A Source of Spiritual Insight: The Appearance of Animals in Dreams and Intuitive Insight

Jesus likening himself to a mother hen

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The animal-human relationship has had a big influence in human psychological development. One way this can be seen is the deep attachment and communication that can happen between a pet owner and the pet. Even with animals in the wild, humans have long looked on magnificent and tiny creatures and wondered at their various gifts such as speed, flight, cunning or strength. It is no wonder that animals often appear in our dreams or intuitive insight. Perhaps we are either being given, or given insight, into that animal’s energy to meet a particular challenge of the moment. It is no wonder that ancient people worshiped animals. They wanted the particular energy associated with that animal to face the tasks ahead so they called upon the spirit of that animal to help them.

Even Jesus recognized the special energy that each animal exhibits. In Luke 13:34 he resonates with the deep caring nature of the mother hen as he compared himself to that humble bird who gathers who her brood under her wings. He could have compared himself to a grand animal of any sort like an eagle or a horse. Instead, he feels great compassion for his people and wants to protect them from the many dangers. Perhaps he is calling on this energy within himself for the tasks lying ahead for him.

Notice when an animal appears in your dreams or meditation. Ask yourself what energies you associate with that animal and then ask why you might need this energy at this time in your life. As a follow-through, try to act with the energy of that animal to meet the challenge facing you.

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Dreams Help Heal Grief

One of the many healing functions of dreams is to reconcile or heal the profound pain of the loss of a loved one. The grieving process is helped along by insights that come with dreams as well as the actual visit of a loved in a dream that quite often conveys a message of comfort or helpful information.

For example, the night that my mother died, I dreamed that she came to me and said she now understood me in a way she hadn’t before, and she could see how special I was. This was a comforting surprise to me because while I understood that she loved me and accepted me; I always had the nagging feeling she didn’t really know where I was coming from. While we spent a lot of time together and got along peaceably together, she was not a talker and I usually didn’t bring up subjects that would make her even more reticent.

It is true that we were very different personalities. She was German-American haus-frau who was devoted to family, giving up her nursing career after she married. She expressed her love in what she did for us. I, on the other hand, was a career woman all of my life expressing my love in creative work such as writing and teaching. She often wondered why I never got married–even when I told her I stayed single because I had taken her advice of not settling for anything less than the best! The best just never came my way.

Having this dream made me feel that my relationship with her was now complete. There were no more loose strings or vague musings about what might have been. What dreams helped you resolve any issues with a person who has passed?

Working With Dream Themes: Riding Trains and Planes

Interpreting Dreams

A Dream Scene: Hopes Rising or a New Life Phase Taking Off?

Riding in or observing trains and planes are common dream themes which suggest something about the direction our lives our heading.   In times of transition, it is common to dream of planes landing, taking off, or crashing. Being at a train station, changing trains or boarding a train are also common scenarios in dreams. Questions to ask around these dreams might be:

  • Who is riding the train or plane? If it is me, how is the train or plane an analogy for my life journey at the moment? If the person is someone else, does the train or plane may represent my hopes or expectations for that person?
  • What is happening to the train or plane? Is it analogous to something that is happening in my life at the moment? For example, a plane lifting off suggests the start of a new project. A plane crashing suggests the crashing of hopes about an endeavor.
  • If I am changing or getting off a plane or train, what are the circumstances in the dream and how do they relate to things happening in my life now? Am I changing a career or have I come to the end of a project?
  • Is there a conductor, policeman or pilot acting as a helper in my dream to help get where I am going? This person may be spiritual guide or may represent an actual person who is trying to help me get where I need to go. What does he or she do to help me?
  • Does this dream refer to an actual trip? If I travel a lot, the dream may be trying to give me specific information about a particular trip. For example, missing a plane may be a warning to tell me to double check the departure time for the flight or it may suggest that the trip will not be worthwhile because I will miss the opportunity the trip affords.

