Dream Gates

Dream Gates

The need for dream archaeology

At Kernave, medieval capital of Lithuania

Marija Gimbutas, the great Lithuanian scholar of Old Europe and its Goddess traditions, declared with urgent clarity in The Civilization of the Goddess, her chef d’oeuvre:  “We must refocus our collective memory. The necessity of this has never been greater as we discover that the path of ‘progress’ is extinguishing the very conditions for life on earth.”


The new art and science of dream archaeology provides powerful tools for refocusing collective memory, exactly as the great Lithuanian scholar of the Goddess proposed.  I invented the term “dream archaeology”.  It is the study of first and essential (arche) things with the aid of dreamwork and techniques of shamanic lucid dreaming. It is a discipline that enables us to access the living past, to enter into direct communication with the keepers of ancestral wisdom and heal the collective and cultural soul loss that is a feature of our age.

The practice of dream archaeology involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions, including those that may have been buried or suppressed in the course of history, through a combination of careful research and shamanic journeying across time and between dimensions. The dream archaeologist combines the skills of the shaman, the scholar and the detective.


We let dreams set us assignments. Secrets of the past, of which the waking mind may know nothing or very little, come to us in dreams because we are ready for them, and because the ancestors speak to us in dreams. As dream archaeologists, we learn to work with such dreams, both through focused research and by learning the technique of dream reentry, which means making a shamanic journey through the doorway of a remembered dream to harvest more information, to deepen communication with the ancestors, and to travel beyond the maps.

When we are already engaged in a line of research, we draw on the skills of shamanic lucid dreaming, as well as spontaneous gifts of the night, to find what cannot be located in ordinary ways, but can often be confirmed by subsequent dream-directed research. We are open to the phenomenon that Yeats, with poetic insight, called the “mingling of minds”. This means that when we give our best efforts and passion to our chosen work or study, we draw the support of intelligences beyond the everyday world, including those of past masters in the same field.


After her death, Marija Gimbutas appeared to her friend and biographer Joan Marler in a powerful dream. Marija said fiercely, “You must remember us.” Joan understood that the great Lithuanian scholar of the Goddess was speaking from the realm of the ancestors, “a place of collective memory and wisdom”. She describes this encounter in an essay in From the Realm of the Ancestors, a magnificent Festchrift in honor of Marija that she edited.

I have been privileged to lead three workshops in shamanic dreaming and dream archaeology in Lithuania. Each visit has been a grand adventure and a deepening encounter with the ancestors of the land. On my first visit to Marija’s native country, in the summer of 2004, 40 Lithuanians joined me at Nida to reclaim the arts of dreaming. With the aid of shamanic drumming, we made a group journey together through the gateway of an ancient oak, with the aim of establishing direct and authentic communication with the ancestors of the land.


I found myself in direct contact with a priestess of Žemyna, the Earth Goddess. The priestess belonged to an earlier time, but seemed to speak from a place of amber light outside time. She instructed me in methods of healing and visioning involving the use of amber, and gave me symbols and words in old Lithuanian – a language previously unknown to me – that others in the workshop helped me translate. I am glad to report that I am returning to Lithuania in May this year to lead new adventures in dream archaeology and shamanic dreaming in Vilnius and Kaunas.

Wherever I go now, I find myself traveling in two worlds. From behind the curtains of ordinary perception, the ancestors are calling. I am reminded again and again that one of the gifts of dreaming is that it opens authentic connections to the ancestors, offering us the chance to heal the wounds of the past and to perform cultural soul retrieval.



  • Nicole Rushin

    I just came across your site and blog about a week ago. I am very careful about recommendations to people on dreamwork, but I really enjoy your articles. Thanks for what you are sharing.

  • http://Howtobecomeaclearvoice Lady Hummingbird

    Dear Robert,
    I agree completely with the restoration of this long lost art of dream archaelogy. What an enriched world this would create. I am currently in a dream group and we are doing some journeying in our process. The path of shaman and even shamanic dreaming seems one which requires a specific training in clarity. I personally feel that much of what I do in this process could be confused with fantasy. How does one get CLEAR and truthful enough to be a valid shamanic dreamer. It seems so much bigger than just doing it. If this work is to be used in ways that have an impact, it must be done by those that can distinguish the true perceptions from their fantasies. What is the process?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Don Dimock

    . I had never heard of Marija Gimbutas before I read your post here. I checked and the book is available and affordable. She also wrote an earlier book. I placed an order. :-) Where does one find time to read all these books?
    . But your subject facinates me. As a retired forest ecologist I have noticed tremendous changes in my life time. And I have seen tremendous cultural changes, as well. The rate of change seems to be increasing. That frightens me, not for myself, but for my children and their children, and so on. I would like for them to live according to the heritage you describe, and to nature, instead of according to the computer and the TV.
    . That is an excellent message Robert. I learned from it. Thank you for posting it.

  • http://DreamArcheologyasahealingforculturaldisplacement Tara Moghadam

    This is especially needed in our American culture where displacement has become so very prevalent. Frequently we are not only disconnected with our cultural ancestral lineage, but even with our more immediate family. Family plots and tribal burial grounds once carried the significance that a place on earth existed where we could visit and access the wisdom of our ancestors, a place where we could gather strength, courage and comfort from those who have departed but remained in our memories. With the mobility of our modern lives we have lost this devotion to a personal, familial “place”. We must look wider and deeper in our attempts to commune with ancestrial sources of wisdom. Ironically, the very mobility that causes our displacement can also grant us access to these sources, whether they be discovered, shared, and explored through the inner realms of dream and shamanic journey and/or through forging a connection with the holy places of our ancestry in our travels. The result of either is a world growing in connection and meaning: what was once foreign and distant comes home to resonate like a cherished lullaby in our souls.

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