Brother Crow – A Full Circle Moment

When I was on the West Coast recently visiting my daughter, I had a powerful experience that I know was a full-circle moment. I know there is a powerful message there for me, and I wait for it to be revealed in the fullness of time.

CrowbywaterYes, it involves another encounter with one of my closest Spirit Animal allies: Crow. You can find the story of my first encounter with crow here. Over the years, I have had more than one luminous, unusual encounter with the power of Crow Medicine. This month, I encountered Crow in the very same fashion as when I first walked past the crow that was lying dead in the gutter by the curb.

I threw my back out while visiting my daughter and needed to drive to Tacoma (the town I lived in when I was opened back up to the Voice of Spirit). The chiropractor that used to treat me when I was in the military still practices there, and is always happy to squeeze me in if needed. Now, I could have gone with my daughter and her boyfriend, but if I had, I doubt I would have had the experience I did.

I arrived in Tacoma early for my appointment, and there was a Starbuck’s across the street, so I went over to the store to get a coffee and something to snack on. I didn’t want to sit in the store because it was a wonderful day and I didn’t want to sit in the parking lot, either. I got in the car and drove slowly – I now realize I was following Spirit -until I came to a place behind a box store where there were some trees and some shade where I could eat my breakfast sandwich.

As I pulled up to park under the trees, I was shocked to see a crow lying in the parking lot. It had obviously been recently hit as the blood pooling underneath the creature was still bright red. I was overcome with a full-on sense of time wrapping back upon itself somehow, and knew this was NOT an accident. I finished my snack, then used the bag the sandwich came in to pick the bird up and put it in the ivy growing under the trees  where I was parked. I apologized to the bird that I could not do more in the moment. It was better than leaving the bird lying on the pavement in the sun.

As I drove away to the appointment, I felt as if I were in two times at once, pondering the odds that I would 1) be in Tacoma, 2) go to the chiropractor while I was there, and 3) find a dead crow that needed my help. Again.

If I hadn’t thrown my back out, I would not have needed to drive to Tacoma. If I hadn’t arrived so early, I wouldn’t have had time to kill. If I hadn’t been hungry, I wouldn’t have stopped at the store, I would have waited in the office. If it hadn’t been such a nice day, I would have eaten the meal in the store. The timing was perfect, and I did follow the subtle current of energy that was gently leading me.

To the crow that gave its life so I could receive my message, I give thanks. And I will do my best to hear it so that your sacrifice is not wasted.

Since our waking life can be worked in the same way or sleep dreams can, I will share what I learn when I work this experience with my dream Teacher next month. Until then, thank you, brother Crow, for your constant companionship on my spiritual journey.

All original material posted to this site is (c)2016 -, Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding. Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.                                         ~David Richo

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Musings on Projection

projector2The projective style of dream work has opened a whole new level of perspective for me. The primary tool is projection.  The dictionary defines projection as:the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings or attitudes to other people or objects; esp the externalization of blame, guilt or responsibility as a defense against anxiety.

We are all uniquely blind to our own shortcomings, but are easily able to spot others’ deficiencies. Lately, I have been paying more attention to how I respond to others, and the thoughts I have about them. I know that this is an elegant way for me to quickly identify where in my psyche I still have work to do.

Try this the next time someone irritates you or disappoints you or upsets you, or betrays you. Ask yourself where in my life am I (irritating, disappointing, upsetting, or betraying) myself? It is not as easy a task as it seems. It requires unstinting honesty.

I also need to say that it is not only about the negative things we perceive in others. More importantly, it is often the positive things we perceive in others that we need to see in ourselves. (This is called the Bright Shadow).

Becoming more aware of the thoughts we have about people helps us become more aware of how we perceive ourselves. We don’t have to have someone else tell us, we just have to pay attention to where our mind goes while we are in relationship with those in our world.

Sometimes, I don’t like what I find, but it gives me something I can focus my conscious attention on, and begin to transmute. Intellectually I understand it is all part of the Hero’s Journey,(the part where we slay the dragon) but that doesn’t make it any easier.

The progress of my work with myself  manifests in the dreams I remember. It still fascinates me how consistently relevant these nightly messages from my highest wisdom source are. These gentle ‘report cards’ give me hope and encouragement as I continue my personal journey towards wholeness. I do this work with the awareness that as I do the work for myself, I do the work also for the collective. It is, after all, how we will heal the world’s collective wounds.

