9 Earthquake Symbolism In Dreams, Mythology & the Bible

Earthquakes are common symbols that appear frequently in dreams, religion and art. But what exactly does the earthquake symbol mean?

Earthquakes are a spiritual symbol of great change and transformation, both good and bad, since your whole life, or part of it, is shaken apart. Earthquakes mean financial or health difficulties, failing relationships or that your way of life is shaken away and replaced by a new one.

Mythological causes & importance of earthquakes

Throughout the mythology of different cultures earthquakes were believed to happen because an animal, god or man moved the Earth with such force that it shook the foundations of the world and caused tremors in the world of humans.

Dreams about earthquakes, where the ground beneath your feet cracks open and everything around you comes crashing down, can be interpreted as your subconscious communicating that big changes are happening (or about to happen) in your waking life. In this sense, earthquake dreams are similar to train dreams.
A city struck by an earthquake tries to go back to normal

In Norse mythology, Loki was the cause of earthquakes as shook in pain because of venom falling on his forehead. In Japanese belief meanwhile, a giant cat fish god called Namazu would hit the Earth with its tail and cause it to tremble. In Greek mythology, Poseidon would cause earthquakes by hitting the Earth with his might trident.

Because of their enormouse destructive power, rarity and random timing, earthquakes were thought to be possible through the action of the gods. In some cases though, earthquakes were also brought about by supernatural spirits or beings such as:

  • The yanari. An invisible Japanese earthquake goblin, that caused homes to shake and groan.
  • The torx. An Armenian demon smith, that resembled both giants and dwarves and could crush granite with just one hand. Name equates with torch.
  • The Hecatoncheires. In Greek mythology they were the giant sons of Uranus and Gaea that had 50 heads and 100 arms. Their names are Briareus (hurricane), Cottus (volcano), Gyges (earthquake).

Most frequently, earthquakes were interpreted as religious punishment, since the deities in question were displeased with how they were worshipped.

In Jewish religion for example, earthquakes were a common symbol of God’s power and wrath, but also functioned as a metaphor for the divine will that struck the nation with great civil or national catastrophe, such as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem.

In the Christian interpretation of the Apocalypse, earthquakes are the phenomenon that will break the sixth and seventh seals, after which the Apocalypse begins outright.

Earthquakes also happened as a way to mark a divine death, as was the case of Jesus’s death, which caused an earthquake.

Another common mythological cause of earthquakes was a divine birth, generally the one of a ruler or great hero, and was the way the local divinity acknowledged that the child was divine and destined for greatness.

In some situations however, as in the play “The White Devil” by J. Webster, a child born in an earthquake was said to ruin the foundations of the state when becoming an adult.

However, the most common interpretation of earthquakes for ancient cultures was as omens from the gods. These omens could be good or bad, punishment or blessing, and their interpretation depended on the political circumstances of the time, who was doing the interpretation, and what was the purpose of the omen.

Dreams about earthquakes

Dreams about earthquakes usually (but not always) represent external circumstances, and not internal trauma or emotions.

The earthquake in dreams generally symbolizes that something in your life is on shaky ground and in danger of falling apart.

Depending on your circumstances, it coould be your marriage, your business, your friendships. It could also be something more material, for example maybe your home is dire need of repairs, or your finances are in a poor state.

An earthquake dream might also suggest you need to look below the surface of yourself, into the depths of your unconscious, to understand what part of your personality is threatening to explode.

Violence in dreams is usually caused by frustration, so you will have to figure out what part of yourself you have buried and denied, thus robbing it of its right to a place in your life.

1. Changes in life

Dreams about earthquakes, where the ground beneath your feet cracks open and everything around you comes crashing down, can be interpreted as your subconscious communicating that big changes are happening (or about to happen) in your waking life. In this sense, earthquake dreams are similar to train dreams.

This is because the earth symbolically represents the emotional stability and security that you experienced up until this point, while the earthquake is the event(s) that are about to shake your emotional foundation down to its core, and is about to turn the life you had so far completely upside down.

