Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Dream spiders as disease markers, and possible allies

posted by Robert Moss

spider - Western black widoe.jpg

A woman named Jennifer recently shared a vivid and very specific account of how
the behavior of a black spider in a series of dreams has given her
disease markers she has learned to take seriously. As she tells it,
the sequence includes the following prodromic dreams (and follow-up
events):

1. “I am standing in an open doorway. A black spider leaps from the
frame onto my abdomen, scaring me badly. Three months later, I developed
appendicitis in the same spot and had to be rushed to hospital for an
emergency appendectomy.”

2. “A black spider jumps on my face. I am terrified and grossed
out.
Several months later, I developed a horrible and virulent skin
condition that made
me look
about a hundred years old. After 5 days, hospitalized on intravenous
antibiotics and anti-viral medicine, I learn was a life-threatening
strep
infection.”

3. “A black spider leaps on my face, near my left
eye–again from the
door frame in former dreams. A few months later, I am driving on the
freeway and a black, spider web configuration covers the entire visual
field of this eye. In an urgent care intervention, the on-call eye
doctor discovers that I have a
torn
retina in that eye, and I undergo emergency laser
surgery.”

This is a very instructive example of how dreams can anticipate physical symptoms. By learning to recognize personal markers, we may not only be forewarned of possible problems; we may be able to take action to avoid manifesting those problems.

The spider in Jennifer’s dreams is not the spider in your dreams, or mine. While we recognize common themes when we hear each other’s dreams, every dreamer’s experience is personal and unique to them. For some dreamers, the spider is an ally, offering the power to re-weave the web of possibility in life.

I worked with one dreamer, a gifted artist, for whom the spider was at first a disease marker- warning of a possible recurrence of cancer – but then became an extraordinary ally when she found the courage to go back inside her dream, through our Dream Reentry technique, and face the spider.

The artist was terrified by a recurring dream of a jumping spider that grew bigger and bigger until it took over her studio. I urged her to go back inside the dream and volunteered to go with her. Sitting together, with our hands joined, we embarked on conscious shared dreaming with a clear intention: the dreamer would face her terror and find out what she needed to do, while I would support her as friend and bodyguard inside the dream space.

Between the energy of her fear and the familiarity of her dream space – her studio – the artist had no difficulty reentering the dream. Almost effortlessly, we found ourselves together in the dream version of her studio, facing a spider that grew rapidly to enormous size. Its multiple eyes and cheliceral fangs were not a pleasant sight at close range. The artist was shaking and sobbing, but she stayed inside the dream.

Then spider shapeshifted into Spider Woman, an indigenous American form of the Goddess. Spider Woman told the artist: “Because you found the courage to meet me, I will give you the power to re-weave the energy web of your body and the web of possibility in your life.”

At that time, the dreamer was facing a biopsy. The results showed she was cancer free. She embarked on the most creative period of her personal and artistic life. Spider kept her promise, when the dreamer found the ability to brave up and reach for the power beyond the terror.

 
For more on the techniques of Dream Reentry and tracking (entering another person’s dreamspace to help bring through guidance and healing) please see my books The Three “Only” Things and Conscious Dreaming.

Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) photograph originally posted to Flickr

Oceans to fly

posted by Robert Moss

amelia_movie_poster_01.jpgEveryone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it.
Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?

– Amelia Earhart

I just watched Hilary Swank’s stunning performance as this brave and forever boundary-pushing flier in the movie “Amelia”.
And it struck me that Hilary herself is a stellar example of a person whose dreams and active imagination gave her oceans to fly, on a journey that is still unfolding.

Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park near Bellingham, WA, an only child with a single mom and a missing dad. She dropped out of high school. Then she dreamed of making it big in Hollywood. Her mom took this “impossible” dream so seriously that she drove them to California, where they lived in the car.

Hilary’s dream came true. Her first big role was in “Boys Don’t Cry”. She was paid only $3,000, but she won an Academy Award. Her next movie was “Million Dollar Baby” and since then no one has been paying her bottom dollar.

Hilary is a dreamer in many senses. She has described a recurring dream in which she saved someone’s life. After the third of these dreams, she felt deeply that she needed to “honor the dream”. She took a CPR course “just in case.” Three weeks later a man in an airport collapsed in front of her and she kept him alive using the CPR she had learned, until the paramedics arrived. The man died on the way to hospital, but she gave him a chance.

Hilary told the last dream story on “60 Minutes” on January 30, 2005.

