Dreams Help Us See the Bigger Picture

While reading the biblical story of Joseph welcoming his brothers into Egypt years after they had sold him into slavery (Genesis 45:1-15), and noticing his forgiving and gracious reception of those who did him in, it was clear to see that Joseph understood the bigger picture of God’s plan in the awful treatment his brothers gave him.  Joseph held no grudges or desire for revenge.  Instead, he welcomed his welcomed his brothers, saying “God sent me here to preserve life.”  He was able to offer his brothers refuge in Egypt from the famine that was rampant.

Joseph was a famous dreamer of dreams.  He had vivid prophetic dreams which told him early on he would have power over his older siblings.  This, of course, is what added fuel to the flames of sibling rivalry, resulting in his being sold into slavery.  Later, Joseph’s dreams and ability to interpret dreams won him Pharaoh’s favor in Egypt.  In other words, Joseph knew all along his troubles would lead him to greatness, even though he probably suffered greatly when his dreams seemed far from having anything to do with reality.  However, he kept the faith and believed in his dreams.

Being in touch with one’s dreams over a long period of time gives one clues to the major themes, meanings, challenges, loves and tragedies of one’s life.  Much of this drama is played out ahead of time in dreamtime if one is only “awake” enough to witness it, record it and remember it.  As they say, the story is not nearly so scary when there is an inkling of the ending, and the drama doesn’t dominate one so much.  An aware dreamer like Joseph is able to act with kindness because he or she understands the deeper meanings already suggested in dreamtime.

Joseph’s ability to see the big picture of his life surely made him understand that resentments, grudges and revenge had no place in the greater drama of God’s plan as shown to him in dreams.  It lifted him above the level of cruelty and pettiness of his siblings to a higher consciousness where God gave him the grace to act well on a grand stage.  If we are in touch with our dreams, they will guide us through the story of our lives, helping us to act with dignity and graciousness even in the worst of times.

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Is it a Run of Bad Luck or Is It a Test? The Dreams Will Tell.

Tests of faith produce perseverance.

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When a string of bad things happen to us that we did not bring on ourselves, we might attribute it to bad luck or bad timing. Have you ever thought that it could be a spiritual test which might be like an initiation bringing you to a higher level of spiritual consciousness?

If we are to grow significantly in any endeavor, no matter if it is in a sport or an academic area of expertise, we need to constantly be tested. The same is true in the spiritual life. All the great saints and Jesus himself (Luke 4:1-12) were put to the test at some point in their lives. These tests often marked the reaching of a state of maturity that enabled them to witness to or practice their particular calling.

If you were put to a spiritual test, how would you know it?

Sometimes a random string of negative events is just that. How we react to it can exasperate or strengthen us—a lot depends on our response. Even random events can serve the effort of spiritual growth. However, sometimes we are faced with challenges that are truly meant to define us and bring us to the next spiritual level. In this case, how do we know that it is a real spiritual test and not just a random string of bad luck?

Dreams can literally tell us when we are being tested or when we will undergo a challenging set of events that will serve as a training camp of sorts. I am reminded of a dream I had a couple of years ago where I dreamed that I was summoned to a table of people with a certain calling. However, before I could join this table and be given the “goods” to work at this calling, I would be put to a test. The ensuring couple of years proved to be profoundly challenging with work endeavors that represented my work passion all shutting down. If I did not have this dream that set these very disappointing episodes in the context of a greater scheme, I would have despaired all together and perhaps have given up on work that expressed my passion. In another dream about twenty years ago, I dreamed that I would be put in a training program that would bring me to an “Olympic level” of ability. The subsequent years of learning from my dreams and events in my life that went along with the dream learning certainly had that effect whereby I significantly developed my abilities to work with dreams.

Getting insights into where we are on our spiritual journeys is just another way dreams can be of great help, making on-going dreamwork an important tool for those serious about spiritual growth.

Cat Dreams

Pootsie the cat

Pootsie in Dreams & Waking Life

Many people dream about cats, especially people who own and/or care for cats.  It is perhaps one of the most commonly searched dream themes that bring people to my blog so I decided to write a blog just on dreams about cats!

If you do a search on the Internet about the meaning of cats in dreams, you will find various offerings that run from the ridiculous to the profound.  Stay away from explanations that offer pat answers and answers related to superstition.  Our feline friends have had a long and rich relationship with humans collectively and us personally so they deserve much more careful reflection when they appear in our nocturnal journeys of the psyche.

A good starting point for researching the meaning of cats in dreams is to be found in Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary by Sandra A. Thomson which associates a type of psychic energy with the cat: feminine power.  I like this explanation because I personally believe that all images and symbols in dreams represent types of energy within our psyche.  Thus in considering a cat dream symbol I need to ask myself what part of my energy makeup does this dream cat remind me of?  Is it my desire for or joy in independence?  Is it related to the abilities of feminine intuition?  Is it related to a personality trait such as being “catty?”  In a man’s dream would it be related to feminine aspects of his psyche?

