The meaning of the dream symbol: Finger

Is it the finger of blame being pointed at you? It may be your father or some other authority figure who does the pointing. However, these usually symbolize internal mechanisms of your psyche, and the blaming they represent is self-blaming. What imagined crime are you punishing yourself for?

A pointing finger may be showing which way you should go for further self-fulfilment or for the solution of a particular problem.

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Equipped with opposable thumbs, our human hands manipulate our immediate environment like no other creature on earth can. Our Fingers coordinate to perform complex operations and intricate (even astounding) procedures which, by and large, we take for granted. Therefore, when these fingers appear in dreams, we need to examine their message which may involve our greatest human potential or simply our multifarious sexuality. For instance, should our fingers appear injured and immovable, our Unconscious may be illustrating an anxiety involving our ability to function or execute demanding tasks in our professional, or personal, arena of waking experiences. Conversely, a hand which incessantly runs fingers over curved and smooth (or silky) surfaces, may be communicating a desire for sexual contact and erotic wish-fulfillment. We must determine EXACTLY why are our fingers are doing the walking? Why are we pointing toward a particular person? What is this persons relation to us?

The Dogon regard the index finger as the finger of life and the middle, or long finger, as the finger of death. The long finger is the only visible portion of the dead person’s body, all the rest being carefully bundled into a ritual shroud. The Dogon say that it is ‘by help of this finger that the dead speak with the living’. However, the index finger (with the numerological value of seven) is also the master of speech and the long finger (with a value of eight) is speech itself.

To the Bambara the thumb is the symbol of power and their chiefs wear on their thumbs a ring decorated with the sign of the thunderbolt, so that when they give an order and gesticulate they threaten their hearer with lightning. By contrast with the thumb, symbolizing social power, the little finger is still regarded by the Bambara, who call it ‘the other fingers’ son’, as possessing the nyama, or life force, of the other fingers. It is used in divination and in the casting of lots. In addition they believe that the thumb is not only the embodiment of physical, but also of mental strength. Being ‘an extension of the instrumentality of the soul, it also stands for work.’

The Dogon assign the numbers three and six to the thumb, giving it a triply male quality, since three is the sign of masculinity. The index is the finger of judgement, decision, balance and of silence, in other words of self-mastery. The long finger symbolizes self-assurance, while the ring and little fingers are linked to the functions of sexual desire and appetite, the symbolism of the ring finger being more sharply sexual and of the little finger more esoteric. The latter is the finger of secret desires, occult powers and divination.

Father Dupeyrat has recorded the custom of the women of a Papuan tribe who cut off a finger-joint in mourning for the death of a husband. Alfred Metraux records the same custom among Indians in the Parana Delta in Brazil.

In the system of planetary correspondences with the microcosm, traditional astrology assigned the thumb to Venus, the index finger to Jupiter, the long finger to Saturn, the ring finger to the Sun and the little finger to Mercury.