Sunday, June 6, 2010
Awakening to dreams in Portland
Dreaming is not fundamentally about sleep, though I greatly value the sleep dreams that come spontaneously and offer us an objective view of ourselves and our place in the worlds. Dreaming is essentially about waking up to a larger reality and a secret logic of events that are often hidden from the everyday conscious mind. So it seems fitting that my Active Dreaming workshop in Portland this weekend is unfolding in a lovely center called Awakenings. The sun smiled on us all Saturday, which is already a dreamlike event in this rainy city.
I asked the dreamers who joined our circle to introduce themsleves by sharing their intention for the weekend, and the title of a dream or image, which enabled us gto taste the flavor of each other's imaginations right at the start. I noted some of the intention:
"I want to learn how to bring the energy of my dreams into 3D reality."
"I want to make closer links between my dreaming and my writing."
"I'm here to deepen my practice of dreaming."
"I want to use dreaming to integrate my inner child into my adult world."
"I'm here to acquire tools to re-vision education for children, to help them and their families bring back soul and to make them safe with their dreams."
"I'm here to move beyond getting weireded out when my dreams turn into real events in waking life."
"I'm here to find new direction for my painting, and my life."
These generous statements of intention gave us a vivid sense of expanding horisons of possibility. I demonstrated our quick, high-energy dream sharing process - Lightning Dreamwork - with three volunteers who undertook the assignment to tell us a dream as a story, and to hold the attention of the audience. One of the gifts of dream sharing is that, when we do it right, we find our voice and develop our skills as storytellers. An even greater gift, especially for newcomers, is that when we are heard with deep attention and given the right kind of feedback, we receive vital validation of our inner lives and our soul quests.
Stephani told us a dream of being back in her former home, trying to sort out old clothersm when a pirate ship appeared on a body of water at her door that doesn't exist in the regular world.
Jaya's dream took us into deep ancestral territory. She found herself riding in the back of a van by a river. She witnessed a mysterious ritual in which seven people clad in wolfskins performed a sacred dance around the bodies of dead wolves. As they danced, light rose from them, forming a cone shape that then opened out and produced the head of a wolf among the stars. The dreamer urgently wanted to stop the van and see more, but was unable to influence the driver. She woke with a profound sense of longing. She leaped at the suggestion that she might be able to reenter the dream, with the help of shamanic drumming, and get out of the van and ask the wolf people for permission to learn the nature of their ritual and of their connection with the Wolf Star.
In a dream of equal mythic power, a man stepped into a river carrying a sword. In the water, his sword became a chalice. On the far side of the river, he saw a family of bears. He became alarmed when they stared at him fiercely, and he turned away though he felt the object of his quest lay beyond the bears. "I feel the bears are gatekeepers, and that I need to face them and go beyond them." He welcomed the idea that he too, could reenter his dream, wide awake and conscious, and confront the bears and seek to discover what lay beyond them.
So here we had two excellent plans for dream reentry and group dreaming - for an exercise in what could be termed shamanic lucid dreaming. The wolf dreamer and the bear dreamer gave permission for the whole group to travel with them, back into their dreams and to explore beyond the remembered scenes and carry the action forward. In two group journeys powered by shamanic drumming, we shared extraordinarily powerful and moving adventures.
As a lunchbreak assignment, I asked everyone to be alert for anything striking or unusual that entered their field of perception as they roamed the town - to be open to receiving symbolic popups from the world. Waiting for coffee on my way back from lunch, I noticed Stephani, who had dreamed of pirates, standing in front of a corner bar, a block away from our workshop site, talking on her cell phone. The sign above her head, apparently unnoticed until now, read "The Jolly Roger". Life rhymes, and there are dresms that want to come into the surface world, some singing pirate songs.