In any case, further reflection and questioning about the dream can bring about added insights for your life transitions. Let the dream speak to you and you will go far!

Methods for Getting Unstuck

Getting unstuck can be a challenge met by dreams and meditation.

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For anyone trying to move along in a creative project such as writing a book, getting in shape or developing one’s spiritual life, there are times when we get stuck and it seems like we are going nowhere.  Beyond just stepping back from the situation for a moment (and sometimes that is all it takes,) we encounter times when the obstacles and inertia seem to take over, and one feels like a boat drifting nowhere in the middle of the ocean.  At this point, dreams and meditation help a great deal.

Using Meditation to Get Unstuck

There are various types of meditation which can release a sense of feeling stuck.  One is the Inspired Heart Meditation developed by Henry Reed, Ph.D. based on many years of research.  Like many meditations, one is calmed and more detached in a process of observing the breath.  In this meditation, however, the person is asked to experience gratitude for the breath coming like a gift. Gratitude, like hope, has a tendency to raise the person above the concerns being experienced and opens one to what is new and to come.   This gratitude not only opens the heart to receive positive energy, it also opens one to receive intuitive insight, especially if one has asked or prayed for it just prior to starting the meditation.  One emerges not only rested and re-energized but also inspired, helping one to get unstuck because getting unstuck often means getting new insights on which way to go, resolving a problem and being rejuvenated!

Using Dreams to Get Unstuck

Asking or praying for a dream to help get unstuck is another approach which can often bring profound insights on many levels, as dreams often do.  While the answer may come in seemingly unrelated symbols, events and people, this oddness might be a way of just getting us out of a box and see the world in a different way!  Working with the dream in a manner that sees every object in the dream as symbolizing some energy within myself helps unravel the oddness and often brings home amazing results.  For example, with the holidays over, I am going back to work and wanted a dream to inspire and motivate me because I have been feeling lethargic from all the down time and good food.

Dream:  Many New Workers

I am in an Information Technology office with a couple of co-workers.  I look up and am amazed by the number of young men lined up, coming  through the office door to work in my workplace!  One of the workers already in the office looks and me and gives me a reassuring smile.

When I awoke, I was at first thrown off in dismay that the workplace was an Information Technology office like one I used to work at many years ago.  Like many people who try to interpret dreams, I took the dream literally and dreaded that it might mean I would be working in that kind of job again with its fast past and high stress–great for those times but not for now.  The symbolism seemed at odds to what I expected.  Then I reflected on what it is I wanted from the dream, and that was information if I would be up to working–not where I would be working!   I realized the dream was really telling me this:  the “Information Technology” office was the dream space where I was doing the dreamwork to get information!  It could also be the mental space where I would be doing my work. The fact that I had plenty of workers to do the work filled me with amazement and happiness.   They symbolized a lot of work energy available to me, letting me know I would be ready and “able bodied” when it came time to start work.  I knew the vacation mode mindset would be fading soon.

High Blood Pressure: Getting a Second Opinion from Dreams

BloodPressureKit

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On occasion, you and your doctor will be faced with a medical issue which won’t have a clear-cut answer. It is in times like these that getting a second opinion from dreams can be very helpful. By having or asking for a dream that can bring more awareness to the issue you might be gifted with a dream that provides a clear diagnosis, a remedy for the presenting issue or more information on the issue. This happened to me recently.

My overall health situation is very much influenced by the fact that I had a kundalini event about nine years ago. As a result, the heightened energy in my body not only brings me great healing energy and very good health; it also causes my heart to beat more rapidly and my blood pressure to rise when an energy surge is taking place. Because western medicine can’t do much to treat a rapid heartbeat, doctors tend to ignore it once the heart and vascular system are determined to be healthy. High blood pressure is another matter. They want to treat it because they have an arsenal of drugs that will do the job. However, the big question is, if you don’t have the usual medical problems that cause high blood pressure, will drug treatment of high blood pressure be the best way to go—especially when the pressure can return to normal very suddenly?

