Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wanda Burch on Healing Soldier's Heart

Wanda Burch is one of those who is working to heal our wounded warriors. For the past three years, she had been leading healing retreats for women veterans of America's wars, using the core techniques of Active Dreaming. She reports notable success in using the dream reentry technique to guide veterans back through the dark forests of recurring nightmares to a place of healing and resolution.
     In today's conversation on my radio show, Wanda gives moving examples of using both dream reentry and dream theater - my favorite element in all of my workshops - to help heal our soldiers' broken hearts. There is a template here for others to follow. Wanda is an adept of our Active Dreaming techniques, and in some cases was present at their creation. I have shared dreams with her for a quarter century, and she describes the development of our dreaming friendship in her book She Who Dreams, an inspiring personal account of her healing and recovery from breast cancer with the help of Active Dreaming. She has completed my three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming.
    In today's radio show, Wanda also discusses her research into the dreams of soldiers during the American Civil War, and explains why in that era what is now diagnosed as PTSD was described as "soldier's heart". She is writing a book on this subject, and I believe this will be a significant contribution to making the Secret History of Dreaming less secret. In our conversation, Wanda recalls how she was drawn to her Civil War there after discovering a letter from a Georgia soldier named Henry Graves in which he not only describes a vivid astral dream adventure but insists on the vital importance of dreams and imagination in getting soldiers through the traumas of war.
     The key section of Henry Graves' letter, written to an aunt from Petersburg, Virginia, on August 7, 1862, reads as follows:

"Standing with a spade in my hand on top of a big bank of red clay or with a mattock in a deep broad ditch, I would, in order to pass off time, imagine myself at home with my coat off, sitting out in the east end of the piazza at home, enjoying the cool breeze that almost always is blowing fresh through there, with a basket of peaches at my side and all the homefolk around. This is the way I employ myself when I get into an unpleasant place, and, by this means, the time passes much more swiftly and pleasantly.
    "I don’t know what poor mortals and especially soldier mortals would do if they were not blessed with the gift of imagination and the pictures of hope. There are, besides these two angels of mercy, others fully as welcome and kind, which now and then visit the poor soldier.
     "Night dreams, for instance, are as a general thing much more vivid than day dreams. The sweetest dream I have had for many a day past I had the other night, sleeping on the top of a fence with a rail, not remarkably flat or broad, for my couch and my gun barrel for my pillow (an iron pillow can hardly be called a “downy” one, do you think?).  My dream, of course, had a “goddess,” a sweet little, hazel-eyed girl who lives away down in Georgia and for whom I feel a “very tender feeling” was by my side, my arm was around her waist and her head on my shoulder, and her soft cheek laid most lovingly against mine (the idea of a soft girl cheek laid against my rough, sun burnt, bearded jaw!) and tender words of love were coming from hearts full of love, when alas! alas! The cracking of a stick near by, by an approaching foot, caused me to spring from the embrace of my darling to grasp the cold steel of my gun barrel and from the gentle accents of love to cry out the rough challenge, “Who goes there?” and, instead of the warm breath of the little girl which I had felt on my cheek but a moment before, I wiped from my face the cold night dew and with half a groan I turned me to my rail again."

You can listen to my conversation with Wanda Burch live today at 12:00 pm Eastern (9:00 am Pacific) at healthylife.net, or download from my archive.

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