Die before you Die

The recent of losses of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glen Fry, have me contemplating death more than usual. I am grieving in some ways the loss of my youth. The music left behind during the 70’s and 80’s by David Bowie and the Eagles, was such an integral part of that time in my life. The actor Alan Rickman, who played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, has me thinking about my children when they were younger. They grew up watching Harry Potter movies, as well as “The Labyrinth” with Bowie, and they have now grown into young adults. These events have heightened for me a deeper vibe of change, that is causing me to look more deeply at the reality of death.

My own father died in 2008, and he has been paying me visits more often in my dreams now. In a recent visit, he showed me a photo of a Native American Indian Ancestor. He told me, “this is your ancestor”. In the photo, I see a strong man in the prime of his life, wearing buckskins and a few eagle feathers tied loosely in his long dark hair. He carries a pipe in his hands.

In the dream, I wish to speak with him and so I decide to enter into the photo consciously as a portal, enabling the photo to come to life and I now stand beside him in the dream space. I see the pipe he carries is turned toward his body, so that I cannot see what the pipe bowl looks like. I ask him, “Can you turn the pipe? I want to see what medicine you carry.” He responds by turning the pipe bowl, so that I can now see it clearly. It is a human skull. He tells me, “This is your medicine.”

My father once again visited me in my dream, just the other night and told me, “You need to meet your death” and then he handed me a pair of black handled scissors.

So what does it mean to meet your death? Does it mean I will be meeting mine soon?  Perhaps, or maybe instead he is pointing at the medicine of my ancestor, that of death as a bringer of change and awakening, transformation and rebirth. The scissors he offered are also of note. It connects with the three fates, one of which cuts the life line with scissors when it is time to meet death.

“Prophetic Bird” by Andre Shishkin

Prophetic Bird Goddesss

In a recent gathering, I facilitated a conscious shamanic journey for a group of women who dream with the New Moon each month. Our intention for the journey was to connect with the Three Fates for a glimpse of the year ahead. During my drumming for the group, I saw a dark sky across which flew a large, dark winged bird with the head of a woman. She made a very loud cry as she flew across a dark mountain range and cried out three times. I felt she was meant to be the harbinger of death. She lands on a shore of this dark mountain range and I see myself standing before her. She is feeding me meat from her beak, like a momma bird to her chick.


I was previously unaware of the Slavic prophetic bird goddesses, until I dreamt with her in my journey, it appears the one I connected with was Alkonost, the messenger of sorrow. The image above of the painting, “Prophetic Bird” by Russian Artist, Andre Shishkin, looks much like the what I saw in my journey. I also did seem to understand that the dark mountain range was somewhere in Eastern Europe.

These dreams all had me thinking it was indeed time to meet my death, in the shamanic sense of die before you die. I reflected on the writings of Stephen Levine, who wrote about contemplating death in his book, “A Year to Live.” If you had but a year to live, what would you do?  I found out the other day that he too, has crossed over. Die before you die means the time is now, to live your life fully, without fear or hesitation.


(Turn and face the strange)


Valley Reed ©2016



Author: Valley Reed

Dreamer, Lecturer, Writer, Healer, Activist, Dancer, Drummer. Chrysalis Healing Arts Energy Healing, Somatic Emotional Integration, Soul Coaching, Peace Moves™ Conflict Transformation, Wild Women Weekend Retreats, Monthly Women's Groups, Depth Workshops and retreats regionally in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Internationally in Ireland, Mexico, Bosnia, & Canada.

4 thoughts on “Die before you Die”

  1. Hi,
    Can you please help me with a dream.
    I saw a pomegranate tree in red blossoms, tucked at one corner in my house, which i previously didn’t know about. And a white bird with red beak like the blossoms flew from the tree to some direction. The bird looked at us proudly, as though everything was so normal and why did i look so affected by these sights…
    Later i saw a girl and boy kids with wings like fairies. They seemed to be trapped in that area. They were looking out from a window which is somewhat at the same position as it is in real life if I’d try to figure this maze out.

    So, Can you please tell me what might this means. It feels so beautiful to imagine those rich red blossoms and that beautiful, graceful bird that it tempts me to know more… what does it mean, alas i don’t know… still out was so beautiful. I’m glad i saw that dream.


