When it comes to any kind of interpretive tradition, the fish symbol has always represented our emotions as well as our untapped potential. This is the ultimate context of any night vision involving fish-even a dream of fried fish.
On the surface, this might seem like a good thing. Everybody has a wide range of positive emotions and most people can agree that humanity has a lot of potentials.
When you dig deeper, there is so much emotional variety among people. The reason for this is because there is some sort of chaotic core that underlines the human experience.
To put it in more basic terms, for you to feel emotion, there has to be areas of your consciousness that needs to be triggered to go through many different states and reflect different signals to the universe.
To appreciate joy, we must know and understand what it means to be sad. To prize a hopeful and optimistic feeling, knowledge of hopelessness, despair and pessimism is required.
This is the chaotic aspect of the human experience.
It is easy to just focus on the things that are positive and desirable because they are forged from the conflicting, turbulent and often unexplained random aspect of the human psyche.
It is no surprise that most of humanity’s religious and spiritual traditions flat out say that there is a certain aspect of humanity that simply cannot be explained.
It is that part of you that you can’t just simply put in some sort of neat, tidy little box reduced to a kind of equation that spits out the right answer every single time you use it. If only things were only that easy.
Humanity is awesome precisely because it cannot be controlled. This is where the core of chaos comes in.
What do you think symbolizes the dark side? What do you think symbolizes the unexplainable corners and forbidding regions of the human collective psyche? Take a wild guess.
That’s right, the fish.
The fish: A long psycho symbolic history
Whether you’re looking at Eastern traditions or more familiar Greek and Christian symbology, the fish always plays a role and it’s easy to see why.
When it comes to mother nature, very few living beings that are members of the Animal Kingdom can come close to the fish in terms of fertility.
A single female fish can lay thousands of eggs. In fact, some species of fish can lay thousands upon thousands of eggs at one time.
This is a crucial characteristic of this animal that has gripped human imagination since time immemorial.
You have to understand that one of the most fundamental fears of humanity is death.
What is around the corner when we die? What happens when we are put back into the ground? When we have lost all consciousness?
There seems to be this big divide between the living, the conscious, the vibrant and the possibility of death. Death is the final frontier.
No one can understand death because everybody is so afraid of it. It seems so unfair, arbitrary and final thus we come up with all sorts of coping mechanisms to get around death.
We just don’t see death’s function.
Can you imagine a world where people don’t die?
On the surface, it might seem like a wonderful place. A place with no pain, no abandonment, no betrayal, no ultimate disappointment. Why?
You always get another day and another day after that.
It is as if you have been gifted with an eternal lifeline that gives you multiple chances of undoing whatever bad decisions you have made at some point in the past.
Immortality does that. But does it really?
Please understand that there is a big difference between immortality and youth.
How many times can you feel betrayed before you give up on friendships, love and trust? How many times can you be let down, disappointed and feel crushed before you reach a point where you don’t even bother to hope? Before you stop planning for big things for yourself?
Have you ever bothered with the consequences of having an immortal life but no youth?
Imagine the youthfulness, vibrancy and lust for life that you have had, slowly fading out after the first 50 years of your existence only to end up looking forward to another thousands of years without those things in your life.
Putting it simply, eternal life would be hell to most people.
I know that you are scared of death. You may be grappling with the consequences of death in your family that this seems far-fetched.
Immortality, after all, seems to be the golden answer to all of life’s questions because it represents hope. What is more hopeful than being able to wake up day after day with enough energy to make a difference?
Well, let me pose you a question. When do you take that opportunity?
Believe it or not, every time you wake up, you get that chance to turn things around. Whatever you have screwed up in the past, you have a chance today to make different decisions that would lead to different places.
But the question remains, do you jump at that opportunity? Do you understand what each day represents?
Every single breath that you have is a gift.
Most people even in light of the harsh reality of mortality, refuse to take the chance. If we don’t do it now, where our chance of changing our past and shifting our mindset for us to live to our fullest potential are limited, how much more when we have immortality?
Death is necessary.
On a metaphysical, psychological, philosophical, spiritual and emotional level, death is absolutely necessary.
