The focus of our October journeying group was Dreaming with the Dead, and several dreamers shared the experience of unresolved feelings with family members who have died. Journeying with the intention of connecting, there were tender moments of holding the hand of a parent long dead, guiding a sister into the boat on the river of death, speaking of anger to allow new understanding and compassion.
A message came from a friend of mine who died this Spring in a tragic accident. I thought he may need help in moving on, since his death was so sudden, and because I had a dream 108 days after he died, in which his wounds were still open and his medicine spilled, pills scattering all over the floor as I tried to pick them up. The message from my journey was that his healing is connected with the healing of others, that we need to tend to our own wounds through creative expression and working in community, which is what he dedicated his life to when he was alive.
There were synchronicities as well. As one dreamer was sharing her journey, down from the ceiling dropped a bold jumping spider, onto the floor between us. Later, when we were drawing oracle cards, another dreamer drew the spider card, which symbolizes creativity and interconnectedness with others.
Several months ago I had a powerful dream in which a friend came to me, then died a few hours after the dream. I had another dream about him,108 days later, in which he is still bleeding through the tubes and wounds sustained in a terrible car accident. In the dream, I also have open cuts on my left hand, which I place on his heart. A nurse comes in and spills his medicine tray, scattering the translucent, golden pills on the floor. As I am picking them up, the nurses get him dressed and walk him down the hall, as he shakes his head, looking frustrated.
To me, the message of the dream is that his wounds are not healing and he’s not getting the support or medicine that he needs. 108 is a sacred number in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Numerology, Ayurveda, Martial Arts, Astronomy and Physics. 108 is the number of beads on a prayer mala, and is also significant in the spacial relationship between the sun and the moon. The message is that he needs prayers to help him on his way as he travels on in his spiritual journey.
At the end of this month, we will enter into the time of Scorpio, ruler of death, secrets, and mysteries. Since this is the time when the veils between the worlds are the most permeable, our seasonal journeying group will focus on this, opening to those who may want to help us, or who need our help. I will be working to contact my friend, to see how I can be of assistance to him, since he asked me through my dream.
If you have a desire to connect on this level and more, you are welcome to join us on October 29. Robert Moss will also be offering a 13 week online class Shamanic Journeying to the Other Side: Communicate with the Departed & Make Death Your Ally, which I will be taking part in and offering a small study group to experience together.
In late July I had a dream where I’m looking at some small, black, shiny carvings, and know somehow that they’re made of obsidian. This makes sense, since I’m on a campus and can see signs with a logo and a capital O for the school, and realize that I’m in Obsidian University. I wake up intrigued, wondering what I can learn from obsidian, so I look up its properties. I learn that obsidian is grounding, healing, protects you from psychic attacks and removes negativity. It can help you connect with the spirit world, and manifest your purpose in the world. It has been used by shamans to heal ancestral and past life issues. It is said to help rid the body of bacterial and viral infections in the body, which I have been wrestling with for some time now. All of this feels powerful for my life right now.
Several days after the dream, this happens: I get an invitation from someone who attends my dream groups, for a ceremony with a South American shaman using an obsidian mirror and shamanic work to “integrate our shadow and light sides and heal our ways.” So yes, I sign up!
Then, yesterday, this happens: I’m in my favorite used book store, and find a book on lucid dreaming. I’m not sure if I should buy it, since I already found the luciddreaming book I had come in looking for, when I notice a single line, hand-written on the last page of the book, “waves of rolling obsidian, cast against a backdrop of purple brilliance” So yes, I buy the book, knowing that there is important learning inside for me!
Several months ago, I went to see a dear friend in the hospital, in a coma after a severe car accident and emergency brain surgery. I touched him and spoke to him silently, telling him how much I loved and appreciated him. The next morning, I awoke from a beautiful dream where I was holding him, dancing as we did in a performance group together some years ago. He looks right into my eyes, so open and powerful. He was taken off life support and died three hours after that dream, which feels like affirmation that he had received love, and my holding him, energetically and emotionally, and that he saw me and was aware of everything that was going on, even from his remote place.
Inspired by one of my fellow dreamers, I recently embarked upon a journey through time, by collecting all of my old journals and reading through them in chronological order, starting with my first one at age eighteen. My primary intention was to look for dreams that I had written down over the years, add them to my growing dream catalog, and track as far back as possible the themes and patterns which have continued to run through my life for so many years. I’m noticing how these themes have evolved over time, and how I’ve become more conscious, lucid, and empowered, especially in the scary or threatening dreams.
I’m fascinated by how many of my earlier dreams were precognitive, foreshadowing things that would come anywhere from months to years later. I didn’t realize then, how my dreams were helping me to tap in to deeper levels of understanding my environment, my relationships, and my choices. As I processed my life experiences on a conscious level, I was also developing my intuition and unconscious knowledge of what was happening. I was unaware of the messages that I was receiving in my dreams, and wish I had had the tools then to help me through some difficult and chaotic times!
My passion for sharing this work is to teach people to use dream skills, to build awareness and tap into this rich source of guidance and transformation! I wish I had learned it a lot earlier along my journey, and it’s never too late!
