Pelicans and Animal Dreams

Earlier this year I wrote about the Common Loon, an occasional visitor to Santa Cruz and the Central Coast. A much more abundant seabird in the area is the Brown Pelican. Visitors and locals alike marvel at the beauty of the colorful pelican as it glides along the coastal waters and bluffs.

Brown Pelican

The descriptors “white” and “brown” underestimate the color and beauty of pelicans.  White pelicans are brilliantly white, with dark black wing tips, orange-yellow bills, and with yellow around the eyes.  In their brightest breeding plumage, Brown pelicans, the smallest in the pelican family, have a golden-yellow head with bright eyes, a gray-brown and silver body, with an orange-reddish bill and pouch.

 

I have been observing pelicans almost my entire life. As a teenager and young adult I watched White pelicans on Glacial lakes and marshes common to the Northern Plains where I was born. Later, as an adult after moving to the West coast, I was equally drawn to observing and learning the habits of Brown pelicans. The ethology of pelicans is quite interesting. Both Brown and White pelicans are absolutely dependent on water for survival. Both feed primarily on fish, but have very different methods of catching their prey. White pelicans scoop the fish near the surface of the water. At times, they congregate and “herd” their prey together driving the fish to the surface making them easier to catch by eliminating a route of escape. On the other hand, Brown pelicans dive for fish from as high as sixty feet in the air in an acrobatic display that is a thrill to watch. They hover above the water for a brief moment and then plunge straight down into a “perfect” dive. Brown pelicans are almost never found far from the coast. Contrary to this, White pelicans travel for vast stretches over land on their migration from summer to winter feeding grounds.

During the winter, White pelicans can also be found occasionally in the Central coast area frequenting coastal marshland. Sometimes flocks of White pelicans fly so high in the sky that they appear only as “specks.” Watching this display with binoculars is mesmerizing. It seems as if they are simply enjoying the ability to glide in circular motions gracefully high up in the sky. Brown pelicans have their own unique flight patterns. They often fly in groups in line formation sometimes coming in wave after wave where the land meets the sea. Additionally, they can be found flying alone or in groups gliding very close to the surface of the water. At other times, Brown pelicans appear to be actually “surfing” a wave while riding the undulating rhythm of a breaking wave in a manner very similar to a human surfer on a surfboard. They can fly so close to the water that it looks like they may actually catch a wing tip and catapult straight into the water. Some of the physics and aerodynamics associated with this flight pattern is to reduce drag since a cushion of air is trapped beneath the wing.

Brown Pelicans “Surfing” a Wave

In addition to being extremely interesting and beautiful birds to study from an aesthetic and biological outlook, pelicans also serve as a very important symbolic image from a Jungian psychological perspective.  In that regard, I chose an image of the Brown pelican for the central image on my website homepage. This choice came about synchronistically. I had been thinking about building a website for several weeks and was not sure of the direction to take, or the imagery to use.  One day during this time and while walking alone down the beach, I was again thinking about ideas for a website.  I spontaneously looked up, and a lone Brown pelican seemed as if it was diving straight toward me as it flew closely by and just above me.  I think I may have even ducked.  Just then it was clear to me. I knew that I had my image for my website.  It would be a pelican. On my homepage, the pelican is “surfing” down a wave. Surfing a wave, by a person, or bird, is a powerful symbol for a way to live life, and can also represent the evolution inherent in an individual’s psychotherapy process.

“Dream” Pelicans

The pelican image can symbolize even more. In fact, pelicans have played a role in both Christian and alchemical symbolism representing sacrifice and resurrection (Caspari, 2003). In her wonderful book Animal Life in Nature, Myth and Dreams, Caspari describes comments made by Carl Jung concerning pelicans. She said about these comments, “Jung says that the pelican could illustrate the process of realization in which new insights emerge, die, go back into the unconscious and return again.”

When pelicans appear in dreams they can be powerful and meaningful images. Just by their behavior alone, they represent an animal that absolutely needs the water to survive. The unconscious is often symbolized in dreams by water or the ocean. Individuals, like the pelican, also need an intimate relationship to water (the unconscious) in order to live a balanced and whole life.

