Everything You See Has A Meaning – Interpreting Signs, Dreams & Flames to Make Divinations

The Tibetans are very sensitive to receiving predictive messages from divine beings that over the centuries they have fine-tuned their cosmic antenna to such an extent that they are open to the idea of receiving coded messages from the Cosmic Universe that indicate good or bad outcomes to problems troubling them. Indeed, they even interpret simple things like the shape of flames in candle lamps as providing answers to pressing questions. Signs and symbols are revealed in things they see as they set out on a journey or observed through cloud formations – these and much more serve as Oracles from the Cosmos. Lillian Too shares some personal revelations picked up through the course of her friendships with Tibetan lamas and monks.

Tibetans assign positive or negative meanings to all the things they encounter along a walk or when they start a journey and even on a casual car ride. What will suddenly piqué their interest is anything unusual or out of the ordinary – something they do not see every day. As one revered old monk once explained, “When we see something that we do not usually see, it can have a predictive meaning such as a warning of some kind or an indication of an unexpected manifestation of good luck.”

Reading signals from everyday occurrences is something ingrained within their psyche, and considering how superstitious they can be, Tibetans generally regard signs as coded messages that suggest either good fortune is around the corner or some unhappy event is about to occur.

Positive indications include seeing cranes, geese, ducks, swans, pheasants and other auspicious birds flying overhead or hearing their calls; seeing auspicious images in cloud formations; overhearing the sounds of drums, stringed instruments, flutes, gongs, bells; people reciting auspicious stanzas including such words as victorious, accomplished, excellent, happiness, success, give it, take it, fruitful, great, numerous and glorious.

My good friend, a monk from Sera Je monastery told me that these days, if you should turn on the TV and the first words you hear are positive or if you are tuned into a news channel and what is being reported is good news, then it is a good sign. If the news is bleak or is warning about some impending disaster, then you should be extra careful.

This has somehow stuck in my mind which is probably why I always turn to either the DISCOVERY channel or to the DISNEY channel before I turn it off. This ensures that each time I turn on again, I do not inadvertently catch some bad news. I also never watch horror, crime, disaster or violent movies. I believe that having imprints of any kind of negative images stamped into my consciousness is sure to disturb my mind, creating then the cause for negative things to happen.

Look at this list of negative things that foretell some misfortune happening. These indicate obstacles of some kind that bring suffering or unhappiness.


Negative signs include encountering any kind of obstacle that blocks your journey. This can be a police road block, a fallen tree across the road, or road works that cause you to have to stop. Some even consider red traffic lights as indicating a minor obstacle – especially if you are going to attend court or an important meeting or job interview. On such occasions, everything negative that you see on the road as you make your way to your destination can be mild warning signs. Encountering a funeral or seeing people in mourning are regarded as especially bad luck.


Tibetans believe that strong signals from our inner consciousness can communicate impending misfortune and good fortune. Many of you reading this will have the gift of great insight, even without you knowing, and these manifest as predictive dreams. Once you become aware of this possibility and start to tune in consciously, you will begin to take notice of your dreams.

Be alert to the possibility that you can indeed be gifted with the ability of clairvoyant dreams, and if so, you can start to consciously try to recall your dreams. In time, you can even predict lucky events for yourself and your family. Remember we are all psychic to some extent, but we need to consciously develop it.

Tibetans all believe in their own capability to do so and are thus very aware of the meanings of the things they dream.

Predictive dreams usually take place just before you wake up at dawn, and such dreams are usually very clear. Like other forms of natural inner divination, they occur as the result of some special dilemma or problem you are trying to deal with inside your head. The symbolism manifested for you is usually easily understood by you yourself instinctively, and you will indeed receive some kind of overall feeling of negative or positive energy.


Naturally, the Tibetans believe that when you dream of any of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Deities or Protectors, it is an extremely excellent and powerful sign. If you are receiving teachings or some kind of empowerment, it is even more excellent, so this is definitely a cause for rejoicing.

In addition, if you dream of being given a high chair, a bed or a big table, it is also extremely indicative of a very fortunate promotion coming your way. Dreaming of being given a new suit of clothes, of taking a bath, of being given a precious ornament with either a religious or symbolic good fortune meaning is very auspicious.

When you dream of visiting temples, palaces or some other beautiful public place, or if you are inside a temple and you encounter holy objects, tigers, dragons, lions, birds, horses or elephants, these are all indications of some high office coming to you.

If you dream of flying upwards to the sky getting close to the sun and moon, swimming across the sea, seeing the sun or moon rising, eating dairy products such as milk or yoghurt, sitting on a lotus, being respected and praised by the gods, by parents, spiritual masters, beautiful ladies, and friends, dreaming of eating or plucking ripe fruit, and meeting important or wealthy people, meeting high gurus or virtuous masters and seeing geese and other auspicious birds – these are all lucky dreams.

You should be allergic to hearing words of defeat, death, sickness or anything that suggests a negative outcome. When you hear words of defeat suggesting that what you are about to embark on will be difficult, unsuccessful or hopeless, you must instantly counter it with a strongly positive statement. This acts as an antidote to the bad signal. At the same time, also visualise a big cross drawn over the negative statement or image in your mind.


In general, when starting a journey or beginning a new project or business, good indications of success are suggested when you meet a well groomed gentleman or lady. Well dressed men, women and children are always good omens, even when you see them on television or on a sign board, or better yet, as a real person.

