The Art of Dreaming: Part Two

The Art of Dreaming: Part Two


I have learned over the years that you are the best interpreter of your dreams. Each symbol is personal and your meaning could be entirely different from someone else’s. When I first begin to analyze a dream, I usually reach for one of my dream dictionaries or go online to dream websites to get started, but then I have to put all of that away because it will only go so far. Dream symbols are personal, so you may have to do some digging to figure out exactly what a symbol means to you. Because of this, I have developed my lexicon of dream symbols, and you can too!

The following are several examples of the dreams I had, their symbols, and how I interpreted the messages.

Dream Example One:

I had two important dreams involving the Spirit Animal, Spider. This Spirit Animal is a powerful symbol of creation. It is associated with magic because of its ability to weave a silken web, which is also linked to weaving a web of your own fate. As a message, it could be a time for you to create something, such as a new project, career, or relationship. It could also be a warning of getting into some kind of entanglement, due to the symbolism of the web (what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive). Because Spider is the keeper of the primeval alphabet, this Spirit Animal could also be a sign for you to write a book, or draw a picture.

I also see the symbol of the Spider as relating to karma (cause and effect). In other words, whatever you are ‘creating’ in the physical world, will come back to you as ‘feedback’ like a boomerang in your web of life. When Spider shows up, this may be a time for becoming aware of what you are creating in your life. When you are busy with daily tasks, you might not notice that you have caught something in your ‘web’ and could miss an opportunity. Spider is a reminder to pay attention to what you’ve captured in your proverbial web.

In the first dream, I found myself in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house. I was reading a book and I looked up and noticed there was a Spider web running across the entire length of the room, blocking the door. My back was against the wall. I noticed a jumbo-sized black and yellow orb Spider voraciously gathering and eating insects. It was very active, vibrant, and alive. I was afraid it would eat me if I got too close. On the opposite wall was a large soft sculpture of a bat. I felt trapped.

As I started to wake up from the dream, I heard my name called. It was a woman’s voice, not my own, and it sounded powerful and commanding.

This dream foretold the important changes that would be taking place in my life and psyche. The bat represented death and rebirth—a transformation, especially of my old childhood wounds and fears since I was in the home of my youth. The bedroom is also a symbol of the unconscious. The Spider was a symbol of the new life I was creating for myself, which I eventually did in a monumental way. Hearing voices at times during dreams, especially right before waking (hypnogogic state), can be a Spirit Animal (or your Higher Self) letting you know to pay attention to that particular dream.

For the second dream involving the Spirit Animal, Spider, I was in another bedroom (again), but this time at a shore rental where I happened to be vacationing at the time. I heard a noise from underneath the bed, so I pulled the bed away from the wall and was shocked to discover an oversized spider building a web underneath the entire bed! My first thought was, I should kill it, but then remembered that I should talk with this Spirit Animal instead.

When I asked the Spider why it was making a web under my bed, the spider web abruptly floated up off the floor and attached itself to the ceiling. It was approximately ten feet in height and width. It then became an energetic portal with gossamer swirling lights. Beyond the portal was another dimension, and then I thought, This must be the astral plane!

As I gazed at the portal, I suddenly felt hungry and began to think about food. The image of a scrumptious cheeseburger and a basket of French fries appeared floating in the portal, along with a thick, chocolate shake. The food looked three-dimensional and cartoonish. I burst out laughing, yet at the same time, also aware that I was the one creating all of this.

Later, when I analyzed this hilarious yet powerful dream, I discovered the Spirit Animal, Spider, had come into my dreams to deliver a very important message. It was sharing its wisdom about the power that I have to create my reality—weaving a web to manifest what I truly desire. Since we create our individual and collective reality unconsciously by default, I learned the hard way that I had to become conscious of what I was thinking and feeling, and I had trained my mind to focus on what I did want and not what I didn’t want, unless I wanted a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, of course—yum!

Dream Example Two:

One of my challenges in life has been to stay grounded and focused in the present moment and not get distracted, so that I don’t lose momentum, especially with important goals. During a particularly chaotic time in my life, when I had too much going on, an unusual Spirit Animal paid me a visit in my dreams.

In this particular dream, I was on the second floor of a tall building. There was a big hole in the middle of the floor. A thick rope descended from the ceiling above me and into the hole, reaching to the next floor thirty feet below. I decided to climb down the rope and see what was below. When I finally reached ground level, I found myself immersed in a lush jungle.

I noticed an animal up ahead on the path before me, but it was hiding in the tall, leafy plants, and I couldn’t see it clearly. I cautiously approached this mysterious animal. When I got close enough, it started to sniff my hand. It looked like some sort of monkey with brown fur.

