A NHNE Special Feature
Dreams & Dreamwork
By Gillian Holloway
Dreams of Destiny
From NHNE News Brief 12
Friday, November 17, 1995
Most of us know that unresolved issues and current challenges are often the stuff our dreams are made of; yet we tend to overlook the way dreams highlight our greatest talents and gifts in recurring cycles, or vividly haunting images.
In recent months I have seen a dramatic increase in dreams focusing upon the life assignment of individuals. Images of stripping off clothing that is too small, wise women encouraging the dreamer down a path, weaving magical fabric on an ordinary loom, and stepping up to home plate are just a few of the beautiful dream clues that have acted as road signs for people who are hearing the call of their life assignment.
Because people share so many amazing dreams with me, I have come to believe that there are few pains as relentless as that caused by the destiny we refuse to fulfill. It seems as if a part of the psyche remembers why you decided to be born, and will cause you any amount of anguish necessary in order to bring you to the fork in the road where you must choose that path, even if it is in a sense of surrender or resignation because you know nothing will ever give you any peace until you at least try to fulfill your heart's desire.
My own path as a dreamworker was revealed to me in dreams that recurred endlessly long before I was willing to take them seriously. Be aware that the psyche's dreammaker is often far ahead of the time line of waking life. You may be dreaming of a career or path that does not yet exist, yet for which you must now prepare.
I am often asked if the inability to understand a dream stems from being "in denial" about it's contents. Typically, I only encounter this type of denial and blindness toward scenes that address the dreamer's gifts, talents and natural genius. For some reason, we are almost universally resistant to recognizing the fullness of our capacity for helping others through sharing our talents.
Once I understood the call of my dreams and surrendered, my career as a dreamworker unfolded miraculously, as if a thousand angels went ahead of me to prepare the way. Enormous effort, hardship, and forced growth have been present, yet my sense of connection and deep meaning has never wavered. Challenges are most painful when we feel separate from others and from spirit. Thus the challenges of right work do not seem so difficult because we no longer feel estranged from our core purpose and our ability to give to others in a meaningful way.
Those of us who sense the significance of our current time must pay special attention to our dreams and the actions we take within them. It is extremely likely that your dreams are shining a light upon your path and the precious gifts you came to share. Take a second look at those dreams in which you accomplish miracles and consider how you may best answer the call from your dreams of destiny.
How to Direct Your Dreams
From NHNE News Brief 13
Saturday, January 6, 1996
One of the best ways to enhance your intuition as well as get fast emergency input regarding an important situation is to ask for dreams about a question that concerns you. This process of asking for special dreams is now referred to as Dream Incubation, since it involves seeding the mind with questions prior to sleep, and then waiting gently for the dreams to come to life as your conscious mind drifts into slumber. By focusing your dreams on a particular topic, you can sometimes gain an aerial view of a frustrating roadblock, understand another's behavior by seeing the world through their eyes, or feel more certain about a decision that calls for extra courage, or a leap of faith.
While preparing for bed, begin thinking about the topic you want to dream about. Skirt the well-worn path of your habitual thoughts, and instead focus on what makes the issue important to you. How does this question relate to your life philosophy, your spiritual beliefs, your goals for this lifetime, or your deepest values? Research shows that consciously examining the factors that make an idea or request personally meaningful to you increases your chances of directing your dreams to that target.
Bring this contemplation to a close by synthesizing a question about your dream topic. The most effective types of questions seem to be requests for guidance, insight, or the glimpse of a probable future. Make the question fairly short so that you can gracefully repeat it in your mind as you fall asleep. Many people match the question to their breathing, silently repeating half on the inhalation and half on the exhalation. The process should feel smooth and easy, so that soon the question will ask itself, almost like a prayer, affirmation or mantra that requires no effort.
You may want to ask what you need to learn from a given situation, what you may be overlooking in a conflict, or how to approach a challenge from the highest level. If you're wondering what to do, ask what would be likely to happen if you took a certain course of action. Consider the dreams that result to be highly accurate estimates of the future, not precognitive glimpses of your certain fate.