Have courage. Open your heart, and listen to what your dreams tell you. ~Paolo Coelho

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2016-, Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

The Power of Sharing Dreams

220px-Caveman_5Ancient dreaming societies understood the power of dream-sharing. Often, the first order of the day was for members of the tribe to gather over the morning meal to share the dreams of the night.

Some call dream work ‘New Age’. Humans have been dreaming for  tens of thousands of years,and continue to dream even though there is a disconnect (in the West at least) from our dreaming lives. A colleague of both Jung and Freud, Hungarian Sandor Ferenczi, theorized that ‘dreaming itself is the workshop of evolution’. EVERY dream asks (and symbolically answers) the same question: Who is the dreamer in this now moment, and how did the dreamer come to be this way? Who is the dreamer in the process of becoming?

If you are looking for another way to accelerate your spiritual growth, working with your dreams in a projective format would be something you should seriously consider. It has opened new doors for me, and just when I had reached a place where I thought it was not possible. I am now more conscious than ever of just how far I have yet to travel to reach awareness, but am grateful to my dream Maker for leading me to this path.

Our dreams bring us our ‘next step’. We just have to pay attention to them, and sharing in groups is especially helpful because each of us is uniquely and selectively blind to our own symbolic material (our ‘issues’). Another reason group work is helpful to a dreamer is because of the many layers each dream has. Usually, there will be at least one member of the group that resonates with a certain ‘layer’, and that is often their focus during group dream work.

The primary consideration to keep in mind is that all dreams come in service of our healing and wholeness. Our dreams precisely point out the neglected or repressed parts of our experience that need our attention in order for us to grow in awareness.

There is also always a theme in the dream that deals with the dreamer’s current physical health and condition of the body. Most often, this ‘report’ runs in the background because all is well with the dreamer, but when there is something that needs the dreamer’s attention this ‘track’ will be moved front and center. The scary dreams we call nightmares take the form they do so we will remember the dream, because it is important that we do so for at least a little while after we awaken.

Sigmund_Freud_LIFE

Sigmund Freud

Freud was correct that all dreams do have an element of sexual energy and desire woven into them.

jung

CG Jung

Jung was right when he stated – after having devoted much of his life to intense exploration of archetypes – that all dreams indicate where the dreamer is on their path to psycho-spiritual development regardless of the dreamer’s conscious attitudes about religion. Researchers who conclude that every dream is simply the result of the transfer of random short-term memory traces into the long-term memory banks are also correct.

Our dreams also always contain a level of collective significance. In other words, they give a report about the current state of the society and culture in which the dreamer lives. It is not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine that we can change the world by working with our dreams.

mirrorMost importantly, all dreams are reflections of our native creativity. Dreams are like the magic mirror of the fairy tales, the one that never lies. Our dreams always tell the truth. This applies to the truth about our shortcomings, but also about our positive traits. The more willing we are to look in the mirror, and accept all that we see, the more self-aware we become.

If we live completely, we surrender to the lives (of the ancestors) and redeem them. ~ CG Jung

 

All original material posted to this site (c)2016, Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

How Can I Remember My Dreams?

Everyone dreams. Without exception. Some of us don’t remember them. There are things you can do to help ‘catch’ a dream or two.

We will start with the most important thing to remember: intent is everything. That applies to the catching of one’s dreams in particular. The most important thing you can do to improve your dream recall is to focus your intention and your desire. Decide you really do want to remember your dreams, even if that means you may have to face some unpleasant information about yourself.

As you drift off to sleep, you can imagine yourself writing down dreams in the morning. You may even decide you want to share your dreams with others in a group setting. What seems to happen once a person sets an intention to work with their dreams, is they begin to remember their dreams! When your Dream Source  knows it’s being heard, the messages will start to flow again, and you will begin to remember your dreams.

It's important to record your dreams in one place.

It’s important to record your dreams in one place.

FIND YOURSELF A JOURNAL FOR RECORDING YOUR DREAMS         Do you need to have a detailed  dream experience in order to be able to uncover the treasures awaiting you in your Dreamtime? No. Whatever you remember, you are remembering for a reason: it is important.

