Dreaming, Personal Growth


Been working with a friend to remember dreams and inspire spiritual exploration. He asked a question about the character of my dreams that I never really thought about from that angle before.

See, the majority of my dreams feature violence in some form or other — usually a chase/defend/attack situation. It’s just the way of most of my dreams, so common in fact that yet another violent dream is par for the course. My friend, however, rarely dreams of violence. So he essentially said “have you noticed this giant massive pattern in your subconscious? Any thoughts on what it might mean?”

Talk about a duh moment. Yeah, that’s exactly a waving red flag that has been there so long I thought it was just part of the decoration. Having the question pointed out of course got to me to think about.

In general, I am not actually a violent person. I avoid confrontation pretty darn effectively, and yet my subconscious dream self has no issue at all with it. So what gives? What does it MEAN? (hehe)

Several people have told me that I seem to have an adversarial relationship with myself which features bullying and extensive verbal abuse, and sometimes even physical. After thinking about it, I had to admit that was pretty accurate. I would never in a million years say to other people the kinds of shit I say to myself, and so in the past year I’ve been working on treating myself with the same respect and compassion (or at the worst, indifference) that I treat others. I’ll even tell myself “don’t say that me” when I start calling myself names, and then restate the idea.

As an interesting adjunct, prior to my friend asking this obvious question, I’d been asking myself why was I so bound and determined to absolutely destroy everything good in my life? Why am I actively sabotaging myself so thoroughly right now? I can even see myself doing it, and yet I can’t seem to work up the energy to put a stop to it. As if I deserve to destroy everything, as if I’m not worthy of any of it so I have to take it away from myself.

WTF? What completely has my mind baffled is that my heart is all in with this shit plan. My mind rails and curses and attempts to bully to get some positive traction (to turn this boat around!) and I swear it feels like the heart is just set on entrenching itself in the mud like the fish in this post’s Featured Image.

I’ve been working on sussing out why. WHY? Then this dream question enters the picture, and I rethink the adversarial relationship with the self and a new answer comes to me: My mind and my heart are at odds because the mind has no idea at all what the heart actually values, so the heart sees no value in any of it while the mind is still clinging to external, imposed values and punishing myself for not living up to them. I try to convince myself with positive affirmations:

I am worthy. (reply: I am worthless.)
I am intelligent. (reply: I am an idiot.)
I have skills and talents. (reply: I am worthless.)
I am likable and loved. (reply: I am unworthy.)

For almost every positive thing I tell myself, I get back something to do with worth and worthiness. That’s what I’m slogging through now. That’s the challenge. *chuckles* <tangent> Saturn in Taurus on a 1st/2nd house cusp: challenges relating to values and self-worth. A lifelong theme. This amuses me. Greatly. </tangent>

So then the exercise is to identify core values, those values which drive me. It would be a useful exercise to revisit old dreams with the idea of “what value is being represented in this dream that is being battled?” While I know the odds of my actually revisiting dreams for this purpose is low, I can most definitely use this question going forward!


Dreaming, Spirituality

Nothing. Just … nothing.

I can’t find the source now, but it was from some TV show or movie. The setup is that a small group of characters are working to resuscitate one who’s heart had stopped or something. They succeeded and brought the man back to life. The character who has a more spiritual bent asks “What did you see?” After a moment of silence in which the character literally appears shattered replies “Nothing. I saw nothing. Just … blank. There’s nothing there.”

And here was my immediate response if I were in that scene.

“Oh pulease! You have all the subconscious awareness of a brick. I see you’re descending into an existential crisis here, so let me ask: How often do you remember your dreams? Ever worked with them at all? I mean actively.” To which I imagine surprised head shakes. “And if you don’t remember your dreams, does that mean that when you are asleep and there is ‘nothing, just nothing’ that you have ceased to exist?” More head shakes with a furrowed brow.

“See, the world that awaits us after death is the one we visit constantly in our sleep. It is our dreaming self’s native world. Those who work with their dreams and have an actual relationship with their dreaming self will have the most ‘awareness’ – at least to our conscious concept of such – at to what goes on after death. But for those who have not developed that relationship, those psychic or mental/spiritual muscles? Nothing. Just blank. Why? Because your conscious capacity to process what it encounters is what is actually blank. We are 3 dimensional creatures visiting a 6th dimensional realm, to pose an analogy – and most minds simply can’t handle that.”

It’s akin to asking a kindergartner to solve calculus problems and then using the inability to do so as proof that that level of math is impossible and bogus.

Astrology, Dreaming, Magick, Personal Growth

Personal Dream Lexicons

With regard to western mystery traditions, someone asked the group: why do we start by studying symbols?

