Make a Dream Medicine Pillow to Activate Healing Dreams

As we have learned from the posts here at the DreamTribe, there are many dimensions of dream medicine.

One aspect entails dreams that bring us healing.

In today’s post, I’m going to share a fun and creative method I use to activate healing dreams.

But first, what are healing dreams?

Various Forms of Healing Dreams

Healing may come in the form of a prescription for wellness.  For example, we may dream of a food that we need to eat to improve our diet.  Or we may dream of an herb that is the remedy for the ailment we are hoping to cure.

Dreams can also be directly healing.  In the dream state, one may receive direct healing from our Ancestors, Spirit Guides or other unknown forces.

In lucid dream state, the dreamer may use their lucidity to send healing energy to themselves or to another person.  I wrote about my experience with lucid dream healing in my post “Lucid Dreaming:  How Visiting Hogwarts Can Help You Heal.

We can also incorporate certain allies into our sleeping state to help enhance and activate our dream lives.

I have written a lot about dreaming with plants.  Oneirogen plants are a category of plants that are used to activate dream states.  Some of the best known oneirogens are artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) and silene capensis (Xhosa Dream Plant).

Plants can also be used to help activate healing dreams.   Some plants are good for relieving nightmares, working through grief, releasing trauma, or helping to bring healing, restorative sleep.

How to Make a Dream Pillow

A simple way to build your dream medicine toolkit is to make a dream pillow.

Dream pillows are normally filled with dry herbs and placed under the pillow.  Herbs have different qualities that you can blend together to make a customized dream pillow for your purposes (herb references below).

To sew your own dream pillow, use a clean piece of fabric or cloth.   Cotton or natural fibers are best.  Square or rectangular shapes are most common for dream pillows, but you can design them in any shape you want.

To make your own dream pillow, cut two squares or rectangles of the same size.  Place the cloth together with the right (front) side facing in.  Sew three sides of the fabric together.  When you’re finished, turn the fabric inside out, so that the right side is now facing out.

Stuff your herbal mix into the remaining open side of the fabric.  When you have finished filling up the pillow, sew the remaining edge of the fabric shut.

To make a dream pillow  that doesn’t involve sewing, you can place the herbs in a fabric pouch or muslin bag.  Or, use a piece of fabric that is tied together with yarn or string to make a dream bundle.

When your dream pillow is ready, place it next to your head or in your pillowcase as you sleep.  Many of these herbs are have pleasant aromas that are good to smell throughout the night.

Herbs for Dream Medicine Pillows

Mugwort: Used to activate dreams.  Good for people who have a hard time remembering their dreams.  Can bring colorful, wild, Alice-in-Wonderland types of dreams.

Be careful, because for some people, mugwort can be too stimulating. Mugwort can bring overwhelming dream activity and I’ve heard many reports from people who say they felt like their night with mugwort was too busy and they didn’t get enough rest.

Chamomile:  Brings calm, peaceful sleep.  Chamomile can also help relieve nightmares in both children and adults.

Chamomile has a sweet, apple-like aroma and is good for releasing fear, anxiety, and agitation in both waking and dream states.  Can also be used for insomnia.

Lemon Balm:  Is both calming and uplifting.  Lemon Balm can be useful for dreamers who suffer from stress, depression and/or anxiety.

Lemon balm brings healing to trauma in both waking and sleeping states.  It has a particular affinity for healing sexual trauma.  In this way, I have used it for women who have suffered from sexual assault, miscarriage or abortion.

My own personal experience with lemon balm was that it brought me dreams that made me aware of some of my unresolved grief.  Unresolved emotions are often at the root of depression and anxiety.

Lavender:  Depending on the amount, lavender can be either calming or stimulating.   A pinch of lavender in your dream pillow can relieve stress, tension and headaches.

In larger amounts, lavender helps to open our third eye and crown chakras and activates our powers of intuition.  Lavender can also be used for divinatory dreams.

