Dreaming of a Stranger: 8 Symbolic Meanings

Stranger comes from the French word estranger, which means “foreigner” or “alien.”

In prehistoric cultures, the stranger was viewed as an enemy, a danger to the stability of the group or clan. Territorial borders were carefully guarded, and any outsider who entered was either imprisoned or executed so they couldn’t contaminate the tribe with foreign spirits or magic.

But as societies became more cohesive, the function of the stranger shifted from enemy to emissary. After experiencing a purification ritual, the stranger would be accepted into the community and take on the role of a teacher or mystic who knew of strange lands or ways of doing things.

All through the Old Testament, people talk about how a stranger could be an angel or God in disguise.

Strangers bearing prophetic knowledge to the tribe are welcomed and fed by Abraham and his people (Genesis 18:1–16). Lot welcomes and protects strangers from the furious mob (Genesis 19:1–11). The Iliad and the Odyssey both describe how gods would disguise themselves as strangers with mysterious powers.

The stranger is both the bringer of the new and the destroyer of the old. As a result, the stranger must be both appeased and feared.

The stranger appears in dreams as a shadowy figure, an “unknown other” that crosses the borders between the unconscious and the conscious. He seems to be the bringer of change, which can be both exciting and terrifying.

Psychologically, a stranger is the perfect metaphor to describe the projections of the unknown parts of ourselves, called the Shadow in Jungian and Freudian psychology

A Shadow self that is split and disconnected from the conscious self can be the source of many internal psychological conflicts and anxieties. However, by integrating and accepting the shadow into our overall personality, we can reach harmony and balance.

From a Freudian point of view, meeting a stranger in a dream could mean meeting your shadow self.

In other traditions, the stranger is seen as a possible rival or even a dangerous incarnation of the Devil. The stranger also represents that part of one’s personality that is separated and disconnected from the rest, causing disharmony in one’s personal life.

In all civilizations, the stranger is the individual whose heart is somewhere else. Even if they cannot be exactly defined, the stranger’s interests and desires are not those of the majority.

In modern times, the artist and the stranger are similar symbols, since both believe in things different than the majority.

The stranger the dream is your shadow self

Jung described a person’s “psychological shadow” as being the dark side of their personality that they wish to keep hidden, the one that terrifies and disgusts them, the part of themselves they never wish to become.

Thus, the shadow can be thought of as the instinctive and primitive side of your personality that you are trying to repress.

Strangers in our dreams therefore usually represent aspects of your subconscious or urges that you neglect or even deny they exist in the first place.

Because you are not familiar with your Shadow self and deny its existence, it often manifests itself in dreams as a stranger, animal, or other mysterious being.

If you dream of these things, you shouldn’t ignore them because they are parts of your subconscious that need your attention and care, or at the very least, need to be recognized as a part of you.

Look at what bad parts of yourself the stranger seems to represent and try to fix them when you’re awake.

Opening a dialogue with the Stranger or Shadow self will, in the long term, help you understand your subconscious better and calm your fears of the unknown.

On the other hand, if you continue to ignore or deny the existence of your shadow self, you will continue to experience feelings of insecurity, internal conflict, and low self-esteem in your waking life.

Loving or marrying a stranger is a symbol of positive change

If you are happily married but dreamed that a stranger proposed to you, then it’s possible the dream is connected to an opportunity in waking life.

The dream suitor may represent an offer that has been made to you in real life, for example, a new job proposal or opening a business with someone.

The reaction you had in the dream to the stranger’s marriage proposal or engagement ring is a good representation of your true feelings about investing yourself in this new opportunity or person.

A different meaning of marrying a stranger in your dream is that you are uniting different, but complementary, aspects of yourpersonality,y such as intuition and intelligence, or courage with careful planning.

This marriage of personality traits suggests you feel strong enough to take your life in a new direction.

If this dream marriage also produces children, then they can be used as a sign to figure out if the dream was positive or negative.

Dreams where you love a stranger suggest you are experiencing (or are about to experience) a new, unexpected event that will bring you great happiness and joy, even if it won’t last long.

Finally, dreams where a stranger is in love with you generally mean you are confident in yourself, know your worth, or that others have great respect for you.

Stranger as an omen of good things to come

The stranger in your dream can be an omen of good things to come even if no love or marriage is involved.

Thus, dreams where you trade with a stranger in velvet, fine silks, or other such expensive materials are a subconscious sign that you expect profit and joy in the coming period.

However, if the stranger tries to sell you low value goods such as iron or useless trinkets, you should expect loss and misfortune ahead.

Dreaming of gifting a stranger money or other valuable gifts can be a sign that you might soon stumble across something valuable.

To dream of striking a stranger with a sword or a stick signifies victory, profit, self-confidence, and success in your efforts.

If you dream of saying goodbye to a stranger, it means most of your recent problems are now over.

Likewise, seeing a dead stranger suggests you are thinking about a separation or you have successfully resolved a difficult situation.

Strangers in dreams can represent a warning

Strangers in dreams are not always positive. Sometimes they can represent a new circumstance in our life that is turning things upside down or causing us harm.

For example, intruders or strangers that wait outside the door to your home and want to be let it might represent unwanted changes in your life that are forced upon you, such as parents divorcing or having a kind boss replaced by a terrible one.

The stranger can also a warning. For example, dreaming of going to bed with a stranger of the opposite gender is a warning against making new acquaintances too easily.

Likewise, dreaming of wrapping your arm around a stranger of the opposite sex predicts an experience of which you will be ashamed.

Stranger as a desire for a fulfilling sexual or romantic life

Being physically intimate with a stranger in your dream suggests you are either bored or unsatisfied with your current partner and looking for a new one, or that you crave a new romantic experience.

If you have low self-esteem, your unconscious may also try to boost your sense of self-worth by depicting you making love to an attractive stranger.

If you are currently in a committed relationship but dream of being charmed into bed by an irresistible stranger, this might suggest your unconscious, hidden desires while also serving as a warning that you will be easily tempted when opportunity presents itself.

Similarly, to dream that you are receiving compliments from a stranger is a sign that you might have made your current partner jealous by flirting with another person.

Fighting with a stranger in a dream

Dreams in which you kill a stranger may also point toward an internal conflict.

However, if the stranger provoked you into killing them in your dream, this may tell you what part of yourself you have to “kill off” or at least learn how to cope with.

If a stranger is trying to kill you in your dream, your unconscious might be alerting you that you are being harassed and victimized in real life, either by a person, group, or organization.

The Stranger is our subconscious trying to help

If you are currently experiencing an incredibly difficult situation in waking life, then it’s possible the stranger in your dream could be your subconscious, which is trying to help you find a way out.

The problem is that it’s hard to figure out what that “stranger” is saying and how his message, which is written in a symbolic way, fits into the “difficult situation.”

In a similar way, if a heroic stranger saves you from a dangerous situation, it could be that your subconscious mind is trying to convince you to be more like the stranger in your waking life.

In this case, the dream wants to inspire and encourage you to be brave and decisive in waking life, just as the heroic rescuer was in your dream.


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