Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Books for Magical Dreaming

Real magic is the art of bringing gifts from another world into this world. We do this when we go dreaming and when we remember to bring something back. In dreaming, we go to other realities, that may include places of guidance, initiation, challenge, adventure, healing. When we bring something back from these excursions, and take action in ordinary life to embody guidance and energy, that is a practice of real magic.
    Dreaming, as I teach and practice it, is not fundamentally about what happens in sleep; it’s about waking up to a deeper order of reality. We can dream wide awake in everyday life, by paying attention the play of signs and symbols all around us. Navigating by synchronicity is the dreamer’s way of operating 24/7. Through the weaving of synchronicity, we are brought awake and alive to a hidden order of events, to the understory of our world and our lives.
    I have published many books that are relevant to the understanding and practice of magical dreaming, and it is time to introduce the whole family.

Conscious Dreaming


First published in 1996, Conscious Dreaming remains in many ways my foundation book, offering my original synthesis of dreamwork and shamanism.  Its toolkit includes the Nine Keys to Understanding Your Dreams. Important chapters explain how we can develop our intuitive dream radar to see across time and space, engage in helpful and healing communication with the departed, encounter inner and transpersonal guides, and harvest energy and inspiration for self-healing and creativity. 

In Conscious Dreaming I make this statement about the magic of dreams in my own life:

"To me, dreams are an inner authority, a creative touchstone in all things, uniting seemingly disparate matters: from career choice to the most basic economic and financial decisions that life requires of us, from the most mundane questions of being and doing, getting and spending - which they enliven and invest with new significance - to the most spiritual questions of higher purpose and self-understanding. They have brought vitality and excitement to my inner and outer life, forging the two spheres into the truth of a path with heart, the only path to walk."


Dreamgates


First published in 1998 and now available in a beautiful 2010 second edition Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death is a lively manual for frequent flyers ready to travel far and wide in the multidimensional universe. You are encouraged to make the twilight state between sleep and awake your departure lounge for lucid dream adventures. You are offered a working anatomy of subtle energy bodies and a working geography of astral and other realities. You are invited to visit places of healing, initiation and advanced education in the Imaginal Realm and to follow the phosphorescent trails of previous voyagers. 

Dreamgates contains practical guidance on flight security for dream travelers:


"It is always appropriate to ask for help, and help is always available. You are going on a journey, but in all likelihood you are also responding to a call — a call from a deeper aspect of your Self, a call from a spiritual teacher (perhaps even a Master) who has been watching over you and waiting for you to reawaken to the deeper dimensions of reality in which your life and your soul’s purpose have their source. Aslan says to the children in The Silver Chair, 'You would not have called to me unless I had first called to you.' You are reaching inward — or upward — to something that has been reaching to you, perhaps unnoticed by your everyday mind. Call for help to that unseen agency that supports your life, or to guides and allies with familiar names, and help will be given."


Dreaming True

 Dreaming True is my fullest guide to how, as conscious dreamers, we can not only see the future but shape the possible future for the better. It defines and explores seven levels of dreaming: dream recycling; dream moviemaking; dreaming with the body; psychic dreaming; transpersonal dreaming; sacred dreaming; and dreambringing, which is what we do when we learn to bring a dream - a healing image, a vision of possibility, even a map to the next world - to someone in need of a dream.

Dreaming True provides keys to manifestation through the exercise of creative imagination. And it offers this solace and encouragement for our soul odysseys:

"Let's be real about this: There will be days when the contrast between your vision and the clutter and letdowns and bruises of everyday life seems so jarringly huge that you give up hope. But this is not about hope. It's about vision, which is more substantial than hope. Hold the vision in your mind, however rough the seas turn out to be. If you can dream it, you can do it." 


