It is my contention that we are all nature dreamers. By that I mean each of us, whether we are cognizant of it or not, dreams on behalf of nature. Sometimes the message is clear, sometimes it is shrouded in symbolism and metaphor. Those of us who are more connected with nature during waking are likely more aware that this level of dreaming is going on, but nonetheless, I believe each of us is tapped into nature’s psyche because of the nature (pun intended) of interconnectedness.

Here is a startling example of how nature inhabits our dreams, straight from my own dreams.

On July 31, 2010 I had the following dream:

I am in a cozy cabin with a fire n the fireplace. I settle in and feel good, but there is a nagging feeling in the background. I look at the view — I see the Golden Gate Bridge and the sun setting, but something feels off. Then a huge, luminous, gorgeous tidal wave sweeps toward me. It is so beautiful! Illuminated from the inside and turquoise and green. It is also scary. Then a goddess in a yellow dress appears in the room with me. I know she is the sun. She stands in front of me and says, “Jump!”

The next day, solar storms occurred on the sun. It’s important to note that I knew nothing of the solar activity before I went to bed the night before. I heard about the solar storms when I arrived at work.

The storms affected the magnetic field of the planet, causing gorgeous aurora borealis visible by many people on Earth. Pictures of the aurora that I saw featured colors that reminded me exactly of the tidal wave in the dream.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

There are many other hints within the dream that point to the solar event: the fire, the Golden Gate Bridge, the tsunami, the sun goddess. In waking life, scientists called the storms solar tsunamis. NASA reported a C3-class solar flare (the white area on upper left of the image above) and a solar tsunami (the wave-like structure in the upper right of the image above) on August 1, among other solar events.

Of course, the dream had personal significance for me as well (I believe most, if not all, dreams have several layers of meaning). But it is clear that my dream hints at the sun’s activity.

Here’s a second, more recent example.

On December 20, 2010 I had this dream: I am in a field in a town. I am watching hundreds of chickens hatch and rapidly grow to little chicks. I watch their mothers gather their babies. Then almost all of them get taken away to be eaten. It makes me sad. Somehow I have a part in all of it. After everything is gone, someone returns with two chicks and their mom. They drop the chickens in the middle of the field where all the chickens used to be. I can see panic, terror, and sadness in the mother’s eyes as she realizes what happened. She gathers her two chicks under her breast to protect them. I’m told these are my chickens and I can start a new colony with them.

That morning when I got to work I read this news story about 400,000 chicks killed by a bankrupt poultry farm in Russia. These aren’t the only chickens to die at this farm; 600,000 others have died of malnutrition and three million more could face the same fate. Its death on a massive scale and a grim picture of how broken our food system has become.

What strikes me as I compare the dream to the story is the deep sadness attached to both. In the story, the writer reports that the workers charged with killing the chicks “wept as they carried out their task.” My dream self also felt that sorrow as I watched the chicks being taken away. The “panic, terror, and sadness” the hen shows in the dream also speaks to the overwhelming emotion of the situation in Russia.

I wonder if the survival of the two chicks and the hen in my dream says something about the possibility of a few of the Russian chickens living through the brutality. Perhaps the dream’s ending is meant to show us a better way: a few chickens for each family rather than massive farms where animals are inevitably mistreated.

To figure out if you’re nature dreaming, write down your dreams in the morning and then keep tabs on the environmental news each day to see if events or themes match those in your dreams. And let me know if they do!