Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Active Dreaming is a path of real magic

Dreams require action! If we do not do something with our dreams in waking life, we miss out on the magic. Real magic consists of bringing something through from a deeper reality into our physical lives, which is why active dreaming is a way of natural magic – but only if we take the necessary action to bring the magic through.
    My term Active Dreaming is my preferred name for my whole approach, which is an original synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic techniques for shifting consciousness and traveling in other realities. One of the most important and helpful practices I have created is what I call the Lightining Dreamwork game. It is a simple method that enables us to create a safe space where we can share dreams of the night or dreams of life with a partner, encourage each other to tell our stories well, give helpful feedback, and help each other to take action to bring energy and guidance from the dream into regular life. We do not “interpret” each other’s dreams. Instead, we help each other to become authors of meaning for our own dreams and our own lives. When we offer our thoughts and associations on a dream, we always begin by saying, “If it were my dream”, owning our projections and leaving the dreamer free to settle on their own understanding of the dream.
     Becoming an active dreamer means learning to enter the dreamspace with intention, whenever you choose; in the workshops we do this the shaman’s way, using drumming to fuel and focus journeys through the doorway of a remembered dream or into a new space we wish to explore. Active dreamers are also active with their dreams in regular life. By sharing dreams the right way, we build and deepen relationships and community. No Active Dreaming process is complete until the dreamer has come up with an action plan. Among the possibilities

  • create from a dream: turn the dream into a story or poem. Draw from it, paint from it, turn it into a comic strip
  • take a physical action to celebrate an element in the dream, such as wearing the color that was featured in the dream, traveling to a place from the dream, making a phone call to an old friend who showed up in the dream
  • use an object or create a dream talisman to hold the energy of the dream: A stone or crystal may be a good place to hold the energy of a dream, and return to it.
  • use the dream as a travel advisory: If the dream appears to contain guidance on a future situation, carry it with you as a personal travel advisory. Summarize the dream information on a cue card or hold it in an image you can physically carry.
  • go back into the dream to clarify details, dialogue with a dream character, explore  the larger reality – and have marvelous fun!
How do you get really good at this? The answer is the same, in any field: practice, practice. Malcolm Gladwell has popularized the idea that it requires 10,000 hours of practice to get really good in any chosen field. If this is true, then dreamers have a long head start. All of us are dreaming every night, not only in sleep but in the twilight state of hypnanogia. And if we learn to read the world around us as a book of symbols and to navigate by synchronicity, we can put in our hours in this fun and magical way too, quite effortlessly.
    I’ll admit, there will be some effort involved to become a true master of the dreamways. I can teach you to swim, but you’ll need to grow your own courage and accumulate your own experience of riptides and what lives in the deep before you are ready for the ocean where shamans and mystics swim while madmen drown.

Photo: Deck at magical Mosswood Hollow by Jakob Bentsen

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