Flying dreams & how to understand their meaning

Flying dreams & how to understand their meaning

Dreams of flying are one of the rare types of dreams that seem to hardly ever be associated with a negative experience. Even if the flying event includes struggle, the overriding sensation of flying in dreams is usually an uplifting one. Flying dreams also seem to be unusual in that, while they are common enough for many people to have had one at some stage in their lives, they don’t happen frequently for most people. There is something quite special about a flying dream. So, what do they mean?

To dream of flying is to participate in one of humanity’s greatest desires; to soar like a bird in the sky, free from all earthly limitations. This freedom is one of the key meanings behind flying dreams. When you dream of escaping the restrictions of gravity, you are also dreaming of escaping other restrictions in your waking life, as well as your own internal limitations.

To understand why you might experience a flying dream, it can be helpful to consider what in your life is “holding you down”. Do you have inner dreams of a personal potential that is not being realised? Perhaps you want to pursue a creative career but feel beholden to parents who expect you to become something more practical, such as a doctor, engineer or electrician. Perhaps you long to explore wild, adventurous places but have made a commitment to raise a family. In a situation like this, you can see that the dreaming mind works on many levels. On one level, a flying dream may be expressing your desire to be free, while simultaneously giving you a vivid experience of what that freedom feels like, without the complicated consequences of giving up your commitments.

Dreams function as more than wish fulfilment. They also provide emotional reinforcement and reflect current situations and how we feel about them. Dreams of flying are often associated with transition. They may appear when change occurs in your life, such as changing jobs, moving to a new house or meeting a new, important friend. Flying dreams can be symbolic of a newfound sense of freedom and elation at the way your life is unfolding in a surprising and exciting direction. Flying dreams may also arise after a period of confinement or restriction, in association with liberation and release. This could be clearly identifying the end of an unhealthy relationship or limiting work, or even literal incarceration. It could also be a change of ideas, a new internal commitment or healing from a past hurt.

Flying dreams can sometimes be a part of other frequently occurring dreams, like those of being chased or attacked. In your dream, you may be able to fly to safety, away from that which is chasing or attacking you. These can be profoundly reassuring dreams, reminding you that you have something precious within you that nobody can harm and you have the resources you require to end a situation that is not healthy or helpful for you any more. You may be able to imagine new ways forward, to connect with a higher source for positivity so that you don’t get dragged down by negative behaviours, or rise above your own restrictive internal dialogue.

Freedom is one aspect of flying dreams that holds a special attraction, but they often mean even more than this. As well as escape from restrictions, flying dreams elevate us, they lift us up. In this way, flying dreams can indicate a positive change of mood or a “lift in spirits”. Air and the sky are often symbolic of mental faculties, of “higher reasoning” and logic. They are also associated with inspiration and spiritual connection. Dreaming of flying into the air may indicate that you are forming new ideas; that your world view is changing. Just as birds can see a sweep of the landscape below them, so too can flying dreams indicate that you are able to see your own life from a new perspective, that the relationship between things is becoming clearer. You may experience a new ability to see what has happened previously in your life, what has led to this point and where you may go from here. You may even feel things that had upset you in the past, when viewed from the lofty position of flying, now seem small and inconsequential, not bothering you so much any more. Interestingly, this perspective reinforces the sense of freedom associated with flying, as you can also be free from the past, from guilt, judgement, as well as patterns of sorrow or shame.

Such psychological freedom leads us into another aspect of flying dreams: transcendence. One of the most amazing things about flying dreams is the special feelings they create. There is often a spiritual dimension to flying dreams, as though to be free from the earthly restrictions of gravity, we are also free from the bounds of the physical body. Some people describe flying dreams as an “out-of-body experience” (OBE). Shamanistic teachings speak of the soul leaving the body to fly around the Earth and even into other dimensions. Even a simple flying dream can have a profound sense of the sacred about it, as if by becoming more like spirit in the dream world, we connect more closely with our own spiritual source.
Flying in dreams also has an association with lucid dreaming. Many people who experience lucid dreaming start with an intent to fly in dreams. Interestingly, flying in dreams can in itself trigger moments of lucidity while dreaming. Perhaps the super-human effort required to fly in dreams, or the extraordinary sensation, is enough to wake the dreamer momentarily so that they become aware they are dreaming. Flying in dreams is often related to a change in consciousness, which may occur directly within the dream as you have it and allow lucid dreaming, or it may take you beyond the experience of normal dreaming and shift you into something transcendental.

You could fly in your dreams if you are seeking new ideas, especially creative ones and those that relate to the betterment of the world at large. The combined aspect of the mental with the spiritual of flying dreams often relates to the ability to access a “higher consciousness” and to bring this high-level thinking and understanding down to the more practical material plane. Flying dreams may also contain an inherent joy and playfulness, which seems to represent the best of human nature freed from fear, worry, shame or anxiety. Flying dreams may remind you of that amazing spirit you have inside you, which lives on even in the difficult or simple drudgery of day-to-day existence. Some people report a renewed sense of spiritual faith after flying dreams, while others feel reassured that there is more to the magic of life than what we take for granted each day. Flying dreams can be healing, transformative, or simply a lot of fun.

It may be surprising to learn that flying in dreams does not always come naturally or easily. For some people, flying in dreams can be a tricky or time-consuming task. Some dreamers will take several nights, sometimes over weeks, months or even years, to master flying in dreams. This seems to relate to a sense of mastery in waking life, or of internal processes and integration. As you become more adept at making choices and coordinating responsibilities and freedoms, as well as expressing your authentic self through creativity, the flying in dreams become smoother and more relaxed.

Flying dreams may involve a variety of interesting ways to “take off”. You may leap from a high place and let the fall turn into flying. You may need a running start or you simply shoot into the air. These ways of starting your flight can symbolise the internal methods you employ to achieve a state of mental freedom or clarity. Leaping off a building or cliff may relate to your explorations of trust and acceptance, in “letting go”. Running starts may symbolise preparation, effort and the role of will in achieving both goals and changes in your internal state. If you simply shoot into the air in your dream, you may be lucky enough to experience spontaneous moments of release. Or you may have reached a position of mastery in some area of your life that accessing certain internal states comes naturally to you now. This can occur after dedicated meditation, dreamwork or focus on your own creative skill for a considerable period of time.

Crash landing in a dream can be a sign that you feel frustrated in the pursuit of your goals. It may be an external distraction or it may be you hold doubts in your own mind, or fear or other conflicting ideas that are dragging you away from the clear pursuit of your ideal. This may be a time to look at where you feel conflicted or compromised in life and carefully asses what is most important to you. With a limited time here on this Earth, what are you willing to give up? Can you find a new way to integrate it into your life, so you need not let it go entirely?

With air often a symbol of the mind and higher powers, and water referencing emotions and the deeper self, it can be a fascinating experience to dream of flying over, into or through water. To dream of flying above water and dipping in and out of it freely could indicate a healthy and playful balance between thinking and feeling, of feeling comfortable in both elements. Soaring above the water may be an expression of a clear mind untroubled by the stirring of changing emotions. Soaring over or through mountains often relates to a freedom associated with achieving significant goals, or the freedom of not having to achieve them anymore. Flying through mountains can also relate to spiritual development.

Flying is one of the most special dream events to experience. Flying dreams often explore ideas around freedom coupled with mastery, of the higher self being fully integrated into the whole self, and bringing ideas from the mental spiritual plane into the physical/material plane.

Want to learn more about what your dreams mean? Visit our Dreams archive page.

Ella Palfreyman

Ella Palfreyman

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