Waking Dreams and Healing

Healing dreams don’t only happen at night. They happen in broad daylight as well.

I call these experiences waking dreams.

In waking dreams, just as in night dreams, we access our inner wisdom. We may see wild and uncanny imagery. We may experience synchronicity, deja vu, and serendipity. Sometimes characters that normally populate our night dreams begin appearing in waking life.

For instance, let’s say that last night you dreamed of an elephant.

This morning on the way to work you see a woman with an elephant pin on her bag. In your inbox is a picture of an elephant your friend sent you. And while you’re choosing wine at the store tonight, you reach for a bottle of zinfandel without even realizing it has an elephant on the label.

Elephant is trying to get your attention.

And it will behoove you to take notice, especially if the synchronicities come in threes (or more). Waking dreams have strong medicine, just like night dreams.

Obvious examples of waking dreaming are daydreaming and spontaneous visions. Other examples are creative reveries, meditative visions, and the various states shamans enter during healings.

Shamanic Healings as Waking Dreams

It’s this last example I’d like to focus on. After all, our theme this month is on rebirth and renewal, and shamanic healings can certainly rejuvenate us.

During healings, shamans, and sometimes even the healing recipient, receive dream-like visions that guide them throughout the healing. The shaman might see blocked energy, ancestral guides, damage to the chakras or aura, or they may be drawn back to a past life of the client that unfolds like a dream.

The shaman enters an altered state, sometimes through the use of a psychotropic, rhythmic drumming, breathing techniques, or meditation.

It is in these trance states that the shaman can travel to other worlds, see deep within a person’s energy field, and use the waking dream imagery found there to figure out the appropriate healing method needed.

Nature-supported Healing

In my own work, I’ve discovered that doing shamanic healings outdoors adds exponentially to the work’s transformative potential. When we’re not separated from nature by walls, massage tables, and traffic noise, amazing things happen.

After all, the outer landscape is often a reflection of our inner state and it has tremendous gifts to offer. It is not unusal for my clients to be drawn to a particular spot outside where they feel the most comfortable. Often it is because that location has special medicine for them: it’s a dream unfolding.

Some choose to lie in the sun with no shade for miles. Others prefer dappled sunlight. One person might want to lie next to a creek, while another might ask to be next to a flowering bush. The bright sun, the shade, the water, or the flower may have an energy the client is craving, something essential to their healing.

When they’re listening to the dream, they pick up on these subtle cues. They may not even know why they chose that location, but during the healing I almost always get a sense of what the landscape has to offer. Many times the local nature spirits and elements have a role to play in the healing.

For example, during one healing I noticed two huge trees sending streams of energy to my client as we cleared a deep ancestral wound. Another time, in the same field, a different tree sent healing energy to a woman as I cleaned out her fifth chakra, helping her reclaim her voice.

Additionally, I’ve witnessed energy flowing up from the earth and streaming down from the sky. On a few occassions, I’ve noticed nature spirits assisting me with a healing.

It’s all part of the waking dream, the imagery and messages coming forth to help the client.

Working a Waking Dream

When you discover you’re in a waking dream, whether as the result of a healing, a string of synchronicities, or a serious bout of deja vu, you can work with the imagery and energy just as you would with a dream.

Think about the characters showing up (the flowering bush, the elephant) and ask yourself what they mean to you.

Check in with your body. Is there any stiffness, pain, or discomfort? Focus on it and ask it what it has to say.

Pay attention to the setting. Look for details you might normally overlook. Just as in a dream, all the elements are coming together like puzzle pieces to create a larger image, an overarching message.

Write the situation out as you might write down a dream upon waking. See if telling the story of the waking dream helps you unlock its meaning.

Looking at waking dreams adds to the potency of dreamwork because it provides twice as much information to work with as you discern the messages coming from your unconscious and Spirit.

Have you experienced a waking dream? Please share your experience with us in the comments!

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


  1. Sleeping Realities April 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    What funny timing for this article. I was just noticing yesterday how many “crazy” looking people waved “hello” to me as I was driving. It was at least three, maybe four, in one day. It’s not a normal thing, in this small conservative town where I live, to see that many misfit/homeless/crazy kinds of people in a single day. (I’m not trying to be judgemental, sorry for the harsh terms…) And the thought occurred to me, maybe this is some kind of sign, a synchronicity of some sort. Hmmmmm, I’ll have to ponder on this; I was going to just let it go…

  2. Katrina April 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Yes, perhaps it is a sign. If it were my dream, I might ask myself what “misfit” or “crazy” part of myself wants attention.

  3. Ka April 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Hello Katrina, what a wonderful synchronicity – just a few days ago I downloaded your gorgeous dream deck, and have also been doing some posts on a similar theme
    though you are much more helpful and instructive here….appreciate the clarity and interesting experiences here
    :) Ka

    • Katrina April 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you Ka!
      I tried twice to post a comment to your blog, but I guess it is not meant to be. I enjoyed reading about your bird synchronicities!

      And thank you for your kind comments about the Dream Divination Deck. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  4. Jenny April 20, 2012 at 1:50 am - Reply

    Lovely – clear and interesting! I experience my whole waking life, not just its objects and symbols, as having a kind of dream layer – every theme, relationship and so on being not only its objective self but also carrying symbolic resonance in tune with my dreamlife/soul. But these objects, especially when occurring in groups of three or more, are like bright messengers, which make you take particular notice of them

    • Katrina April 21, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

      That’s lovely, Jenny! I just read your blog on how writing fiction is like being in a dream…it’s really cool how if we step back for a minute and think about it, that everything really is one big dream. Makes things that much more interesting, doesn’t it? :)

  5. [...] 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 [...]

  6. [...] make direct communication. Talk to loved ones, write letters and/or visit their favorite places. Place carries potency and can evoke “waking dream” experiences. [...]

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