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.
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.
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."
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:
"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 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.
"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."
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:
An audio version of Dreaming the Soul Back Home, narrated by me, is now available.
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:
The Boy Who Died and Came Back offers nine keys to living consciously in the multidimensional universe forged by my experiences, including the following:
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:
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.
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.
The great trick in life is to do what you love and let the universe support it. To get to that sweet spot, you need to know what you truly desire, not just in your head but in your heart and your gut, and win the endorsement of a Greater Self.
Your dreams will guide you, if you will listen, because dreams reveal the secret wishes of the soul and provide course correction for the delusions of the day. The world around you will guide you, in the play of symbols and synchronicity, if you are willing to pay attention. And over all the time you have spent stuck in old personal histories, your Big Story has been stalking you, wanting to carry you into a life of wild freedom and delight.
Growing Big Dreams will help you to grow a vision your body believes and your Greater Self endorses, so vivid it wants to take root in your world. When you move in the energy field of that vision, the world responds to you, because you are magnetic.
The Twelve Secrets of the Imagination:
1. Dreams Show You the Secret Wishes of Your Soul
Your Great Imagineer is Your Magical Child
What Is In Your Way May be Your Way
You Have Treasures in the Twilight Zone
Your Body Believes in Images
Your Big Story Is Hunting You
You Are Magnetic
There Is a World of Imagination, and It Is Entirely Real
If You Can See Your Destination You Are Halfway There
You Can Grow a Dream for Someone Who Needs a Dream
You Don't Have to Drive Used Karma
The Stronger the Imagination, the Less Imaginary the Results
Growing Big Dreams is also available in an audio edition narrated by me.
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.
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
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."
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.