It is important to regard the animals, including birds, in your life and dreams as living images. They are “alive” with a psychic energy that may be necessary for your own psychological development. James Hillman (1997) said in his book,  Dream Animals:

Animals wake up the imagination. You see a deer by the side of the road, or geese flying in formation, and you become hyperalert. I’ve found that animal dreams can do this too. They really wake people up. Animal dreams provoke their feelings, get them thinking, interested and curious. As we get more into imagining, we become more animal-like. Not bestial, but more instinctually alive, and with more savvy, a keener nose and a sharper ear… (p. 2).

Whether you live by the Central coast in California or if you are fortunate to live in another part of the country where pelicans frequent, take some time to watch and study this great bird. Pelicans have captivated us for thousands of years and hopefully will continue to do so for thousands more. Be open to allowing the animals in your life, as Hillman says, to “wake up the imagination.”

Caspari, E. (2003). Animal Life in Nature, Myth and Dreams. Wilmette, Illinois: Chiron Publications.

Hillman, J. & McLean, M. (1997). Dream Animals. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

© 2011 – 2012, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.

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39 Responses to Pelicans and Animal Dreams

  1. Dan says:

    In my dream last night, a pelican flew down and sat at the foot of my bed and tried to cover my feet with the blanket. In reality, my feet were already covered. The pelican tried to be careful so as not to wake my dog, who sleeps in my bed, at my feet, on top of my covers.

    In my dream, I moved my feet, not knowing what the pelican was doing and as so that I don’t scare it, but it flew away.

    This is the first time in a very long time that I’ve had such a vivid and weird dream.

    I am a piscean and live in the Rocky Mountains, nowhere near the ocean or water as such.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog post on Pelicans and Animal Dreams. And thanks for relating your very interesting dream. In general, it is difficult to interpret a dream without knowing details about what is going on in an individual’s life.

    What I can say, however, is that it could be beneficial and interesting for you to work with the pelican image by writing about it, drawing/painting it, etc. These types of artistic expressions sometimes bring up feelings or other ideas about why the pelican may be visiting you in your dream, and what message that this dream animal/image may have for you. It does seem like an important dream for you since as you said, it is the first time in a long while that you have had such a vivid dream.

    Thanks again for the comment Dan, and enjoy the fall season in the Rockies!

    Jeff Howlin

  3. Trevor says:

    Last night I had a dream I was leading a pelican through some dark hallways and I opened some doors for it when it tapped in the handles with its beak, and then we parted at the last door. In earlier segments of my dream I saw my dad for the first time in a long time. We walked through our old house together (he passed away 8 years ago) and I got to hug him. I also saw me, briefly, in the same appartional state as my dad. I didn’t speak to me but I made contact with me- falling into my apparition to give my dad a hug. Is there anything more a pelican symbolizes? I don’t usually read into dreams but this has drew my attention enough to try to find out more from those who are usually more in touch with theirs. My dad was the biggest heart of anyone anyone who has ever walked on earth and he would have done absolutely anything for my twin sister and me. We lost him to his last heart surgery ( he had them relatively often since the age 13). I was born 26 March 1993. I’m a firefighter and military, currently in Japan. I don’t know how much background people usually give you but any insight is appreciated. I’m just trying to find a way to make sense of things while I can’t sleep.

    Thanks for your blog,

    Trevor

  4. Trevor says:

    I apologize for the typos ^
    I admire the pelican. And I’ve even thought of it as a possible tattoo idea though I’ve never gotten one before. I know there are many more things I could get ink of and choose not to, but something about that bird feels right I suppose… Ha

  5. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful dream. Since as you said that you don’t usually read into dreams, but this one has drawn your attention, I’d say that it is worth attending to. As I’ve mentioned before to other readers, it can be difficult to interpret dreams more fully without knowing details about the dreamer’s life, personality, etc., but having said that, I’d like to offer a more general idea about your dream.

    The pelican in your dream seems to be serving as a symbol of the Self, providing direction. There is a sense of urgency here also, since the pelican is tapping in the door handles with its beak. Here is the real important message. The dream appears to be suggesting that you need “heart,” a quality that your father had, to find the proper doorway that can bring you into the next phase of your life.

