Monthly Archives: May 2011

Episode 109 The Dream Show: Children’s nightmares

How can you best help your children when they wake in the middle of the night distressed about a nightmare or bad dream?

In this episode, I take you through some simple practical steps that you can follow next time this happens, and give you some tips on what your children’s dreams might mean and how you can use this insight to help them gain confidence and wisdom as they grow into the world.

You might like to share this episode with parents who would really appreciate this help – and the prospect of a good night’s sleep.

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

Talking of which, what should you eat – and what should you not eat – before bed for a good night’s sleep? Listen in to find out.

Listen here (Episode 109)





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Cow pat patter

All the cowpats had changed into snow.

Get a pen and a piece of paper, as you’re going to have some fun with this one while learning something about yourself and about dream interpretation. You’re going to chat with a cow-pat, a humble chunk of bovine dung – and no, you’re not dreaming this, and yes, it will make perfect sense if you play along.

Earlier this week, I was interpreting callers’ dreams on a radio show when a man phoned in with a dream about cow-pats.

“I dreamed I was driving alongside a fence on my farm and all the cow-pats in the ruts had changed into snow. What does it mean?”

“How did you feel about the snow?” I asked.

I’m going to leave his reply until later in this post, because this is the point where I want you to pick up your pen and paper and play along with me.

Imagine now that you are a snow-pat chatting to a cow-pat. This exercise works best if you do it fast, without really thinking. Just let your pen do the writing and keep your head out of it!

Arrange the dialogue on your paper like this, starting with the opening line I have given:

Cow-pat: Hello, snow-pat, how are you?



(Continue like this)

Let snow-pat reply – a simple, short sentence is good – and then let your pen move on to let cow-pat say something and continue in this way until you feel pleased with the outcome.

It’s best to do this without referring to an example, because I don’t want to influence you, but if you are having difficulty, have a look at this:

Cow-pat: Hello, snow-pat, how are you?

Snow-pat: Cold.

Cow-pat: You wouldn’t be snow if you weren’t cold, would you?

Snow-pat: I have to stay cold, even though I don’t like it, or I’ll thaw and disappear.

Cow-pat: You wouldn’t disappear – you’d become water and help plants grow.

Snow-pat: That’s your job, helping plants grow.

Cow-pat: How?

Snow-pat: You decompose and fertilise plants.

Cow-pat: Really? And I thought I was just a pile of smelly stuff people hate getting on their shoes.

Snow-pat: I guess you change for the better!

Cow-pat: Why don’t you then – change for the better, I mean?

Snow-pat: You mean thaw?

Cow-pat: Yes, move on, unfreeze your emotions and let them flow to help things grow.

(In this example, you might stop the dialogue here because you feel pleased with the outcome. You’ve received an insight about the importance of change or about letting your emotions flow to help you grow.)

If you’ve read this far without doing your own dialogue, stop and do it now. This way you’ll get maximum benefit from this article.

What can you learn from a cow-pat, a humble chunk of bovine dung?

What can you learn from a cow-pat, a humble chunk of bovine dung?

Okay, what did you learn from doing this? Even though this wasn’t your dream, the symbols (cow-pat and snow-pat) are deeply evocative, and it’s very likely that your unconscious mind has responded to these symbols in a creative and insightful way. Just imagine how much more powerful this exercise would be if you did this with symbols from one of your recent dreams!

One of the reasons I love talking to people about their dreams on radio is that we can all learn from each others’ dreams. Yes, it’s a way of sharing dream interpretation tips and techniques, and yes, it’s a way of discovering something about yourself when someone calls in with a dream similar to one you have had, but it’s also about gaining insight we can apply to our own lives. One person’s dream may be about facing fears, and we all contemplate new ways we might face our own fears and why we might benefit from this. Or another caller’s dream may be about the rewards that can come when you look at a problem in a different way, and we all might then contemplate the rewards awaiting us if we look at our problems in a different way. Every dream – whether our own or someone else’s – provides a ‘bottom line’ meditation on life and how we approach it.