Dreamways of the Iroquois

Dreamways of the Iroquois: Honoring the Secret Wishes of the Soul follows the trail that opened for me when an ancient Huron?Mohawk arendiwanen ("woman of power") called me in dreams when I moved to a farm on the edge of traditional Mohawk country. Her voice resonates through the book. We learn from the shamanic dreaming traditions of First Peoples of the Northeast that dreaming is about soul and survival. Dreams reveal the ondinnonk, the "secret wish of the soul" and it is the duty of decent people in a decent society to gather round the dreamer and help them to recognize and manifest what soul wants in their life. Dreams also rehearse us for the future, showing us challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This can benefit whole communities.

Here is the voice of Island Woman, dream shaman and Mother of the Wolf Clan, from Dreamways of the Iroquois:

"Through dreaming, we recover the knowledge of our sacred purpose that belonged to us before we came into our present bodies. Then we can begin to live from our sacred purpose and unite ourselves to the powers of creation. We can also begin to get in touch with other members of our soul families who live in other places and times.
     "Unless you dream, you’ll never be fully awake. In the Shadow World, we go around like sleepwalkers. In big dreams, we wake up."


The Dreamer's Book of the Dead

I wrote The Dreamer's Book of the Dead because what happens after death is far too important for us to rely on hand-me-down beliefs and second-hand accounts. We need first-hand knowledge. We get that by visiting places where the dead are alive, and by receiving visitations from those who have departed this world. Both ways of knowing are opened, easily and naturally, in dreams.
    The Dreamer's Book of the Dead helps you confirm that healing and forgiveness are always available across the apparent barrier of death and that departed loved ones and ancestors can become family guides and counselors. It offers practical guidance on how we can help the deceased  when they are stuck or confused and how we can assist the dying to prepare for death by opening to their dreams. You'll learn how to call in spiritual guidance and protection and embark on a journey to the Other Side for helpful and timely communication with someone who resides there.

The central message of The Dreamer's Book of the Dead:

"It is never too early or too late for us to brave up to death and discover what happens on the Other Side. As Montaigne said, 'We do not know where death will meet us, so we must be ready to meet death everywhere.' When we are willing to meet death as an ally instead of a dread, we find we have superabundant energy for life and can approach our life choices with the courage and clarity that a close encounter with death may bring."



The Three "Only" Things

The Three "Only" Things  celebrates three powerful sources of guidance and energy for life that we too readily dismiss as "only" this or than:  dreams, coincidence and imagination. It contains instructions for the Lightning Dreamwork Game,an original fun, fast four-step technique for sharing dreams and life stories in a safe, mutually supportive way that leads to positive action. It also contains the Nine Rules of Coincidence - guidance for navigating life passages through synchronicity. The book is easily accessible and a good one to recommend or gift to someone who is just putting their toes in these waters.

Here's a tip from The Three "Only" Things on how to deal with blocks:

"The blocks we encounter on our roads - whether they are in ourselves, in our circumstances, or both - may be teachers and helpers, as well as part of life's cycles. A block can drive us to discover a new direction, spur us to develop new skills and courage and stamina, or lead us to look again at what really matters in life.

   ‎"I've come to believe that some of the blocks and setbacks we encounter in life are placed on our paths but our Gatekeeper to save us from compounding mistakes, to make us take a longer view of our issues - and encourage us to shift direction and notice better options." 


The Secret History of Dreaming

The Secret History of Dreaming restores a missing dimension to our understanding of what drives the human adventure: the vital role of dreams and imagination in science and literature, war and religion, medicine and the survival of our kind. History without the inner side is as shallow as history without economics, and as boring as history without sex.
   This is not another book about dreams. It is a history of dreaming, a term I use in an expansive sense to encompass not only night dreams but also waking visions, the interplay of mind and matter that is sometimes called synchronicity, and experiences in a creative “solution state”.
    We learn how a dream led directly to one of the biggest oil finds in history, how Mark Twain’s life was guided by coincidence and how Harriet Tubman was able to guide escaping slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad because in dreams she could fly like a bird. We follow the amazing dream-infused creative collaboration between Carl Jung and quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli as they track the interweaving of mind and matter revealed by synchronicity.     

