9 Ways to Work with Waking Dreams as Intuitive Dream Medicine

Waking dreams are just as important as sleeping dreams when creating a dream practice.

Looking for synchronicities, dreamlike circumstances, and other signs while awake adds another dimension to dreamwork that hones your intuitive skills.

Here’s an example that happened to me this weekend.

Before going on a hike, I stepped into a Porta Potty. On the floor was a very small, purple feather. Since it was a Porta Potty, I wasn’t eager to pick the feather up, but I wondered if there was any way the feather came from a hummingbird (it was about the size of my index finger from the tip to the first joint).

I quickly dismissed this idea: I didn’t know of any local hummingbirds, let alone other local birds, with purple feathers. It looked natural; not like something someone would have in a boa. But I decided it couldn’t be a hummingbird feather.

Later that day, while sitting on a friend’s porch, a hummingbird came and hovered about a foot away from me.

Two nights later, I had this dream:

I am in the backyard of my childhood home. I see a hummingbird flying. Then I see someone holding a small purple feather (like the one I saw in the Porta Potty). I make the connection: I did see a hummingbird feather in there! Later in the dream I am given a hummingbird feather.

When I awoke from the dream, I felt certain that hummingbird medicine is coming into my life, especially because I was gifted a hummingbird feather in the dream.

My story shows how the waking life circumstances combined with dream work to give me more detailed and rich information about the energy coming into my life right now.

So what is a waking dream?

It is a combination of unusual circumstances, synchronicities, coincidences, overheard conversations, encounters with people or animals, messages on billboards or license plates, and things you read in books or magazines or your friend’s Facebook post that stand out.

When three or more of these things combine, that is something to really pay attention to. It’s a rule Carl Jung created when he first coined the term synchronicity to describe the occurrence of meaningful , but seemingly unrelated, events.

Another way waking dreams happen is to see a vision while you’re awake. This can happen in hypnagogia (the state you’re in as you fall asleep), hypnapompia (the state you’re in as you wake up), or in a shamanic trance.

You can also have spontaneous visions that occur without being in an altered state. This is what happened to Amy when she met Blue Elk in the woods, a waking dream she mentioned in last week’s post.

A waking dream can also be an unusual occurrence.

Once, after a powerful dream featuring a cat-hawk chimera, I took a walk in the woods at dusk and saw a screech owl. Although I often hike at dusk, it was the first time I’d seen a wild owl. The owl let me walk within two feet of it and we stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. Then it flew off silently into the darkening woods.

I came home and looked up owls in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak. I nearly dropped the book when I read that owls are often called “cats with wings.” The screech owl was a waking-life representation of my dream animal.

How can you create a waking dream practice?

    1) Start by asking a question you’d like answered. Much like incubating a dream, think about information you’d like to get, and ask to receive guidance. You can imagine asking your inner wisdom, your Higher Self, Spirit, the Universe, your power animal … whatever feels right.
    2) Let go of the idea that there is a barrier between waking and sleeping. In truth, waking life events bleed into the dream and vice versa. Allow this flow to happen. This will prompt the waking dream.
    3) Look for a pattern or things in threes, like the hummingbird example above.
    4) Watch for the messages that are all around you. Pay close attention to signs and billboards you see, things you’re reading, what catches your attention when you’re out in the world.
    5) Leave the house. Although you can still have waking dreams when you’re cooped up inside, there is the potential for a lot more to happen when you engage with the world.
    6) Take time for quiet centering or meditation as much as possible. This helps you get into the flow.
    7) Relax and be patient. It may take a while for your question to be answered. Don’t force anything; just allow the information to come in its own time.
    8) Once a waking dream comes, look at it like it is a dream. See what information you can glean. Do any dreamwork technique you like to decipher the message.
    9) Take action on what the dream is telling you to do.

Working with waking dreams is exciting because it opens up so many more possibilities! It is not only your sleeping dreams that are sending you guidance; the world around you is also giving you information.

This practice can help you feel less isolated and alone because it helps you open to the idea that everything is truly connected.

It is also a great way to develop your intuition. The more you work with waking dreams (and sleeping dreams) the sharper your intuitive skills will become.

After a few experiences with the waking dream, I have a feeling you’ll be hooked.

Have you had an interesting or life-changing waking dream experience? Share it with us!

About the Author:

Katrina's work involves illuminating the soul and reconnecting with nature through her artistry with a camera, talent with words, expertise in dreamwork, compassionate teaching style, and ability as a clairvoyant. Visit her here: KatrinaDreamer.com

Managing Cancer Pain with Healing Dreams

Often the claim is made that dreams are healing. Usually, dream workers are talking about psychological healing, or the knack for dreams to highlight the areas in our lives that need attention, courage and renewal.

However, a group of dream researchers are now showing the world that dreams can help with physical healing, too. Known as the Healing Power of Dreams, this group of clinical psychologists, dream workers and artists are studying how the healing imagery of dreams can be integrated into pain reduction programs for cancer sufferers.

Pain Pills Are Not Enough

For many people that live with the intense daily pain from cancer, taking medication is a hard pill to swallow because the side effects are almost as hard to bear as the pain itself. Others dislike trading their pain for the drugged state of mind that follows, preventing them from thinking clearly and communicating effectively with friends and family. Still others find that pain medication does not touch their deeper needs, which includes the need for hope to envision the future, and a purpose for living with this pain in the first place.

This is where healing dreams come in.

Dreamworker Talullah Lyons, MEd recently gave a talk at the annual conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Chicago, and presented the most recent findings of the Healing Power of Dreams in association with the IASD Cancer Project. With grants from the Lloyd Symington Foundation and the H.M. Bitner Charitable Trust, the IASD Cancer Project has been developing protocols to integrate the healing imagery of dreams with institutional pain management programs.

Already, many hospitals, healing centers and hospice care programs combine traditional pain management with patient-focused care, such as meditation, visualization, music therapy and touch therapy. The project suggests that dream imagery is a natural addition to these alternative healing arts, as dreams can provide inspiration, ecstasy, and spontaneous visions that provide hope and clarity.

Dream Re-entry Focuses Healing Imagery on Bodily Pain

One of the core techniques of dream healing is dream re-entry. As practiced by the Healing Power of Dreams, this is a guided meditation done in the waking state. The dreamer gets in touch with a particular image or sensation from a healing dream. Primed by relaxing music and breathwork, the dreamer is invited to “re-enter” the dream narrative and savor the memory.

Then, the dreamer is guided to direct the healing energy of the dream towards the pain, in a sense bathing it in the dream’s balm.

Lyons says that this powerful technique can be done during chemotherapy sessions, as well as whenever the patient has the desire to work their dreams. Patients say that this dreamwork lessens their pain, gives them hope, and provides an easy way to access a meditative state. Lyons reminded us that this project is designed to complement traditional cancer treatments, not replace them. As one patient put it, “This is very helpful, but I still need my pain pills.”

Lyons also recently completed research about using healing dream therapy for sufferers of breast cancer. This project was in association with Dr. Teresa L. DeCicco in the Department of Psychology at Trent University in Ontario.

The Healing Power of Dreams, created by Lyons and writer Wendy Pannier, lists their research goals for 2009 as:

1) To teach Dream Therapies to Cancer patients so they can make meaning from their dreams and decrease nightmares or negative imagery when they occur.

2) To help cancer patients work with their dreams effectively because we know that dream work can decrease distress, and distress directly affects the immune system. By working with dreams we can indirectly boost the immune system of cancer patients.

3) To better understand the mind-body relationship with the dream therapies that we use so we can help program participants, but also, cancer patients in the future will also benefit from these programs and research.

The Healing Power of Dreams also currently provides guidebooks, workshops and training modules for institutions such as hospices, cancer centers, and hospitals that are interested in adding dreamwork to their complementary healing programs. Lectures to the public are also regularly offered in Atlanta, GA and Philadelphia, PA.

To learn more about this dynamic healing modality, or look into participation in their ongoing research, visit www.healingpowerofdreams.com.

About the Author:

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

Lucid Dreaming: How Visiting Hogwarts Can Help You Heal

I have been listening to my dreams my entire life.  In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is of a scary dream of a big black raven.  Later, when I was around 9 years old I had another nightmare that at my tender age sent me to the library researching books on dream interpretation.

As I grew up, I continued to jot down my dreams in journals.  I never knew quite what to do with them, I only knew that they felt important and worth keeping.

In graduate school as a student of Dr. Apela Colorado, I was introduced to an entirely new universe of dreaming.  I learned that dreams are of central importance in many traditional indigenous cultures.  I began to track my dreams according to the signs of the sun, moon and planets.  I realized that my dreams were full of messages from the ancestors.

We students in the Indigenous Mind program began to rediscovered the power of our collective dreaming.  Sometimes our dreams would have similar themes or images; sometimes we would dream for each other; sometimes our dreams would fit together like pieces of an intricate puzzle.

One of our assigned books to read was Healing Dreams by Marc Ian Barasch.  I was fascinated to read the story of the author, who was able to diagnose his own cancer by listening carefully to his dreams.  As someone who had studied and practiced healing arts for 20 years, I became intrigued by this process of dream diagnosis.   What if our dreams do in fact, hold the key to our healing? I have had many clients with illnesses hard to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. I began to encourage them to look towards their own dreams, not just for information on their illness, but also to find the prescription for cure.

collage by Amy E. Brucker

Later, at the 2007 IASD’s Psiberdreaming Conference, I participated in a workshop entitled “Mind-Body Healing through Dreamwork” led by Ed Kellog, Ph.D.  I was very inspired by his work.  During a live lucid dream chat, I learned from Ed about his “lucid dream challenges”. In these, the dreamer becomes lucid (awakens in the dream) and challenges himself to some task he or she has chosen before falling asleep.

As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I was intrigued by Kellogg’s “Harry Potter” lucid dream challenge.   In this challenge, the lucid dreamer would visit Hogwarts and practice various Hogwarts spells.  I was thrilled at the opportunity.  Who hasn’t had the fantasy of being able to make magic?

Around this same time, I was dealing with a chronic painful condition in my right shoulder.  I decided to incubate a dream in which I practiced a Hogwarts spell which would also send some healing energy to my shoulder. The spell I chose was “Lumos!” which calls forth light.   The directions I gave myself before going to sleep were:  1) become lucid, 2) practice the “Lumos!” spell, and 3) once the light appeared, direct the light to help heal my shoulder.

As I drifted off to sleep, in my mind’s eye I practiced waving my magic wand.  The next morning I woke up around 5:30 am and without my lucid dream.  “Oh well.  I’ll try again another night,” I thought, too sleepy to really be that disappointed.

I drifted back to sleep.  Soon I was dreaming again and found myself in an underground cavern.  Suddenly I realized. “Wow! I’m dreaming!  Time to practice my magic spell.”  I began to enthusiastically wave my hand, which was holding a magic wand.   “Lumos!” I cried as a bright light burst from the tip of my wand.  My wand blazed with a neon green light, much like a Star Wars light saber.  “Cool!” I exclaimed and began swirling my light saber, watching the beams bounce off the walls of the cave.

In the midst of the fun, I remembered that I still had more work to do- heal my shoulder.  As I used my mind to direct the light to my shoulder, it changed both color and shape into a bright lazer-red eye, shaped like the eye of Horus.  This eye is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and power.

I awoke amazed.  The chronic pain in my shoulder seemed to have decreased.  In the months to come, I continued to reflect on the red eye of Horus to guide my healing process.  My shoulder went through many more phases (including completely frozen!) but my dreams continued to be my allies that guided my process.

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

Do All Dreams Come to Help You?

Dreamworker Jeremy Taylor popularized the phrase, “All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness.” (Read Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill by Jeremy Taylor). What he means is that all dreams are here to help us.

But is it true? Are all dreams here to help us? To serve us? To guide us toward wholeness?

People often ask how dreams of war, disaster, disease, dilapidated homes, boogie-men, betrayal, and affairs of the heart come in the service of health and wholeness.

It’s easy to view a nightmare, or a dream of disease and disaster, as anxiety producing dreams that cannot possibly offer beneficial information.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of semantics whether or not dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. But I believe Jeremy is right. Dreams come to alert us to problems so we can prepare ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically, and learn what to do to transform the situation or our relationship to it.

The disturbing dreams, the really nasty ones, often come to tell us about potential problems, health issues, or ways in which we are hurting or betraying ourselves and others. They can even let us know when someone is betraying or hurting us.

When we remember these dreams we are empowered to take action to alleviate suffering, heal our bodies or make conscious choices to help ourselves lead better lives.

Dreams shake us up intentionally so we pay attention. Sometimes they even provide steps we can take to help heal our situation.

So if you ever have a dream that causes you great anxiety or fear, pay attention. This may be a healing message  for you. If you heed your own dream wisdom, you may be able to transform an area of your life that has been troubling you, or be prepared for a potential problem and avert disaster.

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.

Why it’s Helpful to Explore Dreams with Other People

Many people can easily understand one or two layers of their own dreams. That’s because dreams usually reflect parts of your life you’re already conscious or semi-conscious about. In other words, dreams can remind you of things you already know.

But as mentioned in this article, dreams can have multiple layers of meaning and it’s easy for the dreamer to miss the more complex layers of her own dreams. Why? Because dreams deliver messages from our unconscious mind or from Spirit to our conscious mind, but only when we’re ready for new insight. Essentially, dreams can reveal information about our lives that we’ve never fully understood about ourselves. They can also present prophetic information about the future.

Unfortunately, when emotions like fear or denial, or even confusion, dominate the dream experience it can be challenging to uncover the deeper, hidden layers of meaning.

When I work with clients on a bi-monthly basis I see patterns emerging in their dreams and life. The same message can surface in subtly different combinations of images and dramas until the dreamer fully understands the message.

For instance, a dreamer could have five dreams about parking cars, but each dream could feel so different in mood, tone and imagery that the dreamer might not even see the correlation between the dreams, missing the connection completely.

Once she integrates the meaning of a dream message, however, it’s likely she won’t continue having dreams related to that message. Unless, of course, the dream is carrying multiple meanings.

I’ve also noticed that people can dream the same or parallel dream themes when they understand something intellectually, but have not yet fully assimilated the information in a transformational way.

For example, a person can know intellectually that his job is not good for him, but choose to ignore the situation. He may start to dream various scenarios that show him how his work is adversely affecting his life. He may continue to dream similar themes until he leaves the job and finds something more healthful. But the more he ignores the dreams and their guidance and doesn’t take action to solve his problem, the more likely his dream dramas will escalate to nightmare status until he is forced to pay attention.

That’s why working with a professional can be so helpful. A professional is trained, experienced and more objective. For instance, I can see patterns in my clients’ dreams and waking life that they miss because I’m not emotionally attached to the outcomes or events.

Remember, when you work with your own dream you’re likely to see a few layers of meaning, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to see. Working with a professional or with a group of peers can help you discover more about your dream you might not have without their help.

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.