What Does it Mean to Fly in Your Dreams?
6 min read
Last Modified 1 June 2023 First Added 5 October 2021
Step after step, you begin to feel lighter.
Before you realise it, your feet are no longer touching the floor, and as you look down, you realise you’ve taken flight and are leaving the terrestrial world you know.
The sound that is so loud in everyday life is muted as you soar through the air, looking down at the world below, a world you’re no longer a part of.
You feel separate, thrilled, freed from shackles that have bound you to the ground, and you loop and glide, feeling the wind in your hair in a moment of absolute liberty.
Still, it’s only a dream – right?
Dreams of flying are one of the core cross-cultural archetypal dreams experienced by people worldwide and have been throughout recorded history. As such, the spiritual significances behind the dreams and variations of flying dreams are extensive – they include dreams of powered flight in vehicles, flying in a clear sky, over calm or turbulent water, and dreams where flying is joyous and where it’s terrifying. As with all dream interpretation, however, the dream itself is less important than the elements of it.
Most modern analyses link positive dreams of flying with a dreamer’s yearning for freedom, with the brain attempting to find novel ways of overcoming our problems. For example, famed Psychologist Carl Jung believed that the psyche uses dreams to achieve balance. So, dreamers that experienced dreams of rising above were, in their waking lives, weighed down by the mundane (in its original sense of ‘earthly’) problems of their day-to-day life.
These positive flying dreams can also indicate a need to find a broader perspective – to zoom out on your problems and not be bogged down by the minutiae of life or that a transition or substantial change is coming.
Negative flying dreams share much with dreams of falling – they can indicate loss, losing touch with friends and family, or anxiety that we have taken on too big a task and, like Icarus, are flying too close to the sun.
From flying in a futuristic vehicle to flying over water or just simply through the sky, Superman-esque, there are meanings behind each. Let’s explore some of these in more detail:
In a happy dream, flying alongside someone else strongly indicates that you feel supported and safe with that person. Perhaps you want to take a risk with them or start a new journey, but it shows readiness and trust in the relationship.
The converse is true of a negative flying dream. If the person you’re with impedes your flight or even chases you, it is likely a manifestation of anxiety about this relationship. Even if it’s someone you don’t know, it’s a good idea to examine the connections in your life to understand where you feel trapped.
Dreaming about flying symbolises…
Dreams that stay with us may not always hold a secret meaning. But as our brains use sleep to process our day-to-day existence, it pays to offer incredibly vivid or troubling dreams closer attention than we do. For that reason, looking at dreams of flying with historical analysis in mind can help dreamers to focus their self-reflection and find solutions that might not otherwise present themselves.
For those that dream of flying, that means identifying issues that we may be putting off but have the tools to deal with or looking for new approaches to problems that have been with us for a while.
According to Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the way to fly is to ‘throw yourself at the ground and miss’ – simply. Surrounded by birds and other flying creatures, it’s no wonder that flying has played a part in the human dreamscape since pre-history – it became such an obsession for Leonardo Da Vinci that he designed the first helicopter and glider and featured flying machines in many of his paintings.
Flying dreams, as such, occur from time to time in popular culture but are more likely to present themselves as the fantasy itself – whether that’s Superman or Icarus or in paintings such as William Blake’s O, How I Dreamt of Things Impossible.