Rosemary:  An old saying is “Rosemary for remembrance.”  Rosemary helps us to remember our dreams.  It also connects us to memories that may have been lost or forgotten.  When dreaming with rosemary, these memories may surface in the dream state.

Rosemary can also be used to connect us to our loved ones who have died, and may bring dreams of our beloved dead.

Rose:  Brings a feeling of love to our dreams.  Rose has been traditionally used to bring prophetic dreams of one’s beloved.

Rose can also be used to help heal the heart from grief and heartbreak.  It can be added to dream pillows to bring a feeling of love and warmth to the dreamer and the dreams.

Essential Oils

Many essential oils can be added to dream pillows to add fragrance and potency.  To do this, simply add a few drops of the essential oil into the dream pillow herb mix.

Many of the herbs I described above are also available as essential oils.  My favorite essential oil for both sleep and dreams is called Jatamansi.

Jatamansi Essential Oil

Jatamansi is an Ayurvedic herb that is related to Valerian.  It’s musky, earthy scent is extremely calming and relaxing and is an excellent remedy for insomnia.

Jatamansi is indicated for the type of insomnia that comes from extreme states of stress and/or trauma.  Jatamansi helps to calm the mind and relax the nervous system and bring about deep, restorative, sleep.

Jatamansi is an excellent dream healer as well.  For people who have suffered from PTSD or other types of trauma, Jatamansi helps the dreamer to work out the trauma in their dream state.

I view Jatamansi as the quintessential dream therapist.  It helps us to heal our waking life trauma in our dream state.  Better yet, it does so in a gentle, compassionate way so that we wake up feeling peaceful and refreshed.

To work with Jatamansi Essential oil, you may add a few drops to your dream pillow.  Traditionally, a few drops are rubbed into the soles of the feet and the crown of the head before going to bed.  I have also place a few drops of Jatamansi on a kleenex and placed this under my pillow to help with sleep.


To find these herbs, I first recommend that you visit your local, neighborhood herb store.  A great resource online is Mountain Rose Botanicals.*

For Jatamansi and other high-quality essential oils, I recommend Floracopeia.*

Have fun creating your own special dream medicine pillows!  Let me know what you create and how it works for you.

*These are affiliate links.

About the Author:

Inspired and guided by her ancestors, Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years. Atava teaches across the country and sees clients in her healing practice Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, CA. She also has a unique line of herbal products infused with prayer and magic. Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com

Flower Essences to Activate Our Dream & Snake Powers

Snakes have big medicine.

Like creativity, intuition and spirituality.

So when snake visits your dreams, what can you do in waking life to support the development of your own snake abilities?

And if you’re not dreaming of snake, how can you consciously work on activating your own snake powers?

The good news is, whether or not you dream of snakes, there is a way to open up to her gifts and messages.

This post is one in a series of posts on snake dreams. You can read more about what your snake dreams mean here.

Flower Essences

flower-essenceThere are many ways to consciously develop our own snake powers and abilities.  One of my favorite ways to work on activating and enhancing the qualities of snake is to use flower essences.

Flower essences are a form of energetic plant medicine developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1920’s.  Bach, who was both a physician and homeopath, was on a spiritual quest to discover a natural form of medicine that could heal the root cause of illness.

Bach lived in England during the industrial revolution, and he observed that the illness or disharmony that many people suffered was caused by mental, emotional and spiritual states of imbalance.  Bach was way ahead of his time in understanding significant concepts of health and healing that are now common tenets in mind-body-spirit medicine.

“Flower essences are able, like beautiful music or any glorious uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures and bring us nearer to our souls, and by that very act to bring us peace and relieve our sufferings.”  (Edward Bach)

Bach left his successful homeopathic practice to devote his time to develop what we now call flower essence therapy.  Bach followed his own waking dream and passed all his time wandering around the English countryside communing with flowers.  He also studied and documented their healing properties with the rigor and discipline of a trained scientist.

In his work, Bach developed a repertory of 38 flower essences to address the many ways people can become out of balance.

Flower essences are made by infusing fresh blooming flowers in a bowl of water in sunlight.  This flower/sunlight infusion (like a sun tea) is then diluted down to a homeopathic level.

