What Do Dreams of Waterfalls Mean?

6 Min Read | By Nicholas Barber

Last Modified 31 October 2023   First Added 29 July 2022

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

What Is the Meaning of a Waterfall in Your Dreams?

Waterfalls are one of the greatest gifts presented to us by nature. Our planet’s geography features an abundance of waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, ranging from spectacular cascades and some of the greatest natural wonders of the world, to the soothing trickles of a babbling brook. Indeed, no two waterfalls on earth look the same.

So it won’t surprise you that waterfall dreams come in many varieties too. Whichever way a waterfall enters our dreams, the dreams themselves share much in common for dream analysts – they place us at the whim of an uncontrollable force of nature that has the power to help us, as a source of natural energy, but also to end our lives, as a dangerous hazard – all depending on the situation.

The Dream:

Drifting down a lazy river in a small bamboo raft, you’re enjoying a family holiday exploring the jungles of Southeast Asia. It’s a beautiful day and you don’t have a care in the world. The only disturbance is that of insects chirping in the undergrowth.

Then you hear it. A loud and constant ‘rushing’ sound echoing in the near distance. The rush gets louder and louder, and, as the boat approaches a bend in the river, it becomes a ferocious roar.

Then you see it. The terrifying vista of a huge waterfall. Full panic mode sets in. You bellow, “Row for your lives!” and everyone paddles desperately for the riverbank. But just as the boat is about to go over the edge, you wake up. It was all just a dream!

What could it all mean?

Meaning(s) of the dream:

Waterfalls are said to symbolise the process of letting go, cleansing and the continuous flow of energy and life. So a waterfall in your dream can highlight the importance of letting go of the negative thoughts that have become lodged in your mind. Water is one of the four elements, a symbol that connects with our spirit, so a waterfall becomes something that purifies and washes away negative energy, says Dream Dictionary. As a result, the waterfalls in your dreams act, “as a spiritual cleanse that removes all the negative energy in your mind, body and soul.”

Common meanings behind waterfall dreams

There’s a huge variety of dreams in which waterfalls play a starring role. You may dream of swimming in, or taking a shower under, a smaller-scale waterfall. Or you might picture yourself drinking fresh water from a crystal-clear waterfall on a desert island.

Here we explore more precise meanings of each of these variations.

1. Dream of swimming under a waterfall

Swimming beside a waterfall could be a sign you could get involved in business opportunities others have rejected, according to Dream Symbolism. As a result, if you use these opportunities wisely it may cause jealousy. Diving deeper into this dream’s symbolism, it’s also said that if you swim with the current it’s a good sign you’re set to benefit greatly from these new opportunities.

On the other hand, if you swim against the current while swimming in the dream, it suggests you’ll have a lot of challenges ahead. As the intensity of the waterfall can be overwhelming, you’re advised to pay attention to your limitations.

2. Dreams about drinking water from a waterfall

Drinking water from a waterfall is usually a positive dream that implies fresh start, a new beginning, or cleansing in any form, according to Dream Astro Meanings. This is because in many cultures the water from waterfalls is believed to be sacredly pure and clear, often originating from mountain ice, unseen by human eyes. In dreams, you’ll likely see a clear waterfall, with the clear water allowing you to have the wisdom to see through the water and up to the bottom.

3. Dreaming of a small waterfall

A small waterfall in a dream represents your short-term goals and desires, according to Dream Symbolism. This dream is also said to reflect, “short-term struggles, constant attempts and efforts to reach your goals.” The best way to respond is to let your minor failures go, so you can focus on continuing to improve yourself.

4. Dreaming about a frozen waterfall

If you see a frozen waterfall in a dream this signifies that you have suspended yourself in sorrow. You can’t forget the disappointments or losses that you’ve recently experienced. If you have this dream you might need the support of others in your life to find ways to melt the ice and free yourself from the pain.

Answering the dream:

Those dreams that lodge in our waking consciousness may not always hold a secret meaning. But as our brains use sleep to process our day-to-day existence, it pays to offer especially vivid or troubling dreams closer attention than we do. For that reason, looking at dreams of waterfalls with historic analysis in mind can help dreamers to focus their self-reflection and find solutions that might not otherwise present themselves.

If you dream of waterfalls, it means you should work on identifying issues that you find hard to let go of or to look for new approaches to issues that have been with you for a while.

So what are the most important issues that this kind of dream can bring to light? Although there may not be a definite meaning, your brain is processing things as you sleep, so it can show you areas that need your attention. These could be connected to your emotions, patience, or even fears.

Notable appearances in popular culture:

In countless fictional tales, legends, and myths, waterfalls are featured as a symbol of some sort of mystery. It’s why secret chambers are often hidden behind the silvery veil of falling water – the setting of the evil villain‘s lair in countless spy films, and particularly those involving a certain Mr Bond.

Popular culture uses waterfalls as symbols of mystery, secrets, hidden knowledge, and even forbidden knowledge. Indeed, scenes in the hit 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises were shot at a spectacular waterfall in the Brecon Beacons as the location for the infamous ‘Batcave’ – Batman’s secret hideout. Perhaps the most famous waterfall scene in popular cinema, however, is the appearance of Manawaiopuna Falls in Jurassic Park. This breathtaking falls appeared in the helicopter landing scene when the main characters first arrive at the fictional dinosaur park.

As well as representing mystery, waterfalls are often used to characterise danger. How often do we see the hero preventing a water vessel from falling to certain doom off the edge of a gigantic waterfall? It’s the perfect test of their heroic powers. And think of the classic scene when the late Christopher Reeves as Superman rescues a reckless child who falls into the Niagara Falls in Superman II. Moments later Lois Lane discovers Clark Kent’s true identity. In this case the waterfall is used as a plot device to reveal the mystery, instead of hiding it.

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