Are you curious what a woman’s dream about heart surgery might really be trying to tell her? Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with surgery! Read all about it in my dream column this month for the New Spirit Journal Online:

November 3rd, 2017 by Mimi

The Dream Detective Blog: HOME INVASION DREAMS

by Mimi Pettibone

Have you ever dreamed that someone was breaking into your house? This is quite a common dream theme and can be very scary since most people fear that their dreams are literal. The good news is that usually they not literal, but symbolic. That said, even though the dream might not mean an imminent home invasion, it still contains a very important message and paying attention to it will benefit the dreamer greatly. To illustrate this universal theme and its meaning, here is a specific example in the form of a dream sent to me by a 27-year-old woman in Malaysia:

“I am in a house – my house in the dream but different than my real home – and I discover that the roof has a hole in it. Two men come in through the hole, and I tell them ‘Don’t do that!’ They don’t listen to me and come in anyway. Eventually they go outside to meet their friends, and some of them are wearing security uniforms. They don’t seem to want to hurt me, they just seem to want to have fun with their friends. They didn’t steal anything from me, so frustratingly I let them go.

Then I look up at the roof of the house and realize it is made of bag material, like from a school backpack, instead of roof tiles. I can see the sky through the hole in the roof. I also discover that I have an attic and there are men dwelling inside it! I ask my mom what they are doing in my house but she ignores me and just keeps doing her thing. I also remember walking through the house and noticing that some of the walls were cracked. The house was overall not in good condition and in need of some fixing.”

Through working with the dream, it became very clear to the dreamer that she was having boundary issues, especially with men. The dream outlines how men are invading her energetic field, symbolized by the house, and how she feels powerless to do anything about it. Her cries of ‘don’t do that!’ are ignored. When the men go outside she says they don’t seem to want to hurt her, and they didn’t steal anything, so in frustration she just lets them go and they get away with the invasion. As if breaking and entering weren’t enough!! In waking life this mirrored a relationship pattern with men where they would violate her boundaries and she would find ways to minimize, justify, and discount the impact of their actions – thereby minimizing and discounting her own power and violating her own boundaries in the process. Doing this was a natural repeat of what had been modelled for her growing up, as her family dynamics were a world-class training program in ‘how to get your boundaries violated’.

In the dream, some of the men were wearing security uniforms. While security guards are normally associated with protection and safety, these ones were more concerned with having fun with their friends. The dreamer’s association to this was that she did not feel emotionally or physically safe with unknown men. It seems also that the security guards slacking off could have to do with a lack of sense of safety and protection from the men in her life, as well as her own lack of self-protection in terms of setting and enforcing clear boundaries.

Even the dreamer’s mother is of no use when it comes to support or protection. In the dream, the mother just ignores her daughter’s concern over the invasion. The dreamer shared that her father was very volatile and abusive while she was growing up. When he wasn’t lashing out with his explosive temper, he was ignoring her and the rest of the family. She said she never felt safe at home. Is it any wonder that someone who never felt safe at home would have a dream that their home was being broken into? Not everyone who has this dream theme has this history, but in her case it was a relevant reference to how she literally felt at home.

And with parents who ignored her in waking life, her dream objections to the invasion being ignored are also very telling. It’s no leap that her current relationships with men are suffering as this is the relationship template she was provided by her family. At the end of the dream she describes the house having some cracked walls and needing some overall repairs. Walls can be symbols for barriers or boundaries, and this was another layer of symbolism reflecting the need to ‘fix and repair’ her boundaries as well as invest more in her self-care.

The dreamer really ‘got it’ when working with this dream. She said that she had always felt guilty when setting boundaries with her family and with men, and this dream helped her to see that it is a healthy and loving thing to do for herself. She felt a sense of relief at the idea that it was not only OK, but necessary, to have these boundaries for her personal growth, self-love, and sense of safety in the world, as well as in order to create a healthy romantic relationship in the future. Our psyche always knows where we need repairs, and will show us through the mysterious world of dream stories.

If you have a dream you’d like to share, contact me about private consultations  or the podcast.

October 21st, 2017 by Mimi

Check out my dream column in the New Spirit Journal Online, this one is about cheating dreams! If you’ve ever had a dream that either you or your partner cheated, you might feel guilty or angry (depending on who did the cheating!) However they may be a deeper underlying meaning that has nothing to do with infidelity. Read all about it here:

September 27th, 2017 by Mimi

I was recently contacted by a woman who had a dream about a jester, a prince and a king. To find out what it means, check out my column this month for the New Spirit Journal online!

