Animal Symbolism Series—Great Blue Heron

gbhWhat does it mean when a great blue heron (GBH) shows up in your life?  Well that all depends on how it shows up and when. For a period of time it was appearing in my dreams and waking life in strange ways. And whenever I see it flying overhead these days, I thank it for reminding me to stay on my unique Path.

Whenever an animal makes itself known in my dreams, conversation, TV, articles, real life, thoughts or daydreaming, especially if I see it several times, I know that it is trying to get a message to me.

Each animal has its own unique talents and abilities that help it to survive in the world. We humans can learn a lot from them by observing how they live, adapt and thrive, and then apply the same abilities to our own lives.

The appearance of GBH indicates that it is time to assert our own authority and to follow our own unique path in life. We need to listen to the inner calling of our hearts and not the ideas of others. There may also be a great opportunity coming our way and to grab it quickly when it comes. The GBH is also a symbol for a jack-of-all-trades.

GBH began showing up in my life when I was at a crossroads in my career. I was working full time as a Graphic Designer and I wanted to be a writer and illustrator of children’s books. But I was afraid to pursue my dream of becoming a published author/illustrator because I didn’t want to leave the security of the graphic design field. I also had little faith in myself, and the world at large to support me in such a risky endeavor. What if I failed? But at the same time, I felt trapped in the nine to five hamster wheel of life at a regular job. It was a tug-of-war between freedom and security.

Enter GBH.

I first encountered this tall grey-blue bird in a dream, which I will recount here.

I am sleeping in my bed. Something is pulling at my covers and trying to take them off. I keep putting them back on, not willing to open my eyes. Then I hear something squawk loudly. I wake up and there is a GBH on my bed looking at me. It then flies through the opposite wall, which is missing, and lands in a large Blue Spruce tree with about 25 other GBH’s that are roosting there.

I woke up, and tried to commit the dream to memory as I headed downstairs to the kitchen to make myself a hot cup of tea. While I was at the sink, putting water into the kettle, I noticed a large shadow gliding across the yard. And when I looked up, I saw a GBH flying above.

Needless to say, I was surprised, even though I was used to having many synchronistic occurrences in my life by now. I hurried to my reference books on animal symbolism and looked up the meaning of GBH.

But this bird wasn’t finished with me yet.

A week later, my teenage son and I walked through the woods near the stream that feeds the lake on the edge of our hometown. We stopped to sit on a small stone bridge and was delighted to see a GBH that was hunting for fish downstream, about 30 yards from us.

For no reason that seemed obvious, the GBH flew towards us and landed to our left, not five feet from where we were sitting. It turned to face us and then started talking in GBH-speak—squawking, lifting its wings, tilting its head, and generally having a pleasant conversation with two open-mouthed and dumbfounded humans.

This lasted for about a minute. Then it became silent, content with just staring at us for the next minute or two. Seemingly satisfied with our meeting, it flew back to the same spot and continued hunting for more fish.

My son and I looked at the bird and then at each other wide-eyed, not sure what to make of this unusual encounter. It’s not like birds talk to us everyday, especially a GBH. They shy away from humans.

Although I don’t know what GBH said, per se, I understood the message that day. STAY ON YOUR UNIQUE PATH and pursue your dream. No, I’m not a published author yet, and I still work as a Graphic Designer, but I decided from that day forward to put my focus on my dream. And that’s where it has been ever since.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

34 Comments

  1. Shelly!

    What a wonderful story. I have a copy of the animal cards and a book, very lost in my book piles. It allowed the reader to draw from the cards only once and to choose his or her own animals to sit to the left and right. I think the total is nine animals. I wish I could find it.

    To my left and right, my companions are a turtle and a mouse.

    I am really pleased to see your post about the GBH.

    Maybe you know the title of my miss placed book?

    Bright Blessings!
    Sally

    • Hi Sally,
      Thank you! I know what book and cards you are referring to, and I have them myself. They are called the Animal Medicine Cards, by Jami Sams. I have two other books from the author as well. She’s a great teacher and has been very instrumental in helping me along my Path. Good luck in finding your book!

      Namaste,
      Shelley

  2. This was awesome! Good job!

    Robin

  3. Shelley, that is truely a wonderful story. I too am at a crossroads in my life, trying to decide whether to leave my career as a lawyer to pursue my dreams of opening a spiritual healing centre, in the past 4 weeks I have seen 3 pairs of Herons flying over my car (the most recent almost hitting my windscreen!). I feel that this is a great gift from spirit to let me know I am on the right path.