Kundalini and Blood Pressure

Along with many kundalini experts, I believe that the kundalini energy does influence blood pressure. I would think that just the force of the energy alone going through the body must have an effect on blood pressure. On top of that, any negative energies that get released through the kundalini surge such as anxiety, anger and fear, will also cause blood pressure to rise when the person experiences them in the release. If the person also has “white coat syndrome,” a fear of going to the doctor, there can then be a third factor simultaneously causing the blood pressure to rise—all of which have nothing to do with the actual physical health of the body.  Then there could be added stress factors like having a bad day or dismal week.

Such was my own situation recently. My blood pressures were reading a little on the high side when I visited my doctor. Along with my doctor, we agreed that I would test my blood pressure at home and observe when I felt little if no kundalini and when generally feeling rested and peaceful. Because even taking a home blood pressure makes me nervous, I felt it would great to get some advice from dreams. It turned out that I did receive a most wonderful dream!

Dream: Two male physicians dressed in white coats come up to me. I ask them if they want to take my blood pressure. They tell me they are not worried about my blood pressure.

This dream told me not to worry about my blood pressure. If they aren’t worried, why should I be? The presence of two doctors in the dream told me I was getting not only one opinion but two from the dream! Knowing that, I feel I can relax more so that I can give a more true reading of blood pressure in a relaxed state. To be on the safe side side I followed the advice given at biologyofkundalini.com website to drink plenty of water and eat three to four stalks of celery a day. Celery, it seems, is a food that can help lower blood pressure naturally. With meditation, I am learning to relax even more when faced with a situation that is scary to me personally. Perhaps the kundalini will release me from “white coat syndrome” but one thing for sure I know is that one day I will give healthy blood pressure readings through this process of working with dreams. Why? Because I not only dreamed that I have good blood pressure but have dreamed of giving resting results! Recently, I had another dream where my doctor was examining me and she said jubilantly, “We did it!” Well, the thing “we” have been working on is getting the blood pressure down to normal while showing relaxed readings through natural means! This is good news. I don’t want to go through the rest of my life being in a panic when I see the doctor or have a blood pressure done. Now I see through dreams that it can be done.

Symbols for Kundalini in Dreams: Volcanoes

A volcano is a symbol for kundalini in dreams.

Volcano: A Symbol for Kundalini
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A volcano about ready to erupt is a repeated symbol that appeared in my dreams before and after I had a kundalini release. It is not surprising that this symbol should show itself, given the power of a volcano to release energy deep from within the earth, spew content up to the heavens and have it rain down on everything. When kundalini is released it is often experienced as very strong energy erupting into consciousness through the pathway of the spine, going to the head and then descending to the rest of the body. In my case, after the initial rising of the energy, I generally experience kundalini as descending or falling from my head. The whole body becomes animated as the energy surges through it. Blocks to the flow of this energy within the body can cause uncomfortable and even painful sensations and unusual physical reactions such as itching, twitching or for some people, temporary paralysis.

Working with a Dream About a Volcano

Bearing in mind that dreaming of a volcano can mean many things, one has to ask what is going on—what energy is ready to explode in the life of the dreamer—that is manifesting such a power-laden dream. It could be long repressed anger or some other strong feeling. Or it could be some outside energy ready to explode such as growing quarrel between two people or it could even represent a real live volcano ready to erupt. Only the dreamer can know.

In my case, I had had a powerful kundalini release in July of 2007. Because of the enormous physical, emotional and psychological disruption shock this presented to me, I was placed on strong medications. As I came to fully understand what had happened, and that I wasn’t mentally ill, I realized I probably shouldn’t be on the meds. With advice from experts I eventually decided to get off the meds and let myself experience what the kundalini energy had to give me—with all its strong force. However, while still in the safe and relatively quiet stage of being on the drugs when I only felt intermittent and minor surges, I had the following dream in November of 2007:

I am in Hawaii. In the distance a volcano is sending up smoke and gas into the air. I am glad I don’t live near it. We have to go indoors as pieces of ash fall from the skies.

