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.