Body in Dreams: Gender, Animals and Out of Body Experiences

This blog is a part of a 4-blog series about the body.
The first blog is about Body Image and Self Esteem
This blog is about the spiritual body;
The third blog will be about the dreaming body;
The last blog will be about the body of poetry.

In one of my dreams I am a little boy who is playing hide and seek. I am crawling under a blanket to hide and I have so much fun because I know the person looking for me will see me but if he does I will scare him and than we will both laugh. I am very joyful and full of anticipation about the game that is about to begin.


The Body in Dreams

In this blog I want to explore how your own body can be a different gender in your dreams, your body in dreams in animal form, and dreams and out of body experiences.

Have you ever been a different gender in your dreams? What was your interpretation?

body in dreams
Cartoon: Whyatt

When I woke up from my dream I was not worried at al. Not for one moment did I think that I was not at ease being a woman. in fact, I loved the playfulness of the young guy I was and it reminded me of the games my youngest son was playing at that time. He loved to play hide and seek and usually he was hiding in full sight, giving himself away with his soft laughter.

Most websites I researched while writing this blog, suggested that being a different gender in your dreams might indicate a subconscious struggle with your identity. I am not quite sure, given my own experiences with those dreams that I agree with that presumption.

But the fact is that we live in a patriarchal society. On some forums that were discussing this topic, there was the suggestion that females would be more comfortable dreaming that they were male because, as Simone de Beauvoir already stated in her book The Second Sex, the world perceives humanity to be male.

Unfortunately, I have experienced that when a man shares a dream in which he had the female gender the response on a forum is that he must be gay. I don’t think dreams in which you have a different gender represent secret wishes to change gender.

In my vision, these dreams are usually a sign of inner balance. You are as much at ease in a female as in a male role. Here is a dream that Patricia Garfield Shares in her book Pathway to Ecstasy The way of the Dream Mandala:

“At the end of an ordinary dream, I am in a bedroom looking into a mirror in the early morning. I am surprised to observe how large and dark the pupil of my left eye looks. As I examine it closely, I realize with a start that I have three eyes. They are straight across, with the third one directly between the others. I laugh softly to see this, realizing it means that I am dreaming.


body in dreams


I look into the mirror again and the reflection shows a man with two eyes, a broad face and curly hair. I say to myself with amusement: “And now I am a man!” Then the image shifts, and now instead of a middle eye, in its place between my brows is a round spot. at first uncoloured, the dot grows white and begins to pulsate, At that, my whole body starts to throb. I feel the familiar surge of passion and hurry downstairs, search for Zal… (page 209)”.

Of course each dream about being a different gender has its own unique meaning. At a Dream Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) the ex partner of a transgender female shared her dreams about her partner wearing pink coloured pants long before that partner ever acknowledged the longing to be a different gender.

So, like in any dream you remember and wish to interpret, take note of the emotions you wake up with, the associations you have with the dream symbols and the meaning you attach to it. Because the dream belongs to you.

If your body in dreams has become a different gender than the one you walk around with in the waking world, you might interpret it as a sign of inner balance.

You can also interpret it as a misbalance between anima (female) and animus (male) energies that we all possess.

Body in Dreams: Animals

What if your body in dreams has taken the shape of a specific animal? Shamanism has got a wealth of associations you can borrow to help you interpret those dreams.

Usually animals in dreams symbolize a specific kind of power, a psychological strength.

There is only one excellent book about animals I know about: Ted Andrews Animal Speak the Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small. I wanted to buy it when I was in America years ago, and I still regret that I did not. If you know of any good animal dream books, use let me know about them in the comments and I’ll check them out.

Once upon a time, long ago, I wanted to do a series of blogs and interviews about dreams and animals. That is when I found out that Ted Andrews had passed away.

“Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit” says Ted Andrews and I agree with him.

“In my I am taking a bath. I look at my stomach and to my great surprise two antlers are growing out of it. I wake up because of my amazement”

body in dreams

“Antlers are the symbols of antennae, connections to higher forms of attunement.  Deer with antlers thus can be a signal to pay attention to your inner thoughts and perceptions, as they are probably more accurate than you think” says Ted Andrews about this.

This dream also connected me with the ancient wisdom about antlers and the moon. The crescent moon is often symbolized by the antlered Goddess.

There are multiple interpretations possible if your body in dreams takes on the shape of an animal, but for me personally, the shamanistic approach is the best one.

Body in Dreams: Out Of Body Experiences

Sometimes in Lucid dreams you can watch your own body. I experienced such an out-of-body experience in the early morning It was a very amusing one.

“In my dream I fly over my bed and check who lies in it. There is a lady that looks like me: a small body with dark hair and a guy lying next to her that could be my husband: that lovely mixture of black and grey hair and a similar nose like he has. I decide to “enter” the body and glide in. I feel the “click” that my spiritual body is attached to my physical body and i start to wake up.

When I was young, there was a lot of attention for Robert Monroe, who became a guru on the subject of OBE.

And there are a lot of practices you can do to consciously leave your body (or imagine that you do). It can be a lot of fun. When you are lucid it can be very educational.

I remember dreams in which i visited the land of the deceased. I remember trips I took while being lucid flying around in my body checking the health of my veins (a special worry for me since I am Type 1 diabetic.

If you have left your body in dreams , either by accident or purposefully by using designated techniques, there is a huge range of creative possibilities you are able to undertake.




What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

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2 thoughts on “Body in Dreams: Gender, Animals and Out of Body Experiences”

  1. Dear Susanne, Thank you for sharing your wonderful article. As I view dreams through a Jungian lens and consider everything within to represent an aspect of myself, I feel it’s natural to dream of being another gender, bird or animal. Many times I’ve dreamt I was a dragonfly! I imagine lots of us shape-shift too. My dreams are also greatly inhabited with transgendered, and genderless people, which I consider as being fully integrated souls.

    As I know, like me you love your books so if you’re looking for a Jungian orientated one on dream animals you might enjoy, “Animal Guides in Life, Myth and Dream” by Neil Russack. It’s a delightful (Studies in Jungian Psychology) book using personal accounts, mythology and poetry to explore our inner dreams worlds.

    Growing up I undertook many OBE’s which kind of disappeared by the time I reached nine years old. I think I’ve had only a couple since then, yet find the topic fascinating and hope to read more about it when I get time. I still fly in my dreams but not nearly as often as I would like too. It’s the most incredible experience ever! Wishing you wonderful dreams, Deborah

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Thank you for your comment and your book tip, I’ll be sure to check it out soon (writing a new Mindfunda about the Calleach now,
      based on a dream a friend sent me, very interesting stuff, you’ll love it).
      Did you know that children are also more prone to have lucid dreams? So maybe the OBE’s and the lucid dreams disaster when you get older,
      as if you become more attached to your own body 😉

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