We often talk about dreaming as a kind of collection of symbols; which are conveying a message. Often enough we expect our dreams to transmit this message in a clear and direct manner as if dreams are independent from us. What boggles my mind is how could a dream possess an ability that we as individuals haven’t developed or disciplined? Most of my career has been spent watching people attempt to convey a message and completely miss their mark. And that’s when my clients actually consciously work on their intention and plan their discourse in advance. I guess what I’m trying to say (and the pun was intentional) or point out is that it is difficult to communicate our thoughts, our feelings and our intentions with the help of 150 words or less, not because there aren’t enough words but because we are working with three different realities that don’t always see eye to eye. If we are constantly arbitrating an inner argument than how can we expect from our dreams anything less?
Interpreting symbolism as far as I’m concerned shouldn’t be the main focus when learning about dreaming. I’ve met quite a few people who have gone to workshops where the facilitators have based their teachings on recipes: How to dream; how to interpret the dreaming; how to dream lucidly; how to breath etc… This isn’t to say that such skills don’t come in handy in the exploration of dreaming; but without diving into the experience and trusting your dreaming instinct these tools can be limiting as well. G and I like to offer an empirical approach. You keep on living and we show you through observation where you dream, how you dream, how much you dream (waking and sleeping) and what you’ve used the dreaming for. Once you can connect to your dreaming self and actually pin point the dreaming and its usefulness to practical living it becomes somewhat easier to work on the skills you need to grow stronger as a dreamer. For most people for example working on patience and listening skills can do world of difference for better dreaming. You would be surprised at how much you can influence your dreaming skills just by working on your waking, personal skills.
Here's a dream that I was recently asked to interpret. It's the perfect example of spiraling through a dream to uncover a clear and direct message. It also shows the dreamer what needs to be developed in order to have better access to the dream and hence, to the personal goals that have been set. In this interpretation I used the Medicine Wheel as a tool. I also bring forth the idea that symbolism serves a purpose but it never replaces the work that we can put into developing better skills and manifesting beauty and abundance in our lives. Along with this dream K shared some of her personal challenges at the present time. She spoke casually about wanting a boyfriend and needing more self-confidence. At the end of this dream there seemed to be an answer to her wishes if she did the work necessary to get there...
Look for yourself.
I was working in the front yard of my parent’s house. My neighbor was crossing my way. He was smiling at me and all of a sudden there was a wolf or something similar standing on the street. He looked at us and after a very short time he attacked my neighbor. I didn´t know what to do. I remember not being able to scream. I was trying to figure out how to help. And then, in a fraction of seconds I found myself struggling with the wolf. At the end I won. The wolf left.
Take a moment before continuing to read this blog entry and see what you can understand from this dream.
In this dream we notice the past appearing through the setting. The dreamer is in her parent’s home despite the fact that as an adult she no longer lives there. The reference to the neighbor brings forth the present time. Finally, the remaining part of the dream; which speaks of a wolf discusses the future, the unknown. Once you identify a full circle of time rather than just a time line, a spiral begins to spin and the dreamer begins to have access to bits and pieces of the message.
Here’s what I mean.
When we build a Medicine Wheel we always sit in the South. Our eyes are always towards the North where we can witness our wisdom unfolding. In this dream, you’ll notice the dreamer standing in her parent’s front yard; which means that she is watching her parent’s wisdom rather than her own. All Medicine Wheels show a cross at the center. From south to north we depict the red road and from east to west we draw the black road. The red road is about wisdom and the black road is how we react emotionally to life’s challenges. In this dream the Black Road appears when the neighbor crosses towards the dreamer.
What can you see with these details so far?
With these details we can already see the message emerging. The dreamer is searching for a way off the black road and onto the red road. She’s looking to find her own wisdom rather than be lead by her parent’s wisdom.
“I wasn’t able to scream,” she explained --- giving us the clue that she was no longer a two legged but had shape shifted into a wolf or dog herself. Where her human self couldn’t figure out what to do, her totemic self jumped to instinct and attacked. Remember this part of the dream refers to the future and the unknown. It’s actually telling the dreamer that she needs to be more assertive. It’s also saying that “she needs to be more in tune with her basic nature.”
Simple, clear and direct the dream is conveying to the dreamer that the way off the black road is by concentrating on her own wheel.
• Take the focus off of others and concentrate on yourself.
• Learn about your primal nature. Return to instinct and intuition.
• And finally, appreciate the full circle: The wisdom of your parents, the wisdom of those around you (friends, neighbors etc…) – community and your own wisdom.
Dreaming is a tool that allows us to connect to the circle:
• Our own circle (our personal Medicine Wheel: our totems, our roles, our clan, our moons, our ancestral stories etc….)
• The circle of those around us.
• And the circle beyond.
If we want to hear the messages hidden in our dreams more clearly and more directly, we need to work at developing some skills in our waking reality. We need to commit to developing and growing as human beings and hence as dreamers.
P.S. The photo represent the symbolism of "working our way to the top." It does not refer to JP as the dreamer of this particular dream. On the other hand since dreaming is a circular experience it certainly assumes that JP has done this process before and has reached her goal. One circle can feed another...