In The Secret History of Dreaming I introduce the new discipline of dream archaeology:

"While archaeology is often understood to be the science of unearthing and studying antiquities, the root meaning is more profound: it is the study of the arche, the first and essential things. The practice of dream archaeology requires mastery of a panoply of sources, and the ability to read between the lines and make connections that have gone unnoticed by specialists who were looking for something else. It requires the ability to locate dreaming in its context - physical, social and cultural. And it demands the ability to enter a different time or culture, through the exercise of active imagination, and experience it from the inside as it may have been. These are the skills we need to excavate the inner dimension of the human adventure."



Dreaming the Soul Back Home

The essence of the shaman’s power to travel and to heal is the ability to dream strong. In our everyday modern lives, we stand at the edge of such power when we dream and remember to do something with our dreams. If you want to be a shaman, start at the breakfast table, by sharing dreams the right way with your family and friends.
    I wrote Dreaming the Soul Back Home to offer ways we can become shamans of our own souls and healers of our own lives.
   The greatest contribution of the ancient shamans to our medicine and healing today is the understanding that in the course of any life we are liable to suffer soul loss - the loss of parts of our vital energy and identity – and that in order to be whole and well, we must find the means of soul recovery.  Our dreams give us maps we can use to travel to where soul that was lost or stolen can be found and brought home. The ancestors come seeking us through dreams and how, through conscious engagement, we can heal ancestral wounds and open the way for cultural soul recovery.     

Dreaming the Soul Back Home also offers guidance for trans-temporal healing:

"As dreamers, we can move outside time. As a time traveler, you can journey to a younger self in her own Now time. As a voice in her mind, you can provide the encouragement and counsel she may need at a time of unbearable pain or challenge. You can be the friend and protector she lacked when her need was great. From this can flow tremendous healing for both of you — for you in your present time and for her in her own time."


Active Dreaming


Active Dreaming is a way of being fully of this world while maintaining constant contact with another world, the world-behind-the-world, where the deeper logic and purpose of our lives are to be found. Active Dreaming is a discipline, as is yoga or archaeology or particle physics. This is to say that there are ascending levels of practice. In any field, the key to mastery is always the same: practice, practice, practice.

My book Active Dreaming offers three core areas of practice: 

* a way of talking and walking our dreams, of bringing energy and guidance from the dreamworld into everyday life

* a method of shamanic lucid dreaming founded on the understanding that we don’t need to go to sleep in order to dream. The easiest way to become a conscious or lucid dreamer is to start out lucid and stay that way. 

*a way of conscious living that encourages  us to reclaim our inner child, and the child’s gift of spontaneity, play and imagination. It is about navigating by synchronicity and receiving the chance events and symbolic pop-ups on our daily roads as clues to a deeper order. 

Active Dreaming contains guidance on supporting the dreams and imagination of children as well as recovering the Magical Child in each of us: 


"To understand dreams and reclaim the practice of imagination, we must look to the master teachers: our inner children and the children around us. When very young, children know how to go to magic kingdoms without paying for tickets, because they are at home in the imagination and live close to their dreams. When we listen, truly listen, to very young children, we start to remember that the distance between us and the magic kingdoms is no wider than the edge of a sleep mask."


The Boy Who Died and Came Back


The title of my spiritual memoir The Boy Who Died and Came Back derives from what a doctor said when I first died in this lifetime. I was three years old and was pronounced clinically dead from pneumonia. When I revived the doctor told my parents, "Your boy died and came back".At nine, I died again during emergency appendectomy in a Melbourne hospital. This time I seemed to live a whole life somewhere else, among a beautiful people who raised me as their own. I came back remembering that other life and that other world. 
    The gift of these experiences included an ability to move between states of consciousness and reality at will. My dreams of ancient cultures led me to my first job, as lecturer in ancient history. My dreams of possible future events enabled me to avoid death on the road, quite literally, on three occasions. 
    In the mid-1980s, I moved to a farm in upstate New York, thanks to a hawk and a white oak. I found myself drawn into trans-temporal dramas and the spirit world of a Native American people. I became deeply engaged in issues and dramas from the life of an 18th century Irishman who knew the Mohawk very well. My engagement with him opened a link to a woman of his time, an extraordinary dream shaman who tried to influence him and most certainly succeeded in influencing me.I learned what it means to be so deeply involved with a personality from another time that your lives turn together. I was eventually required to undergo death and rebirth in the mode of a shaman. I see now that, as with the years Jung recorded in his Red Book, all the important work of my subsequent life has flowed from this stormy period of spiritual emergence.
     The Boy Who Died and Came Back offers nine keys to living consciously in the multidimensional universe forged by my experiences, including the following:

"To live well, we must practice death. We bring courage and clarity to life choices when we are aware that death is always with us, and that we should be ready to meet it any day.

"We have a guide for our lives who is no stranger. He is always with us and does not judge us. This is the Self on a higher level. When we rise to the perspective of the Greater Self, we are able to make peace between different personality aspects, including our counterparts in other times and parallel realities.

"We are at the center of all times. The dramas of lives being lived in other times and in parallel realities may be intensely relevant to understanding and navigating our current relationships and life issues. We can learn to reach into those other lives to share gifts and lessons. We can dialog with our own older and younger selves within our present lifetimes.

"We must entertain the spirits, starting with our very own – the child self, the inner artist, the passionate teen, the animal spirits, the creative daimon."




Sidewalk Oracles


Navigating by synchronicity is the dreamer's way of operating 24/7. I invented the word kairomancy to define the art of divination by special Kairos moments when the universe gets personal. Sidewalk Oracles is a book of games and stories designed to prepare you to approach life as a kairomancer, poised to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and to seize on special moments of opportunity.
     You'll learn to play Sidewalk Tarot.Walk your environment with the right kind of awareness, and you’ll notice that the world is constantly giving you messages in the form of signs and symbols. You can play fun games any day by receiving these messages – the vanity plate on that car, that overheard snatch of conversation from a stranger, that chance encounter – as tarot cards being dealt to you by the world. A tarot deck has 78 cards; in Sidewalk Tarot, the number is unlimited. You’ll learn:


·         How to put your question to the world and receive guidance on a life theme

·         How to let the world put its questions to you, by scheduling unscheduled time to pay attention as you walk in “the forest of living symbols that are looking at you”
·         How to listen for your daily kledon, a favorite oracle of the ancient Greeks that works well on any day
·        How meaningful coincidence multiplies when you are in motion, traveling outside your familiar rounds or going through a major life transition
     We need to be more literal about dreams and more symbolist about everyday life. Living by synchronicity isn't merely about getting messages. It is about growing the poetic consciousness that allows us to taste and touch what rhymes and resonates in the world we inhabit, and how the world-behind-the-world reveals itself by fluttering the veils of our consensual reality. This is a path of natural magic, and when we follow it we'll find that we move beyond self-limiting beliefs into a world filled with juice and possibility. 


Mysterious Realities

The traveler’s tales in Mysterious Realities are "just-so" stories in the sense that they spring from direct experience in the Many Worlds, my own and that of other dream travelers who have shared their adventures with me. This territory is more familiar to you than you may currently realize. You are a traveler in your dreams, whether or not you remember them. 
    You visit realms where the dead are alive. You travel into the possible future, scouting the roads that lie ahead. You travel into the past, into scenes from your present life, and other lives that are part of your story. You slip into parallel lives, where your parallel selves are moving on different event tracks because they made different choices.
    What is going on in your dreams doesn't necessarily stop when you wake up or switch to a different screen. The action may play on, like episodes in a television series that continue to run after you turn off the set.
    In dreams, you may check in to a parallel life you are leading somewhere else. When you exit a scene in a life you are leading somewhere else, you may or may not remember where you were and who you are in that other world. When you do remember, you tag what lingers in your mind as a dream.
    When you exit a dream that is also a visit to a parallel life, your parallel self continues on its way. While you go about your day, your other self may dream of you.
     In Mysterious Realities, you’ll confirm that the doors to the Otherworld open from wherever you are. You’ll see what it means to live on a mythic edge. At any moment, you may fall, like the author, into the lap of a goddess or the jaws of an archetype. Are you ready? A survival tip: don’t go to any world without your sense of humor.


