When you have dreams about fish out of water, it’s very tempting to conclude that you just dreamt nonsense.
It seems improbable and kind of weird but most people would think that this type of dream symbology doesn’t mean much of anything.
You’d be surprised because the biblical meaning of dreams about fish out of water has quite a bit of an impact on your self-perception and how you see yourself when it comes to relationships.
I’m not just talking about romantic or family relationships, I’m talking about how you deal with the rest of the world.
As independent and self-sufficient as we imagine ourselves to be, at the end of the day, we are still human beings.
Human beings, by definition, are social animals.
When you have a dream about a fish out of water, it’s saying a lot more about you, your comfort level, and the way you see yourself than you dare to imagine not.
It goes without saying that you should pay a lot of attention to these types of dreams.
Spiritual meaning of a dream about fish out of water
1 Peter 1:21 says,”Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
Seeing a fish out of water indicates that things are not as they should.
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody because life is full of disappointments, discomfort, and for a lot of us, suffering.
Now, suffering in the western world is probably going to take a different form than suffering in other parts of the world.
But make no mistake, there is suffering because we don’t live in a perfect world.
It is, by definition, unfair.
And given this context, faith is crucial to making it to the next day.
And when you see a fish out of water in your dreams, this is an indication that you are losing faith.
It may involve a loss of faith in God or a greater standard above and bigger than yourself.
But it also can indicate signs of losing faith in yourself.
Maybe you’ve come to regret a decision and it has made you question how much you should really trust yourself.
But despite all this turmoil, the Bible encourages us.
Psalms 9:18 says, “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”
That is very encouraging given the fact that there is a lot of injustice in the world.
Many people who have caused untold suffering and misery to their fellow man die in their sleep.
Their victims, on the other hand, have to live with their nightmares.
Where’s the justice?
But the Bible is clear.
Justice doesn’t depend on our definition, it depends on something higher.
God will bring justice.
It’s just a question of whether we will accept it according to His will… and His timeline.
Water Dream Symbolism and Dream Interpretation
Let’s take a step back and focus our attention on dream interpretation methodologies.
Water has always been associated with emotions.
When you see a fish out of water, your subconscious is telling you something about your emotional life.
It can come with a sense of urgency.
In fact, in Ecclesiastes 7:8, it could be a warning sign about something ending in your life.
The verse says “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, patience of spirit is better than a haughtiness of spirit.”
It may seem like things are coming down to a fiery crash or this house of cards that you think made up a significant part of a substantial section of your life may be crumbling.
Don’t focus on what you lose or are losing.
Focus instead on what you stand to gain.
Because for every defeat, there is always a victory if you’re willing to learn.
All things must end.
You may be thinking you are ending a relationship, you are being fired from your job, or being laid off.
It is during those times that you try to hang on.
But when you think back to when you were going through the “good times,” you weren’t that exactly happy either.
Funny how that works, right?
You only miss the water when it’s gone.
Well as harrowing, conflicting and painful as losing something or someone may be, please understand that it can still be an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and your coping mechanisms and choices.
Other possible dream interpretations of fish out of water
This kind of dream symbology, in an unbiblical way, can also indicate a sense of being trapped.
I’m not talking about being physically trapped, I’m talking about being stuck in a situation.
Maybe it’s a bad relationship, an unfulfilling job, or a sense of powerlessness when you look in the mirror and you feel resigned to your body shape.
Well, you have to understand that you only will feel as trapped as you allow yourself to be.
It’s all in your head.
I know that’s easy to say given how real your sense of “imprisonment” may be.
But think about it for a second and not much more: you chose to be where you are.
When you look in the mirror and you see those extra pounds, where do those pounds come from?
It’s not like some French farmer grabbed you by the neck and rammed food down your throat like he was making foie gras with a goose.
You’re a grown human being.
What you see in the mirror, what you see in your bank account, what you hear when people talk about your reputation, are all consequences of your choices.
I know it hurts, I know it’s uncomfortable.
Because we’d rather be judged by our intentions and our best laid plans instead of the actual results our behavior brings about, but that’s reality.
You see, the world doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.
It never has.
It can pay attention to what you’re saying but ultimately, it focuses on what you do because what you do and choose to consistently take action on are how you change your world.
This is not an exaggeration.
For every action, there is a reaction. If you want the outcome of your decisions to change, then make different decisions, take different actions.
It seems reductionistic and simple but in reality, it is.
A lot of people complicate things so they don’t reach the point of decision.