Before returning to the caller, the dreamer of the cow-pat dream, to discover the meaning of his dream, here are some more examples of cow-pat/snow-pat dialogue. Do any of these resonate with yours?



Cow-pat: Hello, snow-pat, how are you?

Snow-pat: Pure as the driven snow – untouched, virginal.

Cow-pat: Just came down in the last shower then?

Snow-pat: Are you saying I’m naïve, wet behind the ears?

Cow-pat: Didn’t need to – you just said it yourself.

Snow-pat: I’d rather be naïve and fresh and new than old, dried and decomposing like you.

Cow-pat: Ah, but I have lived, I have experience …



Cow-pat: Hello, snow-pat, how are you?

Snow-pat: Like winter, icy wet. How are you?

Cow-pat: Like summer, baked dry.

Snow-pat: You could warm and dry me, I could cool and hydrate you – want to work together to create a better balance?



Cow-pat: Hello, snow-pat, how are you?

Snow-pat: Excited – waiting for children to discover me and play!

Cow-pat: No-one plays with me! No-one comes anywhere near me.

Snow-pat: Not even naughty children?

Cow-pat: Ah, I have been flung with malice from time to time.

Snow-pat: I’m glad you changed into a snow-pat in our dream – it’s better to make people happy than to make them cry.


When you do dialogues like these using symbols from your dreams, they help you to identify your personal dream symbols. If this had been your dream, you might have discovered that a cow-pat was your personal symbol for malice, and snow was your personal symbol for happiness.

But it doesn’t stop there. A dialogue usually moves beyond identifying bizarre dream symbols towards insight and transformation. The insight you get from doing this helps solve and transform the issue your dream was reflecting. Now you can see why dialogues are powerful dream alchemy practices. (Other dream alchemy practices include visualisations, affirmations, art work and more. Read more about dream alchemy practices, what they are and how they work.)

So, let’s now get back to the man who phoned into the radio station with his cow-pat dream.

“I dreamed I was driving alongside a fence on my farm and all the cow-pats in the ruts had changed into snow. What does it mean?”

“How did you feel about the snow?” I asked.

(This is really the same question used in the dialogue, where cow-pat says, Hello snow-pat, how are you?)

“The snow was so beautiful. I noticed its beauty,” he replied.

His dream shows he is beginning to see beauty in the everyday mundane, since, as a farmer, he sees cow-pats every day. There are extra clues in his dream.

The cow-pats were in the ruts, and we talk about being ‘in a rut’ when we feel stuck, perhaps in the every day mundane, failing to see the beauty of each day. There’s also a clue in the fence, since a fence is built along a boundary, to keep things in or to keep things out. A fence marks a limit of territory,  keeping things ‘safe’ perhaps on the inside, limiting stepping into ‘unsafe’ territory beyond. The dream suggests the farmer is about to overcome a limitation, reach into unfamiliar territory, and the key to this is in seeing beauty in the mundane. It’s about shifting his perspective, transforming the way he sees life, in the same way that his dream cow-pats were transformed into beautiful snow.

Now, YOUR insight into what cow-pats and snow-pats mean to you might be quite different from the insight to be gained by the farmer from his dream, but isn’t it wonderful to learn something from someone else’s dream? There may be a situation in your life – today or in the future – where you can apply this insight and see the beauty in the mundane. No doubt, when you do, you will recall the dream about the cow-pats and the snow-pats.

So share your dreams with those who care to listen, whether with one or two people you know or anonymously with many thousands on the radio, as this farmer did. Aren’t you glad he called?

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, July 2008. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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Episode 108 The Dream Show: Dream dogs

Alison dreamed about trying to hide from violent pursuers who chased her back to her childhood home. Later in the dream, just when things were beginning to look good, she found dead dogs along a ridge, just beyond an ancient, deserted town, and woke up in fright.