When you awaken be sure to write down or tape record the dream so that you can examine it later. Remembering a dream and understanding it are two distinct functions; the process is much easier if you allow yourself to focus on one at a time. (If at first you do not have a dream that feels related to your question, keep trying. Worry blocks intuition, and inhibits memory; so try to unclench inside and assume an emotional posture of openness to insight.) Reflect on your dream for a few days before summing up your final conclusions about it's message. If appropriate, share the dream with friends whose opinion you respect, asking them to reflect the metaphors and themes that stand out to them. Finally, review the dream in light of your deepest values, goals and ideals. If you understand the dream correctly it will almost certainly echo a truth you have felt inside but lacked words to describe. Many have found their dreams' wisdom acted as a reference point to help integrate inner truths with worldly conditions in a way that was both healing and practical.
Dreams of Light
From Wind & Wings 1
Friday, May 10, 1996
While all dreams are meaningful and potentially healing experiences, I believe it is important to discuss, study and learn from those dreams that do not fit well into any category, and which as a result are less likely to be studied.
In past year I have noted an unusual and exciting type of dream being reported more often. The predominating feature of these dreams is an encounter with brilliant light that seems to contain or transmit some kind of energetic charge. Some experience this light as part of the dream story, while others simply experience the light and the charge from it. In past years I would estimate one person in a thousand reported such a dream. More recently this number has increased to one in one hundred. I am fascinated by these dreams and find their dramatic increase rather compelling. Whether the increase stems from greater recall, more honest reporting, or increased incidents is still unclear.
Here are a few examples:
One woman said she sees a ball of colored light come into her room, float above her and then fly into her forehead where it shatters into a cascade of light filaments that soak into her and then disappear. This is vaguely pleasant, but no other sensation accompanies the event. When this occurs, however, it will repeat up to 20 times in one night. Another woman dreams repeatedly of being offered a drink from a glowing cup. When she drinks she realizes she is taking in not liquid, but light, and her entire body becomes suffused with light. One man reported he was flying in his dream when he looked at himself and realized he was made of light. Perhaps the most provocative story was a man in a Montana prison who was suddenly suffused with light while dreaming a religious dream. Nearby inmates yelled and called for the guards when his cell became so brilliantly illuminated they thought he had ignited a bomb or started a fire. The man was taken in for questioning, and although no one believed his story of a dream, his cell was clean of anything which could have ignited a fire, and his "case" remains a mystery.
I have had three dreams of light in my lifetime, and in all three cases I was suffused with light and noticed that my body was holding a charge of some kind through its exposure to the light.
While many religious teachings associate light with religious encounters, psychological symbology associates light with understanding and insight. Some theorists believe the human race is evolving and that actual alterations to the brain and nervous system may cause the experience of seeing light during sleep (when some neuronal repair may be done.) On the other end of the spectrum, some believe helpful aliens are "amping up" our vibratory rate during sleep so that we will be better able to handle earth changes, photon bands, and escalating or quickening time. While any of these explanations may contain elements of truth, all seem to offer rather incomplete glimpses of an arresting and apparently increasing phenomenon. I am currently collecting dreams of light and observing their commonalities, as well as recording the impressions and meaning the dreamers have of them. If you have a dream of light to contribute to this research, I encourage you to send me a copy (my email address appears below). Your privacy and anonymity will be respected. If you have a theory regarding the causes or meaning of these dreams I would value your opinion as well. Whatever I discover or postulate will be shared in future NHNE columns.
Understanding Dreams of the "End Days"
From Wind & Wings 2
Monday, July 1, 1996
As a dream analyst I hear dozens if not hundreds of dreams each week. During a recent series of interviews across the United States I was fascinated that listeners from vastly different locales and backgrounds phoned in about dreams of "the end of the world." Most callers worried these dreams might foreshadow actual events, requesting help in trying to determine what such imagery might represent. Could the burning cities, tidal waves, earthquakes and floods in their dreams be our inevitable fate?
