Working with Dream Themes: Health and Healing

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus: The Healing Rod of Asclepius

With nearly 40 years of dreamwork experience, one thing I can say for certain about my dreams is that the archetypal energy of healing at all levels, spiritual, psychological and physical has been expressed in myriad symbols, processes and themes, indicating to me that the primary purpose of dreams is to heal and make whole.

The Benefits of Working with Dreams to Heal

Learning to recognize when and how healing is at work within is a fascinating aspect of the study of dreams. It was one of the first benefits I clearly saw from keeping a dream journal. (See my blog 6 Health Related Benefits of Keeping a #Dream Journal.) As I grew more adept at working with dreams, I learned that they could be used to diagnose, treat and monitor the progress of any kind of ailment. Over the years, I learned to request information about a piece of health information prior to getting the specific lab results to verify the accuracy of that test. I have found my dreams to be up to this point in time 100% accurate and I have been doing this for more than ten years. And last but not least, I saw healings take place within my dreams which then manifested in my body.

How to Become Adept at Working with Health-Related Dreams

If you want to become adept at exploring your health from the dream perspective, do the following:

  1. Keep a dream journal and be faithful in recording all the dreams you can remember, even the most minor and insignificant. Many years ago I had an obscure “one-liner” dream which conveyed the cryptic message, “Everyone is working to develop a method of self-healing.” I knew nothing of what this meant at the time but many years later, I saw it would become one the main purposes of my life, and “everyone” referred to all aspects of me!
  2. Read the groundbreaking book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., The Healing Power of Dreams, which gives researched information on how symbols occurring in dreams relate to the body and its state of health. She gives many of the commonly occurring symbols for health in dreams.
  3. In addition the to common symbols for health and healing; learn your personal dream vocabulary. (See Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary.) What are your unique symbols for health, healing and healers that appear in your dreams?
  4. Notice and reflect on all images, processes and symbols relating to health, the medical field, therapists and healers. What are they telling you?
  5. Learn to request specific health information from dreams (Dream Incubation.) (See Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a #Dream.)  For example, ask what particular foods do you need to eat to get healthier?
  6. Request healings to come in dreams.
  7. Test your dream findings with your medical lab tests or a doctor’s diagnosis.  If your dream tells you one thing, and a doctor another, get a second opinion.

Many doctors now are beginning to see the helpfulness of dreams in staying healthy.  My doctor always takes my health dreams seriously and so should yours!  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have learned about the value of dreams and their relationship to health at an asclepion, an ancient type of hospital which was dedicated to the god of healing, Asclepius.  The caduceus, the symbol of medicine which comes to us from this ancient era, depicts snakes wrapped around the rod of Asclepius.

For more information, and consulting sessions and user manual on intentional dreaming and intuitive meditation, please see my website at:  www.healingdreamgarden.com.

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The Human Body: An Energy Field Connected to Other Energy Fields

Body as transmitter of information and energy

A Connection of Energy Fields

From Asian cultures we learn that the body is essentially an energy field connected directly or indirectly to all other energy fields in the universe. Because all fields are interconnected, they are capable of transferring information and energy. That means we have access to an infinite amount of information. We are all aware of how we receive and send information through the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.  But what about the so-called sixth sense?

Receiving and Sending Intuitive Information and Energy

Many of us are not so aware how we can send and receive information and energy through intuition in the form meditation and dreams. The intuitive images, sounds, feelings, and sensations that we pick up spontaneously or receive in dreams and meditation are identifying symbols for unique, relevant information and energy within and without us that can be used to help ourselves and others. Any of the senses can be a vehicle for an intuitive message because our bodies are wonderfully designed to transmit information through the five senses as well as the sixth sense of intuition. Just as we pick up data through touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste coming from outside us, we can register intuitive data coming from within us through those same senses.

Sending intuitive information and loving energy is very much like using our senses to send and receive information about what we see or hear except we do it in an intuitive, altered state of awareness such as meditation, deep prayer or dreams. In these states we intend to receive or to transmit information or energy, and it happens! We can intend to have dreams that will help someone else by giving deeper understanding, clues to resolution or a diagnosis of the issue. While in meditation or prayer, we can send healing energy and even information to someone through the imagination and intention.

When you think of the body as a bundle of energy in addition to it’s amazing physical capabilities, it is truly amazing.

To learn more about dreams, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Toward a Theology of Love’s Energies: A Second Discovery of Fire

Using Dreams and Intuition to harness the energy of love

Harnessing the Energy of Love

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Reading this quote this morning made me more aware that a future direction of Christian theological reflection will be, as it is in physics and medicine, on the nature of energy.  Energy is what underlies everything.  Energy is what make the universe tick (e=mc²), energy is what gives life to the body and creates abundant health, and energy is the active component of both intuition and love.

I personally believe that as we explore the depths of human intuitive capabilities as they are grounded in empathetic love rather than in the showy but superficial distractions of ESP and some other extraneous psychic phenomenon, we will rewrite a new theology.  Just as Thomistic theology and liberation theology represent significant philosophical and political points of view, I believe there will be a Christian theology of energy that may one day unite religion and science.  Developing intuition and observing nature as concurrent and equally important tasks, along with being inspired by revelation, will be the keys for this unfolding.

