I’m coming out of the closet (or at least I’m in the doorway of the closet) on my dream life. I’m not sure why I’m in that doorway in the first place, except that dreams are a subject few people I’m around really get or care about. They don’t see any relevance to the night world. When I talk about dreams, they may politely nod, but I watch their eyes glaze over and I’m well aware I’ve become that 3 year old recounting a movie plot line.
Abort! Abort! yells Eddie Cat, my teacher for all things appropriate and inappropriate in social interactions.
As not to torture my dream-disinterested friends and family, I decided I needed to find new LIVE people to further my study of dreams. Over 20 years, I had studied books, taken a class at Santa Monica City College on dreams, and done my own recording of dreams for over a decade, but I sensed there was much I was missing. I needed dreaming humans. About a year ago, I spoke my intention out loud in a class full of metaphysical students: I intend to make myself open to people who are interested in the power of dreaming to find me. I will form a dream circle.
After that discussion, a classmate told me she was interested in meeting and had earned a Master’s in Jungian Psychology from Pacifica University, an amazing higher learning campus for depth psychology degrees just out of Santa Barbara, California. We met, along with another classmate, and started to notice an overlapping of dream themes between us. At one point, we incubated a dream for each other, and shared our results. What each of us dreamed for the other person was exactly what the other person needed to know. I knew I needed to probe further into this phenomenon.
To this end, I spent a long weekend down in Santa Barbara at a Dream tending Conference. Dream tending is an out-of-the-box method honed by Stephen Aizenstat to manage dream symbols, not so much for analyzing a dream, but for merging night images and day images both collectively and individually. Why? To heal the world’s suffering in ways that are not currently being used.
Aizenstat approaches dream work more as indigenous people did, giving the images voice and finding out what they want to say. It’s a position of respect, listening, and nurturing– an alliance, if you will. Together, these images can bring clarity to this healing.
Out of this methodology, the Global Dream Initiative was born. This is a Facebook group where people from around the world belong and share dream themes, poems, thoughts, ideas, and so forth. But dreams are very personal and fear definitely holds posters back. I can feel that. I understand, also, that posters are selective about what they share. Nobody really wants to share all about their dream lovers (though that might make for an interesting feed.)
Rather, you begin to see patterns. For example, I kept having dogs in my dreams night after night. This wasn’t all that surprising because we had a new lab puppy who was taking all my time and energy. Next, I dreamed about snakes for a week, definitely not my favorite creature. I mentioned this to Amy, an amazing dream tender and PhD student in this work at Pacifica, in my dream group, The Hummingbird Dream Clan. Amy said, “Did you know that dogs and snakes were the healers in dream temples back in the day?”
No. No I didn’t.
Furthermore, people from all over the world were having dog/snake dreams as well. The only way we knew that, though, was because we were remembering and bringing back our night offerings to share at the GDI breakfast table.
Well, so what. People are having the same dreams. Who cares?
We should all care because we are all connected. This has shown up in my smaller dream group repeatedly. Most members of that group live in Santa Barbara area so they meet live and I have no idea consciously what happens. That night, I have a dream that is of particular relevance to the members of that circle and to that meeting. (They’ve called my dreams clairvoyant and psychic, though those terms feel awkward to me for some reason…like they’re emanating from ego in a way I don’t want to emanate. I prefer to think of it as acutely tuned-in to the frequency they are tuned into.) I may get symbols that repeat in many forms, or a particular sequence of words, or an image. The next day I post that on our secret group feed and they tell me how it tied in 600 miles away in miraculous ways. It’s still so exciting every time we see the connections, and while we shouldn’t be surprised at this point in the game, we always kind of are.
This information, then, draws italics to a thought, idea, concept. We toss it around and think of how to “tend” to it, both as individuals and as a collective. It takes patience, curiosity, and a strong knowing that this is important work and not irrelevant.
It is also something I believe every person has the ability to do. Many people say they don’t remember their dreams, but that is often accompanied by an “oh well” sort of attitude. Until a person feels that is important, and follows proven steps to remember, that will continue to be what happens.
Some proven ways to remember are:
- Tell yourself before you go to bed, “I will remember my dream.”
- Put a journal and a pen (I use a pen with a light my friend Nathan bought me at the dream conference) right by your bed.
- When you awake, lay still with eyes closed and play back what just happened. Quickly write down one word, symbol, anything. If you are an artist draw the picture you saw.
- People who sleep with their phones by their bed speak into the recorder to remember.
- Offer respect to the night world, believing that it has much to offer the day world.
Then, in the morning, log the information in your dream journal. My dream journal is now 60,000 words, 200 pages—the ideal length of a young adult novel. It takes place over 4 years when I started putting it online instead of on paper. I can look back and see patterns, watch premonition dreams unfold, see precognitive dreams serve as beacons in my waking path, track beginnings and endings of relationships, heed clear warnings, know who needs me to contact them, know what subconscious material needs unraveling, see what is happening communally and globally, understand how I may serve that communal need, and just plain see worlds with so many colors and sensations that don’t exist here.
The other bonus is if you work with your images, even the scary ones, it’s like you graduate to a new level. I used to have dreams of people chasing me, but once I learned how to turn and face those images in the dream state, the scary image would fizzle out and be replaced with a comedic, non-threatening being. One I distinctly remember was this terrifying clown coming at me with a knife. I remembered to turn and ask, “What do you want me to know?” The clown turned silly, folded himself up into a jack-in-the-box and said, “That you must turn and ask that question.” Then he sang a silly song and disappeared. I can’t remember the last scary dream I’ve had and that one was several years back. I’m convinced it’s because I faced my fearful images.
And that’s what dream tenders do. They help you dialogue with your images in the waking hours so that you may learn all those parts of yourself trying to communicate with you.
Fascinating. I can’t wait to see what I learn next.