What does it mean?

Listen as Alison and I explore the details of her dream, and hear Alison’s response as I interpret it and she relates the interpretation to what’s going on in her life.

How can Alison use the insight she gains from this?

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

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Naturally, dream alchemy plays a part, and you’ll enjoy picking up tips you can apply when interpreting your own dreams and when creating dream alchemy visualisations.

Listen here (Episode 108)





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The Dream Oscars

Night at the Dream Oscars

The Dream Oscars

Thank you. I’ve got a piece of paper here somewhere. Oh, the tears! It’s been quite a journey from base metal to Dream Oscar! Now, where was I?

Thank you. I’d like to thank my dreams for the spiritually inspiring alchemist’s stones they delivered that helped me in precipitating the solution that became my awakening. I see it all so clearly now.

In a good night’s sleep you have about five big dreams, usually all concerning the same question. Each one contains a Philosopher’s Stone – an insight previously unknown to you that you can use to transform your waking life from base metal into gold. What treasure! What potential!

After ninety minutes of deep sleep, the first dream is – well, let’s say the first dream is ‘screened’.

After ninety minutes of deep sleep, the first dream is – well, let’s say the first dream is ‘screened’.

Each night as you fall asleep you teeter on the verge of bringing home the gold. After ninety minutes of deep sleep, the first dream is – well, let’s say the first dream is ‘screened’. The first dream of the night is usually the most vivid and surreal. Imagine the excitement down in the basement of your deep unconscious – maybe tonight’s the night! Picture this. Your dream director paces in the dark:

‘Maybe tonight’s the night!’

‘Maybe tonight’s the night to bring home the gold. Maybe tonight we’ll screen the dream of a lifetime. Maybe tonight she’ll finally get the message. Maybe tonight we can pull out all our best stops. Maybe tonight it’s Dream Oscars all round! What’s the theme for the night?’

The dream director taps her microphone. ‘Metaphors department, you in yet?’

The dream director taps her microphone. ‘Metaphors department, you in yet?’

‘The theme?’ echoes a rumbling voice from the Script Development Department in the depths of the dark unconscious. ‘We thought we might have another look at the self-esteem question tonight. We laid some good foundations with the power issue last night, so we’re ready to take a fresh look at self-esteem.’

‘Ah, big one,’ replies the dream director, one eye on the clock. ‘We’re ten minutes down and the clock’s ticking. Eighty minutes and we need the first dream up and ready to go. Order up the early life memories please – run a combined search on “power” and “self-esteem”.’

The familiar staccato splutter of modems firing up to download the memory neurons of the brain mingles with start-of-shift coffee.

The dream director taps her microphone. ‘Metaphors department, you in yet?’

‘In and rolling. We’ve got a good round-table blitz group in today. Should come up with some crackers tonight. I hear the Puns and Wordplay Department has a top-class crossword puzzle expert on the job tonight. We might be up for the Dream Oscars with tonight’s screenings.’

The dream director drums her fingers on her desk. ‘Seventy-five minutes and counting. Casting department, you on board? We need a big cast for tonight: the best you can, we’re going for the Dream Oscars. Theme is self-esteem and power. I want people from waking life, people from the past and a couple of  characters from fiction. Stick to theme, but think extremes; even go as far as caricatures. Oh, and we’ll need two extras. Make-up are standing by to archetypecast the extras.’

"I hear the Puns and Wordplay Department has a top-class crossword puzzle expert on the job tonight."

“I hear the Puns and Wordplay Department has a top-class crossword puzzle expert on the job tonight.”

At ninety minutes exactly the first dream is screened and recorded for posterity in the Unconscious Memory Archives Department. At the same time a copy is sent, as always, to the Conscious Recall Database but with no expectation of success as the IT technicians are still chasing the dream deletion virus that entered the system at the same moment in history as the Industrial Revolution.

