Of all the things you could dream about, one of the most distressing involves dead fish. Imagine looking into the vast space in front of you, and all you see are decomposing dead fish. If the sight is not enough to make you sick, the smell will be enough to turn your stomach. Unsurprisingly, people are puzzled, if not outright disturbed, when they wake up from a dream featuring dead fish.
Read the extensive and nuanced post below to fully understand dead fish dream meaning.
What Does A Dead Fish Symbolize?
We must first understand what a live fish symbolizes to answer this question. Fish, of course, live in water, the universal symbol for positive and negative human emotions. It will not be a stretch to say that our emotions are what define us as human beings. While there’s a lot to celebrate about the human capacity to reason, analyze, plan, and execute, much of what gives life flavor, depth, and meaning turns on our emotions.
It’s one thing to figure out how to do things and what goes into certain things, but how we feel about them gives us a sense of why we do them in the first place. Fish symbolically connects with all these realities, and to see a dead version of that animal brings to mind strong emotions, worries about health, and a deep sense of loss. On the flip side, dead fish can symbolize the hope for return, renewal, and rebirth after all is lost.
In this context, dead fish can indicate either a search for or discovering new meaning after everything has seemingly gone away. This is only possible because the dead fish also represents a call or a reconnection with one’s sense of creativity. Just as we can create things outside of us through our choices, tools, and resources, we can also recreate to a certain extent inside by simply changing our minds, getting in touch with our feelings, and permitting ourselves to look at the world differently.
These, too, are forms of creativity. And when we walk through that door, it is not a surprise to learn that dead fish can also symbolize an abundance of opportunities. It’s as if opportunities have always surrounded us, and we were too blind and stubborn to see them.
Finally, dead fish can also symbolize dead spirituality. Spirituality has many layers and aspects. Some are more religious and spiritual than others, but one commonality that people from different backgrounds and who have different experiences have is the belief that spirituality is separate from things we can measure and slice and dice into neat little data points.
Even though you might not be able to quite put your finger on it and describe it to the minutest detail, spirituality is alive and animates us. Seeing a dead fish in your dream can indicate that you are so focused on the physical world that you’ve lost sight of your spiritual world because of life’s worries, hassles, pressures, and demands. This is too bad because this is your connection to your sense of possibility, adventure, and newness.
If you’re not careful, you let go of your ability to create yourself and recreate your inner world. Why? You are too focused on things and concerns outside of you that you’ve become a slave to what other people think or factors beyond your control.
What Does It Mean to See A Fish Jump Out of Water and Die?
If you find yourself in a boat in your dream or walking by the lakeshore or the beach and you see a fish jump out, don’t be alarmed. It is quite troubling to see a fish or even a school of them jumping out of the water, flop around, and die. If your dream is quite long, you might even watch them decompose. It’s enough to scare anybody, but the truth is seeing this type of dream means your subconscious is telling you that things happening in your unconscious are bubbling over.
These things are causing unintended chain reactions that manifest in your subconscious. You’re having this dream because you’re having some disturbance or change you cannot quite put your finger on. But pretty soon, if you neglect such changes or remain oblivious to them, they will affect your waking life. You best believe this turbulence will find a way into your waking mind.
What makes this troubling is you start seeing things from a confusing and different perspective you can’t figure out. You might be blaming hormones, diet, or worse, other people. But in reality, certain things are going on in your subconscious. So how do you get a handle on this? Simple. Track your feelings. There’s a reason you respond to certain things a certain way. Get to the bottom of it.
This doesn’t mean you need to see a psychiatrist. All this means is you need to be more self-aware because they may have been issues you’ve been dealing with a certain way for so long that demand a new response. Maybe you are growing up, or your coping mechanisms don’t work anymore. Whatever the case is, take action now before it damages your relationships or leaves you so confused that you make one bad decision after another.
What Does A Fish Out of Water In A Dream Mean?
If you see a fish flopping out of the water but not dying, or if you see the same fish flop around and then go back to the water, this indicates confusion. You mix your emotions and rationality. They’re not the same. Just as it doesn’t make sense to hammer a nail onto a wall with the sole of your shoes, you shouldn’t solve problems that require clear thinking, logic, and reasoning with your heart.