    1. Hi Neha, I am glad you saw this beautiful dream too and thank you for sharing it here. In the tradition of dreamwork I do, the first question we always ask is, how did you feel when you woke up from the dream? The next question to ask, Is there anything in the dream that relates to your waking life regarding if it could be precognitive in some way? The next question is what do you most want to know from the dream? If this were my dream, I connect with the pomegranate tree with the realm of the ancestors, the underworld, and transformative energies of death and rebirth in connection with the mysteries of the Goddess Persephone, where in Greece the pomegranate was known as the fruit of the dead. It is also associated as the fruit on the tree of knowledge in biblical text. It has many meanings in many cultures such as Iran and Southeast Asia as being a blessing of fertility and abundance. It is a powerful fruit of meaning and associated with the goddess and mystery as well. If this were my dream, I feel the flowers blowing from the tree are the change of season, the white bird with red beak feels very spiritual, like a guide. The winged faery girl and boy trapped in a maze, feel like like an invitation to soul recovery, and I am being shown parts of my soul energy which have been trapped away, and they are ready to fly free. The white bird could be my guide to helping to free them. This dream speaks to me of change, healing and transformation. If this were my dream, I would want to do some soul recovery work to bring the magic of the fruit of the pomegranate forth and the knowledge it holds for me. The last step of the process of dream sharing is, What action do you want to take to honor the dream? There are many options here, what action do you feel drawn to take? Blessings, Valley


      1. Hi Valley,

        Sorry for the late reply….I had actually not expected a reply and forgotten all about it! Thanks for replying
        Anyhow, those are some heavy questions to ask myself.
        When I woke up I felt hurriedness. I felt that I will have to hurry to grab the good things as I had already seen a glimpse of the beauty which exists somewhere around the corner. But there was no clear indication in the dream about what I should do with all those good things.

        In waking life, there is a bathroom in my house. It had been remodelled two years back. But in my dream, I saw the old design of the bathroom. I started walking with my younger brother to the wall at the end. That wall previously had a huge window which was missing in my dream. There was a smaller window like there is now. My brother looked really young. He is 26 now but in the dream he looked 9-ish. And I took him to the wall and when we turned left, we saw a pathway which we had never seen or heard about earlier. We felt and thought like we did at that age. We thought that it is good that we have found something interesting today. We will spend our time here looking at everything and just exploring. It would be like a game to pass time all day. So, when we entered, we found this huge space with cemented floor and a huge tree was in front of us, slightly to the right. The thing that resembles reality here is that when we were of that age, me and my brother would always try to discover new locations in my house. We would feel adventurous at those places. For example, we would climb a pipe and reach the terrace and say that this pipe is from “Jack and the beanstalk”. We would both feel elated doing all this, and we would repeat the same thing over and over. It just felt so good being kids and doing those things. I would always hope that me and my brother are able to find another new place to have fun really soon. Sometimes, my grandfather would join us. But it has been 10 years since he passed away. I don’t know if he was the bird in the dream. I couldn’t say. The fairies could have been both me and my brother. I am not sure. I do feel that those adventures were the only way how I felt less trapped about my life. Lately, my brother has been disturbed in his life. He has got into a religious sect which doesn’t seem genuine to me. I am really scared for him, but more than that I miss the bonding we had earlier. I don’t know what could be precognitive about it.

        What I want to know most from it is that when will I be able to break free from the attachment or restraint. My thoughts are tied with the conditioning in this house. And I do not want to keep surviving because of someone else’s influence on me. I want to feel free to explore my life on my own. Without boundations and rules. I want to enjoy adventures like we did before, when no one was watching. I never feel like that anymore. I had always needed my brother to feel like there is no one watching what I am doing. I want to have a little more of that. From this dream I want to know how it can happen, how soon.

        What I did to honor this? My brother was good to me the next day. He took me on a bike ride. There was a nursery on the way. So, I bought a pomegranate tree from there and I planted it somewhere near the spot that I dreamt about it. I felt good for a while. We went out together with his friend once or twice. We planned on doing something together(a tree plantation drive in my city) but mostly there was argument. All the plans were dropped because he was only remotely interested in them. And after a few days, me and my brother’s relation was sour again.

        But what if I had more choices? What would I have done to honor this? I guess that this wall all the fruits that I get. We had a few good days together, like I had wanted. And I should really be grateful atleast for that. My brother has moved to another city, to stay with the people of his religious sect. Atleast, we planted this tree together. And it is growing well anyhow. It’s not much but I guess this will have to do for now!!

        Thanks for the interpretation. That was really very helpful. It really helped me understand y feelings a lot better. I didn’t know there were so many memories of our childhood together!


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Beautiful exploration of your dream Neha, taking action on our dreams puts things in motion in this world and the other realms of experience. There is more there to explore, I hope you will continue to work with your dreams to guide you beyond the false limitations set by others and continue to explore the imaginal world that your younger self knows so well. There is the potential for healing and freedom to be gained when exploring the deeper longings of the soul through dreams and the imagination. Dreams can become portals for soul recovery and healing to reclaim a life of wild freedom.


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