Dream Gates

Dream Gates

How shared dreaming saved George’s job

posted by Robert Moss

airplane window - Savannah 7.10.jpgShared dreaming is not only wonderful fun. It can help us on the roads of everyday life. It can save your job. Consider the following true-life narrative, involving a couple I know well:

George, a senior executive, dreamed he received an
urgent summons from one of his bosses to meet the boss at his second
home on the beach. George woke with the sinking feeling that he had just
been canned.

When he shared this dream at one of my workshops, which he
was attending with his wife, I suggested that if it were my dream, I
would want to go back inside it and get some more specific information,
by the technique I call Dream Reentry. I told George that he could ask
another person in the workshop to go inside the dream with him and act
as tracker – gathering information for him from an independent
perspective – in an exercise in conscious shared dreaming in which we
would use shamanic drumming to fuel and focus the journey.

George
was excited by this plan. He invited his wife to be his partner and
tracker. At the end of my drumming, they were eager to share their
reports. They described the boss’s beach home as if they had inspected
it with a real estate agent. Being a guy, George had spent more time
looking at the den and the deck than at the kitchen and the closets, but
their accounts – of a place neither had ever seen, outside their shared
dreaming, were remarkably similar.

They returned with far more than the
layout of the beach house. They now had information on a crisis brewing
behind the scenes in George’s organization that – he realized – could
definitely cost him his job unless he made certain moves, fast. He acted
on this data from shared dreaming. The upshot was that when he was
summoned to his boss’s beach house for a crisis meeting six months
later, he did not have to ask the way to the bathroom since he had
already been their in his conscious dream. And he was sitting on the
right side of the table, with those had kept their jobs and had to tell
others about downsizing, because of the action he had taken with the
information gained in his shared dreaming.

*You’ll find much more about the techniques of Dream Reentry and conscious dream tracking, in my books Conscious Dreaming and The Three “Only” Things.I have recorded a CD of shamanic drumming for dream travelers and Dream Reentry, Wings for the Journey.

Tracking contrails photo by Savannah M. Caitlin

Shared Dreaming, before and after “Inception”

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for Inception-3D-Building-Ad_Crop.jpgI’m looking forward to seeing the movie Inception.  Judging by the advance notices, the director, and the cast, I expect it to be brilliant. I have one reservation. It’s not about the movie itself. It’s about the problematic use of a term, and how this relates to a larger problem of understanding.

The problem, simply stated, is this. Powers of dreaming that are natural, fun and healing are (1) dismissed as illusory by academic “experts” who don’t keep journals and don’t seem to do much dreaming, and by hard-boiled reporters who follow their lead while at the same time (2) those same natural powers are presented by Hollywood as science fiction in which dreaming abilities are often the perquisite of drug-fueled Dark Side psychic warriors.

The problematic term is “shared dreaming.” In the movie promos, “shared dreaming” appears to be the learned technique of psychic spies and mind manipulators tasked to extract information from other people’s dreaming minds, or implant thoughts in them. 
Such things are certainly possible outside of science fiction, but they are more properly described as psychic intrusion or dream sending (a term I’ll explain in a later article). Off-screen, shared dreaming may be a wholly benign and energizing consensual adventure, part of a spectrum of options for what I call social dreaming.

While we tend to think of dreams as private and personal, dreaming is actually a highly social activity. Many of us, indeed, are far more gregarious in our dreams than in our ordinary daily lives.
As we share dreams with friends and family on a regular basis, we may notice that sometimes our dreams overlap rather closely. We may have been dreaming on the same theme, or visiting the same dreamscape, on the same night. Sometimes we have shared adventures, though (more often than not) only one of the dreamers remembers exactly what was going on.

We are drawn together in dreams in the same ways that we are drawn to each other in waking life: by family ties, by shared interest, by common concerns, by love and sexual attraction, by the need for healing or the desire for fun and adventure
As we become Active Dreamers, we can develop the practice of embarking on conscious interactive dream journeys with focused intention. We can do this up close or at any distance. We can learn to enter shared dreaming with an intimate partner who shares our bed, with a group of friends in a living room, or with a network of dreamers in other parts of the world.
Thumbnail image for 3 Muses - Michele Ferro.jpg

Let’s pause to define the varieties of social dreaming:

Synchronous or concurrent dreams are those in which two or more dreamers have very similar dream experiences at the same time. They may or may not see each other inside the dreams.

