The Meaning of a Head or Brain in a Dream

Are you making headway in understanding your self?
Are you making headway in understanding your own mind?

For many of us, our head is where is our consciousness lies.  If we close our eyes and try to pinpoint a part of our body that is where we are, to most of us it is that place just behind the eyes, inside our skull.  Our brain is so connected with who we think we are, that dreams of heads are often related to our sense of identity, of who we think we are.  We often refer to “what’s going on inside my head” as what we are thinking, how we define reality.  If we want to look “inside someone’s head” or wonder what is going on in there, it can indicate a desire to understand them better, to see what motivates them and know why they make the choices they do.  In a dream this could be literally peering at someone’s brain!

The symbolism for heads in our culture is very rich.  As the head houses the intellect and sits atop our body, it is often associated with mental abilities and intelligence; with success and achievement; with reason over emotion (the mind ruling the body as opposed to the heart), even to the point of being cold and calculating.  The opposite can be when we are “head over heels” in love, as in the head has lost its position of importance, and reason has given way way to the emotions of love and infatuation, or to “lose your head” can be to lose your sense of reason, to behave erratically or irrationally.  The head can represent a pinnacle or the conclusion.   A head can also be symbolism for ruling, decision making and leadership.

To understand what the head in your dream may mean to you, look at how you interact with it, what are you doing? It might be a pun.  Word plays and puns associated with the head can include:

– To “get (a)head”, as in to make a successful go of a particular venture
– To “bring things to a head”, can be to bring something to light, to make the hidden things apparent or to move along certain developments
– To be “Head” of a company, corporation, country or State can indicate leadership
– To “head (someone) off” can be to anticipate someone’s plan and pre-empt your response
– To “clear your head” can be to think clearly, to make a decision or overcome confusion
– We can “bury our head in the sand” when we don’t want to face up to something that is going on
– “Heads up” can mean to pay attention, that there is something we should be noticing
– “In over your head” can feel like we are not coping, or are ill-prepared for a venture we are starting out on
– “Head to Toes” can be a symbol of completion, of wholeness and inclusivity, addressing every part of you
– “Hit the nail on the head” can be to make a point resoundingly clear, to remove any ambiguity
– To “bang your head against a brick wall” is often when we feel like we aren’t making any progress, as if no-one is listening to us or understand what we are saying
– A “hot head” can be when our emotions, particularly anger or frustration, are impacting on our ability to reason
– Conversely, a “cool head” can be staying rational, often in extreme circumstances or where others are overly emotional, and being able to make decisions when maybe others cannot
– “Big headed” is to have an over inflated sense of self importance, a large ego

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives an indication of how symbolism of the head may be at play in dreams in general, and hopefully provide some insights as to what the symbolism may mean in your own particular dream.  To use this list, look for ways these words can be expressed as things, for example, to be “hot headed” you might have a temperature, you might dream of some one with flames coming from their head, you might see someone with red hair.  Some symbols will be literal, but others will be more abstract.

Do you know where you are headed?
Do you know where you are headed?

If none of these things seem relevant, it can help to start thinking what the head and mind mean to you.  Dreams about heads may invite us to consider our rational mind versus our emotions, to consider what we think and what we feel (for more information about the relationship between head and heart see my post on “Dream Symbols: Decapitated or Headless.”)  Dreams of the head can also question our goals, ambitions and sense of self, where we want to end up, and how our are plans are going in getting there.

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16 Comments

    1. Hi Iris, that’s an interesting question you raise. It is interesting also that to you, bones are “dead” (technically, they continue to live while we are alive, requiring nutrients and blood flow, and able to heal themselves when broken) but certainly they are also what remains after we die. Perhaps this idea then may relate to something permanent, something less transient than mere flesh? Or perhaps the skull refers to the structure, the the thing that contains your brain so in the dream may represent something that protects your mind or ideas. The skull is also one of the main bones we use to identify the dead, perhaps this is a dream about your identity, the perception of your legacy and what you will leave behind that shows who you really are. Taking this a step further, you may be considering your own mortality, and a sense of urgency to use your mind and make the most of your precious time here. Just some thought starters, hope this helpful Iris! Dream Well, DW

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  1. I had a dream where I had to dive into a swimming pool at night (with a light shining from the side of the pool) and search through submerged black leaves on the bottom. I found 2 jars and each contained a white human brain, which I retrieved and proceed to take into a large house where someone had died. People were gathered, all dressed in black and were horrified that I had brought the 2 brains in jars into the house with the deceased in the bed upstairs.