For many years, I lived with a cat named Anuket, 20 years to be exact. She was quite an amazing little creature, much more powerful than her small size might lead you to believe. We lived through many things together - eleven different homes with a multitude of human and animal roommates, several moves across the country, big life changes and many hours of snuggling - and shared a deep and loving psychic connection as well. She was wise beyond the seeming limitations of her species and died peacefully at home with me at the age of 22.
In the five years since her death, she has appeared in many of my dreams, often accompanying me on a dangerous journey, helping me stay in the moment, or reminding me of my strength. She is always a comfort and a guide, and I wake up feeling that I’m not alone. She taught me many things when she was alive - how to be strong like a queen, especially as you’re getting older, how to embrace your nature, as well as when to relax. She is still with me to teach, guide, and protect me. Our beloved animals are often deep, spiritual allies, and our relationships with them, timeless.
My dreams are changing. I am dreaming into the landscapes of others - into the unspoken aspects of people who I know, and even into aspects of those who I do not know in my everyday life. This new awareness explains so many dreams that I’ve had that don’t make sense, that don’t feel like my psyche or my dream alone. We can tap into the collective unconscious, to bring out what others are not aware of in themselves. We all have that ability, especially in dreaming, when the normal boundaries of our egos are undefended. We may be given these dreams to gain understanding and empathy for others, as an opportunity to give and receive assistance in our dreams, or simply to remind us that we are all connected.
One of my dream teachers, Robert Moss, came to me in a dream a few years ago and showed me a painting of a woman. Oh, a self-portrait I thought. He urged me to look more closely. As I did, I peeled away the top layer and saw another painting of a mountain landscape, which surprised me. As I grasped the depth of this teaching, I realized that there were many more layers of paintings beneath this obvious self-portrait of a woman, many landscapes beyond the experience of human consciousness. We may shape-shift in our dreams, to take on the consciousness of other beings, to expand the awareness of our connection to all things.
In Connie Kaplan’s book, “dreams are letters from the soul” she describes four levels of dreaming - personal, collective, transformational, and philanthropic. I now check in as I am working with my dreams, to feel which level or levels the dream may be coming from. There is so much more to our dreams than we “think”. We must feel, imagine, play, sense, intuit, and invite others in to help us see what we cannot by ourselves. We need each other, and sharing dreams in a dream circle is such a powerful way to feel our inter-connectedness. When we say “if it were my dream” in our circle, we truly step into each other’s dreams and into each other’s lives for a few moments, sharing the suffering and receiving the gifts, knowing that we are not alone.
Recently, several dreams have led me on a path of renewed creativity, through the presence of particular colors and gemstones. In one dream, a rebirth journey, I come to a room that is very powerful and affirming to me - a reflection of myself, but with enhanced aspects that I have not yet discovered. The walls are rich colors, including a deep red, which moves me to paint one wall of my studio in that rich red. The color brings a new depth and inspires me to spend more creative time there. Two other dreams show me a book using crystals and stones to help others in their healing, and a beautiful blue gemstone. In seeking out this color stone, I discover many gemstones, and the joy of creating art according to what feels visually pleasing and energetically healing. The stones and crystals feel like little beings who bring medicine and light into the world, through their alchemy. In the studio I am tapping into flow and presence, into a deeper experience of alignment with life. This peaceful, meditative activity brings balance to my highly verbal, analytical work, and helps me to engage more fully in the world. I encourage you to follow the creative inspiration from your dreams, in order to uncover wonderful new gifts!
Since harvesting the last of our root vegetables in the garden ~ parsnips, carrots, beets, and potatoes, I've been reflecting on this season when life goes underground. The days are shorter ~ we slow down, conserve energy, and turn inward. We can tap into this cyclic flow of Nature to synchronize with our environment and find grounding.
The other night I had a dream about running away from danger, as the sidewalk turned into tree roots that I had to climb up. This can be a time to tune in more deeply to our ancestors, our familial roots. We have the opportunity to heal our family wounds through time ~ for past and future generations. Dreaming work is healing work. So in this holiday time, how can we give and receive healing ~ through understanding, kindness, compassion, and honest communication ~ to clear the obstacles to living the fullest life possible?
Another powerful dream theater in our journeying group. One of our dreamers invites us in to a big dream as her sensitive 8-year-old self feels surges of rage toward those who turned away from her, who taught her to feel shame about her instincts and emotions. She asks some fellow dreamers in the group to express the anger with her, so she is not alone in it. They all feel uncomfortable with the anger at first, then a powerful release and freedom by expressing it with others. Running through the woods with a torch as the trees catch on fire, the black jaguar runs by the girl’s side, her faithful companion. Embodying the woods, I feel a sense of containing and calming the hot, red energy of rage, knowing that things will be alright. Back in her old house again, she is in the bathroom with the pink wallpaper with the mermaids on it, which she always loved. The dreamers who embody the mermaids feel a cooling relief from the fire - a fluid, enjoyable, natural energy. In our circle together at the end of the dream, we silently sway together, breathing with the wind through the trees, sharing a sense of feminine vulnerability and strength, held and grounded by the earth and the four elements.
I am a psychotherapist, writer, artist, and dream teacher in Boulder, CO.