Nature’s tuning forks

Flower essences are a form of energetic medicine.  Like many forms of energy medicine (including homeopathy, acupuncture, and sound healing) they affect the vibrational field around us, what some call the aura or the  mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.

Flower essences are nature’s tuning forks.  According to Bach, “they cure, not by attacking disease, but by flooding our bodies with the beautiful vibrations of our Higher Nature, in the presence of which, disease melts away like snow in the sunshine.”

I have been working with flower essences for 17 years now and have witnessed many miracles of healing and transformation with the people that I work with.  Flower essences have also been some of my own most powerful healing allies in my own path of healing and evolution.


In one way or another,like snake medicine, all flower essences help with our own healing process.  But the flower essence I use the most to align people on their healing path is Self Heal.

Self Heal flower essence helps us to attune to what we need to do to heal ourselves, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually. This might be the realization that one needs to eat a healthier diet, get more exercise, spend more time in nature, or leave a toxic relationship. 

Self Heal also supports us in taking the appropriate steps to take care of ourselves.  I often use Self Heal flower essence with my new clients who are at the beginning of their healing journeys, although it is helpful at any stage of the healing process.

Noni is a newer flower essence to me and comes from Jane Bell’s Hawaiian Flower Essence kit.  In Hawaiian herbal medicine, the fruit of Noni is a panacea for many physical illnesses. 

According to Bell, the flower essence of Noni: “Potentizes your will, motivation, and desire to be well. Stimulates awareness and understanding of the underlying causes of disease and disharmony. Brings acceptance of yourself and compassion for your healing journey.”


Iris helps to connect us to the divine source of creative power.  Iris helps us to be creative in all that we do in our daily life and it is also helps us get creatively inspired.

Indian Paintbrush helps to activate and move the creative process.  It is an excellent essence to unblock writer’s block or any creative energy or project that is stagnant and stuck.

Spiritual opening

Lotus flower essence helps to open our crown chakra and our connection to divine energy and guidance. Lotus is helpful for meditation, dreamwork or anytime we want to attune more to spiritual energy.

The essence of Whale (not a flower, but an animal essence) is a powerful ally for these big times.  Carriers of the Akashic records, Whale helps us to open up to guidance and understanding about our personal and collective evolution.   Whale helps us to embody love and connect to big, deep, and timeless wisdom of the ancestors.


Sacred Datura is one of my favorite essences to support our personal transformation and evolution.  It gives support when we are in states of  profound transition.  It aids us when, in our own lives, we are in-between worlds; when something has ended, but the new hasn’t emerged yet.  Sacred Datura shines light in the darkness and give us guidance, support and faith to navigate all kinds of transition.

Banyan Tree is an excellent remedy to help ground us during times of great transformation, expansion and change.  It is very comforting when we feel overwhelmed or “up in the air.”


Star Tulip helps to open and enhance our intuition.  This essence can help be helpful in healing work, meditation, dreamwork and creativity.

Cup of Gold connects us with joy to our own intuition and self guidance.  This essence helps you to joyfully navigate your own life path and purpose.

Shadow Work

Night Blooming Cereus helps us to to face and overcome our fear of shadow, both of our personal shadow and the collective shadow.  This essence helps us to connect to our divine essence, and heps us to understand the beauty and power of both the darkness and the light.

The waking dream:  messages from Gaia and the Great Spirit

Flower essences are medicines of the earth.  When we work with them, they connect us to the healing matrix of nature and of Gaia, our Mother Earth.

Once we are more consciously connected to the energy of Gaia and to nature’s guardians (devas, fairies, and other elemental beings) magic starts to occur in our lives.  Connecting to this magic is part of the healing process of flower essences.

I have observed that when people take flower essences, they start to become more cognizant of the waking dream.  The waking dream is the state of awareness when we start to notice synchronicities and magical occurrences in our lives.  We become awake and conscious of the sacredness of our lives and the world in which we live.

