The Meaning of Arms or Shoulders in a Dream

Meaning of arms in dreams

Dreaming of arms will create very different feelings and have very different meanings depending on precisely what those arms are up to!  Like all dreams, we can look to see if any puns or sayings are at play, and how these might associate with our waking life.  For instance, the dream may have us carrying many things, which might be an indication that in our waking life we have our “arms full” and maybe have too much work, responsibility or activities to do, leaving us no time for things that really matter.  Carrying something on our shoulders might be a sign we feel we have “the weight of the world on our shoulders” or simply that we are happy to “shoulder a burden.”  Something small might be a “chip on our shoulder.”  By understanding what that chip is, we may gain some insight into a resentment we are harbouring.  We also use the phrase “to stand on the shoulders of giants,” which means to have made progress in life thanks to the hard work and success of those who have gone before us.  If you dream of standing on someone’s shoulders, it can be helpful to consider what they have done or achieved that may assist you to progress in your own life.

Arms can be symbols of strength and power.  We use our arms to carry and lift and move things, but we also use them to protect ourselves and others.  “Arms” may also be used to refer to weapons that attack, or as “armour” to defend.  To understand if this may be the meaning of arms in a particular dream, look for other symbols of weapons, feelings of being attacked, or a sense of aggression. Dreaming of arms in this context may mean there is some conflict in your life, and a feeling of a need to defend a position, belief or opinion.  Or it could be a sign of creating tension your self, through an attacking behaviour.

Closely linked to defence and attack, arms can also indicate the opposite meanings, and be signs of surrender or welcome.  If the dream is of open arms, it might imply welcoming something or someone new into our lives.  Dreams of arms raised might mean they are held up in surrender, which can indicate giving up some long held belief or behaviour, or submitting to a force stronger than us.  We need to look at the associated symbols and feelings in the rest of the dream to understand better whether this surrender is a positive thing for us or not.  Giving in to feelings of love for someone may be a positive thing, but surrendering our power to a dominant person who intimidates us might be more negative.  Alternatively, it may be that the raised arms are done so in joy, celebration or even exultation, which would likely mean a very positive experience in our lives.  These kind of dreams can indicate a sense of profound gratitude, of freedom, or of release from some kind of constraint.  Conversely, to dream of having arms tied behind our back can be a symbol of frustration, loss of power or restriction in some area in our life.

And of course, we use our arms to hug, to embrace, to hold onto things and people.  An embrace in a dream can mean we are literally embracing something or someone new, maybe a new idea or new lifestyle.  Hugs and cuddles can be a sign of nurturing and caring for a part of ourselves.  By understanding the symbol behind who or what we are hugging we can also see what it is we caring for and inviting into our life.  We can also “link arms” to show unity or friendship.  If you dream of arms in this way, there may different parts of your life that are starting to come together, or conflicting beliefs that have become reconciled.

To dream of a broken arm then, can be a sign that our power, strength, or ability to care for or manage a part of our life is in some way compromised.  An arm dropping off may have a similar theme of loss of power, or it might refer to “throwing down arms” and indicate a new period of peace.

You may also be interested in: The meaning of an Embrace or Hug in a dream

Dream diagnosis: In sickness and in health

The meaning of hands in a dream

The meaning of broken things in a dream

Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

15 thoughts on “The Meaning of Arms or Shoulders in a Dream

  1. As a massage therapist I found how people speak of their bodies is very similar to that of dreams. . .thanks for your insight.

    1. Thanks Nicole! It would be fascinating to see how dreams might change with yoga practice, both from a physical and mental/spiritual stand-point. I’d love to hear more about your experiences!

    2. I dreamt of a boy my age and in the dream i slept on his shoulder and i haven’t even met him°~° but i hope we will have a new student

    3. I dreamt of a boy my age and in the dream i slept on his shoulder and i haven’t even met him°~° but i hope we will have a new student

  2. Very useful, had a dream last night, that my arms needed to be screwed off so they could “heal” and reattach and I kept looking around for someone to help me unscrew them…your post was super helpful. Thank you.

  3. Hi Nicole..that’s my name! 😀
    I just had a dream of a friend with huge action figure looking arms and I don’t know what it means. It fits his personality, but I will send him your blog to see if it means anything to him. Bless you!

  4. I had a dream that had to do with arms that wasn’t mentioned, it’s kinda an odd one…I dreamt I had four.., yes 4 arms!!; wonder what it ment?

  5. I had a dream of a soldier looking at me and just behind him was a mirror but all I could see was the back of his left arm and part of his shoulder in the mirror – confused as to what this could mean. Any ideas?
    Thanks, Sue

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