This is one of the reasons why I always encourage my friends to wake up earlier than their husbands, then dress in something pretty, wear some jewellery and always wear make-up. If the first thing a man sees when he wakes up is his wife looking fresh and beautifully groomed, it brings incredibly auspicious good luck to all his endeavors for the rest of the day! It is surely not a coincidence that the emperors and kings of past eras were always woken up by lovely maidens all groomed to perfection. In fact, it is believed that seeing women dressed in white who are also beautiful and bejeweled is an extremely auspicious sign.

Another sign of good fortune is meeting a pregnant woman or even encountering pregnant animals. The Tibetans believe that when a pregnant woman gives you money or passes something she is wearing – a dress or a piece of jewellery – to you, it is incredibly auspicious; more so if she happens to be carrying twins because this means the good fortune is doubled!

When you encounter anyone illustrious such as someone extremely successful, rich or influential, it is also a good sign. This also applies if you turn on the TV and see someone like Bill Gates for instance being interviewed. Some of the positive energy of these people are said to pass on to you. This is probably something we all know instinctively – otherwise why are we so into the celebrity culture?

Another positive indication of good fortune is seeing young children playing happily together; seeing elephants; seeing smart looking carriages (cars in our modern age), and people holding religious symbols such as the wheel, vase, garland, lotus, umbrella, or banners in celebration. In fact, when you encounter a religious celebration of any kind, it is deemed to be extremely auspicious.



Signs of failure are events such as losing your luggage, encountering beggars, seeing someone with torn clothes, having the road blocked, seeing collapsed houses, encountering a fallen tree across the road, witnessing something catching fire or spilling something or breaking a cup or saucer while eating breakfast. Whenever things break down in your home, it is a negative sign. Thus broken fuses, lights not working or the plumbing bursting are all gentle warning signs that must be attended to.


If your life is being afflicted by a serious problem such as you are going through a difficult court case or facing a challenge in an impending election, the dreams indicating you can overcome your obstacles and emerge triumphant are indicated when you dream of gold, any kind of gold (e.g. you could be given some gold by an older person in your dream, or you may be buying gold, or you may be gilding a statue.) Dreaming of gold is one of the most auspicious dreams and is like dreaming of finding treasure, wearing precious stones, harvesting fruit, or meeting a wise old person.

The Tibetans believe that sometimes good results can be indicated even though the dream itself may seem unpleasant. Examples of gory dreams that nevertheless bring good results include dreams like cutting off one’s head, eating human flesh, washing one’s body in blood, drinking alcohol, shaving one’s hair, burning one’s body, immersing oneself in sewage and making love during the day. These dreams appear unpleasant but the Tibetans explain it as being subconsciously purified of the negative karma causing the problem. Dreaming of death is also placed in this category, as death here symbolizes a new beginning.

The following dreams suggest obstacles created by harmful spirits: meeting ferocious cats such as tigers, leopards, jaguars and so forth. If you dream of ferocious dogs, wolves, snakes, vultures or rogue elephants, these are signs of impending danger. Other indications of negative spirits causing you problems are when you dream of dwarfs, naked thin people, unfriendly butchers, pale and skinny children and tall naked men. If you dream of wells that have dried up or you encounter a heaps of bones and skulls, or see an empty house, these too are bad signs.

In general, dreams that suggest something negative include dreams of being chased by soldiers, applying vegetable oil to one’s body, talking with crippled, limping or hunchbacked individuals, seeing the sun or moon going down or seeing an eclipse of the sun or moon; climbing mountains of sand or twigs, seeing red flowers or a camel’s back, passing through narrow passage ways, wandering lost in a swamp, running downhill as if being chased by someone, breaking some part of your body, breaking something, being defeated by others and cheating someone.

To overcome the negative portents of such dreams, it is usually beneficial to donate some money to charity or temple, feed a tortoise or some fish. In the case of there also being a problem in your life, you can go for the stronger cures suggested, which is to try and feed a black bird, a black dog or a black cow. Doing any of these three things is believed to help purify some of your negative karma.


Lotus candles and butters can be lit and their flames observed to make a divination on some problem disturbing your mind. Ideally the candle or lamp holder is made of a precious metal such as gold, silver or other precious metal. It should be thoroughly cleaned and the wick neither too thick nor too thin, with a height reaching the brim, and placed in the centre of the lamp.

Melted, purified butter poured over the lamp makes it very effective. If you are using a candle, get a very good variety, something that has no fragrance or incense. Recite a mantra you know and think that you will be getting an answer to the question inside your head.

Then light the butter lamp and observe the flame. Pay attention to the shape of the flame. Let it burn for a few minutes before bringing your attention to it.

A globular point means safety, a conch shape represents fame, a bright yellow flame indicates the successful removal of obstacles, a lotus and jewel-like flame denotes wealth.

A flame with a hook shaped tip means that one will become powerful, and one with two points signifies that the person will leave for another place.

Should the flame die out suddenly or become dim, it means you have an enemy you are unaware of. It also means that someone is about to visit you who will bring bad news.

If the flame separates into two parts, this indicates the family will separate. A dark red flame means misfortune to the eldest son; when the center of the flame only turns red and smoke comes out, this indicates some kind of financial loss.