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Dreaming About an Earthquake – What Does It Mean?

Dreams about earthquakes are surprisingly common and you don’t even need to live in a place where earthquakes often happen. These dreams aren’t pleasant and can indicate intense feelings, a lack of stability in your life, or change. If you’ve had a dream about an earthquake and are wondering what it could possibly mean, we’ve got you covered.  

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In this article, we’ll take a look at various earthquake dream scenarios and the meanings and symbolism behind them.  

General Meaning of Dreams about Earthquakes 

symbolism and meaning of dreaming about earthquake

Psychoanalysis offers a very broad and general account of dream symbolism. Carl G. Jung discovered that a part of the unconscious is common to all human races, so there are certain patterns in dream symbolism that can be identified regardless of the person who had the dream. 

In the case of earthquakes, they may mean that there’s a great deal of disruptive change in your life at this point, change that has been happening under the surface for some time.  

It’s likely that you’re only now becoming aware of the magnitude of this transformation. The change in surface landscapes that happens during an earthquake, a product of imperceptible shifts in the earth’s crust, is representative of how some unconscious feelings and thoughts can have a huge impact on your psyche once they suddenly become conscious.  

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In addition to this, earthquakes have a relatively short duration, so dreams that have earthquakes in them usually point to events in your life that happened quickly or suddenly. Psychologists agree that one thing is certain, regarding earthquake dreams: They are a stern warning that whatever the change that has recently surfaced, things will never be the same for you. This is why it’s worthy to delve deeper into the meanings these kinds of dreams have. 

Dreams About an Earthquake – Common Scenarios  

aftermath of an earthquake

Here are some common dreams about earthquakes and what they mean:  

1. Dreaming of Running Away from an Earthquake  

To dream of running away from an earthquake can represent the troubles you’re currently facing in your waking life. You may be worried about certain changes you’re undergoing and don’t know what to expect. This could be making you feel anxious, triggering the dream as a result.  

2. Dreaming of Saving Someone During an Earthquake  

If you dream of saving someone during an earthquake, it could mean that you have the desire to prove yourself to someone or that you’re worried about someone in your waking life. It could mean that you’re afraid that bad things may happen to the person and that you won’t be there to help them when they need it.  

3. Dreaming of an Earthquake Cracking the Ground  

Dreaming of the ground cracking due to an earthquake symbolizes insecurities and instabilities you may be experiencing in your waking life. It’s likely you’re afraid of losing someone if you haven’t already lost them. It could also mean that you’re having trouble in your personal, professional, or academic.  

This dream is also a sign that difficult times are ahead, so it can be taken as a warning.  

4. Dreaming of an Earthquake Destroying Buildings  

This dream could mean that other people around you could be envious of you, especially if you’re currently doing very well in life. It’s possible that someone is on the lookout for an opportunity to strike you down when you least expect it.  

5. Dreaming of Hearing about an Earthquake  

If you hear about an earthquake in a dream, it implies that you may be having some problems in your personal, professional, or academic life. It could be giving you a sign so that you’ll be able to predict the issue and prepare for it well in advance. If you received the news from a family member, friend, or acquaintance, it could be a sign that you’ll soon receive the opportunity to go on a vacation.  

Earthquake Dreams in Ancient Mythology 

destroyed houses by earthquake

Renowned Assyriologist, Adolph Leo Oppenheim, dedicated his life to the decryption, translation, and interpretation of ancient cuneiform tablets, many of which contained accounts of dreams. His The Interpretation of Dreams in the Ancient Near East (1956) remains the most comprehensive study on the topic to date. There, he pays special attention to the dreams of the legendary king Gilgamesh, the protagonist of the world’s first epic poem.  

At some point in the epic, Gilgamesh and his friend and adventure partner Enkidu ascend the uncanny Cedar Mountain to fight its guardian, named Humbaba. Unsure of their chances of winning the fight, Gilgamesh asks the mountain to let him dream at night, a desire that is granted as he has three auspicious dreams on consecutive nights.  

The first night, he dreamed of an earthquake, which he interpreted as a warning to immediately leave the mountain region. But his friend Enkidu persuaded him to continue the journey. They finally killed Humbaba, but Enkidu was punished by the gods with a terrible disease, for ignoring the dream’s meaning. Not heeding a warning received during a dream was a terrible thing to do in Mesopotamia. Especially one so clear as an earthquake dream. However, as the story unfolds, we learn that despite that terrible omen, the danger Gilgamesh’s dream warns against can be overcome. 

Earthquakes appear in the Bible, not as dreams, but as God’s work. In Acts 16:26 it is written that “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”  

This example, the same as Gilgamesh’s dream, goes to show that sometimes an earthquake can be liberating, a discharge of violent energy that shakes the ground so much that new things can flourish, and our objectives can be achieved. Myths are a powerful source of insight into the human mind, and in this case, they bring hope to those of us who dream of earthquakes.  

Aftermath of an Earthquake 

cracks in the ground

Although not every dream has a deep meaning or a life-transforming revelation, sometimes they do. It’s a good idea to dig deeper into dream symbology to understand such revelation when it comes. 

Earthquake dreams usually are an indication that your personal world is in danger. This danger may be real or imagined, but it is always unconscious. Either you are unconsciously fearful that your world may fall apart, or you have an intuition that it will, but you have not processed it rationally. The dream is telling you that it is time you do so. Domestic relationships and work connections are the usual culprits, but also unpleasant news or intuitions can be responsible for prompting a dream of this sort.  

If neither your marriage nor your business is falling apart, maybe the answer is below the surface of your conscious self, where a potentially explosive situation may be welling up. Violent bursts in dreams usually point to frustration. Frustration usually means that a part of yourself has been buried in the unconscious and is trying to find its way back into your life. The dream may be telling you to not forget yourself and is a very visual account of what might happen if you do. 

Wrapping Up 

Not only will your earthquake dream give you insights into your current issues, but it can lead you to a fuller understanding of yourself and, eventually, to gain more control of your own life. Earthquake dreams may be the way in which your unconscious tells you exactly that, that you need to get back on track before it is too late. There is pressure welling up, and if you don’t take action, it will explode. 

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.