They also make things as nuanced and complicated as possible so they escape responsibility.
They don’t want to admit that whatever decisions they made in the past account for the results that they’re getting today.
This is where the sense of being trapped comes from.
This is where your foreboding sense of suffocation comes from.
It comes from you.
And this is the most empowering truth you could ever wrap your head around.
Because you’re in control.
If your life is the result of your decisions, then you can make better decisions.
It’s that simple.
Now, if your life is the result of decisions made by other people in circumstances you can’t control, then you have a problem.
Think about it for a second. It’s hard enough trying to change yourself.
Can you imagine trying to change other people?
How are you going to persuade them when they benefit from your misery according to you?
So focus on what you can control.
You can control how you view the world.
You can control how you interpret the signals that the world is sending you.
You can control your emotional state.
And from there, you can control the actions that you repeatedly take.
This is what makes it difficult because you can read these words and feel so empowered to shout out to the world, “Yes, I am going to make a change and it’s going to start right now!”
I applaud you, but can you do it one more time?
Can you do it tomorrow?
Can you do it the day after?
How about the day after tomorrow?
How about next week?
Day after day, week after week, month after month, can you keep it up?
We are what we repeatedly do.
This is no time for “one-time, big-time change.”
That may be great for Hollywood movies but that’s not life.
That is not reality.
You have to own up to your responsibility to yourself.
If you aren’t happy with your finances, net worth, the shape of your body, how people look at you, what people say about you, you can do something about it.
You are not a victim, not by a longshot,
What does it mean if you dream about dead fish or fish appearing dead?
This is usually a sign of missed expectations.
It’s very easy to suspend this and lay the blame on somebody else.
Maybe your parents didn’t have enough money raising you.
Maybe they didn’t have the time.
Maybe your friends weren’t as supportive or maybe your first lover traumatized you with a heartbreak you’re trying to still recover from.
Whatever the case may be, it’s very tempting to lay the blame for whatever it is that you are distressed or traumatized about at somebody else’s feet.
But here’s a simple truth.
It’s hard to be disappointed if you have the right expectation.
It’s very easy to be disappointed if you have high expectations of the world.
Do you see how this works?
When you see a dead fish appearing in your dream or a fish that appears to be dead, this is an indication that you are feeling let down.
There is a disconnect with how you think the world should be and how things really are, and it’s eating you up.
You may have a tough time articulating it with words but your dreams are doing your talking for you.
This subconscious feeling can and will bubble up.
So the key is to deal with them right now.
What is your personal reality?
What have you chosen it to be?
Now, ask yourself, “What reality would I like and what am I willing to give up? What am I willing to change? What am I willing to become?”
Let’s get one thing clear.
Everything about you that can be seen by the naked eye by other people, everything that’s about you that can be talked about and perceived comes from your inner world.
They come from the realm of your thoughts, your opinions, the way you piece together reality based on the stimuli you receive from the world.
They are reflections of your attitude and worldview.
Now, what would happen if you change your inner world?
That’s right, your external world will also change.
In fact, it will become transformed to mirror what’s going on inside you.
So if you feel like shit, don’t be surprised if you feel like your life is shit.
It has to come from somewhere.
And now it’s not the time to find people to blame.
Now is not the time to duck responsibility and take shelter under excuses.
Sure, you may be living in a fucked up country with fucked up leaders and a fucked up economy.
But none of that has anything to do with your power to take action as little as maybe to improve your life today.
Because at the end of the day, your life is your responsibility.
And if you keep hanging on to this internal world that has produced nothing but shame, humiliation, disappointment, and guilt, your life is on you.
I’m saying this to you assuming that you are an adult.
If you were a dependent child, maybe there’s an argument there.
But if you’re an adult and you’re a grown person, the buck stops at your desk.
So when you see your subconscious showing you symbols of hopelessness and helplessness of things appearing not the way they should be, you should sit up and pay attention.
What does it mean to see koi fish swimming?
If you see a big fish swimming and it has multiple colors like Koi, think of John 4:35.
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Jesus is saying that when people look at opportunity, they often give themselves excuses to wait.
They give themselves the luxury of thinking that they will only take action or they will only snap into place once everything “falls into place” and everything “feels right.”
Jesus is saying the opportunity is already in front of you, just open your eyes.
Jesus is able to say this because He has eyes of faith.
The New Testament is an expository letter about faith and Hebrews is probably the most powerful book in the Bible about faith.
Even if you’re not a religious person, please understand that faith determines the quality of your life.
For you to read this, you probably are sitting down on something.