In waking life, I do have a tabby cat that is very assertive, curious and smart.  When I dream of her, I not only think of how the dream might relate to or tell me about her as my pet, but also how her energy relates to some kind of energy within me.  In dreams, I am always glad to see her acting boldly and running freely because the dream is probably telling me she is healthy and strong while those aspects of her that live in me are also healthy and strong.

And conversely, when I dream of her being hurt or unwell, it causes me to ask all sorts of questions not only about her well-being but my own as well.  For example, I had a dream that she had a wounded leg which caused her to be immobile.  A while later, that actually did happen and I had to care for her as if she were bedridden.  The dream also was warning me that my own ability to make my way through life with catlike grace and knowing was impeded by wrong turns taken that just weren’t for me.

For additional reading, please see my other blogs:

A Source of Spiritual Insight: The Appearance of Animals in Dreams and Intuitive Inspiration

Working with Dream Themes: Wounded Animals

Catharsis and Atonement As Seen in Dreams

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Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a Reiki healer who made the comment that her clients often experienced vivid dreams after she did a healing on them.

I began thinking about this and saw that this was only natural–perfectly in keeping with what dreams are all about.  One of the many purposes of dreams is to show us what is going on inside us, so a healing process, no matter if it is physical, emotional or spiritual will be reflected. 

Reiki healing works with the universal energy around us and the body’s own energy field.  I have always observed that dreams reflect through symbol and story the working of energy within us and the energy coming from outside of us.  So if there is a significant shift in energy this will be seen in dreams of catharsis and atonement, catharsis meaning a purging of negative emotions and atonement meaning a bringing back into a state of at-one-ment, or wholeness. 

Dreams of Catharsis

In terms of symbols catharsis may be expressed in dreams related to the bathroom such as toilet dreams, of having to urinate or defecate, of needing to take a bath or shower–or actually doing these things.

Dreams of Atonement

Atonement, or the process of realignment to one’s true self, may be expressed in dreams of being at a barber or hairdresser’s where one’s hair is being redone expertly by a professional in the business, of being coached or of being forgiven.

A successful catharsis and atonement may be reflected in bright lights in dreams, either coming from or through the dreamer, or dreaming that such a light passes through a symbol for the self such as a Christmas Tree.  However it is symbolized, it is powerful.  Have you seen your Day of Atonement in dreams?

Trump Politics and Absence of the Wise Old Woman Archetype

Crone Wisdom

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The archetype of the Wise Old Woman (Crone) is an important one both in our dreams and in the mythologies of the world. She is the psychic energy counterpart of the Wise Old Man, imparting feminine wisdom from age and the ages. Ideally, our world should have both energies functioning in the wonderful harmony of yin and yang among the female and male elders of our society.

In an age of patriarchy, this archetype is often oppressed because it rises up to challenge male energy when the Wise Old Man’s shadow side and negative characteristics become particularly strong or dominant. This oppression can be readily seen outwardly in the world around us with the subjugation and second class treatment afforded to women in so many places, and especially where wise feminine style leadership is needed to bring balance and harmony. Inwardly, it can be seen in our dreams if we dream of a woman, especially an older one, being oppressed or neglected.

It is not surprising that in all the photos of Donald Trump’s family you do not see a female counterpart to Donald Trump. It is very telling. This lady should be the emerging matriarch, possibly to become the matriarch of the Republican Party. And what is even more telling is that the current reigning matriarch, Barbara Bush, recently came out in a TV interview as being against Donald Trump.  She echoed so many women’s concerns when she asked what woman would want to vote for him?  It makes you wonder what wisdom of age and the ages will be missing if Trump becomes president? Wake Up America!

Can We Make the Term Priestess Respectable?

A prietess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine.

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While surfing on Pinterest I saw a definition of priestess and realized that I am truly one, along with some amazing ladies I know.  It is what I have been attempting to do ever since I began teaching dreamwork and meditation years ago.  Here is the definition:

A priestess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine so that they can heal and/or actualize their soul’s path.

I have found it interesting that women priests in the Episcopal Church are called priests and not priestess.  Perhaps the term resonates with witchcraft, and the wild things beyond the control of civilized constructs such as organized religion.  For sure, the term is connected to what the Hawaiians would call mana, or power.  Such power, no matter if it is a force of nature, or a force of our own souls or the force of a divine power, is indeed outside the control of humans.  Yet, this energy is what drives real spiritual enlightenment, healing, growth and conversion.  It is what religion is truly all about.   In resurrecting the term priestess, we can perhaps also bring back, or let back in again, the sacred life-giving energy that is needed to rejuvenate a person or a congregation.

I think all great priests, men or women, truly act out their calling when they serve this sacred function of connecting people to the divine, especially in a highly personal way such as attending to the needs of a dying person, doing spiritual direction, or healing a community conflict in such a way that it brings out the best in everyone.   However, nowadays,  sadly, emphasis is usually put elsewhere so that people are first more readily to identify priests as the performers of rituals and homilies that may or may not inspire and functionaries of religious organizations, not much different from a corporate CEO.   No wonder people, so many people, have a hard time finding life in a church!