September 3rd, 2017 by Mimi

Our dreams can show us where we are off-balance, and give clues about how to restore balance. In my latest column for the New Spirit Journal you can find out what it means when we eat unhealthy food in dreams:

July 6th, 2017 by Mimi

Artwork by Punny Pixels

Dreams love the use of puns and plays on words, as well as visually depicting both puns and verbal expressions. When listening to a dream I always have my radar up for any type of pun or imagery that might indicate another layer of meaning. Following are some examples.
A woman dreamed she was kissing a man, and much as she wanted it to be a good kiss his upper was sticking out in such a strange way that it just would not move. This image had her stumped and took some time to decipher. Eventually she said “why would his upper lip be so stiff?” and that’s when the light bulb went off! If you asked this dreamer what it meant to have a ‘stiff upper lip’, she might not have been able to tell you with her conscious mind as this was not a saying she used. However, when we explored the standard meanings of the phrase, it clicked. It turns out the person she was attempting to connect with was experiencing hurt feelings, yet trying to hide them. In this case it was not a romantic partnership, as kissing can be a symbol for connection of any kind. This was an employee she was interacting with on a work project, and her subconscious mind had clearly picked up that he was trying very hard not to show his hurt feelings regarding constructive feedback she had recently given him on how to improve his work. Even though consciously she was not sure she knew what the expression ‘stiff upper lip’ meant, her subconscious mind knew very well and found a visual way to illustrate this verbal saying. She was then able to show some compassion for her colleague and give him as much positive feedback as possible, in addition to ways to improve when necessary. The dream revealed emotional dynamics that were going on under the surface, in a way that allowed her to repair and improve their professional relationship going forward.
A man applied to a job for which he was exceptionally well qualified. He later found out that a friend of the boss – who was not as well qualified – was hired instead. That night the man had a dream that his friend Rob got the job instead of him. Since his friend Rob did not actually apply for the job or work in the same field in waking life, I asked the dreamer if he felt ‘robbed’ because he did not get the job. He said “Absolutely yes!” It’s always interesting to look at the names of people and things to see if they might double as words with another meaning. They don’t have to be spelled the same, as the non-linear mind does not care about logical things like spelling. For example, names of people such as: Mark, Jean, Melody, Bill, Rusty, Crystal, June, Hunter, and Patience can hold double meaning. Names of inanimate objects, and even car models such as Triumph, Fury, Swinger, and Dart can also hold another layer of significance.
A single woman who was looking for love had a dream she was checking the mail. Based on other factors in the dream, I asked her if it was possible she was ‘checking the male’ population around her, as in checking them out. It fit with the rest of the dream and what was relevant for her, and we had a good laugh.
A man found out I work with dreams and casually told me he had a dream that he was peeing on his neighbor. Since this was not a private session I just asked him quickly “Well, are you ‘pissed’ at him?” He laughed and said “YES!”
Now here is some fun for you. Look at the illustrations below…can you decipher the visual puns that are depicted? To find the answers, scroll to the bottom of the article, below my bio.

Artwork by Kathleen Kowal

Artwork by Kathleen Kowal

Artwork by Punny Pixels 

Artwork by Punny Pixels

Artwork by Punny Pixels

Artwork by Punny Pixels

Much thanks to Eunice Ng and Nandini Trivedi of Punny Pixels (check them out on Instagram!), and Kathleen Kowall Design and Illustration (check her out on Facebook!) for giving permission to use their fun and clever artwork to illustrate this article!


Mimi Pettibone is the creator of the ‘Enchanted Art Oracle Cards’, and offers private consultations in dream interpretation and personal growth work focused on relationships, communication, and authentic life path. She works in person in Seattle, WA as well as by phone. Her background includes psychology, relationships & communication, spirituality, dreams, intuition, and consciousness. Mimi is also a monthly dream columnist for the New Spirit Journal 

Answer Key to Visual Puns:

Snail Mail

Grate (Great) Opportunity

Couch Potato

Brain Storm

Emotional Baggage

Negative Space

April 17th, 2017 by admin

People often wonder when they dream of being romantic with someone, does it mean it will really happen? Whether it is an ex, a co-worker, or someone they have a crush on, this question can be very perplexing. The more intense or vivid the dream, the more it bothers us. It can also make us feel very awkward next time we see the person from our dream, even though they have no idea about it!

Kissing and sexual intimacy in dreams are symbols of connection and passion. So we look at who the dreamer is connecting with and what qualities that person represents to them. Then the dreamer can contemplate whether they currently are, or would like to be, connecting with those traits within themselves or in their life.