As flower essences help to attune us to the waking dream, we become much more open and receptive to the messages from the natural world, from Mother Earth, from the Ancestors, from the cosmos and the Great Spirit.

Flower Essence Therapy

I hope this article has inspired you to welcome flower essences into your life to assist with your dreamwork, your healing path and spiritual development. Many of these flower essences I talked about can be found at your local herb store or online.

I work with all of these flower essences discussed in this article.  I am available for Flower Essence Consultations in which I create a customized flower essence blend to support your healing intentions.  Please contact me at atava@ancestralapothecary.com for more information and to schedule an appointment.  I work in person, by phone or Skype.  Mention the Dream Tribe and receive $20 off.

About the Author:

Inspired and guided by her ancestors, Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years. Atava teaches across the country and sees clients in her healing practice Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, CA. She also has a unique line of herbal products infused with prayer and magic. Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com

Spring Cleansing with Dream Plants

After the recent rains my garden is bursting with color.   I am delighted to see some of the plants I started from seed reaching maturity.  My kale and mustard greens are juicy and ready to eat.  The echinacea has emerged from its winter hibernation and my chamomile is just about to bloom.

Where I live in Northern California, our hills, meadows and forests are covered with green.  If you were to walk in the woods here in Oakland, you’d find nettles, chickweed, cleavers, dandelion.  All of these plants assist our body in cleansing away the toxins we may have accumulated during winter.

The waking dream: what plants are growing near you?

As described in Katrina’s most recent DT post, healing dreams can come in both waking and sleeping states.   It is important to pay attention to the messages from the plant world that come in both waking and sleeping dimensions.  From a perspective of indigenous herbalism, the plants we need the most for our healing are the ones growing closest to us, often in abundance.  In this way, Mother Earth and the Plant Beings are helping to bring about balance by providing us with the medicine we need.

For example, I recently hosted two Mexican curanderas in my home.  I had a consultation with one of them, Dona Doris.  In this consultation she told me that one of my major health issues was hormonal imbalance.  “Do you experience mood swings?  Highs and lows of energy?” she asked me.  I nodded and answered emphatically, “Si!”

The next day I gave Dona Doris a tour of my herb garden.  There were several plants growing in my garden for which I did not know their medicinal use, and I was eager to ask Doris about them.  Dona Doris is an expert herbalist and comes from a culture that has an extensive and comprehensive tradition of herbal medicine.

“How do you use this plant?” I asked, pointing at my rue plant.  “Hormonal balance,” Dona Doris replied.  “And this one?” I inquired about the purple Mexican sage.  Doris replied again, “Hormonal balance.”  “And the heimia salicifolia (which I used as a dream herb, but didn’t know any more about it medicinal properties)?”  “Hormonal balance,” Doris replied again, this time with a sly and knowing smile.

“Look at all the plants you have in your garden to help with your hormones!”  she laughed.  It was obvious what medicine my garden was offering me.  I was surrounded by plants to balance my hormones!  Even as a herbalist, I was surprised to recognize this.

Waking dream plant healing exercise.

Walk mindfully in your yard and notice what plants are growing there.  Pay close attention to what is growing in abundance or to which plants you are particularly attracted.  If you don’t have a yard, observe the plants growing in your neighborhood or in a nearby park.

Identify the plant that is calling to you most.  Research the plant and find out as much as you can about it.  How is it used medicinally?  How is it used as a flower essence or homeopathic remedy?

Once you’ve identified your plant, try meditating with it or sleeping with it under your pillow.  If you are working with a plant that you know is safe to take internally, try making a tea out of it.

If the plant you are working with is toxic, or your are unsure about its safe medicinal use, do not take the plant internally.  If your plant ally is toxic, you may want to explore the homeopathic and/or flower essence remedy of this plant.  Many plants that are toxic are safe to use these ways.

As you build your relationship to your plant ally, observe how it supports your healing process.

Dream medicine prescriptions for spring cleansing

garden-rueAs I have written about in past DT blogs, plants can also visit and offer healing in our dreams.  During this spring season, it is a good time to observe what plants come into our dreams to help us with our own spring cleansing.