Don’t discard those fragments or snatches of dreams. Give them the same respect you give the longer dreams. You will soon learn how complex a simple image is once you work with one of these in a dream group.

When you wake up in the middle of the night, it is imperative that you take a moment to scratch a few notes down. I keep a simple composition notebook by my bed to capture the crux of my dream experiences before they can escape. In the morning, I transfer these notes into my dream journal over my first cup of tea.

343px-Ice_coffee_imageIf you want to increase your chances of remembering a night dream, drink a large glass of (non-caffeinated) liquid before you go to bed. You will increase your chances of waking up in the middle of a dream cycle because you’ll need to answer nature’s call. Before you move, take a second to ask yourself: ‘What was I just dreaming about?’

When you first wake up in the morning, remember to ask yourself ‘What was I just dreaming about?’ before you turn your attention to your morning routine. If all you have the time for is a few words, jot them down in your composition book and transcribe the notes into your dream journal at your earliest opportunity.

Another tactic that works for some dreamers is to use the following morning’s date, and to write out their intention: I intend to remember my dreams when I wake in the morning.

If you still cannot recall any of your dreams in the morning, make one up. What would your dream have been if you had one? Record this in your journal. You are sending a signal to your DreamSource that you are serious about working with your dreams.

Half-Dome-Fire-1024x688Some dreamers choose to use a digital recorder to capture their dream notes. At some point, you will have to transcribe these notes, and often the words are not intelligible when you listen back. Some use a computer to keep their dreams. I prefer the journal approach. It is important you honor your dreams. The more energy you put into recording your dreams, in drawing images that come to you in dreams, the more likely it is that your dreams will reveal their vast potential to improve your life.

Pile of notebooks and papers

Copyright 2012, Julia Marie.

If your dreams are scribbled on stray scraps of paper, or in many notebooks, the quality of your dream catching will reflect this haphazard approach. If you take the time to set up a proper journal or file where you keep a record of your dreams, the more meaningful your dream experiences will be. You may even consider decorating the front cover of your journal. If you are artistically challenged, consider using images from magazines to reflect some of the dream themes or recurring images contained in the journal. For example, in 2014, one of the recurring images in my dreams was ships. These were all sizes, and included a massive space ship. Some NASA images and images off the internet of ships that closely matched what I saw in the dreams grace the front cover of this journal.

An interesting way to decorate the cover is to wait until a theme or recurring image shows up. You will be able to identify the themes more easily if you keep all your dreams in the same journal. Save a few pages in the back of the book so you can create an index of your dreams for easy cross-referencing. You will quickly recognize the value of this practice.

HOW TO SET UP THE JOURNAL

When you go to bed,  make sure to write the date in the composition book. Jot a few sentences about what happened during the day. (These notes will be important later. Context is critical to understanding the messages of your dreams.)

When you transfer these rough notes to your permanent journal, write ONLY on the right side of the page, leaving the left side blank as a place for images and any insights that come when you work with the dream later. Record your dream using first person, present tense. Using past tense when recording your dreams creates a barrier between the waking mind and the dream experience. In addition, sometimes there will be past experiences in the dream, and it is more difficult to sort this out if the dream itself is recorded in the past tense.

Give the dream a title, whatever comes to your mind even if it doesn’t seem to ‘fit’. This is often another clue about the dream-message. Do not hesitate to sub-title your dreams when you review them days or even weeks later.  If you can remember how you felt when you woke up, record that, as well.

Once you have a number of dreams in your journal, take the time one day to go back through looking for and cataloging common or recurring themes or images. Cross-reference these dreams whenever possible. (I do this in the index in the back of the book, as well as  with each dream.)

Angel in the SkyIf you get inspired, make art from your dreams, or turn a dream into poetry. Any way you can engage with the energy of your dreams and ground it into your waking life, the more intense your dream life will become and the more active your interaction with your dreams during your waking life will be.

Next time, we will take a look at some of the layers every  dream contains.

May you dream well this night. And may you remember them.

All original material posted to this site is (c)2016-Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it (come) true.                                                                                                                   -Richard Bach

Why Should I Work with My Dreams?

dreaming sleeperFor most of my adult life, I ignored the powerful messages my Dream Source was persistently trying to send me and – like all  dreamers who don’t pay attention to their dreams – I quit remembering most of them.

