Dreams are not just relegated to the night. They live with us during waking life too. Sometimes a dream I hadn’t remembered when I woke up in the morning will pop into my mind while I’m staring out the window in reverie or driving to work. Sometimes someone will say something that triggers a memory of a dream. Other times a piece of music will bring the dream back. It’s like the dream is dropping hints, saying, “Don’t forget me.”
I like to play with this relationship and let my dreams know I am listening. One way to do this is to intentionally bring the energy of the dream into the physical world. There are many ways to go about this, the most obvious being sharing a dream with a trusted friend. But I like to take it even further and add creativity to the mix.
I have been known to draw my dreams and act them out in dream theatre. I am also a huge fan of creating dream collages. I particularly like collage because putting the elements together into one piece often brings clarity to the dream and heightens its energy. It also works well for me because it removes my Perfectionist and my Inner Critic from the equation: they can’t tell me the nose is too big on my dream tiger or chide me for messing up the perspective on my dream bridge. Plus, it gives me chills to see the dream in vivid, colorful detail right in front of me.
I find that the best magazines for dream collage are National Geographic, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer and Smithsonian…basically any magazine with stunning images will work. But of course, anything you have on hand can work too.
This is a collage (above) I created a few years ago that combined elements of several dreams. Owl became my totem animal after she appeared repeatedly in dreams and waking life, and I wanted to create a piece to honor her that would adorn my altar. Included in the collage are a great gray and a snowy owl. Both are native to my ancestral lands of Norway and Sweden and I included images of those lands in the collage as well. There is a lot of ancestral energy in these recurring dreams and looking at this piece reminds me of this.
I’ve also created three-dimensional art pieces from dreams. My favorites are my snowy owl cloak and nest. I found a pattern online and fired up the sewing machine. I am by no means a seamstress, but I managed to sew the hood onto the main cloak piece. Then I spent hours sewing picture jasper beads onto the back to mimic the brown spots found on juvenile snowy owls. The final flourish was a button and a ribbon clasp.
The idea for the nest came during a shamanic drumming journey during which I reconnected with snowy owl. She gave me this object during the journey and I wanted to honor the gift by creating a physical version. I gathered twigs and branches from local trees and tied them together with natural materials. I stuffed the nest with moss and lichen and included objects specific to dreams I had around that time as well as objects I saw within the nest during the journey.
When I donned the cape and held the nest in my arms, I felt transformed. I was imbued with the energy of Owl: her grace, wisdom, stealth, and cunning. This is what it means to bring the dream into waking life.
Working with art in this way creates a space for your dreams in waking life. It sends a clear message that you honor and respect your dreams and that you are willing to listen to their messages. And it lets your dreams know you haven’t forgotten them.