Many people say this is how they make their decisions but pay close attention to the quality of their results. For the most part, the outcome is not all that desirable. Use the right tools for the right problems. Don’t mix emotions and rationality. Don’t try to solve problems with your feelings. You shouldn’t use logic to explore your feelings by the same token.
Feelings are often best explored with a sense of honesty and adventure. You come in with an open mind. You’re not there to judge or put your feelings into neat, tidy little boxes you think you can control. You’re there to acknowledge, assess, and raise your awareness. Start there, and you’d be surprised with what you’ll find.
What Does Seeing A Lot of Dead Fish In One Place Mean?
There’s a lot of variation to this. You can see a large pile of dead fish, or you might even smell the stench, or you can see fish that swim around in a big school. Whatever the case, they seem to swim around and start to die for whatever reason. They should strike you as strange because fish can breathe underwater. They have gills that extract gills from underwater.
But seeing them going around in circles and then dying indicates that the water doesn’t have enough oxygen. Another alternative is that you see all these fish in a tank. They’re doing well when all of a sudden they start dropping. If your dream has any of these themes or a variation, your mind tells you that your emotional environment is no longer as sustaining as before.
It isn’t healthy. There is toxicity all around, and often it’s you. The people in your life still like you, want you, and still want you to be around, but you bring toxicity to the table. It starts as an annoyance and irritation, but it might morph into resentment if you’re not careful. You bring out the worst in others because you are so focused on getting stuff off your chest that you fail to understand its effect on other people.
It’s not a one-way street. You can’t continue to shit in a small pool of emotions and expect others to remain healthy. Either they shit back at you, or everybody wants to leave. Worse yet, you start to be negatively affected too. It’s like taking a shit in a small pool and living in that pool. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture? It’s important to be honest, but you have to seek to understand others first.
Learn to read people. They are who they are for a reason. They respond to certain stimuli a certain way for a reason. It’s your job to understand others. Unfortunately, many people get this wrong. They think others are supposed to understand and cater to them. But if everybody has that attitude, you’ll have a group of people swimming around in this toxic stew. It’s only a matter of time before the relationships die and become so toxic that everybody wants to leave.
Another variation of the image of many dead fish in one place indicates you are catching plenty of fish. You catch and take them away, but they die quickly. You may be thinking they were already dead when you pulled them out of the water. In reality, you did something that killed them. In this context, your subconscious is telling you that you need to pay attention to health issues, especially your mental health.
Your anxiety is bubbling to the surface, and your worry affects your physical and mental health. It’s one thing to worry; it’s another for you to embody or take in such worry that it starts to define you. Another interpretation of seeing a lot of dead fish in one place indicates a growing realization of one’s mortality. This is healthy, believe it or not. You know that you’re not going to be on this planet forever. Every breath you take and every day you wake up means one less breath and day for you on earth.
Not exactly an optimistic and happy message, but it’s the truth. Make each day and breath count. You were put on earth for a reason, find that reason, live it up, and make an impact.
What Does It Mean to See Someone Eat Dead Fish?
Please understand the big difference between fish that has been killed and fish that died naturally. We eat fish that’s been killed all the time. Killed fish in the form of sushi or sashimi is delicious. The sight of a person eating fish that naturally died can be troubling. Your subconscious is telling you important clues in this dream, so you need to pay attention when you remember it.
Take note of the person’s identity. This is crucial; it’s the key to unlocking the whole puzzle. Why? You have unresolved feelings towards that person. There is a vague or ambiguous conflict with that person.
On the other hand, it can be an easy-to-see conflict like a fight with your sibling over some unpaid debt. Whatever the case is, reach out and communicate. Pay close attention to what they’re saying to you because they could be sending you coded messages to see if you truly care to dig deeper.
Many people you think are confident and well-put-together and successful could be barely hanging on. Maybe by reaching out and communicating deeper, the conversation will turn from, “Hey, you owe me money” to “I didn’t know you’re going through that. Can I help? I’m here for you.”
Get to The Root of Your Sense of Loss
As you look at the dead fish in your dream, you can’t be faulted for feeling a profound sense of loss. But you need to get past that. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this? Why did I lose? Why am I experiencing these emotions? Is there another way to respond to this?” Asking yourself can open your eyes to different realities that you may have been ignoring or clueless about. This leads me to the topic of opportunities.
