Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bringing in the New Year by the Book

I bet you have done this some time: opened a book at random to get a thought for the day. Maybe you have done it with a question or theme in your mind, to see what response the book will give you. You can do this to get a second opinion on a dream, or on why your partner hasn't called you to day, or on what the quality of the day will be. Doing divination by the book has been going on as long as humans have had anything resembling pages that could be turned or shuffled. The Sybilline books of ancient Rome were actually a stack of loose leaves. Many, across the centuries have turned to a sacred book, as Lincoln turned to his family Bible. Many have consulted books that are reverenced in a certain culture, like the works of Homer or Virgil, Dante or Rumi. The formal name for divination by the book is bibliomancy. When you are content to work with just a line or two on the page in front of you, the exact learned name is stichomancy, meaning divination by the line or verse. You can play the game with any book at all, one you notice in the New Arrivals at a library or bookstore, one that a shelf elf pushes off a bookcase at home, one a friend is reading on the bus or the airplane. Sometimes it's fun to give yourself coordinates. You'll pick a book - any book at all - and go to a certain page and find a certain line and see what is there for you. Typically, you'll need to read around the line you selected, up and down a line or two, to get a finished sentence or thought from the book. At the turning of the year, I like to play games that offer a chance to sneak a peek at coming attractions over the next twelve months. Dreams remembered on or around New Year's Day are especially interesting. You can set the intention to dream into the coming year. I like to do this by setting an intention along these lines:

Show me the best things I can manifest in my life over the coming year,

Often, I will cast I Ching or tarot, or both, on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, for a first flavor of the coming year. And of course I will pay special attention to my dreams for clues to what the year ahead holds. Here's a game of book-dipping you may enjoy playing. Let's call it Bibliomancy by the Numbers. You can do it on New Year's Eve or on New Year's Day. The essential number is that of the New Year: 2017. Applied to book divination, it gives us a few options. You could go to page 20, line 17. Or to page 201, line 7. Or to chapter 20, line 17. You get the idea. You might set the general intention: "Show me something I need to know about 2017", or something more specific.
Give it a try. And yes, you're allowed to do it more than once, with more than one book. But don't go on asking about the same thing once you have gotten a message (whether you like the message or not); this annoys the oracle.
  Record what you discover in your journal. Go back to that entry in the course of the months ahead and check how your message may relate to what unfolds. By the way, your journal, kept over many years, will be your best book to use for bibliomancy.

I gave the Bibliomancy by the Numbers game a test-run just now. I set that creative intention I mentioned above: 

Show me the best things I can manifest in my life over the coming year

 I plucked a  book from the pile at my left hand on my desk. It is a Seth book, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness. Page 201, line 7 gave me:

visit certain locations and bring back information.

Fine. There is plenty of world travel in my 2017 calendar! But this is a Seth book, so you know there is going to be more.
    I turn to the previous line and now have the following message:

You will direct your dreaming self to perform certain activities,
visit certain locations and bring back information.

Alright, then. Game on!

May your best dreams come true in 2017!

For more bibliomancy games, please see my book Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Déjà vu, how about you?

