The meaning of the dream symbol: Abyss

In either case the important thing is that the dream is expressing your anxiety. Look for anything in your present life situation - at home or at work - that may have triggered off anxiety. Otherwise, and especially if this sort of dream is recurring, look inside yourself for the causes of your anxiety.

A dark abyss may symbolize the unconscious. The unconscious appears to be bottomless, since no matter how deeply you delve into it there is always more depth to explore. Note the emotional 'feel' of the abyss in the dream. Are you entering it, or just standing fearfully on the brink? The unconscious may well be frightening because you are unfamiliar with it or because you have buried there some morally unacceptable or intolerably painful experience. However, the only way forward is to uncover those buried parts of yourself, face them, give them a proper hearing and, finally, allow them a proper place in your everyday conscious life.

The dark abyss may signify death. This may be physical death or some form of psychic death. There are times when the present ego has to be dissolved to make way for the next phase in the unfolding of a fuller, more positive self.

If you are convinced that the message of your dream has to do with physical death (and you should allow yourself to be thus convinced only after you have seriously and thoroughly considered possible metaphorical interpretations of ‘death’), do not rush to the conclusion that the dream is foretelling imminent death. Perhaps your dream is reminding you of the fact of death in order to give you a new perspective on your life - which could be liberating.


Strange as it may seem, the Abyss may represent a complete loss of control in one's waking life. The notion of "falling" into a place of no fixed reference can be devastating to the conscious mind which needs something, (some REASON to grasp,) to align itself with a perception of reality. The reason why the abyss appears so often in dreams is because dreams are the reflection of the Unconscious which is boundless, a natural terrain for the expression of the Infinite Self. However, we cannot dive too deeply into this Unconscious unless we are fully prepared for its eternal spiritual communication, like pearl divers, we need to delve far enough into this realm to find the immediate answers which we seek. Accordingly, positive associations of the abyss reflect our most complete individual freedom and a tearing away of ALL limiting parameters. We are experiencing a fearless step into the exhilarating unknown.


In both Greek and Latin "abyss" indicates something which is bottomless, a world of endless depth or height. In apocryphal writings it is a blanket term for all formless states of being. It can be equally well applied to the shapeless Chaos preceding time as to the shadowy Hell of the end of the world. But it may also indicate the ultimate act of unification, the so-called mystic marriage. The vertical lines are no longer those of descent, but of ascent. The abyss is as much topless as bottomless, one of joy and light as well as of misery and darkness. Historically, however, the sense of the abyss of Hell precedes that of Heaven.

In Sumerian folklore, the home of Enki, the Ruler of the World, floats upon the abyss, while, according to the Akkadians, it was Tiamat, the Mother of All Things, who brought forth monsters at its mouth.

In the Bible, too, the abyss is sometimes imagined as a monster, leviathan. However, in Psalm 104 the abyss is compared with a garment covering the Earth, while Jehovah "coverest [him]self with light as with a garment".

The abyss is to be found in all cosmogonies as the beginning and the end of an evolving universe. Like the monsters of myth, it swallows living beings only to regurgitate them transformed.

In dreams pleasant or nightmarish, the abyss conjures up the vast and powerful subconscious and is seen as an invitation to plumb the depths of the soul, to break its bonds and exorcise its ghosts.

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