Dreaming - Part 1
Written by Harley SwiftDeer Reagan
In this article we will discuss what dreams are, the different types, and why we dream. We will give you tools to help you with dream recall and to help you improve your dreamtime. And finally, we will offer guidance on how to use your dreams to help you actualize health, hope, and happiness in your everyday life.
Dreams basically are another dimension of reality that our people refer to as the fifth dimension which, according to indigenous culture’s concepts, is actually the "valid reality" experience. They see that this dimension that we live in here on earth, the third dimension, is actually a world of illusion. This world of illusion is contained within the fifth dimension, within what we will refer to as "valid reality" as opposed to what appears to be real, what we call "the real world."
Indigenous cultures often perceive reality as all life’s experience as a dream --when we are awake and when we are asleep, in the 3rd and in the 5th dimensions. Our awake dreams are the visions and dream sequences that we have when we are in meditation, light trance and daydreaming. Asleep dreamsare the dreams we have during sleep time.
Our dreams are an attempt by our higher self, what some indigenous cultures call our Hokkshideh, to communicate in the clearest way possible to our shidehor lower self. It is the strongest form of communication possible in the dialogue between your higher self and your lower self. When we're awake and in third dimension reality, the first step in understanding dreaming is to understand that life itself is a dream. From the moment you inhabit your body, this spirit personality is being projected by your soul (by your Great Sleeper Dreamer) into this third-dimensional substance world of symbols. Your soul is actually asleep and dreaming you here so that you can experience a world of duality and paradox.
At the moment of birth (or at least within the first three years) your spirit personality feels a great separation from the Source of its Soul Force or Godself. You hunger for the love, acceptance and unity you felt in the womb and in the spirit world. In order to regain this feeling, you start to mime or mimic your environment so that you can fit in with your family and peers. You strive to belong to a group, so you conform to their mold. You start to act. And so, from the moment that you were born all you have been doing is acting. You start as a very young pupil miming or mimicking your surroundings, everything that you see, hear, smell, taste or touch; as well as what you're pulling in through your other energy-sensitive perceptions or chakras, your energy centers.
As a child who is driven by the strong need to fit in, belong and conform, you are heavily influenced by what our people refer to as the "image makers," forces that form and mold our concepts of self. There are five internal and six external image makers. They're crucial to understanding your process of dreaming, particularly in third dimension, real world, awake dreams. Your five inner image makers are the internal experiences of your emotions, your mind, your physical body, your spirit, and your sexuality. Your six external image makers are your family, your society, your economic status, your religion, your political environment and your heart relationships. The more you are at the effect of your imagemakers (both your internal and external) the less energy you will have to dream. The farther away from your true Spirit Self, you allow yourself to be molded, the more armored and denser you become; therefore, you will not have the energy to dream higher level of dreams.
Let's now address the different types of dreams. There are four basic types of dreams: shadow, lucid, mirror and controlled. The first type, Shadow Dreaming, we refer to as television or movie dreaming. It's exactly as though you're watching a television set, watching a movie, or watching your body going through a series of events. You are not really present in the context of the dream, you are disassociated from what is happening; therefore, the dream seems flat and two-dimensional. In essence, you are seeing what our people call your shadow. In the dream, you are only aware of your sense of sight and hearing. There is no color, no smell, there's no taste and there's no experience of touching.
The second type of dreaming is what is commonly referred to as Lucid or Clear Dreams. These are dreams where you are within the context of the dream. They're vivid, they're clear, and they have all the appearance of events happening exactly like we experience them here in this third dimension, real world. They're in color, we have all of our senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. But we do nothing extraordinary. We do not fly, we do not walk-through walls--we don't demonstrate any of what our people call the "Olarien."(psychic gifts). In other words, we do not demonstrate any of the "energy-sensitive" perceptions, or as psychologists call it, extra-sensory perceptions in our dreams. We may be slightly more adept or more in control -- we may appear to be stronger or braver. We generally have slightly more admirable personal characteristics than we do in our third-dimension world. They call it lucid or clear dreaming because the dream is exactly what we feel the third-dimension or real-world experience is like.
