What Does It Mean to Dream of an Apocalypse?

Apocalypse Dream Meaning

An apocalypse dream may shock you with vivid, violent imagery. You could wake up wondering if it was real.

If you dream of the world coming to an end, does that mean it is really going to happen?

Apocalypse Dream Summary

Apocalypse Dream Symbolism

The symbolism of apocalypse dreams, which may include mass death, has a lot in common with the symbolism of any other dream of death and dying. Both can speak to situations where you are going through a transition that involves a major part of your life ending.

Apocalypse dreams, like other death and dying dreams, can also symbolize that you feel a lack of control over your life. Whatever you try to do, outside events manage to interfere with your plans.

Some apocalypse dreams, however, have a component where someone is in control of the apocalyptic event. This type of apocalyptic dream could symbolize that you feel rage toward the world in general.

Some apocalyptic events have survivors, though. In this way, an apocalypse dream can symbolize the potential for renewal.

Ultimately, an apocalypse dream demands that the truth be known and that the world be rebuilt according to this truth.

Common Apocalypse Dreams

  1. Dream of the world ending
  2. Dream of a zombie apocalypse
  3. Dream of Earth being destroyed
  4. Dream of a nuclear apocalypse

Apocalypse Dream Symbolism

Apocalypse Dream Symbolism

Truth

The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences notes that the Greek origin of the word “apocalypse” literally means “take away the covering of something that has been hidden.” Apocalypse stories, such as the book of Revelation in the Bible, claim to reveal the hidden truth about how the world will end.

An apocalypse dream could therefore symbolize a situation in your life where you feel that people are ignoring the elephant in the corner of the room. They seem to go along acting oblivious to an obvious truth of their situation that would provoke havoc if it were openly acknowledged.

You might feel like it would be a relief for the truth to come out, even if this caused upheaval in the moment. Alternately, you might be trying frantically to suppress the truth because you fear that you will be unable to survive the consequences of it being revealed.

Some apocalypse stories also include a component where people are judged according to what they did or believed during their lives. These stories include the potential for surprises, where a person who had a good reputation in life could be punished for misdeeds committed in secret, or a person who had a bad reputation could turn out to be a covert hero.

In this context, an apocalypse dream could symbolize a situation where you feel that people have the wrong idea about you or someone else in your life. You would like the truth to be known, whether that involves someone being better or worse than presently thought.

Transition

Your apocalypse dream meaning could relate to you being in a time of transition in your life. Even if the whole world is not really coming to an end, some component of your life that has been significant to you, like a job or a relationship, may very well be ending.

This component of apocalypse dream symbolism overlaps substantially with the symbolism of death and dying dreams, so you might check What Does It Mean to Dream of Death and Dying?

If you have had recurring apocalyptic dreams throughout your life, Psychology Today reports, “Dream theorists generally agree that recurring dreams are connected to unresolved problems in the life of the dreamer.” In other words, the life transition that has set off your current round of apocalyptic dreams could be reminding you of another life transition long ago that was handled badly.

Renewal

As stated in the 1998 song “Closing Time” by Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (This quote has also been attributed to the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca.)

Dreaming of an apocalypse can therefore symbolize that some structure that has outlived its use in your life is being swept away. This may be scary in the moment. In general, the more you fight against a transition that you know needs to happen, the scarier the way it ultimately goes down turns out to be.

The good side of this, however, is the opportunity to rebuild your life in a way that is a better fit for you. An apocalypse dream where there are survivors could especially suggest this interpretation.

Control

Many apocalyptic events, whether they are natural disasters or the result of world war, could be accurately described as events beyond your control.

Dreaming of an apocalyptic event can therefore symbolize that you feel a lack of control in your life. No matter what you try to do, something always comes up to thwart your plans.

Dreaming of an apocalyptic event can also be the result of living through a traumatic world event. Even if your waking life situation did not reach the full extreme of involving the zombies or nuclear weapons that appeared in your dream, you might have felt so scared and discombobulated by whatever did happen that there seemed to be no limits on what could happen.

Psychology Today reports that some people experienced dreams related to the COVID-19 pandemic by April 2020, and some of these dreams escalated into apocalyptic territory.

Rage

A dream of an apocalyptic event could symbolize that you are so filled with rage that you wish the whole world would end. This would be symbolically similar to the mass shooter dreams described in What Does It Mean to Dream of Killing?

If you are somehow in control of the apocalyptic event in your dream, like if you push the button to drop the nuclear bomb, this could be a good omen that you have the confidence to fight back against whatever is oppressing you. You do need to use rational thought to figure out a way to do so that won’t blow up on you too, though.