Far from being the destroyer of life or an unfair snuffing of potential, it actually brings relief and comfort.Death pushes us to pay close attention to what we really have.
Every single second that you are alive is a gift. Every breath you take is very expensive.
If you don’t believe me, just look up how much an iron lung machine costs. While you’re at it, try to tally up the expenses that you would run up if you spend any time in the hospital, on an artificial respirator.
Every time you are alive, every second you’re alive is a gift.
Unfortunately, if you are most people who treat life as a cheap commodity, you have this idea in the back of your head that you are always going to be happy. You’re always going to have another day. And more likely than not, that day is not going to be all that much different from the day that preceded it and the day before that.
This is our attitude.
Death shines a bright light on all of that. Instead of some sort of old devouring, evil black hole that sucks up life without mercy, death shines a spotlight.
The fear of death and fish imagery.
Regardless of the reality of death and its necessity, human beings throughout the millennia have turned to fish symbology as a workaround to death. After all, if you can’t live another thousand years, you can live through your descendants.
This is where fertility comes in.
When you come across an animal that can replicate itself, hundreds if not thousands of times, every single year, you can’t help but see your struggle for relevance, meaning, longevity and consequence in this universe in that animal. Of course, our ancestors didn’t quite articulate it along those lines but the sentiment is the same, nonetheless.
The fish is so prized in both Eastern and Western cultures because of its fertility. The fact that it is able to produce so many “copies of itself”, somehow, cheats death.
In fact, it does more than cheat death because if enough of its offspring survives through the next generation, it actually leads to a dominance of a geographic area.
Where do you think schools of fish come from? Why does it seem that no matter how many fishing fleets we send out to all the seven oceans that the fish never seem to run out?
Of course, many scientists say that there are fisheries that are over fished. On the other hand, many other species aren’t fished as much and they are growing fast.
This is all a testimony to the reproductive capacity of the fish. It is no surprise then that when we see all this fertility, we see it as a workaround or even a shortcut that “fixes” death.
Any kind of interpretation of fish in a dream must start with the overarching connection between fish and humanity’s desire for life and in everything that is connected to it.
Fish, the desire for life and emotional chaos.
For fish to reproduce as much as much as they do, there is got to be a lot of sex involved. It is no surprise then that fish has been linked with emotional states leading to romance.
Fish has also been connected with sexual fertility.
We as a culture read a lot into sex because at a certain level, sex is a distillation of all of humanity’s attempts at gaining some hint or semblance of immortality.
Of course, to get to the stage of sexual union, there is a lot of strong emotions that have to be harnessed, refocused, positioned, cultivated, shaped, and formed. It is within this “toolkit” that the potency of the fish in a dream takes root.
Fish imagery goes deep.
Just as fish can swim deep into the depths of an ocean, dream symbology involving this animal also runs deep.
We have to understand that not only is it a sexual and emotional symbol, but it also indicates a conflicted and complicated relationship with death, mortality and finality. The inter mixture of these broad fields of meaning produces a very interesting mix.
The fish indicates new beginnings.
Much like the birth of a child or landing a new and better job, it also indicates new discoveries, not just about yourself but others as well. Furthermore, it also entails new opportunities and the thrill of the sense of possibility you get when you embark on something new.
Fish and the unknown.
Since the fish symbolism is deeply connected with our relationship with unknown forces and our attempts at putting them under our control, it is not a surprise then to see that there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty and insecurity at play when you see images of fish in the dream.
Whether fish are swirling around your feet or fish swimming around you as you find yourself underwater, you are in an area that you are not in control of.
Sure, you may have all sorts of fancy equipment that enables you to breathe deep beneath the surface of the water but make no mistake, you are at the mercy of mother nature. One false move and you will see your life snuffed out of you.
As terrifying as that possibility maybe for most people, it can also be very liberating because we are again reconnected with the one force that unites all of humanity, not just today, but yesterday and tomorrow.
In fact, going even further, this universal force unites not just humans as a species but also all living things on this planet.
This is death, because we all die. We are born. We grow and we reach our full strength. At times we get sick and we break down. Eventually, we die.
This elegant progression of the experience of all living beings, in all times, is encapsulated in the power of the fish symbol and how it manages to cheat death by making copies of itself.
