These images are symbols of the vortex, a representation of life and natural energy. Harnessed, this energy gives rise to a whirl of creativity. Unharnessed, it can be destructive.
Psychological / emotional perspective: Intellectually we may know that we have control over our lives, but are caught up in an endless round of activity that appears to be unproductive, but in fact contains a tremendous amount of energy.
Material aspects: There are usually conflicting currents in both the whirlpool and the whirlwind. When they appear in dreams we are aware of the quality of power we have within.
The whirlpool, being made up of water, will more properly represent emotional energy, whereas the whirlwind (air) will suggest intellectual power. We perhaps need to consider which one is most appropriate to use. Consult the entries for water and wind for further information.