What Do Dreams of Fire Mean?
7 min read
Last Modified 17 August 2023 First Added 8 March 2022
Fire frequently features in our dreams and has many connotations, so seeing it in a dream is neither good nor bad. Spiritually, fire is a core element associated with energy, purification, destruction, and enlightenment.
When we consider fire, anger often springs to mind – think ‘burning with rage’ or ‘raging inferno’ – and fuels many powerful metaphors. It’s perfect for describing a sense that things are out of control, for example ‘I’ve been putting out fires all day’.
Fire is also ideal for talking about transformation – ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’, and even passion – ‘burning desire’ and ‘set my heart on fire’. The list goes on and on. In fact, you could even say its use in English for expressing thoughts, emotions and ideas has spread like wildfire!
Context is critical to describing the meaning of dreams about fire. So, in this article, we’ll delve into the different variations of fire dreams and what they could mean to your life.
You’re rudely awoken from a deep and peaceful sleep by the piercing wail of a fire alarm. Seconds later, you spot a cloud of thick black smoke billowing into your bedroom. You wake up your partner with a scream before you crawl along the floor together to escape.
Fortunately, getting to the door is no problem. However, as soon as you open it, you’re besieged by flames. In all your frantic efforts to get out, you find every way you turn is blocked. But just as it looks like the end is nigh, you wake up – this time for real – gulping in the fresh morning air as reality dawns.
You find yourself safely in bed with your still-sleeping partner tucked up by your side. The whole thing was just a nightmare. You were dreaming all along! But what in the blazes does it mean?
We often assume the meaning behind dreaming of fire is feeling overwhelmed or angry. Many of us see fire as destructive and scary as we often encounter it unwillingly, so it usually comes with a fear of being burnt or losing possessions.
However, fire can have positive connotations as well. In a dream, you may find yourself unafraid of the flames or even welcome them. So, let’s explore the most common types of fire dreams and what they could be telling you…
Dreaming about your house being on fire may mean you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed in your day-to-day life or even a sign of burnout (no pun intended).
Indeed, Freud taught that the house represented your sense of self and your spirituality, suggesting that dreaming of a fire in your home means you’re worried and anxious. So you could be lacking internal peace.
This dream may also help to highlight insecurities, similar to worries about thieves breaking into your house. In this case, however, your house symbolises something stable, homely and warm in your life, with the fire representing a solemn threat.
If you dream about being on fire, it might be surprising to know this can have multiple positive and negative meanings. Dreaming of being on fire means you feel preoccupied with something. Indeed, we often use the phrase ‘consumed by flames’, which could be relevant to something you’re afflicted about.
Alternatively, it can also represent transformation – that you’re shedding a burden ready for regrowth. In this sense, it’s a sign of rejuvenation – that fire can cleanse, purify and lead to better things once the flames are extinguished.
Fleeing a fire can be a terrifying experience, so these dreams are often a negative experience. They often represent feeling overwhelmed by a situation, particularly one you did not cause or feel trapped in. This can be someone who has destructive energy, a bad work environment, or if you don’t feel safe in some aspect of your life.
If you are frequently trying to run from fire in your dreams, it can strongly indicate that it’s time for a significant change or to remove yourself from something you doubt.
Dreaming about being near a fire can be a positive sign. Indeed, whilst fire is often seen as a destructive force, it is also a signal of warmth and light that keeps you safe, even in the dark or cold.
Furthermore, a dream about being around fire may symbolise a nostalgic yearning for a past period in your life. Equally, it could symbolise contentedness and peace in your life after a period of uncertainty. In this case, the fire represents overcoming anxiety (the dark) into a period of calmness (the light).
Dreaming of someone being on fire may symbolise an intense anger towards them. If the dream isn’t about a person but is about ‘something’, it can also represent resentment for that ‘thing’ or what that ‘thing’ may mean.
In a more positive light, it may express a burning desire for something or someone. If it is a person, it could be a lover, or if it is something, it may represent a broader life ambition. Overall, if something is on fire, it means a preoccupation with that thing or person. Perhaps you cannot control your emotions, whether good or bad and need an outlet for the frustration in your waking hours.
With fire comes smoke. Typically, dreaming about smoke means feeling lost or uncertain about something, making it impossible to see around you. Maybe you are hesitant or feel like someone is keeping information from you – especially if you are trying to find your way through the smoke but meeting obstacles.
While black smoke is most commonly associated with fire and is usually a warning sign, white smoke is often used in purification rituals and can mean that good fortune is coming.
To understand what your dream about fire could signify, you must consider the personal connotations and context of what happened. For example, how did you feel during the dream? Was it a positive or negative dream?
If negative, then perhaps it could improve your life to confront these thoughts properly. If the dream represents anxiousness or overwhelming feelings, it could be helpful to break down the exact causes of these stresses, as this may lead you to find solutions. Explore our relaxation techniques to try before bed for more restful sleep.
While dreams may have positive feelings, they may be overwhelming. Check out our post to understand more about vivid dreams and what you can do about them, especially if they make you tired.
Dreams of fire feature commonly in popular culture. In particular, they play a massive role in the storytelling of several epic fantasy series. For example, in Game of Thrones, the character Jojen is captured by a group of Night’s Watch traitors but brushes off their threats to kill him due to his previous vision of his hand on fire.
In the similarly epic fantasy Lord of the Rings, Frodo frequently dreams of red hot flames. By the time the young hobbit reaches Mordor, his sleep is “full of dreams of fire”, and even after the ring of power that gives the trilogy its name is destroyed, it continues to haunt him in his dreams.