What Does It Mean When You Dream About Fire?

Dreaming of something as intense as fire can be alarming. Because of its potential for destruction, fire often brings up feelings of danger and fear. However, in the world of dream analysis, nothing, even fire, is that straightforward. As with all symbolism, dreams of fire usually bely a meaning deeper than leaving the heat on too high before going to bed.

Depending on who you ask, seeing fire in a dream can have a number of different potential meanings. Dream interpreter Tony Crisp views fire as representative of the process of life. He also ascribes it to "destroying the old, what was alive or lived in the past" and a number of intense human emotions, including passionate love and extreme anger. On the popular Dream Doctor website their dream dictionary describes fire as symbolizing "urgency and transition," while the Curious Dreamer posits the ignition of a flame could represent "a trigger or a beginning of a process likely to bring life, heat, destruction, cleansing, etc."

How do these modern interpretations stack up to the pioneers of dream analysis?

What do the experts say

People have been trying to make sense of their dreams since the earliest days of humanity, but our modern practice has its roots with early 20th century psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. While dreams were often interpreted as omens of things to come in the ancient world, Freud and Jung cast them as clues to our deeper subconscious thoughts and desires. It would be putting it mildly to say that not everyone agrees with Freudian and Jungian analysis, but their ideas do offer important insight into the field of dream interpretation.

In his essay "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, Dora" Freud wrote that fire is linked to "symbolic meaning to thoughts of love," but also ascribed a connection to childhood discipline stemming from one of the earliest lessons we're taught as children: don't play with fire. Meanwhile, in his popular book Man and His Symbols Jung echos Freud's interpretation of fire as symbolic of passion and love. He writes that "Fire and flame symbolize warmth and love, feeling and passion; they are qualities of the heart found wherever human beings exist."

Dream analysis is never straightforward, but the old and new experts seem to agree that if you're dreaming about fire there's a good chance your mind is hung up on a burning passion in your life.