Who was I before I awoke to the morning, to this so-called real world?
The long night has been filled with vivid wanderings, alluring and cryptic characters, familiar and exotic locales, aspects of myself that I recognize and some that I do not. One segment of my journey into the Dreamtime has been a familiar passage, a repeated scenario that surfaces every so often, relaying a message that given its continued reappearance, obviously I have only partially understood.
This morning I wake feeling raw and delicate from a night of tumbling in the river of soul. In the quiet of the early morning, I sit with my cup of tea and the images of the dream, gazing out the wide windows but only half seeing, feeling instead. The powerful grief and longing I experienced before waking still hovers close at hand, emotions just below the surface that might easily crack the fragile porcelain of my warm skin. I can still summon a taste of it now, a tremendous power and deep yearning braided together in a core of visceral energy like blue flame.
I am the Dreamer, again awakened to the day world but remembering that who I really am is always revealed when my ego drops away in sleep. Knowing too that soul, the true essence of my being, seeks ever more authenticity from me in my waking hours. As a Soul Artist, it’s a challenge I accept.
For years, on and off, I have kept a dream journal next to my bed. Often when I wake in the early morning, or perhaps in the middle of the night and writing by the light of a headlamp, I record in detail all that I can bring back from the Dreamtime. Sometime later in the morning, usually as I sit with a cup of tea after my partner has departed for work, I review the dream; reading it aloud, narrating it slowly in first person and present tense—as if I am experiencing it now—and then again, slowly adding in images, feelings and associations as they arise.
Each time I tell it aloud more of the dream emerges from my depths, along with surprising connections and intriguing associations. Avoiding immediate interpretations—and steering well clear of any of those damned dream dictionaries—I let the images continue to work on me throughout the day, summoning them again to my mind’s eye whenever I can, permitting myself to float and drift with them. Rather than attempting to ‘figure it out’, I allow the dream to reveal its deeper layers to me through repeated waking encounters.
Lately, I’m not recording my Dreamtime wanderings in a journal but I do continue to work with them, especially when they carry a noticeable emotional charge or repeat themselves, a clear sign that something important is seeking my attention.
As far as the meanings of dreams, you’ll find me decidedly in the camp that values them as something far more than simply a neural mishmash of images, or the brain sorting through the day’s events or unfinished business. The Dreamtime is a primary aperture to the soul, available to every one of us, even if we don’t consciously remember our wanderings and adventures each morning when we return. Most depth approaches to working with dreams hold that every aspect of the dream—each character, every object, each image—represents an aspect of ourselves.
As with the deep imagination, dreams are highly symbolic and the mysterious force of soul can be influenced by archetypal forces seeking expression through us, those “underlying energies that guide and sustain the human soul.” In a world that is rapidly losing its access to the imaginal (not to be confused with ‘imaginary’)—that powerful realm of archetypes and the mythic in our collective unconscious—dreams still open the magical door, where stepping through we encounter the Soul of the World.
In every one of us, the human soul yearns to fulfill its unique role and destiny as creative potential. A primary way it speaks to us is through dreams, sharing its own visions and curious images for the waking world where it hopes to sing us awake. It whispers a longing to be embodied rather than denied, remembered rather than forgotten, sung and not silenced. But are we listening?
Descending and disappearing into the Dreamtime realm woven of darkness and sleep, we are defenseless. The conscious, rational mind is abducted by the soul and dragged into deep waters that swirl and roil with puzzling images. We find ourselves in bizarre but telling circumstances, surrounded by a curious cast of characters, and engaging in acts that surprise, secretly delight or horrify us. All notions of control stripped away, we are offered a mysterious brew—a potent potion of images and memories that the Dreammaker hopes will significantly alter the way we perceive our daytime world of non-reality.
As I sit with my English tea in a favorite blue and white cup, gazing out through the wide windows at the green landscape and listening to the songs of birds, I return to the particulars of last night’s dream. In a vortex of black grief and howling rage, colliding with aspects of myself cleverly disguised as other characters, what is my soul asking me to continue to uncover, integrate, or bring forward?
Dreams are powerful, cryptic invitations to descend into the depths of subconscious longing. The Aborigines, as well as other native First Peoples and wisdom traditions, know that beyond the nightly initiation of the soul, the Dreamtime also offers a portal to other dimensions and parallel realms of reality. Stepping even further into realms of mystery, what if the Earth and the Cosmos are dreaming us, conspiring to bring humanity awake as part of the great evolutionary arc and spiral.
The Larger Story is reaching out to you in the Dreamtime, sending an imaginative, enigmatic summons. You are being dreamed, as surely as you are dreaming.
For each of us, important facets of the self that we have neglected or that remain undeveloped often present themselves through dreams. We can meet our anima or animus (the female or male aspect of our soul that differs from our gender), archetypes, guides and angels, even gods and goddesses as manifestations and messengers of the Source. Appearing to us in dreams, we may discover something essential that we continue to miss in the waking world.
What I have come to know is that the Other communicates with us in a myriad of ways: nature; people; curious signs, situations, and intersections of fate; dreams; Eros and our longing; places on the Earth that pull and resonate with us; mysterious synchronicity; wild animals or curious images that repeatedly present themselves; our creativity and imagination; and the somatic longing we feel in the body that serves as the soul’s compass.
On the spinning hamster wheel of our lives, most of us are not listening or paying attention. We’ve discarded the soul’s longing as too farfetched and idealistic, risky, or impossible. We are trudging or racing through our technologically tranced out world, wondering what we’re missing, ignoring the signs, covers pulled over our heads and not remembering the dream.
Often whilst I sleep, I find myself on stage. It’s a repeated scenario. I am singing, often with a famous female, 80’s pop star—Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Vanessa Williams are common visitors—and together we are belting out a song or two at the top of our lungs. My baritone voice is resonant, fully supported, musical, powerful, and my entire being radiates with utter joy to be singing from my soul to the welcoming crowd.
In the waking world, will I share my voice—my authentic personal power—so willingly and unashamedly with such abandon? Or will I hold back, afraid that my voice (or whatever I’m offering to the world) isn’t good enough, perhaps secretly afraid that it really is good. Do we dare to be fully seen, to own our full magnificence, or will we continue to sacrifice essential parts of ourselves in order to remain small, safe, and socially acceptable?
Sing, my friend. Go for it. It doesn’t matter who is listening.
As Soul Artists, what we offer to the world needn’t be Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. However, it must possess prescience, heart and authenticity. It may be initially inspired by others but ultimately it will be a vision uniquely our own, one that emerges through us as a mysterious gift of Earth and Cosmos. It isn’t ‘thought up’ but arises through our deep listening and open senses, streaming through our channels of sensation, feeling, intuition, heartmind, and our dreams.
When the Dreamtime retreats and we move blearily and busily into our daylight hours, we either carry our dreams forward or lose and forget them in the mists. So, too, with the waking dream of our precious lives. Each day we have the opportunity to work towards embodying a dream—a life of authentic and soulful meaning—or set it aside amid the noise, distractions, and well-spun illusions of the world.
So I ask, gentle reader, who were you before this morning before you awoke to the dayworld? And might that ‘you’ be equally or even more real than the one reading this now? What is your soul telling you through dreams? And are you listening?
Dance. Sing. Build. Create. Dream. Do. Risk the thing you’ve always dreamed or been terrified of. You have one wild and precious life, so what will you do with it? The Dreammaker will help you find the path.