FICTION AND POETRY

Fire Along the Sky


Dearest Shane, I dream you as the leopard. Last night you came to me in his skin.


So, in the voice of one of his lovers, we first encounter Shane Hardacre, the narrator and protagonist of Fire Along the Sky. An eloquent Anglo-Irish rake and fictional kinsman of Sir William Johnson, the King's Superintendent of Indians, Shane comes to the New World from London because of a doubtful wager. "I laid money on whether a man would take his own life," as Shane informs us. That man was Robert Davers, a Norfolk baronet who sought to escape melancholia and learn the nature of the soul among the dream-catchers of North America. He ignored Johnson's caution that "if you go looking for the spirit world of Indians, you will find you are already inside it" and found savage death during the Pontiac revolt.

We enter the extraordinary world created by William Johnson in the Mohawk Valley in the aftermath of the French and Indian War, in the time when America was forged. We meet extraordinary historical figures: the warrior chief Pontiac and the Delaware Prophet who inspired his revolt; Angelique, the "Pompadour of Detroit"; Molly Brant and her brother Joseph; and Patience Wright, the "wax sybil," an American spy in London who rivaled Madame Tussaud. The action races from the notorious Hell-Fire Club in England to the murder of Pontiac near St. Louis, from Mesmer's performance for Ben Franklin in a Paris salon to bigamy and intrigue in New Orleans when an Irish captain-general held the city in the name of the Spanish king.

Fire Along the Sky is grand entertainment that carries lightly a wealth of original research summarized in the copious notes "from the editor." Through the narrator's worldly skepticism, we are given a window into the shamanic dream practices of early Native Americans. The voice of Valerie D'Arcy, in the correspondence interwoven with Shane's narrative, provides a knowing woman's counterpoint to Shane's phallocratic assumptions.


The Firekeeper


This is the big historical novel I was able to produce when I had integrated enough of my wild convergence with the dramas of another life on the colonial New York frontier. I read all the documents relating to the life of Sir William Johnson, King's Superintendent of Indians - and before that, an adopted Mohawk war chief - and walked the landscapes of his boyhood in County Meath and his fields of battle in the time of the French and Indian War. I dreamed with the Mohawk clan mother who tried to influence him, and with her granddaughter, the only woman who came close to taming Billy Johnson. 

The Firekeeper brings alive the world in which America was born, when the clash of empires produced the first worldwide war and Albany, New York, was the Casablanca of the age. Filled with great men--George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the Mohawk Hendrick Tehayanoken--and the battles that opened the way for the American Revolution, The Firekeeper follows the exploits of Sir William Johnson, an Irish adventurer with a rage for life, who created a tribal kingdom on the New York frontier.

Johnson defended the First Peoples against white men who were bent on genocide and led the Mohawks into battle on the English side in the French and Indian War. His story is interwoven with those of three extraordinary women: Catherine Weissenberg, the Palatine German girl who fled the wars of the Old World to make a life with Johnson in the Mohawk Valley; Island Woman, a Mohawk shaman and mother of the Wolf Clan; and her granddaughter, known to history as Molly Brant, the only woman who managed to tame Johnson. With Island Woman, we journey deep into the dream practices and ways of healing of the Onkwehonwe, the Real People, and through her The Firekeeper also becomes the indelible story of a native people's struggle for survival, and of how dreaming can bring the soul back home.

