Dear Claire,

I have been having these dreams about dying flowers. There will be these beautiful flowers everywhere on a path, but they die when I go to pick them. They will go from being beautiful and perfect and alive to withered and dying. Then I feel so sad. It has just been in the last few months that I have been having these dreams. Could you please tell me what these flower dreams could symbolize?

Traditionally, flowers in a dream symbolize positive emotions and aspects of human life–such as love, beauty, joy, happiness, appreciation, youth, hope, opportunity, and good will. In addition, dream flowers can serve as a symbol for creation and creativity—representing a specific idea, activity, project, or plan which is now “blossoming” or full-on “blooming” in the dreamer’s conscious world. Since flowers are often a prominent theme at pleasurable and memorable events in our lives, they can also function as a dream symbol for positive events and positive growth—or for something significant and/or meaningful which is finally being realized or has just now come to fruition in our lives.

At a higher level of interpretation, flowers can also symbolize rebirth and regeneration, transformation, purity, innocence, spirituality, fertility, and perfection—and can often take on simultaneous combinations of meaning. For example, in the Hindu culture, the perennial lotus plant and its flowers are a symbol for future generations, eternity, spiritual perfection, creation, and the soul—as well as a symbol for the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

In addition to the direct symbolism of flowers appearing in dreams, there is an overwhelming amount of symbolism that not only can be tied to certain aspects and characteristics of the flowers, but also to actions, things, and people related to the dream flowers—and the layers of this symbolism can become extremely complex. For example, symbolism can be associated with the various types and/or colors of the flowers, their physical condition, and their connection or personal significance to the dreamer. In addition, situations and/or actions which are connected to the flowers in a dream can be highly symbolic. For example, is the dreamer at an event such as a wedding or a funeral? Is there someone in the dream who is giving or receiving the flowers—or picking/watering the flowers? Taking note of all of these multiple variables of possible meaning—as well as how they fit into the context of the dream—is important to making a full and accurate analysis. All of these possible variables should be closely examined—along with the obvious details and issues related to the flowers in the dream—in order to come to a full understanding of the dream’s overall message and significance.

This need to closely examine all of the associated meaning is especially true in the submitted dream above. The symbolism of the flowers in the above dream is definitely not positive. Flowers usually bring pleasure and comfort to peoples’ lives–communicating messages of affection, caring, remembrance, and support. However, in the above dream, the flowers are “withered and dying”—a representation of death and mortality—and bring only sadness to the dreamer. Also, in this dream scenario, the flowers are “everywhere on a path”—and seeing a path in a dream is usually always symbolic of some type of direction or pathway in life.

Although finding flowers on a dream pathway should, once again, be positive symbolism, reflecting a positive situation on this dreamer’s pathway in life, these flowers are the antithesis of that. They begin “withering and dying” when the dreamer goes to pick them—most definitely not a positive situation. This can represent some direction or pathway in life which was once good but has now gone bad or can indicate a pathway that the dreamer had believed was a positive one—but was never what it initially appeared to be. On their own (without taking the pathway into consideration), the dying flowers can also serve as a symbol for loss in life— the literal death of someone beloved or the metaphorical death of something in the dreamer’s life which was, at one time, a thing of joy, beauty, and pleasure for the dreamer. For example, the ending of a career, a relationship, a way of life, or a happy period in life. Furthermore, the “withered and dying” flowers could symbolize not only the loss of what once was, but they also could serve as a symbol for the loss of what could have been—for example, the loss of one’s dreams for the future or the loss of/destruction of promise and potential. Added to that, rather than representing a general, overall sense of unfulfilled promise and potential, the wilted and dying flowers could also serve as representations of specific efforts, projects, and plans which did not come to fruition as intended.

However, in the end, it will be the dreamer’s task to ascertain the significance of the dying flowers which recur in her dreaming world—she is the only person who can decode the specifics of this symbolism. In order to do this, the dreamer will need to closely examine her life—facing all instances of loss which may be affecting her and identifying any areas in her life which were once flourishing but which are now suffering. Once she identifies the instances in her life that are being reflected in these “withered and dying” flowers, she can begin to take the actions necessary to move past the negative emotions which keep seeping into her dreams and move towards a new chapter in life—one where her life is in full and “perfect and beautiful” bloom.

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