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Ocean Symbolism (Top 10 Meanings)

Ocean Symbolism (Top 10 Meanings)

Whether you like to gaze into the distance of the ocean or relax by swimming in it, you can’t deny that the ocean is mysterious and tickles your curiosity. So, if the meaning of the ocean catches your attention, you’re in the right place.

No matter how much research is done, there will always be a part of the ocean that will remain a mystery. This huge body of saltwater hides many impossible secrets for us to discover. However, we can always think about and wonder what hides in its depths.

If you’re curious to discover and better understand the ocean symbolism and meanings, below you’ll find the various interpretations of the ocean and even what the most common ocean dreams mean. 

So, without any further ado, let’s dive in!

The ocean symbolises: chaos, stability, calmness, human emotions, freedom, the unknown, secrecy and mystery.

Ocean Symbolism and Meanings

Women on a suitcase, floating on the ocean on a dark night.
Image by Shereef shokry on Pixabay 

The myths and stories about the ocean’s beautiful mermaids and alluring sirens that hypnotize the sailors with their enchanting voices still live. People love to talk about them. 

So, this is one of the many reasons the ocean’s meaning is so appealing and attracts people’s interest and curiosity. However, its meanings are different. The ocean represents chaos but also stability. It also symbolizes freedom, unknown things, and human emotions.

Things That the Ocean Symbolizes

The grandiosity and the majesty of the ocean symbolize more than one thing so let’s get familiar with everything it means.


The ocean is big, mysterious, and seemingly endless, making it very powerful. However, being powerful usually results in chaos, making it difficult to predict what will happen. It all depends on the force of its waves.

When the waves become tall and mighty, they can easily cause chaos and destruction on the shore and endanger the ships sailing at that moment. 

One minute is all the time the calm ocean needs to transform into a dangerous power of nature. Just a little wind is more than enough to make it angry and its destruction to begin. Therefore, the first thing that the ocean symbolizes is chaos.

The seas are being parted with a pathway through the ocean.

Stability and calmness

Opposite to chaos, the ocean also represents stability and calmness. Because it’s believed that the ocean existed even before life on Earth, and it’ll continue to exist, it’s often associated with stability and longevity.

Complementary to this, it represents tranquility when the ocean is calm and undisturbed. You probably have noticed that just sitting on the shore and looking at the huge calm water is peaceful and mesmerizing. 

Moreover, if you decide to go for a swim when the waters are calm, the tranquility of the ocean will immediately transfer to you.

Human emotions

Among the various interesting ocean symbolism and meanings, there’s also a significant relationship between the ocean’s state and humans’ emotions.

The stormy ocean, with its high and dangerous tides, represents angry, threatening, and passionate emotions. This is the most powerful and fear-inducing form of the ocean, the same as when someone gets overwhelmed by negative emotions.

Nevertheless, when the breeze touches the ocean, which results in tiny and calm ocean waves, the ocean symbolizes positive human emotions, tranquility, and calmness of someone.

Ocean Symbolizes Human Emotion
Image courtesy: Riccardo


Freedom is another symbolic meaning of the ocean because spending time beside or in the ocean brings an inexplicable desire to be free. 

The ocean seems endless, and the tides can move in any direction, even changing the direction as many times as they want. Something that doesn’t come easy to us as humans.

The ocean is free to move constantly, and its formlessness and boundlessness are why nothing can stand in its way. All of these things are exactly why the ocean symbolizes freedom.

The unknown

Because of its unexplored dark depths, the ocean also represents the unknown. It’s unthinkable and impossible for every part to be explored, which makes us more curious about it. 

The ocean represents the human mind’s unknown, unfamiliar, and unconscious parts. A part to whom we should devote more time and analysis to understand.

Furthermore, countless creatures live in the ocean’s depths, most of them unknown to us. Because of that, the ocean also symbolizes secrecy and mystery. No one knows what goes on deep down, making it even more interesting.

Retro style marine landscape with underwater view.

Most Common Dreams of the Ocean and Their Meaning

Dreaming about the ocean can mean something good or bad, depending on the dream’s details. However, even dreams that are scary and considered a bad sign can be beneficial if you know to interpret them properly. So, let’s take a look at the most common ocean dreams.

Dreaming about a stormy ocean

Dreaming about a stormy ocean isn’t a good sign. As you probably already assume, the stormy and angry ocean is dangerous and chaotic and might bring lots of destruction into your life. That’s exactly what this dream is trying to warn you about.

However, don’t panic! Take this dream as a signal to become more aware and check some things. 

Therefore, you should first examine whether you’re a part of a toxic friendship or any kind of toxic relationship. 

Secondly, determine how that relationship is destroying your life and your well-being. Then, it’s only right to take action and make big changes.

Original oil painting showing ocean or sea on canvas. Modern Impressionism, modernism,marinism

Dreaming about drowning in the ocean

This is another bad dream that will terrify you, as dreaming of drowning in the ocean doesn’t mean anything good. Dreaming of this means that because of something, you won’t be able to finish your tasks on time and fulfill your goal. Hence, this dream will negatively affect you and slow your progress.

You’ll probably wake up feeling shaken, hopeless, and afraid, but take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that the drowning wasn’t real. Then, think about what might hinder your progress and focus on eliminating that.

Dreaming of ocean tides

Dreaming of ocean tides represents your emotions, so it’s important to remember whether you’re dreaming of calm or dangerous tides. Analyzing this might help you discover your repressed or unconscious feelings about something and deal with them.

Furthermore, if you’re dreaming of calm ocean waves, you’re probably enjoying a tranquil period in your life, but if you’re dreaming of angry ocean tides, stop and think. What makes you angry but don’t want to deal with it? Think long and hard, as analyzing what causes your negative feelings will help you get rid of them.

Dreaming of swimming in the ocean

If you dream that you’re swimming in the ocean, whether it’s calm or has big tides, this dream represents only positive things. 

Dreaming of swimming in the ocean means you’re on the right path, successfully going through the difficulties and overcoming all the obstacles life throws. That’s your inner strength, so this dream should make you feel even more capable and confident of achieving everything you dream of.

After this dream, whatever challenge you might face, you must remind yourself that inside of you, you have the power to overcome it effortlessly. Stay determined, don’t be afraid, and just like you’re swimming through the ocean tides in your dream, you’ll easily reach your wildest dreams.

Flying over the ocean

Flying over the ocean is a dream that tries to show you that it’s time to hit the brakes and take a break from whatever you’re doing. Most often, that refers to your job, and it’s a sign that you’re burned out. However, this also indicates that you want to escape reality and need to relax.

Therefore, take a vacation or find yourself a hobby. Anything that will stop you from being obsessed and preoccupied with your job and help you find the balance you need. 

There’s nothing wrong with working hard and being ambitious, but finding the right balance will protect your well-being and help you become even more successful. So, pay attention to this whenever you dream of flying over the endless ocean.

Beautiful girl jumping into the blue night sky over the ocean.


Sitting on the shore, looking at the endless horizon, probably makes you realize how small you are and how big the ocean is. 

Even though that feeling and revelation seem overwhelming at the moment, it transforms into a calming feeling, especially if you have a deep understanding of the meaning that the ocean carries, which you now have.

Ocean symbolism and meanings are pretty interesting, right? Now that you’ve finished this article, the above interpretations should awaken a new appreciation for the power of the ocean. Even more, now you know what your ocean dreams might mean and how to handle them. 

So, the next time you’re sitting on the shore, gazing into the ocean, you’ll have a different admiration for the amazing ocean.