Dream Gates

Dream Gates

The Timekeeper at the Way Out of a Dream

Elephant clock of al-Jazari, 1206

A friend of mine who is a generally prolific dreamer was puzzled as to why she felt she was losing the memory of some important dream experiences.

“Sometimes I go deeper than deep,” she told me. “I go down through successive levels of dreaming to the place where it’s at, where the truly big stuff takes place. But by the time I wake up, it’s all gone away.


“Or I’m reading a book that contains the secret of life. I can hear the words in my mind, as well as read them on the page, and I am determined that I won’t let them slip. I try to surface very gently from sleep, still holding the text. But when I open my eyes, it’s all blown away, like fall leaves.”

I suggested she might want to make it her game to ask for guidance, inside her dreams, on why certain dreams go away.

She agreed to perform a simple version of dream incubation: putting a question to dreams of the night. She wrote down on a slip of paper, “Why do I lose some of my big dreams?”

She reported the next day that she had experienced “a night of a thousand eyes.” Her dreams had been rich and wild adventures in a magic forest peoples with beings other-than-human and more-than-human. Becoming lucid inside her dreams, she recalled her intention – and also resolved not to forget this night’s dreams. She came to a gap between giant trees, covered with gleaming vines, with familiar territory – her home town – ahead.


An exotic character in a turban, with a face as round as a clock, appeared in the gap. He was seated on an elephant no bigger than he was. The elephant, strangely, also looked like a clock.

“Who are you?” the dreamer demanded.

“I am your Timekeeper,” said this odd sentinel. “I make sure you remember only the dreams you are ready for.”

With that, the scene dissolved. She found herself lying in bed, in the early light filtering through the curtains. She felt that she had her answer.

I am intrigued by the notion that there is a time for everything, including certain dreams. I am fascinated by the image of an inner Timekeeper who tries to ensure that we bring from the night what is timely.


It may be like this in our larger life plans. We bring into the body, in this life experience, only as much as we can handle from the greater universe we belonged to, on the level of consciousness, before physical birth. To reclaim more of that soul knowledge, and bring through more of our dreams, we must grow our understanding and practice staying grounded in this world while carrying thew secrets of the world-behind-the-world.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Heidi

    Wow…what an enlightening message for all of us. Thanks for sharing this, Robert.

  • Justin Patrick Moore

    I experienced something similar from a dream just this week. I had the dream in fall 2009. I only took a few actions on it at first, later I got in direct contact with one of the people in the dream, an artist living in Cornwall, and we did an interview over email, which itself took time. I had also been inspired by the dream to write a manifesto about “multidimensional art” I took some notes, and took some stabs at it, but it didn’t seem to come easily. So I set aside that project, and took it up again at the beginning of March and finished it with ease. Both the interview and the Manifesto Of Multidimensional Art were published, in two different venues, the same weekend. It seemed like there was a time release with the dream, but two separate things from it were given birth to at the same time.

    • Robert Moss

      Justin – Ah yes, the time release factor. Highly relevant. Thanks for your note.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Aaron

    What a beautiful dream!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Just a thought I had while reading this.
    Sometimes I catch myself looking so hard for the big dreams that got away last night, I miss countless wholly moments during my waking life during the day.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    • Robert Moss

      Aaron – One of the functions of the Timekeeper of Dreams may indeed be to make sure that we don’t become divorced from what’s going around us in physical life, which is teeming with dreamlike symbols and incidents if only we pay attention.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Johann_von_Tritheim

    Funny how I will go through days without remembering any dreams, then suddenly several nights in a row will bring vivid dreams. Dream assimilation seems hard work for me. It takes days to process the strange messengers of the night. And there is something exhausting about the process. It’s as if we need rest before once again opening Pandora’s Box. The Box will deliver many outrageously colored gifts, and simply opening these disturbing gifts and finding a use for them can be exhausting. Thanks for the Timekeeper image! We need those gate keepers.

    • Robert Moss

      Johann – Not always exhausted, I trust. I usually find that recording, sharing and exploring remembered dreams is energizing, even exhilarating. What can be quite fatiguing is dream travel over large bodies of water, which tend to drain the subtle energy bodies in which we get around (whether or not we are aware on this) in our night journeys.

  • Carrie

    Fascinating. I do believe the inner consciousness takes care of some hard stuff for us. Maybe we don’t need to remember it. I am a prolific and colourful dreamer. I like the idea of an inner timekeeper.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Janice

    Hi, Robert. .. I, too, have felt that I have been dreaming “deeper than deep,” in my dreamstate. I noticed this pattern of dreaming started about six months ago. I did consider that this material would eventually make its way up to consciousness WHEN I was ready to receive it. This posting has validated my interpretation of this dream experience. Thank you! I will ask for guidance on this, as well.

    • Robert Moss

      Janice – I am reminded now of a description of successive levels of sleep and dreaming by Sri Aurobindo, which I savored long ago. He spoke of the “sleep of experiences” as a deep level not normally retained in memory as the dreamer returns to the physical plane.

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