Many people disregard the importance of dreams. They may think of them as a crazy, mixed up, subconscious unraveling of the day’s events. Often they pay them no attention whatsoever, except perhaps when they have a vivid nightmare or a dream that occurs over and over again. But even then many are likely to discount dreams. They keep them stuffed in the back corner of their mind and they pretend the dreams don’t mean anything.
But therapists, shamans, and most indigenous people know better. More and more people are recognizing the importance of dreams. Sometimes dreams bring to the surface issues which need to be addressed. Sometimes they provide suggestions or solutions to problems. A good therapist or dream group or dream teacher may help you to decipher these kinds of dreams and that’s a very wise thing to do. The Talmud tells us that an unexamined dream is like a gift unopened. I agree.
However there is another category of dream altogether. These are Big Dreams, numinous dreams, sacred dreams, and medicine dreams. These kinds of dreams seem to come not from our subconscious, but from a Source outside of ourselves. (Or perhaps in Jung’s jargon, they come from the collective unconscious.) These dreams often contain higher wisdom or teachings or experiences beyond the ken of every day ordinary waking consciousness.
I want to talk today about Wisdom Dreams. Sometimes I will have a dream – often quite a short dream – in which there are some specific words of wisdom. I get the sense these words do not come from my ego, from my little self, but from the part of me or the world that is so much bigger. This wisdom could come from my higher self, from spirit guides, from God/Goddess/Spirit, or we could simply say it comes from “The Dreammaker.” (This is a term sometimes used to describe that which is not really knowable – the creative force behind our dreams. Where do they come from? Since we can never really know for sure, let’s just give this Source/entity a name.)
Here is a small collection of words of wisdom which have come from my dreams:
- “Dreams are our subconscious made visible.” 4/2/00
- “Stop thinking. Be present. Feel your feelings.” 6/20/04
- “I think it’s better to feel than not to feel.” 12/30/94
- “When we are very busy and stressed, there is a place we can go where there is no time and we can relax and regenerate.” 7/8/94
- “All good people have dark shadows.” 9/18/00
Other times there are dream characters – teachers and wise ones in the guise of old men or women, or perhaps animals or children – and they share with us words of guidance or instruction or inspiration. Here are a couple of mine:
- A tiny, very old woman with long wild hair and tiny mole-like eyes looks at me with infinite kindness and affection and says, “Find your inner Gorgons.” 4/25/05
- A Native American woman is cooking a meal and says to me, “If you listen, all kinds of interesting roots and mints will call to you.” 12/30/01
Other authors have written about sacred dreams they have had and the words of wisdom which have been uttered by dream characters/guides/teachers. Here are a few:
- Sherry Ruth Anderson, in the book she co-authors with Patricia Hopkins called The Feminine Face of God, writes about a powerful dream in which Melchizedek (a king and priest mentioned in Genesis) says to her: “What you need to know is not written in any book. You already contain the knowledge. It is to be unfolded from within you.” (p. 2-4)
- Sue Monk Kidd in her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter writes of a wise old woman with long white hair and “infinite wrinkles” who appears to her in a dream. This woman tells her, “Your heart is a seed. Go plant it in the world.” (p. 202)
- Marc Ian Barasch in his seminal book Healing Dreams writes about a dream in which he’s having an animated discussion with God. An old man pipes up and says, “You don’t understand. God wants you to do what you really want to do!” (p. 213)
- Michele Jamal, in her book Shapeshifters: Shaman Women in Contemporary Society, writes about a dream in which she was told by “a man who looked judicial” – “You must choose whether you will own your power at this time. It is a universal law that you must express your power or the power will turn against you.” (p. xviii)
Dreams are blessings meant to help you, heal you, instruct you, inspire you, and guide you. When your dreams speak to you, please listen. If a wise one appears in your dream, please pay attention. Wisdom is available to us if we are open to receiving it.
Dream well, everyone.
Peace be with you.