Dreams are usually pushed aside—meaningless, inconsequential snippets of brain junk that visit us in the night when our defenses are down. Don’t be so fast to dismiss them. Under certain conditions, they are only too relevant. If you don’t pay attention, then you miss the message and actual guidance.
When I’m mentoring people I suggest they be aware of their dreams in the course of our work together. Most say they don’t remember them at all, or they slip away so quickly it’s like grasping at clouds. The same is true for me. However, when I’m in the midst of deep transformation, dreams become more than memorable. They’re emblazoned on my consciousness and part of my evolutionary process. This is also true for those who enlist me to help guide their process.
I take time in the beginning of our session for a check-in, an opportunity for folks to relay insights or things that have come up since the last time. What emerges is often a direct communication from the unconscious on where to focus—and we hit pay dirt. Here’s a case in point. I’m changing the name to protect my client’s privacy. Grace said she’s happy to have her story shared in case it helps someone.
At the tail end of our check-in, Grace mentioned she’d had a dream that morning. She spoke about “not getting up right.” I immediately noticed her agitation. She told the small pieces she remembered and added that the dream had awakened her, leaving her disoriented and angry. Strong emotions were evident as she spoke. She said she felt betrayed. I was clear this was a message from a part of her we had been working with that was now ready to release a pattern. With permission, I stabilized the bodily felt sensations attached to the emotions in order to use them as guidance, going back to the originating occurrence. Almost immediately, she returned to the age of two awakening in a similar manner as the dream but with emotions that were intense. I’m going to preserve the details of the situation but will offer this. The incident wasn’t a severe trauma in the way we might think of it. However, it was traumatic in the sense of a two-year-old perceiving no options, feeling trapped. That perception had affected her all her life in ways that held her back and kept her stuck. The dream was the message that allowed us to reframe the past incident and open a future toward freedom of movement and options that she’s not experienced before. She later told me that she knew about that incident, hadn’t thought of it in a long time, and hadn’t seen it important. Obviously, a part of her did.
In many Native traditions, dreams are interchangeable with daily reality. One bleeds over to the other. Children learn how to behave in their dreams without their parents teaching them. Medicine people receive their calling. Ritual musicians learn to play their instruments. Weavers receive requests from saints for new vestments. Warnings come. All of these things are received through dreams and given relevance.
In my new novel Portals to the Vision Serpent, a Maya woman receives her calling this way.
“For me, it started like this. When I was thirteen years old I had a dream. I was walking through my village like I was going somewhere, and I needed to be there fast. But every place I passed, it wasn’t the place I was supposed to be. Then suddenly the road wasn’t dirt anymore. It turned into a creek, and I was floating along, being taken with the waters. But it was gentle. I wasn’t afraid. I could see there were many fish in the creek swimming all around me. And still the water took me past many houses. My mother was there when I went by, and she smiled at me. I saw my grandmother, too, and other women. More and more came and stood by the banks of the creek as I floated by, until I was no longer in my village.” Her eyes grew moist.
“Something woke me up then. I opened my eyes. And the room was glowing—a beautiful blue! I wanted to tell my sisters, but I saw they were asleep. And then in the corner of the room, I saw a woman in a long dress. But it was hazy, like I was seeing her underwater. Her hair was wrapped in a cloth. There was white light all around her and when she moved, this light moved. She came over to my bed right there and reached out her hand like she would touch me. And the light came from her hand, and I felt it with my whole body, like such a love came to me that I have never felt. I feel it now when I tell you this. And we stayed like that, she and I, for what seemed to be a long time. Still my sisters slept. And I knew something was happening just for me. Slowly she disappeared, and then the blue glow left. It was just the bedroom again.”
Doña Flora’s eyes shone, her face serene. Her body radiated, the very act of recounting her calling activated a luminescence that only became stronger with the silence she now held. Tears leapt from Sybilla’s eyes but, transfixed, she didn’t reach to wipe them away. After a time, Doña Flora shifted in her chair and spoke softly, “Yes, this is how it first happened.”
Now, an interesting thing happened related to this excerpt. Shortly after I’d written this chapter a well-known Wisdom Keeper came to stay in my home for a few days. Over breakfast, she recounted how her calling came, very similar to the waking dream that I had written, down to the blue glow. The synchronicity is astounding to me. I also believe that, sometimes, the dream is relayed through writing, just another channel.
Over the years, the night dreams I remember have served me well. They’ve foretold a path I’d take, attempted to warn me off another and repeatedly kept me on track. They’ve lent metaphoric meaning to the past and future in ways my conscious mind doesn’t always grasp but a deeper aspect does. When they’ve chosen to show themselves in a way that I can recall, they serve as allies on a path that is sometimes invisible.
We need to be intuitive enough to heed the guidance and the way it points. The dream is the reality.
What are some ways you’ve received important messages in your dreams? I invite you to share them in the comments space below.