You walk into a room and meet a long-lost friend. You may smile and embrace, before you realize that you have never met before, in ordinary reality. You pull back, embarrassed. You may tell each other that you were both thinking about someone else. And yet, and yet...somehow you know each other. You drive to an intersection and stop at a red light. You don't hit the gas pedal when the light turns green because you know that behind that white car that is running the red light right in front of you is that truck, not yet visible to your ordinary sight, that is going to barrel through after it. I walk into a workshop space and recognize, in addition to my regulars, eight people who have definitely been in one of my circles before, though I have forgotten their names and the exact circumstances. I greet them one by one, and ask if they have come to a previous workshop with me. In each case, the answer is No, but we agree that we already know each other. The reason for this is not mysterious to me. We have been together in dreams, where I spend more time leading workshops than I do in ordinary reality. These are examples of what we call déjà vu. I'm sure you can add your own. The French term means “already seen”, but often the experience may better be called déjà rêvé, “already dreamed”. Maybe you dreamed an incident before it manifested in the physical world. You may have forgotten the dream completely, but as it starts to play out, you remember something. By my observation, the dream self is forever tracking ahead of the ordinary self, scouting challenges and opportunities that lie in the future.the roads ahead. Its expeditions leave trace memories of the future that come alive when we enter a scene we have dreamed. For some, the experience is so strong that they feel that they have entered a scene they have lived before in the physical sense, perhaps in a previous life. If we are going to continue to talk about these things in French, the correct term would now be déjà vécu, "already lived". While déjà vécu involves the sense of remembering the past — maybe a past lifetime or historical era — déjà rêvé often involves the phenomenon of remembering the future. A dream that is playing out in the world can now can be recognized as a memory of the future.
The edgiest and most exciting possibility is that your sense of déjà vu is generated by your recognition of a situation you have encountered in a parallel life that is now converging or overlapping with your present one. That can bring gifts or challenges, as you take on the karma - good, bad or mixed - of what you have been doing on a different event track that is now converging with your present life path. If you are keeping a journal (if not, start one today) you are poised to have serious fun growing your personal reality. Start by going back through your life memories and jotting down the incidents of déjà vu that you remember, or may have already logged. Study what followed each of these incidents. Now you are ready for your next experience of déjà vu. As it unfolds, you want to trust your immediate feelings. They may give you the sense that you are in the right place at the right time, but they may tell you something quite different. Does this feel like a blessing, a confirmation, a joyous reunion - or like something darker, that makes you uneasy, ready to back off or take cover? Ask yourself whether this could be a dream that is manifesting in external reality. If a dream is playing out, you may find you can now reach back into that dream - even if it was forgotten until now - and capture details that can offer your precious navigational guidance in a developing situation. If this feels like an encounter with a person or place from a "past" life, or like stepping into a scene from a parallel life, then try to pull up more information from that other life - and decide where you want to go with that connection in your present life. photo (c) Robert Moss
Partly adapted from Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The voiceover in dreams and ancient habits of reading

The voiceover in dreams, especially when we are reading text, suggests oneiric reversion to the habits of our literate early ancestors, who typically read aloud rather than silently. In his Confessions, Augustine describes the remarkable sight of Ambrose (who was also made a saint) reading silently.  Vox autem et lingua quiescebant, “His voice and tongue maintained silence.” Augustine conjectured that he read in this unusual way because he often had other people coming and going around him and wanted to discourage them from interrupting his studies with questions and comments. [Confessions 6.3]
    Speaking the words aloud while you had your head in a scroll or codex was the default mode of reading in the ancient world. It seems this was still the case when Augustine wrote his Confessions around 400. In A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel maintains that St.Augustine’s description of St. Ambrose’s reading habit is the first definite instance of silent reading recorded in western literature.
     Paul Saenger an expert on medieval manuscripts and a curator of rare books at Chicago's Newberry Library, believes that reading aloud was a practical necessity, given the form of early manuscripts. In his recent book Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading Saenger contends that the practice of transcribing Greek and Latin manuscripts without spaces, in 
scriptio continua, made reading silently a wearisome and excruciatingly difficult task. "It wasn't literally impossible to read silently, but the notation system was so awkward that the vast majority of readers would have needed to sound out the syllables, if only in a muffled voice."  Scriptio continua looks like this:

    It was only at the end of the seventh century, when Irish monks introduced regular word separation into medieval manuscripts, that quick and silent reading became easy and agreeable. A celebrated example is the Book of Kells.    
    I notice that when I read text in dreams – which I do very frequently, as in waking life – the words are often spoken out loud, in my mind. Sometimes the narrator seems to speak in a different voice. More often, I hear my own voice, as if I am reading aloud. This makes it much easier for me to follow and retain text than it might be if the lines were passing only in front of my dreaming eyes. When other dream researchers report that it is supposedly difficult to read and remember written material in dreams, I am incredulous, since I manage to understand and bring back so much text from my own dreams. But maybe this is easier for those of us who maintain, in dreams, the ancient default habit of reading aloud, creating the right spaces and rhythms for understanding and remembering.

Above: St. Ambrose reading silently
Below: word separation in the Book of Kells

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Notes for the Road

To find yourself you must lose yourself.
The One you are seeking is not inside you.
You are inside the One.

To be present in every time
you must be here, now.
Now is the center of all times.

Here, now, you can step on and off
the trains to past and future
and travel on parallel lines.

