I Dream of Tigers

by Kristina S.

Discovering key thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung made me realized that by observing what’s inside my head, I might discover more about myself and the people around me. I might find an explanation for my dislike of eating ice cream and cake TOGETHER or my obsession with images of people floating in water. Hence, in my endeavor to unravel the bizarreness that is my own brain, my thoughts and dreams rarely go unnoticed. So keen I was on observing my own dreams, I have become somewhat of a dream oracle amongst my friends. In other words, they come to me for an interpretation of their dream. It’s kind of fun.


I am one of those people who are blessed/cursed with lucid dreams. I say cursed because, sometimes, my dreams are too happening that I find it hard to wake up. They’re like movies I want to keep on watching. So when my days get a bit same-same, sleeping becomes almost like a free entertainment. And to me it’s definitely more interesting than, oh I dunno, an episode of Glee?

I definitely agree that dreams is made of real life happenings and debris of my own thoughts, desires, fears and frustration. They’re such funny things. Sometimes they can be laden with so many symbolisms and metaphors. Sometimes they can be as trivial as reading a magazine while drinking a cup of tea (I tend to confuse these realistic dreams as memories of events that actually took place in reality). I have noticed that the qualities of dreams that I get during naps and sleep are also different (I tend to get more nightmares during naps). And I’ve noticed going to bed with a full stomach can give me bad dreams, Which then explains my nap nightmares because I usually take them after a heavy lunch!

So you see, I am a big observer of my own dreams. One thing I like noticing is the types of animals that turn up in my dream. I have read somewhere that our dreams are made of everything that we’ve seen. Our brain can’t construct imaginary people or creatures or things that we have never seen before and put them in our dreams. So if that’s true, I have seen thousands of different animals, but why do only a selected number of them keep coming up in my dreams? What are their significance? Why do they come up at certain periods in my life and not at other times? Also, I really love animals. And thinking about them wards off boredom.

Below is my attempt to record the different animals that I’ve dreamed of and the timing of the dreams. I hope to see if the dreams were related to incidents that I have experienced. Freud said that dreams are always self-centered. People/objects/landscape that appear in a dream represent some aspects of ourselves or what they mean to us. So please bear with me as I go on a journey inside my subconscious to see if my crazy dreams held any meaning. (Note: this is the closest I have gotten to being Scientific! I am so excited i can barely hold my horses!)

I don’t think I dream of birds very often. I think they are funny creatures and sometimes too smart for their own good. Magpies sort of scare me, I think they are plotting on world domination. The only time I had a bird dream, I was hugging a giant parrot. It is a nice image to remember and it makes me feel a bit fuzzy thinking about it. The dream happened during a time when I starting a new chapter in my life, and I was anticipating many lovely things to come (and they did). The parrot was probably a symbol of that. Although my husband thinks I was probably dreaming about meeting him (we haven’t dated yet at the time). He does annoy me with too much talking sometimes, just like talking parrots do.

An illustration I did based on my parrot dream

I once dreamed that I was sticking hundreds of butterflies on a present that was meant for my friend who just had her first child. It was pretty, but boy how evil was I sticking down those fluttering wings with a glue stick. In this instance I think the dream represented me trying to capture fleeting moments of happiness, which is exactly how I feel each time I see my friend with her new, still young family.

Cats show up in my dreams ever so often that it’s hard to pinpoint what caused them to wander into my head. I remember dreaming about a rocket that crashed down to earth and it exploded, releasing hundreds of skinny kittens all over town. I wasn’t high, I swear.

The last significant cat dream I had happened after my husband and I were talking about our plans for having kids. In that dream , we were cruising around in a convertible when we saw a pair kittens on the side of a road. One was male and the other female. Instead of whiskers they each had a handlebar mustache (que?!) which made the dream memorable. I wanted to take the male kitten home because he was more my type. But my husband insisted that we took both kittens home and I relented. Based on our conversation topic before we went to bed, it’s safe to assume that the dream was children related. I still feel a little guilty for only wanting the boy kitten.

My quick sketch of the kittens from my dream diary attempt

I dream of fishes sometimes. Usually they’re ugly black things that have been washed away onto land. I take that as my unconscious trying to tell me my head is overflown with unnecessary thoughts (or that’s what I figured out from a dream dictionary, which makes sense to me).