Because I live in Hawaii where there is an active volcano, I interpreted this dream to refer to my awareness of the periodic spewing of Kilauea crater that emits volcanic ash called vog. I was genuinely glad I didn’t live immediately downwind from the volcano since the vog puts a big coating of dust on everything and exacerbates respiratory problems. However, I also understood that the dream was making me aware of my feelings about handling the kundalini energy. The dream was reminding me that while the kundalini effects were suppressed by the medications, the energy was still there sending a bit of smoke and gas. Being glad that I didn’t live near the volcano told me I wasn’t ready to go off the meds. Going indoors meant retreating to the use of drugs to avoid serious effects that might “fall from the skies.”  As a result, I did not try to go off the meds then.  Eventually, I reached the point where I felt comfortable going off the drugs and successfully did so.

NOTE: My website, http://www.healingdreamgarden.com is undergoing changes so it temporarily unavailable.

Common Symbols for Kundalini in Dreams: Snakes

The Snake: A Symbol for Kundalini Rising

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus


As the first of a blog series on common symbols for kundalini that occur in dreams I will begin with the snake. Perhaps it is one of the most popular symbols for kundalini because the Hindus have often portrayed the energy as a snake that uncoils and rises up. The snake’s movement symbolizes kundalini energy as it uncoils and rises up the spine to do its work in the body. When I had my blissful kundalini awakening in June of 2009, (not to be confused the powerful kundalini energy release I underwent in 2007), I experienced this uncanny sensation. I felt a building energy at the base of my spine and then a unique uncoiling sensation that was followed by a burst of energy igniting my first, second and third chakras. It seemed that every cell from my knees to upper abdomen was radiating pure ecstatic joy. With my mind’s eye, I saw glorious tones of red, orange and yellow extend several feet from out of my body. For a long while after, I reveled in a profound blissful state.

Perhaps because the snake has been so long associated with kundalini and its healing properties, and because the snake’s venom can heal certain conditions, the snake has long been a symbol for healing. Everyone is familiar with the ancient symbol for the medical profession, the caduceus, a rod with a snake or two wrapped around it.

A Human Caduceus

Since having experienced kundalini I now see myself as the rod surrounded by two healing snakes. This is no accident. In February 2003, I had an emotionally powerful dream of two giant golden snakes wrapped about my middle. Since then, I have come to understand that these two snakes were and are healing the 2nd and 3rd chakras, areas where I have needed healing. I also don’t think it is an accident that I have been gifted with the art of healing others as I have been healed. The caduceus is a symbol for any human who has been enfolded by the healing energy of kundalini and thus can heal others.

Look for Your Snake’s Color and Their Reappearance in Your Dreams

In your dreams, be particularly aware if snakes seek you out and wrap themselves around you. It may mean kundalini has chosen you. It is important to understand snakes can have many other meanings in dreams so noting the color of the snakes will be an important clue as to whether these snakes might be harbingers of kundalini energy. If the colors are brilliant, glowing and beautiful or are white, a symbol for spirituality, there is a good chance they may represent kundalini energy. For example in 2005 I had a dream of two snakes, a green snakes were approaching me. A month later, I dreamed of two white snakes going to the left and right in front of me. This repetition of dreams featuring a unique symbol such as a snake bears taking notice. It is another sign that something significant is happening. These dreams are telling me to take notice that whatever the snake symbolizes is coming my way.

For more information on dreams as they related to healing, please visit my website at http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Dreams: Our Own Inner Biblical Prophets?

The biblical prophets acted much in the same manner as do our dreams.

The Prophet Jeremiah
by Michelangelo
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Dreams play roles in our lives that is very much like the roles played by prophets in the Bible—and perhaps this is one reason why many people find dreams somewhat uncomfortable to work with and explore. And maybe it is a reason why some people ignore or forget their dreams altogether!

