Dream Work

From: The Dreamers

 Offerred by Ingrid Jeffries
Our dreams take us into the realm of unlimited potential.  For us to tap into, and use this potential in
its most spiritually expanding manner, it is important to develop a practice or ritual around going to
sleep that helps one to clear the mind, body and psyche.  Many traditions have prayers, mantras,
specific visualizations or activities that help the dreamer to clear one of non-benevolent thoughts
and emotions before entering the sleep state. Counting ones blessings is a fairly common method
that is a perfect way to enter into dream time.
Often in our early experience with dream recall, our dream stories are personal and instructive.  
They give us direct information about oneself, offering guidance and nurturing.  These dreams
come whether we ask for them or not, whether we are on a disciplined path or not.

Dream Work
Can provide us with:
Ø        A sense of symbolic awareness providing for greater objectivity
Ø        Solutions to problems
Ø        Insights into oneself and ones relationships
Ø        Access to our higher self
Ø        Contact with our spirit guides
Ø        Keys to past lives
Ø        Creative inspiration
Ø        Expansion of ones sense of humor
Ø        Health advice
Ø        The future

The Journal Itself
Ø        Large enough to record several months
Ø        Is divided into sections
Ø        One for dream symbols and vocabulary
Ø        One for insights
Ø        One for the tracking of themes

Dream Recall Techniques

1.     Decide and affirm wholeheartedly that you want to remember and understand you  

2.     Place your light, journal and pen or tape recorder next to your bed.
  Optional: a glass of water.

3.     Date and note in your journal what happened during the day.  How stressful?  Key
   issues?    Moon phase?

4.     Reflect on what specific problem, situation or question you would like guidance for.

5.     Make your last thoughts as you drift off to sleep a reminder of your intention to recall
   your dreams.
   Combine your last thoughts to remember your dreams with a gentle focus on the issues
   you would like to dream about.

6.    Breathe in to the count of four, breath out all tension and thoughts of the day.  Feel
  yourself releasing in a stream of energy your entire mental dialog.
  Imagine a bright light at your third eye center, visualize a very wise aspect of yourself
  bathed in rainbow light there and mentally thank it for the guidance it has and will offer
  you.   It is important to form a relationship with this wise discerning aspect of Self.  
  Try to visualize her/him clearly.

7.    Now imagine yourself already asleep and it is close to waking time.  Envision yourself
  waking up and reaching for your journal.  You see yourself recalling your dreams
  effortlessly and writing (or telling them on tape) freely.

8.    As you drift off to sleep repeat “I am remembering my dreams.”

9.    Upon waking in the night or morning, ask yourself “What was I dreaming,” make brief
  notes of whatever you recall.  As you write or speak try to remain in the same sleeping
  position,  if you must stretch, do so and then return to the position you were in at waking,
  keep your eyes closed if you can, for most it is easier to recall.

10.   If you have no dream recall, or if you’ve finished with your notes (and have the time)
   roll gently into another sleep position you like to use and remain there for a moment.
   Again, ask yourself, “ What was I dreaming?” This will sometimes trigger fresh dream
   You can through resuming your sleep postures enhance recall.

11.   Record:  the main images, the setting, the central action of the dream, how you felt, what
   you were doing, objects and colors, sounds and sense of, and whatever else has made
  an impression.

Extra Aids
Ø        Taking a B-vitamin complex before bed showed a 75—80% increase in recall for study
      participants.  B-6 only or B-complex with vitamin C were used.
Ø        Calcium-magnesium is also said to help those with muscle cramps
Ø        Chamomile tea, anise flavored water, tea or liqueur
Ø        The essences of orange, clary sage, frankincense, juniper (esp. insomnia), chamomile
      placed in a diffuser   
Ø        Wearing an amethyst ring, placing a rock crystal under your pillow, other stones said
      to enhance dream recall are citrine, jet,  ruby, green jasper, turquoise, green calcite
Ø        A small purple pillow stuffed with the herbs, lavender, mugwort, rosemary, thyme
Ø        Many traditions believe we have a spiritual guide known as the Dream Teacher or
Ø        We tend to have a 90-minute sleep cycle, sometimes either waking yourself up a half
      hour earlier or allowing yourself to sleep a half hour longer will also facilitate the
      memory process.

