Anatomy and Body Parts

The parts of the body appear commonly in dreams because we are so ‘body conscious’ in daily life. Some parts grow and fall out, like teeth, fingernails and hair. They represent growth and where you stand in relationship to your sense of time and the need to let go of outworn ideas.

You lose your teeth during monumental times of life and in the same way, losing teeth will depict a threshold, or turning point. Teeth falling out can also be a message about credibility, or saying something that does not express the truth of what you feel. Fingernails and hair grow and need to be trimmed, suggesting both wisdom and how it must be pruned at times, to promote healthy growth. Hair can represent vanity and self-reflection, regardless of where it appears on the body. Eyebrows frame your way of viewing things and ‘move’ as a way of suggesting how you express yourself or respond. Plucking, grooming, shaving and brushing hair reflects changes in how you view your ‘beauty’ or self-image. Making changes to your hair can symbolize a change in attitude. Grooming someone else's eyebrows or hair can suggest adopting characteristics of what this person represents. It can also show the influence they have on you.

The head is the seat of your personality and way of thinking. If the head is not yours, or separate from the body, it suggests a disconnection between what you are saying and doing. The mouth portrays both, communication skills, and how you may need to ‘chew’ things over to digest them. The jaw has more of an emphasis on what you say, but can also represent holding firm. You can ‘nose’ your way into something that perhaps, ‘doesn’t smell right.’ You can ‘face’ something or give ‘ear’ to the truth in dreams where the ears offer an objective way of seeing how you fail to listen.

Beauty is in the ‘eye’ of the beholder in terms of self esteem. You may experience a real ‘eye opening' message when seeing an eye is the same as disowning the sense of ‘I’ and so, the message gives you an objective view of an eyeball. In this way, sensory symbols are usually a message about being more observant or responsive in daily life.

The chest and abdomen house your feelings and suggest issues related to emotions. The arms signify empowerment and your ability to provide, give and take, while the legs take you forward in life and represent movement, direction and following a path that better reflects who you are. Dreaming of impaired arms and legs can portray issues that are holding you back or not allowing you to move freely and take what you need. Hands and fingers are an extension of the arms, signify trying to ‘grasp’ something or to take what you feel you need. As an extension of the legs, feet provide balance and may symbolize getting ‘cold feet’ or putting the ‘foot in the mouth.’ See shoes.

Skin represents the most obvious aspect of who you are, and can symbolize the self from a sense of surface awareness, as in 'only skin deep.' Focusing on something on the skin can represent something bugging you. The back often portrays responsibilities, while bones and blood portray basic traits that are at the core of who you are, or what lies below the surface: bones being solid and structure oriented, and blood being your essence or life force. Seeing blood on any object is an objective way of exploring feelings that remain below the surface. See Blood.

Genitals have associations that transcend the simple idea of sexual feelings. Breasts often relate to how you explore self-nurturing ideas, while female genitalia for a woman will signify her essence or connection to life. To a man, female body parts suggest sensitivity, while he explores his ‘underdeveloped’ traits associated with femininity, like sensitivity or intuition. Male genitalia observed by a woman often has associations with becoming more assertive or aggressive. For a man, his genitals represent his life force and sexuality. See Anima and Animus, Archetypes and Universal Characters.