For example, earlier this year I had been dealing with a stubborn rash.  One morning I woke up with the plant names “yellow dock and burdock” in my head.  I knew these plants were both good for the skin and clearing the toxins in our blood.  The next day I began to take a tea of yellow dock and burdock.  Within a few days, the rash I had for months cleared up.  My dream doctor had accurately prescribed the perfect cure for my ailment!

Dream incubation for Spring cleansing.

Before going to sleep, take some time to meditate and focus on your intention for your dreams.  A simple intention may be “I want to cleanse my body of unwanted toxins.”    Your intention could also be about emotional cleansing and healing.  An intention for this might be: “I want to release and let go of all energies that no longer serve my highest good.”

Next, ask the plant world to come to your dreams and assist your healing.  You may ask: “Please show me what plants can assist in my physical/emotional/spiritual healing right now.”

Throughout the night, keep repeating your intention in your mind like a mantra.  Keep a dream journal close to your bed and write down your dreams in the morning.  Your healing plant allies may come in the form of an herb, a flower, or a food.  Pay attention to which plants show up, and find ways to incorporate them into your waking life.

When a healing plant ally does assist you in either waking or dream state, it is important to give thanks.  Say a prayer, sing a song, or make an offering to the plant itself.  Giving thanks to the plants is a way to build a good relationship with them.

In which ways have plants and/or dreams assisted your Spring cleansing?

About the Author:

Inspired and guided by her ancestors, Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years. Atava teaches across the country and sees clients in her healing practice Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, CA. She also has a unique line of herbal products infused with prayer and magic. Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com

How do Herbs Influence Sleep and Dreams?

Many dreamers are affected by the energy in and around their bedroom. In fact, just the other night, while sleeping over at a friend’s house, I had the experience of incorporating her alarm clock- a new sound to me- into my dream. Lights, sounds or the people nearby us when we sleep, and even the bedroom itself can subtly influence our dreaming.

We can also consciously set up a sleeping environment to effect and enhance our dreaming. One of my favorite ways to do this is with plants, or what we herbalists refer to as: “sleeping with herbs.”

Mugwort: The Dream Herb

The plant most associated with dreaming is mugwort, artemisia vulgaris. Named after the Greek moon goddess, Artemis, mugwort is sacred and revered wherever it grows. Like its botanical relative, sagebrush, mugwort has a long use in folk medicine for cleansing and protection.

An old Summer Solstice tradition among the Slavic people of Poland was to make huge bonfires of mugwort. Everyone in the village, including the animals, would pass through the smoke of mugwort to protect themselves from negative energies such as illness or the evil eye.

Mugwort is also one of the most renowned plants for dreaming. Mugwort can enhance dreams and assist with dream recall. It is a great plant to work with if you have a difficult time remembering your dreams. It can also increase the vividness of dreams. I’ve heard many reports of mugwort giving the dreamer vibrant, technicolor “Alice in Wonderland” type dreams.

Healing Dream Ally

Mugwort, which I like to call “the queen of medicinal herbs” is a great ally to support your practice of healing dream incubation. Mugwort is a principal herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as moxibustion. The herb is safely burned near or on the body to stimulate energy in the acupuncture points and meridians. According to TCM, the energy of mugwort is identical to that of the human body.

As a healing herb, mugwort has great potential to assist in our healing when we are both awake and asleep. Try incorporating mugwort into your practice of incubating healing dreams. This powerful herbal ally can help to potentiate the healing you receive on many levels in your dreams.

However, for people who already have very active dream states, mugwort may be too powerful of an herb to work with. Sometimes dreaming with mugwort can translate to a night of non-stop, active dreaming- the kind of night that leaves you tired in the morning. I once woke up in the middle of the night and tossed my stalk of mugwort out of my bedroom. My dreams that night were incredibly vivid and intense and I felt like I just needed a good night’s sleep!

