Dreaming of our hands is actually not as common as many other parts of the body, but when we do dream of our hands or anothers, it often seems to have an unusually strong significance. Dreaming of hands is often a sign of self awareness, of taking control of our own life and destiny, or or of making an impact through our own actions on another person or the world around us at large. The unusual act of actually looking at your own hands in a dream is used by some to achieve lucidity, that is, to realise that they are actually dreaming.
The process works by “programming” your mind when you are awake, so that you remember to look at your hands in a dream, and follow that with the intent that when you do so this will trigger your awareness and remind you that you are alseep.*
Our own hands in dreams are often taken for granted, many times simply functioning as tools which we use to make things happen, though we tend to focus more on the action and result than how we made this happen. If we stop long enough to notice our hands in our dreams, it can be a sign that we are becoming aware of our own influence, or lack of it. Dreaming of another person’s hands can often feel very intimate. The two profound symbols of another’s hands in a positive context are of “holding hands” and of the “helping hand.” Both of these images require us to let someone else into our lives, to be open to love, affection, consideration or assistance. For this reason, hand dreams can leave us with a lingering feeling of happiness and warmth long into the day. These dreams may indicate that we are receiving assistance, affection or support from another in a waking life, but in many cases they are a symbolic representation that we are learning how to help our selves, that we are being kind to our selves where once we may have been a harsh judge, that we are befriending a part of ourselves that once we may have ignored or rejected, or even that we are healing a part of ourselves that once was sick and neglected.
Of course, as with any dream symbol, there can also be a negative image. We may be noticing our hands in our dreams for the first time because they are empty, which may lead us to think what have we let go of, given up on, or given away that leaves us feeling “empty handed.” Hands can also be used to strike, to hold back and to push away. These kind of dreams invite us to question what controls or restrictions are we inflicting on our lives that prevent us from achieving what we want, or going where we choose. In short, how are we jeopardising our actions, and acting as our own worse enemy?
As with all symbols, looking at the ways we use words around hands can help us make sense of what they mean in our own personal context. Some suggestions include:
- If the hands are actually red, it may imply to be caught “red handed.” This may cause us to question if there is something in life we feel guilty about, a behaviour we don’t feel proud of and may wish to stop before somebody knows. Or maybe we secretly want to be found out, to bring an issue that we are afraid to speak about into the open
- If you are looking at the back of your hand, it could mean there is something in your life you “know like the back of your hand”, or wish that you did!
- Shaking hands is often a sign of making a deal (maybe you have made a pact with your self, or made a commitment to your self) but it can also mean a greeting, introduction or parting (maybe some new aspect of your personality is becoming apparent to you)
- To bite the hand that feeds you is to show an attack against something that is actually supporting you
- Something that is “handy” is easy and accessible, just as to “get a handle on things” can be understand them and start to control them more easily
- To “get the upper hand” can be to gain an advantage in a certain situation
- To be “even handed” implies to be fair
- To be “open handed” suggests honesty and generosity
- To “give someone a hand” can either be to offer help, or to show appreciation, as in a “round of applause”
- To “put one’s hand up” can mean to volunteer, or offer to speak up
- The “laying of hands” can be a profound healing, maybe at a physical level, but maybe a more emotional or even spiritual level
- A “hand-out” is often something given for free, but may imply charity, pity or a sense of lack
- To do something “by hand” (raised by hand, fed by hand, made by hand etc.) implies a high level or personal involvement, and therefore may also mean a great degree of care, interest, craftsmanship, love, authenticity, time, uniqueness, effort and be the counter to “machine made” or manufactured. (Of course, hand made in this context can also imply lower quality, not as modern, and being foreced due to budgetry constraints. Only you will know what a hand made dress or birthday card means to you!)
While hands themselves can have symbolic meaning our dreams, just as in our waking life, our hands can tell us things by what we do with them. We communicate with our hands, we wave goodbye and hello, we gesture to come closer, to follow or to move away. We make things with our hands, we shape the world, our lives, we create and we control how things work. And with our hands we touch others, be it in kindness, with passion or to inflict pain. Our hands in dreams can reveal to us how we treat ourselves, and what we are doing to shape and control our own mind, influence our relationships and build the life we want to live.
*(I first came across this in “The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castenda, but I don’t know if he pioneered the process)