Most people experience a higher percentage of shadow dreams than lucid dreams. Your lower self, what our people refer to as the shideh, generally experiences the shadow dreams. It does so because dreams are an unknown world, an unknown dimension, an unknown reality to the shideh. During the shadow dreams the shideh frequently acts out its inability to deal with waking life, with its waking world of events, occurrences, and experiences; and so, when it goes to sleep at night, it works out, or tries to work out, solutions and resolutions to the problems that it faces in the real world.
When interpreting dreams, psychologists and therapists tend to focus on lucid dreaming because they see that it is a step higher than a shadow dream. They feel that lucid dreams are of greater significance because they seem to be exactly like this world we live in. This is true, this is valid. Yet, most psychologists view lucid dreaming as the highest level you can attain. They are not aware that you can gain control in your dreams and move from lucid dreaming to mirror dreaming and on into controlled dreaming. Our people prefer to stop shadow dreaming and enter lucid dreaming and then go from lucid dreaming to mirror dreaming, and from mirror dreaming to controlled dreaming.
What, then, is the difference between a lucid dream and a mirror dream? On one level there is none, they are synonymous terms, but there is a slightly different approach to how you work with them. A lucid dream becomes a mirror dream when you gain control of the events in the dream. That is, while you are asleep you realize that you are dreaming and take yourself to look at your reflection in a mirror, a pool, whatever. When you first see your reflection, you will experience an incredible jolt of energy. This jolt may wake you up, so be prepared to hold onto the dream and your reflection. If you wake up, go back to sleep and try again. This energy enables you to break completely free from your earthly body and fully, consciously enter your dream mind body. When you lucid dream, you're also out of your body, but it's only an astral projection; it's only that part of ourselves that is called the mirror dancer that leaves the astral form of ourselves. When you are in controlled dreaming, your consciousness is literally completely out of your body. You are doing what we call doubling. So, we've got what we call ethereal projection. That is, we are actually physically present in the dream in another body in the fifth dimension.
The art of Controlled Dreaming is the ultimate state of dream mastery. It is where the 3rd and 5th dimensions have merged, and what you dream at night becomes manifested in your real world. In this realm, when you state your intention for your dream work as you go to sleep, you are able to access your teachers and teachings needed for your evolution.
Therefore, when you are unable to resolve a conflict, when you're unable to resolve a negative emotional energy such as fear, anger, stress, guilt, jealousy, greed, you try to gain resolution to them in shadow dreaming. All of these negative energy emotions, when not dealt with in your third dimension "real world," carry over into your dreamtime when you're asleep and dreaming. The problem is, though, shadow dreams do not allow you to have contact with your higher self. Shadow dreams instead are the lower-self trying to find resolution to its third-dimension experiences. Therefore, most psychologists and therapists who primarily deal with dream interpretation are trying to translate shadow dreams. This has limited value to the sorcerer or shaman, whose focus is to stop shadow dreaming and to gain the art of controlled dreaming.
One common method of dream interpretation is to analyze everything and anything that appears in the dream as a different part of you. You go through a dream sequence step by step and literally say, "I am in my car driving to work and it breaks down." You ask yourself, what is the car symbolic of? How is it a part of me? Well, most people will say it is a symbol for your body, it is the vehicle for your spirit personality. So then, what did the car breaking down mean? What is going on in your physical body? If the radiator is overheating, you ask yourself, "What is going on with my emotions? What am I getting all hot about?"