    Good luck with yours,

    Namaste, Kelly x

    • Hi Kelly. Thank you for your response, and I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I’d have to say that GBH is really trying to get your attention! LOL. These kinds of decisions are not always easy to make and I applaud you on following your dream and heart, which to me is the truest path towards happiness.

      Great Good Luck to you
      Namaste,
      Shelley

      p.s. In 1996 I visited England and Scotland. I adore your country and have relatives who live in Markinch, Scotland :-)

  4. Hi Shelly,
    I came across this site and read your story on about your experience with the GBH (quite amazing story and I thank you for sharing it with us!)

    How this came about, I was doing some research, I too have been seeing the GBH myself 3 times within 2 months, and the weirdest thing is that I keep seeing it in the same location and the timing is always the same. Then just the other night I had a vivid dream of one flying over my head and watched it landing into a tree, as it did that it was watching me, taking my attention away from everyone and everything in my dream. I woke up with determination to find the meaning of this!

    What’s the significance of blue herons? They guide us onto the right path with self-determination and self-reliance right? At this moment, I have been unsure if I was pursuing my career as a nurse was the best thing for me for at all..and the funny thing is, I will see this very same heron on my way home from school and thought how odd it was to see one in a suburban town hanging around a nearby stream. Now how obvious can this sign be? LOL So with what little information I have found through researching, I have gain back self confidence knowing the choice I have made was the right decision with a little help from my friend..the great blue heron! :]

    • Hi Jenna,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my story about GBH. It sounds like GBH has been very active in your life and congrats on your career decision. It’s very easy to doubt what we feel in our hearts is the right path for us, because it may not be practical in the eyes of the world, or we fear making the wrong decision. GBH is doing something that is unique and not mainstream, or using determination and self reliance to achieve a goal. In essence it is following your hearts desire or dream, and working towards that dream steadily and also waiting for opportunities to arrive. And when they do, you strike at them like a GBH strikes at a passing fish. Do not hesitate.

      Good luck!

  5. Wow… this is so amazing! :O I saw a GBH today as we drove on the bridge over the river… it was just standing on a rock looking out towards the mouth of the river…. I wonder why? Anyway, this was really really interesting…..! I think I have to subscribe to your blog now. ^_^

    LCD

  6. I found you since I have been getting some messages from nature in the last two months or so after doing some introspective work. I also have a fish pond in my back yard that I have brown trout, crayfish, 2nd generation dragonflies, various water bugs…. AND a big Blue Heron that comes by. Last year I kept shooing it away.. then now, I got used to seeing him walking the perimeter of the pond and waiting.. he has been successful in eating the fish and maiming some. TODAY, I look out and he was IN the water, climbed out, shook himself off.. and walked around some more. This is the first time I had ever seen him IN the water. I will sit with all this new information that you were so kind to share… while I still am in awe as to the nature of his coming by and why I am more intrigued in allowing him to eat my fish as a part of the process of life.. hmmmm may it all be good news

    • It sounds like your GBH has found himself a nice place to eat some tasty fish! LOL. And his presence in your back yard is a sure sign that its time to hear his message. BTW, if you meditate at all, you can contact the spirit of that GBH and see what he has to say. You can also tell him to NOT eat all of your fish ;-) Try it, if you feel so inclined, then let me know what happens.

  7. Just last week I have been blessed by the reception of a Great Blue Heron. My wife and I (just recently married) have been fighting a very nasty custody battle for her daughter (who at the time had been living with us until the Father got DCFS involved just before our wedding). Things kept getting nastier and more expensive in courts and we were losing hope and faith. As a surprise to me, my most beloved went a head and decide that we could get a canoe (something I have been desiring for quite some time). After another turn of bad circumstance with the custody case we canceled our plans for Labor Day weekend, picked up a canoe and spent the weekend on the Mackinaw River (here in IL).

    It was intended to be a nice weekend get away were we could forget our worries and spend time together as a couple. Not long after we set out we kicked up a Great Blue Heron. I didn’t think much of this at first but I quickly noticed that he never flew out of our sight. As we floated down steam the Heron would fly ahead of us, land and wait till we got close and then take off again.

    Only after a couple times of this habit being repeated did I realize that this was something special, a gift for me and my wife. My wife picked up on my sudden joy and happiness and asked what was the cause of it. I explained to her what the heron was doing (which she had noticed) and that I took it as a sign that someone new the path that lay ahead of us and even though there would be more rough spots (like that day’s canoe trip) we would arrive at our destination safely. The Heron stayed ahead of us the entire time we were in the canoe until we made camp that dusk (roughly 8 hours after we first saw it).

