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: 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: Bees





The heat brings me back to the river. Today a tiny bee insisted on keeping me company. It hung around for quite a while. It never landed or stung; just hovered and buzzed near me. She got me thinking about a recent in-service I attended. The presenter reminded me that here in the US, we have 200+ native species of bees. Many are solitary, living near their plant host. Some are big, like the bumble bee. The honeybee is imported and not considered native to the US and can be quite aggressive in some situations towards our native bees.

I looked around the space where I sat and could not see any obvious plant she might be connected to. I moved my chair anyway. She got me thinking about the variety of her species and their dedicated work of pollination, which in turn helps bring us food, clothing, and other goods.

When I awaken in the morning with a dream that has my attention, I first ask: does this relate to my everyday life? Am I being warned about something? Am I uncomfortable enough with the dream to pay attention to some issue in my everyday life? If the immediate answer is no and I do not feel any immediate relationship or message on these levels, then I look at the dreams more carefully and symbolically.

So, I begin with: what do bees mean to me? And what do I know about bees? What type of bee appeared in my daydream time? What was it doing? How did the bee relate to me? The birds were quiet today. It’s the tiny bee that got my attention.

For me, bees symbolize unity, cooperative living, and working.  They seem to work for the good of the whole. Honeybees will leave a hive if they are threatened by disease, which can indicate an area’s environmental quality.  Honey and propolis, two honeybee products, are antifungal, antibiotic, and anti-microbial and play a role in medicine, cosmetics, skincare, and health.

According to Ted Andrews in Animal Speak, bees were associated with accomplishing the impossible. The ancients revered the bee for its wisdom or as a symbol of wisdom. Honey represents the sweetness of life.

However, pollinators are more than just honeybees. The Polliantor.org site says this:

    • “More than 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals. Most (more than 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.
    • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.
    • Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
    • 25% of bumble bee species are thought to be in serious decline.”

I found this great offer from the pollinator.org site. They have planting guides for all types of ecoregional climates. I happen to be in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest area. The guides are colorful, with great tables and resource information. I highly recommend them.

What can we do today?

  1. Donate to your favorite nature organization. Support their work. Pick a local one, like a land trust, and one national. Spikenard Farm and Honey Bee Sanctuary, and Pollinator.org rely on donations to continue their great work.
  2. The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign)National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides.”
  3. Buy Heirloom and organic seeds. There are so many great companies, often local, such as Truelove Seeds, to buy from and support.
  4. Plant pollinator-friendly plants; add more if you can.
  5. Consider replacing lawns with more natural foliage that supports our pollinators. At the Garden’s Gate has a practical chapter on how to do so.
  6. Start a seed-saving bank at your local library.
  7. Learn about one new beneficial bug. Learn to properly identify its habitat, how it mates, what it needs for food, and where it fits in with its local ecosystem.

What do bees mean to you? This tiny little bee reminded too of the many conservation efforts going on today. She reminded me that messages come in tiny ways to get us to pay attention. And synchronistically, I was asked to be on a committee where I get to help work with the land, add wildflowers and other native species creating a safe habitat for critters and folks alike. This project will be a community effort. I did not know this on Saturday while at the river but was asked on Sunday to help out: definitely a group effort. Pretty cool, right?

Sweet dreaming. Judith


MediMindful Moment Podcast: Meet Adam Latin

In this episode of Cloud 9 Online’s MediMindful Moment Podcast, co-hosts Judith Dreyer, Jeff Nelder, and Henry Edinger interview Adam Latin, Empowerment Counselor and the Owner of The Clearest U. Adam talks about the significance of connection, teaching people how to nurture one another, and the value of being cherished.

Episode Highlights:

  • Judith introduces Adam Latin. (00:35)
  • Adam believes that every individual has unique strengths and weaknesses, and he has developed tools and techniques to help people in different walks of life. (1:00)
  • Adam leads the mindfulness exercise. (3:34)
  • Adam thinks that remembering and realizing the significance of the connection is important because having deeper conversations with people is vital. (9:03)
  • Adam mentions one of the biggest factors for him is the energy of cherishing. (9:38)
  • Adam shares that honesty is about being able to work hard and formulate the most accurate response possible. (11:47)
  • Adam believes that learning to use words in a very specific format can be very helpful. (12:15)
  • Adam shares that putting energy into convincing someone is draining to your energy and draining to your focus, then it’s much more likely that you will have emotions that are not under your power. (14:05)
  • In Adam’s opinion, sometimes we need to have an active exit strategy before moving on to our next activity. (15:13)
  • Adam believes that we’re originally presented with different types of love and people almost demand that we accept love the way they want to present it. (16:53)
  • Adam shares that acceptance is difficult for some people. But, everyone is neurologically brilliant in their unique way. (19:39)
  • Adam mentions that being engaged with awareness or perceptiveness is very powerful. (27:06)

Key Quotes:

  • “I help people reframe and refocus or, in some cases, I help them celebrate what they felt because sometimes they’ve done such a wonderful job but they haven’t stepped back and looked at what they’ve created.” – Adam Latin
  • “I always tell people when they are starting, it’s about bringing a sense of discovery and following a sense of inspiration. It’s not about having the right answer the first time. It’s really about experiencing and deepening.” – Adam Latin
  • “I feel that safety is a foundational issue and it’s being disrupted at this point. People meditating simply on the ways that they’ve previously made themselves safe, or ways that they’re inspired to make themselves safe, really helps reduce some of this anxiety.” – Adam Latin
  • It’s better for us to change how we present information than expecting someone to change how they receive it.” – Adam Latin

Resources Mentioned: