Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Bison


The American Bison holds a rich place in American history. They are often confused with the water or cape buffalo from Asia and Africa, as we tend to use the word buffalo to describe our American Bison. They are not related.

When we dream of animals, then the whole of them can become symbolic. Bison have a hump with powerful muscles and a large head to plow through snow. They roam in herds, and nearly every part of their bodies was utilized after a hunt. Food, bones for tools, and implements. Hide for warm clothing and bedding. They are smart too. I have heard that when a storm comes, the bison herd will face it, walk through it, and suffer less damage to their tribe. All these traits offer symbolism to the dreamer.

Many tribes have a prophecy concerning a white bison (this is a beautifully told Lakota Story about the White Buffalo ). A few have been born over the past thirty years and symbolize that prayers have been answered and better times are coming. I know the bison represents gratitude and prayer. However, giving thanks has become a national holiday rooted in the “Boat People” history (first European settlers), though my native friends would tell you a different story.

When you see a bison in your dream, what color is it? Brown or white? Are you seeing movement? Grazing? The bulls stay outside of the herd to protect their tribe. Any aspect or question you might have can be significant to your understanding. The Bison teaches us how to work with our natural rhythm. If they take the easy way, how can I relax and trust more in the present? And lastly, the bison reminds me to give thanks, not just on Thanksgiving but every day, for the abundance that flows around us and for us.

In tribute to Native American Heritage Month, I thank the elders I met along the way. They taught me much, answered my many questions, sat with me and shared their stories. I am honored. Some of them have joined my ancestors on the other side, on the Blue Road of Spirit. I am grateful for our brief time together.

Sweet Dreaming. Judith

Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Baskets



Ethnobotany, as Dr. Manuel Lizarralde, one of my podcast guests, so beautifully explained, is about more than just plants. It’s about our cultural uses and dependence on the plant world for shelter, housing, food, medicine, clothing, tools for living, and the lore that comes with them. They contribute to the richness, mystery, and magic of our lives.

Baskets are beautifully woven, priceless art, and time-tested vessels that help us carry, store, fill, and empty the gifts of daily life and the gifts of our metaphysical one. The weaving is often passed down through generations. The patterns hold memory and meaning. Basket weaving can be traced back to our origins. Often woven from reeds and grasses, they are useful.

Each culture weaves symbols and meaning into its baskets, making some priceless.
“In a world where there were no cupboards, plates, or bowls to hold your belongings, baskets served as indispensable items that had multiple purposes. They allowed people to carry water, clothing, food, and much more.”

In my travels with Native American elders, I learned to see more deeply into some of the symbols they shared. Many seemed simple or mundane, but I wanted to know more. The Burden Basket is one such example. Jamie Sands in Sacred Path Cards reminds me that this basket encourages self-reliance. To honor the process path of others and to refrain from gossiping about another whose back story we may never know. To enter another’s home respectfully and maybe leave our troubles by the door, in the burden basket, rather than dump them on another’s doorstep.

In dream work, we often go back into a dream if we find it disturbing or want to be in the energy of the dream for a brief while longer. Dreams dance in and out of our awareness like fog dissipating in the morning sun. I recommend using the basket in your meditations for dreamwork and personal awareness. One common example is to get settled into a quiet place and in a comfortable posture. Imagine finding a basket at a doorway that beckons you to leave the day’s troubles inside it and behind. Then, enjoy the meditation. Your thoughts and concerns will be waiting for you when you return.

Another suggestion is to place a basket by your bedside or at your favorite work area. Use it as a gratitude container for the day. Or write down a small miracle, a synchronicity, on paper and again place it in this container. At the end of a month or year, take them out and recall with gratitude what you have received that might be forgotten.

Both suggestions work really well and remind us of the power of the basket. When seen in our dreams, it can lead to unknown discoveries. And remind us to listen to inner guidance for solutions.

Sweet Dreaming. Judith





Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Drums




” If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Nikola Tesla

Our heart keeps a steady rhythm, thu thump, thu thump like a drum. The drum represents the heartbeat of the earth. Can you feel it?

When I hear the drum’s steady sound like a heartbeat, I am transported back to the reservation where I stepped into my first Women’s Council. Friday night’s opening ceremonies began with the drum beat, and we had to keep the beat going till Sunday at closing. We took turns, and it was a steady presence in the background of all the events. Sometimes, the beat seemed to speed up as if to reflect our engagement, like walking and running. Other times, it beat softly as if we were in the silence of listening and absorbing the messages given. I dreamed that weekend, too, and the dream unfolded throughout the weekend, much to my surprise.