Interactive or mutual dreams are those in which two or more dreamers are aware of each other and interact with each other in a shared dreamscape. In terms of ordinary time, their experiences may or may not be synchronous.

Shared dreaming, in my lexicon, is the practice of embarking on intentional interactive dream travels with one or more partners.

Group dreaming or group dream travel is shared dreaming conducted with a whole circle or network of participants. 

Director Christopher Nolan said in an interview with the New York Times: “What Inception deals with is a science fiction concept in which…you and I are able to experience the same dream at the same time. Once you remove the privacy, you’ve created an infinite number of alternate universes in which people can meaningfully interact – with validity, with weight, with dramatic consequences.”

Yes, it’s a great idea for a movie. And far from being only a science fiction concept, interactive or social dreaming is a real phenomenon in our lives that may go on every night. Shared dreaming  is a practice that can be learned – without chemicals or psywar trainers – and developed as both a home entertainment system and a method of gaining first-hand data on the nature of life in the multiverse. We’ll see how in the next article.

Next: Shared Dreaming as Home Entertainment

Poster for “Inception” spotted in New York City.

“Three Muses” drawing by Michele Ferro

Stay on the line

posted by Robert Moss

lighthouse2 - Savannah 7.10.jpgA thought for any day, inspired by a participant in the Dream Teacher Training that I led over the past week on the Connecticut shore.

Savannah surfaced from a night of elusive dreams with little recall, but with this statement clear in her mind:

Stay on the line. A dream will be calling shortly.

This delighted our whole group when she shared it during our breakfast dream-swapping. We thought about the ways a dream can call outside the hours of sleep – for example, through a sudden flash of intuition or a symbolic pop-up or chance encounter in regular life. The birds were notably actively over the land and sea beyond the windows that morning. The flight patterns of hawk and osprey, crow and seagull, punctuated our session and often gave us the sense that a dream was calling, on feathered wings.

I thought of Savannah’s guidance when I woke early this morning with sketchy dream memories that seemed rather bland and dull. I decided to allow myself some extra time in bed and “stay on the line”.

During my second sleep, I came home to a rambling house that seemed to be a composite of two previous homes, one of them a farm. At the back of this dream house was a lovely dappled wood set two stories below the main living area. At the front was a room-sized screen porch that projected from the house like a pier.

As I walked through this house towards the master bedroom, I felt a thrill of excitement because I sensed that my bear was at home. I called for him, and he came bounding in through a side door – a shaggy black bear, maybe 300 pounds. I petted him like a dog and nuzzled his face. We rolled around and played together on the floor. Then I heard voices at the front door. I hurried towards it, in time to catch a couple of mail carriers who were about to leave because they needed a signature and thought no one was at home.They handed over a large bundle of letters, packages and special delivery envelopes on that jetty-like porch. I was keen to read my mail, but first I had catching up to do with my bear. He had gone out into the woods, and I followed him there, eager for adventure. I’ll have a go at reading my dream mail later on, and I won’t have to go to the Office of Lost and Found Dreams to do that. I’ll just imagine myself stepping back inside my dream house, where my bear is waiting.

Stay on the line. A dream will be calling shortly. That’s good advice for any day.

Related posts: How to Break a Dream Drought

Photo of a lighthouse on Long Island Sound by Savannah M. Caitlin.

Dream diagnosis that left a scar

posted by Robert Moss

asklepios.jpg
Our dreams tell us what is going on inside our bodies. This can help us avoid medical problems. When we do have a problem, our dreams can be a reliable source of diagnosis. Here is Janice’s story of a dream that helped to alert her and her doctor to a problem he had missed:

When I was in my late twenties. I went to the doctor for my annual check up. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health. The night after my visit to his office, I had the following dream:

I am screaming at the doctor, “I told you to check my arm. Now, look! You had to cut it off.” As I’m screaming at the doctor, I am looking at my right arm which has been cut off above the elbow. My arm is wrapped in gauze.

