Slow and Deliberate

I’ve been recording my dreams for over 30 years, keeping journals & reflecting on the meaning of my dreams for I believe they are messengers that can inform our lives.  In the past few years, I’ve extended my dreamwork wisdom to workshops & women’s groups, with the intention of helping others use their intuitive wisdom to interpret their own dreams.

Our inner council (intuition, gut, guardian angel, etc…) works for our highest good.  It’s up to us to acknowledge that & make changes as needed.

In a recent dream, a white alligator protected a younger version of myself.  The alligator sat half-submerged in the water, unmoving yet vigilant & alert to her surroundings.  Nothing escaped her notice.  I sat timidly in the shelter of some exposed tree roots where the water met the shore.  I was hiding but never saw what the danger was.  The alligator knew… she would make sure I stayed safe.

When I awoke,  I referenced Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  This resource is full of animal facts & symbolic interpretations that have guided me well for years.  Even if I dream about the same animal more than once, I’m able to get something different & relevant from this book.  This time, the part that resonated for me was a few sentences on the alligator’s eating habits & how it digests its food very slowly.  That spoke to where I am now.  I’m taking in a lot of new information from a variety of sources.  Some is worth retaining & applying to my life.  Other information is merely that endless stream of garbage from the internet, the news, & print media.

If the alligator dream wasn’t enough of a message, I read Grandmothers Counsel the World by Carol Schaefer.  The passage I read aligned perfectly with the dream.  In it, Schaefer quotes a Yupik elder (a tribe of indigenous people near the Arctic Circle) who said, “Yupiks believe it is significant that we are born very small & grow slowly, not eating right away, slowly developing our awareness of the world.”

Synchronicity… I’m hearing the same message to “slow down & be deliberate with my actions” from more than one source.  I take this to mean that I need to limit the intake of information so I can slowly process what I’ve already learned.  Digest what I’ve already bitten off before taking another bite.  To stay in balance, I need to proceed at a pace that’s right for me.  These messages alert me to the fact that I’ve been so eager to learn, grow, & move on to a new project that I’m at risk of making careless mistakes. Instead of working shallow & broad, I need to work deep & narrow, focusing on what truly matters.  What I do is meaningful & I need to take it to a new level without being distracted by the rest of the information bombarding my mind, heart, & soul.

Dreams are powerful.  I’ll honor my own inner wisdom & heed what they have to say.

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Dreams Illuminate the Soul

We are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual beings and we are dreamers.  

Light in the Darkness: How Dreams Illuminate Your Soul is the title of the workshop I led for almost 50 people last Friday.  I was glad to see people of both sexes, all ages from pre-teen to elderly, & a wide variety of faiths represented for this is a natural experience that has no boundaries.  Our dreams have messages meant to illuminate our souls & guide our lives if we are aware of our personal symbols & have the courage to act on what feels right.

My background includes over 30 years of dream journal writing & interpreting the dreams that resonate on a deeper level than ordinary dreams influenced by the day’s events.  I believe the awake life informs my dreams & that my dream life informs my awake life- two aspects of my total being.  Over the years, I’ve studied the work of Rudolf Steiner, Carl Jung, Sandra Ingerman & other shamanic practitioners, & Robert Moss.  His particular viewpoint seems very much aligned with mine.  Writers coming from a shamanic background or those with native influences understand the importance of dreams for they can impact the individual and even the entire community.

I spent part of the evening describing different types of dreams from daydreams that we have when we are totally awake to lucid dreaming (that in-between state where we are aware of dreaming) to night dreams that occur while our body is asleep.  These “asleep dreams” were my focus.

Dreams are your personal oracles, coming to you in ways you can understand with imagery that means something special to you.  Even if archetypal symbols such as angels, fairies, Mother Earth, Merlin, an eagle, a cave, or the Tree of Life appear, they are appearing because they have personal meaning in addition to their cultural symbolism.  Messages are always for your greatest & highest good.  Nightmares, although terrifying at the time, are unique opportunities to face our fears, reflect, explore, & grow.