Possibly. However dreams are powerfully influenced by the time and culture and in which the dreamer lives. The ideologies, fears, and superstitions that surround us bombard our psyches and are woven into the settings of our dreams. Since most images of death in dreams symbolically represent change, visions of planetary doom may also represent planetary change, rather than the end of all life.
While accepting the possibility of precognition, I believe the most productive way to approach any dream is to begin by looking for personal metaphorical material. In working with the "end days" dreams of clients and students a few commonalties have emerged that may help you in understanding similar dreams of your own. In a fascinating, poetic manner, the type of disaster in the dream appears to reflect a type of transition, pain or fear the dreamer is moving through on a personal level.
1. Earthquakes are frequently associated with a deeply felt, frightening change in a primary relationship or the foundation of one's life.
2. Tidal waves often appear in the dreams of someone going through an unwanted or uncontrollable change that evokes strong, overwhelming emotions.
3. Burning or ruined cities sometimes symbolize a destructive relationship or social connection that has become disastrous.
4. Floods commonly pertain to sudden uncontrollable feelings of sadness and grief associated with a recent experience that is often linked to an old wound.
5. Changed continents often reflect a powerful change in the perceptions and focus of the dreamer. The land above water represents conscious awareness and what is submerged represents unconscious material. During personal transitions, what we are conscious of and care about appears to shift as if we become attuned to a different bandwidth of experience.
6. Dreams of "guidance" in which a voice informs the dreamer of a time-line for the end, tend to be related to an upcoming change in the dreamer's life. Numerous clients have lived through their appointed dates for global change and discovered a personal shift of enormous impact effected them at that time.
In working with an apocalyptic dream, consider what symbolism may be involved reflecting personal changes, fear and transition, often of an uncontrollable irreversible nature. If you still have the intuition that the dream may be a glimpse of a possible global future, then honor your belief with appropriate prayer, preparation and action. During times such as these, we must all remain open to guidance while practicing rigorous scrutiny, common sense and discernment.
Lucid Dreams Increasing
From Wind & Wings 4
Friday, September 20, 1996
Most people who remember dreams easily recall at least one experience of recognizing the dream state while it was happening. This odd recognition is called a "lucid dream" and for most of us it has been an exotic and rare occurrence. Over the past year though, I have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people who report and ask about lucid dreams. I am fascinated by this development.
Are we having lucid dreams more often these days, or are people discussing dreams on a more sophisticated level, and making reference to an experience which was always present but went unrecognized for lack of a proper term? I believe both are true. Research shows that awareness and interest in a phenomenon is correlated with an increase in its incidence. Possibly learning about lucid dreams tends to promote their occurrence. My personal hypothesis is that lucid dreams are another facet of a growing shift in human consciousness, including an increase in telepathic abilities, anomalous experiences, and synchronicities.
Lucid dreams often contain elements of teaching, training, and reframing belief systems. People tend to value the realizations from a lucid dream, and to retain the sense of mastery or wisdom they experience even after awakening.
One man told me he realized in a dream the key to overcoming a current challenge was forgiveness. Knowing it was a dream enabled him to try out an attitude of forgiveness, and found the problem disappeared. Because he had been conscious during the dream, the insight he gained translated easily into waking experience. A woman described noticing in a dream how her beliefs were instantly manifested. She took a second look at the barrier in front of her and decided not to believe in it. Instantly it dissolved. Although aware she was dreaming, she was also struck by the effectiveness of this demonstration, and awakened feeling she had received an enormous lesson. Another woman was disturbed during a lucid dream by the suffering she saw around her. The idea came to her to pray for those she saw. As she prayed in the lucid dream, she saw the loving energy from her prayer go out to these people and increase the vibratory fields of light that surrounded them. Although prayer had not been a large part of her spiritual practice before that dream, afterward she was convinced that the energy released by prayer is quite real, and she has made it a regular part of her spiritual life.
