The legend of the dream catcher is a lovely tale. Making one is a bit difficult, and certainly not easy for children. But it has the added joy of being what you want it to be, imbued with your own energy and magick.

The dream world is a useful place for the witch. It is a primary area for the Divine to speak to us, using symbology personal to our own psyches. It is also the place our subconscious can tell us what we need to know about various parts of our Self, our lives, and our way of being in the physical world. (A wonderful collection of stories and realizations can be found in Tony Crisp’s “Through the Eye of Dreams.”)

So how do you go about understanding your own dreams? The best place to start is by training yourself to remember them in as much detail as possible. Keep a journal by the bed to help you record your dreams as soon as you wake. Some people like to record their dreams using a Dictaphone or other taping device, and if that works for you, then so much the better, but for most of us a simple notepad and pen will do just fine. (Here is a link { http://www.emssupply.com/penlight.htm} to a place that sells pens that glow in the dark, making it unnecessary to switch on the light – disturbing your partner and your dream recall.) Personally, I think that speaking your dreams is convenient, but if you want to go back and review it...  paper is better. Who has time to transcribe their dreams?

No matter how you record your dreams, the technique is the same. As soon as you wake, write down everything you can recall from your previous night's dreams. Just start scribbling. Some people like to create a list of keywords and then go back and piece together the full story, thereby minimizing the chance of forgetting a key element as your brain comes back into it's conscious functioning again. I, however, find I get more detail when I just write it as if it is a story. This may be because my dreams tend to be plot-oriented, like a good fantasy novel.

If you can't remember the dream, don't worry. Try to remember the feelings you had during the dream; distress, joy, peace...? How did it make you feel, both during the dream, and when you woke up? If this prompts any snippets of recollection of the dream itself, write these down too, and see where you get with it. The more relaxed you are, the easier you'll find it to recall.

These brief memories of dreams may not in themselves prove helpful, although they may give you an insight into how you are feeling generally; we store up more inside than any of us care to admit.  The purpose of writing down what little you can remember is more to gradually train your mind to hold the dreams for those vital few moments after you've woken in order for you to be able to write them down. My students through the years (even the ones who start out saying the *never* remember their dreams) find that they begin to remember more and more about their dreams. I believe that the process of recording even the smallest amount trains your mind to pay deeper attention, making greater recall possible as time goes on.

SilverRavenWolf bemoaned the fact that in her household she could never get enough quiet time when she woke up to write down her dreams. So she trained herself to remember them when she took her morning shower.  Then, when she emerged from the shower she would dry off, then sit down and write in her journal.

You may say: "But I don't have dreams". Sorry to tell you, but that's scientifically proven to be untrue! We all dream each night, whether we recall doing so or not.  Its just how we humans are hardwired. However, it may take you longer to access the knowledge that comes through dreams. For you, you may find that from time to time you wake with a particularly vivid dream still in your mind, which stays with you all day where you'd normally have forgotten it in an instant. These are the ones to pay particular attention to, as they often carry the most important messages.

If you are interest in learning more about interpreting your dreams, please see the article of the same name.

However, modern living often means we are woken mid dream and never get to hear the most important element. If this is the case for you, or you are left confused about an aspect of the dream, I suggest the techniques found in the “Pathworking” article to exploring your dream(s) further.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is defined as dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. The term was coined by Frederik van Eeden using the word "lucid" in the sense of mental clarity. Lucidity usually begins in the middle of dreams when the dreamer realizes that the experiences that are occurring are not that of the physical reality, but rather the creation of a dream. There are several techniques to induce lucid dreaming, including LaBerge’s MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams) technique

Symbols

Unlike many other collections of witchlore (online and in print), we don’t feel that lists of symbols and their dream meanings are valuable. (Although we do include an excerpt from Tony Crisp’s “Bestiary of Dream” because he gives a wide range of psychological interpretations with each symbols.) It is easy to bankrupt yourself on books giving lists and interpretations of dream symbols, but we don’t use them in JaguarMoon.

In our view, all of the 'pre-fab' lists have one key factor missing from them: Your own individuality as a human being. Take, for instance, an element such as fire. For one person this may represent cleansing, health, vitality and strength... for another it can mean quite the reverse; annihilation, death, destruction. For this reason it is nearly impossible to interpret another’s dreams. You can talk it through with someone, and help them find their own associations, but it is impossible to know another person well enough to tell them what their dreams mean. (See Tony Crisp’s article “Working with a Dream Peer Group” for more information about this process.)

One of the most fascinating, and nearly mythological, stories of dream working comes from the Senoi tribe of Malaysia. It is said that every member of the tribe gathered each morning to share the dreams they had the night before – and that the tribe was a utopian community as a result. (Please read “They Have a Name for It” for more information.)

To assist you in your dreaming, we have an article about making a dream-enhancing pillow, another about false awakenings, and yet another discussing confronting your ‘demons’ through dreams.

Sweet Dreams!
~Maat

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