The most direct, consistent, and powerful communication you will ever get from your Soul comes directly through dreams. Therefore, it’s important for you to pay attention to and work consciously with your dreams. And like everything, this is a discipline that is well worth it.
Dreams contain inspiration, warnings, and prophesy about your future. In his book The Toltec Secret: Dreaming Practices of the Ancient Mexicans, Sergio Magaña, who comes from this 1,400-year-old lineage, points out that there are two different realities: the naqual (where dreams come from) and the tonal (waking life). He says that the naqual is four times more important than the tonal because everything that happens to us in waking life was first shown to us in a dream.
That doesn’t mean that what you experience in a dream will inevitably come to pass in waking life. The main thing is to get the message so you can change the outcome when possible. You can even work to make this change in the naqual by reentering your dream and changing the ending. Magaña says that those who don’t pay attention to their dreams are like the walking dead. I’ve come to see the wisdom of that statement.
Sigmund Freud and his student Carl Jung—both fathers of modern psychology—knew and wrote about the power of dreams as Soul communication. Those who train at the Jung Institute in Switzerland are trained extensively in dream analysis. Marion Woodman, the prolific writer and psychoanalyst, worked with and wrote about the astounding power of dream imagery to help and heal. Her books are classics.
Don’t take your dreams lightly
One of my doctor friends told me about an experience he had that made him reconsider the power of dreams. He had a vivid dream that he was bleeding to death from his rectum. He went in for testing and, sure enough, they found a very small colon cancer. It was removed and he’s been fine ever since. He credits the dream with saving his life. Dr. Larry Burk, a radiologist and the author of Let Magic Happen, has done extensive research on dreams and has published a study on dreams of breast cancer as a reliable diagnostic tool. Dreams can be so helpful and accurate; you have to wonder why the medical profession ignores them!
I began an in-depth study of my own dreams with clinical psychologist Doris E. Cohen, author of Repetition: Past Lives, Life, and Rebirth, back in 2012 when my ego was being shredded by the loss of a man I truly loved. Doris taught me that the subconscious mind is very efficient, and it will use whatever is currently going on in your life to make a point. That’s likely to include imagery from a recently watched TV show or movie. That does not mean that the TV show caused you to dream what you’re dreaming. Your subconscious is just using that character to make a point. For example, I dreamed about the character Jake on Scandal once. What he represented was loyalty, integrity, and skill—the very things I like in a man. I was not dreaming about Jake, per se. I think one of the reasons celebrities are so adored in our society is because they enact roles for the entire collective and we project onto them. In this, they do our psyches a big service.
Without the dreams and my work with Doris as a lifeline, I might have slipped into despair and bitterness. Instead, I worked through my pain and wrote Goddesses Never Age—a title that was given to me by Doris during one of our dream work sessions. And this book has inspired and uplifted thousands of women all over the world. All because I followed the dictates of my own Soul—and was willing to transform my own pain.
How to work with, remember, and interpret your dreams
- Set your intention to remember your dreams. Just say out loud or to yourself something like “Divine Beloved, please help me to relax and remember my dreams tonight.” Have a pen, paper, flashlight, or recording device right on your bedside table.
- Ask a question that you would like to have answered in your dream. Ask that the imagery be easy to understand and interpret. Then let go of it all and drift into sleep.
- If a dream awakens you in the middle of the night, it likely has an important message. So make sure you at least jot down a few details to remember it in the morning. In your sleepy state between the world of waking and sleeping, when the dream is very vivid, you’ll be certain you could never forget the details. You will if you don’t write down at least a few things about it. Trust me on this one. It’s happened to me dozens of times.
- As soon as you awaken, lie in bed for a moment, remembering the details of the dream before they slip away. Write them down. I personally dictate them into my iPhone as voice memos. Later I write them up in Word documents and put them into monthly files that I keep on my computer.
- Give the dream a title—like a headline in a newspaper. This will encapsulate the wisdom in the dream and, in the future, will often bring the entire dream back to you in vivid detail.
- Check for recurrent themes in your dreams. And also any animals. I love it when animals show up in my dreams. They are always highly symbolic. I always look up the symbol the next day. Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is my favorite book for this. Also Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. You can also Google the name of the animal and the word meaning, e.g., “gorilla meaning.”
- Other common and useful symbols and themes include clothing and shoes, which represent the roles you play in life. The hair on your head represents the thoughts in your head, so a new hair color or hairstyle indicates a new way of thinking. Cars represent the Self moving through life. Houses are also the Self—and the basement is the unconscious. When you find new rooms you didn’t know were there, it means you are opening up to new aspects of your Self.
- Larry Burk suggests that you ask yourself, “What does the dream want?” Stop and listen for the first thought that comes into your head. Write it down. He says to seriously consider that the spirit world may have a question it wants you to answer in return.
- Share the dream with someone. Very often, recounting the dream out loud with a trusted friend or therapist will illuminate the meaning very quickly simply through the process of sharing.
Note how often you will remember a dream you had the night before—but much later in the day—like the afternoon.
See if you can determine what jogged your memory enough to remember the dream then. Write it down. Don’t dismiss it. Doris, my dream therapist, tells me that we usually dream the same kinds of things hundreds of times before we get the message. That is how compassionate our Souls are!
If a dream brings up an unresolved issue or bothers you in some way, you can, in waking life, simply close your eyes and re-enter the dream. Change the ending. Remember—this is a freewill universe. We can change our future by changing our present. And whether the imagery comes in a dream or in a meditation, it’s all coming from the same place.