                           Techniques for Understanding
Recording style can be prose, poetic (short lines), a drawing or mapping with circles.
1.        Circle mapping is easiest for those with limited time upon rising
2.        It allows one to relate dream events in a non-linear more flowing way
3.        For some sketching is another method that stimulates recall understanding

Step One: Record the images in your dream
   What is the action?
   Where is the setting?
   Who is there?

Step Two: What word or phrase best expresses your feeling in this dream?   
  Give your dream a title.
  Ask yourself, how did this dream make me feel?
  Or how did I feel in the dream?

Step Three: When is this same feeling present in your waking life?
  Sometimes tracking down the source of our feelings can be tricky.  This is where group
  sharing can trigger a new angle or view for a dream.  We almost always get a tingle or a
  Aha! of recognition that allows a particular area of your life to leap into focus.

Step Four: What were the significant activities in your dream?
Ø        These activities will often point to themes.
Ø        Each of us carries a significant dream theme
Ø        Example of some universal themes are:
Ø        Being chased or attacked representing pursuit (chased) and fear of power (attack)
Ø        Car or other vehicle troubles representing malfunctioning of ones form of personal
      power or the ego vehicle.
Ø        Falling representing fear of failure or loss of power
Ø        Flying representing controlled freedom
Ø        Drowning rep. being overwhelmed by emotions
Ø        Swimming rep. emotion as environment or movement through feelings
Ø        Machine or telephone malfunction rep. ability to automate or communicate not working
Ø        Being lost or trapped rep. being without direction or denied freedom
Ø        Being naked or inappropriately dressed rep. being exposed or feeling vulnerable
Ø        Having trouble taking a test rep. not feeling prepared
Ø        House dreams rep. your Being, the house of Self
Ø        Sex dreams rep. dreams of union or denied union
This is another area that is some times good to work with a partner or others as we are so used to
our dream themes that we lose sight of the hidden messages and significance.

Step Five: List the characters in your dream.  What part of you does each dream figure represent?
Ø        List your cast of characters
Ø        If you know them they may represent your feeling about them. For example: my
      husband is capable and extravagant.
Ø        Often your first thought response is what you need to follow for that particular dream
Ø        Ask yourself in what ways are you capable of behaving like this particular dream figure.

Step Six: List the significant places, objects, colors and events of the dream.
Ø        Particularly note what is vivid or out of place
Ø        If in a house what room are you in?
Ø        What are you wearing?  

Step Seven: What changes if any would you like to make in this dream?
Active participation.
Ø        There’s a saying “ When you change your dreams you change your life”
Ø        Begin by imagining different endings, have fun
Ø        Imagine dialoging with your characters or responding differently to them.
Ø        This is extremely an important step for those that find themselves dealing with the
      same dream theme over & over.
Ø        When we acknowledge our dream images we directly experience the inner aspects of
      ourselves that are clothed in these images. Remember we are everyone in our dream.
Ø        We can bring the fragmented aspects of self into unity.

Step Eight:
Anchoring the dream.  Briefly summarize the dream’s meaning.
   How does it apply to your waking life?
Ø        The energy released through dream resolution can trigger concurrent breakthroughs
      in waking life.
Ø        Honor the insight through an appropriate activity
Ø        For example: If your dream imagery involved a river, you may decide to go to a place
      where there is flowing water. Writing the dream message with a stick on top of the
      water and perhaps taking a stone from the river as a reminder of the dream’s message,
      lesson or spiritual guidance could be one way to anchor a dreams message.  

Types of Dreams—Definitions of Some of the More Common

Ø        Mundane Dreams
These are the dreams of daily life.  They re-play and /or rearrange events of the previous day or
anticipate the events of the coming day.  Mundane dreams will sometimes solve problems that we
haven’t had the time or inclination to solve during our waking hours.  Though these dreams may not
seem exciting or profound, they do serve the purpose of re-generation.  These are the dreams we
have when we are physically tired and mentally stressed.