When you see a fish playing a big role in your dream, understand that you have no control but at that point, you are given a choice.
Do you embrace this reality? By doing so, you allow yourself to become a portal to greater energies within you that reaches the lives of others.
Or do you give in to your fear? Much like a drowning swimmer, frantically flailing her arms on the water surface only to eventually stop struggling and start sinking to the bottom.
This is how profound fish imagery is.
It reconnects us with the one unifying force of the universe called death. We are all going to get there, some sooner than later. It is a certainty.
What does dreaming of fried fish mean?
When you dream of fried fish, it indicates that you are trying to grapple with the unexplained. You are trying to make sense of the strong emotional currents in your life that manifest themselves in some kind of decisions that you may be surprised by or you may actively regret and feel embarrassed over.
Whatever form it takes, when you see yourself eating fried fish or frying fish yourself, it indicates some sort of attempt at trying to control the uncontrollable.
As I have mentioned, again and again, the image of the fish is very powerful precisely because it is so deep and complicated. It is ultimately the chaos factor in every life. Either you will you respect it or it will deal you unexperienced which will force you to respect it
It is no joke.
When you see yourself, frying the fish, it indicates that you have taken some sort of measures over areas in your life that you have always felt uncomfortable about.
Maybe it’s the person that you knew you should have married, but you chose somebody else. Maybe it’s the job that you know you should have taken but you took a different path. Maybe it’s the educational path that you ran away from and have come to regret as the years go by.
Whatever form it takes, when you see yourself frying fish in a wide range of settings, it indicates some sort of conscious attempt to deal with chaotic factors in your life that had led you to certain places.
Of course, you wouldn’t be dreaming of frying fish if there was no problem.
Pay close attention to the context of frying fish.
Try to remember if you were eating fried fish, or you were in the process of frying fish. These are two totally different things.
When you dream of a fried fish dinner or lunch, this indicates that the fish has already been controlled. It has gone through some sort of process that you have power over and you are looking at the results.
Pay close attention to what decisions you’ve made recently or whatever the decisions that you will be facing in the near future. These are command points, so to speak. These are instances where you can make decisions based on the values you have consciously chosen instead of being backed into a corner.
Do you know that feeling?
A lot of people tend to describe their lives based on ”something” that happened. They feel that they really have no control over their lives. They are like living in a waking dream.
To put it unkindly, many people even think that they are just some sort of conscious zombie. There is no sense of control, direction, or purpose. They’re just making it from day to day and things just “happen” to them.
A lot of people who believe in the power of luck, ultimately subscribe to this philosophy.
Of course, they wouldn’t admit it. They would not be the first to say to your face that they don’t believe any of that stuff but you only need to pay attention to how they actually live their lives.
Your behavior and your decisions speak so loudly that it doesn’t really matter what words come out of your mouth so pay close attention to how you try to control the uncontrollable in your life.
Most people are passive. Most people believe in things like luck which is really a condemnation of their ability to choose.
Believe it or not a lot of billionaires, power brokers and people who continued to make a significant impact on this planet began with fewer resources, less potential and fewer advantages than you.
I know it is hard to believe. They were able to make it through but here you are frustrated, reading an interpretation of one of the weird dreams that you had recently.
Both of you had the same potential.
They ended up in a different place precisely because they had a different mindset. They had a different way of controlling the fish in their lives.
Your way is no way at all because it’s passive.
A dream of serving or being served fried fish.
If you dream that you are being served fried fish, you feel that you really have no control over your life. Other people have to make the first move. They are the ones tasked with the big decisions that will somehow in some way impact your life.
Here you are, just a passive passenger in the great journey called your life.
What’s wrong with that picture? Quick answer. Everything.
Your life is not some sort of movie that plays out according to a script that was written by somebody else.
No. You are the author of your life whether you accept it or not, whether you are aware of it or not because every single decision that you made in your life has an impact on your existence now.
Everything about you from your income, how people view you, the way you look, how much you weigh, everything else is nothing but effects. Do you know what the causes are?
Your mindset is the seat of the causes.
In your mindset, you enter different emotional states which lead to different decisions and once you take an action, the world supplies a reaction. Repeat this many times over through an extended period of time and you end up with your life.