I answered “because it trains your brain to think differently.” In truth, learning how to speak the language of symbols trains your consciousness to think differently. All other parts of the brain (and body!!) ALREADY communicate symbolically. Words are a learned construct, but symbolic thought is native.

In that metaphysics class I took in 1991, in response to a query I relayed that thought without words is entirely possible – but after a lifetime of learning to communicate with words, that we then have to re-learn how to think without words. My exercise was to watch the sunset and think specific ideas without using words. That was a much harder exercise than I expected, but when it was finally mastered … oh, boy. The world opened up!

So when going into a Western Hermetic practice, learning about the elements, astrology, the Tree of Life, etc, is all about learning to master the symbolic language. Unfortunately, for most people it stays here, at the surface level with words in our brains. When a symbolic language has “sunk in” and you can say something like “she’s so earth” and that statement has a visceral feeling and set of concepts attached to it, that’s when the language has gone deeper.

But I had a thought while listening to this. It’s great and wonderful to adopt a set of symbols which have been in active use for thousands of years, but what about the internally meaningful symbolic language that we already speak? Why learn a second language without recognizing that we already speak a language? By this, I mean dreams. My brain has a rather rich set of symbols that it uses to attempt to communicate with me. As soon as I’ve finally figured out one symbol, it’s like the subconscious breaths a sigh of relief and starts upping the details.

I likened this process to the subconscious playing a game of charades with the conscious mind. “3 words, first word….” I got it! “next word” …. Oh.

In this beginner level, so far I’m seeing nothing about learning your own symbolic language, about learning how to listen first. Instead I hear a lot of words which translate to “control the outcome by stuffing the conscious agenda down the subconscious’ throat until we get what we want.” … Of course that is NOT how it’s stated, at all. But in order to be a fully conscious person I first have to listen to my own symbol set and learn to read them. For example, I’ve studied astrology for decades and speak the language quite fluently. So much so that it does speak to me when I look at charts. But my subconscious has never once used that symbol set to communicate with me in dreams… Ok. I take that back. I had a dream about a kitten being backed into a corner and harassed by a crab and scorpion — which knowing that cats are me, I was able to realize the crab and scorpion were my Cancer and Scorpio ex-in-laws. But that’s it. Just one dream, and the symbols were used to convey identity.

So what is your personal symbolic language? I’ve learned that mine is very animal centric. Not particularly surprising since I love animals so. What was surprising is that different animals are used to represent different levels of myself.

PotI’s Truncated Dream Lexicon:

Cat or kittens are my waking self, more specifically my concept of myself. Until I figured this out, all the cats in my dreams were sick, dying, mangy or otherwise unhealthy. Once I realized what was being shown to me, I was able to address it. The representation then immediately changed to healthy cats, but now they are adults or babies in varying degrees.

Dragons are often my spiritual self. The most dramatic dream was of an earth dragon trapped half-in half-out of the ground. It caught my attention, then scooped up a cat and deliberately crushed the cat to death in front of my face. The message was clear – if my spiritual self remained stuck in a half-birthed condition, the waking self will suffer. Well I addressed that one and now the dragons fly free in the sky in my dreams, present but not an actor.

Horses are very, very common in my dreams and when I finally realized that they represented my raw emotional self, that was a major turning point. They stopped being left to die in train cars to being willing to carry me to safety when I needed it. One even tried repeatedly to kill me by running at me, so I had to learn to deal with him in a constructive rather than combative way. He is now my ally when I need rage to see me through something.

Hamsters and rats are the other common dream animals, and I haven’t yet figured out what they mean but I know that they too represent some aspect of myself. I used to raise hamsters and think rats are awesome, so I know it’s positive. … It suddenly occurred to me that hamsters are solitary and rats are communal. Perhaps they are different aspects of my social self?

Here’s a non-animal one. Houses change their meaning depending on the circumstance. If I dream of a house that is being broken into or I have to defend, that’s literally a warning from my immune system that the body is under attack. I’ve successfully used this warning system to minimize or bypass many health issues. I’ve even used these dreams to track down and destroy issues, waking up on the mend. Sweet! But houses under construction usually mean something in my psyche is changing. Where the construction is and the scope of it can tell me what is happening to my internal landscape. Lastly, when I go to attics or basements in dreams, this is an attempt to call my attention to hidden aspects of myself which haven’t yet come to light but I’m ready or need to find them.

PotI’s Interpretation Approach:

Robert Moss loves the phrase “if it were my dream, I’d interpret it as…”. I’ve tried that. Doesn’t really work for me. I tend to say something like “have you thought about X interpretation?” or “do you think it might mean Y?”. I try to never say “Oh clearly it means L” because your dream lexicon is YOURS. That said, if I hear something come up repeatedly, that means something. I’ll call that out, and then try rephrasing the dream without specifics. One recent example: So an underground conduit needed repair and that’s when you discovered it was full of coyote puppies?