To get to a place you do not know
you must go by a way you do not know.
Burn your maps to make beacons.

To wake up, you must dream.
Without dreams, you are a sleepwalker
who could join the ranks of the living dead.

There will be monsters, of course,
dark dwellers at every new threshold.
Without them, how could you be ready to pass?

In dealing with demons, you must learn
to choose the forms of your worst fears
and laugh at your creations.

If you wish to see marvels around you
you must carry marvels within.
A mirror can't show you what you don't bring.

The gates of the Otherworld open
from wherever you are. Don’t think
you have to drink jungle juice with anacondas.

Put your blade away, dragonslayer.
You only conquer the dragon when you raise it
and ride it and turn its energy towards Light.

Turn out the lights if you want to find the Light.
The visible is the skin of the invisible.
In the dark, it is easier to see with inner eyes.

Don’t list the Trickster among your demons.
He is your friend if you expect the unexpected
Everything interesting happens on the boundaries.

If you want to be fully alive, be ready to die.
How about now? You feel the cool breath
of Death on your neck. Give him some foreplay.

To find the One, don't spurn the many
Name only one God, and you’ll always end up with two.
Seek the nameless behind the forest of names.

Make your confessions on the road
not from behind a curtain. The hawk will hear you
and the rabbit, the lily and the stone.

Walk on the mythic edge. Let your life
become a stage for divine events.
Notice what neverending story is playing through you.

Look after your poetic health.
Notice what rhymes in a day, and a life.
Follow the logic of resemblances.

Practice real magic: Follow the passions of your soul
and bring gifts from the Otherworld into this one.
You’ll regret what you left undone –

the fence you wouldn’t jump, the dream you didn’t follow –
more than anything you did when your cool lover
stops licking your neck and takes you in his full embrace.

Photo: Path in Transylvania (c) Robert Moss

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Art of Memory

Dreaming, waking or in between
in any part of the multiverse
in any body, in any life
you are invited to play
a memory game.

Whatever world you are in

the trick is to remember
the other worlds you inhabit
where you are dead and more alive

and the self that is dreaming you.

Image: "Artemis Dreaming" by Warxpro

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dream incubation

Dream incubation has been a preferred way of seeking life direction in most human cultures as far back as we can trace. If you believe that, in seeking dream guidance, you are approaching a sacred source, then you will probably use some form of prayer or ritual as you seek help from that power. 
     In the Greek Magical Papyri (XVIIIb) we read this invocation:

Sender of true oracles
while I sleep send me your unerring skill
to read what is and and will be

     If we have a big request, it is important to ask nicely. Aelius Aristides, an ancient Greek orator who walked very close to his god – Asklepios, the patron of dream healing – used to phrase his requests as follows: “Lord, I ask for the guidance (or health, or resources) my body requires to serve the purposes of the soul.” A human who asks that way might hope to engage the support of a power behind the scenes.
     The journey to a special place – the shrine of a saint, the tomb of an ancestor, a sacred mountain, an ancient tree – has often been part of a full-dress dream incubation. 
     But in our hurried everyday lives, we can make all of this simple. Are you in need of life direction or a solution to a problem? Are you willing to turn to a source beyond the obvious ones? Then approach the night as a place of possible encounter with a power that can answer your questions and help to heal your life. If you are a person of faith, you may start by praying for guidance of healing.
     You may find it helpful to do something to make your sleeping area more of a sacred place; for example, by foregoing sugar and alcohol for a few hours before sleep, by lighting a candle, and/or by using a special fragrance or placing a little mugwort sachet under your pillow.
     Now you want to set your intention for the night. Make it as simple and clear as possible, and avoid composing a laundry-list of needs and wishes. You can make your request large and spacious:

I ask for guidance on my life path
I open myself to my creative source
I ask for healing

Or you can make it quite specific:

I would like guidance on my job interview.
I ask for healing for my friend in hospital.
I would like to see what will happen during my trip.
I want to prep for the exam.
Should I date the guy I met yesterday?