The good news is, if you keep seeing the image of fried fish being served to you, again and again, your subconscious is reminding you. In fact, it’s throwing you a lifeline.
It is telling you in a veiled way that you actually have control over your life. Your life doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Just because you come from a long line of alcoholics doesn’t mean that you also have to be a prisoner of the bottle.
The same goes with sex addiction, malicious habits like gossiping and everything else.
You have no excuses because you have choices.
Your subconscious is sending you this signal because if you are like most people, you have come up with all sorts of complicated and even elegant ways to sidestep responsibility.
Most people do not want to own up to the fact that their decisions produce the life that they are living. They would rather point the finger at somebody else. They’d rather blame their parents, the circumstances of their birth, how much money their parents had, their race, the part of the world they come from so on and so forth.
But the truth is, none of those factors are as strong as your will. Every single decision that you make, no matter how seemingly passive and automatic, is an exercise of your will.
Fried fish, frying fish, and the control over your personal will.
When you see yourself in a dream frying fish, or you see a fish frying in a pan, it indicates a strong subconscious signal to reclaim your ability to make a decision in your life.
Just because things have panned out a certain way in the past does not mean that you have to automatically conclude that things will never change. You can change yourself.
The best way to do that is to change how you look at your situation. You are not a victim. You’re not some sort of product of cosmic lottery.
No. You are the center of your universe and you are in control.
Take full advantage of that. Embrace it. Make it part of your identity. Understand that every single decision that you make, no matter how bad it is, is an exercise of will.
Stop focusing on the results and how depressing they can be. Focus on the fact that you can make a choice. Once you embrace that fully, claim that personal power and stop blaming and looking to others for solutions, then you can move on to the next step.
The next step is to study the types of choices that you make and the outcomes that they produce.
If you are in any way, unhappy, frustrated, or feel stuck with any of these outcomes, go back to your newly reclaimed power. You can choose. Since it says that you can choose, now is the best time to make the right decision.
Start with the outcome that you want. Trace your steps back.
What kind of choices do you have to make? What kind of goals do you have to set? What kind of daily activities do you need to go through to make those big dreams come true?
This is a lot of responsibility.
Many people are scared because so many of us have tricked ourselves into thinking that life just happens on autopilot. No matter how much we feel burnt, disappointed, let down, stuck or frustrated, there is really not much we could do about it.
It is as if we are watching this sad movie over our lives play over and over again and the mental screens of our consciousness would absolutely in no way turn off that picture. We are forced to watch it with pride open eyelids.
The truth, none of that is true. You can change your reality.
In fact, you don’t have to start with something big. You don’t have to go out there full of energy and try to change the world.
No.. Start somewhere very close to home. Look at your desk. What kind of clutter is on it? Clean it up.
As you do so, take stock of the fact that you are taking action. You feel good about the realization that normally, you would just keep that junk on your desk, but now it looks different.
Today, you decided that things will change. Today, you decided to take control. Today, you decided that you want something better for yourself.
Start there. Start small. Once you are able to do that, try to wake up earlier. Then try to run, walk around the corner or do some sort of physical exercise.
Sure, it has been a trial for all this time to put one foot in front of the other. It might even seem like one foot is so much heavier than the other and that you are being weighed down to the core of the earth.
This is not who you are and this is not what you do.
Stop thinking that way. Stop listening to those internal voices that you send to yourself. Stop playing games with yourself. Stop bargaining with yourself to go back to how things “normally” are.
Just focus on what you resolve to do and just do it one step at a time. Nothing big, nothing major. The key is to be consistent.
Fried fish and the human need to rise above the Self.
The human self is a black hole because seriously, we get caught in our habits.
When we think in a certain pattern, we get caught up in that until we feel that it is the only way to think. In fact, we can get so crazy that we start to believe that it is part of our identity.
No, it isn’t. It is a choice. Just like most everything else.
You chose to think in a defeated way just as you chose to think with a defeated mindset. If you have gone down this path because of the rewards that such thinking brings, you only have yourself to blame.
Start there. Start with a statement to yourself.
Just as you think about your life, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health, finances and whatever else, say this to yourself. I chose this. And then the next time around you can sa to yourself, I get rewarded for this.