From some of those who enjoyed The Firekeeper:

"Some rare novels defy labels. The Firekeeper is such a book. An intricately detailed historical novel, a mystical journey, a breathtaking adventure tale, and a passionate exploration of the human heart. This is a book to savor when you truly want to lose yourself in another world." -- Morgan Llywelyn

"Robert Moss is a writer of considerable skill. In The Firekeeper, he shows a talent for accurate historical detail and an ability to recreate the past, both as it was and as it might have been. To read The Firekeeper is to be transported to another time and place, and leave it measurably enlightened." -- James A. Michener

"The Firekeeper by Robert Moss depicts with accurate and exciting detail the time of the French and Indian War. Through the fictionalized lives of historical individuals, Sir William Johnson and Catherine Weissenberg, and memorable, almost mythical characters such as the Iroquois shaman Island Woman and Ade, a former slave, the narrative springs to life. The characters, even the minor ones, are clearly drawn in this fast-paced tale, and the pages keep turning as we learn about the lives of the original inhabitants of this land, and of the early European settlers. This fascinating historical novel offers just the right mix: an involving story which imparts a deeper understanding." -- Jean M. Auel, author of The Clan of the Cave Bear



The Interpreter


In The Interpreter we follow the initiation of a dream shaman among the Mohawk people in the time of the first mass migration to North America - the flight of Palatine Germans from wars in Europe. There are extraordinary scenes of the visit of the so-called Four Indian Kings to London as guests of Queen Anne in 1710. My journal records the vision that was the genesis of one of these scenes:

"I am in London, in the time of Queen Anne. I smell the stench of the streets. I am with the Mohawks now. They are being taken to another entertainment, an evening of bear-baiting at Hockley-in-the-Hole. Vanishing Smoke is Bear Clan. I feel his deepening grief and rage as he watches the sport the Englishmen have devised. The handlers have chained a brown bear to a pole in the center of the ring. Attack dogs are released to snap and tear at him. As the bear tries to bat them away, people are placing bets on which dogs will survive. The bear is old and tired, and bleeding. He wants to leave this life of torment.
     As he watches, the Mohawk’s hands tense, his fingers curl like raking claws. He makes that little coughing sound that bears make when they are getting really mad. The crowd is going wild because the bear has found the strength to pull the great pole out of the ground. It bangs behind him as he swats the dogs away. The Mohawk steps into the ring. He takes his knife from his waist band and stares into the anguished eyes in the dish-round face. He addresses the bear as Grandfather. “Grandfather, I ask your permission to free you from this life.” He reads the bear’s consent, and sinks his knife into the bear’s heart. He tells his court escorts that the bear must be buried facing the east, so he will be reborn in the right way."



Here, Everything Is Dreaming

The poems and stories in Here, Everything Is Dreaming stream directly from dreams and shamanic adventures in the world-behind-the-world.
    Our earliest poets were shamans. Today as in the earliest times, true shamans are poets of consciousness who know the power of song and story to teach and to heal. They understand that the right words open pathways between the worlds and draw closer the gods and goddesses who wish to live through us.
     I hope to transport you into a reality where everything is alive and conscious, where tigers and bears can lend you their forms and raven and hawk can give you their sight, where the ancestors are talking, talking, and the gates to the Otherworld open from wherever you are.
     You may awaken, through these pages, to how shamans use poetic speech to call the soul back home, into the bodies of those who have lost vital energy through pain or trauma or heartbreak. You'll travel to the Island of No Pain where lost boys and girls are kept safe. And you'll learn to make the return journey, and sing the lost soul back into the body where it belongs.


"Each of these poems is a dream song and a leaping-off place, from one body to another, one song to another, from one realm into another, to gain knowledge, to be closer to the gods. We are all dreaming. We are all the dream. Robert Moss communicates across the boundaries between worlds, across time, as do the dreamers who have awakened to find that they are in a dream, within a dream, within a dream. 'that you are a star that came down because/you wanted a messier kind of love,' Moss reminds us. We need these songs to illuminate the dreaming." -- Joy Harjo, author of How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001


Thanks to Meredith Eastwood for the group portrait of the family of books introduced here.

1 comment:

babygirlboomer said...

Thank you so much for this informative blog on all of your books. I cried when the Indian released the cruelly attacked bear to help him on his spiritual Journey, in one of your many heartfelt books. Thank you.