The meaning of the dream symbol: Beard

The Beard is symbolic of virility, strength and vigor. However, the beard can also represent a mask, or something to hide behind. Therefore, it is crucial to understand why the person in the dream wears the beard. If the man is a stranger and the dreamer is attracted to him, it may represent a desire to return to a natural, unhampered way of life reminiscent of the ‘mountain man’. On the other hand, if the dreamer himself suddenly has a beard, he may be expressing guilt and a need to get away from himself for a specific reason. Conversely, the dreamer may feel out of place in a certain situation and therefore, places himself ‘undercover’ in order to rationalize for the perceived intrusion incurred on his associates. If a woman dreams of wearing a beard, she may be expressing hostility about being treated Tike a woman’ rather than being treated as an equal. In so doing, she becomes both sexes and can conquer all who would attempt to belittle her. In dreams, the bearded lady is more than a side show freak, but a real and formidable archetype worshipped in ancient times. She becomes the symbolic hermaphrodite.


Beards may symbolize virility and male sexuality. In a man's dream, therefore, a very hairy man may symbolize the dreamer's own libido or primitive psychic energy. (Yes, in real life beards may sometimes be worn as a substitute for virility, and to compensate for the lack of it, but this only underlines the original association of beards with virility.)

A bearded old man in your dreams must be listened to: he probably represents the profound but practical wisdom that resides in the depths of the psyche. (God has sometimes been represented as a bearded old man.)


Symbol of manhood, bravery and wisdom.

The Vedic god Indra, Zeus (Jupiter), Poseidon (Neptune), Hephaistos (Vulcan) and other gods, heroes, kings and philosophers have nearly always been depicted with beards. The same is true of the Jewish and Christian god. In Ancient Egypt, ruling queens were shown with beards to emphasize that their power was equal to that of kings. In Classical antiquity, beardless youths and women who gave proof of courage and of wisdom were given imitation beards.

In Celtic legend, the women asked the young hero Cuchulainn to stick a beard on his chin and in The Cattle Raid of Cooley, the Irish warriors refused to do battle with the Ulster hero, Cuchulainn, because he was beardless. Faced by their refusal, he was forced magically to make himself a false beard out of grass. Frankish warriors were bearded and in the Middle Ages the Nine Worthies wore golden beards as a sign of their prowess and prestige.

Great importance was attached to the beard by Semitic peoples. Not only was it a sign of manhood, but it was also considered an ornament to a man's face. It was therefore tended scrupulously and often scented. Accordingly, it was a sign of madness (1 Kings 21) when its owner left it tangled and neglected. Eastern practice (1 Kings 20: 9) was to kiss the beard as a token of respect. To shave the beard of an enemy or a stranger was to inflict a deadly insult on them. The victim would hide until his beard had grown again, to avoid mockery. The only occasion on which shaving the beard was permitted was as a sign of mourning or sorrow, and in the second case the beard was sometimes simply covered. Lepers had to wear a veil over their beards. In spite of this, priests in Ancient Egypt shaved beards, heads and body hair and Moses decreed that when the Levites were ordained to the priesthood they should be completely shaved (Numbers 8: 7).

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