Once it’s rephrased like that, essentially distilled, often a meaning will just leap out at me. While it can be much easier to do that with other people’s dreams, every now and then I can do with my own and it’s very much a forehead smack moment. Duh!

So yes, study symbolism. It’s the language of the mind and the spirit. But in the study, include your own symbol set. I maintain that your subconscious will be far more likely to work with you (conscious self) if it sees that you’re willing to work with it too. Indeed, that’s what opens the doorway to random flashes of insight!


About the Featured Image: It’s a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where Richard Dreyfus’ character uses potatoes to try to unlock a subconscious hidden message.

Dreaming, Spirituality

Friends: Spirit and In-The-Flesh

Interesting question tonight on dream friends.

Most folks have dreams in which their real life friends play a part to some degree or other. At least, I assume so since those dreamers I know also report the same phenomena and I figure we’re all fairly typical for humans. Then a friend idly wondered if we had friends in the dream realms.

My immediate off-the-cuff answer – yes, of course.

*blink* Really?

Then I thought about it for a moment, and it made total sense. Just because I happen to be corporeal at the moment does not mean that my soul-existence has been suspended. Quite the contrary. My take is that the soul-self is massive, with many layers, one of which happens to be PotI and is writing this blog. Other parts include all my ‘past’ and ‘future’ lives as well. Actually I really love the metaphor of an author when it comes to the soul.

As an author, at any one time I have dozens of characters ruminating in my head, each with their own world, history, story, agenda, friends, enemies, etc. Some of those characters happen to be writers, with their own characters. When I write about one, the others don’t “vanish” or cease to exist — they just aren’t the focus. I kinda imagine that me as the ego running around Earth right now am the focus of the soul/author, working to craft the story which I call my life. Sometimes the story is set, and sometimes I as the character do something that surprises the author, etc. What’s really cool is that this life story has billions of other authors, all working collaboratively to tell a collective story centered around their own character of choice.

So I the soul self/author have friends outside of this tableau. Those who decided not to come into this particular chapter of the World Story, or who are indeed in it just remote from me the character. See physicality isn’t a limiting factor to the soul self, it’s just another element of the story which has to be factored in. And when I the character/ego go to sleep, I am free from many of the limits that my waking ego requires in order to navigate the physical world. I can dream.

There I visit others, and others visit me. Sometimes I recognize them, other times I don’t. For me, usually I don’t. I do have dream guides which look different from dream to dream, but I recognize the energy. I know that sometimes I’m the student, other times I’m the teacher. Sometimes I’m the visitor, sometimes I’m the visited. That said, I think the vast majority (like 97% +/-) are props that my subconscious is using to convey messages.

So that’s my take anyway, that just because we decided to come to Earth School doesn’t mean that we’ve cut the lines of the communication with our incorporeal and even corporeal but distant friends.


About the featured image: A really awesome image showing what I interpret to be a group of friends. Done by >RiverSpirit456 over on DeviantArt. Good stuff!

Dreaming, Spirituality

Active Dreamer, wherefore have you been?

“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.” — Joseph Campbell

I was digging through some old journals when I found my very first dedicated “Dream Journal”. I even drew a little picture of a moon and a unicorn by a lake on the cover of this tiny notes tablet. I was 11.

Over the years, I had trained myself to work with my dreams quite extensively. I read even more about them from the few good dreaming writers that I encountered. The first of these who really had a massive impact was Denise Linn, specifically her The Hidden Power of Dreams. This one also unlocked the door to identifying several past lives. Bonus!

After her, it was Robert Moss – and a great starting point with him is Conscious Dreaming. I’ve been to several of his workshops. Highly recommend!!

My take on dreams is many-fold:

  1. Every human spends between 1/3 and 1/4 of their LIFE asleep. That means I can choose to have 1/3 to 1/4 of my LIFE as a blank void, or as – at the very least – an entertaining, unpredictable drama to remember fondly. I chose to be entertained by remembering my dreams.
  2. The dream state is the most direct means of communication with our subconscious and super conscious selves that we have. Now I know those terms are pase, but I find them useful. By subconscious I am referring to that part of myself which notices far more than I do consciously, and very typically directs my actions without my intention. “Why the hell am I eating a donut? I don’t want a donut. … Dooooonuuuut.” By super conscious, I’m actually referring to our soul-selves, the part of us which is literally too big to manifest in this dimension. And if any aspect of dreaming is coming from either of these sources, shit yeah I need to be paying attention. It’s that Hermetic adage I strive to live by: Know thyself.
  3. Some dreams are gateways – some to other dimensions, some to visit people we love, some to be visited by those who have gone beyond. How COOL is THAT? Just by remembering a dream I can remember what an entity looks like that is composed of and communicates by means of manipulating its own light and dark energy body?! I can be visited by those much loved pets who’ve gone over the rainbow bridge? I can play with a multi-dimensional closet that allows me store EVERYTHING while taking up no space? Hell yes, sign me up for that.

