To understand the meaning of a head in a dream, first we need to recognise how intrinsically linked our heads and brains are to our consciousness and sense of self. 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, our idea of Self. 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, and hence our dreams, 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.
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.