After the screening, brief congratulations are exchanged and then all heads are down to create the second dream. This time conditions are tighter. The deep sleep interval between dreams decreases as the night goes on and the dreaming periods get longer. With less time for creativity and production and longer stories to shoot, it’s no surprise that dreams closer to morning tend to be a little more mundane.

By morning the film crew are partying and retiring to doze at the Back Burner Inn for the day. You stir, fleetingly in contact with Conscious Recall Database, battling the dream deletion virus to archive the data over to the permanent conscious memory store. Somewhere between dreaming and getting out of bed a partial victory is declared, a dream or two are remembered and the still vigilant dream director wonders, before hitting the sack, if her movies have worked their magic.

Extract, Dream Alchemy, pages 17-19,  Jane Teresa Anderson, published Hachette.

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Episode 107 The Dream Show: Dream Alchemy & The Philosophers’ Stone

Join me as I dip into my book, Dream Alchemy, (2nd edition published by Hachette), reading you passages exploring dreams, recurring dreams, nightmares, and my unique approach to working with dreams – dream alchemy.

Included is a little insight into the medieval alchemists and what their quest to transform base metal into gold was really about.

How does the Philosophers’ Stone relate to dreams and dream alchemy? And what does is take to create an Oscar-worthy dream?

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

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Whether you’re a novice to dream interpretation or a seasoned dream alchemist, sit back and enjoy a mix of the practical, the insightful, and the magic of tongue-in-cheek metaphor.

Listen here (Episode 107)





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The goat and the cobweb

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?

The goat and the cobweb

Here’s a puzzle. What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat? If you’re already searching for an answer, you’re in the right frame of mind for interpreting a dream. I’ll give you some more clues:

Sandra phoned Loretta & Moyd’s Afternoon Show on Radio 4BC this afternoon to ask me about her dream featuring – you’ve got it – a cobweb and a goat. In her dream, she was going somewhere with her husband when she suddenly had to get a cab and go back home. In the cab, she looked down and saw that her feet were covered in cobwebs. She looked again, and saw an adorable little goat, sitting at her feet, with a blister on his nose. What does Sandra’s dream mean?

I’ll refine the puzzle: What’s the connection between feet covered in cobwebs, and a goat?

In case you’re not there yet, I’ll come at it from another angle:

What’s the connection between Sandra having her journey cut short (having to return home), and a goat?

Most dreams have a repeating theme, and if you can identify this, you’ve got a good starting point for interpretation. Since Sandra’s goat was adorable, it was most likely a pet goat, and pet goats are usually tethered to keep them close to home. Sandra’s feet were kind of tethered by the cobwebs or, at least, she must have walked through a potentially trapping spider’s web to have cobwebs clinging to her feet.

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?

What’s the connection between a cobweb and a goat?

At first I thought Sandra’s cobwebs suggested she’d been standing still for too long in one place (metaphorically), long enough to gather cobwebs, and though this may also be true, the dream shows Sandra’s journey cut short by the need to take a cab home, as if she can only get so far because she’s tethered.

In the very short time that we have on radio to interpret a dream, and without being able to clarify aspects of the dream with the caller, looking for out-of-the-box connections that repeat in a dream can shine a light on the dreamer’s situation. At the time of her dream, Sandra probably felt restricted or tethered, especially around her direction. In the dream, her journey was cut short, so there’s a sense that she has direction – she knows where she wants to go – but she’s not getting there.

When goats aren’t tethered, they roam free and far. Goats can climb mountains and follow paths other animals, and humans, find difficult. Goats can journey a long way on very little. Sandra’s dreaming mind chose the symbol of a goat, no doubt because she does know, deep down, that she is capable of reaching her goal. (Is this word play, a tethered goal a dream goat?) So what’s holding her back?

