Talons On My Back: How Dream Recall Clues Us In
Ever feel like you’ve got something digging into you...like a weight on your back? Well apparently, this feeling is something I am waking up to...literally.
Last night I had a dream that I was helping investigate the whereabouts of a missing child. Mind you, I went to bed reading about soul retreival (inner child integration) and I had just watched a similar storyline from the newest season of the show ”The OA” (which is so good and a lil creepy!-on Netflix).
So for $100,000 I was going to fly overseas and track down this kid! I went to a fancy hotel where they were auctioning boys (What!??). I caught a lead and discretely followed him out. Once outside, in a haste to keep myself hidden, I dropped facedown, flat onto the asphalt.
As I remained super quiet and still, I noticed all different species of birds flying in around me. I realized they were coming in towards me-gracefully flying down and landing right in front of my face. Parrots, lovebirds, sparrows, hawks! (Again, I gotta mention my current waking life that is seeping into this dream. I am in the process of completing the design of a Transpersonal Life Course where I‘m currently teaching elemental healing via air element thru birds).
In the dream, I was trying to figure out why these birds were landing around me...was there a bird trainer luring them towards my body? No... and apparently no one outside seemed to notice. It was just me and these birds.
Suddenly I felt talons on my back...the lighteness of a bird, but heavy like a larger bird...a hawk! My mind went straight to anxiety...imagining what this bird might look like, the size and sharpness of its beak, it’s power and strength over me in this vulberable position. And the dream ends here...with the talons totally grabbing my attention.
Pause here... for an instant clue into how this dream is reflecting some light into my life, I’ve already displayed a message of wisdom through that last paragraph of the recall: ON MY BACK (carrying a load/pressure), LIGHT BUT HEAVY (gentle yet powerful), MY MIND WENT STRAIGHT TO ANXIETY (my impulsive response to burdonsome situations), IMAGINING ITS POWER AND STRENGTH OVER ME IN THIS VULNERABLE POSITION (giving my power away!).
So here’s another waking life example that influenced this dream and is why these dream descriptions resonate: I went to bed the night before completely at my wits-end with my 4 year old son who had a gnarly meltdown from over exhaustion.
I went to bed angry at the sweet boy. This boy who in my experience is this gentle soul with a huge amount of strength and power and who’s cry for help is beyond loud and demanding. Someone who‘s own anger will trigger my anxiety in how to hold space for him let alone myself!!
This dream can go in so many directions! Looking at my own feelings of powerlessness in my quest to retrieve parts of self that have been lost or stolen...parts of self that have lost or stolen aspects of my own son who also represents my vulnerability and fear. So here’s what I did to help me explore the deeper wisdom that I was left hanging to explore and perhaps these tips can help you in your own dream interpretation:
Tips for Dream Recall:
There is a pattern here...which is one of the modes of dream recall we can pay attention to for interpretation. The pattern is showing aspects of the dream story matching up to my waking life story. And somewhere along the line, I find myself being surrounded by the element of air...these birds who come to grab my attention and bring me a message.
As I wrote the story of the dream, the messages appeared in the descriptions. So in between the bizarre symbols (which I can later go in and find more meaning thru associations) I can see the descriptions that apply great meaning to my waking story. However, sometimes this is just scratching away at the surface. Like in this dream, where I still feel like there’s a deeper message from the bird on my back!
3. ACTIVE IMAGINATION
My attention is provoked by this hawk on my back...but I woke with this feeling that this bird had a message for me that wasn’t fully expressed. I still feel it’s talons on my back! So what can I do about it? I can make up a story that begins at the scene where I left off in the dream...and see what comes to me. The trick is to not think about it, just let it flow.
”I’m laying here and feel this bird on my back...his talens digging into my skin, not quite piercing thru but enough to feel the sharpness of its claws. It’s scary and I don’t want to move. Is it trying to keep me still? Is it trying to scare me or protect me? So I ask this hawk what does it want me to know? It circles around on my back and then settles down in the center as if sitting in a nest. My back is it’s nest. It feels warm and soothing like a supportive hand on my back (behind my heart center). There’s nothing to be afraid of...just a reminder to relax and be at ease.“
4. THE ‘AHA’ MOMENT (DEEPER MEANING)
Take a nap! Lol. Well maybe that, too. But really the aha moment came when I felt the bird nestle into my heart space/vulnerability. THIS message has less to do about a “story”, and more about the experience, AKA healing. The wisdom in the bird on my back is in my power to physically shift and release... the submission to this deeper feeling of support.
I could go on and on with this dream...dissecting the details about the lost boy, the hotel auction, the money I‘d get paid for finding the boy, etc. For now, I’m good with what I’ve come out with. And I hope that this example/recall sheds some useful tips in the exploration of your own dreamworld!
Questions/comments are welcomed!!
Sophia Brody, MA life coach and educator of Transpersonal Life approach has been an active dreamer her whole life through her training and personal applications. She offers Transpersonal strategies and techniques with 1-on-1 check ins to support clients dreams, awakening and self growth. Schedule a session or for more info visit