Shells, often washed ashore from the depths of the sea, symbolize the mysteries of the ocean and the interconnectedness of life. They are seen as protective vessels, guarding the delicate life within, much like a shield or armor. Shells, with their spiral patterns and labyrinth-like designs, also represent journey, growth, and evolution. Their natural beauty and varied forms speak to individuality, diversity, and the wonders of nature’s artistry.

Shell in Dreams

In dreams, shells can signify one’s inner self, the protective barriers we erect, and the masks we wear in our interactions. A shell might indicate that the dreamer is shielding themselves from external influences or hiding their true feelings. Conversely, finding a shell in a dream could suggest discovering hidden treasures within oneself or recognizing inner beauty and potential. The act of listening to a shell to hear the “ocean” might point to a need for introspection and tuning into one’s intuition.

Shell in Myths and Folklore

Throughout history, shells have held spiritual and cultural significance. In many ancient cultures, they were used as currency, amulets, and ceremonial objects. The conch shell, particularly, is associated with the divine in Hinduism, being linked to the god Vishnu, and is often blown as a ritual trumpet. In Polynesian mythologies, the god Maui is said to have pulled the islands from the sea using a fishhook made from his grandmother’s shell. In Western art and literature, the shell, especially the scallop, is associated with pilgrimage and is a symbol of the apostle James; it is often used to denote spiritual journey and transformation.

Reviewed by Olex Lys, enthusiastic in the field of symbolism research, and in the psychological interpretation of dreams.


Encyclopedia of Symbols

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Symbolopedia is an encyclopedia of symbol meanings. Although we tend to favor a scientific explanation of symbols, it's important to keep in mind that symbols operate within the realm of the subconscious, leaving room for a touch of imagination to persist. Our articles include sources for further learning about each symbol.

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