Fog Symbolism (6 Meanings in Literature and Dreams)

Have you been surrounded by fog lately? If you’ve been wondering what it may mean to you, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll take a look at what fog symbolism has to bring to your life, and what you can take away from it.

Fog normally represents the boundary between illusion and reality. It’s stuck somewhere between the real world and the imaginary because it’s unclear what it brings to you. It also represents uncertainty, mystery, obscurity, confusion, and even dreams.

In literature, fog is a commonly used symbol. In many instances, it’s used to portray an individual’s foggy and confused mind, and also a split character. But many times it’s also used to portray the confusion and add an element of mystery to the proceedings.

> This article is from our series on weather symbolism

What does Fog Symbolize?

What does the fog symbolize?

1. Illusion vs Reality

Fog symbolism is often used as a symbol that’s stuck somewhere between reality and illusion. It’s this grey area that’s often full of mystery, although some of it is also visible. It makes it hard for us to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.

More specifically, fog can be used to portray something that’s caught in the grey area. This can be true of anything in life where there is no clear idea or winner. For example, it can be used to compare our subconscious mind with our consciousness, where the fog plays the role of the boundary between the two modes.

2. Uncertainty

Driving in fog can be dangerous because we’re not sure what lies only a few meters in front of us. That’s why fog creates uncertainty where it goes. It’s the lack of sharpness and clearness that creates this uncertainty.

The term “brain fog” is commonly used when you lack sharp ideas and your brain is uncertain. In medical terms, this happens when you cannot think clearly and you cannot memorize anything properly. So fog has also entered the medical field because of its uncertain nature.

Fog can also describe an uncertain state of mind. When you’re split between two decisions and you don’t know which one to pick, you might have a foggy mind. Fog is the opposite of certainty.

3. Mystery

What’s clouded by the fog is shrouded in mystery. It’s invisible and not easily comprehensible, so there’s a cloud of mystery around it. Many movies use fog to create a feeling of mystery and secrecy, especially thrillers and crime movies.

It’s often used to add even more mystery to works of art and movies. Fog hides and obscures the reality, and we fear anything that we don’t know. So whatever is hidden inside the fog becomes scary and mysterious. It might even represent a transition to something that’s unreal.

> Read Also: Cloud Metaphors

4. Confusion

Fog is synonymous with confusion. It may often be used as a symbol for a confusing situation when something is unclear or uncertain. To have a confused and unclear mind also means to have a foggy mind.

When one gets lost in the fog, they’re confused and uncertain of which steps to take next. This confusion is hard to come out of, especially without additional help. 

5. Dreams

Dreams are often unclear and we only remember them vaguely. For the large part though, they’re shrouded in mystery and fog, making it hard for us to remember them completely. We might only remember parts of dreams, and it happens only so rarely that we remember them in their entirety.

Quite often, dreams play a particular purpose. They can tell us something about our lives, and they are predictors of our futures. So making sense of those dreams can be hard because they’re so unclear. 

6. Depression

When we get lost in the fog, we feel alone. It feels as though a big mass of weight is bearing down on us, making our souls heavy. This feeling inspires aloneness, depression, and even sadness.

That’s why fog is also often symbolic of depression. Many people have a negative perception of fog, as it inspires heavy and negative feelings. So perhaps it’s fair to consider that fog is more of a negative symbol rather than a positive one.

Fog Symbolism in Literature and Film

Fog can play quite an important role in literature. We’ve seen it quite often, and it may be used to have different meanings.

One of the most common meanings of fog in literature is to add a feeling of mystery to the proceedings. This is especially common in crime or detective stories, as well as thrillers. 

Perhaps a more common use of fog is to create confusion. One of the most famous instances of this is found in Bleak House, a work of Charles Dickens who leans on fog heavily to add a sense of uncertainty and confusion. You might have already heard this famous passage from the novel:

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city…

This is only an excerpt from the novel, but you can see that he uses fog to describe the entire scene, which sets a tone for the rest of the passage. Practically, the scene describes uncertain events that unfolded after this description, where the whole city of London is wrapped by fog, including the judges who are unable to think clearly.

In the horror movie The Others, the main protagonist is wrapped by fog to protect her from the outside world. It provides a lack of knowledge about the main character who eventually escapes the fog to reveal her true character.

The use of fog is plentiful in literature and movies, and there are many different meanings connected to it. There are many different examples of fog in literature that we haven’t included, though.

Fog Dream Meanings

fog symbolism

  • Walking in fog in dreams means that you’re about to enter a period of uncertainty and confusion in your life. It might also symbolize that you’re uncertain about an important decision and you have nobody to talk to regarding this decision.
  • Driving in fog in dreams means that you should avoid going head-first into events where you don’t have the full idea of its surroundings. If you do that, you might eventually find yourself in danger, which might not end well. 
  • Seeing someone else in fog in dreams means that you’re feeling alone and you’re afraid to step out of your bubble. It might also mean that someone you know, especially someone close to you, is ready to tell your secrets to the rest of the world.
  • Normally, fog in dreams is a symbol of confusion and uncertainty. 

Conclusion

Fog symbolism is present everywhere where there is confusion and uncertainty. It’s also a very common symbol in literature and movies where there’s a feeling of mystery and confusion. If you find yourself wrapped up by fog, then it’s time to find some clarity and avoid this feeling of uncertainty. This is also common in dreams where fog represents a feeling of being lost and a feeling of having no clarity of mind.

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