Sometimes these dreams can be about rehearsing what it’s like to be physically intimate with someone, and especially young adults will experience this before their first kiss. Whether or not it will happen with the person they dreamed about is not necessarily determined by the dream. However there are many documented cases of someone dreaming about their future partner before they actually meet them. This is not the most common thing, but it has happened many times, and I wonder if more people remembered their dreams perhaps we would hear even more cases reported.

Sometimes we dream of making out with someone we would never consider as a partner (casual or long-term) in waking life. We may even find them the complete opposite of attractive! At least on the surface. Whether the person is someone you know, a celebrity, or something in between, look at what that person represents to you and how you might be connecting with those traits (the ones you like) within yourself.

Many romantic dreams have nothing at all to do with actual romance. In that case look at what the dream has to say about your other passions in life such as your creativity or life purpose. Other dreams that do not contain elements of romance with another might actually have profound and meaningful insights about our relationships. The dreaming mind wants us to be happy and fulfilled, to live our purpose, and to love deeply. Listening to their messages can enhance both our quality of life and our relationships with our selves and with others.

February 20th, 2017 by Mimi

Losing a loved one can be one of the most painful experiences we endure as human beings. However, it is not uncommon for us to dream of the person who crossed over, and wonder if it was really them visiting from the other side. In many cases, I believe the answer is YES! While some dreams serve the function of processing grief and loss or reviewing memories, there are also those that may indeed be actual visitations from the departed loved one. Commonly referred to as After Death Communication (A.D.C.) dreams, After Death Contact, or After Death Visitation dreams, this is an area of dream research that has been studied in depth. So how does one tell the difference between a ‘regular’ dream (If there is such a thing) and an A.D.C. dream? I am going to share with you some of the markers that set these dreams apart from others.


Most people report a sense of ‘realness’ to these dreams. They may be extremely vivid, and the dreamer wakes up with a sense of having actually been with that person. They may even experience smells such as grandma’s perfume, or grandpa’s cigar. While most dreams have a somewhat bizarre quality to them when run by the conscious mind, these are often more straightforward and ‘real’ feeling.


Usually after losing someone the last thing we feel is comforted, or a sense of lightness and peace, yet these dreams can bring those types of feeling to us. The departed loved one will usually bear messages of reassurance and love such as “I want you to know that I’m OK” and “I love you”. They may ask for forgiveness or apologize for things they did in human form which they now realize were hurtful.


For example, a gay man and his father did not get along while the father was physically alive. The father never accepted or approved of his son being gay. But after the father passed away, the son received a visitation from him.  He came to to apologize for the way he treated his son, and told him how much he loved him.


If the person was older when they passed, they may look younger when they come to visit. If they were sick, they often appear healthier and not in pain anymore. If these types of dreams were purely a conjuring of our own mind and nothing else, the person would likely look as they did the last time we saw them. However this is a common phenomena (though not a requirement as a marker of an A.D.C. dream). Sometimes the dreamer had no idea what the person looked like in their younger days…only to later see a picture and recognize them.


These types of dreams tend to happen most often shortly after the person passes, during the first year, or on the 1 year anniversary of their crossing over. They can also occur much later, but are especially common during the first year. It may also happen on other significant dates or anniversaries such as birthdays or dates of special meaning to them.


It is typical for the setting of an After Death Contact dream to be the dreamer’s bedroom. The loved one may come in and stand by or sit on the edge of the bed. Most dreams are not so realistic and their setting is almost never the actual place we are sleeping. We may even dream that we open our eyes, and there is our loved one. Or maybe we really are opening our eyes, as all of these experiences can take place in waking life as well. In the dream state we are more susceptible and open to any kind of psi phenomena and psychic information.

Sometimes people wonder “Why aren’t they coming to visit me?” Or maybe they came to visit your cousin, but not you. Many people don’t remember their dreams, so it is possible that we received a visitation dream and simply don’t remember it. If you would like to invite the experience, here are some things you can do. Talk to the person in your mind. Pray, if that fits your beliefs. Think strongly about the person that day. You can also simply ask them to come visit. What happens if they still don’t come? Don’t take it personally! They may be busy on the other side, learning things, getting their bearing. It may not be an easy task for them to come visit us, and some may have more of a knack for it than others. Similarly, some of us are more naturally able to receive the visitations that others.


Some people are naturally wired to be more sensitive and intuitive, and are ‘high receivers’ of telepathic and psychic experiences. These people are more prone to receiving ADC messages. Our loved ones on the other side seem to be aware of this, and may come through to a friend or relative who is a high receiver, asking them to deliver a message to someone else that they couldn’t get through to directly.


All of these same qualities of encounters apply to our beloved pets who are on the other side as well. Just like with people, if they were sick or struggling with physical issues, in the visitation they will often appear healthy and vibrant! People have reported smelling their pet, hearing them, and even seeing foot prints on the bed. If a pet crosses over before their person does, when the person later departs they may come back to visit us with their beloved pet, too!