Could it have anything to do with the blister on the goat’s nose? I wonder if Sandra had the feeling, in the day or two before her dream, that she had poked her nose into something she shouldn’t have. Or that she’d followed her intuition (followed her nose) and got burnt, either recently, or in the past, and this experience has held her back from setting out again.

What would you set as a dream alchemy practice here? I’d suggest the following visualisation if Sandra would like to achieve the goal she identifies with this dream: Sandra, see the blister on the goat’s nose vanishing, then look down to see the cobwebs gone and feel a wonderful, warm, dancing sensation seeping into your feet. Open the car door and dance wherever you wish, led by the adorable goat, sniffing the wind, following his nose which happens to lead you both to exactly where you’d like to be (picture where you’d like to be).

As with all dream alchemy, as we rewrite the story using our personal dream symbols, we simultaneously rewrite our unconscious mindset around the issue and the waking life outcome.

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Episode 106 The Dream Show: Alien analyst

How can an alien help you to understand a dream? What’s the right thing to say to a horse as it angrily rears up above you and threatens to crash down upon you? And what’s the magical formula for finding a solution to a seemingly impossible challenge?

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

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Today’s show brings you a mix of dream interpretation tips, from the practical and light-hearted to the deeply analytical, and a touch of alchemy you can apply to bring you solutions when faced with difficulties.

Listen here (Episode 106)




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Pregnancy dreams: Jellybeans and leeches

Pregnancy dreams

Pregnancy dreams

It all started when Sunrise weather presenter Grant Denyer told the SAFM Breakfast crew – Hayley, Craig and Rabbit – that his pregnant wife dreamed she gave birth to a monkey.

Then Hayley, who had just announced her pregnancy on the show, shared that she had dreamed she gave birth to leeches.

Was this just spooky, the crew wondered, or is it common for pregnant women to dream of giving birth to animals?

I (who dreamed when I was pregnant with my first child that I gave birth to a tiny, delicate, almost invisible stick insect), was invited onto the show this morning to throw a little light on Cheryl Denyer’s monkey and Hayley’s leeches, and to take calls from people about their surprise birth dreams.

Yes, it’s common to dream of giving birth to all sorts of non-human entities, but particularly animals, and especially during first pregnancies.

The phone lines buzzed with more callers than we could take on the show. Jennifer gave dream birth to a daddy longlegs spider, Robert’s mother had dream birthed a moth while she was pregnant with him, and one of the callers we didn’t get to had dream birthed a jellybaby.

We tend to dream about animals when we are facing change, and anticipating the birth of your first child is a huge change. The prospect of change brings up our survival instincts and gut feelings, and our dreaming minds often come up with animals to express these.

I had the feeling that Hayley’s leeches represented her feelings of attachment, of her attachment to her future baby, of her baby’s attachment to her, and her concerns about potential drains on her energy. That’s what leeches do really well – attach firmly and draw on your vital resources (suck your blood). That made sense to Hayley. It’s good for Hayley to know this because she can explore her feelings about this before her baby is born, and contemplate how she would ideally like to mother her child and enjoy a sense of balance in her life.

My feeling about Cheryl’s monkey is that it represents a cheeky, playful energy that’s emerging as she readies herself for being a mum.

Jennifer, the caller who dreamed about the daddy longlegs spider, said she was totally happy and filled with love for her baby spider, and her only concern was how to put a nappy (diaper) on a baby with six long thin legs. Her dream suggests a wonderful unconditional love already in place (and this may also relate to issues with her father or husband, both daddies), and a concern about being able to deal with new practicalities.

Caller Robert’s mum may have dreamed of a moth in anticipation of all those night feeds – moths are active at night, but really, of course, as with all these dreams, I would need to hear the whole dream to get the big picture, and ideally ask the dreamers a few questions to elicit more accuracy.

The jellybaby? I’ll let you chew that one over. As for my stick insect, you can read about that in my in-depth blog about pregnancy dreams, Congratulations, it’s a vampire.

What have you given birth to in your dreams, and were you pregnant at the time?

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