I love what the dreamer named this dream. In my workshops on the dreamtime, I encourage participants to name their dreams. The reason for this is two-fold. In naming the dream you consolidate the most important feature of what your inner self is trying to offer your waking mind from the dreamscape. Often without even knowing it at the time of giving it a title, the titles often become the ‘nugget’ of the dream. And, secondly by naming the dream it commits it to memory in a deeper way.
Lizard in shamanic traditions is about dreaming and the dreamtime. I don’t suspect the dreamer knew this at the time she labeled this dream, although I may be incorrect. Lizard is literally seen as the ‘medicine’ of dreamers in many shamanic traditions. Jamie Sams, in one of the first books offered on the symbolism of animal totems, Medicine Cards, suggests in a dialogue between snake and lizard, “Snake you are looking for shade, and I am looking for shadow. Shadow is where the dreams live.”
Gram Twylah suggested that lizards are very perceptive, and they feel the vibrations along the ground. They have amazing hearing capacity and don’t miss any movement with their eyes. Some are able to drop their tail to escape, suggesting that one of the medicine gifts of lizard is the ability to detach from a situation, person, or emotion whose time has come to be left behind. They teach us to choose which path is best for our next step.
The other thing that hit me with the title, is the reptilian aspect of lizard…and that this one is guarding something. A lizard can represent an omen to watch what you are approaching, or clearly a need to choose a different path to move forward. Lizard holds a ‘decree of memory’ and as such a desire to return to a state of mental peace, signifying that we must release certain memories that we carry. Guarding usually means protection. The dreamer noted to me that the date of the dream was in 2015, although this dream had always stuck with her. I would ask her, “What was happening in your life at that time?” Is there a lingering need to still be cognizant of addressing what this dream brought up then, and that’s why it still sticks with you now.
I was concerned about making dinner and had gone to the refrigerator to get some meat to make spaghetti sauce. This house required me to go through the laundry room in order to get to the garage. There was a huge boulder in the laundry room. There was a large bunch of cut basil on top of the washing machine. There were also some other things on the floor and on top of the washer and dryer – clothes or plants?
We start with the acknowledgement that the dreamer is concerned. It is stated right in her first sentence, and suggests this concern is something she is experiencing in some aspect of her life. She goes to the refrigerator. Refrigerators imply keeping thing ‘in the dark & cold’ to ‘keep them fresh & alive.’ So there is a possibility that there is a concern that she has kept hidden (in the dark) or cold (not dealt with) and it is still fresh and alive in her memory. She is going to make spaghetti sauce, which is a food we think of as nurturing, hearty, comfort food….although spaghetti itself can often speak to our entanglements. She needs comforting.
She is trying to get to the garage, a place of storage and usually a space disconnected from the ‘family living place.’ And she has to go through the laundry room. This implies that something needs to be ‘cleaned’-up. But there is a boulder in the way. Her way is blocked from knowing how to do that, or possibly she feels something is blocking her in her life at that time from getting something else she wants or needs to move forward. Perhaps she isn’t even clear what it is she wants, she just feels blocked from cleaning up what she has ‘stored away’ and no longer serves.
There is a bunch of basil on the washing machine. This is what needs attention, the washing machine is symbolic of what she needs to address to clean something up. It is clearly the need to get to the “basil” supposedly in order to make the pasta sauce (self-nurturing). Ironically in shamanic healing traditions, basil is often used to draw away evil, due to its fiery content. In the Mayan tradition bundles of basil (and other herbs depending on the healing taking place) are used to strike or smooth the auric field of a client, helping to pull from the breaks in our light body, the places where we leak our life force energy due to wounds, injuries or frights. This does not mean that something evil is stalking her, you use word play in the dream time decoding, and evil spelled backwards is ‘live’; so something isn’t allowing her to live to her full capacity. Clothes and plants are in the way….there are distractions.