Early in 2014, I was patiently led by Spirit to the world of dreams through a series of signs I could not ignore. I am now a firm believer in the process of dream work as a path to personal growth, spiritual expansion, and as a tool for healing the wounds of the collective unconscious.

There are riches, treasures of inestimable worth, to be retrieved from our dreams, and working with your dreams in a group using the method known as Projective Dream Work will quickly change your mind when it comes to ‘dream interpretation’. The first thing you will learn is that this process is not mere ‘interpretation’.

The Costs of ‘Typical’ Dreaming

When you do not pay attention to your dreams, there are some consequences and the three most important ramifications are:

  1. You lose life force energy. Your dreams can help you identify and then move beyond your limiting beliefs, concepts and visions of yourself. It takes a tremendous amount of your soul-energy to hold these limiting beliefs in place, which is what often leads to a constant feeling of physical exhaustion in your waking life. Lift yourself out of lethargy, low-level depression and aimlessness by actively working with your dreams.
  2. You lose the connection to Soul. Through dream work, you can re-establish a meaningful dialogue with your higher wisdom. Experience important initiations and healings that will take your life to the next level., and re-discover the richness of the guidance waiting for you in the dream space and say goodbye to feeling alone, indecisive, and with a lack of purpose.
  3. You lose contact with key parts of Self. Aspects of your larger Self live on more advanced levels. Seek them, find them, reunite with them and bring their wisdom and beauty back to your waking world. The Shadow (both dark and bright) contains parts of our self that we have either rejected or do not acknowledge. When we are able to see all aspects of ourself, and to accept those parts, we move towards wholeness, which is what our Dream Source wants for us. There is an aspect of our being that seeks reunification on all levels, and it is this part that sends the material through our unconscious when we are ready to assimilate it.

Do you remember your dreams or do you have problems remembering them? If you allow your dreams to slip away, you are losing a huge part of yourself and the benefit that comes from working with the messages that are brought to you from these other levels of your awareness.

Dreams provide us with tremendous intuititve guidance, and are the gateway to a true understanding of the complexity of our nature. When we work with our dreams, we come to understand that just as our conscious mind dreams at night, our superconscious mind dreams our waking reality. Life is but a dream, after all.

To become conscious in the highest sense, we not only need to become centered, alert and intentional during our waking life, we need to become more aware of the multiple layers of consciousness we occupy during our ‘unconscious’ sleep time.

When we understand that we are a conscious being that is learning and creating all the time, we will experience the limitless nature of our true self. Your soul does not get tired and need to rest, only the physical body needs to restore itself with sleep. Your soul is alive and aware all the time.

You can increase your intuition by recording and actively working with your dreams. Consider establishing a practice connecting your day time experiences with your night time dreams. Before you slip into sleep at the end of each day, make a habit of reviewing your day. When you review your day, think about the things you accomplished and ponder what you might have done differently tomorrow. What are you grateful for? When you spend a few moments in such a review, your dream time won’t be taken up sorting through the events of the day, it will focus more on creative guidance and insights especially if you set your intention for your dream time.

The other piece to the puzzle is when you wake in the morning, don’t jump straight out of bed and rush into your day. Take a few moments to answer the question: What have I just been dreaming? Whatever you recall, record in the first person, present tense. This will keep you connected to the dream. It is also a way to re-connect to the energy of the dream later.

If you don’t remember a dream when you wake up, make one up. Or write down the first thought or feelings you have upon waking. Write or draw something in your journal every morning. This will help send the message to your subconscious mind that you really do intend to connect to your dream world. Your subconscious mind will start to connect with your waking mind.

There are some things you can do to make your journaling more helpful to the process of dream work, but that will be covered in the next article on dreams and dreaming. Until then, may you remember the dreams that mean the most to your Soul.

Dreams offer themselves to all. They are oracles, always ready to serve as our silent and infallible counselors.                                                                                ~Synesius of Cyrne

All original material posted to this site (c)2016-, Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

Ancient Mother Bear Comes to Visit

One of the most profound experiences I had while on this adventure was the dream that woke me in the middle of the third night we were there.

Crow spoke to me every morning when I walked the grounds at first light. The constant appearance of crow was a gentle reminder that, no matter what I ‘thought’ was happening here, I needed to remember there was magic happening on some other level.

