Animal Symbolism Series—Great Blue Heron
What does it mean when a great blue heron (GBH) shows up in your life? Well that all depends on how it shows up and when. For a period of time it was appearing in my dreams and waking life in strange ways. And whenever I see it flying overhead these days, I thank it for reminding me to stay on my unique Path.
Whenever an animal makes itself known in my dreams, conversation, TV, articles, real life, thoughts or daydreaming, especially if I see it several times, I know that it is trying to get a message to me.
Each animal has its own unique talents and abilities that help it to survive in the world. We humans can learn a lot from them by observing how they live, adapt and thrive, and then apply the same abilities to our own lives.
The appearance of GBH indicates that it is time to assert our own authority and to follow our own unique path in life. We need to listen to the inner calling of our hearts and not the ideas of others. There may also be a great opportunity coming our way and to grab it quickly when it comes. The GBH is also a symbol for a jack-of-all-trades.
GBH began showing up in my life when I was at a crossroads in my career. I was working full time as a Graphic Designer and I wanted to be a writer and illustrator of children’s books. But I was afraid to pursue my dream of becoming a published author/illustrator because I didn’t want to leave the security of the graphic design field. I also had little faith in myself, and the world at large to support me in such a risky endeavor. What if I failed? But at the same time, I felt trapped in the nine to five hamster wheel of life at a regular job. It was a tug-of-war between freedom and security.
I first encountered this tall grey-blue bird in a dream, which I will recount here.
I am sleeping in my bed. Something is pulling at my covers and trying to take them off. I keep putting them back on, not willing to open my eyes. Then I hear something squawk loudly. I wake up and there is a GBH on my bed looking at me. It then flies through the opposite wall, which is missing, and lands in a large Blue Spruce tree with about 25 other GBH’s that are roosting there.
I woke up, and tried to commit the dream to memory as I headed downstairs to the kitchen to make myself a hot cup of tea. While I was at the sink, putting water into the kettle, I noticed a large shadow gliding across the yard. And when I looked up, I saw a GBH flying above.
Needless to say, I was surprised, even though I was used to having many synchronistic occurrences in my life by now. I hurried to my reference books on animal symbolism and looked up the meaning of GBH.
But this bird wasn’t finished with me yet.
A week later, my teenage son and I walked through the woods near the stream that feeds the lake on the edge of our hometown. We stopped to sit on a small stone bridge and was delighted to see a GBH that was hunting for fish downstream, about 30 yards from us.
For no reason that seemed obvious, the GBH flew towards us and landed to our left, not five feet from where we were sitting. It turned to face us and then started talking in GBH-speak—squawking, lifting its wings, tilting its head, and generally having a pleasant conversation with two open-mouthed and dumbfounded humans.
This lasted for about a minute. Then it became silent, content with just staring at us for the next minute or two. Seemingly satisfied with our meeting, it flew back to the same spot and continued hunting for more fish.
My son and I looked at the bird and then at each other wide-eyed, not sure what to make of this unusual encounter. It’s not like birds talk to us everyday, especially a GBH. They shy away from humans.
Although I don’t know what GBH said, per se, I understood the message that day. STAY ON YOUR UNIQUE PATH and pursue your dream. No, I’m not a published author yet, and I still work as a Graphic Designer, but I decided from that day forward to put my focus on my dream. And that’s where it has been ever since.