There was a large lizard in the basil – which did not really scare me; I could have picked up the basil, which I wanted to use in the sauce. But there was also a surprising rustle among the things on the floor. I looked and saw the head of another very large lizard. It had huge jaws and mouth, and it was not happy to be disturbed! I wasn’t real scared of it, but I couldn’t get close enough to get the basil and I couldn’t get into the garage. I left.
There is a lizard in the basil. Although she isn’t scared, this lizard (this perception she has) is something more obvious that she is aware of, and could deal with, but there is something even more surprising or buried in her subconscious that is beyond the obvious situation—the new bigger lizard. This rustling on the floor (symbolizing a deeper foundational belief), distracts her from getting the basil for the sauce. Its large head, mouth open, huge jaws and not happy to be disturbed.
There is some old thought and perhaps a past slight or wound that is starting to surface into her awareness. It can’t be buried anymore, the head is exposed and the mouth and jaws large and open suggest this is something she should be cautious of, although again she states she is not afraid to confront it. But she is not ready to fully deal with it, and remove whatever the impact of the past situation is, as she leaves the garage (where she’s stored it) without dealing with it.
I went back into the family room. There was an ibis, or tall grey heron, in the corner. I thought it was a statue and was touching it’s beak thoughtlessly as I passed or paused to think about something. Then I realized it was alive! The poor thing was almost dead! It was dusty. I realized it needed food. It made a sound that made me understand it needed fish. I said out loud, “Oh, you need fish – or sardines. I’ll get some.”
She goes back to where she feels support-the family room, or perhaps this is an indication in the dream that the issue has to do with her family of origin or something happening in her immediate family at the time of the dream. She feels safer by maintaining the illusion that it is either supportive or nurturing. Rooms suggest different stages of one’s life, and family rooms suggest the necessity of strong family communication. This can be interpreted as her family, or her inner family, those parts of herself that make up the pantheon of her inner resources. Here she sees a tall gray heron in the corner.
The corner means something has been put aside or pigeon-holed. In the Medicine Wheel studies with Gram Twylah, gray on the Wheel stands for how we assess a situation and/or where we need to honor ourselves. Heron stands for mothering, it is a divine feminine, majestic, ancient looking bird. Symbolically it seeks quietude and inner-peace. The heron is called on in the indigenous traditions to bring in lofty thoughts and ideals when feeling off balanced, to birth something new, to mother or nurture ourselves past old emotional wounds. It also represents our ancient, divine feminine spirit.
The bird is looking dead and dusty, it is motionless, and it hasn’t been ‘fed’ in a long time. She is even ‘thought-less’ in her approach to it, not realizing how undernourished this part of herself is. I would suggest that this dreamer look at where she may be over mothering others at her own expense; or not nurturing herself by engaging her divine feminine principles in a more fulfilling way; or perhaps is going along in life without a thought as to how to feed her own wants and needs in life.
It indicates almost telepathically that it needs fish; she is speaking to herself here. Fish indicates that something is being brought to the surface; they represent the unconscious mind because they exist under water, which represents emotions. Fish are also an ancient symbol of spirituality, so it can also imply that she knows on some level that she needs to feed her spiritual side to feel more nourished in this world.
So I went into the kitchen because I had some sardines or small fish. But I was distracted by other people (?). There was some kind of discussion that someone wanted fish for dinner. I momentarily forgot about the lizard and heron.
She goes into the kitchen, which is a place of nourishment, but she gets distracted by others from her own needs—both what needs to come to the surface from the shadow or unconscious part of herself (the lizard) and the heron (which is the desperate feminine side of herself that needs nurturing). Other people want fish for dinner, indicating she is taking care of others before herself. This can be family, people at her job, friends or relatives….but they are distracting her from concentrating on herself.
This house was large, white painted wood, on top of a large rocky hill overlooking “expanses.” I believe the ocean was below the hill and there was a long view of hillsides, countryside, in a foreign country.