Common Apocalypse Dreams

Dream of the world ending

Dream of the world ending

People have had dreams and visions of the world ending for thousands of years, and so far even the most vivid apocalyptic dreams have not come true. The world has outlived many people who have had dreams of this sort, and that might actually be the bigger issue.

It is well known that there are variants of Christianity that tend to focus on the end of the world. If you run off and join the spiritual but not religious crowd, there are some individuals there who get into that sort of gloom and doom as well, though they may word the details differently.

If you consider yourself a hard science type, there might be people in your crowd who fixate on the most dramatic interpretations of climate change possible. Point being, there are some people who are obsessed with the idea of the world ending, and this obsession will follow them no matter what philosophy they affiliate with until they work out their own personal issues.

What I have noticed, just as a person who has been around for a while, is that the people who are obsessed with the end of the world tend to become even more obsessed with it as they get older and closer to an age that death of natural causes becomes more common. This is consistent no matter what slant on it they prefer.

Death of natural causes can be ugly and uncomfortable, and you generally don’t have control over how it happens. It is certainly understandable that some people would prefer to be whisked away by an apocalyptic event while they are still relatively young and attractive, though that does not mean such a fantasy will come true.

Dreaming of the world ending therefore has a very similar meaning to dreaming of death and dying. As discussed in What Does It Mean to Dream of Death and Dying?, dreams of death and dying can symbolize many of life’s smaller transitions.

The classic song “The End of the World,” performed by Skeeter Davis, compares the end of a relationship to the end of the world:

Why does the sun go on shining

Why does the sea rush to shore

Don’t they know it’s the end of the world

‘Cause you don’t love me any more

Your dream of the world ending could similarly symbolize that a significant relationship or other component of your life has ended.

Dream of a zombie apocalypse

Dream of a zombie apocalypse

The Conversation reports that the idea of zombies originated in Haiti and came from there to the United States in the early 20th century. Our current idea of zombies, however, is strongly influenced by the 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead.

In the current version of zombie lore, zombies are dead people who rise up to attack the living. Whoever the zombie attacks then also becomes a zombie.

Your life force is deeply connected to your presence as a unique individual. Dreaming of a zombie apocalypse could therefore symbolize concerns that the collective is out to suppress your individuality and make you fit their mold instead of following your own path.

The zombie apocalypse dream meaning differs from that of a nuclear apocalypse or natural disaster dream in that it specifically involves human-like figures as the villains. The people around you may seem dead to you in some way, and you may need to find another community that is a better fit for you.

Dream of a nuclear apocalypse

Dream of a nuclear apocalypse

The destructive potential of nuclear bombs was displayed near the end of World War II, when the United States devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After that, the United States and the Soviet Union famously carried on the Cold War. Mutually Assured Destruction, the observation that each had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other, kept either side from dropping a nuclear bomb, as reported by ThoughtCo.

A nuclear apocalypse dream meaning could refer to a long-running cold war in your own life, where passive-aggressive tension between two or more parties has persisted to the extent that you might be relieved if it finally erupted into a separation.

The saying “going nuclear” often refers to an emotional outburst, so this dream could also refer to a situation where someone either has had an emotional outburst or has simmering frustrations that are likely to lead to an emotional outburst if not addressed.

In interpreting a nuclear apocalypse dream, you might also look at What Does It Mean to Dream of a Roach?, because it is often joked that only cockroaches will survive the nuclear apocalypse. If your dream of a nuclear apocalypse includes survivors, cockroaches or otherwise, this could symbolize that you have a tremendous capacity for resilience in spite of whatever has gone wrong in your life.

Dream of Earth being destroyed

Dream of Earth being destroyed

If you dream of Earth being destroyed, such as by a natural disaster, this could reflect valid concerns related to climate change and pollution. Real problems do exist in this regard.

Of all the real problems that exist, though, why were you drawn to this particular one? The Earth is known for providing the resources that humans need to live, so dreaming of Earth being destroyed could symbolize that you feel you don’t have the resources necessary to meet your needs.

Dreaming of Earth being destroyed could also symbolize that you feel a total lack of control over your life. You might wonder if it is even worth it to take action toward your goals if external factors are just going to make it impossible for anything you do to succeed.

Conclusion

The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences reports that psychiatrist Carl Jung considered the idea of an apocalypse to be an archetype because it occurs in all cultures. While no culture’s apocalyptic vision has come to pass yet, it is true that all people ultimately die.

Most people also experience many major transitions during their lives, each of these a microcosm of death. These transitions, as apocalyptically as they may be represented in dreams, offer the opportunity for renewal.

Eva Sylwester

Eva Sylwester has been fascinated with the interpretation of dreams since middle school. She got a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Oregon in 2007. After that, she began exploring astrology and other new frontiers in spirituality. In her approach, the goal of dream interpretation is to help the dreamer articulate their own intuition. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, United States.

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