Ø        Psychological Dreams
These are the dreams that mirror and expose our behavioral and emotional patterns.  They provide
an opportunity to get in touch with our false or ego self, unclear thinking, and the lies we choose to
perpetuate through ignorance.  They also provide guidance for integration of self and access to a
broader view of our potential.  They are key to spiritual authenticity and awakening.

Ø        Past Life Dreams
These dream stories are staged in another time or era that is different from our own.  The dreamer
is either witnessing an event or playing a character from another era. There may be individuals you
feel you know but who look differently than they do now in the present.  These dreams can provide
keys to present relationships, fears, etc. and allow one to experience the important process of

Ø        Lucid Dreaming
This involves the dreamer realizing that they are dreaming and taking control of their dream by
asking their subconscious’ “Wise Self” to show them the way to best deal with an issue.  For
example: Clarity now in regards to????  I now experience my highest self, etc.  The more
sophisticated one becomes as a dreamer the more often one is able to be aware of the dreaming
process as it occurs.  During a lucid dream the dreamer’s ordinary awareness “wakes up” while the
mind is writing the dream story.  Because the dreamer stays in the dream, while the physical body is
still asleep, he or she can actively and consciously participate in writing the story.  At first, lucidity
comes without warning and without the dreamer’s overt participation.  It just happens.  With
practice it becomes a more accessible phenomena that is very important to spiritual growth.

Ø        Collective Dreaming
This stage of dreaming is about accessing information that is contained in what is called the
“morphic field”.    Morphic fields are defined as “fields of information.”  They are non-material
regions of influence extending in space and continuing in time.”(1)   Morphic fields not only hold or
store information, they transmit that information through space and time.  These fields explain why
ideas may occur simultaneously to people in different parts of the world. In other words, an idea
doesn’t originate in the individual thinker.  It resides in an invisible field of information to which the
individual thinker attunes his or her mind. In tribal societies it was not unusual for whole villages to
have a similar dream on the same night.  Some tribes held dream festivals, where over a span of
days or weeks all the dreams were collected.  From this pooling of dreams a pattern would emerge
which the leaders used as a guide in their construction of tribal policies.  In more modern times,
Leonardo DiVinci, Shakespeare,  Napoleon,  Lewis Carrol,  Thomas Edison, all gave credit to their
dreams as the origin of creative ideas and inventions.

Ø        Telepathic Dreams
These are dreams where we pick up information about something that happened in waking,
concrete reality.  This is usually something that has occurred non-locally.  Telepathic dreams often
occur to lovers and to those who carry, what Caroline Myss calls the “Lover” archetype.  These are
people who are in love with life, they are the mystical lovers. These dreams are considered dreams
of the heart and the door to information without the key of love will not open.

Ø        Prophetic or Clairvoyant Dreams
These are dreams in which we perceive something before it happens. Clairvoyant dreams generally
occur very quickly within a few days to a week. Prophetic dreams are most often presented as a
riddle or in purely symbolic terms and can take years to manifest as in the case of Nostradamos.

Ø        Transformational Dreams
These are most commonly healing or teaching dreams. They provide information that is directly
relevant to the dreamer regarding either health or education.  Often there is a reoccurring
personality that imparts the information one needs to receive.

Ø        Divine or Soul Dreams
These dreams connect us with the Divine in some manner.  There may be a sense of merging or
experiencing of the source of Love, compassion, etc.  Sometimes there is no image but a sense of
merging with the void that feels totally peaceful and harmonious.