Houses in dreams usually represent the components and aspects of our mind, or even the physical body. This house is large (she wants to expand). It is painted white. On the Medicine Wheel white stands for boundaries, the boundaries we need to magnetize to ourselves the people, places and mind-sets that can help us to grow; as well as the people, places, and mindsets that we need to release to grow. It is made of wood, which often in dreams is an indication that although things are stable, something inside feels emotionless. It also gives us the means to ‘build on the past’ by creatively changing the structure of what we believe in.
The house is on a large rocky hill. Although the rocks provide stability to her foundation, and the hill gives her far sighted vision, there is a rockiness to her ability to reach them. There is an ocean below the hills, below her enlarged vision, there are deep emotions that come and go in waves. She can take the long view, she is perceptive and can wait, but all this feels ‘foreign’ to her, as if she doesn’t have full ownership of all these parts of herself (foreign country).
I said I didn’t care if we had spaghetti or fish, but that I had to get into the garage and there was a lizard in the way. My husband, Charlie, came behind to help me. We went back to the laundry room.
She doesn’t care if things get entangled (spaghetti) as they are brought to the surface (fish), but she is determined to deal with this lizard, this shadow aspect. Her husband comes to help, indicates that she trusts her husband to either help her uncover what she is trying to bring to the surface, or that he has her back while she discovers this within herself. Again, playing with words, Charlie in old English means free man, so he can help free her from something.
The large lizard was now on the washing machine, eating or guarding the basil. It had a really big head – about 6-8 inches across. It was white and had a fat, short body. I couldn’t really see legs – it was more like a fat snake. The head was scaly and had a horned-toad look to it. The jaws were really big. It kept opening it’s mouth and hissing, or making hissing looks – not sure if actual sound came out. It did not want us there! It was definitely threatening us.
Now the large lizard has risen to the surface, it is no longer hiding under the clothes, and it is guarding the issue which needs to be cleansed and could remove something that is holding this dreamer back from a fuller life. Keep in mind the basil is the issue being guarded, and for her to understand and deal with what that issue is, can remove its hold on her life.
It’s white and fat—there clearly needs to be boundaries before this continues to spread and the issue or belief get larger. She can’t see the legs—there is a question on how to move this forward. It’s more reminiscent of a snake—snakes are all about transmutation and represent the birth, death, rebirth cycle.
Clearly this dreamer is ready to confront something, even though there is a part of her that would prefer it stay buried. There is some resistance as the snake is hissing and giving off vibes that it is feeling threatened, but it is there right in front of her ready to be dealt with. Question: whatever this something in need of change within yourself is, does it feel like it could likewise threaten the marriage? Keep in mind you will be ‘free’ from this unconscious burden and/or what may be inhibiting you from a fuller expression of your deep spiritual feminine if you challenge the hissing. The hissing is your inner warning, but also what you have to move beyond. And the dream shows you that you can rely on your husband, as he is with you.
We began to discuss how we could capture it or get it outside the house. We couldn’t get past it to open the garage door. That would have allowed it to go into the garage and then we could have opened the garage door for it to go out on its own. If we captured it, we could release it up on the hillside by our house. We considered taking it up into the mountains to release it in a more remote area.
You decide together how to get rid of this, so it is outside the house (the place where you both reside) and you can both work on the issue. You can’t bring it into the garage, which is good, because you don’t want to store ‘it’ away anymore. If you capture it (deal with it), you could take it to the hillside. Hillsides signify taking it to a higher level, a higher knowing and mountains indicate that whatever this pressing issue is, you will be able to accomplish your goal. Taking it to a remote area is not giving it as much significance anymore as it might once have had.
That is when I woke up – feeling sad that I had forgotten the sardines for the poor heron. I wanted to go back to sleep so I could feed it.
It was perfect you woke up then. Our dreams often do that to us in the middle of something frightening or sad so we will get the full impact of what our unconscious is trying to bring to the surface for us to deal with. And here it is, the divine part of yourself that needs nurturing, honoring, and needs to be fed to thrive—that is what you are left knowing. You can’t go back to sleep (become unconscious) to deal with this situation and ironically you need to be both awake and aware to correct this for yourself.
Hope that helped and thank you for sharing.