    You might want to consider trying a visualization exercise with these dream images. Visualize walking down the hallway and through the door to the other side. What do you see? What does the door look like, etc.

    I think this is an important dream for you Trevor, and I’m glad that you chose to share it here. I hope you find these suggestions helpful, and I wish you the best with your work on this dream. Thanks again for visiting my blog Trevor.

    Dr. Howlin

  6. Jody Radtke says:

    Wow- such a timely conversation. This summer I was surfing in Santa Cruz with my friend Mike (I, too, too live in the Rockies). It was pre-dawn as we were waiting for the next set to arrive when a pelican flew over & landed nearby. It was very dark, and we could only make out a rough shape on the water at first but after a while the bird appeared closer. As it was a particularly flat morning, we continued to sit on our boards & look out to sea, hoping for waves to arrive. The next time I looked, the pelican was easy to distinguish, and it felt a bit unnerving that the bird seemed to be actually approaching. I laughed nervously & commented that the pelican was stalking us, then returned my gaze once again to the darkness of the ocean. In a while, my friend said “Jody, turn around!” And right behind me was the pelican- less than 5 feet away & gaining. I panicked, & paddled away as fast as I could at which time the pelican gave full chase. Mike yelled at me to turn around & face it, & then to pop up my board at the pelican-now flapping it’s wings & also “Standing” up in the water. The bird didn’t leave until Mike charged toward it on his board.
    So my question since July- was this some strange territorial display? Did I really look like breakfast? (I am a quite petit woman), or is there something there for me to learn about my own pelican nature?
    Thanks for your time & this interesting blog thread :-)

  7. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Jody,

    I enjoyed reading your story about the Pelican very much. I’m also a surfer, and over the years and many hours on the water, I’ve never had a pelican behave that way toward me, or anyone that I’ve surfed with. Though I’m not an expert on pelican behavior, from a symbolic, psychological perspective, I’d certainly recommend examining this interaction more fully.

    Looking at this memorable encounter with nature as if it were a dream, a “waking dream,” might be helpful. Since the pelican was literally chasing you, it would seem even more important to try to understand what this may be about. I’d recommend reflecting on the image of the pelican, dialoguing with the image in your mind, and seeing if anything comes up related to any message that the pelican may have for you. Workin with images in such a way is termed “active imagination” in the language of Jungian psychology.

    Take care Jody, and enjoy the mountains and waves.

    Jeff

  8. Denise says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I had a dream about a red pelican first taking my cat Schimmo and then next my cat Peepers in its bill. I had left my 2 cats with my ex husband back in 1992 and found out in 1998 he had to give them up and did not tell me about it. I had called him about 2 weeks after this all went down and that is how I found out. I was very upset asking why he didn’t call me cause I would have taken them. He told me he talked to my Mother and my Mother told him I already had 3 cats. Well instead of calling me (on good terms) he takes my Mothers word for it that I would not take them. I have been so distraught about this for many years. And then I had this dream that a red pelican scooped up my first cat and then my second cat. What do you think is telling me? Thanks for your help!

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Denise,

      It is often difficult to discuss a dream if I don’t know details and specifics about the dreamer and his or her current life situation. In your case, however, you’ve provided details about your associations to this dream related to a very emotional experience for you. So, I feel that I can make a comment about your dream. Looking at this dream from a Jungian perspective, the pelican could be seen as a figure of your deeper Self, and red is a color often symbolizing passion and deep feelings. I think that your dream is suggesting that something precious to you (your cats) now have the potential to be kept safe, when they are “in the hands of the Self” so to speak. This idea is symbolized by the cats being scooped up by the pelican.

      In other words, your dream seems to be suggesting that your most precious and deep feelings were not always so safe with your ex-husband and this is specifically illustrated by your experience of your ex-husband giving your cats away without speaking to you about it. This beautiful dream could be seen as a comforting dream showing that you have a deeper part of yourself (the pelican as a Self symbol) that is a safe “anchor” for you and your passions as you move forward in your life.

      It appears that the pelican is a very significant bird and symbol for you, and it may be an image that you want to reflect upon more. I wish you the best Denise.