People tend to think of a prophet as someone who can predict or foretell the future. In the Bible, this was true of the prophets in many cases. We can think of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Obadiah who predicted the eventual downfall of Israel and Edom because of the sins of the people.

Many people don’t want to hear dire predictions about the future, especially when the message runs counter to their hopes. Hearing a prophet foretell doom and destruction for Israel wasn’t something the king wanted to hear, or anyone else who had something to lose in those times. It is no wonder prophets weren’t popular and often suffered abuse.

However, the most important role of the biblical prophets was not so much to foretell the future as it was to “forthtell,” to speak out about an uncomfortable or challenging situation which was presenting itself at the present moment, and to suggest ways this situation could be remedied or resolved. This often meant challenging the king, the priests and the people about their unjust or immoral behavior. We only have to think of the dramatic story of how the prophet Nathan called King David out for sending his general into the worst of the battle so that the man would be killed, allowing David to take the man’s wife to be his own. Or, the prophet Micah who, spoke out against the unjust ways that people treat each other, saying that God was a god of justice who wants mercy instead of phony animal sacrifices. Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” A great prophet of our time is Martin Luther King, who called us as a nation to act justly and treat everyone equally under the law.

Dreams also foretell in a way that can be uncomfortable for us. People who have consistently kept a dream journal over a significant period of time know that many dreams are like a dress rehearsal of things to come: in dreamtime, they have already encountered issues and made decisions that sooner or later manifest in waking life. Or in dreamtime, they meet new people whom they encounter for the first time a bit later in waking life. In a sense, their dreams foretell the future.  In dreamtime our minds are trying to resolve the issues, often producing nightmares when the problems are severe.

So while dreams not only foretell, they “forthtell.” Another realization that comes with paying attention to dreams in a consistent and mindful manner is that dreams challenge us and call us to our best behavior, to live by values that are ours and not society’s values. Like Nathan calling out David, they often tell us when we are missing the mark and often point the way to better decisions.  They can expose our masks in the various figures that present to us in dreams.  They can send guides or teachers that literally tell us in dreamtime to shape up.

It is no wonder that our dreams, like the prophets of old, are scary creatures. It takes a brave person to hear their message and act on their advice. This is why doing dreamwork is like learning from the prophets and is thought to be a religious and spiritual undertaking. Dreams give clues to the paths we can take and call us to our higher selves. It is like they are our own inner prophets–and they can make prophets of us if we but heed their call!

How to Listen and Ask Questions When Someone Tells You Their Dream

Marks of a good listener

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When someone tells you about a dream they’ve had, you can consider it a compliment. In most cases you are being entrusted with something special, no matter if it is a nightmare or a grand adventure. Dreamers have their reasons for telling someone about a dream, but they might not necessarily tell you why. Is it for validation? For interpretation? Or do they just want a listening ear to process their own understanding of the dream? If they don’t come out and tell you why they are telling you the dream, and it is a bit awkward to ask, try to intuit the reason and act accordingly. It is important to get a sense of why someone wants to tell you the dream because then you can better help them understand it.

From listening to people’s dreams over many years, I find that most people will readily share a dream when it is something they feel is positive—such as a dream giving them great insight, encouragement or feeling. People tend not to share nightmares and problematic dreams so readily. No matter what kind of dream the dreamer has it is important to be a good listener and supportive questioner.

Listen and Then Ask Questions

The best way to listen to dreams is, of course, to listen and then ask questions that will lead the dreamer to reflect more deeply—and thereby gain deeper appreciation and understanding of the dream. Genuine, non-judgmental listening encourages the person to feel accepted and open to exploring hidden and sometimes scary meanings in dreams.   Questions may be asked that shed more light on the color, feeling, nuance of an object or person in a dream. One of the best questions to ask is to have the dreamer describe every object in the dream as representing some form of energy within himself or herself.  Asking such questions can help the dreamer find insight by considering the dream from different angles and perspectives, opening more possibilities for discovering the many levels of meaning that dreams often have.