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  2. I used to have scary dreams, and most of the time I cudoln’t tell that I was dreaming. Even now, some of them seem so real I’ve just come to accept them as an uncertainty. A couple of the dreams, I woke up from, so I knew I was dreaming, but one was so real that I swear I had my eyes open. I also reached up and turned on a light to test the theory, and I was indeed awake, however there was no one in the room with me…Now that I’m 5 years older and living in a different place, I still have very real dreams, but less nightmares. My last dream was so cooky! There was a parrot who hated my best friend’s new dog. So he tried to drown him by rolling the wagon he was in into an aquarium. At the time, it didn’t seem far-fetched at all, but looking back it was crazy! The only thing the parrot could say was, “Are you sure you want to wear that dress tonight?” in Sean Connery’s voice. I wish I were kidding, but the dream was so real that when the dog was drowning I actually woke up and was trembling! To answer your question, I can’t tell when I’m dreaming until the dream is over or the next day comes!

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  3. Hii.. I keep having dreams that I find my baby headless and eventually find her head and try to save her life but most of the time I’m not able to and it’s making me not want to sleep it’s like a simaler nightmare constantly for nights and nights in a row.i want it to stop.but don’t know how. I hate seeing it every night my daughter is my world.

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    1. Hi Morgan, just to reassure you this dream is less likely to be about harm to your daughter, and more about your own feelings, and specifically where you are feeling too much and not thinking enough, or vice versa. The following posts may help you understand this dream a little more:
      https://thedreamwell.com/2008/08/26/meaning-of-being-headless-or-decapitated-in-a-dream/
      https://thedreamwell.com/2008/08/19/meaning-of-a-baby-in-a-dream/
      https://thedreamwell.com/2008/09/24/meaning-of-lost-baby-in-a-dream/
      https://thedreamwell.com/2008/08/08/meaning-of-other-people-in-a-dream/
      Good luck, and may you dream well

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  4. I had a dream recently that was disturbing to me. I saw a girl in a see through coffin and she was dead but, her spirit yelled help me..but I felt I had this dream before so I asked my boyfriend to go get help but, not to worry about the girl because she wasn’t alive. I was in my old apartment when this was all going on. He left and I turned back inside the house where the see through coffin was, I looked up and the girls head, only her head was floating, she screamed and her head flew at me and bit my neck multiple times and I felt it hurt in my dream. Then I woke up…frightened…What does this mean?

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  5. Recently I have had a dream of seeing my heel (the foot area) and u begin to peel the layers of skin away from it. Underneath the layers is what looked like a brain. It still looked like the shape of your heel but with a brain there instead of the padding etc.
    Can anyone shed any light on what this might mean? Many thanks.

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  6. Hi, I had a really horrible dream whereby I was beating a friend from school around the head and when I looked it was my son. I felt dreadful that I could do such a thing and looked at him and he told me that he didn’t feel good and he dribbled from his mouth and it turned to black. I realised that I’d probably damaged his brain and I woke up feeling really scared for him. I’ve tried to find the meaning but I’m at a loss?

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  7. i saw three youths who transferred their heads to much older persons bodies and did not die they were trying to adapt to the new bodies but the original memories weren’t affected.

    kept seeing the same dream whole night. how do i interpret that?

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  8. I dreamt of a baby with no top of her head. She was a beautiful little thing, wore a helmet and I babysat her ????? I told her mom I would cook for her so she could get some rest. All of a sudden there was a big party in my house (not the house I now live in) and there was liquor everywhere, people everywhere, drinking and eating all of the food I had prepared.

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  9. Well last night I was in my dream state and dreamed about living in a apartment and was I think contracted to kill two people and keep there heads in a box. So, I kept them and looked in the box fearfully and one of the heads I think was me, but not sure. I buried the heads outside of the back door of the apartment in the ground. Not sure if this is the bury your head in the sand or to stop or head someone off. Anyway just looking for a little clarity. Thanks in advance Bill

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