      Dr. Howlin

      • Denise says:

        Hi Dr. Howlin,
        Thank you for such a quick response and I knew I should have given you a bit more details but I was at work when I wrote it. So I am going to give you a bit more details and not sure if it will change your response but here goes. Back in 1992 I left my ex with my 2 cats because I felt he needed them for comfort. I was right later on because he thanked me for it. He loved them just as I did. I lost contact with my cats cause I was too wrapped up in myself and left him for someone else trying to be with the right person. When he gave them up (in 1998) because of health reasons (pets for the elderly) they were 10 and 11 years old then (the ex has recently passed away). Today they would be 25 and 26. I know animals can live till this age but I am sure they can’t be alive, although possible. I have been wondering all these years if they were safe and if they were passed away by now. I lived in Florida for 37 years (where it occurred ) and met my partner in 2005 and recently moved to Colorado with my partner in 2007. Being here 5 years I have had a lot to deal with. Not being near my family and not having the best relationship. About 2 years ago I had the dream. I was looking from behind the scenes so to say in the dream. I saw a red pelican fly down and scoop up my eldest cat and fly away. Then it came back a few seconds later and scooped up my second cat. That was it and I woke up immediately after. My thoughts on the dream were that they passed away in succession. I was curious about why the pelican was red. It made me think they died in a fire and some horrible death. Was this dream trying to help me come to terms with my guilt feelings of not being there for them when they needed me? Was it telling me that the rest of their lives were safe and happy? Was this dream about something else in my life ? I loved your response and thank you, but maybe with these more details there is something different you would tell me about this dream? Thank you so much!

        • Dr. Howlin says:

          Hi Denise,

          Even with this additional information, the dream of the pelican as a Self symbol and the discussion remains essentially the same. Thank you again for sharing and stopping by my blog.

          Dr. Howlin

  9. Desa says:

    Hello Jeff,

    The dream I had was about my bestfriend from middle school and early highschool. I don’t talk to her often at all anymore. We have made our peace over 2 years ago and acknowledged to one another how our, once, deep connection would never cease. We have greatly grown apart and she will be marrying her mate of 5 years next November. What’s interesting is I joined these two together and aided their joining of lives over 5 years ago. In this dream she had taken photography as a serious art form. She showed me a collection of wroks she had done and one stood out to me the greatest. The photo was of her and her mate standing naked encircled by pelicans. The picture was taken in a monochrome setting. It was so astonishingly beautiful to me, that I began to cry with happiness over its winsomeness. I was deeply touched by its very essence. Please, decipher this dream.

    Greatly appreciated,
    Desa Hello Jeff,

    The dream I had was about my bestfriend from middle school and early highschool. I don’t talk to her often at all anymore. We have made our peace over 2 years ago and acknowledged to one another how our, once, deep connection would never cease. We have greatly grown apart and she will be marrying her mate of 5 years next November. What’s interesting is I joined these two together and aided their joining of lives over 5 years ago. In this dream she had taken photography as a serious art form. She showed me a collection of wroks she had done and one stood out to me the greatest. The photo was of her and her mate standing naked encircled by pelicans. The picture was taken in a monochrome setting. It was so astonishingly beautiful to me, that I began to cry with happiness over its winsomeness. I was deeply touched by this artistic entity that was created by my once best friend. Please, interpreate this for me.

    Thank you.

  10. Desa says:

    I’m using a mobile device, haha. I’m sorry that it screwed up like above. I hope you’ll be able to understand it.

  11. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Desa,

    This dream appears to have several themes/layers of meaning, but there are a couple of themes that stand out, and which I feel that I can make some general comments about. First of all, there is the image of the couple that you know well who are getting married standing naked together. This brings up the idea of the “inner” marriage with the inner masculine part of your personality, the Jungian animus.

    Perhaps the most striking image in the dream is the nude couple being encircled by the pelicans. This would seem to symbolize the idea that the ego has been shed and is in service to the higher Self, as represented by the encircled pelicans.

    Desa, I believe that this is an important dream for you since it seemed to touch you quite deeply. I suggest working with the images further through writing, painting, or even reading. There are many Jungian psychology books that talk about the Self, and the anima/animus, but a good starting point might be Jungian Robert A. Johnson’s series of books, “We….”, “She…”, and “He…” Thank you for sharing this beautiful dream.

