The Meaning of a Bird in a Cage in a Dream

The meaning of a bird in a cage in a dream can be quite varied as it is a “composite” symbol. This symbol is made of two other symbols, the bird and the cage. These two combine to create a range of unique meanings.

Birds, with their ability to fly, are often symbols of freedom.  They are also related to inspiration and creativity, as being at one with the element of air. When caged then, the obvious meaning for the symbol of a bird in a dream is that of losing freedom. Cages often symbolise restriction. People often immediately associate cages with being trapped. But cages are often more complex than that.

The Complexity of Cages

We can have ambiguous relationships with our cages. As much as cages restrain, they can also protect and shield from danger. If you dream of a bird in a cage, it can be an opportunity to explore this ambiguity.

To be caged may not always be a bad a thing, as long as the trade off is worth it. You may feel “caged” at home after having a new baby, but this is also a precious, intimate and vulnerable time, so the protection may feel a most worthwhile thing. Another positive reflection of being caged could be the early stages of a new love relationship, when you need to reconcile commitment with the loss of freedom of being single. Committing to a new job or creative endeavour at the expense of free time may also feel like a positive restriction.

But any such trade off is by nature a temporary thing. While some changes in life may be very long term (having children, getting married, committing to a career), to cage a sense of freedom, creativity and  inherent wild nature inevitably is bound to create problems over time. This is not to say we should give up on commitments, but rather, that we need to explore new ways of being that enable us to incorporate all aspects of who we truly are.

At the heart of the matter, this is what dreams of caged birds mean. They remind us to consider our compromise, and urge us never to give up on that which makes our souls soar.

Different Perspectives of Birds in Cages in a Dream

Dreaming of birds and cages can be a great exercise to remember that within a dream, we can play many different roles. You may dream of holding a cage, or in the dream you may see things from the perspective of the bird. But a Gestalt approach to understanding dreams would urge us to consider all perspectives. We can be both the captured bird and its gaoler. We can be living a restricted existence at the same time as holding the key to our release.

This can be particularly true when the bird in the dream is a symbol of your own hopes or desires, or an aspect of your inner self that is not being revealed. The cage can symbolise your own mind. But even if the cage relates to external conditions, you can can still choose your reaction to the impositions upon you. You can find the freedom to think, feel and imagine freely.

To be the Bird in the Cage in a Dream

Depending on what is occurring in the dream, you can learn much about your current situation. Are you the bird in the dream, staying in the cage, afraid to fly? This may be a sign of fear to express yourself, to take on greater responsibilities, or of taking a risk.

Are you trying to get out of the cage? This may symbolise a need to escape a certain situation, of being restricted by the beliefs and behaviours of yourself or others. The meaning of a caged bird in this instance could be an internal belief system you hold, but may equally relate you external factors you feel beyond your control. If you feel trapped in an unhealthy relationship or burdened by expectation and responsibility you may dream of a caged bird.

The meaning of a bird in a cage in a dream may also relate to a desire to travel. This may relate less to escaping a situation you are in, and more to “escaping” to an exotic destination. Yet even with a meaning as literal as this, there can be important symbolic insights. Holidays can provide a welcome relief from dismal weather, from the drudgery of an unfulfilling job or domestic duties. You dream may be asking you to consider what in your life brings fulfilment and joy. How can you bring the delight of your travels into your day to day life?

To Hold the Cage with a Bird in a Dream

Perhaps in the dream you are holding the cage, and maybe admiring the bird inside. This could indicate you feel a need to protect something very precious, but incapable of living without your protection. On a symbolic level this could bethe hope to live a different kind of life, perhaps to travel or be creative. If you feel unsupported in your plans, you may hide away your desire for a better life so that others will not damage your idea. The cage may symbolise you protecting your ideas from the world that doesn’t believe in it. This dream may also relate to responsibilities, such as for children, animals, unwell relatives or even work that you care for and wish to protect.

On one level, this dream indicates a degree of fear or insecurity. Birds are by their nature intended to fly, and ultimately they should be released from their cage. Caging a bird in a dream may be a sign that you wish for a time to really experience the beauty of something you know is fleeting and transient.

The difficult life lesson is that a thing’s true beauty can only ever be really appreciated in its natural state. So though you may admire the pretty feathers and the gorgeous song of a caged bird in a dream, you will never really know the true nature, and the deeper the beauty of the bird until you allow it to be free. A dream of caging a bird in this way may symbolise you are trying to grasp the ungraspable. Perhaps it is time to stop trying to control in order to appreciate the real beauty that lies beneath the surface, however brief that special moment may be.

Are you opening the door of the cage in your dream?  This can be a wonderful sign that you trust a beautiful and vulnerable part of yourself to exist in the outside world, without needing benevolent protection.

The Meaning of a Bird in a Cage in a Dream

A bird in a cage in a dream may be as a symbol of your creative spirit, of that which longs to soar and be free of expectations of society, family or jobs. The bird may symbolise your authentic voice, your vision or your passion.

Dreams of birds in cages ask us to consider questions of beauty and truth, of freedom and risk, of restriction and protection, control and release. While you may choose a cage for a while as long at it suits you, eventually you must remember that birds are meant to fly and sing freely.

Perhaps, after dreams of caged birds, there will come dreams of flying….

(Please note: although this post is about birds and cages, there may be many similarities to other animals in cages as well

You may also be interested in: Wolf who wants to be Tame Dreams or Wild Animals Dreams)

“I know why the caged bird sings”

“A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

What is holding you back from being free?
What is holding you back from being free?

Thanks for the beautiful art work to Douglas Girard

11 thoughts on “The Meaning of a Bird in a Cage in a Dream

  1. Thank you. I had a dream I saved a bird in a cage from being drowned when the tide of the sea came in. When I opened the door the little bird was hesitant to leave though had I not come along it would’ve died. It needed some coaxing but it left. Now I know what’s wrong and what I must do. Thank you.

  2. Help….my dream was of my canary in my cage but he alive and welk but headless. …His head was on the bottom of the cage. …I really do have a canary and his name is Faith…. Please explain the headless part. ..thanks

  3. I recently had a dream of three parakeets. Each had its own cage. They were connected together in a vertical position, which consisted of the larger cage being first and then the two smaller cages below it. In my dream I left the room briefly and when I returned the birds were in one cage, sitting side-by-side with a rope tied around their neck. They had been strangled together.

  4. In my dream…. nightmare really…. all I remember is seeing a dead parakeet (tail up) dead in a cage. What can this mean?????

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