Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Memories of the future, from the dream self

Our dream selves are forever traveling ahead of us, scouting the roads that lie before us. They can show us challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, of which our waking minds know little or nothing, if we are willing to listen to their travel reports.

My first question, when I wake from a night dream, is to ask of my dream self: where did you go?

I will then study all the details of a dream with an eye to the future. Has my dream self returned from his excursions with a glimpse of a possible future? Do I like it? If he has brought me a preview of a happy future event, then I’ll want to figure out what I need to so to make sure it is manifested. If he has returned with memories of an unpleasant and possible future, I will be mobilized to study what I need to do to avoid that unwanted scenario.


This is beyond important, though most Western approaches to dreams pay little or no attention to it.

It can save your life. To my certain knowledge, I have avoided death on the road in possible fatal car crashes at least three times, by clarifying my dream memories of what happened on one event track, and then taking appropriate evasive action to avoid living it out in my physical body.

Let’s be clear. Dreaming, we are time travelers. We soar beyond linear time. We scout the future, we enter past time and parallel time tracks. Our ability to visit the future  in dreaming is part of our survival kit. Most human societies, across most of our history on the planet, have valued dreams and dreamers for the gift of prescience.


Personally, I don’t want to see everything that lies ahead. That would be deadly dull. In any event, it isn’t possible. Any future we can foresee, in dreams or in other ways, is a possible future. The odds on its manifestation are constantly shifting. Simply to see a possible future is already to change it, to shift the odds towards manifestation (if we tell ourselves this is “meant to be”) or away from it (if we choose to take action that will place us, and perhaps others, on a different course).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    Thank you Robert for this post. I will definitely start asking that question when I wake from my dreams from now on. It will be a good first question for me. Also this is perfect for me toward understanding how to mobilize into action that which is helpful.
    In February I had a dream about a small river getting clogged. I had a time marker in this dream that related to events that happened a week ago. I also had a sense this was about me. Then this month I was putting on some old makeup, something I haven’t done in 17 years. As I’m doing it I remember how I use to get sties, so I think be careful. I slipped and got some in my tear duck area. I think oh I hope I don’t get a sty, wiping it away with water. Sure enough I get clogged and a right eye infection. I wonder if I had been more practiced at study all the details of this dream with an eye to the future, if I would have by past putting on this makeup and avoided an infection entirely.

    Fun Travels to you Robert!


    • Robert Moss

      Patricia – The dream of the small clogged river does sound like an analog for that unfortunate slip that produced the eye infection. With practice, we can learn to recognize our personal markers that a dream contains preview material (and/or “memories of the future”). Of course, it’s easier to get the message when we have a “straight up” dream (a Hawaiian term for a dream that shows us coming events in a literal rather than symbolic way).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Donna

    This column cements for me an awareness that my Dream Self is scouting ahead for me! I have been dreaming, very vividly, of a neighborhood very unlike where I currently am living. Looking back at my journal, I see 4 dreams in just the past month or so about moving to a new place. In two of these dreams, I see a mysterious robin’s egg blue gift box. I keep asking my dream self to look inside, but have not yet discovered what this box may contain. In two of the moving/packing to move dreams, a benevolent male figure is watching over me. Then, in just the past few days, I see very clearly and in great detail my apartment in this new neighborhood — it is a brownstone with big windows, wooden floors, etc., about which I began dreaming about a year ago or so. Also, in the most recent dreams, I can see my life — I have returned to working as a chef (true of my past waking life) and am incredibly happy! The friends I have are consistent from dream to dream, especially one brown-haired man who is a very good friend, a confidante and very helpful. (I believe this is a different character than the benevolent presence in the packing dreams.) In waking life, I have lost my job and am having to consider moving to find work. From these dreams, I feel like my life is changing on all levels — with a cozy home, a group of new friends and rewarding work all just somewhere around the corner, waiting for me! In light of this Dreamgates column, I am very excited to think and believe that my Dream Self is scouting ahead, reassuring me that a good change is on the horizon!

    • Robert Moss

      Donna – May it be so! Have you tried sticking your head back inside the dream of the gift box (in conscious dream reentry or active imagination) and picturing yourself opening it and discovering what is inside?

  • Mary Batson

    Scrolling – saw the water photo and thought of Richard Bach’s ONE – all the paths, splitting, splitting, splitting, curving, spinning, backward, forward, above and beyond just like the wake of this boat… how perfect to accompany these thoughts. Thank you.