    Dr. Howlin

  12. roxi says:

    Hello Dr. Howlin,
    I had a dream a couple nights ago with a pelican. It was very vivid, before he came, I was left alone by my boyfriend on a street. I was crying and then the pelican flew down next to me. He asked what was wrong and I told him I’m lonely. The pelican was dark colored and extremely big in size. The pelican soothed me in a way and he became my best friend instantly like time didnt matter. He gave me relief too. So then I wanted to take a picture of us together so I remember him but he didn’t show up on the camera, instead a dog did. I took a picture and the pelican still was a dog. I looked up and the pelican was still there. I felt confused. The pelican said he had to go, so he flew up and I watched him leave. I have been trying to understand the meaning of it. I am 20 years old and started dating this guy for a month. He is very good to me and is helping me with self problems. I’ve been struggling with accepting myself and changing. I made a lot of mistakes i regret and was depressed for a long time. I hope my background info helps. I wonder what your advice is. Thank you!

    Roxi

  13. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Roxi,

    Thank you for writing about your pelican dream. It is a beautiful dream, which I find is usually the case when pelicans appear in dreams. I can’t really give specific advice in this format, but I can say that I believe the pelican in the dream is representing an inner part of you that can be there for you (like the dream said, “as a best friend”) , to comfort you, and help to be a guide for you (one of the reasons I think, that the pelican became a dog when you tried to take a picture of it).

    I always appreciate comments, and I’m glad that you shared. I wish you the best Roxi.

    Dr. Howlin

  14. Belle says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this detailed information about pelicans in dreams. I am a vivid dreamer in general, and nature symbols often come to me in ways that are clearly intentional, symbolic–though not always clear to me what they actually mean. Last night I dreamt that I was in a sort of restaurant with many rooms, and it was situated on the water–if I just opened the back door, there was a small deck which was practically submerged. Soon after I was near a cluster of picnic tables on a beach, and I saw what must have been hundreds of entirely white pelicans (except for long yellow beaks). They were all flying down out of the sky towards me, and they all landed facing me, and I thought to myself, “Oh, my gosh, I have to get a camara! This is amazing!” As I was trying to make my way between the picnic tables and the birds, I almost stepped on one, and/or its beak kind of poked my foot–and I was both not wanting to be hurt by it and not wanting to hurt it. There was the mildest bit of anxiety about whether I might get poked by all those beaks. But anyway, it was quite impressive to see sooooo many of these dazzling birds at once, flying down out of the sky, right to where I was. A few nights before this, I dreamt that I walked close to a tree and a small black bat flew out and bit me on the right shoulder. A few nights before that, I was yearning for a hummingbird to visit me, because I consider this bird–both in its real and symbolic form–to bring visiting spirits; anyway, my father in law passed away not long ago, and I was hoping for a “visit” from hummingbird to know he was well and indeed, a yellow hummingbird covered in black speckles showed up, sought me out, and landed on my right shoulder (in a dream). Any thoughts on all of this?

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Belle,

      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. You have presented much imagery that I couldn’t do justice to with a written response and without speaking to you about the specific events of your life, etc. If you are interested in a more in-depth exploration of these dreams and imagery, I suggest a consultation with a dream specialist and/or therapist with a Jungian orientation. If you happen to be a resident of California, feel free to give me a call to discuss options. Thanks again Belle.

      Dr. Howlin

  15. Timothy Jones says:

    Had a dream that I was in a field and was confronted by a baboon and a pelican, I killed the pelican and used its beak to kill the baboon with a blow to the head. I am aware that this is weird but would just like to know what it means.

  16. Lina says:

    Hi there,
    Last night I had a dream that I tattooed an image of a pelican on my arm.
    I’m not sure what it represents?
    Thank you,
    Lina

  17. Dr. Howlin says:

    Hi Lina,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s not really possible for me to do justice to working with a dream in this online format and without knowing the person behind the email and his or her current life circumstances.

    It is a lovely pelican dream image however and usually when pelicans show up in our dreams it is as a “positive” dream image. I recommend the book “Animal Dreams” by James Hillman as a good book to read concerning animals and dreams. I’ve mentioned this book before in this email chain as a good starting point.

    Thanks again Lina.