Many people also experience visitations from their loved ones while awake, not dreaming. It may manifest in different ways, including: lights, TV, or other electrical appliances turning on and off, books falling open to a relevant passage, butterflies, birds, rainbows, dragonflies, etc. appearing, or the smell of their perfume or other familiar scent that is ‘them’. These experiences are especially common around the birthday of the deceased, or anniversary of their passing, thought they can happen any time.


While none of these markers are requirements, and certainly by no means do all of them need to be present to indicate a visitation dream, these are many of the common threads that have been experienced by people all over the world. Most of these people had no idea that others were having very similar encounters with their departed loved ones. When something is experienced by so many people, without prior knowledge that others have had similar experiences, it is a pretty good confirmation that these experiences are real. To me it is of great comfort as well.


October 19th, 2016 by Mimi

dream girl

Many of us have experienced the phenomenon of having a dream within a dream. But what does it mean, and why does it happen? There are many theories and different ways the experience can play out. Some involve false awakenings, some also include lucid dreaming, and sometimes we even remember a dream from a previous time while in a current dream (a common one for this dreamer!) Let’s explore some of these variations and the theories behind their possible meanings.

A false awakening is when we think we wake up from a dream, and we go about doing what we would normally do when we get up, such as brushing our teeth or walking to the kitchen to get breakfast. Sometimes things seem perfectly normal, other times something seems a little ‘off’ due to the dream-like alterations to our waking reality. Especially when things are a little ‘off’, the dreamer may be triggered into lucidity and become aware of the fact that they are dreaming. Other times, a person believes they are waking up, but they really going into yet another false awaking! This can happen multiple times in a row for some people.

If you find yourself unsure of whether you are experiencing a false awakening, or are really awake, try recalling something of a linear nature such as your address. The dreaming mind is non-linear so it will be harder to recall things like numbers. Also check out your surroundings and do some ‘reality checks’ as to the nature of your environment, whether it is the same as in waking or not. Some say if you get out of bed and are not sure if you are in a false awakening, explore your environment and soon you will be able to tell if you are in a dreamscape. Walking into another room can be a good way to test out the landscape for which reality you are in.

While some will categorize a false awakening as a dream within a dream, to me there is a difference. A false awakening is marked by the sense waking up and doing what we would normally do when we get out of bed. A ‘dream within a dream’ can be more complex in terms of potential depth of meaning, as we will explore next.


There are a number of theories postulated as to why we experience a dream within a dream, and what it might mean. Freud thought that the material in the embedded dream was of a nature that we were not yet ready to face, and so we subconsciously buried, or encapsulated, it within another dream in order to be even less aware of it consciously. To me this does not necessarily make sense as we usually remember both the first and second dream equally. If the content was so disturbing that our mind was trying to ‘hide’ it from us, we would likely not remember it at all.

Though some theorists have agreed with Freud, other have not. His theory has been criticized for dismissing the encapsulating dream and focusing only on the dream within the dream. He also did not take into consideration how the two dreams might be related.

To me this is a much more likely and useful theory that offers more depth of exploration regarding the relationship between the two dreams. It is a much more fascinating approach as well.

This is where it gets interesting. While there is no one set way to look at the relationship between the two dreams, here are some interesting perspectives to take into consideration. If you have a dream within a dream, see if any of these fit for you.

– One dream may outline a problem, and the other may provide a solution.

– One dream may show an ‘if this…’, the other may show a ‘then that…’ scenario. This is actually a hypothesis of why our other dreams seem to suddenly jump scenes in a way that seems totally unrelated. Maybe it can apply to dreams within dreams as well.

– The two dreams may provide different potential solutions or outcomes to a given situation.

– The two dreams may show one issue from two different perspectives.

– Notice the transition point where the first dream ends. What is the dreamer feeling or experiencing, and where in the story does the person ‘wake up’ to the next dream? Is the feeling or story break of significance to how the dreams relate to each other, or to the person’s life?

– Are the two dreams very similar in nature, or do they hold contrasting energies?

– Whether the dreams are similar or contrasting, how might this be significant or of relevance to the dreamer?

– Is one dream a continuation of the other, or a commentary on it?

– Could either of the dreams serve to prepare us for a potential outcome in waking life?


One possible manifestation of the dream within the dream is to take the form of an anxiety dream. Some people dream they wake up and believe they are late for work or school, only to realize they are still dreaming, and then have the whole process repeat itself. Other times the person thinks they wake up and go to write the dream down, only to realize they are also still dreaming when the words drift off the page or some other variation of waking reality occurs. The latter may be more of a false awakening, depending on the emotions experienced by the dreamer during the dream.