I fell into bed exhaused after yet another day of confusing, bizarre events that seemed to be in direct opposition to what was ‘supposed’ to be happening. Almost every journey took me to Egypt, but that was not the theme of this week – at least not for everyone else. But I had come for a dream adventure, and in retrospect that is EXACTLY what I got.

Ancient Mother Bear

Ancient Mother Bear

It happened on that third night. I received a gift from Spirit that is beyond any reckoning, and I treasure it still as it continues to resonate in my life, this new connection with an Ancient Spirit Companion. She was patiently waiting for me to answer her call, and when I look back over the past two and a half decades, I can see clearly she has been summoning me almost since the beginning of my spiritual journey.

When I still lived on the West Coast, I purchased a drum because I was drawn to it, not because I had any idea what to do with it. The drum had bear fur and claws on it. The name of the drum was ‘Speaks the Bear’. I sat in a few circles with this drum, and it traveled with me all the way to the Black Hills of South Dakota before it broke from the dry air. I didn’t know how to repair it, so I dismantled it.

I suspect she was tired of waiting for me to come to her, or perhaps it was the re-opening of my dream world connection that precipitated the experience. No matter. I awoke with a start from the most vivid dream I’ve ever had before or since, feeling energy in my back where her claws had ripped me open. Here is my dream:

BEAR HUG

I am in conversation with someone when I look down at my feet. My right foot looks like a bear’s foot, and I am curious.

I am standing at the entrance of a cave-like space facing a giant, ancient female bear. She is a golden-brown color, and is bigger than a grizzly bear. She is standing on her hind legs in this dark cave with a soft golden light emanating from her, and is about 16′ tall. I hear the words ‘Ancient Medicine’ as I stand there, watching.

She is ROARING as she holds her front paws open wide, yet I am not afraid. I can remember feeling surprised that I am not fearful. I walk to her because I just feel she wants to give me a hug.

I walk into her arms and she wraps her front legs around me. My arms reach around her just above her knees. She digs her claws deep into my mid-back at heart chakra level and rakes her claws upwards and outwards along my rib cage.

I am startled awake by this, and feel a buzzy tingle all over my body as I lay in the darkness realizing I am not in an ancient, dark cave but am safe in my bed in a dark cabin in upstate New York.

I have the thought: ‘Oh, that was just a dream’, but in the same moment that my mind flashes back on the claws raking my back, I feel a rush of goose flesh that makes me think it wasn’t ‘just a dream’…I fall back to sleep, but when I awaken in the morning, I can still feel the heat of the scratches from my encounter with this Ancient Bear.

As I quickly write the dream down, and the title comes to mind, I feel tears well up and am again surprised at my reaction. I receive a healing song from this Spirit Bear, and write it down as well. I don’t know what I am supposed to do about this encounter. Perhaps when we gather in circle today, I will have the opportunity to ask about it.

There was no time. Bear haunted me all day, in the background of my awareness as we moved through some more journeys.The morning is taken up with a Dream Theater production of a dream that required the participation of all the people in the workshop. I had an interesting response to that scenario, and though I still don’t have clarity on it, I know that if I am supposed to understand it, I will. Someday, but not yet.

Crow next makes an appearance the following day when we journey to the Underworld. Most of this journey is not for sharing, but I can say a person I meet there gives me 3 raven feathers, and tells me I can come back to learn how to use them. Then she tells me to skedaddle, so I do.

Other challenges and tests were given and met, and I left my first dance with my Dream Source in a state of complete overwhelm. It was as if I was playing catch-up, and I had a lot of catching up to do.

I returned to my home city on fire about the power of this dream working thing. It resonated with me because it combined an element of shamanic journeying with the actual dream working part. I gathered some other intrepid dreamers that were willing to allow me to try group dreamwork on for size. This beginning circle continued for some months, and I enjoyed the work, but there was an undercurrent of energy that whispered of ‘more…’

At the most appropriate time, in the perfectly appropriate way, the ‘more’ was revealed, and my dream working, my dream walk, began in earnest.

All original material posted to this site is (c)2015, Julia Marie. All rights reserved.

Dreams never come to tell you just what you already know. ~Jeremy Taylor