    Dr. Howlin

  18. Zophie says:

    I had a dream two pelicans flew into my motel room. One was quite aggressive, making loud noises, flapping and attacking, pooping all over an interior glass screen inside the room. The other remained fairly grounded and quiet, like an observer or guardian. Thats about all I remember except I went to tell the motel owners they would need to clean the room.
    Thanks for any insight
    Zophie

  19. Ariel says:

    My grandfather passed away about the years ago…And on the day that we released his ashes into the water at the beach I seen a pelican. He didn’t move he didn’t fly away when kids tried to scare it…he just watched as my grandmother and all his sons took turns going down into the water…it amazed me and couldn’t believe how big it was I watched it for about an hour and until we had packed up our stuff to head home did it not fly away till my grandmother was in the car…I believe with all my heart it was my grandfather and when I looked up meanings of pelicans it completely symbolized my grandfather…his bday is tom. And I can’t still thinking of him…miss him alot he was a strong part of our family

  20. Fabrice says:

    My uncle has liver cancer and is going through a new treatment that basically shoots localized radiation into the tumored liver. It’s a procedure that is promising, though the tumors keep appearing. There’s always hope but…my uncle feels that it doesn’t look good.
    He mentioned he’s been having very strange dreams. One dream, he was standing in an tilled field all alone, when a pod of pelicans descended, landing next to him where he stood.
    I’m wondering what your take or takes of this dream could be. I have my own theory about it, but I found the dream fascinating and would like to hear someone else’s take on it. Anyway, thanks!
    F

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hello,

      I am glad that you stopped by my website. Thank you also for sharing the beautiful dream. It is not at all uncommon for people to have particularly vivid and “strange” dreams, like you said, when they are going through something like your uncle. I think that it is wonderful that you have an interest in his dreams and it sounds like you have maybe even talked about this with him. Just this practice alone is honoring the dream, and perhaps even healing for your uncle at a certain level. As I have mentioned before in this comment thread, I am not able to say much about a dream’s possible meaning without knowing the person and the detailed circumstances of their life and attitude. In the case of this dream, I can make a general comment. It is a beautiful dream and the tilled field may imply that something is ready to be “planted.” I would recommend that you speak with your uncle about the pelicans and his associations to them and maybe even encourage him to sketch/paint them or work with the images in a similar fashion. I am glad that your uncle is sharing his dreams with you…and that you are listening. That is a good thing.

      Dr. Howlin

  21. Thanos Perez says:

    Saw a big cloud in the sky with pelicans roosting in and on it with beautiful rays of sun light going through. Then they began diving into the water and back up several started to attack the boats even 4 or 5 pick up a rather large boat and flipped it upside down the captain few off which had me laughing feeling myself looking for my phone. Saw a close up of the man getting out the water looked mad but I didnt recognize him. They were attacking different boats then the cloud drew a intense black and pelicans all flew into swarming like bees in a cartoon as I wanted to start controlling my dream my stomach got upset so I woke up.

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hello Thanos,

      Thank you for sharing this interesting dream. Most of the time, I am not able to comment on a dream without knowing more details about the dreamer’s unique life circumstances. And this holds true in this case. The one thing that I can comment on from the dream is to note that your stomach gets upset when you want to control your dream. In my experience from working with many people on their dreams is that trying to control dreams (and life) is not so helpful and not usually of service to the deeper self. It you are more interested in working with this or any other dreams, I suggest reaching out to a Jungian therapist or other therapist that specializes in working with dreams. Thank again for stopping by my blog.

      Dr. Howlin

  22. Kathleen Miles says:

    I found your website looking for pelican symbolism. Last night I dreamed that after a girl cleaned my apartment, I saw that there were 3 baby animals there: a kitten, a baby pelican and I can’t remember what the third one was. The pelican stood out as being an unusual animal to see in my apartment.

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you for stopping by my website. I would encourage you to read about, write about, or draw/paint, etc., the pelican to see what else emerges. Although I can’t go into details about the dream, I would say that it is a positive one.