When I was just a first year student at university, I dreamed of a deep sea angler fish flying outside my bedroom window. It was trying to smash the glass with its ugly head. I was probably just stressed from assignment deadlines. Thinking back, at the time I had a fear towards deep sea fishes. They are just so grotesque looking with incisors that make them look like chainsaw killers of the ocean. I know, the chance of me coming across a live angler fish is quite slim! But when one has an irrational fear, logic never seems to work. Oh by the way, some anglerfish fun facts can be found HERE.

When I was a kid, I dreamed about giant giraffe heads (necks and all) growing out of giant trees. They formed and arch over a road, and they were clumsily tangled into each other, neither dead or alive. That dream scared me to bits. As a kid, I had this fascination/fear of taxidermy because I couldn’t figure out why people are fascinated with restoring dead animals to they’re life-like state. And I also had a fear of unnaturally big things. Like dinosaurs (yes, even though they are extinct). They creeped me out. And those giraffes were both of those things: lifeless and crazy big. Although the dream happened during a nap (when my dreams are usually pretty wack), it definitely made a deep impression on me.

During a time when I felt a renewed sense of purpose, I started dreaming of horses. They were wild, running free, and they would snap at anyone who was standing in their way. One of the horses actually chewed off a man’s arm because he was trying to stop them. Yikes! Personally, horses have always been a symbol of strength and hard work. We’re similar, horses and I. I love my freedom but I am also a darn hard worker. In dreams, I see them as a good omen.

Up to this day, I have dreamed of rabbits four times. And I remember each rabbit dream vividly. Three times out of four, they only showed up when there was some sort of sinister force present (aka nightmares). And in that instance, in two out of three dreams, the rabbits were white. One white rabbit was cradled in my arms while I was standing in a middle of an apocalypse, and the other was also in my arms with its nose bleeding while we were threatened by an evil spirit. In the third nightmare, the world was at war and two rabbits that were believed to be mutants (result of bomb radiation) were killed. I was going through some phases where I felt confused when I dreamed those dreams. Maybe the rabbits were a symbol of the innocent part of me that gets affected during those confusing times. I’ve also had pet rabbits once, and in taking care of them they taught me to be observant and sensitive (since they are sensitive creatures themselves). So another theory is, the dreams were trying to get me to be more in tune with myself.

However I’ve also had one happy dream about a very affectionate bunny who kept nuzzling me and then making friends with a fluffy cat. It was a major dream ‘Awww’ moment. I have no idea what the dream means. Maybe I was looking at way too many baby animal photos on tumblr.

I haven’t dream of snakes in a while but they aren’t strangers in my subconscious. I personally don’t have an aversion to them, and I like to think that they’re misunderstood creatures. And after seeing a picture of a snake on an operating table because it accidentally ate a golfball, I saved a soft spot in my heart for our limbless friends. The last memorable snake dream I had was almost two years ago, and it was about a threatening snake that turned into a harmless caterpillar. At the time I was coming to a realization that someone whom I’ve always know was not who that he/she appeared to be. And I think the dream was trying to tell me that no matter how vicious anyone appears to be, there’s nothing that a big heart and a sturdy head on my shoulders can’t handle (kindness and sensibility is my lifelong adage.

Tigers are such special animals to me. I feel that there are some tiger-esque qualities that I also possess (along with the horse-esque ones I claimed to own earlier). Like a tiger I know how to relax, but when things need getting done I will get it sorted in a flash! It’s like my killer instinct. Also when I get hungry I get as fierce as a tiger. Ha-ha.

Once I dreamed of a pool in a garden that was overflowing with so many of fishes that it got so fed up and the water pushed out all the fishes onto the grass. And when the last one was out, a pair of tigers suddenly emerged from the bottom of the pool and they began to dance. It was a joyful kind of dance and I think they were showing off their strength. This dream happened on the first night after I moved overseas for a job, and little did I know at the time that I would go through a somewhat soul searching experience in the year ahead. The tiger dream is one of the most powerful dreams I’ve experienced. I felt that it was a sign that I was about to re-discover my true nature.

An illustration I did inspired by the tiger dream

To conclude, I am glad that my brains keep creating these crazy dreams. It is a sign that everything is a-okay upstairs. Decrypting dreams reveal that my subconscious is my friend, it has my back and it never fails to warn me when things are askew.