Flying Dreams and How to Interpret Their Meanings

Published December 2, 2020
Flying woman and seagulls

Flying dreams are common and in general, they have a positive connotation. What do dreams about flying mean? Is the interpretation of the dream symbol of flying as positive as the experience feels while you're asleep?

Types of Flying Dreams

Dreams about flying may include various ways to fly:

  • You may notice you are floating, gliding, or soaring above a landscape.
  • You might be flying close to the ground.
  • You may start to fall and then notice instead of hitting the ground, you're flying.
  • You may fly for a moment and then crash.
  • You may try to fly but be unable to take off.
  • You may fly on a bird.
  • You may be flying on an airplane or another flying vessel, such as a hot air balloon.
  • You may notice you feel free and joyful as you fly.
  • You may notice that flying in a dream makes you feel anxious or fearful.

Each of these dreams may have different meanings, so it's important you notice as many supporting details as possible to further understand the dream's meaning.

Some Context for Dreams About Flying

Before you look at the meaning of universal symbolism of flying dream meanings, it's important to recognize your own personal symbolism. For example, if you are a pilot, a flight attendant, or a trapeze artist, flying dreams may have a different meaning than if you always keep your feet firmly rooted to the planet. Likewise, if you are afraid of heights or flying makes you fearful, that may have a different meaning than if you think flying represents the ultimate form of freedom. Therefore, before you delve into classic meanings from any dream symbol, such as flying, you should always check first to see what personal or cultural associations exist. Chances are, if you think you know what the dream means from your own cultural or personal associations, you're probably right. Barring personal symbolism, however, you can also take a look at classic, universal meanings of flying in dreams.

Woman flying with butterfly

Common Flying Dream Meanings

Generally, flying in dreams is a positive symbol that can have the following meanings:

  • You're feeling inspired or uplifted.
  • You're viewing the world from a new perspective.
  • You feel in control of your life or some aspect of it.
  • Your life is going very well right now.
  • You are capable of reaching new heights.
  • You're feeling especially free or longing for freedom.
  • You feel you are rising to a new level of spirituality or connection to a higher power.
  • You feel you are untouchable or somehow above everyone else.
  • You want to break free from the pressures of life.

Flying in an Airplane

Generally, flying in an airplane suggests you are rising above the obstacles in your life. However, flying in an airplane may have various other meanings, as well:

  • If you're a pilot or an airline attendant, chances are this dream is simply processing your daily life while you sleep.
  • If you are afraid of flying, then flying on an airplane in your dream may represent your anxieties or fears rising to the surface.
  • If you travel frequently or enjoy travel, then flying in an airplane in your dreams may represent new horizons opening up to you or that you're about to set off on a new adventure.
  • If you dream you're flying the airplane, it suggests you feel in control of your life.
Man resting and listening to music on airplane

Flying on a Bird

Flying birds in dreams represent goals and aspirations, so if you're flying on a bird, it likely means that you feel you have what you need to meet your aspirations, and that you have support in pursuit of those goals.

Falling and Then Flying

If you dream you're falling from something and then start to fly, it suggests that a risk you are taking that concerns you has the potential to carry you to new heights in your life. Check in with yourself and ask what you're doing in your life that feels risky. Your subconscious is telling you that even though the risk may seem great, you have the potential to soar.

Flying and Then Falling

Alternatively, if you dream you are flying and then fall out of the sky for some reason, your subconscious may be telling you that you fear you are reaching too high and it may bring about a figurative fall.

Floating woman in a field

Flying Out of Control

If you dream you're flying but unable to control your flight, chances are you are feeling that some aspect of your life is currently out of control. Look to other dream symbols to tell you what that might be if you don't intuitively know already.

Other Things to Notice in Flying Dreams

To gain more insight, pay attention to various aspects of your flight.

Speed and Height of Flight

How high and fast are you flying? This indicates your level of confidence; the faster and higher you're flying, the more confident you feel.

Direction of Flight

Are you flying forward, backward, or hovering?

  • Flying backward indicates the dream is telling you about something in the past.
  • Flying forward suggests the dream is telling you about something that is coming up in the future.
  • Hovering indicates your dream is about the present moment.

How You Feel

Your feelings within the dream are also important indicators of the meaning.

  • If you feel afraid or anxious, it suggests that the changes you are making or experiences you are having are causing anxiety.
  • If you feel calm, you are feeling confident.
  • If you feel joyful, then you are likely excited about the moves you are making in your life or you're enjoying the feeling of freedom.

Flying Dreams and Astral Projection

Some also believe that flying in dreams is a form of astral projection; that is, your spirit is traveling free of your body while you sleep, which accounts for the flying sensation in the dream. If such dreams arise from astral projection, you may be able to tell because:

  • The dream is lucid; you can control it.
  • The dream is especially vivid.
  • You see places you've never physically seen before, and you can verify their accuracy after the fact.
  • If you wake from the dream, you feel like you snap back into your body (hypnagogic jerk).
Woman astro projecting

What Freud Said About Flying Dreams

Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote one of the early psychological books about dream interpretation called The Interpretation of Dreams. As with many of his other dream interpretations, Freud felt that flying in dreams likely represented repressed sexual desires. In flying dreams, Freud suggested the person flying represented the sex organ.

What Jung Said About Flying Dreams

Psychiatrist Carl Jung also felt that dreams represented unfulfilled desires, although he had far less of a focus on sex than Freud did. Instead, Jung felt flying dreams represented the desire to break free from expectations imposed by self or others.

What Your Flying Dream Means

Symbolic dreams are just one type of dream, but flying is a common dream symbol. As with any other dream symbols, flying in dreams can have a number of meanings ranging from individual and personal symbolism to dream symbols from religious, familial, cultural, or societal backgrounds. In general, however, flying dreams have a positive meaning suggesting you are feeling free, confident, and able to reach new heights.

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Flying Dreams and How to Interpret Their Meanings