      Dr. Howlin

      • Kathleen says:

        Hi Dr. Howlin,

        I appreciate your suggestions, and following them, reading about the pelican in a number of sources, including one of the books you mentioned Caspari, Animal Life in Nature, Myth and Dreams. Also drawing and painting the image, one is an 11″X14″ drawing in ink with color markers of the pelican in my dream. I think, and hope it is a positive dream too.

        Thanks!

        Kathleen

  23. Kent Carrico says:

    Greetings,
    I had a very vivid dream last night. I was in a storefront in an urban area, there were many people around me although none were clearly articulated. I walked to the door of the shop, which was a full length glass door a peered out to the sidewalk. There I was met by a large pelican facing me with its wings horizontally spread out not flapping but almost hovering. The pelican transformed from the real image to one of almost of a plush toy. I opened the door a bit to where I could look through the glass door from the outside. Through the glass I saw two large fish as if waiting to be prepared for someone’s supper. In an instant the pelican was transformed into a smaller version and was picking at something on the sidewalk. When I looked again it had died. I felt heartsick and saddened. Why didn’t I give it those fish…even though I didn’t believe they were mine. I then looked on the sidewalk and found a document like an official government/scientific source that had a name and phone number…as if the pelican had been tagged. I called the number and received an answering machine voice from a woman that I thought may be a scientist who had tagged this bird. The voice on the answering machine was disjointed and sounded crazy. I then thought I must perserve the pelican’s body for the scientist to examine later and as I exited the store a group of people surrounded the pelican body. One tall fairly formal looking man said, “I want that dead pelican.” I said no it must be preserved for the scientist to examine! At that point the man grabbed me and we started wrestling each other. I thought to myself, I can take this guy but the physical exertion woke me up. I believe I might have had a plastic zip bag to put the body in…I felt guilty that I didn’t draw the correlation between the pelican and the fish…I was very sad. This was so vivid and a pelican coming to me in Chicago it seemed remarkable. I’ve been through a divorce and both my parents dying the past three years and feel a bit burnt out with my job although I enjoy it. A pelican animal guide no less. Well thank you for reading my story. Peace, Kent

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Kent,

      Thanks so much for sharing your dream on my blog. Yes, I agree that the pelican in the dream can serve as a guide. It is a beautiful dream and it shows the archetypal nature of the pelican…coming to you even in Chicago, as you put it. I’m sorry to hear about your loss this past year. I believe that it especially important now for you to be sure to “feed” the pelican.

      Best,

      Dr. Howlin

  24. ana says:

    Hi i would like to understand the meaning of this dream
    pelicans were flapping their wings over me and my husband and others were eating on a child that in the dream was mine but not in real life and that child desapeared

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your dream. It is difficult to interpret most dreams without knowing details of the dreamer’s life. I would suggest consulting with a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist if you are interested in deeper work with this dream or other dreams.

      Kind regards,

      Dr. Howlin

  25. Helen says:

    I’m not expecting an interpretation but as a child I had a recurrent dream . The sky would go dark and I pelican swooped down and picked me up in its bill and took me back to it lair. It cut me into little pieces and made me stay alive so I would feel all the pain. Nasty.
    I think it represented my psychological state in some sense, but find it very curious that it involved the pelican asI would have known nothing of its symbolism then

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for sharing your dream. Recurrent dreams can be particularly meaningful and perhaps even more so in this case when the pelican image came to you as a child.

      Best,
      Dr. Howlin

  26. Moe says:

    Greetings
    i had a dream last night about Pelicans,and would like to understand the meaning of this dream!!
    i was with my friend in a forest and i saw 4-5 Pelicans flying, and it was so near i could see the details so clearly,my friend had a gun and he fired two bullets on a pelican, and the pelican dropped,we ran towards it and it was standing next to a little boy and his mother!
    Note : ” i didn’t see any blood.”
    suddenly went through another dream,was still in a forest but this time with a lion cub and i woke up after that.
    ” That’s it”

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hello,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing your interesting dream. In an effort to as you say, “understand the meaning of this dream” it would be best to be working with a Jungian-oriented therapist. In that way, the therapist would be able to get to know more about you and your life circumstances before moving into an interpretation of this dream or other dreams. That is usually the best way to work with dreams. In other words, as a general rule, it is vital to understand a person’s life before dream interpretation.

      Best,

      Dr. Howlin

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