“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.” — Suzy Kassem.
Do you like to find a feather on your walks? I do, and I‘m sure many of you do, too. Do you have a favorite? A client of mine remarked recently that she keeps receiving Blue Jay feathers. Do you dream of birds? I have, and flying with them in a dream is magical. Grandmother Twylah Nitsche reminded us that you receive a gift of peace if you find a feather.
Feathers, for me, have been helpful, conferring confirmation or reminding me that a message is coming in.
In previous blogs, I wrote about many birds who fly into our daily awareness and dreams. Did you know that their feathers speak to us, too?
When I was looking to move, I headed South from New England. As I traveled down the highway, I kept seeing pairs of hawks, which was a bit unusual. Hawks perch on highway lampposts but usually singly. I continued to southern Virginia and did not find anything. I could not get a feel for these towns or locations, property, or housing. As I left the area and began to head out of the city west towards the mountains, a hawk flew over my car as if traveling with me and as if to say: “You are finally going in the right direction.!” My energy felt uplifted. I appreciated the wonder of having a hawk fly with me and the intuitive message that came in strongly, one I pay attention to.
Hawks generally indicate a message coming in about something you could be pondering. I have taken walks, paused, and found a hawk feather at my feet. I do make a note of this occurrence in my dream journal. Usually, within a day or three, I get an answer or feel I get a feeling, an idea, or even clarity about something on my mind. Not every feather carries the weight of possibility, and some carry the message of peace, as mentioned above. However, feathers have different purposes. Some are used as fans for ceremonies. Some are decorations. Some in rituals. For example, whenever we formed a circle with our elders, we smudged ourselves with sage using a feather or feathers to wash the smoke around our body.
Crow feathers, for me, have been helpful. Remember intuition, our internal GPS operating system, one we are all born with? I was at a women’s circle, and we were asked to go outside and be with nature and whatever was on our minds and hearts. I was contemplating a home purchase. I walked around and then stopped, and at my feet, I found a crow feather, which I took as a positive sign. Once the paperwork was signed on the property (the one I asked about in my walk), I strolled around my new home and walked the land. And I came upon a crow feather. I felt I received confirmation that my choice was right for me both times.
There are four types of feathers, and they offer three primary purposes to the bird.
• “They give great lifting surface without weight
• -The bird can fluff them to trap air and insulate them against the cold
• -They provide a protective coat.” Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
When you find a feather, look up the bird and identify which type of feather you found. And then, if it feels right, record it in your journal.
Are you being uplifted in some way?
Are you lightened up in some way?
Are you protected, or are you reminded that you are protected?
The list goes on, but I think you get the idea.
“She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.”
Sweet Dreaming, Judith
Nightmares or Nighthorses?
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So, I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
― John Lennon
Halloween brings out ghosts, ghouls, and giant hairy spiders and bats and allows us to have fun facing our fears. Yet nightmares can startle us awake and leave us trembling and hardly fun. Do you wonder why dreams can be scary or difficult to understand? Have you ever been chased, or maybe you can’t find any resolution in the dream, or one recurs and recurs? You are not alone.
What if I told you that nightmares, all the things that scare us, are gifts?
In my classes and consults, nightmares are a frequent topic. What we fear and don’t face will persist. Yet how do we do this in our dreaming time? With patience, kindness, and some guidance, we can learn to face these fears and illuminate them so we understand their voices. Once we understand their voices, we can manage them differently from a place of loving response instead of reaction. Understand for some traumas and life events, this may seem impossible. But I have heard of and know of others who have come to a place of peace from the revelations that came from nightmares.
My Elders taught me to look at nightmares as night horses. I thought this was an interesting, thought-provoking perspective. I wished I could have grown up with this knowledge. Don’t you? A way to understand our nightmares from an early age helps us face our fears, and the results of that process get positively integrated into our psyche.
Horses allowed us to use them for transportation. They helped us to get out of our community and to travel to different places with a sense of freedom, exploration, and connection. They helped us get to places faster and helped carry our load.
Pegasus, the winged horse of mythology, transports us through portals and into other realms of existence. They remind us of magic and that this world holds mystery, too.
Horses, in many ways, are in service to us. So why not look at nightmares as a gift that transports us from one perception to another? Or a way to carry us from a darkened place in our psyche to the stars? Helping us become enlightened and integrated.
But the fact is, dreams catch us with our armor off.”