All people hunger for an experience of the sacred.  Perhaps it will take priestesses to do the job, if the priests (male and female) don’t measure up to the job.  If this is the case, organized religion perhaps can expect to see a decline in attendance.

Do Dreams Deal with the Past, Present and Future?

From many years of working with dreams, I find that most of them deal with current issues, a few deal with past issues and some deal with issues of the distant future. For other people it may be different, but this is the conclusion I get when I experience them, write them down and reflect on them. Perhaps it is just me in that I feel I have few issues from the past that need resolving. I certainly have some in the future that I prepare for, or are trying to work out with resolution now. However, as with a lot of people, my so-called “burning issues” are the ones that I am dealing with today and the day after.

Usually, I have found, a dream is about either the past, present or future, but not all three at once–unless it is a dream that is covering a great deal of one’s life and is highlighting a major theme in one’s life. These are often the Great Dreams which give insight on one’s life purpose in light of the greater picture.

The Dreamscape: Out-of-Body Dwelling or Testing Ground for the Here and Now??

One of the many things we often take for granted every time we dream is the marvelous world we enter into when we dream: the Dreamscape. It is a landscape in another dimension often populated by people and places we oddly know, and by many we don’t know or have yet to discover in the waking dimension. One thing for sure is that it is a fascinating place if you begin to think about it seriously.

Some dream thinkers consider this dimension the place we go after we die. They suggest that you consciously get to know the dreamscape better by requesting dreams that will help you 1) remember your dreams and 2) be awake and aware in your dreams (lucid dreaming.) They say that doing these practices will be good preparation for dying. If you are comfortable and familiar with working with the dreamscape, death and what comes after will be easier to handle when you can no longer return to your body.

Others consider the dreamscape as a sort of universal virtual hologram where our energies meet with the energies of other forces, places and people who are destined for interaction on the earth plane. The purpose of this hologram is to set up the energetic dynamic and interchange before manifesting these energies on the physical plane. This is why observing the choices we make in dreams in so important. If I don’t like the choice I make in dreamtime, I can make another choice when that situation manifests in waking life. That is the real power of dreams. It ‘s not that they foretell the future, it’s that they give you an informed choice! This is my own view after forty years of working with dreams since I believe that everything has its source in the spiritual plane. But who can really say? Maybe I will ask for a dream that will give me the answer! 🙂

A Source of Spiritual Insight: The Appearance of Animals in Dreams and Intuitive Insight

Jesus likening himself to a mother hen

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The animal-human relationship has had a big influence in human psychological development. One way this can be seen is the deep attachment and communication that can happen between a pet owner and the pet. Even with animals in the wild, humans have long looked on magnificent and tiny creatures and wondered at their various gifts such as speed, flight, cunning or strength. It is no wonder that animals often appear in our dreams or intuitive insight. Perhaps we are either being given, or given insight, into that animal’s energy to meet a particular challenge of the moment. It is no wonder that ancient people worshiped animals. They wanted the particular energy associated with that animal to face the tasks ahead so they called upon the spirit of that animal to help them.

Even Jesus recognized the special energy that each animal exhibits. In Luke 13:34 he resonates with the deep caring nature of the mother hen as he compared himself to that humble bird who gathers who her brood under her wings. He could have compared himself to a grand animal of any sort like an eagle or a horse. Instead, he feels great compassion for his people and wants to protect them from the many dangers. Perhaps he is calling on this energy within himself for the tasks lying ahead for him.

Notice when an animal appears in your dreams or meditation. Ask yourself what energies you associate with that animal and then ask why you might need this energy at this time in your life. As a follow-through, try to act with the energy of that animal to meet the challenge facing you.

Dreams Help Heal Grief

One of the many healing functions of dreams is to reconcile or heal the profound pain of the loss of a loved one. The grieving process is helped along by insights that come with dreams as well as the actual visit of a loved in a dream that quite often conveys a message of comfort or helpful information.

For example, the night that my mother died, I dreamed that she came to me and said she now understood me in a way she hadn’t before, and she could see how special I was. This was a comforting surprise to me because while I understood that she loved me and accepted me; I always had the nagging feeling she didn’t really know where I was coming from. While we spent a lot of time together and got along peaceably together, she was not a talker and I usually didn’t bring up subjects that would make her even more reticent.

It is true that we were very different personalities. She was German-American haus-frau who was devoted to family, giving up her nursing career after she married. She expressed her love in what she did for us. I, on the other hand, was a career woman all of my life expressing my love in creative work such as writing and teaching. She often wondered why I never got married–even when I told her I stayed single because I had taken her advice of not settling for anything less than the best! The best just never came my way.

Having this dream made me feel that my relationship with her was now complete. There were no more loose strings or vague musings about what might have been. What dreams helped you resolve any issues with a person who has passed?