Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

mountain lion…encounter with the sacred…

Dream – I am standing on a hillside near our house.  A yearling mountain lion, still with his black markings, approaches me slowly.  I am afraid, my heart is pounding.  When he gets within about 8-10 feet of me, he stretches and then sits down. We stay there, looking at each other.

Among the many beings who inhabit our dreams are animals…and perhaps none more frightening or thrilling than an encounter with a wild animal, especially if it is close to us…or approaching us! 

In that moment, when working with that dream I wasn’t asked nor would I ask a dreamer, what is the symbol of a mountain lion? (I live in the mountains of Colorado and have had several encounters with mountain lions and I can say that in not one of those encounters did I ask myself, “what is the meaning of this mountain lion?”) 

I would invite the dreamer to feel what might be there for them in that moment…awe…a pounding heart…terror? That was what I was feeling in the above dream. Awe is a kind of terror…the valid fear in the presence of something great, something aligned with the archetypal…with soul…and we recognize it as such.

And I would invite the dreamer to feel how the mountain lion in their dream in a way is their mountain lion. It couldn’t be in their dream if this energy, potency and presence wasn’t already alive in them…still alive in them. I would invite them to feel this for themselves…how is this energy alive and expressed in their lives…or has the connection and memory been frayed?

How do we know when there is a separation from this feeling of potency that is carried in the image of the mountain lion? There will be dreams where our soul wants us to know how far away we’ve gotten from the numinous…how frayed is our connection to the divine. A dreamer may greet the mountain lion as kitty, want to make it a pet, put a leash on it…all ways that reflect what has happened to our relationship with our own potency. We learned that it wasn’t welcomed in the world and so we learned to tame it, domesticate it…put a leash on it.

Next time you have a dream with a wild animal, even if you wake up with a pounding heart, take some time and feel into what is there for you…uniquely and impeccably for you…do you know this part of yourself?

(I am including here link a short video by photographer Ben Babusis. It shows a mountain lion in the wild and it utterly captivated me. The lion, caught on a motion camera, isn’t hunting, isn’t doing what is often captured on film. This lion seems to be taking in, breathing in the beauty and sounds that surround him/her…this part of us that remembers to be in the present moment.)

Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at