Everything we have ever learned and will learn will come through our marvelous bodies which are receptors and communicators of healing energy.  As humans we also have the ability to observe and reflect upon that energy and how it works, especially through intuition and dreams.  They tap us into the universal power source and inform of us of this underlying energy that drives us both as individuals and as beings who are connected with every other being in the universe Our challenge will be to integrate our new understandings of energy, especially the healing and loving kind, with divine revelation.  Just as we have learned to harness atomic power, I do hope we learn to harness the power of intuition and dreams and use the insight we gain in the service of love.  Then, we will have harnessed an exponentially greater fire than our ancestors did.

Unraveling the Language of Dreams

Gwen Plano portrait

Dr. Gwen Plano

I am pleased to have as a guest blogger my friend and colleague Dr. Gwen Plano. A retired educator with a strong background in Counseling and Theology, Gwen recently published a riveting account of her own spiritual journey in Letting Go into Perfect Love.

I grew up on a small farm in southern California, surrounded by cotton fields and grazing cattle. We were isolated from much of the world; but, the arid landscape was fertile ground for dreams. Once tucked into bed and sound asleep, I traveled–to far off lands. I knew I would someday leave the farm; because, I saw that it would be so–through my dreams.

When I got married, though, my nighttime reveries of soaring high into the clouds and traveling to one continent after another, changed. In fact, my dreams terrified me so much that I did not want to sleep.  I would awaken with heart pounding, terror gripping—to images of a baby dying in my stalled car. I would frantically try to revive the child and then rouse fearfully from my bed. Visions of a shriveled, lifeless toddler haunted me night after night. And in each episode, I was desperately trying to save the child. I did not know what these dreams meant at the time; but, I worried about my children. Were the dreams about one of them?

Two years ago I began writing my memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. In preparation, I re-read my old journals and walked through the years. I had forgotten about my night terrors until seeing them chronicled in my notes. What had perplexed me in years past was now very clear.

For more than two decades I was in an abusive marriage. I lived afraid of mistakes, of saying the wrong thing, of being me. Joy was transient or not at all. I effectively hid from life, behind a closeted door of shame.

My dreams during this unwholesome marriage were about me, and more specifically, my lifeless inner child.

Through repetitive dreams, my subconscious was trying to get my attention. But, I could not hear its speech; because, my intuitive creative child lay lifeless in my nocturnal arms. With time and much counseling, though, this precious part of me revived and through her playful interjections, she helped me piece together a life that is once again mine.

My Reflection on Gwen’s Dream

With horrific dreams my experience has been that we tend to want to find the meaning outside of ourselves, or take them to be literally true as you did when the dream made you worry about your children. That is why as a starter to working on most dreams, I often like to use the classic dreamwork method taught by Fritz Perls that everything in the dream is part of yourself. It is the quickest and one of the most effective ways of getting to the primary message. I also believe, along with Edgar Cayce, that dreams can have many levels of meanings so the dream could have been making a comment on possible concerns you had for your children at that time, too.  If it was my dream and I had kids, I think that would be the case for me.

Working with Dream Themes: The Loss of Identity

Okau Road tunnel

Passing Through a Tight Place

One of the messages that Edgar Cayce had to say about dreams is that they point out the difference between how my higher self sees me and how my ego self sees me.  Dreams are always trying to get us to let go of ego and grow into our higher selves.   Nightmares are often caused by this clash between these two parts in each of us.   The ego just doesn’t want to let go to that higher self and the results show in fear, anger or depression!  Loss of identity dreams especially seem to be related to this issue of ego letting go.  When we worry too much about things like money, status, job opportunities and people loving us, “loss of identity” dreams often kick in, reminding us that there is more to us than our ego identity.

How we think of ourselves is something that seems to be very important in dreamtime.  I say this because so many of my dreams and those of my friends, students and colleagues who have shared their dreams with me note the theme of personal identity, or the loss of it, showing up in dreams—especially when we come to recognize our unique symbols or the commonly occurring symbols for this event.

I have to admit it was a long time before I recognized the symbol for what it meant in my dreams, even though I had the dream repeatedly over many years.   In the dream I would lose my purse or have it stolen, usually by a bunch of bratty kids.  I was aware enough to realize these nightmares usually occurred when I was worried about finances so I just assumed that’s all there was to it.   Having the dream repeat over a period of time should have clued me in that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the dream.  Here is a typical dream:

Dream:
I go through a tight place but make it through.  I realize I don’t have my purse.  I go back to the tight place and see a lot of women have left their purses here going through this tight place.

Reflection:
Going through a tight place evokes the feeling of going through the birth canal, the transition to a new level of being or awareness.  At the time of this dream I was just about to undergo a major spiritual event, a kundalini awakening.  After doing this, I would realize I don’t have my purse.  At the time, I had just come into an inheritance so money wasn’t an issue.  So what did the purse mean?  Sandra A. Thomson in Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary notes that it is related to identity. The purse holds one’s identity in the form of ID cards such as a driver’s license or passport.  Going through such a major transition would cause me to lose the way I look at myself, my identity—which indeed happened to an enormous degree.  The kundalini awakening had me undergo such physical, emotional and spiritual changes that I no longer recognized my “old self” on any of these dimensions.  However, eventually I was led to  experience the fact that at the core I am a being of energy and light, able to receive and transmit healing energy.   I was being transformed.  What a new spiritual identity!  The dream was telling me that it wasn’t just me but there are many other women who experience this loss of identity when undergoing major transitions.  The many women could be other women or other parts of myself.  As it turned out, I ended up making many changes which totally changed my waking life identity as well.  I left my career in IT consulting, moved to Hawaii, and became a writer, educator and life coach.