Dreams can…

  1. be little dreams that simply reflect your day’s experiences- books you’ve read, things that happened at work, or stories you saw on the evening news
  2. allow your soul (spirit) to travel across time or space
  3. connect you to the deceased, who are letting you know they are ok and still with you in some way or maybe they are trying to impart wisdom to shine a light on something you haven’t seen clearly
  4. inform decisions you need to make in your awake life or offer a creative solution to a problem
  5. connect you to spirit guides, power animals, or magic objects like flying carpets or hollow tree trunks that lead to other worlds
  6. reveal your deepest desires at soul level regarding your higher purpose, relationships, career concerns
  7. be premonitions of events in your life, those around you, or the greater world community

For each of those examples, participants had dreams to share, dreams that demonstrated the importance of recalling the dream & opening to the dream’s message.  I was very clear to state several times that only the dreamer can accurately interpret his or her dream.  I can suggest strategies to improve dream interpretation but I cannot say what the dream means for the dreamer.  Even dream dictionaries & books about symbols can only scratch the surface.  You’ll know when an interpretation is correct by the way it makes you feel.  This is an intuitive process.

The last segment of Light in the Darkness explored ways to increase dream recollection…

  • journal writing
  • orally sharing dreams with others
  • dream reentry (a technique suggested bu Robert Moss)
  • dream reenactments (another Moss-inspired technique)

It’s not at all surprising that profound things happen when participants share their dreams & perform reenactments.  I look forward to going through my own dream journals to discover even more about this fascinating phenomenon that defies scientific explanation.  Yes, we can study REM sleep & brain waves but the mystical messages & imagery in dreams remains a mystery.

What Are Dreams?

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”  Marsha Norman

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer– having use of all of my senses & emotions in full color dreams that are so “real” that I now refer to my total experience in physical form as my “awake life” & my “dream life”.  Two parts of the whole– equally important to my well-being.

In my childhood & early teens, I relished going to the bookstore where I could wade through multiple dream “dictionaries” & be told the meaning of my imagery by some “expert”, as if a total stranger can define my personal symbolism.  Eventually, I found myself saying “No, this doesn’t sound right” more often than not.

Not knowing what else to do, I began keeping a dream journal by the bed so I could record my dreams as soon as I woke up, before the scenes became fuzzy or lost forever.  I highly recommend this practice, especially for people who say they don’t dream or they can’t remember their dreams.  It’s like anything else you want to get good at, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at recalling this part of your life.  Set the intention before you go to sleep & write down anything & everything you remember when you wake up, even if it’s just a sentence or two.

Dreams fall into three categories, judging from my experience & decades of recording dreams. 

  • There are dreams that are obviously inspired by what you did during the day.  That category can include people from your life, scenes from a tv show, or themes from a book you read.  These are rather basic & easy to identify.  For example, I recently had a dream about waiting for people at a theater the same day I purchased tickets to a local production of Peter Pan.
  • There are dreams that help you work through an issue.  They send messages to you in your sleep about ways to resolve an issue, fix a problem, or handle a challenge.  For example, I had a dream that I was in a prisoner of war camp, planning a way to escape.  I knew I had to keep my head down & act like the other prisoners so the guards wouldn’t get suspicious.  That way, my chances of escaping unharmed would be better.  I woke up thinking, “Got it.  Message received.”
  • There are other dreams that are full of creative, unusual, or magical elements that cause you to wake up wondering, “Where did that come from?  There’s no way my imagination could have made that up!”  These dreams are the most important because they speak to the part of you that belongs to the universal consciousness, the part of you that understands ancient imagery & archetypal symbolism.  These dreams challenge us to deeply reflect on core values, beliefs, & perception of ourselves in the grand scheme of things.  For example, I had a dream that the road I travel daily was lined with larger-than-life statues of unicorns.  Nestled in the woods, a gift shop seemed to glow, beckoning me to enter.  Inside, I saw all manners of unicorn statues, art, & jewelry.  The shop keeper said, “None of these are for you.  I have what you need in the back.  Wait here.”  When she returned, she held a necklace shaped like a woman.  When I took it in my hands, the woman was me… with a unicorn horn.  That resonates with me & requires reflection to fully understand.  For now, I just marvel at how my mind works when I’m asleep & supposedly inactive or resting.

I never found a good teacher or reference book for my personal study of dreams but I don’t need one.  The messages are just for me & only I can figure them out.