― Victoria Schwab, The Unbound
To fall asleep, we let go. We go through stages of sleep, and dreaming occurs whether we remember or not. In that space, our guard is down. We filter through events of our day but in a symbolic fashion and often receive guidance. But in that unguarded time, the mystery of who we are and who we are here to become pokes through. And that, my friends, is awesome.
To learn more, check out my new book and eBook, Navigating Your Dream World, which helps you to Track. Confirm guidance. Understand your dream characters and offer a way to understand your dreams, even the nightmares.
Sweet dreaming. Judith
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”
“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?”
“From an ayurvedic perspective, journaling is essentially mindfulness in action, since it gives us a chance to proactively and healthily process our emotions,” says Meera Watts, founder and CEO of Siddhi Yoga, a yoga, meditation, and ayurvedic training school based in Singapore.
I’ve been keeping dream journals for years. I also journal to collect my thoughts, maybe process ideas, and record possibilities for later perusal.
Since this is National Get Organized Week, I thought I would share how journaling my dreams has given me insights and a way to reflect on my growth process. Our world abounds in the types of journals and all kinds of organizational tools that include journals. I enjoy checking into what’s out there periodically.
Through these blogs, I share a lot about my latest book and eBook, Navigating Your Dream World. However, some of you may not know that the companion journal I created is now available on Amazon.
I learned the Lightning Dream Technique from Robert Moss while studying shamanic dreaming with him. This technique has several steps that I always share with my dream classes and clients.
When I worked on the book manuscript, I received an ahha message or feeling to create a companion journal. Since I use this process religiously, I wondered why I didn’t create a journal with a mapped-out Lightning Dream Technique years ago. Oh well, they say hindsight can be an incredible thing.
Why is this valuable? Many years ago, I worked with a meditation teacher I’ll call Brother Andrew. We worked on a problematic issue in one of my private sessions. He knew of my passion for dream recall and understanding and meditation work. After one particularly revealing session with him, he gave me this advice: record all dreams and meditation insights every day. Every two weeks, summarize them. About six months from now you will receive a dream showing you resolution. You know what? That happened as he predicted. I received a great dream that literally said: “Well done!”
There are many other benefits of recording nighttime dreams and even dreams of the heart.
- Venting and airing emotions allows you to process, identify patterns, and, most importantly, gain insights into yourself.
- We know that journaling helps reduce stress and relieve tension.
- Journaling can also be an effective way to organize your life. I often receive insights for my day, and I’ve learned to follow those intuitive hits. Do I work on this project or that one? Journaling helps us prioritize.
- Sometimes, we follow through more consistently when scheduling tasks.
- Did you know that the task of physically writing down uses the right and left brain functions and can make tasks and ideas more accessible to recall?
- Dream journals for me, are more reflective journals. I get to work on dream symbols more deeply and then try to tie them together into some understanding.
- Lastly, Navigating Your Dream World Journal allows you to record the entire process and end with a practical action step.
What are your favorite journal ideas that you use? I’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, give the organization some thought this week. Take out one of your previous journals and look at the past six months. What patterns do you see? What symbols jump out at you, maybe a new animal spirit connection? Enjoy the magic of new revelations.
Sweet Dreaming. Judith
Hawk: As Messenger:
“When you have the hawk as a spirit animal, you may have an inclination towards using the power of vision and intuition in your daily life. The hawk totem provides wisdom about seeing situations from a higher perspective, using the power of observation, and focusing on the task at hand. It’s a good companion to develop spiritual awareness.” Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
I rarely see a hawk in my new home. Fields of corn and soybeans surround me, and most are sprayed and using GMO seeds. I notice few butterflies, bees, etc., at one park nearby and wonder if the herbicide use contributes to fewer species. This park is loaded with white clover, and growing up, bees were plentiful and fed on the white clover, so we had to be careful walking barefoot. It’s disappointing and troubling not to see these pollinators on the clovers. Though I live near a waterway, hawks have been infrequent visitors until recently.
On one of my drives out of town, a hawk flew right across the front of my car, high enough to be out of my way but low enough for me to see. He got my attention. The hawk has been a strong messenger, which I learned from my Native American elders. The hawk brings messages from the Great Spirit or the Creator. It’s about listening. What was I thinking about when the hawk flew by? The next day or so, I heard a screech above me and realized it was a hawk. So, I’m on alert. A day or so later, I received an opportunity to heal a foot issue but on a different inner level. The revelation was astounding. While my foot didn’t miraculously heal at that moment, over the next couple of days, I felt an easing up.
