A woman in one of my workshops is resolved to confront her worst fear. She will do this in a conscious shamanic journey, aided by my drumming, with a small group of people accompanying her as her family support. I suggest that they take all the room they need in the space beyond our main circle.
-I realize it's time for all of us to make this journey to overcome fear. I direct the rest of our people to form small groups of four, in which everything will center on one person - the one who is resolved to face his or her worst fear - in the next journey.
While people generally sit or lie down for journeying with the drum, a man remains standing, feeling that he needs to confront his fear on his feet. The people in his group stand with him. There are a few individuals who don't partner up. It seems they are nervous and want to stay on the sidelines to see how this goes.
The first woman has an image of her fear. It's come up again and again in recurring dream scenarios. Not everyone is quite so sure of what form their fear will take. I suggest to these others, "You can approach the journey as a Reverse Boggart. In third-year Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Lupin gives Harry's class the assignment of confronting a boggart. This is a nasty , shapeshifting creature that takes on the form of your worst fear. In Harry's class, the boggart comes out of a wardrobe. In our exercise, in contrast, we are going to step into the space in which we will encounter our very worst fear.
"Remember that the charm for dealing with a boggart is a Riddikulus spell, which transforms the fear into something funny or preposterous. The most important weapon you'll need to take into the closet is your sense of humor.
"Now picture a huge dark wardrobe rising in front of you. When the drumming begins, you will open the door and step inside. The space within may seem very cramped, or larger than you might have dreamed possible, defying any laws of proportion. The door closes behind you. For a moment, you are in the dark. Now, obscurely, a shape is starting to form. It is assuming the shape of your worst fear. Ready?"
I woke charmed by this dream in which, yet again, I caught a glimpse of my dream self in possession of a technique my waking self had not yet invented or used. Doing a Reverse Boggart seems like an intriguing exercise to introduce in one of my workshops in the regular world - just as soon as I am sure that whoever is asked to do this has all the security and support they need. That isn't so hard to arrange in my circles, where we grow wonderful group energy, and enlist the help of the powers that love to support soul and its healing.
In the dreams we run away from, leaving them as broken shards of nightmare, we see forms our boggarts have assumed in the past: as spider or tsunami, as the walking dead or a possessed elevator. Dream reentry - going back consciously into the dream space, with the clear intention of carrying the action forward to resolution - is the sovereign remedy here. Doing a Reverse Boggart requires us to take more of a leap into the dark. We must be prepared to encounter forms of our fears we may never have seen, because we kept our eyes shut tight or because the boggart is wily, trying on successive fright masks.
-What we most fear is what we most need to do. Who's game for a Reverse Boggart?