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Dreaming of Storms, Lighting & Thunder – What Does It Mean?

You look up toward the sky and, as you turn to the west, a thunderstorm rolls in. It’s vicious, overpowering and you have nowhere to run. Nervousness washes over you just like the deluge you know is about to begin. Lightning crashes down right in front of you. The dark clouds get so big they almost engulf the ground. Shortly thereafter, you can hear big, booming thunder . . . but then, you wake up.

If you’ve ever had a dream like this, you’re one of the millions who’ve experienced this very common dream scenario. It’s so prevalent that it’s one of the more ancient dreams to have. Storms are an integral part of our existence throughout life, so it’s only natural to see them in the land of Nod.

There are a lot of similarities in meaning between dreams about thunderstorms and lightning and those involving rain. In this article, let’s focus on dreams about thunderstorms, rain, and lightning.

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How to Interpret a Dream about Storms

There are many avenues in which to interpret a dream about storms, lightning, and thunder. Since it’s possible for a dreamer to experience one or all three at different times in one dream, each can have individual and combined meanings. But, as with all dreams, when you see a storm, lightning, or thunder, it’s going to come down to your understanding and experience with them in general.

First, analyze and consider what this weather phenomenon is in conscious experience. The impressive and awesome force of nature is apparent when storms are present. There’s an electrostatic charge that fills the air along with the spidery, streaking action of lightning in the sky. Sometimes it pulses through the darkness of the clouds and at other times it strikes straight down into the ground.

Thunder is a notable aspect of a storm. It’s a type of music or rhythm produced in the atmosphere that can sound like deep warring battle drums or a gentle rolling heartbeat. It can come crashing through the silence in the most jolting of ways or it can be a nurturing rumble like that of a kitten purring.

These phenomena are awe-inspiring and mysterious. They can signify a range of emotions and events. In general, such dreams tell us about an issue that may suddenly come into your life, bringing darkness and negativity while it lasts. The dream may also be telling you that you may be about to face some danger in your waking reality.

Storm Dreams are Ancient

storm dreams

Storms have been a visceral part of human experience stretching back to ancient times. This is what makes these kinds of dreams so interesting to study, particularly because of the various feelings people have about them.

Some people embrace thunder and lightning while others are terrified of it. Sometimes, the images in the dream about a storm will stick with you all day, while other times it may give you an overwhelming sense of relief. But the interpretation will come as a balance of what you think about storms when you’re awake and the experience of the dream storm.

For example, if you are one of those that love the sound of thunder and are excited by the promise of rain and lightning, then seeing one in dreamland might be a positive omen. If you felt protected in the dream storm while you saw everything else around you destroyed, then it could mean that heavy burdens will affect others around you but you are safe from the incoming onslaught.

When There’s Only Lightning, Thunder, or Storms

Generally speaking, however, when there’s only lightning and it doesn’t harm you, it suggests a revelation, an idea, or your higher power letting you know it answered your prayer. This is an ancient interpretation that many people tend to agree on.

For Christians, Jews and Muslims, there are many passages in their religious texts that specifically discuss dreams of storms in connection with God. If you are one of these people, it’s best if you refer to those texts in tandem with your dream to help you determine the interpretation.

If you hear thunder, your subconscious is letting you know something negative is afoot. But when a full-blown storm appears and there is no rain, it can either portend a time of testing or a beautiful knowledge about the world.

Because of this, Carl Jung, Calvin Hall, and Edgar Cayce had many things to say in regards to what dreams like this could mean.

Carl Jung – Chaos and Wisdom

Swiss psychoanalyst and pioneer in dream interpretation, Carl Jung believed that lightning symbolized a type of chaos in a person’s life or a sudden idea the dreamer should pay attention to. The lighting reflects an influence that begins a person on their process of individuation and it’s worth exploring, even at a surface level.

Individuation, according to Jung, is an important part of human psychology that differentiates a person from their childhood. It’s the process that propels a person into adulthood. But it’s not a finalized moment in time, it’s a continual process that occurs until death and perhaps even beyond.

Many acolytes of Jung’s work agree, that seeing only lightning in a dream indicates some sort of new wisdom, idea, or concept currently coming into your life. Perhaps it was a fleeting thought in waking reality that you should revisit. It could be your subconscious letting you know it’s right on point for what you need in your life at this moment in time.

Calvin Hall – Releasing the Pain of Reality

Calvin Hall is an American psychologist who spent three decades studying dreams. One of his more notable works was “A Cognitive Theory of Dreams” in 1953. He particularly focused his research on people’s inclination toward having dreams about storms, rain, lightning, and thunder. He had the dreamers categorize their own reveries into a database. This then created searchable results to show how common it was for people to have such dreams.

In most of his research, rain, especially when storms come into the picture, reflects an emotionally-influenced and negative view of the world. For instance, if someone experiences turmoil and strife due to the pressures of a difficult life, they may have recurring dreams of horrific thunderstorms to release the pain of their reality.

Alternatively, there are those who have occasional dreams of a storm with the rain washing everything away. This may reflect a person’s understanding that the world is an ugly place, but they may also believe good will ultimately prevail.

Edgar Cayce – A Sudden Realization or Destructive Force

Edgar Cayce is one of the most accurate and influential mediums of the 20th century. He was a big believer in dreams since many of his predictions and forecasts came directly from dreams. He has hundreds of books, journals, and other writings on the subject currently curated at his library.

Cayce had a similar outlook on dreams about lightning as Carl Jung combined with that of Calvin Hall, yet his projection existed before these other two men. He surmised it may reflect it be a sudden realization or it could be some outside destructive higher force.

However, if the dreamer is struck by lightning, then there’s some deep fear surfacing from the subconscious during dreamtime. But, depending on other elements, it could indicate a sudden discharge of tension, instant karma, or a desire for revenge.

Storm Dream Scenarios

storm dream types

While it’s impossible to go over every storm dream scenario, here are some of the most common and what they mean.

You survived a storm.

If you dreamt of surviving a terrible storm, your dream could be telling you that you will be about to face a difficult time in your life, but that you will overcome it successfully. This could be in your work realm, where you may have to deal with a difficult colleague or a challenging work project. It could also be in your relationships, where you will face a challenge but will be able to take the right decision, which will lead you to a better stage in life.

Being carried off by a storm.

If, in your dream, you were unable to resist the force of the storm and found yourself being carried off by it, this may indicate that you’re not strong in your values and viewpoints. You are easily influenced by others and unable to stick to your opinions. Your dream may be telling you to consider your opinion as well and be able to articulate it effectively.

Observing a storm from a distance.

If you saw yourself watching a storm from a safe distance, you are aware of impending problems that are brewing in your current reality. You know that it’s coming, but you may be unaware of how to thwart it. Whether in your work, social, or personal life, this dream is telling you to be proactive – nip the issue in the bud by facing it rather than pretending to yourself that it isn’t there.

Running away from a storm.

If you see yourself running away from a storm, seeking shelter elsewhere, you lack the gumption to stand and face issues in your life. The dream is telling you that you need to face up to your fears, whatever they are, rather than avoiding them for the time being.

In Brief

Storms, thunder, and lightning are very ancient dream themes. However, it’s going to mean very different things to different people. While very fascinating to explore, we can say with a scant amount of assuredness that seeing only lightning or thunder indicates some sort of revelation, whether that be an idea or a message from the divine.

As with all dream interpretations, the meaning will impinge on how you feel about storms in reality and how the storm made you feel throughout the dream. Plus, your sensations upon waking up will also be important, as they can indicate whether the dream held positive or negative connotations for you.

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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.