Sometimes waking up within a dream can be symbolic of ‘waking up’ to something in our life. When we reach a new level of conscious awareness that we previously did not have, it may show up in this type of dream experience. Whether we are attaining this insight in the dream only, or we have become aware of it in waking life, our consciousness has realized – or ‘woken up’ to – something in regards of which we previously were ‘asleep’.

On the opposite side of this coin, sometimes we dream that we are falling asleep! This can be symbolic of something that we are ‘closing our eyes’ to, or going unconscious of, in our waking life. Take note, as this kind of un-awareness is what gets us into trouble when we don’t realize we are doing it. And we don’t usually realize it because we are unconscious of it! However a dream can point out the fact that we are doing this, so by taking note we can remedy the situation by bringing our conscious awareness back into the picture.


The dream within a dream reminds me of a concept in hypnosis called ‘nested loops’. In this technique, the hypnotherapist uses metaphor (also used by dreams, of course) to create stories relevant to the client’s problem. The hypnotherapist decides how many layers of stories she wants to use (for example 3, 5, or more), and then begins by telling the first story, only to drop off part way through and begin the second story. This process is continued until the deepest layer of story is reached and this story is completed to resolution. Now the hypnotherapist goes back to the second to last story and finishes it, providing positive resolution and ‘closing the loop’ so to speak. She continues this on back up the chain all the way until the first story is finished and resolved in a way that metaphorically provides a resolution to the problem the client wanted to address. I can’t help but wonder if the dream within a dream might be using a similar approach, though we usually don’t go back to the previous dream to resolve it, the concept is an interesting one.
And I can’t help but end this article with the famous poem by Edgar Allen Poe:



Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

October 11th, 2016 by admin


Here is my October column for the New Spirit Journal. You can read it at  or here:

A nine-year old girl had the following dream:

“I dreamed I was in an arcade with my friend, we were having fun and there were superheros all around us. I discovered a hole in the ground with a slide in it, so I went down the slide and it was a lot of fun! When I got to the bottom I met Winnie the Pooh and his friends, they were all really happy. Then I met Princess Jasmine. She told me that there was another princess who needed my help because she was surrounded by two-headed monsters. They were actually people, but they had been drinking a poison potion that turned them into scary two-headed monsters, and the princess needed my help to be safe. So I went and helped her, and then I got to talk to another princess after that. There were lots of baby animals around us and I was really happy.”

In working with this dream, I first spoke with the little girl whose dream it was, then later I had the chance to speak with her mother. The overall tone of the dream was very happy, a little girl’s “dream” so to speak. Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and friends, superheros and a slide that transports her to another world… what a fun adventure.

The crux of the story is the rescue mission to help the princess in distress. I could tell this little girl’s psyche was amazingly healthy and strong, and that she was a natural born healer and helper. Most dreams contain elements of conflict, and often the conflict is a greater part of the dream. But in this dream the majority of the actions are fun and the emotions are happy.

Embedded deep in the middle of the dream is the point of conflict, the rescue mission for the princess who needs help. The superheros at the beginning of the dream set the tone for, and may very well represent, the parts of this girl that are ready to step in and take action to protect those in need against those who are doing wrong. In the arcade the girl is with her friend, but she goes down the slide alone.

My own personal “hit” on the slide was that it symbolically represented the girl’s way of dropping down into her own self, including her intuitive abilities and empathic sense of what other people need, which showed her how to help them.

The people who turned into two-headed monsters after drinking poison gave me the image of adults drinking alcohol, and the changes in their personality that can occur as a result. Perhaps the two heads are a metaphor for the two aspects of a person, before and after drinking, or the unpredictable (and sometimes scary) behavior that can result from chemical alteration of the personality.

After speaking with the girl, I asked her mother privately if there might be anyone in her daughter’s life who could be using alcohol, relating it to the symbolism of the poison in the dream. The mother confirmed that her daughter had a good friend whom she loved spending time with, but the friend’s mother had a tendency to imbibe. It then became very clear to both of us that this dream was an outline of the girl’s attempt to help protect her friend from the negative effects that alcohol was having on her friend’s mother.

The dream ends with the dreamer talking to yet another princess, and being surrounded by baby animals. While it is common for children to dream of animals, they can also represent our instincts and intuition. This happy ending seems like a nice reward for a superhero’s job well done.

Mimi Pettibone is the creator of the Enchanted Art Oracle Cards, and offers consultations, classes, and groups at East West Bookshop in Seattle

October 11th, 2016 by admin