This is the final section of a three-part series on dreams.
Many visitors to Beyond the Rainbow write to ask about dreams they've had about animals. Time doesn't permit to answer fully, and because, as I noted in Section 2, it's YOUR dream, my interpretations would miss the mark.
This also applies to dreams you may have about a particular crystal, flower, or tree. I will go into some detail about these dream visitors below.
In order to provide an example that shows both in general terms possible methods of interpreting a dream and some of the specifics about dreams with an especially strong symbol, I've chosen the following dream:
I'm sitting on a deck that overlooks a forest. A jaguar comes up to me. I'm looking for something with which to scare it away, when it says, not speaking, Oh, come on. I'm amazed and lose my fear. Then I start petting the jaguar, and it's very affectionate. I'm thrilled by this experience.
This isn't a long, complex dream, which makes it easier to interpret. The emotional intensity made it important for me to understand.
I remembered writing an article about Jaguar for Beyond the Rainbow, so I reread it. I reprint it below, so you can see which parts of its information I used.
The jaguar stalks patiently and strikes with lightning speed. Its name comes from the South American Indian word, 'yaguara', meaning "a beast that kills its prey with one bound."
The Olmec and Mayans considered Jaguar to be a human in animal form. In their art they often combined jaguar with human characteristics. They also connected this animal with some of their gods, especially Tlaloc, the god of rain and the Sun God, who in his journey beneath the earth at night, became the Jaguar God of the Underworld.
Like Tiger, Jaguar is a solitary hunter, and this is one of its important aspects as a power animal. It symbolizes the importance of knowing when it's preferable to take the solitary path in stalking one's own dreams.
Some dreams are meant to be nurtured in solitude. The writer, composing a first draft, usually prefers to keep to keep the manuscript from curious eyes. While he has a vision of the completed work, others can't be expected to share it, and their criticisms may be discouraging.
The same is true of many visions. Their premature exposure to the world can have the same fatal effect as cracking an egg before the chick is ready to emerge.
In addition, nurturing one's dream privately avoids the temptation to take guidance from the outside. Instead, the creator learns to listen instead to inner guidance, the voice of wisdom from within and to trust his or her intuition. Developing a connection with Jaguar can help to strengthen this ability.
For the native people of the rainforests, everything contains Jaguar. In this sense, Jaguar, while cultivating our ability to walk the solitary path, also can help us to keep that path from being a lonely one. When we have a deep sense of ourselves as part of All That Is, we are never alone.
Using Your Intuition
I didn't find every element of the above description relevant to my dream. I focused on those aspects that, on the basis of both logic and intuition, rang true.
As a writer, I, like Jaguar, follow a solitary path. At the time I had the dream, I was focused on loosening my dependence on the opinion of others and forming a deeper connection to my inner guidance. In the dream, the wildness of the forest beyond and the jaguar, a wild cat, stood for how frightening it can be to shift into self-reliance and to allow the wild freedom of my vision. I believe the dream was telling me I have no need to fear. The jaguar's affection symbolized the rewards of connecting to inner wisdom.
The Beyond the Rainbow web site has many articles like the above about power animals. For additional information, I recommend the following:
Two fine books on the subject of totem or medicine animals are Medicine Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson, and The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr. Both books come with decks of cards. While other good books have been written on the subject of power animals, I recommend these because I've used them for years.
Many web sites have information about power animals. You could search for "jaguar power animal" or "jaguar spiritual meaning."
As I cautioned at the beginning of this article, use these interpretations in a very general way. General interpretations gave me a good basis for understanding Jaguar because it's not an animal I've encountered in waking life. To understand a dream about a deer or a squirrel, I would rely more on my direct experiences and feelings about these animals.
Other approaches include watching nature programs, observing an animal if you are in a position to do so, or meditating on the image or idea of an animal. Ask yourself what you feel about this animal? Does it remind you of any people you know? What do you admire about this animal? What do you fear? Your answers to these questions can trigger some valuable results.
If You Dream It, Is It Yours?
I apply this question to the matter of personal totem animals. If you have recurrent dreams about an animal (I do about bears), the chances are good that it's one of your guides. The key, from my experience, is a strong feeling about that animal.
Sometimes it's a strong negative feeling. If I were to have a personal encounter with a beast that kills its prey with one bound, I might not be waving and saying "Hey, there, power animal." I'm happy to have Jaguar visit me in the dream world. Because the connection felt so strong and powerful, I believed that Jaguar was, at least for a time, one of my animal companions. I explored this connection further by taking the Jaguar Wild Earth Animal Essence.
More on Crystals, Flowers, and Trees
If you dream about an identifiable crystal, you may want to explore the characteristics it represents, and you may also want to meditate with it.
If you dream about a crystal you don't recognize, check out books or online guides to see if you can find a similar-looking stone. Sometimes, though, we get very original in our crystal dreams, imagining stones that never were. Consider meditating on what you remember of its appearance and the feeling you had during the dream. Be open to the idea that in working with this stone of your imagination, you will have the opportunity to explore new realms.
Like crystals, dream flowers and trees may or may not be identifiable. Follow the same principles. If a majestic oak tree appears in your dream, research its spiritual properties and also look up the companion Bach Flower Remedy. If you've created a magical tree, discover its magic. You can follow the same practice with flowers that grow in your dreams.
I hope you find the information in this three-part series valuable, and I wish you happy dreaming.