Pick apart the rewards. Pick out as they connect to your mindset. Understand that since this reward system exists, it is what drags you down and pulls you back from taking step after step to change your life from inside out.
Look at those rewards and ask yourself.
If I achieve different results because I have different goals and different values, I can still feel good. I can still get the same emotional state of those rewards but better. Most importantly, my life would be in a different place.
Start thinking along these lines and start acting on it. It doesn’t have to be big. As I mentioned earlier, this can be simple and basic as clearing your desk.
Frying fish and serving it to other people.
Avoid the savior complex.
A lot of people think that they have an exclusive monopoly on the right answers in life. That is why they make it their life’s work to cram down their opinions into the throats of unwilling people.
They do all of these under this hypnotic assumption that they somehow are doing others a favor.
When you have a dream of frying fish and giving it to other people, beware of the Savior complex that lurks within you.
Nobody is immune to this because we feel that when we made certain changes in our life and things turn out well in our lives, then automatically this means that this is the right answer for everybody across the board.
No it isn’t. Everybody is different.
There are over 7 billion people on this planet. Those are 7 billion pairs of eyes, ears, arms and legs. 7 billion different ways to see the world from 7 billion different perspectives and circumstances with their own range of threats, perils, risks and opportunities.
But then, here you are, with the conceit that somehow, you came up with your personal epiphany that turned things around which then “qualifies” you to pull other people from the pit of their misery.
There is no one cookie-cutter answer. It’s different for everybody.
Please understand this. When you are facing any kind of fish dream interpretation, there is this strong interconnection between emotions, a sense of finality, control and ultimately death.
Your dream is not just a simple set of actions where you eat fried fish or you look at fish in the process of being fried. This dream is very deep, much like the ocean that fishes live in.
If you fail to give it its proper respect, it is no surprise then that you would end up just like a fish in the middle of a murky sea.
Dream Example #1
I had a promising dream.
In my dream, the government already lifted the lockdown. The Philippines was pandemic-free!
To celebrate, my husband and I decided to invite my siblings’ families to go swimming in Pansol in Calamba. There was no plan to stay overnight. We would be there for day swimming.
Pansol had many private pools. I was in charge of finding a place for the following weekend. With the help of friends who resided there, I had no difficulty in making the reservations. I finalized the arrangements and relayed the information to the other family members.
Like our practice in the past for family gatherings, it was a potluck picnic. My husband and I would be bringing chicken pork adobo and fried boneless bangus.
The plan was to have salted eggs and corned beef with potatoes too. My sister intended to bring her favorite pancit bihon. My brother had no time to cook and proposed hotdogs and other deli, desserts, and fruits.
It all seemed so effortless and well-deserved. After almost two years of social distancing, this was long overdue.
We bought what we needed to bring from the supermarket two days before the outing.
There was a store in the village that sold egg products from Pateros. We got those too. Yet, we could not find any boneless bangus in any of the supermarkets. We must have gone to at least three outlets in our area but to no avail.
They had run out of stocks. Supplies would be available on the weekend only.
Was everyone so after the boneless bangus that there was a shortage of it? That seemed weird to me.
As an alternative, we got two whole bangus and requested that the fishmonger clean them. We would be the ones to remove the bones.
I knew it was time-consuming but I was obstinate and wanted to stick to the plan. My husband did not say anything.
I doubted that we would want to be the bone remover. Little did I know that he got dried danggit and smoked bangus. I only discovered them when we got home.
I came to my senses then. It was not such a big deal after all. I was so bullheaded, and I was making so much fuss. I realized that it was not worth the worry.
We prepared the chicken pork adobo the night before. We got up early on Saturday to fry the dried danggit and the smoked fish.
We left our house to meet up with the others. The meeting place was the Caltex station along the South Luzon Expressway at 7 am.
The adults spent the entire morning catching up. The kids were having so much fun in the water. It was different meeting in person and exchanging stories. Zoom did not have the answer for everything.
My brother brought all the things he committed. Guess what? He added fried boneless bangus that he bought from a supermarket close to his home. We all had a good laugh.
I realized that life had a way of finding solutions if we gave it a chance.
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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.