Waves, by their very nature, are symbols of movement, change and power. They represent the uncontrolled, raw aspect of nature, signifying both creation and destruction. Waves may also symbolize emotions, particularly those that are strong and all-consuming, like anger or passion. The rhythm of waves can represent the rhythm of life itself – the ups and downs, the highs and lows.

  • Symbolism: Movement, Change, Power, Emotion, Life’s rhythm

Waves in Dreams

Psychologists often associate waves in dreams with feelings and emotions. Large, overwhelming waves may indicate a sense of feeling overwhelmed or out of control, particularly in emotional situations. Gentle waves, meanwhile, could suggest a sense of peace and steadiness in the emotional realm. Surfers riding the waves might be a sign of one’s ability to navigate through emotional turmoil effortlessly.

  • Symbolism: Overwhelming emotions, Peaceful emotions, Navigating through emotional turmoil

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Waves in Myths and Folklore

In many cultures, waves have been central to creation myths. For instance, in Polynesian mythology, the god Tangaroa is represented by the ocean and its waves. The Maori also believe that waves are the messengers of Tangaroa. Meanwhile, in Japanese folklore, the Great Wave off Kanagawa represents the unpredictable and uncontrollable force of nature. This image is often used to symbolize life’s challenges and the human struggle to overcome them.

In Greek folklore, waves have been associated with the god Poseidon, who could stir up or calm the seas with his trident. Waves here symbolize the volatile nature of the sea, reflecting the god’s mood swings.

  • Symbolism: Creation, Divine messages, Life’s challenges, Mood swings

Waves Spiritual Meanings

Spiritually, waves are seen as a symbol of the conscious mind’s interface with the powerful, churning depths of the subconscious. They represent the spiritual journey of the soul towards enlightenment, with each wave symbolizing a different challenge or lesson. The ebb and flow of waves can also symbolize the continuous cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

  • Symbolism: Conscious mind, Subconscious mind, Spiritual journey, Life cycle

Waves Tattoo Meaning

A wave tattoo can hold a variety of meanings, often deeply personal to the wearer. It can symbolize a love for the ocean or a connection to water sports like surfing. It could also represent overcoming a difficult period in life, with the wave signifying the challenges faced. For some, a wave tattoo symbolizes the idea that life, like waves, keeps moving forward and that struggles, like waves, will pass.

  • Symbolism: Love for the ocean, Personal challenges, Moving forward, Resilience
Olex Lys

Reviewed by Alexander Lys, M.L., a specialist in the field of symbolism research and dream psychology. A certified participant in numerous psychological seminars and courses, the author of hundreds of articles on psychology, including studies on symbolism in dreams and myths from a scientific perspective.


Encyclopedia of Symbols

About the Author

Symbolopedia is a comprehensive guide to the meanings of symbols. Our content is crafted by professionals in psychology and symbolism, striving to maintain a balance between scientifically proven data and insights derived from myths, legends, and folklore. While our approach leans towards scientific interpretations of symbols, we acknowledge the significant role of the subconscious in their understanding, allowing for a blend of rationality and creativity.

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