Some people want validation for a dream because they really want to believe the dream is special. Asking questions that make them realize why the dream is special will do that. Also by saying something affirming like, “If it were my dream and I dreamed that, I would feel like things were going well.”  Using the words, “If it were my dream…” clearly indicates that this is your personal opinion and may perhaps be totally different from the dreamer’s. This is important for the free exploration of another person’s dream.

Don’t Attempt an Interpretation

Quite often people will ask you to interpret their dreams. Remind them that you can’t.  Since the dream is all about the dreamer, it is really not possible to interpret another person’s dream, as much as you want to.  As much as you think you know the meaning of the dream, try to refrain from giving a specific interpretation like, “Your dream means you don’t have a chance to get the job.”  If your interpretation happens to be right on, it might feel threatening if the person isn’t ready to deal with it. If it is wrong, the person will feel misunderstood. However, it is helpful to suggest common interpretations to a dream image, such as driving a car may represent how the dreamer is getting along in life—and then ask them to consider if this interpretation is a possibility. Or you may suggest that they look at a good dream dictionary which gives various meanings to a symbol, rather than one pat answer. By listening and asking questions, you will go far in helping the dreamer unlock the dream’s secrets. You will know when they blurt out something like “A-hah!” that they have discovered a significant meaning.

To learn more about dreams, visit my website at http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Working with Dream Themes: Living in a Place unlike Your Actual Residence

A very common dream is to reside in a home or apartment that is not actually the place you are living in at the time of the dream nor is it any place you have ever lived in. When I first started writing down my dreams—when books about interpreting dreams were not so readily available—I often wondered what this dwelling symbolism meant. One month I would be living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates and several months later I might inhabit a Victorian mansion filled interesting artifacts and ancient treasures.

It was not till later I came to understand that for me, my dream dwelling often represented aspects of my psychological state at the time of the dream. For example, the dream of living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates suggested I was perhaps trying to deal with too many people and their problems in my waking life. Or perhaps I was trying to take on too many parts of myself at the time!

The dream of the Victorian mansion filled with interesting artifacts suggests that there are interesting and valuable aspects of me that I’ve had for a long time but have not yet discovered or appreciated. A closed golden chest in a dimly lit room might represent something in myself I just need to examine to discover its worth.

A key to understanding dwelling dreams is to consider that every part of the dream represents some aspect or energy within yourself. So ask yourself questions about the dwelling and ask how this would relate to something in your waking life such as:

  • Where is the dwelling? Is it by the seashore or on a mountain? If by the seashore, the location suggests a place close to the ocean of Unconsciousness, a place from which life and food come. If on a mountain, it suggests a place where inspirational and spiritual insights can be gained.
  • What does the interior design of the dwelling remind you of? What is the mood of the design? When have you had a feeling in your waking life that reflected that mood?
  • How are the rooms furnished? What do the decorations and furniture remind you of in your waking life? A room of one color such as red might reflect chakra symbolism. Because the first chakra is often depicted as red, a red room might mean that this room is representing a situation your first chakra is dealing with, such as survival and getting along in the world.
  • Is there a problem or issue in one of the rooms? What is the problem and what does it remind you of in your waking life?
  • Are there others living in your house? Why are they there? What is your relationship to them? How does this scenario relate to people and situations in your waking life?

An interesting and perhaps enlightening exercise is to review your dream journal and discover how many different dwellings you have lived in over the last year.  How do they relate to the many psychological states you have experienced during that time? Have you “gone up” in the world? Have you inhabited houses from different parts of the world? Happy house hunting!

To buy my user manual on working with dreams or to check out dreamwork mentoring, please visit my website at www.healingdreamgarden.com.