So, you translate every single object, every single person, in the dream literally as yourself or an extension of yourself. This frequently involves a lot of work; it requires a dream journal and a great deal of sophistication and understanding of symbols. Therefore, we recommend the keeping of a dream journal for any of our readers who are interested in improving their dream recall. Here are a few hints: Set your alarm for at least 10 minutes before you need to be out of bed (it is best to not use an alarm if at all possible). When you do wake up, stir around in bed enough to assure that you are awake enough, so you won't go back to sleep, then return to the exact position you were in when you awoke. Now ask yourself; "Where was I? What was I just doing? Who was there with me?" Allow yourself to drift back through your dreams and observe all the events in a backward sequence. You should be able to follow your entire dream sequence all the way back to when you started to dream. This is called the art of recapitulation. It is extremely important in learning to do controlled dreaming. It takes practice discipline, commitment and, most important, follow-through. Recalling dreams is simply the ability to start at the beginning of a dream sequence as if it were a movie in your VCR and to play it from the beginning to the end. How much can you recall that actually happened in the movie? Do you just recall specific scenes? Were there certain parts of it that were very important to you? Recall means you would go all the way through the movie and play it from beginning to end without leaving anything out. Remembering is where you tend to focus your attention on significant events as you recall the dream. You must be able to recall the dream, remember the dream, and recapitulate the dream.
Now, let's talk about the Dream Mesa, how to work with lucid dreams, and how to shut off shadow dreams which will help you jump a level in your dreaming. The first thing you need to do is create a dream mesa or altar, a table of power and magic, that will allow you to understand and control the energies of the lower self, the shideh, so you can then enter a lucid dream, mirror dream, or controlled dream.
Before one enters a dream state, before one can build an effective dream mesa, one must be clear with one's intent. You must know some of the basic alchemy (which we will discuss next), and you must clearly know what you are going to focus on when you dream, in order to reach the ultimate peak which is the art of controlled dreaming. An actual part of your dream mesa is what we call your declaration of intent. As you lie down at night you want to declare your intent as to what you want to experience in your dream. Part of a "Warrior's Intent" is to stop shadow dreaming and enter a clear, lucid dream so that you can assume authority, take your power and turn the lucid dream into a mirror dream.
It is important that you create a special place, an altar or mesa, for your dreaming. This becomes the foundation of your intention. It contains special medicine objects that are significant to you and your dream, that support your intention. The reality of this is based on the Sacred Laws, especially the Tenth Sacred Law which states, "there is an inter-connection, inter-dependence, and inter-reliability from one form of one thing to all forms of all other things." We must never experience ourselves as separated, isolated, detached or in any way not connected to everything around us. This is the key to successful dreaming. The connection we make to the things around us should be alchemically correct, that is, within sacred and natural laws. Therefore, we will talk about creating a dream mesa and some medicine items that will help you actualize your dreams and maintain a proper relationship to the worlds around you.
This mesa is composed of a dream feather bundle, a dream pillow, a bedside altar with water pitcher and glass, a tape recorder and dream journal. The dream bundle is composed of two owl feathers with a hawk feather, or a raven or crow feather, in between them. Wrap their quills with red yarn and attach a Herkimer diamond and a tiny turquoise bear fetish to the ends of the yarn. This bundle is hung over the head of your bed with the feathers up, quills down.
It is important to understand the energy of the animals and items that work with you in the dream. That is, what are the medicine totem animals and guides that aid you in controlled dreaming? With this bundle you have some very important helpers. There is the messenger, the owl, which will bring you the dream. They help you to recall and to recapitulate your dreams. For some indigenous traditions, the owl has a positive significance, and for others a negative significance, especially to the Navahos. However, to some, the owl represents the bringer of the dream, and especially the sacred dream, which means it is either a mirror dream or a controlled dream that you yourself want to act out in this lifetime in order to actualize yourself as an enlightened human being. The hawk is the messenger totem animal that we call the inner dialogue. It literally makes sure that your inner dialogue, the inner thoughts that you have between your higher self and your lower self, are clear, distinct, and absolutely communicating in such a way that you will gain an understanding. The raven and the crow work with natural law. They work with the laws that control Nature, which you must know if you want to actualize your dreams.
The bear is what we call the "keeper" of the sacred dream. The bear fetish carved from turquoise represents the power of the dream. The color Turquoise is in the southwest on the medicine wheel, which is also the place of the dream energy. The turquoise stone, of the mineral world, is a holder and giver of energy. As the owl brings you the dream, the bear stone fetish will hold and keep it and then teach it to you.
The Herkimer diamond represents clarity and the ability to have absolute memory; it helps you in your dream recall, your remembering, and your recapitulation.
