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The Symbolism of Keys (Top 15 Meanings)

The Symbolism of Keys (Top 15 Meanings)

Keys hold a powerful symbolic meaning that has captivated the human imagination for centuries. Beyond their practical purpose of unlocking doors, they carry many positive connotations.

Keys symbolize new beginnings, hidden talents, solutions, authority, freedom, mystery, knowledge, and responsibilities.

In this article, we’ll discuss the symbolism and meaning of keys and explore common dreams about them and their possible meanings. So, if you’re intrigued by the power and mystery of keys, read on to discover the secrets they hold.

Key Symbolism and Meaning

Here are symbolic meanings of keys that will help you discover why this everyday object holds such a fascinating place in our culture and history.

Door keys in a person's hand.
Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

New Beginnings and Transitions

Keys represent the opening of new opportunities and possibilities that were previously locked or inaccessible. For example, the symbolism of keys is linked to the Roman god Janus, who is known as the god of doors and transitions [1].

Janus is depicted holding a key (and it’s also the first month of the year in Roman Myth), representing the transition from one year to another and the new beginnings that come with it.

Similarly, the Egyptian god Anubis, who is the god of death, holds the keys to the underworld. This symbolizes the transition of souls from life to eternal rest [2].

Hidden Talents

Keys can also represent hidden talents and skills that are waiting to be unlocked. If you dream about closing a door with a key, it could mean that you are not using your full potential or that you have a special talent that remains unused [3].

Keeping these talents hidden can be detrimental to your success and personal growth.

Closeup of an old keyhole with a key on an antique wooden door.

On the other hand, if you dream about opening a door with a key, it could represent new opportunities for growth and development. It is important to tap into your hidden talents and skills, as they can lead to success and fulfillment in life.


Finding a key in real life or a dream can symbolize the discovery of solutions to ongoing problems. This can bring much-needed relief and provide a new perspective on life.

It can be a sign that you’ll have more time to focus on your problems and find effective solutions. In this sense, the key symbolizes unlocking the answers to challenges and unlocking new opportunities.


The symbolism of keys has long been associated with authority and power. In medieval times, keys were used as symbols of sovereignty, with monarchs being presented with ornate chamberlain keys to signify their ascendancy to the treasury and throne [4].

In religious contexts, the Pope is depicted holding or wearing keys as a symbol of his authority over the Catholic Church [5].

Statue of Saint Peter the Apostle in Vatican City State holding key
The statue of Saint Peter, the Apostle, can be found in Vatican City State. He is depicted holding a key.

Throughout history, the key has been a powerful symbol of control and decision-making. By possessing a key, one can open or close doors, unlock secrets, and take control of a situation.

This is why keys are seen as a representation of power and authority, and why they are associated with those who are in positions of leadership and responsibility.


The idea of holding a key symbolizes freedom, as it gives the person access to enter and leave places as they wish.

This tradition dates back to ancient times when important guests or residents were given a “key to the city”, representing their freedom to roam the city.

Today, some countries still carry on this tradition by giving ornamental keys to honor the past [6].


The concept of locks and keys is intertwined with mystery. Having a key without knowing which lock it fits, or coming across a locked door without the key, creates a sense of mystery and unknown possibilities.

Vintage key on map with compass and coins.
Image by Ghinzo from Pixabay

This highlights the importance of having both parts and understanding both sides of a story, as neither is useful without the other.


Keys also represent knowledge and the power of unlocking new worlds and answers to curious questions. They symbolize the idea of opening doors to new and unknown possibilities, both in terms of physical places and knowledge.


Holding a bunch of keys in your hand represents the responsibilities that you are carrying in your life. The more keys you hold, the more responsibilities you have taken on.

This could symbolize your hard work and dedication, but it can also be a warning sign that you have taken on too much and are in danger of becoming overwhelmed.

In a dream, a key can represent your power and control over a particular situation. So the number of keys you hold can symbolize the number of situations you have control over.

On the other hand, if you lose your keys in a dream, it may indicate a loss of control or responsibility, which could cause you to feel disorganized and stressed. It’s important to be mindful of your workload and prioritize your responsibilities.

A bunch of keys sitting on top of a wooden table.
Photo by Filip Szalbot on Unsplash

Dreams of Keys and Their Possible Meanings

Dreaming about keys can be a complex symbol with various interpretations, depending on the dream’s context and your personal experiences.

Here are some possible dream scenarios to help you understand the significance of keys in your dreams.

  • Holding a Key: Holding a key in your dream could suggest that someone trusts you enough to reveal a big secret to you.
  • Finding a Key: Dreaming of finding a key may be interpreted as finding solutions to ongoing problems in your life.
  • Losing a Key: Losing a key in your dream could indicate that you might miss an opportunity that could have been significant.
  • Closing a Door with a Key: Closing a door with a key in your dream may suggest that you have a special talent or skill that you are not utilizing to the fullest.
  • Seeing a Big Key: Seeing a big key in your dream could be a warning sign, indicating that someone may hurt you.
  • Using Golden and/or Silver Keys: Using silver and/or golden keys to unlock a door/lock in your dream could be a positive sign, symbolizing that you are feeling the positive effects of spiritual energy.
  • Seeing a Bunch of Keys: Seeing a bunch of keys in your dream generally symbolizes success and responsibility. Keep an open eye to capitalize on every opportunity that comes your way.

Final Words

The symbolism of keys is rich in meaning, encompassing ideas of freedom, mystery, knowledge, and responsibility. Whether in dreams or reality, the key serves as a powerful symbol that opens up new possibilities, which could be both positive and negative.

It provides us with insight into our thoughts, desires, and motivations and can help us see new opportunities and understand what holds us back.

The key, in all its forms, serves as a reminder that we hold the power to unlock the doors to our futures and shape our own destinies.