Skeleton Symbolism and Meaning (Worry & Fortune)

Skeleton Symbolism and Meaning

Contrary to the common interpretation of the skeleton symbolizing death, Korean folk tales and Aztec tribes have long considered skeletons symbolic of rebirth and fortune.

If a skeleton appears in your dreams, it is often a sign that you worry too much and needlessly or have a tendency to criticize yourself too harshly.

Several cultures that consider death more than a predestined misfortune have different positive interpretations associated with the image of the skeleton.

The skeleton can also be considered a warning sign, in real life and in dreams. Think about the pirate flag that has a skull and crossbones or poisons in films that are often depicted in a similar way.

Skeleton Symbolism in Korean folklore

skull dream meaning

Because a skeleton is considered the bridge between life and death, it is thought to symbolize leaving the old and departing toward rebirth.

Several Korean folk tales tell the story of men treating skeletons with respect and receiving kindness in return. Usually, what they receive is beneficial and has been absent from their life.

In a more general sense then, the skeleton can be considered a symbol of fulfilling the deeper needs and desires in your life.

A skeleton is also considered to be symbolic of transformation. An old Korean folktale tells the story of a man who discovers a fox that can turn into a beautiful woman by wearing a skull on its head. Once the man steals the skull, he realizes in it lies the power to transform any creature into a woman.

Because the spirit is considered separate from the body and the skeleton is seen as the medium between the two, many other Korean tales depict it as a positive symbol of reaching what has been previously missing from one’s life.

Related: Skull Symbolism

Meaning of Skeletons in Dreams

1. Needless Worry


Dreaming of a skeleton is often be interpreted as having fears that are unjustified. They can be especially connected to losing someone you love.

If in your dream you are looking in the mirror and seeing a skeleton instead, this is a symbol of your fear for your own health and life. This is usually an unreasonable and needless worry but you should consider what has fueled it.

It is also possible that you are not scared for yourself but for those you love. If you find that you are constantly checking in on them to the point where they get frustrated, a skeleton in your dream can be a reminder that you should try to put your fears to rest.

2. Self-Criticism


Especially if you dream of your own skeleton, this can be seen as a symbol of not valuing yourself and your achievements enough.

Maybe you have a distorted way of seeing yourself or spend too much time comparing to someone else. Probably you don’t feel accomplished enough and have a hard time feeling proud of your achievements.

In any case, you should consider a skeleton in your dreams an indication that you are being too harsh with yourself. It is time to truly think about and accept the things you do well so you can slowly start feeling content with your life and achievements.

3. Shame or Embarrassment


The skeleton can also be symbolic of secrets you are hiding and the fear that someone will discover them.

The “skeleton in your closet” expression has a very literal meaning when it comes to dreams. If you dream about finding a skeleton in someone else’s closet, this can be interpreted as finding an unpleasant truth about someone you love.

If you have your own secrets that you have been hiding from everyone, a skeleton is a manifestation of your fear that they will resurface. Consider how embarrassing this secret truly is and whether the truth will make you feel at peace.

In a more general sense, skeletons are symbolic of your inability to trust or confide in anyone.

4. Welfare and Prosperity


To dream of a skeleton is sometimes considered a symbol that your ventures will be successful, especially when it comes to business.

This is particularly true in case you are dreaming of a large animal, such as an elephant or a horse. In such dreams, skeletons are also symbolic of financial welfare.

If you are on the verge of making a decision about a new job or professional partnership, the skeleton can be interpreted as a sign that you should go forward. In case you want to make a change in your life, your dream may signify that the time to act is now because you will find what you seek.

The Skeleton as a Symbol of Fortune

For ancient Aztec tribes, death is considered an integral part of life that can also be a source of celebration. It is seen not as the end of one’s life but rather, as the ultimate form of liberation.

Today, this is reflected in the Mexican “Day of the Dead”, which honors the temporary comeback of departed family members. During the holiday, those that celebrate often paint skulls on their faces as an important part of the celebration or make sugar skulls that are placed as offerings for the loved ones who are returning.

In both cases, skulls are often painted smiling, in defiance of death but also of the mourning it is usually associated with. What can be taken from the “Day of the Dead” is the view that skeletons can also be considered symbolic of celebration, fortune, and embracing the natural course of life.

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While the most obvious interpretation of the symbolism of skeletons is that of death, there are many more nuanced ways to think of them. A skeleton in your dreams can have a wide variety of meanings, depending on the details in your dream.

One of the better ways to think about skeleton symbolism can be seen in the way ancient cultures interpreted it. It only serves as a proof that there is always more beneath the surface, and that you can choose to see things in a festive rather than somber way.   

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