To correctly interpret the dream, try to make a connection between the earthquake and an event in your waking life. Do you believe you might lose your job or that your relationship is in trouble? Are you about to move to a different city?

These are profound events that can shake the foundations of a person’s life, but remember that once the dust is settled and the rubble removed, reconstruction can begin.

In the end, you might find that rebuilding your life makes you a stronger person since you can learn from your mistakes and build a stronger life over the ruins of your past.

2. Earthquakes can symbolize our health

The earthquake can be a warning from your subconscious that you are putting your health in danger, and so you should try to relax a bit and take care of yourself more.

A different interpretation is that an earthquake can hint towards your mental state. Thus, a long, drawn out earthquake might suggest you are prone to worrying too much about things, while a very short tremor suggests you are easily angered and easily irritated even by small things.

To dream the earthquake splits open the land and causes great rifts and chasms suggests you believe your life is in danger somehow.

3. Earthquakes hint at our fears of the future

Dreams do not have the power to foretell the future, but they are able to express what our unconscious believes will happen in the future.

Thus, an earthquake dream could be a sign that life as you know it will change and that nothing will be the same again.

For some dreamers, a very loud earthquake might suggest they are being deceived by someone close to them in waking life.

Finally, if you are observing an earthquake from a safe distance, and are not affected by it, it could be a hint from your subconscious that you can overcome whatever difficulty is about to strike you, so long as you remain brave and firm.

4. An earthquake dream suggests social difficulties

An earthquake dream can also suggest feelings of social insecurity; the breakdown of opinions, attitudes or relationships that seemed so dependable and upon which you built your life.

Thus, an earthquake dream can occur if the relationship with your spouse or lover is faltering, or if you’ve recently ended a friendship with someone you held dear.

An earthquake dream can also happen if you’ve been excluded from a social circle you used to frequent.

Finally, if the walls and roof of your house fall in because of the earthquake, that suggests the death or dissapearance of an important person in your life that important in structuring your life.

If the walls and roof of your house fall in because of the earthquake, that suggests the death or dissapearance of an important person in your life that important in structuring your life.
An earthquake dream where your house is destroyed suggests uncertainty in life and the loss of something important

On a more happier note, an earthquake can be a positive sign when it refers to one’s romantic life.

Thus, an earthquake, because of its shaking and violence, can suggest intercourse and reproduction.

It can also be a symbol that a new relationship has been forged, or that one has recently married. The logic here being that earthquakes wipe clean everything that existed before, and so something new must be built.

5. Financial or professional difficulties

An earthquake can be an especially appropriate symbol of financial upheaval. Dreams about earthquakes may also occur during life-threatening illnesses or in the recovery period following life-threatening accidents.

If the earthquake strikes your business, this suggests you have either failed or that your enterprise is in great danger.

If the earthquake strikes the place where you are currently employed, it could be a hint that the company is in great danger, that your position there is in great danger or even that someone else is about to take your place.

6. Political difficulties in your country

An earthquake dream can also occur because of the politics that are striking a country. This can be anything from wars with other nations, economic difficulties, protests and so on.

According to this interpretation, being injured in an earthquake suggests the social and political situation in your country is about to become even worse.

To dream that the whole earth quakes signifies a Government announcement that will take everyone by surprise.

If your house shakes in this dream, then the announcement will affect your property, cause financial losses or bring you legal difficulties.

7. Maturity and personal growth

Finally, an earthquake dream may also show great inner change and growth which makes us feel uncertain of our identity and position in life.

For example, the growth from youth to puberty may be felt as an earthquake, as also maturity to middle age.

Earthquakes also function as a warning symbol from your subconscious. If you can withstand the upheavals of life (remain true to yourself), you will find a new place or starting point from which to grow and expand your horizons.

To dream of a house falling on you suggests you feel oppressed by someone or something, but if you are able to come out of the rubble this suggests you will regain the position and strength you had before.

An earthquake in some cases can also represent the liberation of creative energies or a desire to do something differently. This is because before an earthquake strikes, life moves so slowly it seems to be standing still, but then everything changes all at once since the earthquake makes everything go topsy-turvy.

Atlas Mythica

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