Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dream Messengers


As I've shared in previous posts, I think dreaming is an essential aspect of human life and something which should be celebrated and embraced. The dreamworld possesses great wisdom and its messages are something to pay attention to regardless of whether the dream originated from one's waking life or from the collective unconscious.

One of my favorite things to do upon waking from a dream is to consider the dream's messengers. Who or what are they? What message do they have for me? And I try to remember every detail about them down to facial characteristics, clothing choice, whether or not any communication was passed, and how I interacted with them. I even try to draw them in my journal - though I'm not the world's most gifted artist. One pattern I've noticed is that the majority of my BIG dreams heavily feature animals. And I often wake up compelled to learn more about whatever animal has appeared so that I can gain a better sense of its message. There are several good books out there to help you get started. Personally, I find Ted Andrews' "Animal Speak" and Jamie Sams & David Carson's "Medicine Cards/Book Set" both brilliant and helpful resources.

Our ancestors used animals as the storytellers in many of their stories. Some of the stories share similiar themes but many are different. And it's these similarities and differences that have caught my attention. Recently, I have been meditating on memory -- how it develops and how it can last and shift with time. As a Reiki practicioner, I was taught that the body has terrific memory and that muscles, for example, can remember trauma for decades, if not for a whole lifetime. Several years ago I worked on a young woman who had a lot of pain in her hip bone. I kept seeing horses when I would pass over that area and I asked her about it when we were finished. She told me that she had been thrown from a horse as a child and landed hard on her hip. The muscles there, she said, were always tight, as if they were squeezing together to protect her from injury years after the initial trauma.

If muscles can hold onto memory, then it seems obvious to me that land can carry memory too. Isn't it possible, then, to consider that the land and its memory may have helped inform the myth/story cycles of the native peoples who lived on that land? Wouldn't it also make sense for us to spend time learning the myths and stories of those who first lived on the land and to see if there aren't modern day applications for these stories?

I've been puzzling over this likely possibility for the past week partly because I'm very pulled these days towards Native American myths and partly because I've had new animals pop up in my dreams -- ones I've never seen before. Last month, I had a BIG dream that featured a firebird, a tiger and a lion. At first I thought the firebird was a peacock because it had similar tail feathers but the color of the bird was very different In my dream, the bird was a rich burgandy color and it was absolutely breathtaking. I couldn't make out what the bird was--it was unfamiliar to me--until a friend turned me on to a book called "The Tale of the Firebird" by Gennady Smith, which he thought might get me a step closer to identifying the dream's message. I searched out the book and was delighted to find that the pictures of the firebird exactly matched the bird I saw in my dream. Even better, the book features some of my more familiar dream messengers.

What I take away from the story of the Firebird is this: the main character goes on a quest and he is tested along the way. However, the animals that come to him present him with wisdom and work with him to help him accomplish the quest. And when the journey finishes, the animal leaves and moves on.

Rather similar to the dream world, don't you think? A messenger or animal comes to us to help us along in the dream and when we wake, we take leave of each other until our next encounter. My point is that it not only makes sense to pay attention to the gifts presented us in dreams but it's also fun to play along with the universe to learn why. I mean, why not?!


Anonymous said...

nice to know you ~........................................

Cookiez said...

i love dreams cause anything can happen in them.(once i had a dream that i was driving a volkswagon and a spider bit my finger off).