”Last night I dreamt I was a butterfly, or perhaps I am a butterfly that dreamt I was a man”. Chuang Tzu
Dreams part of ancient wisdom traditions as a source of wisdom, healing, and communication with the beyond.
Sherry has studied with Jeremy Taylor in his method of “Projective Group Dream Work”. She has participated and led dream groups for over 15 years, and has a deep respect for the dreamer’s capacity to access personal insight through this work. She enjoys the magic, humor, and deep wisdom she often finds in working with dreams.
The Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W. B. Yeats
The Old and New Testament have many examples of people receiving divine guidance in dreams. Is this experience available to us today? Is it happening and we are simply unaware? Dreams can be a highly accessible source of spiritual information and guidance, and also can be fascinating to explore.
Indigenous cultures hold a deep respect for the dream world and the dream time. In the Western scientific model we have come to disregard dreams, which is ironic since some major scientific discoveries and theories were based on insights gained through dreams. Descartes, Einstein, Neils Bohr. (Linn, p. 19)
Dreams are messages from our unconscious mind trying to break through to consciousness for the purpose of our health and wholeness.
The understanding of dreams is that in the dreamtime, we have greater access to subconscious material, our own as well as the collective. Dreams are the subconscious mind’s way of trying to bring something to consciousness, it is our subconscious knocking on the door. And the conscious mind is resisting this material, thus our quickly forgetting or dismissing of our dreams. Sometimes the knocking becomes quite loud however, in the form of a nightmare, an urgent call from the subconscious, literally wake up and pay attention!
But the dreams don’t often mean what we would think in a very literal translation. Rather dreams are spoken in symbolic language, a universal language of symbols. Some of these symbols will also carry very personal meaning and some will have a universal meaning.
Various levels of meaning of dreams:
Mundane; the junk of the day. Cognitive waste bin.
Some spiritual symbols though only the dreamer can say for sure:
Water: spirit, the unconscious (ocean)
Gate, doorways: Threshold, transitions
Pregnancy, birth: initiation, creativity, new birth, renewal.
Child: Divine child-precocious, grows very quickly, wise.
Grandmother: wise woman, crone, grand mother.
Mountains, stairs: acsent, journey.
Caution not to take our dream images too literally and to remember that all dreams come in service of health and wholeness.