I believe we are all becoming more conscious of the ways we impact and influence the events in our lives, and the ways our thoughts and feelings may influence those we care about and contact. It may be part of human evolution to learn about our powers and abilities in our dreams. Lucid dreams may provide a holographic training ground for emerging abilities, and the state of lucidity may be the closest thing available to replicate our future state of consciousness.
I urge people to examine their lucid dreams not only for their content, but for any lessons about reality, faith, and human power they contain. If we are now inheriting abilities for the next millennium, we may better understand ourselves and our reality by the practice we are afforded in our dreams.
Transformational Dream Work
From Wind & Wings 5
Friday, January 17, 1997
Many people find recurring dreams annoying and perplexing, particularly those involving actions and settings that make no rational sense. Crashing elevators, endless high school exams or forgetting to wear clothes to work are not events most of us encounter. Why then does the mind fix on a melodrama, or absurd situation and present it with compelling intensity again and again?
Generally recurring dreams reflect the psyche's attempt to create closure with an emotional dilemma, or to digest and assimilate insight from life experiences. Long feared to be a sign of hidden trauma or mental illness, recurring dreams are actually often a sign of healthy struggle toward balance and understanding. Conscious recognition of the metaphor in a dream often brings its hidden gifts to light and eliminates the "need" for the dream to return. High achievers recognize themselves in the tested teenager and learn to balance their drive for perfection. Reticent souls who always lose their teeth in dreams find the time and place to speak their truth, and delight in discovering they have "outgrown" their dental nightmares.
But sometimes it isn't possible to recognize the real life counterpart of your evening drama. The dream is clear enough, but the subject matter is not, though the sense of urgency behind the dream is undeniable. In such cases you can still become an active partner with your dream and help create the balance it seeks. Transformation Dreamwork is a technique for rewriting scary or frustrating dreams, and healing the pain they represent. While it appears simple and even fun, for many been it has been a potent source of resolution and joy.
Using the dream as a starting point, begin to create a new version of the same drama, but this time add whatever will resolve the problem or heal the crisis (wisdom, courage, forgiveness, rescue, or perfect love). Most people write their new drama, although some prefer to paint, draw, sculpt or work with a sand tray. Any medium of representation will work, but it is important to create an external production of the resolved dream story.
Don't think of the artistic medium involved. It is an inner art you're creating, and its alchemy is not impacted merely by visual qualities, but by your own connection with the meaning you give the work. Do anything necessary to insure you find satisfaction in the story line. Permit yourself any degree of corny heroism and whatever superhuman powers you require. Draw upon miraculous support: a passing genius, talking animals, or a host of angels. Just make sure you are involved in a hearty resolution of the dreams' drama. Once you have revamped the story, and created an emotionally satisfying resolution, set your dream production aside for awhile.
At three or four different times throughout the day, return to the transformed dream and re-imagine it. Some day-dream in a meditative state, some find it important to speak aloud the new story, while still others re-enact the drama with puppet-like symbols of various kinds. A non-critical focus, and the willingness to embrace heroic possibilities are all you need. Do as many repetitions as you like, for as many days as you like. Most people find that doing three sessions per day leaves them feeling "complete" in one to three days. Using this technique, you will likely notice the original dream either disappears or is quite altered and improved if it arises again.
This is not a way to eliminate dreams you "don't like" for trivial reasons, but a powerful method to rework the constructs that gave rise to the recurring dream. We have all had a turn at being haunted by something that would not show its face, yet refused to go away. This is one approach to heal, forgive, and release that specter, which can work effectively whether or not you ever know its name.
Gillian Holloway, Ph.D., is a Dream Analyst with a marvelous site on the World Wide Web dedicated to dreams and dreamwork. Called, "LIFETREKS: DREAM INTERPRETATION SERVICES & RESOURCES," Gillian's site is full of valuable information, insights and resources concerning dreams. Along with creating and maintaining a wonderful web site, Gillian is also a dream author, lecturer and counselor. If you have got any interesting dreams you would like to share, Gillian's site also has a section dedicated to the "Dream of the Month."
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