Women gathered from around the country. We danced till midnight, sometimes softly as feet kept a two-step rhythm like the heart. At other times, we danced passionately, and the drums beat loudly and fast. The weekend kept me in the moment, and I was impressed with the consistent beat of the drum no matter the hour or time of day. At the closing ceremony, the beat of the ceremonial drums faded as we captured the essence of that sound into our hearts. Those experiences were my companions on the long eight-hour drive home. They nurture me today.

What drum beat gets you dancing? Are you an Elvis fan, or do you prefer the blues? Have you ever been to a Powwow and heard the ceremony drums beat soft and steady like our hearts or intensely honoring all of creation?

Pythagoras prescribed music as medicine and believed that musical intervals were clear experiences of sacred geometry. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that showed music/sound was effective for patients and caregivers, helping to soothe and relieve stress. Music and sound have an impact on addiction recovery, chronic pain, and releasing stress and anxiety.

                                                         “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The region, religion, or skin color doesn’t matter. Music moves us. So, do you hear music in your nighttime dreams? Pick up a drum and make some music today. Or listen to another culture’s music, even drumming. How does the music, the drumming, speak to you? Make a note in your dream journal.

          “Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.”  Simon Sinek 

Sweet dreaming. Judith


Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Earth Element



The Earth Element

The earth grounds us. Walking barefoot, feeling the grasses, and stepping into mud evokes childhood delights. As children, it is easy to dance, spin, and tumble upon the earth. As adults, we’ve created earth grounding: laying upon the earth as naked as possible for 30 minutes or so.
“The central theory from one review studyTrusted Source is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells.
Electrical conductivity exists within the matrix that functions as an immune system defense, similar to antioxidants. They believe that through grounding, the natural defenses of the body can be restored. Further research expands on this idea.”.

We’ve created forest bathing: walking into our forests, breathing with the trees and plants, just being amid elder trees, and the inherent intelligence within nature with no agenda. Listening to the wind. Soft or gentle. Listening to the wind play with the leaves. Soft or stirring like a symphony. Smelling pine or a nearby stream. Engaging all our senses. I do find it humorous that we need to intellectualize being outdoors. My mother simply said: “Go outside and play.”

Digging in the dirt, squeezing mud between our toes, holding precious soil in our hands, and breathing in the elements here that nurture peace bring tranquility to our busy minds.

One earth element, crystals, engages us with color, texture, and form. Crystals grab our attention with their beauty and charm. Why? What is it about them that captures our attention? Have you ever dreamed of crystals? I have. In one dream, I met the spirit of amethyst and amber. It felt magical, like a medieval tapestry with flowers, fields, long dresses, and elegance. Whether true or not, the dream stirred my imagination to look into these crystals more and bring them into my home. And the dream stirred my imagination to the possibility that maybe nature reaches out to us through other senses like the Dreamtime.

The earth is our foundation, offering reassurance and grounding. It’s an element of our bodies, too. We breathe air; we need water for cleansing. Fire ignites chemical reactions within our cells for health and vitality. Earth composes our bones and all structures. Our bodies perform so much for us without directed thought. Embracing the symbolism of the four elements, representing the four directions, allows us to tap into the earth’s innate intelligence and wisdom. It is said that the earth holds all the answers to all our questions. My native American elders felt that way and constantly reminded us to sit in the stillness and go out into nature for our answers.

Today, I remind you to spend, if able, some time in nature. In Wilderness School, we were asked to spend 20 minutes in the morning and evening finding a favorite “sit” spot. I did that for a long while. It helped me when my mind needed to quiet down, stop the sorting out, and just be.

For more information about the four directions and the earth element, check out my latest book, Navigating Your Dream World, available on Amazon and my website.

In the meantime, sweet dreaming. Judith


Dream Symbols: What They Mean To You: Fire



Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
— Rumi

“Fire enkindles nature in solar heat, stellar brilliance, and flashes of lightning, seethes and smolders in subterranean regions, erupts spontaneously in rippling ground fires or soaring infernos. All living things are in some way fertilized, tempered, ripened, or destroyed by forms of fire.” The Book of Symbols by Taschen (p. 82)

Fire, an essential element, creates warmth, heats, and casts light and shadows. It’s essential to our survival, too. Hypothermia is a condition where our body temperature drops below 95 degrees F. Next to water, heat is a crucial survival strategy. Without water, we do not live long, as our kidneys will shut down. If it is too cold, our organs will not work correctly, which, if left untreated, can lead to death.

