The meaning of the dream symbol: Lizard

May represent something in your unconscious that you don’t wish to take notice of.

Because it is cold-blooded and primitive, the lizard may represent some part of - or some message from - the collective unconscious.


The Lizard is a cold and poised reminder of our primal instincts and predatory beginnings. Scientists often refer to the brain stem as the reptilian brain. This is because it enacts our basic functions, without which, we would ‘immediately’ cease to be. In as much, we begin to see the correlation between our ‘automatic’, or innately triggered, deep consciousness and the further evolved, decision making, surface consciousness. Accordingly, we witness the Unconscious expression of our basic primal drives including sexuality, hunger, pleasure in the tropical sunlight, and of course, fear. In short, the initial use and virgin examination of all of our five senses is explored in this age-old archetype. This dream involves experience over thought, excess over slow lingering deliberation.


The lizard’s symbolism might be regarded as deriving from that of the serpent, of which it is a paler version. However, unlike the serpent, so far as Mediterranean civilizations are concerned, lizards are old family friends. The Ancient Egyptians depicted the lizard in their hieroglyphic for ‘plentiful’. They provide a decorative motif ceaselessly repeated in the arts of Black Africa, where the creature is often regarded as a culture-hero, intercessor or messenger of the gods. ‘In the beginning,’ relates a myth from the Cameroons,

God sent two messengers to Earth. The chameleon was to tell mankind of the resurrection of the dead: the lizard was to tell them that death was final. The first message to be delivered would be the one to take effect. The lizard tricked the chameleon by telling it to go slowly, ever so slowly, because if it ran it would shake the world to pieces. It then took the lead and told mankind that there was no life after death.

The Bantu of the Kasai River believe that the birth of a male child is foretold by dreaming of lizards, while their neighbours, the Luala and Luba, make their medicine pouches from the skins of monitor lizards. The lizard’s antiquity is stressed in Melanesia, where it is regarded as the oldest of the four ancestors who established the four classes into which their society is divided. Lastly, it is clearly classed as a culture-hero by the islanders of the Torres Straits, who believe that it was a longnecked lizard which brought fire to mankind.

The way in which lizards lie motionless hour after hour in the sunshine make them Christian symbols of contemplative ecstasy.

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