    • GBH is a wonderful omen for you and your wife. May the new path that is before you blossom like the rose and bring both of you many blessings :-)

  8. I had a dream that someone I am very fond of brought me a blue stone letter opener in the shape of a heron, I saw one a few weeks later at a pond and I have seen a few since.

    I love this bird. Hope all works out for you.

    • That’s a very interesting dream. When things like this happened to me (seeing a dream image manifest in my waking life), I began to wonder which part of me was the dream and which was awake. LOL. This is a sign that major soul growth is taking place within you. When we begin to recognize and acknowledge this part of our consciousness more good things are sure to follow.

      Blessings to you :-)

  9. What a lovely post! I am so delighted you decided to share it.

    • Thank you!

  10. Keren, sounds like you live in a beautiful place. Yes, I’d say that GBH is a good sign for you. Best of Luck to you!

  11. Yes, I do believe that GBH was delivering a message to you, and since you were writing a resume, I’d have to say that GBH would be related to all of your career endeavors. I’ve found GBH to be a symbol for doing something different, not mainstream, and to follow ones heart & soul longings. It doesn’t mean to quit our day jobs, but to harness our energy towards achieving a dream, no matter how long it takes. And this is exactly what I am doing. GBH can mean different things for different people. The trick with symbolism is knowing how to interpret the symbol. I just taught my first class (Signs, Symbols & Sychronicities) on this subject recently, and have plans to teach it in other locations. I hope this answers your question.

  12. A few days ago on FB, some of us were talking about birds I mentioned that a Great Blue Heron had come to my pond several yrs ago. Well, I was watching TV Sat afternoon and he or one of them anyway dropped down next to the pond. I could see his yellow-ringed eye and I cannot even see well. I called and called to my kid to look outside, but she didn’t. I finally went to the door (the shouting had not phased the bird) and he foomped up into the tree.

    Later I was listening to CDs in my room and my daughter came in–she had been to the store, not even home. “Mom!” she screamed–”There is a HUGE bird out there, huge!!!” She went on and on. I told her I had called her, etc. She said it scared her–his yellow legs hung down like a yellow jackets–she hates those…She was shuddering…

    Not over yet.

    About two hrs later…I was listening to Dean Koontz’s book BREATHLESS and it’s a weird tale of the apocalypse–sort of–you know how he is–and one of the characters saw a Great Blue Heron with a “yellow monocled eye.” The character said is was so weird, in the surf, it made him wonder what it meant.

    Isn’t that strange?

    • Hello Star. Thank you for the post! You certainly had quite an interesting visitation with GBH, full of synchronistic events that would make anyone sit up and go, “Say what?”

      Welcome to my world :-)

  13. I have considered gret blue herons good luck since I was a child. Yesterday after having a very difficult conversation (ending a relationship while) on the beach, a blue heron landed 5 feet in front of me and I knew that I was on the right path. It was absolutely beautiful and synchronistic!

  14. In the past week I have rescued 2 blue herons, in locations hours apart. The first was in a river I was working on, it had swallowed a fishing lure or hook, and consequenly tangled itself in the attached fishing line limiting its mobility so that it could not fly well. A friend and I caught it (well, my friend did, I waited on the boat) and cut it free of all the line, after which it flew away confidently. The next heron I saw laying near a roadside when I was stopped at a railroad crossing. This one clearly was hit by a car, its lost use of its legs and likely had a broken wing. I wrapped the exhausted bird in a towel and put it in a box then transported it to a wildlife rehabilitator, it had a spinal injury, and was due for further work if it lasted through the night. My encounters are not much like the others listed, so I wonder what the significance to me could be.

    • Hi Gretchen. When analyzing a symbol, whether it’s an animal, or something else that has gotten my attention, I like to approach it in the same way that I do with dreams. First, I write the event down in a journal, in first person, then look for a theme and give it a title. From there I look for clues as to the meaning of each symbol that stands out to me and look for clues in the word choice, hence the title and theme. Also, whatever issues that you’ve got going on, especially emotionally charged ones, you can bet that the symbols will reflect that in some way. For example, if you’ve been struggling with the thought of beginning a new career for the past 2 weeks, you might see symbols in your dreams AND waking life that show that to you (GBH is one symbol for doing something unique, like a new career). As far as what the significance for you is, I really don’t know, to be honest. Like dream work, I’d have to sit down with you and intuitively zone in on the GBH sightings, as well as knowing more about yourself and what is going on in your life to get an accurate reading on it. GBH could also be a power animal or totem animal of yours. The best way to find out is through meditation and asking the animal to tell you why it has shown up in your life. Or try asking for answers in your dreams. This is not the quickest way, but this is how I learned to communicate with the Spirit in all things, especially animals. Good luck!

