21 Dreams About Rivers : Meaning & Interpretation

Dreams about rivers are mainly about going with the flow. Flow is a state of balance between accepting the ebb and flow of life’s challenges, and maintaining centered enough to take control when too many turbulent challenges rise up. You may have dreams which take place on a river when you are feeling issues of helplessness in life or feeling content and free.

Why You Have Dreams About Rivers

Rivers can be calm, rough, full of twists and turns, or straight and narrow. They may lead out to the vast ocean, or to a waterfall. An investigation of these qualities of your dream may help you to unlock to meaning of the river in your dreams.

The Meaning of Rivers in Dreams

Rivers can mean different things to each person who dreams about them. These are the most common universal symbolic meanings of dreams with rivers and what they might mean in your life currently.

Satisfaction and Happiness

Rivers often mean you are happy and content with life and things seem to be going your way. It can also represent abundance and opulence in certain aspects of your life.

Indecisiveness and Peer Pressure

On the other hand, rivers in your dreams may also be trying to tell you that you are going with the flow a little bit too much instead of taking hard stands and decisions for yourself.

Perhaps you aren’t making yourself hear and are getting overshadowed by the majority. Maybe you are succumbing to the will of the mob rather than sticking to your own principles.

A river showing up in your dreams may mean that it’s time to be firm in choices and decisions that will change the course of your life.

Supernatural Meanings

In Greek Mythology, and many other cultures, rivers are significant in crossing over to the afterlife. This can be a positive transition, or one full of grief, hardships, and suffering if the situation is being denied or not accepted.

Lucid Dreaming About Rivers

In the Tibetan Yoga of Dreams practice, it is suggested to practice lucid dreaming by drifting off to sleep while imagining yourself drifting in a boat on a river. This practice helps you to surrender, flow, and accept the impermanence of all things.

Common Dreams About Rivers

Dreams with rivers can have many nuanced meanings depending on how they show up in your dreams. Here are some of the most common ways rivers may appear in dreams and what they might signify.

Dreams About a Clear and Calm River

If the river in your dream is clean and clear, it may signify clarity in the direction you’re heading. An inner peace that is allowing you to flow naturally and happily without stress or worry.

Dreams About a Muddy River

A river full of mud on the other hand is hard to walk across or ride a boat through. This stickiness may indicate jealousy and being unable to move on or let go of heavy emotions.

Dreams About a Dirty or Polluted River

A river that is full of garbage is unhealthy and is not thriving. It may be sign that misunderstandings you are having or negative emotions and thoughts you are holding on too are beginning to affect your comfort and quality of life.

Dreams About a Rapid River

A raging or rapid river poses many dangers. A turbulent river in a dream may be reflecting turbulence and chaos in your waking life as well.

It may be an internal landscape that symbolizes your feeling of losing control, being overwhelmed – or the fear of what would happen if you trust in yourself and your decisions with an unknown rewards and consequences to follow.

Dreams About a Red River

A river that is stained or running red – either from chillied, or blood, or red wine, indicates something you are passionate about. It can be showing you raw emotions running deep which include either resentment or guilt and even shame.

Dreams About a Frozen River

Frozen rivers in dreams may indicate feeling stagnant in your life or feeling old in age. The dream of a river of ice may indicate that you have given up hope and are not seeing opportunities that are being presented to you.

Even though a frozen river in a dream may have many negative meanings, it is also an opportunity to take a pause and look what’s ahead of you before moving forward.

Dreams about a River on Fire

A burning river in a dream might be showing that a significant and even grand event is about to occur. It could be you accept this with with grace and the fires of the river are a victorious, purifying kind, or you can be more resistant and fearful, making the fires more of a bad omen and a threat to your normal way of live.

Dreams about a Riverbed

Dreaming about a dried up riverbed, devoid of life, also represents that you have run out of emotions yourself. Perhaps you have stopped caring about a person or a situation. It may mean you have become emotionally numb and unable to resolve a situation.

Dreams About a Famous River

Dreaming of famous rivers like the Nile, the Amazon, Ganga, or La Sienne, could represent a person in your life that reminds you of the same qualities of that river.

Or perhaps the river is connected to a significant experience you had in the past or a person. Some say that dreaming of a famous river means that the answer to your problems is already on its way and you just nèes to be able to recognize it.

Dreams About Crossing a River

Having to cross a river in your dream may mean that you have also come to a crossing in your life. You may be feeling uncertain about what lies ahead or you might be facing a very challenging situation.

But this can also be positive  especially if you are able to cross the river that appeared in your dream. It might indicate good fortune, success, and your ability to overcome the obstacles you are facing.

Dreams About Drifting in a Boat on a River

This is one of the most common river dreams. Being in a boat and drifting on a flowing river shows that you are floating through life and taking it easy. This could have both positive and negative connotations, depending on how you deal with problems that arise.

On one hand, drifting shows you are relaxed and are able to stay calm no matter what life brings. You easily roll with the punches, so to speak and solve problems without too much dilemma.

On the flipside, being too lax can also show a disconnect between reality and your perception. Especially if you face difficulties while on the boat in your dream. It could be a sign that the problems that you are not taking seriously will not go away on their own and it’s time to deal with them as they come.

Dreams About Bathing in a River

Bathing in a river in your dreams shows a cleansing process is starting. You are ready to let go of mistakes done in the past and start fresh, new, and clean. This purification ritual is a symbol of your readiness to do what it takes to be a better person.

Dreams About Swimming in a River

Swimming in in a river while dreaming shows you are aware of problems that are coming your way and you are ready to dldo what ot takes to handle them to the best of your ability.

If you have dreams about swimming against the stream in a river, it means that you are well on your way to reaching your goals through hard work and determination.

Dreams of Drowning in a River

Dreams about a drowned person, drowning, or most dangerous situations that happen on a river, could be a warning that problems are about to show up in your life.

It is recommended to take extra precautions when making decisions or trusting people around you so you do not end up getting hurt or losing a lot of your hard-earned fortunes.

Dreams About Fishing in a River

Fishing in a dream river shows you are ready to reap the benefits of all your hard work and patience. Fish are often symbols of abundance so dreaming about fish in a river means that you could be coming into good fortune and even money.

Dreams About Being Pushed into a River

Being pushed by someone into a river while dreaming is a sign of good things to come. It signifies that someone you know, or someone who is coming into your life soon, will give you the extra boost you need to overcome a problem you are facing and give you some much needed motivation.


When you have dreams about rivers, they mean you are either going with the flow of life easily and with acceptance, or with resistance due to situations fraught with obstacles and hardships that seem overwhelming. Rivers that appear im dreams remind us to find your own way to inner peace and the life you want.

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