Are Your Hopes of Retrieving Lost Opportunities Realistic?
One of the common interpretations of seeing dead fish is the sense you will gain everything back. While you’re looking at the loss, you feel that it’s not the end and that you will get another shot and gain all it back. The problem with focusing too much on retrieving what was lost is you ignore the obvious. The past is the past. Even if you were to retrieve stuff you’ve lost, it’d never be the same because you have changed.
I hope you understand how that works. The good news is the past is not the future. Focus on the future; focus on what you can build and what you have to gain with who you are right now. By doing so, you can start to see new doors of opportunity.
Focus on Current Possibilities and Opportunities
This is where the good stuff comes in. When you see dead fish, it’s tempting to focus on the loss, pain, confusion, and even the horror. Loss, after all, can be very disturbing. But it’s also true that when you clear away the old, there is an opportunity for new things to enter your life. This is worth exploring and analyzing. As troubled as you may be regarding things that you may have lost out on or missed opportunities, focus on what you have now.
Are there new possibilities or opportunities? The better question to ask is: What are the possibilities or opportunities in front of you right now that you refuse to see? If you can answer this question, you’d be surprised at how many things are staring at you. The reasons you don’t take advantage of them are long. You can say you don’t have enough resources, you’re not emotionally ready, or you’re trying to get over a past arrangement or relationship, don’t have the tools, or haven’t changed.
Fair enough. But go through your list of reasons and be honest about them. Often, we don’t take advantage of the opportunities life presents us because we are scared or lazy. And if you pick apart laziness, you’ll find it’s just another form of fear. There are opportunities in front of you, but the problem is you keep looking at past opportunities and defining future opportunities based on those strict terms.
You say to yourself, “If I don’t get A, B, and C, I will not lift a finger.” The problem is life presents you with D, E, and F. But if they lead to the same place as A, B, and C, what will you do in that situation? If you’re like most people, you let it go. You have no excuse to complain. You had it in your hand, or you still have it before you, but you refuse to take advantage of the opportunity.
Another reason people fail to take opportunities is they know that opportunities and possibilities can take the form of challenges. They can’t be bothered. It takes too much work, or it seems like a giant hassle, so they don’t try at all. This brings me to the topic of spirituality in the broadest sense.
Have You Neglected Your Spiritual Aspect?
Whether you’re an agnostic, an atheist, or a believer, the spiritual aspect boils down to your mindset. If you take two identical computers, you’ll have two machines with the same hardware. What if I told you that those two machines of the same design and the same manufacturer could do different tasks? Based on their output, you would think the two machines are different from each other.
What accounts for the difference in their output? Their software. The same goes for human beings. Our software is our mindset, and it forms a key part of our spiritual aspect. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. You have a mindset, and if you’re not mindful of it, you will continue to live below your potential. You wouldn’t even know the best version of yourself because you operate under a substandard, self-defeating personal operating system.
Have you neglected this part of yourself? This is the part that gives you the internal soundtrack. If you’re not careful and just “inherited” your soundtrack, you’d be living the same kind of life as your parents. Have you ever noticed that struggling people have parents who were also struggling? Their children, too, tend to scrape their way through life.
None of that is an accident because that life software passes from generation to generation. Neglecting your spiritual aspect means you assume that whatever software exists in your life now is your destiny. You automatically believe they are part of your identity. They are not; they are choices. You can choose to adopt a different personal operating system. This is your spiritual side, the side you can explain. There are parts of your spiritual side you cannot explain, such as your intuition.
But by being clear on your personal operating system, you can control your sense of meaning. Have you questioned why you believe what you believe and why you look at the world a certain way? Where did it come from, and has it always been there? What kind of experience in your past has shaped, colored, or warped how you look at things? What kind of person would you like to be? What is the person’s personal operating system like? Are you willing to install that software?
These are questions that only you can answer.
Are Your Relationships Stagnant or Dead?
Many people think that a dead relationship can only be defined a certain way. They have a good friend they could talk to about anything, and after some time, they can no longer do that because the friend either has moved away or no longer talks to them. So in their minds, the relationship is dead. Fair enough, some relationships are like that.