There are several ways you can incorporate mugwort into your dreamtime. One is to simply put a piece of the plant, fresh or dried, on your altar or under your pillow. Or you could sew a mugwort dream pillow. Another option is to take a 3-5 drops of a mugwort tincture before going to bed. You can also try drinking mugwort tea, but it tastes too bitter for most people.

Mugwort is also a good plant to use as smudge (incense). If you smudge your bedroom with mugwort before going to bed, you are guaranteed to notice the effect in your dreams.

Do not take mugwort internally if you are pregnant or nursing. Mugwort has a powerfully stimulating effect on the uterus and can cause uterine contractions and possibly miscarriage in early pregnancy. In this case, it is best to work with mugwort as a smudge, dream pillow or as an object on your altar.

For more suggestions about how to use mugwort as a dreaming aid, see DreamTribe member Ryan Hurd’s post: Mugwort Helps with Remembering Dreams

Chamomile: A Remedy for Nightmares

Chamomile is an incredible plant with many healing benefits to the physical body. It can help us with sleep and dreams.

Chamomile is a great ally for alleviating nightmares. If you are plagued with bad dreams, try drinking some chamomile tea before bed or placing some chamomile under your pillow. A chamomile bath before bed is a lovely way to prepare for a good, peaceful night’s rest. Simply fill a muslin bag or an old clean sock with a handful of chamomile and add it to a hot bath. Relax, enjoy and soak in the medicine!

Chamomile can be especially helpful to help relieve nightmares in children. As adults, we may have enough understanding of dreams to know that nightmares can be helpful messages from our psyche. However, to a child a scary dream monster may just be plain scary and can seriously interfere in their ability to sleep. In this case, chamomile can give us the courage to face and transform our frightening dreams.

An Herbal Ally for Treating Insomnia

Chamomile is very nourishing and relaxing to the nervous system and can be very useful to prevent and treat insomnia. Chamomile helps us to relax the tension we hold in our physical body. If pain or stiffness is keeping you awake at night, you might want to try drinking a cup of chamomile tea or taking a bath with it before bed.

Chamomile is also very healing to the emotions. It helps to relieve fear and anxiety that may be keeping you awake at night. In this case, the tea, tincture or bath of chamomile might be helpful. Another suggestion is to make a dream pillow of chamomile of put a few drops of chamomile essential oil on your pillow so you are able to inhale the healing scent of the plant all night long.

How Have You Dreamed with Plants?

Many other plants can have a healing effect on our dream state. I will continue to write about this topic in future posts and welcome your stories about dreaming with plants.
For more useful tips on how to work with plants and dreams, please refer to my earlier post: 7 Ways to Dream with Plants

Upcoming Class: Mind-Body-Healing Dreamgroup

I have a few spots left in my dreamgroup which starts April 8. It’s an intimate gathering in Berkeley, CA. If you’re interested in learning more, click here: Dream Group

chamomile image by Eddie 07 @ flickr.com

About the Author:

Inspired and guided by her ancestors, Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years. Atava teaches across the country and sees clients in her healing practice Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, CA. She also has a unique line of herbal products infused with prayer and magic. Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com

Mugwort Helps with Remembering Dreams

Mugwort has been known for ages as a reliable dream enhancing plant. I have also had good results with this mild herb that is a close relative of wormwood and has a long history of medicinal use.

In the West, mugwort was historically associated with the Greek goddess Artemis and the moon, perhaps because it stimulates blood circulation and was used chiefly to aid painful and irregular menstruation.

Of course, Artemis is one of the Greek Gods who was known to send divine dreams. In other words, mugwort, dreams and the Moon are all bundled together in an aromatic and cosmic smudge stick.

I recommend picking fresh mugwort consciously and ritualistically and placing it close to the bed, or even under your pillow before bed. Also try burning some mugwort as incense (and even smoking it – very pleasant), which can make bedtime into a ritual that will support more dream remembrance.

Here is my recommended source for mugwort, grown organically and sustainably harvested.

About the Author:

Ryan's recent dream research focuses on lucid dreaming, sacred sites, the anthropology of dreaming, and sleep paralysis. DreamStudies.org