Hawks are predators and can be harassed by smaller birds, especially crows. They can live long lives and share the raising of their offspring. Back in CT, I had the opportunity one spring to watch a pair build a nest, hatch a couple of young ones, and then teach them how to fly. They put on a magnificent and noisy show.
On the inner levels of intuition and following my gut knowing, hawk has been a messenger for me several times. I respect their presence. Though not every visitation by any critter means there is a message, our gut tells us when one is significant. For some of you, Hawk may be a totem animal, a power animal who guides you when intuitive senses are open. And when we get out of our minds and into the stillness, nature is there. She speaks through our intuition and helps strengthen our connection to the natural world.
In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo’s messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians, and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, embodiments of clear vision, speed, and single-minded dedication.” ~ John Burnside
Hawks, birds of prey, are strong fliers with bold talons. Did you know they can break a snake’s head in the air? Studying the different aspects of a bird’s characteristics can bring clues about an aspect of our own nature and tell us something about the natural world around us. Do you notice hawks around? If so, what do they mean to you? Did they fly high above you? Land on a nearby post. Were they teaching their offspring how to fly? Trust your gut, your intuitive senses. You may be in for some unexpected surprises.
Sweet dreaming. Judith
While we wait for the rain to stop here in the NE, spring flowers brighten up our landscapes. The grass is an ‘Emerald City’ green. Bulbs rise, flower, come and go as we place seeds in the ground for early crops. Clovers will be coming up soon though I kinda take the little white clover blossoms for granted.
Botanical name: Trifolium repens
Common names: white clover, shamrock
Parts used: whole plant, Peterson’s field guides to medicinal plants states the entire plant can be used.
Uses: teas, washes for sores, ulcers, very popular in Europe. This plant was brought to our country with the early settlers during the 1600-1700’s. It’s short, a perennial and flowers from April to September with shamrock type leaves. As you can imagine, looking for four-leafed clover was and is considered a sign of good luck. In Europe, flower tea was used for rheumatism and gout. In North America, the Native Americans used the leaf tea for colds, coughs, and fevers.
Jethro Kloss, an American icon in the world of herbalism, lived from 1863 to 1946 and practiced herbal medicine. He used white clover blossoms in a tea to cleanse the system, especially if ulcers, boils or other skin ailments were present. He also noted that poultices, tea washes applied externally, helped heal sores, ulcers too.
White clover has been used for many years as a ground cover. It is useful as a ground cover for its nitrogen-fixing properties. There are nodules on the roots that literally grab nonusable nitrogen from the air and with the help of bacteria convert it into a plant usable form which is important for plant growth and provides protein source for foraging animals.
Benefits of White Clover: (from the University of Hawaii cooperative extension service pdf.)
1. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects, for reduced- or non-chemical pest management, for controlling erosion, suppressing weeds once established,
2. …and as a source of organic nitrogen good for quick growth and establishment,
3. …for bearing equipment traffic
4. …tolerates low fertility soils
5…. fair shade tolerance suitable for higher elevations
6. …good forage for animal grazing systems;
7. …high production, nutritional quality, and palatability
8. For use in plantation and orchard cropping systems including macadamia and coffee, in vineyards, and as a living mulch in vegetable cropping systems.”
In doing research for this article I came across a blog: insteading.com they use white clover as a living mulch, planting it in the garden to keep down weeds; eventually, it becomes mulch, retains moisture, attracts pollinators, and improves the soil. When I visited Michael Judd’s property, (author of Edible Landscapes), I saw his use of crops like mint growing in many places. He explained to us that he was not worried about keeping them harnessed. He cut them down periodically during the growing season and they became mulch there and then. It seems Insteading supports the same practices.
Last but not least, white clovers attract pollinators. White clover honey is one of the most popular honey here in the US, light in color and milder in taste.
Teas are easy: gather flowers, leaves at peak growing times, dry, store in glass jars. These plant parts can be combined with other herbs for tea making. A few white clover blossoms along with red clovers can be added to ice teas too creating pleasing summertime drinks.
White clover flowers dried, then ground into flour can be added to bread recipes. Southern forager shares a bread recipe made from dehydrated and dried, ground white clover blossom flour. I have found forager sites have great uses and recipes for meadow plants.
I hope you look at white clovers in lawns, gardens, and paths a bit differently. This little plant often mowed and ignored provides a host of uses. Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share…I’d like that.