I had, at one point, trained myself to wake up after every dream cycle and write down my dreams. That was, on average, 3 full dreams per night. Of course, writing in the dark at 3 am often yielded a page of indecipherable scribble and so eventually I stopped trying that approach. Attempts to record audibly my dreams either yielded an upset bed partner because I woke him, or indistinct garble because I wasn’t really awake enough to enunciate. Trying to scribble a single code word was perhaps the best method I found – typically that word was enough to trigger full recall of the dream. Sometimes, seeing an item triggered recall as well, because my brain was trained that way. It was during this period of time that I became very intimately familiar with my own sleep cycle and what was optimal for me. Definitely something everyone should know, oneironaut or not.

Eventually I came to remember my dreams in DETAIL. As in a whole freakin’ novel. My mom and I are close, and very much alike. So when I walked into my mom’s room one day and said “I remember this dream…” only to see her shoulders and face fall with a very clear “oh crap” expression, that pretty much told me that she didn’t want to hear it. And if my own mother felt that way, then those few other poor souls who patiently listened to me as I explored the dream and what it might mean etc etc were in fact bored out of their damn skulls and just too polite to say anything. I was crushed, and that was literally the last time I shared a full dream out loud. Every other recital was a Cliff’s Notes version.

It used to be my habit to wish others a good night with a “dream well” or “dream richly” or some such. I used start the day with family by asking “remember any dreams?” and then conversing about them. I love hearing other people’s dreams!!

What I’ve learned the very hard way is that for most people, they’d really RATHER spend 1/3 to 1/4 of their life blissfully blank.

For the recent last few years, I’ve given up on my dreams. I’ve chosen to spend my sleeping hours blissfully blank. A means of avoidance, I think. I knew my subconscious was screaming at me, trying desperately to get me to see something I knew was there but letting others talk me out of. I allowed others to destroy my trust in myself, in my own observations, hell, my own thought process. I didn’t know what was real and what was fantasy, relying on the WRONG people to help me sort it all out. I fully own that I let this happen, that my Victim was running the show.

And now? What is my excuse now for continuing to choose blankness over entertainment, messages, and gateways? I wish there was an easy answer, but for now all I can say is “it’s not time yet”. As if delving into dreams takes a strong sense of self, a sense of trust in your own mind and feelings, trust that I can tell one realm from another. Because in dreams, it’s easy to get lost.

*rereads last paragraph* Yeah, I think that is by far the best answer I’ve ever heard on that. It’s not a complete answer, but it definitely hits on something powerful about active dreamers. While my lucid dreams, back when I had them, didn’t suddenly become so real they felt like the conscious waking world (which is what everyone says happens, but I’ll tell you that it’s not) I could still easily say “Well, since I’m dreaming, I can do this” or “this is MY dream and I don’t like this ending, re-write it!” or ask “what do you beastie in this dream represent?” or even proclaim “heeeey, you aren’t a construct of my subconscious because I know precisely what my own mind feels like. Who are you?” All of these statements require an understanding of myself, of my own mind and dream world. It requires an active presence to a greater or lesser degree of the conscious mind to be able to have these in-dream moments. Active dreaming is just that – ACTIVE. If I don’t have the capacity to engage, then perhaps not engaging is exactly what I needed. A break, if you will.

Another part of me laments that I have no one to share dreams with. What’s the point? It’s like having 1/3 to 1/4 more life experience and no one gives a damn. But … why I do feel I need to share them? Can’t they just be mine? I can still continue to build on my dream dictionary, invite others in or visit them, fly, swim, meet other dimensional entities, etc. No one would ever really “get” these dreams like I would anyway, yet having someone who shared their own dreams and dream insights with me is inspirational to me. (a-ha! moment) That’s what I’m missing! Not that I want to share my own per se, but I’m missing that spirit of co-creation, of being inspired by and with. I want to be with others who are grounded oneironauts like me! (I’m thinking positively with the ‘grounded’ aspect there.)

Back in the “golden age”, I made more progress on the development of my active dreaming capacity than at any other point in my life precisely BECAUSE I had active dreamers to share with. I want that again.

Now I hear “it’s time”.