What role does fire play in our Dreamtime? A core element and one contained in alchemy relates to our fiery sun and hearth, fires that keep us warm and heat our food. We need fire, that marriage of earth and air, to ignite literal, chemical, biochemical, and metaphorical reactions.

We can be warned in nighttime dreams and often with our intuitive radar. I know of a family member who was in a fire when she was young. When she smelled smoke in her dreamtime, she woke up knowing someone had died. I have heard this from others. Fire smoke in a dream could be a warning.

Fire, a potent symbol found in the realm of Gods and Goddesses, can signify light or destruction. We are taught as children to respect hot things. In older traditions, an ember carried importance from one fire to the next. In this case, it was about survival.

Fires are part of rituals and ceremonies. Fire lies at the heart of an Inipi Purification Lodge (incorrectly known as the Sweat Lodge), whereupon stones are buried under wood and kindling. They sit within the fire for a couple of hours. When brought into the lodge, some glow from within. When water is cast upon these heated rocks, the lodge becomes steam-filled. The intensity of the steam tests us and reminds us to give back to the earth.

Fire expressions are common:

  • Fire away!
  • Fired up
  • On fire
  • What’s the fire in your belly about?
  • Add fuel to the flames.
  • It’s as hot as Hades.
  • He/she is a little ball of fire.

The above idioms can be helpful in cracking the symbols of a dream. At the very least, they add another layer of meaning I find fun and beneficial. So, a sun in the sky, a campfire, or a young child bursting with newfound discoveries carry a deeper meaning. It all depends on the dream.

This week is National Fire Prevention Week. I have family members who are or have been a part of firefighter squads. They risk their lives for us. I cannot imagine the training they go through to combat the numerous and untimely forest fires we see in our country all too often lately. Not only in America, but our news media reports on wildfires, for example, in Australia and even in the Arctic Circle. To our Firefighters who consistently teach about fire prevention: Thank you!

To my fellow dreamers: remember, dreams come to warn us first and foremost. We can tackle the symbolic meaning in our dreams once we rule out any danger. Understanding dream symbols enriches our waking life, strengthens our intuitive radar, and opens us up to more. And it’s the more that is exciting.

Sweet dreaming. Judith

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?

— Rumi



Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Books

Dream Symbols: Books

Books have always been a part of my life; a bibliophile for sure. They continue to teach me, bringing solace, wisdom, courage, and adventure while living a full life. I enjoy a cup of tea, a fire burning on a cold night with a good book in hand.

When the harmonic convergence occurred in 1987, I had no idea that my dream gates would open in ways I cannot describe. Not only were the dreams inciteful, prescient, invigorating, puzzling, and mysterious, but the podding I received from them at night spurred me to seek the more.

So I put out some requests: to learn more about herbalism, to learn more about dreams, to learn more about my Native American heritage, to learn more about metaphysics. And somewhat dramatically, doors opened, books rushed in, connections were made, and dreams came true.

Pretty wild, right? From coloringfolder.com:

“Books are more than just a collection of words and pages. They’re an immersion into a world of possibilities. They have the power to transform your life, break down barriers, and get you to see things from a new perspective. The value of books lies in the fact that they can inform, educate, and entertain us all at the same time.”

Reading takes us into different worlds with their sometimes different perspectives. Good historical fiction transports us to a period of time with facts as we know them. We feel the era, see the clothes, smell the fields, and hear the sounds of airplanes or crying.

Poetry turns the world upside down and gets us to reframe the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Fictional stories let us peek into other’s lives and ask questions. Why did they do that? How can this problem be solved? Why did the story end? I want more. And some move us into our imaginations and other worlds. Who can doubt the impact of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and our Superheroes on our media world and imaginations?

So today I ask you where do you like to travel through books? What importance do they have in your life? Do you still enjoy reading a print book, or do you love swiping through readers?

I have immense respect and appreciation for authors,  graphic designers, and the inspiration and collaboration that goes into creating content and forming a book. They have added wisdom, direction, and friendships and taken me out of this world just like nighttime dreams do.  So give your favorite author a hands-up, a like and a comment today..

Sweet dreaming. Judith