But there are also stagnant relationships where you can be good friends with somebody, but certain topics are off-limits. Or if you can’t do certain things with the person, that’s the limit. In other words, you’re friends with the person, but it never grows from there. That’s a stagnant relationship. What makes it worse is when both parties assume that everything’s fine when the relationship is dying in reality.
When you define your friendship as involving only certain things and reaching only a certain point, the frame of reference shrinks as you grow and your needs begin to change. The relationship can only accommodate a small, narrow strip of your personal needs. The relationship is dead. You still talk and share laughs, but what you can talk about and see eye-to-eye about is shrinking. It is fixed and immune to new experiences.
How do you know your relationship is dead? Here’s one key giveaway: When all you and your friend talk about are the things you did in the past. It’s as if it’s a catch-up session every time you see your friend. There’s nothing wrong with that because thinking about the past makes for great times. I have lots of laughs when I talk to friends from graduate school.
But if you’re looking for something deeper and something that will make your present life richer outside of nostalgia, you have to look for another relationship. You have hit a limit with that person.
Take Control of Your Sense of Meaning
As I mentioned, you are put on this earth for this reason. You’re not just another face in the crowd or another organism drawing in air, taking in food and water, and contributing to the nitrogen-carbon cycle. There’s a reason you’re here. Unfortunately, blindly accepting our mental operating system can make us lose sight of this meaning. We live each day as if it’s a series of tasks that lead to a payoff in the future.
When the payoff arrives, we then focus on the problems the next day would bring, and so on. We keep repeating this process until we’re put in a box or our ashes in a jar. Some people see their sense of meaning in their children. I know I get much of my sense of meaning when I look at my son. But it goes deeper than that, or it should.
We’re not just the people we live behind; we’re not just the smiles drawn from others when we comfort them or tell them jokes. Your sense of meaning can impoverish or enrich your life. I’m not talking about money, but a sense of purpose that makes you feel that your life is worth living. Sadly, many people are blind to this. They are merely surviving, not thriving.
They focus on what they can take or can get away with. When they feel they’re giving, it’s usually of the shallow and temporary kind. When you see an image of dead fish in your dream, your subconscious is screaming that there is something more. Listen to that voice, and you’d be surprised where it’ll take you. If you are willing to go through that journey, your relationships could be more fulfilling and richer. You might better understand your past and have a more fulfilling vision of your future.
It can also help you become a more, shall we say, substantive person.
Let Your Creative Side Shine More
For many people, creativity is about things you can put on a canvas or type out on a sheet of paper, or even sing out with your voice or express with your body’s movements. Creativity, in terms of dream philosophy and interpretation, goes much deeper. The spiritual side of creativity speaks to our ability to shape, create, reconstruct, or destroy our inner reality.
That’s how powerful we are. We have this creative side. The problem is when finding yourself in a job that involves clicking buttons or sweeping trash or emptying a bedpan, or helping old and sick people up, you feel that this side of you doesn’t exist. The same goes for fielding calls from different countries. You’re in that call center every day, and the problems are different while being the same.
How do you make sense of it in light of the fact that you have this creative energy and need within you? It’s simple: let your creative side guide you. Regardless of what you do for a living, you will have opportunities to solve problems. New situations arise, and you’re forced to come up with an improvised solution. This is a golden opportunity for you to tap your creative side.
You have the tools you need. You start believing you can solve problems when you reconnect with those tools. And if you can solve other people’s problems, you can solve your problems. If you can change your and other people’s realities through problem-solving, you have meaning and impact. These are the realizations that will lead to a growth mindset.
You stop focusing on what is and begin to be inspired by what could be. This leads us to the topic of possibilities.
Be Open to New Possibilities
Don’t have a fixed idea of how reality should present itself. Don’t be stubborn about what forms of opportunities should present themselves and how you should take advantage of them. When you start getting in touch with your creative side because of the everyday problems you’re solving, your definition of possibilities and opportunities should also change. Allow yourself to be changed.
If you can do this, you can do more things and cross more boundaries. The worst thing you can do is confine yourself to these neat, tidy little boxes. Maybe you’re reading this from middle America. You live in a nice suburban home with a two-car garage, and you have a cushy job in the suburbs. Don’t let that be a prison. Don’t have a fixed idea of how your life should be. Be open to new adventures because this is the answer to your frustrations.