What if I told you that sitting on a chair is an act of faith?
For a split second, you saw that chair before you sat down.
What if that chair had a bolt loose?
What if that chair is suffering from some sort of manufacturing defect and you probably will be on your butt right now and quite likely, in some pain.
But you trusted that chair.
Anytime you trust something in your daily waking life, it is an act of faith.
Because that is the definition of faith.
You believe in something to the point that you act on it.
This is different from what the Letter of James says when people talk about having faith.
But their actions betray their faithlessness.
As the Apostle James famously wrote, “Faith without works is dead.”
And this is no small thing because in Christian theology, faith is the only path to salvation because you access God’s grace which actually saves you through your faith and faith alone.
It is because of faith that you’re able to do good work.
That’s how crucial faith is.
It is the key to heaven.
Sadly, so many religions get it in reverse.
They think that you have to work your way to heaven.
You have to be a good person for St. Peter to let you into the heavenly gates.
That is not true according to the Bible.
All you need is faith, but it has to be real faith.
You have to be surrendered.
You have to allow the will of God to change.
And this is precisely what people find troubling and some, even disgusting.
It robs them of their power.
But when you look at your life right now, what kind of power do you really have?
This is why it’s really important to understand that when you see fish swimming, especially colorful fish like Koi, it indicates a call for you to see things for what they are.
And for you to be able to do this, you have to have eyes of faith.
And one of the most faithful things you can do is to act like you’re put on this earth for a reason.
You’re not just this random organism that eats shits, pisses and fucks, and then ultimately get sick and old and die.
There’s something more to you.
If the Bible is true that the God of the universe personally took clay in his hands instead of just calling you into existence but shaping you, lovingly holding you, cupping you in his hands and breathing you into your nostrils his breath, that’s how intimate God is.
That’s how intimate the relationship God wants with you.
But here you are, looking at the wreckage or ruins of your life and thinking, “I am all alone.”
Open your eyes.
What does it mean to dream of catching dead fish?
This is a bittersweet image, but if you’ve ever watched YouTube videos on commercial fishing or even just regular fishing with nets, you will notice that a certain percentage of fish caught are already dead by the time of their capture.
This doesn’t detract from the abundance of the harvest as Matthew 17:24-27 teaches, “Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch, open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
What Jesus is saying is that faith will carry you through even though the process that you go through is improbable.
Jesus had responsibilities.
He had to pay tax, He had realities to deal with, He had to eat, He had to find shelter.
I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that this also applies to you.
But here’s the difference.
He was able to do all of these things because He lived by faith.
We don’t live by faith, most of us at least.
Most of us live by worrying.
But let me tell you, worrying is just as useful as chewing gum to make a typhoon go away.
There is no logical connection between what you’re doing and what’s going on around you yet people engage in this type of logic every single time they worry.
Because in the back of their heads, they’re thinking they’re “working” to resolve the problem.
How is that possible when you worry yourself to the ground?
It has a tremendous negative effect on your physical and emotional psychological health.
So Jesus is saying act more by faith and things will work out.
It may not happen according to your timeline and it may not play out according to your expectations, but it will happen.
What does it mean to see small fish jumping out of water and dying?
This is an indication of lack of forgiveness.
This is also an indication of ingratitude.
Believe it or not, a lot of “small things” in your life are actually very expensive and if you think about it hard enough, almost impossible to produce.
Let’s just take you as an example.
You may be thinking that certain areas of your life are disappointing, fair enough.
You may even have been so sad and so discouraged that you may be thinking that maybe your life wasn’t worth it, fair enough.
But what if I told you that not so long ago, there were millions and millions of proto sperm being produced, but only a certain percentage got successfully produced.
And of that certain percentage, which translates to millions, only a very few made it through the body of your soon-to-be mother.
And of all the chemicals in her body, one sperm made it to her egg.
Now, what if I told you that the chances of that newly fertilized egg is not very good when it comes to implanting on the uterine wall.
Chances can be very high if your mother is young and healthy.
But if she has a certain lifestyle, she’s a little bit on the older side, or she has a certain genetic predispositions, the chances of that egg implanting may be very low.
And then once that fertilized egg starts to grow, there are all sorts of things that could have happened to just rob it of its sustenance.
And then it gets just absorbed by your mother’s body.
And then, nine months in your mother’s womb, all sorts of things could have happened.
She could have gotten in an accident, she could have slipped and fell, people might have murdered her.
I know it sounds crazy, but we live in a crazy world.
And then you were born.