Ø        Out of Body Experiences
These are unique to each individual.  Often there is a sense of movement, an energy surge, a
humming vibrational sound, a roar, or pop, sometimes a bright flash of light. Often you can see your
body sleeping, there may be a soft glow around objects, there is a conscious connection to all
existence, and there is an over-whelming sense of pure love. There is a complete disassociation or
release from the physical body and ego.  The concepts and limits of time, space, and form are

In Closing
There are many books on this subject.  Challenge any claims made about dreams.  Dreams are and
always will be a gift and a great mystery.  Only you know the true meaning to any dream you might

(1)        Rupert Sheldrake,  The Presence of the Past:  Morhic Resonance and Habits of Nature

Dream Work Methodology

Things to remember:  
Ø        Dreams express what is unconscious
Ø        Do not take the symbols literally but view them as a dynamic operating within
Ø        Do not judge behavior or actions
Ø        Follow spontaneous word descriptions and associations
As noted in the clustering or mapping exercise

Dream Symbols-- In your journal count out 26 pages and letter them from A—Z.  
When a symbol appears in a dream, write it on the appropriate page and note the keys words it
stimulated in your mind through the clustering technique.
Keep track of the number of times you have dreamed of a particular symbol
Ø        Choose to explore the symbol with the greatest energy for you
Ø        Choose the symbol with the greatest meaning or healing
Ø        Choose the symbol most foreign to you or most fearful

Dream Ego
Ego:  Defined as the part of the psyche that experiences and reacts to the outside world.
This is the most common aspect of all dreams, it is the image of ourselves in the dream.
Dream work gives us an opportunity to observe and work with our ego’s choice making abilities    
and attitudes.

Dream work provides us with the opportunity to see how we do and do not make creative and life
affirming choices.
Ø        It allows us to rewrite those behaviors that keep us stuck in non-affirmative patterns.
Ø        List the attitudes you want to let go of and transform.
Ø        Formulate intentions with specify actions with embody life affirming attitudes.
Ø        As you carry out these actions in the weeks ahead, look for dreams and synchronistic events
which confirm or support your new attitude.

Dream Dialogue
Ø        There are two conduits that run from the unconscious to the conscious mind. They are your
dreams and your imagination.
Ø        We talk or write to hear ourselves.  
Ø        This is the primary technique for overcoming nightmares
Ø        To really benefit from this process:  we must be open, we must have the fortitude to go
through with the dialogue, you must have a passion for the truth, there must be a sincere desire for
inner healing,  you may have to have a dialogue with your inner censor or judge.

Ø        We can discover what the issue of a dream is through dialoguing with the characters.
Ø        Questions to ask:
Ø        What or who are you?
Ø        Why are you in my dream?
Ø        Why are you acting the way you are in my dream?
Ø        What do you have to tell me?
Ø        Why is such and such happening in my dream?
Ø        What do you thing/feel about such and such?
Ø        What do you want from me?   What do you want me to do?
Ø        What is your gift to me?
Ø        What questions would you ask of me?
Ø        What do you think/feel about this dialogue?

Ø        Choosing the dream being with which to dialogue.  
Ø        Any figure or situation can be chosen for dialogue.  A person, the mountain, the dream ego
itself, the monster, etc.  Go where the most energy or perplexity resides.

Dream Archetypes

Archetypes go back to and beyond Plato’s concept of ideal forms or patterns already existing in the
divine mind.  They frequently appear in our dreams.  
There are considered to be seven basic archetypes that are found in every dream.
Ø        The Feminine, the Masculine, the Heroic, the Adversary, Death-rebirth, the Journey, the
individuation of self.

The Dream Task

This is where we take the insight we have received from a dream and integrate it through action.  
The task involves both reflection and action.  The task grounds and tests reflection with action.
Ø        Issues related to task work:
Ø        Does insight produce change?
Ø        If I know what is causing a certain destructive behavior, will I change it?
Ø        What creates the kind of integrity that when I know something is true for me I will act
   upon it despite the suffering involved?
Ø        At some point when we are thoroughly tired of a dream theme or pattern we will chose
   to make a change.
Ø        Generally, once we gain an insight we can ask ourselves what an appropriate action
   would be to ground the insight.  Using the clustering or dialoguing methods or sharing
   ideas with a good friend could help.