This is your answer if you feel you’re living a quiet, anonymous life of desperation. The answer stares at us, but we are either too lazy or too scared to confront it.
Don’t Be Afraid to Push Past Settled Lines
Don’t settle for good enough. You may be thinking, “I have it good. My family and I have it great. We’re upper-middle-class. I make enough money. We go on vacations, and everybody’s doing fine. This is good enough.” Your dead fish dreams are telling you otherwise. Your dream imagery is telling you that your creative force and the value that shaped you are stagnating.
You need to push past what you settled for. Don’t get caught up in the thinking that you should do barely enough to stay where you are. Instead, shoot for excellence and risk. Success will run to you if you can do this. Why? You stand out from the crowd. Everybody’s trying to conserve energy by doing the least to achieve the necessary. What do I mean by that? Go to a typical factory in the United States, interview people, and if you inject them with the truth serum, they will tell you they’re only doing the least for a paycheck.
In other words, they will not go for more. They refuse to give their employers what they hope for: full engagement and contribution. This is the level people operate on. And when people see that you’re shooting for excellence, you stand out. You draw opportunities to yourself. This is what it means to reconnect with your creative side. If you can reconnect with that creative power, it will project itself externally.
As the Bible teaches, “A bright light cannot be put under a bushel.” You have that light. It may be flickering or fizzling out in danger of extinction like that pile of dead fish in your nighttime visions, but you can control all this. Push past what’s acceptable, shoot for excellence, and allow yourself to be fully engaged in deep work. That’s how you milk your everyday existence for meaning.
And if you do this skillfully, you operate with meaning, imbuing you with a deep, abiding sense of confidence that people cannot get enough of.
To Shoot the Moon, You Need to Aim for the Stars
Shoot for excellence, but here is the secret: aim so high that you predictably and consistently hit your true target. There is a saying that if you want to shoot the moon, you must aim for the stars. Your energy is elevated this way, and you can still get to where you want to go even if things don’t pan out. Compare this with how most people operate. They want to get to the moon, so they aim for it but always fall short.
They then blame themselves or others when the fault is with their strategy. The same goes for you. Don’t be a victim of small, shallow, or short-term thinking. Go big, knowing full well that things will not pan out most of the time. That’s fine because even if they don’t pan out, where you will end up will be better than where you are now.
What Does A Dead Mackerel Mean?
A mackerel is a fairly common commercial fish. It is standard fare in most fish markets. There is something all-too-common and practical about mackerel. Seeing a dead mackerel in your dream means you’re afraid of lacking productivity. The problem is being more afraid means lesser productivity. You will soon be caught in a self-sustaining case of self-fulfilling prophecies.
You need to jog your momentum to get out of this vicious cycle. How? Push yourself out there. Give your tasks everything you’ve got. I’m not only talking about raw labor or pouring your time into your tasks. I’m also talking about pouring your focus. You can notice that there are easier ways to do your tasks. That’s how things work. The more you repeat something, the more you learn about its shortcuts. You learn to improve quality while boosting productivity.
And when you can do it, you want to do it more, taking things to the next level. That’s momentum. That’s what you should aim for. It’s an internal awareness where you’ve reached a point where it’s harder to stop than it is to start. And your subconscious showing you an image of a dead mackerel speaks to your connection with your sense of productivity. You’re capable of so much more.
What Does A Dead Goldfish Mean?
When you see dead goldfish in your dream, either a single goldfish or a group of goldfish, it usually indicates fears about money. You think that you have it good, but things won’t last. Or maybe you’re thinking about an opportunity where you stand to make a lot of money, but it won’t be around for long. Another alternative is the feeling that you will come up short and you’re beating yourself up emotionally.
You see all this money, but you’re not getting any of it because you aren’t qualified. Your subconscious is telling you that you have an opportunity, but you must scale up and cross boundaries. What do I mean by this? Scaling up can mean taking out a loan or doing something else financially that is outside your comfort zone. It can mean buying your partner out or buying a business.
Again, it’s about getting out of your comfort zone. The dead goldfish dream is your subconscious telling you about an opportunity and that you need to get past your initial emotional reaction to seeing the gold.
Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.