The direction your head is lying at night can be very critical, due to the alchemical alignment with the powers of the four directions, with the elements of air, earth, fire and water. We recommend that you try, if at all possible, to put your head in the north as the number one choice; second would be southwest; third would be west. Any one of these three directions is usually ideal for helping you to do mirror dreaming or controlled dreaming.
The second part of your mesa is what we call the dream pillow. This is made by taking a small, flat pillow (either one you make yourself or a store-bought one) and filling it with different herbs that help induce clear mirror dreams, or lucid dreams. The bag should not be too large because you don't want it to disturb your sleep. Grind up equal proportions of the following ingredients, then put them inside your pillow: Sage, Cedar, Lavender, Sweetgrass, Mullein, Hops, Catnip, Lemon Grass, Spearmint, Clover, Cascara Sagrada, & Wood Betony. Also add a Herkimer diamond and a small turquoise. We've already given you the medicine of the stones. The medicine of some of the herbs is as follows: Sage helps to banish any kind of dark force, negative energy or negative emotion. Cedar brings a balance of the male and female energy, also of the light and the dark. Sweetgrass blesses with positive thoughts and positive energies. Lavender brings beauty. Therefore, you'll banish negative energy with sage, you'll balance energy with cedar, you'll bless it or bring positive energy with sweetgrass, and you'll bring beauty with the lavender. This is our basic smudge mixture.
Remember that all the herbs should be as fragrant as possible, and ground into very, very fine mixture. The mixture should be replaced the minute it starts to lose its total fragrance. Slip your little pillow bundle underneath your regular pillow when you sleep at night.
Now, the next step is to make sure that your emotions are as clear and as clean as possible. This is what we call "clearing your intent" of emotional energy. Since your emotions are the water element, you need to drink a full 8 oz. glass of energized water prior to going to bed at night and upon rising in the morning. There are 4 steps to making energized water. Step 1) Fill a glass pitcher with pure water and place 3 round rose quartz stones in the bottom. You can store this covered pitcher in either the refrigerator or on your bedside table. Step 2) Pour water from the pitcher into a glass (a crystal glass is best). Place in the bottom of the glass another smooth, round rose quartz stone. The glass is kept as part of your altar near your bedside. Step 3) Energize the glass of water. To do this, hold the glass by touching it only with your fingertips and your thumb without letting your palms touch the glass. Sit and concentrate on your fingertips for one to five minutes (depending on your experience). Concentrate on your fingertips -- no fancy thought forms, no projections. Concentrate only on breathing as calmly and deeply as possible, simply making sure that you are sending all your mental energy and your emotional focus through your fingertips until they turn red and hot. As soon as you feel the heat, then you know that the water is energized. Step 4) Drink the water. Be careful not to swallow the stone. Put the glass down in your altar.
Another part of your dream mesa is either your dream journal or your tape recorder, so that you can record your dreams during your dream recall in the morning. The recorder should be simple and easy to operate. Either one should be accessible so that you can reach over and find it without opening your eyes. Make sure that you have a full tape in the machine, that it's plugged in or that the batteries are fresh. Again, be prepared. Always plan ahead. Always expect the unexpected.
Now, you are lying in bed, you drank your energized water, you have your magical dream bundle underneath your pillow, nice and fragrant to help you dream very beautifully, you have your dream antenna of feathers, Herkimer diamond and the little bear above your head and you declared your intention for your dream time -- everything is set up for dreaming. As you lie down to dream make sure you lie on your left side or on your back in order to do lucid or mirror dreaming. If you lie on your right side you block your giveaway, which will generally hinder your ability to recall your dreams in the morning.
The next step is to recapitulate the day's events. Simply put the entire day -- from the moment you woke up to the moment you are lying down to bed -- onto film. Now lie back in bed and passively watch the day's events quickly fly by backwards, from the moment you laid down in bed to the moment you got up in the morning. This is not a time to debate, to change, to rewrite the events of the day. Simply and lightly allow the day to unwind with total allowance for what has occurred. This process allows you to clear the day, so you won't need to process those events in your dreams.
Don't miss Part 2 of this article on Dreaming in the next edition of Friends of the Deer Tribe Newsletter.