You will want to be ready to catch whatever your dreams give you whenever you wake. This may involve lingering in the half-dream state after you surface from deeper sleep; this in-between state is one in which important messages often come through.
     If you remember only a small piece from a dream, but your feelings are strong and your sense of direction is clear, you are in luck. Sometimes it is easier to read a plain answer from a short, uncomplicated dream vignette than from a rambling epic, and the energy that comes with a dream is often more important than the specific information it contains.
     If you can’t initially see any connection between the dream your record and the intention that preceded it, be patient and learn to use some detective skills. It’s possible that your dream producers decided to give you something they think you should see rather than what you asked for. All the same, it is always worth playing the game of trying to find a link between the dream and the intention.     
     You don’t want to ask for big messages, let alone big favors, every night. That becomes wearisome to everyone engaged, and can end by trivializing and cheapening the process. On the other had, I see no objection to putting a simple request like the following one to the dream oracle fairly frequently:

Show me what I need to see 

If you try that, be ready for some shocks! Our dream producers see our needs and issues from a different angle than we do.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Soul in the multiverse: serial dreamers and quantum jumpers

Serial dreams, in which we find ourselves returning, again and again, to a life that is not our waking life offer an invitation to gather first-hand data on the possibility that we are leading parallel lives in alternate realities that may also be parallel worlds.
    Some serial dreams may reflect that fact that one or more of our soul-selves is “out there”, leading its own life in an alternate reality that is separated from that or our dominant personality. But serial dreams of this type open windows into even more spacious possibilities.
    While you are living your present life, on your present timeline, co-walkers are walking beside you, near or far, along their own paths, which branched off when they made different choices or took a different turning. There is the parallel self who stayed with your former lover, the white shadow that still works in the old job. If parallel universes are infinite, as some physicists believe, you have a parallel self who chose pancakes instead of eggs for breakfast, and another that has not opened this book.
     When it comes to studying parallel selves who took a radically different life path, developing different skills and relationships and incurring different karma, it is fascinating to consider what happens when two paths start to converge again. Before you are remotely aware that this is happening, you may feel a certain tilt to the day, and notice that you are drawing events and encounters in an unusual way.
People praise you or put you down in ways you can't fathom unless you awaken to how you are loaded now with karma a parallel self incurred in adventures you can't know about unless you are following the dream tracks of your multitudinous self.
     What if it were possible to reach to some of these alternate selves, and share gifts and life experiences with them in mutually supportive ways? We can attempt that through dream reentry. We can also seek to journey back to a crossroads on our previous life road, and seek to locate and then track the  parallel self that made a different choice from what put us where we are now. We can choose to follow the life of this alternate self from that moment of choice all the way up to the present time, make an inventory of what went wrong or right on that other path and then - most importantly - to harvest lessons and gifts from the alternate life trajectory
-   Part of the secret logic of our lives may be that our paths constantly interweave with those of numberless parallel selves, sometimes converging or even merging, sometimes diverging ever farther. The gifts and failings of these alternate selves - with all the baggage train of their separate lives - may influence us, when our paths converge, in ways that we generally fail to recognize. Yet a sudden afflux of insight or forward-moving energy may be connected with joining up with an alternate and lively self, just as a sour mood of defeat or a series of otherwise inexplicable setbacks may relate to the shadow of a different parallel self, a Sad One or a Dark One.

Adapted from Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nine keys to living consciously in the multiverse


The only time is Now. All other times - past, present and parallel - can be accessed in this moment of Now, and may be changed for the better.


We dream to wake up. Dreaming is not fundamentally about what happens during sleep. It is about waking up to a deeper order of reality. Dreaming is a discipline; to get really good at it requires practice, practice, practice.


Treasures are waiting for us in the Place Between Sleep and Awake. The easiest way to become a lucid or conscious dreamer is to spend more time in the twilight zone between waking and sleep, or between sleep and waking.  Tinker Bell told Peter Pan to look for her in the Place between Sleep and Awake. This liminal state is a place of encounter with inner guides and transpersonal visitors. It is also a place of heightened psychic perception and creative breakthroughs, where it is easy to make connections that escape the daily mind.


We live in the Speaking Land, as the First Peoples of my native Australia say. Everything in the world around us is alive and conscious and will speak to us if we are paying attention. Navigating by synchronicity becomes very simple, even irresistible, when we stream into this mode of understanding.


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 must feed and honor our animal spirits. A working connection with them gives us immense resources for self-healing.


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.

Adapted from The Boy Who Died and Came Back: Adventures of a Dream Archaeologist in the Multiverse by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.