Upon waking from my dream, I had a very troubling, heavy feeling that I could not shake off. I immediately called my doctor and told him – not a request – that I would be coming in that very day to have him check my right arm. He insisted that I was fine. I told him about my dream, and insisted that no matter what I was coming in to see him.

When I got to the office my doctor checked my arm. After examining my arm the doctor said, “You know, your arm doesn’t look right.” There was a slight purplish hue to a part of my skin, the size of mosquito bite. The doctor suggested that I see a surgeon. I went to the surgeon who decided to remove the little bump. The little bump however, turned out to be a tumor the size of a very large green grape that was hidden deep under my skin. The tumor had begun to change and, fortunately, it was fully encapsulated when removed.

I have a scar on my right arm an inch above the elbow, at exactly the place where my arm had been cut off in my dream. I’m grateful for that scar, because it is a daily reminder of the importance of paying attention to dreams.

I look forward to the day when our doctors are schooled to look to dreams, along with other resources, for diagnosis of complaints, as they were in the ancient world.

Aristotle noted that the most successful physicians paid close attention to their patients’ dreams. Throughout the Hippocratic corpus – the large body of ancient medical texts attributed to Hippocrates, the great early physician from whom the oath of our medical profession is derived – the diagnostic value of dreams is recognized again and again. The author of the Hippocratic treatise On Regimen [fourth century BCE] tracks dreams that foreshadow physical symptoms and reveal their progress. He maintains that in sleep “the soul becomes its own mistress” and is able to tour its bodily residence without distractions. In the morning, it leaves the dreamer some pictures from its nightly tours. To read the diagnostic meaning of these souvenirs, we need to recognize that inside the body is a whole world. Thus earth, in a dream, may represent the body as a whole. A river may be the blood, a tree (for a man) or a spring (for a woman) the reproductive system.

Second only to Hippocrates, Galen (128-210) was the most important person in the rise of Western medicine. As he recorded medical case histories, Galen paid close attention to the appearances of the god Asklepios in diagnosing and prescribing for different ailments, and in facilitating direct healing. He was in no way superstitious. It would have been irrational, from his perspective, not to work with a friendly god who could fix the parts other medicine could not reach – and demonstrated this again and again. The surviving text of Galen’s essay On Diagnosis from Dreams shows his no-nonsense approach. He explains that dreams can provide accurate diagnosis because during sleep the soul travels inside the body and checks out what is going on.

Notes on dream diagnosis in ancient Greek medicine are adapted from my Secret History of Dreaming (New World Library, 2009).

Previous Posts

Questioning dreams in ancient Mesopotamia
Our earliest records of the work of a dream interpreter come from ancient Mesopotamia. Here the person you asked for help with your dream was called the “questioner”. On clay tablets from Assur and Nineveh, the “questioner” is usually a woman. The title suggests that she will put questions t

posted 9:02:55am Jul. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Rabbi Zalman joins the Dream Assembly
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi related a wonderful teaching story about interactive dreaming in The Dream Assembly.  A bunch of Hasidic rabbis are discussing the goals of prayer. Instead of joining the debate, Zalman says, “I would like all of you to join me in a dream tonight.” Then he immerse

posted 12:30:35pm Jul. 09, 2014 | read full post »

The Pauli Effect on the Pauli Effect
“Pauli Effect” is a term used for the mysterious malfunctioning of equipment in the presence of a certain person. We all know someone who has this effect, stopping watches, crashing computers, blowing out light bulbs. Often the phenomenon looks like a kind of adult (or not-so-grown-up) poltergei

posted 7:12:51am Jul. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Reading "what is behind"; Divination in Imperial Japan
In imperial Japan, one-third of the officials in the Ministry of Religious Affairs — the Jingi-kan — were assigned to one department, the Department of Divination. Their job was to read patterns of coincidence and advise the emperor accordingly. They had many techniques for provoking a sign from

posted 4:43:19am Jun. 30, 2014 | read full post »

The scarab and the fox: how Jung navigated by synchronicity
Jung’s life practice of paying attention to coincidence and symbolic popups in the world around us is a model of how to navigate by synchronicity. In his work with patients, he

posted 2:30:50am Jun. 27, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.