And from the time you were born to where you are now, all these tragedies could have happened to you but here you are, living, breathing.
You are not a small thing.
You are a statistical miracle.
Just as living on this planet is a statistical miracle because the pH level of the water has to be just right for us to live.
The temperature range just has to be right for us to survive.
I can go on and on about magnetism levels, radiation levels, ozone levels, you name it.
Even if you were just to change the Earth’s distance from the Sun, a tiny smidgen of life, as we recognize it, may not have been possible.
You are not an accident.
Life is never an accident.
When you dream of small fish jumping out and dying, your subconscious is trying to communicate to you a deep and profound sense of ingratitude because you’re not seeing the big picture.
You’re not seeing the statistical improbability of your very personal existence.
God wants you to see because we miss by looking at the improbability you can see his fingerprint.
Your life took place right on time, by design.
What does it mean to dream of pulling fish out of the water to the surface only to realize they’re dead?
God wants to take you to another spiritual level.
The disappointment that you’re bound to feel when you see this series of images play out indicates that God is trying to speak to you in contrast.
You have to understand that God can either bless you by giving you exactly what you prayed about, or He can choose to bless you through a challenge.
In many cases, people achieve breakthroughs right after they failed at what they originally set out to do.
You don’t have to look far in terms of serial failures that eventually made it.
Do you think Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple computers, had it easy?
Do you think Bill Gates only works on successes at Microsoft?
There is such a thing as survivor bias when we view reality.
Because we can only look at the stuff that worked and we walk away with this entitled sense that “Well, that’s supposed to work, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Well, no, the answer is just flat out.
No, because for every success that you see, there is a graveyard of failures.
You have to be ready for that reality.
You have to accept that this setback is just a dress rehearsal for a breakthrough but I need to go through this, I need to learn my lesson, and most importantly, I need to let my journey change me.
Don’t get that sign of the dead fish, after all that time and effort trying to catch it, fill you with disappointment.
Don’t walk away with a conclusion that maybe this isn’t worth it.
No, that’s what the enemy wants you to think.
Suicide is his song.
Surrender is his message.
But the good news is you have a choice.
You can choose to live by faith.
What is the dream meaning of many fish swimming together?
When you see a huge school of fish, this is an indication that you are in over your head.
You may even walk away with the conclusion that other people have it against you and they’re actively working together to hold you down.
But Philippians 4:6 reminds us “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”
That’s a mouthful.
There’s a lot of concepts there to wrap our heads around, but I want you to focus on one thing.
When the Apostle Paul writes, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding.”
Basic human understanding is that for us to have peace of mind, things have to be just right.
For us to be comfortable, things have to be set up or appear in such a way that we can be comfortable.
In other words, our internal stability, confidence and sense of self-worth is inextricably linked to what’s going on around us.
We are the product of our circumstances.
This is how the human mind normally works.
But what the Apostle Paul is saying in the passage from the Philippians above is the complete opposite.
Focus on God and His peace, which transcends all understanding.
In other words, it defies logic.
Things are falling apart, but you still have the strength to smile.
People are screaming their heads off like chickens in panic, and you still manage to find peace and serenity despite the destruction and breakdown happening around you.
This is a message of hope because we live in a world that we did not create and we definitely cannot control.
This gives us an inner core of peace because when we desire the peace of God and our prayer centers on that peace, and we are serious when we say, “Let your will be done,” the improbability happens.
You become a refuge of peace in a world that’s gone mad.
You become a center of serenity in a place filled with chaos, despair and misery.
Do you see how this works?
Do you see how this could be a miracle?
You can also play the game the opposite way.
Be one of those people running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
It doesn’t take much effort to do that, seriously.
Because that’s the way the world already works.
Jesus has a parable called The Sower and He said that there’s the enemy that planted weeds and it choked the faithful people.
Do you think the devil needs fertilizer?
Do you think he has to go out of his way?
No, the world is already full of weeds.
It’s its nature.
Your focus should be on the peace that God brings, and this can only be done through faith.
What should you be faithful about?
Just wrap your head around the fact that God created everything with His word except for the human beings.
And if His word can make everything come alive and become possible, what more your finances?
What more is your strained relationships, your low self-confidence, your conflicted sexuality, your addictions?
These are nothing compared to the grandeur of the universe that God brought into being with His word.
Let me be clear, just as He can create everything, He can also recreate your life.
The image of God that is in you has been shattered by sin, but He can put it back together.
You just have to give Him permission.
You might also want to read these:
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.