“What kind of animal are you?” I asked, puzzled.

“A Wombat,” it replied proudly. “I’m here to keep you grounded.”

“I think I’m doing a good job at grounding,” I quipped, then added, “I thank you for your help, but I don’t need it.” I then hurried on my way, not waiting for a reply.

As soon as I awoke, I immediately looked up the definition of the Spirit Animal, Wombat, for I’d never heard of that animal before. I knew this had to be an important message for me.

I discovered that Wombat is an Australian burrowing animal that has rodent-like teeth and powerful claws. They also have six-sided cubed feces. That’s right—Wombats have square poop! It’s very unusual. But any kind of square structure suggests solidity and firmness, so I knew this animal had to be very grounding. Plus, it lives in the ground! So, I knew that the Wombat was telling me the truth.

Wombat as a Spirit Animal symbolizes stability, and focus. It also represents someone who is building a solid foundation—exactly what I needed. Yet, I told it I didn’t need any help. What was I thinking? Not only did I get a revealing Spirit Animal message, but I also got a good look at my ego. Yikes!

After analyzing the dream, I took some time to reflect on my grounding techniques, or lack of them, and updated them. It seemed all too easy for me to get lost in my own thoughts (past and future) and not stay in the present moment. Like most people, I was living inside my head and not in my body.

I decided to spend time connecting to my new Spirit Animal, Wombat, who would technically be a Power Animal of mine. But I owed it an apology first! I still call on my friend, the Wombat, whenever I feel that my life has gotten out of control, and he always shows up.


Nightmares are something that almost everyone experiences sometime in their life. And while we may not want to think too long about these terrifying dreams, they do reveal a lot about our inner psyche. They can expose our deepest fears, trauma, remorse, and a host of unresolved issues, especially those we want to avoid at all costs. You can count on your dreams to dial them up for you, over and over again, until you acknowledge them. Your subconscious mind may sometimes resort to shocking you into paying attention if you have been ignoring your dream messages. If the same nightmare keeps repeating, then the main issue of the dream has not been rectified. You will have to go on a deep-sea treasure hunt to discover the central problem in your subconscious mind.

One of the most familiar nightmare themes is being chased. The essence of a chase dream is that we are running away or avoiding something. We often run away from things that we cannot control, be it an issue in our life or our habits and behaviors.

The way to deal with nightmares is to confront them and work toward a resolution. What you think you can’t face is exactly what you must face. To become whole again, the central emotion in the nightmare needs to be integrated.

Here are some helpful tips:

1)   Face your dream monster, do not flee from it. It is most likely a facet of yourself that you have repressed. Use a journal to uncover the main message of the dream, or consult with a trusted friend to help you.

2)   Meditate to get in touch with the core emotion.

3)   Ask for help, guidance, and protection from your Spirit Animal, Angels, or Spirit Guides.

4)   When we face our dream monsters, they become our allies, and we grow. But if you are still having reoccurring nightmares, seek outside help.


Here is an exercise that truly works! If you have a question that you want to be answered or a problem that never seems to get resolved, you can get an answer in your dreams. Here’s how:

1)   Formulate your question. For example:  What does my Spirit Animal want to tell me? Or, what career path should I take? Perhaps you want to know who your soul mate will be, or help with healing some aspect of your life.

2)   Write your question on a piece of paper. When you are ready for bed, fold up the question and put it underneath your pillow, then go to sleep, keeping the question in your mind, with a firm expectation of having a dream that evening.

3)   Record your dreams. Look for clues as to how the dream answers your question after you wake up. You may not get an answer on the first night, but something should happen within a few days or a week at most. For this to work, I discovered that there must also be an emotional connection to the question. It should be of great importance to you.

4)   Ask for clarification. Sometimes the dream message is direct and clear, so it may only take one dream to get an answer. But if you don’t understand the message in the first dream, ask again so that you can get an answer in another dream. Depending on the question, it may take several dreams over some time to get an answer that makes sense.

Read Part Three


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Reconnect to the Incredible Power of Spirit Animals!

Learn how to meet your own Spirit Animal in Discover Your Spirit Animal by Shelley Shayner







Shelley Shayner

Also known as the Artistic Mystic, Shelley is a published author, an award-winning artist, and an intuitive. She has written and illustrated children’s books, adult non-fiction books, and journals. She has a B.A. in Illustration and there is always a painting in progress on her easel; her favorite subject matter is animals, nature, or some kind of fantasy. Shelley is also a spiritual advisor, a Reiki master, and a dream expert. She teaches workshops on Spirit Animals, Dreams, and Art.

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