    • Robert Moss

      Mary – Or Borges’ “Garden of Forking Paths”…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    I don´t have much experience with dreaming about possible futures but I appreciate warning dreams about threatening or not safe situations. I distinctly remember such a “dream” from my secondary school times. I used to deliver newspapers before school and I loved those morning walks. One day I needed to finish my work earlier than usual so I decided to come to work and pick up daily press as soon as possible before anybody else. That day I woke up at the voice from the dream. It was literally thundering at me: Stay calm. I didn´t take the words in, I was just wondering why there was so much urgency in the voice. Later on, when I was waiting at the tram stop all alone and the man, kind of flasher emerged from the dark I at once recalled the dream message. It was an unpleasant situation because he behaved in a sexually intimidating way. I tried to follow the strong advice from the dream, to stay calm and not to panic but I felt very nervous. Actually, he never approached me closely, he was about two metres distant from me when something disturbed him and he ran away. I would say if I hadn´t received the dream instruction to remain calm, I would have fled in the first moment. The result would be in all probability fine for me but maybe for him it was important to experience that someone else could face his anxiety, which I am sure was higher than mine. I had other warning or better to say preparing dreams for more demanding sitauations, but for this particular dream I have always been infinitely grateful. It gave me the feeling of assurance that we are looked after in all precarious circumstances.
    Thank you a lot for another precious post.

    • Robert Moss

      Nina – You remind us to listen to that inner voice we can trust.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marcia

    Dream messages can come from waking dreams also. Last week my husband told me of a waking dream experience that he had. He had been walking around all morning thinking about the possibility of an accident on his table saw. He uses this saw for work almost daily as he has a picture framing business and has never reported this type of thing before to me. This morning he was alert to accidents for some reason, but not trusting his dream enough to forget the saw for one day. Sure enough, he had an accident which landed him in emergency with 10 stitches. He is not accident prone. The last accident he had was 25 years ago. Even though this wasn’t a good experience by a long shot, he avoided taking off his fingers (that was the picture that his consciousness sent to him in his waking dream of the accident). Most often table saw accidents result in major hand injuries. In this case there were no tendons or bone injured. It is as though the universe says to us in these kind of events, “I have a message for you. PICK UP” I am glad that he heeded this somewhat because I was not home at the time. We live 10 miles out of town. A major accident
    could have been very very serious-even fatal- because of bleeding problems.

    • Robert Moss

      Marcia – I am glad your husband survived that accident without more serious damage. The lesson here is to trust those intuitive pop-ups, and remember to act on them. We all have intuitive radar. It’s easiest for many to work with it as it operates in night dreams, when our left-brain censors are dormant. But we can learn to use it in any state of consciousness. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Savannah

    My dream self has previewed fires, travel advisories, break-ins and tsunami warnings but in some ways I think it is the seemingly trivial dreams of possible future events that astonish me the most and seem the most affirming of your point. In the fall of 2008 I dreamt of viewing a web page for Mosswood Hollow where you teach, and getting a bird’s eye view of the property while sharing some information about it with a friend. The home page showed a photograph of the owner, but elongated and distorted, like a fun house mirror. Two years later I find myself at Mosswood talking to the owner about their website which had been newly launched then, recalling vaguely the dream but no further details. A few weeks passed before I remembered to look for the report, and realised at the time of the dream my waking could not have known that the workshop would include an imaginal visit to a hall of mirrors, and that on my return I would have a waking conversation with the friend in the dream about the Mosswood property because she was looking for space to host a retreat. It seemed so amusingly unlikely to me I would have previewed such mundane detail years in advance that I couldn’t help “getting” it – our dream selves really are scouting ahead, all the time.

    • Robert Moss

      Savannah – It’s when we notice the link between small but very specific details in such “trivial dreams” and the subsequent incidents of which they may be memories or previews that we begin to understand that our dream self may travel everywhere our waking self will go ahead of us. However, even the most prolific dream recaller will catch only a few of these “memories of the future” and may be clueless about how to read them until waking events catch up with the dream.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    Yes, although in that specific case the voice was miles away from the little one. But for the meditation practice one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given in this area was: the more quiet impulses, the better.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Johann_von_Tritheim

    Wow! Great thread and relevant to my current dream life. These posts have helped me explore last night’s dream which on the surface seems like a personal exploration of the Japanese tsunami (floods blocking the car as we drive and then closing off the road entirely). Applying the future question opens my dream to a more specific travel advisory (we park our car, get out, then the parking lot gets smashed to smithereens by a huge carnival train….We can’t seem to connect with the train engineer who survives and walks around the parking lot…..)

    Alertness is heightened today….Thank you!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment donnatheiguana

    Robert, regarding my “moving to a new place” dreams and that Robin’s egg blue gift box, yes, I have been trying to reenter that dream and see what’s inside. I’ve been able to see the box clearly and in more vivid detail, but have not yet seen inside it. My gut feeling on that is that it’s not yet time to know what’s inside — but it will come!

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