In the years since writing the text for the Oracle of the Dreamtime many people have asked me about creatures that were not included. This guide, the first of its kind in Australia, is for those who encounter, dream about, or are drawn to these as indigenous symbols. The many familiar, and some not so familiar, entries contained within Native Symbols include stars and planets, rocks, plants, fish, insects, reptiles, birds and animals.
This book is offered as a stepping stone to devising your own personal meanings for the creatures you encounter. I encourage you to think about any encounter as having a special meaning that can be applied as a tool in your life, to facilitate deeper thinking and new ideas. By applying the message, for example, of meeting Kangaroo might bring about nurturing to a specific problem in your life may give you a new key approach to solving it.
Traditionally, Aboriginal people regarded their environment as a living oracle. If a bird or creature appeared in one’s dreams, behaved strangely or looked one directly in the eye, then there was a special message forthcoming. Finding a feather or unusual rock also brought a message from spirit. This world view is evident in indigenous cultures globally.
There are similarities in many belief systems that the Great Spirit/God/Creative Force speaks through synchronicity and omens in nature, behaviour of its creatures and natural phenomena. This relationship between nature and spirit is evident in the belief systems of the American Indians, Chinese Taoists, Buddhists, Japanese Animists, Pagans, African and Celtic lore, Christianity, paganism, and so on.
Nature and places in nature contain special energies (or metamorphic fields) which can relate or speak directly to the spiritual aspect of one’s being. Who hasn’t felt uplifted in certain places, or energised or drained at others? The language of beauty and symbolism in the land and its flora and fauna can be learnt by noticing what is in your life, or crosses your path; and what lies in your vision. What were you doing or thinking at the time of the encounter?
The creatures in this book may appear physically, through dreams or in any number of ways – in nature (clouds, trees, water reflections, topography, etc.), television, the media, advertising, design, art or through conversation or the name of a business, street, etc.
Ask yourself what you could learn from the animals and symbols you encounter in your life: how are they like you, and not like you? Are you drawn to them, repelled, frightened or indifferent; what is your initial response? How are these qualities reflected in your life? In you?Questions to ask
This aspect of Native Symbols offers a way of communicating with Spirit and the inner Self through the world of symbols around us. This communication involves taking cues from whatever you encounter and applying its message to what is happening for you. Being aware of these energies or patterns can allow you to work with them rather than having them run you on automatic pilot! They are also a useful tool for confirmation: if Butterfly or Rainbow Lorikeet appears after making an important decision, this is a good omen; if Bandicoot appears, you may need to be more assertive, and so on.
The natural world- GAIA ~ speaks in the language of archetypes, a symbolic language which resonates within the unconscious, beyond words. This language speaks to all people, regardless of skin or culture.
A function of Aboriginal corroboree or ceremony was to maintain the existence of different species of flora and fauna. This was done by recreating the species through re-enacting of their Dreaming origins which, in turn, encouraged their reproduction. In one way, this could be seen as sympathetic magic.
The Aboriginal people were co-creators in their environment as they were also one with the aspects or creatures they were being. When an Aboriginal person dances a creature, for example, performs the Emu dance, that person may become Emu and there is no separation between the two. Aboriginal people and the land were inextricably linked, inseparable. This concept is largely misunderstood by Western society, especially regarding the issue of native title or land’s rights.
Numerous people have experienced communication or communion with different creatures or species; many are familiar with tales about whale and dolphin encounters.
Findhorn, Scotland, a community based around communication with nature devas and Spirit, as well as the book “The Secret Life of Plants” have contributed to the mainstream awareness of our communication abilities with the plant and animal kingdom. Michael Roads brought attention to this in Australia, in his book “Communicating with Nature.” There has also been a resurfacing of interest in the role of animals through totemism and American Indian culture.
All around us, we can become more aware of our own personal traits, our own strengths, abilities and qualities as well our inter-connection in the web of life. The shadow side to this is your perceived weaknesses and fears may also be highlighted.
Australia contains an incredible diversity of animal life which has been shaped, to a large degree, by isolation. Each creature has adopted various solutions to living in the Australian environment, from snowy mountains to arid deserts. We can learn much from their characteristics and techniques of adaptation for they reflect our own in many ways. And this is the key to their being useful as symbols.
The text for each creature has an interpretation of what the symbol might mean in our day to day life. In most cases, this draws from the creature’s Dreaming messages that still retain information of value for the modern age. They can still teach and enlighten us even though they are bereft of parts of their meaning due to translation, mis-translation or understanding, and even the withholding of key elements because they are especially sacred and taboo to share with any anthropologist or gubba. The main lessons or insights are often confirmed by being evident in the behaviour, appearance and nature of the creature or power they are about.
Dreamings could include dance, rhythm, the sound of the Didgeridoo, clap sticks or chanting, body paint, painting with ochre or sand, as well as walking/dancing pathways made of mud or boughs, or standing stones. As a part of celebration or ritual, or an oft-said cautionary or inspiring ‘lesson’, the remnants of the Dreamings can reveal the relevance of certain natural events, plants, animals, landmarks or stars. The messages from the Dreamings, in the form they are presently available, are a framework for the interpretations of many of the creatures contained in this guide.
It is up to you what you make of it. You may resonate with some interpretations and reject others. Or you may have your own personal meanings and messages and Native Symbols gives confirmation or added insight. There are many ways to approach this book. This book is offered as a stepping stone or guide to viewing the world in a way which acknowledges our brothers and sisters in the natural kingdom, in a way not usually considered. And this approach has a wonderful side-effect – one’s connection in the web of life is enhanced and nature… your world… takes on a more meaningful presence!
So have some fun with this! Look at the list of creatures at the beginning of this book and choose a couple. Which ones have you encountered lately, and which one do you like the most? What would you want to be? Which one would you pick as the one you like least? Do any spark off memories or emotion? Look them up and see if their messages correspond with your life or personality in any way.
A suggestion for using this book, given by the late Pauline McLeod – is to pick out one to be your totem, or kobong. What symbols do you feel especially drawn to? And how can you nurture, apply and respect their energies within yourself?
 This term was popularised by Rupert Sheldrake. These fields have also been called ‘morphogenetic fields’ or ‘morphic resonance’ and refer to an energetic or etheric template which precedes physical manifestation. For example, a seed contains the blueprint or template of the fully-grown plant on an energetic level.
 “Voices of the First Day” by Robert Lawlor
 “The Golden Bough” by Sir James George Frazer, 1915
 Tompkins, Peter and Bird, Christopher. “The Secret Life of Plants.” Avon, New York, 1974.
 Gubba – white man, Migloo in Townsville !
 Act of natures, such as a storm, lightning strike, flood, etc.
 The Dreamings in this book have been researched over several years and most appear in various forms in the books included in the Bibliography.