact dream can also often indicate the dreamer’s depression with how devastated their real life has been feeling as of late, usually after a horrible event such as a death in the family.
16. You fear for the future
Such a dream can also be seen as a warning of incoming problems and impending trauma. Such tidal wave dreams are usually our intuition screaming at us that something is not right. A key detail in these dreams is the tidal wave being made out of dirty water.
You dreamed about a tsunami sinking your entire town or area
The inherent havoc involved in having the sweep of the ocean over dry land is often associated with intensity rather than peace yet the latter also happens sometimes. A rare variant of this dream has the dreamer swim through already-sunken cities and observe them through the tranquil lens of the ocean floor.
In such dreams, the nightmarish cataclysm has already passed and the dreamer has a chance to look upon their world and life in a different way.
17. You don’t feel like you recognize your own life anymore
The negative variant of a dream about swimming through a sunken city has to do with the worries and unhappiness of a sudden change of circumstances. Rapid life transformations are always distressing even if we have the rational understanding that they are for the better.
18. Your subconsciousness and deep emotions have taken hold of your life
For better or for worse, sometimes overwhelming emotions can take over our conscious mind and we start acting more on instinct and intuition than on rational conscious decisions. Even if you don’t think that’s good, however, the spiritual meaning of such a dream is seen as positive as it means that your subconscious mind feels at ease and in control.
In conclusion, what do tsunami dreams really mean?
Dreams about natural disasters such as a surge of earthquakes, a volcanic eruption, or a passing tsunami almost always signify either emotional or real-life turmoil and difficult times in general.
Giving a short summary of the meaning of a dream of a tsunami is pretty much impossible due to the huge variety such dreams can have but a proper interpretation should always be achieved through and accompanied by a lot of self-reflection.
From there, the next important step is to implement the life changes you deem necessary to fix whatever issue has been plaguing you.