      Shelley

      p.s. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask

  15. Shelly,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I was researching the symbolism of the GBH after a personal encounter. I was struggling with my path as an artist and questioning if I should take a more conventional path. I prayed for a sign. I actually prayed for an eagle feather. ha. As I was putting on my walking shoes to go to our local “nature center” here in Log Beach CA I heard the sound of wind beneath large wings … I looked up and a GBH from the nature Center had flown into my back yard and was sitting on an old tree stump looking at me. After taking some photos it flew off over head! Such a powerful sign to stay on my path. A gift I will never forget.
    Blessings on your journey!
    Valerie

    • Thank you for sharing your amazing story, Valerie! I totally resonate with it. Seems like GBH is a busy fellow helping us artists stay on our path. LOL. Good luck to you in all of your creative endeavors!
      Namaste,
      Shelley

  16. Today, I picked out a blue heron for a license plate for our RV; a few hours later, my husband sent me a picture from his cell phone of a blue heron…he is on the Texas coast and was unaware of what I had done.

    I picked the heron because cranes are very important to us…we’ve only been married 4 months…years ago, when I was very unhappy over circumtanes beyond my control, a crane came to me in my neighborhood…I knew it was important….

    A year later, my former husband died…my mother was killed in a car accident three months later to the day, and I was battling an unknown neurological disease…still unknown although I think I have figured it out…and, there’s a treatment for it…

    Now, I have a wonderful husband who I feel God has brought to me…will be spending some time on a sailboat this year…who knew? There are times I still get discouraged…but I believe that the blue heron was sent to me today to let me know that I am on the right path…and, I wish you all the very best in your journies!

    • Hi Sarah, thank you for stopping by and sharing your stories about GBH. It seems to be an important messenger in your life and I’d have to agree that you are on the right path! Blessings to you and your husband.

  17. I had this outer body dream the other day. I saw myself lift up from my physical body, ran outside at like six A.M. and saw this feather stuck upward in the ground. As I approached the feather, it then grew tall, like about six feet, and as I picked it up, it went back into its normal size. I threw it back down on the ground, ran back to my room, (where I saw myself once again laying there) and woke up. It felt so real. As I am awake, I heard this dove in the tree next to my window singing a song and because of how relaxing the song was I fell back into deep sleep. Can you help me figure out what that dream meant?

    • Hi Raymundo. Please forgive me for responding to this so late, but I’ve been going through a rough patch for while and am now back in the saddle lol. Your dream is amazing, in that it was an out-of-body type dream, and probably lucid as well. Kudo’s to you for having one! My intuitive sense is that the feather is a symbol for Spirit, and the dove that you heard upon waking is a spiritual messenger. Spirit was giving you a message. I don’t know what that message is, but if you continue dreaming like this, you will discover it yourself.

      Blessings,
      Shelley

  18. Hi Shelley

    Enjoy reading your GBH story. I was walking on the beach when i spot a beautiful one, just ahead of me.Camera on hand …but no batteries!! I walked slowly towards her, she did not move much, kind of waited for me so I could observe what she was doing… looking out to sea and to me… i think, as her face was turned sideways.Later she walks to a small rock close to shore where she stood for a while, I got to stand about 5 mts from her for a few minutes. Talked to her in my heart, thanking her for allowing me to be so close and I also asked Spirit to understand her message.I am also at a cross roads situation in my life and reading about GBH medicine and symbolism kind of confirm my feelings and shed a little more light onto my path ahead. Got her message!!

    Namaste,

    • Thank you, Gizz! Sounds like you got the message alright, and that GBH is one of your allies now! Good luck to you :-)

      Blessings,
      Shelley

  19. Thank you for your post! I have been seeing the great blue heron in flight lately. It’s amazing how timeless those symbols are! I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted you in my own blog post about dream and real life symbolism!

    • You’re most welcome, Teri! And thank you for the quote on your blog. It’s nice to know that you see the world in symbols like I do :-)

      Blessings,
      Shelley

  20. Symbolism aside, Heron also was saying “you humans have taken my fish and so now Feed Me”!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sweet Dreams « A Moment in Life - [...] over into real life???  This is what I found from fellow blogger Shelley Szajner in her blog Animal Symbolism …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: