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

Activate Your Dreams to Connect More Deeply with Spirit Guidance

Many years ago, I was hanging out with active dreamer Robert Moss at Esalen when I noticed that his sleeping dreams, shamanic journeys, and waking life experiences all seemed to work together as one big dream.

I also noticed that he was in a constant, creative flow and deeply connected to life around him.

Witnessing his day-to-day “dream” state helped me realize something about myself: I had a disjointed dream life.

Sure, I had powerful sleeping dreams …

I did shamanic journeys …

And I had unusual waking life experiences …

But until I met Robert, I’d never consciously integrated these three ways of “dreaming” into one big living dream.

The prospects intrigued me, though, and I knew I had to try it out.

I also knew I couldn’t force it to happen. Instead, I was going to follow what I call the “Dream Medicine” path.

Dream Medicine integrates various dreaming states to evoke guidance for life direction and healing.

The results of my experiment were exciting and life changing. I met a man named Blue Elk in three different realms, experiencing the dream realm like I’d never experienced it before.

Meeting Blue Elk in the Woods

One afternoon, while on a hike through the woods, a man jumped out from behind the trees and startled me. I took an involuntary step backward before I realized he wasn’t physical; he was a spirit.

As I adjusted to this experience, I noticed he had dark, long hair and wore a few blue feathers and beads. He was clearly American Indian.

His demeanor was serious and I felt a bit nervous around him. Even so, he beckoned me into the woods and I followed.

A second later, I stepped into a clearing and found a field full of deer. This was a relevant and significant experience for me, especially during that period in my life.

A few weeks later, this spirit came to me in a vivid shamanic journey. He told me his name was Blue Elk. During the journey he taught me a powerful healing technique I later used to remove stagnant energy from a client. The process was so potent, my client felt a dramatic shift in her energy after the clearing.

I continued to meet Blue Elk in shamanic journeys and on the hill where I first met him, but several years later, something even more magical happened. Blue Elk visited me yet again, but this time in a sleeping dream. In the dream, Blue Elk took me on a vision quest, sat me down in the fog, and gave me instructions. The results were a powerful vision.

After this dream, I realized I had successfully integrated my waking, shamanic and sleeping dreams into one big dream experience.

I used several distinct steps to help me connect more deeply with the dream realm.

3 Powerful Ways to Access Your Dream Medicine

When you want to access your own Dream Medicine, the most important thing to remember that you can use this process to gather insight into any situation in life: health, wealth, relationships, and life in general. Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Open your inner and outer senses

This is the most important step, and for many Westerners, it is completely foreign. As a result, it’s easy to invalidate or dismiss the significance.

Part of the challenge is that this step involves invisible, subjective information and we Westerners like our facts.

But Dream Medicine is way beyond facts. It’s not a linear approach to life. It’s holistic, symbolic and multi-dimensional. And in order to access this way of gathering information, you need to be aware of more than your physical senses. You need to access your inner senses.

So to be clear, your outer or physical senses are, of course, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling.

Your inner senses are similar, but they are part of your psychic, intuitive system, not your physical system. They are intricately connected to the dream realm. They are:

  • clairvoyance (clear seeing)
  • clairaudience (clear hearing)
  • clairsentience (clear feeling and empathy)
  • claircognizance (clear knowing)
  • clairalience (clear smelling)
  • clairgustance (clear tasting)

By the way, I’m not suggesting you need to learn how to predict the future.

I am suggesting that you already have these senses and that developing them can help you navigate your life. These senses go way beyond your five physical senses, and when you know how to work with them, life changes in a big way.

Some people’s inner senses are so acute, the information they perceive – images, smells, sounds, feeling type sensations – seem to come from an external source.

When I saw Blue Elk, for instance, I thought he was a physical human. He appeared that solid to me.

Once I realized he wasn’t solid, though, he started to fade. From that moment on I could only see him when I looked with my third eye or inner sight.  This type of seeing is sort of like dreaming with your eyes wide open.

If you haven’t already developed your inner senses, here’s an exercise to help you get started:

Find a friend and go for a walk.

Look at everything around you, but use your inner senses. Remember, this can be like dreaming with your eyes open. Look beyond the obvious.

Notice the power lines and trees. What is surrounding them? Are there any colors? Sounds? Textures? Can you feel the electricity?

Do not try to see things with your physical eyes. Use your imagination.

Give yourself time to observe, then share your inner images with your friend.

Do you see the same thing? Different things?

Seeing the same thing can be a great confirmation that you’re using your inner senses.

But seeing different things doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t using your inner senses.

Since your inner senses are part of your psychic senses you may receive symbolic imagery instead of literal information. You may perceive different symbols (e.g. colors, textures) than your friend. If this happens, compare notes and explore the possible meaning of the information you receive.

Using your inner senses is “day dreaming” at its best. It can provide useful information in and of itself. When you walk into a room full of people, for instance, you can observe with your inner senses and determine what’s going on behind the obvious. As you do, you might start to experience a whole different world.

Of course, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Before you know it, spirit beings might be jumping out at you from behind trees. (However, if you have too much fear, you will not perceive them, so don’t worry!)

Step 2: Set intentions, let go of expectations and pay attention

In order to reap the benefits of Dream Medicine, it’s necessary to set clear intentions. You also need to let go of expectations.

If you wait anxiously for information to come, it won’t. The more anxious you feel, the more you become closed off from your inner senses.

Instead, set a clear intention, open your senses and wait patiently for your waking and sleeping dreams to reveal information and give you guidance.

To set an intention, first determine the exact outcome you want, then create an intention that is a positive reflection of that outcome. Do not say, “My intention is to not get lost on my way home.” If you do that, you’re still focusing on getting lost! Instead, say, “My intention is to easily find my way home.”

Here’s another examples:

If your intention is to connect with spirit guides, you might say, “My intention is to meet a spirit guide who has my highest interest at heart.”

Once you have your intention, you’re set for the next step.

Step 3: Work consistently with all forms of dreaming

Waking “Dreams”

Set an intention during the day and tune in with your inner and outer senses. Then reflect on waking life as though it is a dream.

It’s easier to notice your outer senses, so start there. Pay attention to song lyrics, unexpected encounters with people, and books that cross your path. See if you can find insight and information related to your intention.

Use your inner senses. Pay attention to the images and thoughts that spontaneously appear in your mind. You receive these messages all the time, but you may be used to ignoring them. If that’s the case, they can be slippery and difficult to grasp, just like a dream fragment that slips away in the morning.

To grasp these flashes of insight, you have to pay attention and notice. When you get a sudden image or knowing, tune in to it. Tell the image to amplify itself. (Just say, “Amplify yourself.”)

Then practice, practice, practice.

Sleeping Dreams

Before you go to sleep, use your intention to incubate a dream. Simply say, “In my dream tonight, I will ____ (state your intention.)

Example: In my dream tonight, I will meet a new spirit guide.

When you wake up, record your dreams. You may not actually remember meeting a spirit guide, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t. (And a spirit guide can show up as an animal, person, mineral or plant.)

Sometimes it takes weeks for these dreams to unfold. Set your intention and keep the same intention for several nights. Track your dreams and look for patterns.

Hint: If you use your intention to incubate dreams, still pay attention to your waking life experiences. Your spirit guide may appear in your inner vision instead of your sleeping dreams.

Shamanic Dream Journeys

You can also do a shamanic dream journey to find information about your intention. Since this process is complex, I will not go into details in this post. If you’d like to try it out, I recommend Sandra Ingerman’s book, “Shamanic Journeying.”

But basically, you state your intention, close your eyes and go on a journey — in your imagination — to find information.

Remember to record what you discover.

Now here’s what I want you to do.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends.

I want to help as many people as I can with free content, and I need you to help me spread the word. So, thank you!

Now onto the details of how to put this work together for you:

First you’ll need to decide what you most want to learn or experience right now and turn that into an intention.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Keep your intention simple, but clear. Focus on the positive outcome you want to receive.

2. Start small, with one step. If your ultimate intention is to create a spiritual community that teaches a variety of programs, break this larger intention into small intentions.

3. Ask some friends to do this process with you. You can help each other develop your inner senses, explore your dreams and look for patterns.

Then start with step one above and go through all three steps. Before you know it, you’ll be integrating your Dream Medicine into your life and dreaming like a seasoned dreamer.

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.

Of tattoos and tribes: Dreaming of Snake

The lore of the snake. What is it about this creature that’s both attractive and yet so terrifying? And, even more importantly, why do we dream of snake?

Our relationship to snakes is as old as we are and just as rich and complex as the myths that revere them. But those myths have long disappeared and lay dormant in our daily subconsciousness.

Yet snake uncoils when we least expect it, coming out to play in our nightly adventures.

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere buried in what Jung calls our collective unconscious.

That Snake is calling her tribe! 

Are you from my tribe?

In June, I gave a talk on dreams of the bereaved at the annual IASD conference in Berkeley. Little did I realize Snake would be joining me there. The conference started with a reunion with JFKU dream students gathering together. I greeted one woman and fellow DTer Judith McEnroe who had a most fascinating tattoo on her wrist…it was a snake.

I was dumbstruck because only a week before I had dreamed of snakes, and Judith’s snake tattoo and my dream snakes had the exact intricate pattern!

I begged her to share the meaning of her tattoo which I later learned came from a dream.

This was Judith’s dream:

I was sitting across the table from an elderly Native American man. A fairly large snake was curled up on my lap. As I pushed away from the table to give the snake more room it began to slowly unfold and wrap itself around my body. Is it dangerous?, I ask the man. No, he says and tells me to raise my left arm above my head.

The snake coils itself around my arm and rests it’s head on the back of my hand. It has a wide red band around its neck that is at the level of my wrist. The snake has wide black and yellow bands on the rest of its body. I wake up hearing a voice (my own voice) telling me that I must get a tattoo of the snake so that my tribe will recognize me. ….I now have a tattoo of snake around my wrist.

I smiled, shook her hand and said. “I believe I am member of your tribe.”

Snake is awakening

Dreaming of snakes is a regular occurrence, but what made this encounter special was not only the shared dream with Judith but the continued snake encounters throughout the conference of people who were also asking…why am I dreaming of Snake?

It seemed my shared dream with Judith was shedding light on the mystery of these encounters.

I am walking in a forest and come across a natural enclosure. I suddenly see one very long snake resting in a tree, at first camouflaged. I see the body, the markings and head-it rises up becoming “awake.”

Then all the tree branches come alive with snakes, awakening! It’s like now that I “see” one, I can see them all. It’s also understood that the seasons were turning (weather warming) so the snakes were more animated, more visible.

I am then startled by a giant snakeskin dropped at my feet from a high branch. I look up and notice a Leopard in the trees. We lock eyes. I realize she has dropped it there and is a mother with two cubs. In the dream, I am telling this story to someone—it is liked I’ve walked this path many times-now the animals have awakened…were always here but now were becoming visible.

Like the snakes in my dreams, I was beginning to find others who were ‘snake people,’ too, at least drawn to its essence.

The snakes were becoming more visible. It was like finding my tribe.

Snake as Divine Feminine

During my presentation titled “When Orpheus Looked Back: Dreams of the Bereaved” I used the myth of Orpheus as a template for the stages of initiation for those who experience the death of a loved one. Orpheus who mourned the death of Eurydice, (who was bitten by a snake!) grieved her so profoundly that he followed her into the Underworld to get her back.

Because of his music and clear dedication to Eurydice, he was able to tame the three headed Cerberus and melt the heart of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Orpheus’ only task was to lead Eurydice out of the Underworld and not look back.

But Orpheus looked back.

One woman in the audience asked “Why isn’t there much information on Eurydice? And why was she bitten by a snake?”

Why indeed.

Talking with Jungian oriented psychoanalyst and professor, Lynne Ehlers after the presentation (who also happened to give her presentation on the archetype of Snake!), we both agreed that Snake’s connection to the Divine Feminine (Eurydice bitten by a snake) ‘went underground’ or “into the Underworld” as more patriarchal religions and politics took over and Snake has lay dormant ever since…until now.

I see the snake as very ancient and wise with its power held closely to the Great Mother. Perhaps the reemergence of Snake in our dreams is this energy awakening within us and leaving her mark so we may recognize our tribe.

The mark of Snake

 United States public domainAlso like Judith, I have had dreams of being marked by snake, namely from a bite or tattoo.

In one dream I was sitting with a mysterious elder woman who was tattooing a Giant Snake that wrapped around my entire body.  The intention of this ceremony was for my initiation and a healing for a woman who was raped. After the ritual, I looked at my reflection and was both terrified and in awe…I had completely transformed and somehow knew there was no turning back to ‘the old ways.’

I explored this dream over the years and found snake symbols associated with ancient mystery cults like the Orphic Egg and the Mithraic figure: That of a half human half lion with a snake wrapped around its body.

And Like Judith, other DT’ers in the article “Snake Dreams and Initiation” have shared similar snake dreams of being marked in some way that felt both initiatory and healing.

What might Snake mean as dream medicine?

  • Snakes and healing have been considered synonymous since ancient times, especially in exploring the caduceus, Pythian priestesses of Delphi and its connection to Aesculapian temples. Perhaps those who are drawn to Snake are natural healers.
  • Another characteristic is intuition. Many snake people sense things that others might not. They are literally tuned into the subtle worlds and energies around them.
  • Snake may be calling those who are drawn to the mysteries and secret knowledge as illustrated in many esoteric teachings and symbolism. Repelled by the injustices and inconsistencies in the world and being drawn to inner wisdom that can be found in dreams.
  • I also see Snake as consciousness and mindfulness of the Now. The snake’s steady gaze reminds me of being fully in the present moment and grounded in the earth. This awareness means carrying incredible focus and passion and when the moment is right, you strike!

What can Snake tell us of our true Natures?

Is she something to fear like we learned from western biblical teachings or should we look deeper beyond our limited view of what she represents for us?

Considering the history of the many deaths and persecutions of those who are on the Snake path, it is understanding that there is fear tied to these practices. From witch burnings to ethnic cleansing of indigenous cultures to our own politics today that control certain populations, namely women’s bodies: Snake has a lot to be afraid of.

But paradoxically, those who try to control or repress Snake are the ones who are truly afraid.

Snake is not only divine she is the divine power in us all. This is what is feared the most. Snake is the gateway to healing and awakening ourselves to possibilities if we can face it with courage.

Let’s continue sharing Snake together, let’s find our tribe!

About the Author:

Linda believes dreams can transform individuals & bring communities together. Her research, art & therapeutic work run the gamut from spiritual alchemy to ancestral knowledge to altered states of consciousness. SF Dream Research Examiner SF Examiner and Empact Institute

When are snake dreams actually dream medicine?

There are dreams with snakes in them …

… and then there are Snake Dreams.

These dreams can signal a major life shift.

They can help you transform negative traits into positive power.

In fact, some snake dreams are so powerful they can affect you for weeks, months or even years.

Well, in this post I’m going to talk about the potency of snake dreams …

… and then I’m going to show you how to work with your own snake dream medicine.

Snake Medicine: Understanding the Potency of Snake Dreams

Most people have frustrating emotional patterns they don’t like, for instance anger, depression, bitterness, or low self-esteem.

But lying dormant in these negative emotions are great gifts. Working with your dream medicine is one way to transform those energies into helpful allies who can give your life more meaning.

According to Christina Pratt, shaman and founder of the Last Mask Center,

Our medicine is first a poison — like emotional oversensitivity or a hot, righteous temper that ends relationships and loses jobs.

As we mature spiritually and psychologically in response to our suffering, we are actually being transmuted by the poison. In that inner transmutation, we become able then—and only then—to transmute the poison in the outer world and bring it as medicine to others. The anger that once lost you friends, lovers, and jobs can become the medicine that makes you a potent, astute and trusted negotiator on an international stage.

What upsets us the most in every day life and drives us to ask for help is the dormant energy of our unique genius and the key to our soul’s purpose.

Source: http://www.pr.com/press-release/359673

Your dreams can help you access this powerful process.

I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor

In 2004, I was going through a particularly difficult and emotional time, and I needed to find a new channel for my emotions.  I was about to be ordained as an interfaith minister when something unexpected happened that sent me into deep resentment. That’s when I had the snake dream of all snake dreams.

In the dream I am standing ankle-deep in a river. I see a giant egg that is about 2 feet long and 1.5 feet wide. The egg is resting on top of a giant snake head.

The snake body is immersed in the water, but I can’t see it.

I feel a moment of panic because I know I have to let the snake eat me.

Now I am inside the belly of the snake. I can feel the humid moisture of the tight muscles as the enormous snake swallows me alive.

I am uncomfortable, to say the least, and deeply afraid as the muscles pull me through the snake’s digestive tract.

It was a terrifying, but soulful experience. One I am likely to remember forever.

Snake Dreams and (Shamanic) Initiation Ceremonies

Although snakes fulfill many roles in mythology, the Rainbow Serpent, an Aboriginal mythic deity, views this particular snake as initiator and teacher:

“The Rainbow Serpent is a gigantic serpent which has its home in deep and permanent waterholes and represents the element of water … In some tribes it is the object of … the cult of the initiation ceremonies. In a considerable number of tribes it is the chief source or one of the chief sources of the magical powers possessed by the medicine-men.”

Source: The Rainbow Serpent: A Chromatic Piece edited by Ira R. Buchler, Kenneth Maddock, page 126

During such ceremonies, dismemberment and death are common steps of the initiation process.

“The male snake-group … swallows the initiates into the ritually pure masculine age grade: from mystification through ingestion to intelligibility in defecation is the path that we are set upon.”

Source: The Rainbow Serpent: A Chromatic Piece edited by Ira R. Buchler, Kenneth Maddock, page 126

Although my dream snake was not rainbow-colored, it certainly shared many similarities with the Rainbow Serpent: it was enormous, lived in a waterhole, and swallowed me.

Without realizing it, I’d been initiated into snake medicine. At the time, I didn’t know what that meant, but years later I had another powerful dream experience that helped me understand.

This time it happened while I was meditating.

As I sat on my floor in a trance state, I suddenly felt a tangible presence behind me. I turned to look, thinking it was my cat, but with my inner vision I saw a very large snake slither by me. It was about the same size as the snake I saw in my dream and I wondered if it was the same one.

This snake had a distinct feminine presence. I asked her what her name was and she said, “Bethesda.”

My mind immediately thought of Bethesda, Maryland, but that seemed an unlikely link!

My deeper intuition, however, made a connection with the Pool of Bethesda. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about it, other than to know the name, so I quickly researched it.

I’m glad I did …

The Pool of Bethesda is in Jerusalem and it is the healing pool referred to in the Gospel of John:

“Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticoes; and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the water to move; for at intervals the angel of the Lord came down into the pool, and the water was disturbed, and the first person to enter the water after this disturbance was cured of any ailment from which he was suffering.” (John 5 2-4)

I continued my research and found something even more intriguing and relevant. In the 1st century BC, natural caves to the east of the pool of Bethesda were turned into small baths as part of an asclepieion.

Source: Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land, (2008), page 29

An asclepieion was a temple where people went to be healed. Snakes were sacred to Asclepius, the god of healing, and he often was depicted as carrying a staff with a snake coiled around it. The temple floor was graced with the presence of snakes that were allowed to roam freely through the rooms where the sick and injured people came to heal. Non-venomous, of course.

Perhaps Bethesda, my snake friend, was from this place.

Working with Snake Medicine

I didn’t realize it then, but these two events – my dream of being swallowed by a snake and my introduction to Bethesda – were initiations into my role as healer.

Not only did the experience help me understand the potency of my emotions, I am now able to call upon snake medicine to help transform my anger into healing energy.

Today, Bethesda is one of my main spiritual guides. She is more than a snake. She feels infinitely wise, loving and gentle despite her enormous size.

In my personal life and while doing healing sessions, I ask her for guidance and receive useful help from her in times of need. I even send her to help my clients when they need extra and ongoing healing help; they tell me they can perceive her presence.

Embracing dream medicine, whether it is from a snake dream or any other dream, is a process of integrating sleeping and waking dream information. It requires paying attention to outer and inner senses, which are often underdeveloped in Western cultures. But anyone who wishes to can learn how to develop these senses.

Developing Your Dream Medicine

1. Pay attention to your dreams, especially Big Dreams that capture your attention for long periods of time.

2. Notice waking dreams from shamanic journeying, meditation, or imagery that pops into your mind and acknowledge what happens.

3. Research your experiences to find out if there is a history that is foreign to you.

4. Work with your dream medicine. Ask your snake or other images how you might work with them to get guidance and help.

5. Then stay open to their visitations and dream guidance. You might be surprised. Even though you can call on them for assistance, they may show up when you least expect it. Just remember to pay attention to your inner senses. If you’re new to this, you may start seeing things you’ve never seen before.

Have you ever been swallowed by a snake or other creature in a dream? If so, share your experience below.

Also share if you’ve ever had an initiation dream that helped you on your lifework journey.

P.S. Please respect other people’s wishes and refrain from interpreting their dreams unless they specifically ask for your assistance.

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.

Discovering Your Dream Medicine

“It’s time to live your dream.”  Hawaiian elder and kahuna, Mr. Hale Makua

I consider myself an ordinary dreamer.  By now you’ve heard the extraordinary dream biographies of other Dream Tribe members Amy, Katrina, Linda and Ryan, and I am honored to be a part of a team of such gifted dreamers.

However, even as an ordinary dreamer, for most of my life I have paid close attention to my dreams.   I knew intuitively at a very young age (even though nobody in my waking life was teaching me to do so), that my dreams were important.

When I was about 8 years old I had a nightmare that still recall to this day.  The dream lingered with me for days and sent me to the library checking out books about dream interpretation.

As I grew up, I would write down my dreams from time to time in my journals, even though I don’t remember sharing them with anyone in my waking life.

Ancestral guidance

As a young adult, I had a few significant dreams that I now consider to have been ancestral visitations.  The first was when I was in Taos, New Mexico.

That night in Taos, camping out under the stars, I dreamed of a Native American man with long dark hair who was looking at me with a serious gaze.  He seemed to be conveying to me some important message.

This dream man had a profound effect on me.  His gaze haunted me during the next few days and the emotional memory lingered for months.  It was not until years later that I discovered that my great grandfather was a Navajo man from Taos.  When I learned this, I knew in my bones that the man in the dream was my great grandfather.

It was profound for me to recognize that this ancestor of mine came to me in my dreams. I was surprised that a dream could span the boundaries of time to deliver a message to me.  I grew up knowing that I was part Navajo, but knew little of the details of our family history.

At that time in my life, I had no context in which to more deeply understand the dream.  Only twenty years later was I able to reflect back on this dream, write about it and process it more thoroughly.

Strange diagnostic dreams

In my twenties I became a dedicated student of herbal medicine and other healing arts.   At some point, I started having strange, diagnostic premonitions about the health of people in my life.

One example was that I dreamed of a woman from my dance class in a hospital hooked up to a respirator.  She was just a casual acquaintance, so I didn’t pay much attention to the dream.   However, when she didn’t show up to class the next week, I found out that she had suffered a severe asthma attack and ended up in the hospital on a breathing machine- just like in my dream.

After receiving other diagnostic premonition dreams of random people in my life, I felt like there was something to understand or develop about my dreaming abilities.  As a student of the healing arts, I believed there was some special connection between how I was dreaming and developing my craft as a healer.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find anyone in waking life who could give me guidance or support.   I continued to pay attention to these dreams but didn’t know what to do about them.

Dreaming in the Indigenous Mind

In the fall of 2001, I was enrolled in the first class of master’s students in the Indigenous Mind Concentration at Naropa University Oakland.

On the first day of class, our professor Dr. Apela Colorado gave us our assignments.  One of them was to keep a dream journal.  For the first time in my life I kept a journal exclusively for dreams and developed the discipline of writing my dreams down every morning.

As an Indigenous Mind student, I finally received my first teachings and guidance on how to work with my dreams.  My teachers and mentors were approaching dreamwork from a non-western, indigenous perspective.  We were taught to listen to our dreams as messages from the Ancestors and the spiritual world.

Healing dreams

Dr. Colorado also assigned some books on dreaming for us to read.  The one that had the most impact on me was Healing Dreams by Marc Ian Barasch.  In this book, Barasch first documented his own personal journey of how his dreams helped him to diagnose and heal from thyroid cancer.

In the rest of the book Barasch presented all the areas in which dreams could be healing, from diagnostic dreams of illness, to dreams in which the dreamer received direct healing, to dreams of ancestors and spirit guides.

As I read Barasch’s book, it was the first time I was able to make the connection between my path as a healer and my path as a dreamer.  I devoured Healing Dreams, very hungry for answers to all the unanswered questions about my own healing dream life.

Falling in love with dream group

At the same time in my life, I started to participate in dream groups with other Naropa University students.  Many of them had been students of dream guru Jeremy Taylor, and had experience facilitating dream groups.

I immediately fell in love with the dream group experience.  I loved sharing dreams with other people and opening to the magic, mystery and guidance that came from group dream work.  In dream group I also started observing the different dream styles and gifts of the individuals in the group.

In the Indigenous Mind Program, we also shared our dreams with one another.  The sharing in these circles was more focused on the ancestral remembrance and healing work in which we were collectively engaged.  We begin to notice patterns in the dream life of each student engaged in the process.

For example, many of us at some time dreamed of a lizard, which was the guardian spirit of the Indigenous Mind Program.   Also, our own ancestors started showing up in our dreams.  I had many dreams of the Polish land and of my Polish ancestors a long time before I ever walked in this lifetime on Polish soil.

Dream medicine

Healing is the restoration of the balance of all the forces that impact human life- the physical, emotional, biophysical, psychic, spiritual, natural, and cosmic.

Charles Finch, MD, Author of the African Origin of Science & Mathematics

In her article “Introducing Dream Medicine,” dreamworker Tallulah Lyons defines dream medicine as “a practice of discovering insight from our dreams and then integrating the energies into the healing of mind, body and spirit using those healing dreams.”[1]

I would like extend the definition of dream medicine to include the perspective of Indigenous Science, as so brilliantly stated in the above quote by Dr. Charles Finch.

Dream medicine is also the way in which the dreamer honors/listens to/works with their dreams to help restore health and balance to “all the factors that impact human life.”  The healing begins with the dreamer, then ripples out to the dreamer’s family and community, then extends to all human beings, to all life forms, to the elements of the natural world, to Mother Earth and to the cosmos.

Each of us has our own dream medicine.  Some of us, like Amy and Katrina, are big dreamers and travel to many dimensions in the dream state.  In Linda’s dreams, she works as a psychopomp and takes care of the dead or recently departed.   Ryan has the natural ability for lucid dreaming and has worked to uncover the mysteries of sleep paralysis.

Finding my own dream medicine

For me, even as an ordinary dreamer, over time I began to discover my own personal dream medicine.  I began to incorporate dreamwork into my healing practice.  I started encouraging my clients to incubate healing dreams for themselves as I realized that people’s dreams often hold the key to their healing.

I also started to take my own premonition and diagnostic dreams seriously.  If I dreamed of a person in my life, I would make sure to contact them to see how they were doing.

As an herbalist, I discovered that the world of dreams and the world of plant medicine are intimately connected.  I began to take note of my dreams of plants and all the ways that plant medicine affects the dream state.

All of my training in the Indigenous Mind Program gave me special insight into the ways in which our ancestors connect to us in our dreams.   I began to facilitate Dreaming with the Ancestors dream groups as well as Mind-Body Healing dream groups.

Eventually, I began to recognize my own dream medicine.  I hadn’t been aware of it at first, because it was different than I expected.  Like I said in the beginning, I consider myself an ordinary dreamer.

Discovering your dream medicine

As westernized people who are recovering our indigenous minds, we are only starting to scratch the surface of the possibilities & healing gifts of the dream world.

Here’s a list of some suggestions to help you discover and develop your own dream medicine:

  1. Set your intention to discover your dream medicine.

As my friend, curandera Maria Miranda says “where intention goes, energy flows.”

  1. Pay attention to your dreams. 

They are your friends, your guides, your teachers, your healers, your therapist, your spiritual counselors, and your own personal research project.

  1. Honor your dreams. 

Dreams offer healing but you must listen and take action in the waking world to fully manifest their healing potential.

  1. Follow your heart.

As an herbalist, I am enthusiastic about plants, so naturally my own dream medicine would evolve around working with plants.  You may be particularly drawn to animals, birds, stones, trees, art, or music.   Pay attention to how these energies manifest in your dream life and how your dream life informs your relationship to them in the waking world.

  1. Don’t try too hard.  Notice what comes easily to you.

Our dream medicine is part of our innate gifts.  Often these gifts are so natural to us that we don’t even recognize them.

  1. Share dreams with others, but don’t compare yourself to other dreamers!

Just like each of us has different talents and gifts in waking life, each of us also has our own unique dream gifts.   Sometimes our friends can help us to see our gifts.

In community dreamwork, I’ve noticed that each dreamer holds a different piece of the bigger dream picture and each piece is equally valid and important.

  1. Be patient and enjoy the process!

For many of us, our dream medicine evolves slowly over time.  Like all other talents and skills, it takes time to recognize and develop.

For me, working with my dreams has been engaging, magical, creative, empowering, educational, healing, deeply insightful, and most of all, fun!  I wish the same for you as you discover and develop your own dream medicine.


[1] Lyons, Tallulah, “Discovering Dream Medicine,” http://www.allthingshealing.com/healing-dream-medicine.php

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