Techno-tilisms and astral mind traps before “Inception”

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for Hoshruba.jpgThe maze constructed in the movie “Inception” to ensnare the mind of the target is far less sophisticated than ancient astral traps described, most memorably, in the vast Urdu fantasy cycle of Hoshruba.

In their dastangos itinerant Urdu storytellers – eagerly sought from princely courts to humble markets – preserved an imaginal geography that includes contructed realities known as tilisms.
The word tilism, related to the more familiar “talisman” describes a realm of enchantment created by sorcerers that becomes a prison for one who falls into it.
Any world may prove to be a tilism, a mind trap constructed by Dark Side magic in defiance of “the laws of God and of nature”.

The vast tilism of Hoshruba, with its multiple layers of illusion and deception, is the realm of Afrasiyab, the Emperor of Enchantment. Its geography is more various and complex than that of the ordinary world.

There are tilisms within tilisms, nested worlds created by magic and imagination. Humans live in such places but do not see where they are. It is much easier to fall into a tilism than to get out.

The only way to pierce the veils of illusion and overthrow a tilism is to find the tablet that holds the secrets of the tilism, including the conditions for its destruction and the name of the person who will destroy it. The tablet could be concealed anywhere, often inside the tilism itself.

These traditions were largely unknown in the west until an Urdu scholar and novelist named Musharraf Farooqi was stirred by a dream to embark on a fantastic enterprise. He dreamed he was visited by mythic creatures who came galloping right out of the great Urdu story cycle known as The Adventures of Amir Hamza. He made a tremendous contribution to world literature in giving us an elegant 900-page translation of this work, published by The Modern Library. But this was only the start of his labors. Farooqi has since produced the first volume of a projected 24-volume translation of the oceanic Tilism-e Hoshruba. Titled Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism, this is published by the Urdu Project.

An Active Dreamer’s review of “Inception”

posted by Robert Moss

Inception-Building-water.jpgIn one line: the movie “Inception” is more exciting in its conception than in its delivery. It offers some great talking-points and plenty to chew on for anyone interested in dreaming and the physics of non-ordinary reality.

On the other hand, the  interesting and sophisticated conceptual stuff is made to travel with a mediocre thriller plot. Whenever the film-makers are in doubt about what to do next, they insert another bang-bang shoot-em-up or car chase scene. Most of the dreamscapes are surprisingly drab and ordinary, featuring  endless sterile vistas of high-rise iceboxes.

In my cinema seat, I was disappointed. Yet the movie themes linger, and can be the stuff of a good conversation about what is possible off-screen and off-world, in the real worlds of dream experience.

Let’s look at some concepts in the film that are not sci-fi at all. Shared dreaming, in which two or more people embark on conscious and intentional adventures in dream reality, is not only possible; it is a core practice in shamanic dreaming traditions and is central to my own teaching and practice. In my Active Dreaming workshops, we often have 30 or more conscious dreamers travel together on an agreed itinerary, with remarkable results. We don’t need cables, magic boxes, or potions mixed up by an alchemist in Mombasa. We used simple relaxation, clear intention, the building of a strong visual portal, and the power of steady shamanic drumming to power and focus the group journey. Needless to say, we do not used shared dreaming to invade minds!

Reality creation in the dream world, once again, is not the invention of Christopher Nolan and his crew. There are stable locales in the dreamspace, some of them more ancient than any constructions in current use on the planet, that are the product of human imaginations. I lead many group journeys to locations of this kind in what I like to call the Imaginal Realm; some of these journeys are described in my book Dreamgates. Cities, temples, palaces and residential developments in the afterlife are generated by imagination and collective beliefs. The locales in “Inception” are less alluring, the product of shackled and repetitive imaginations and of an “architect” who designs an astral trap.  In Dreamgates I describe such locales as “Ibbetson lands”, after George du Maurier’s novel Peter Ibbetson, in which a prisoner meets his lover in dream locations woven from their memories.

Astral physics work differently from the rules of 3-D reality, as memorably depicted in “Inception” in scenes in which skyscrapers fold over and people walk up vertical slopes. When we explore these phenomena in Active Dreaming, we discover that on the astral plane, reality construction involves working with materials that have substance (though of much finer mesh than earthly materials) and are ideo-plastic (shaped by thought).

The different levels of dreaming depicted in “Inception” are familiar to active dreamers, as is the phenomenon of awakening from one dream into another. The most exciting first-hand account of this that I have heard from another person came from an 11-year-old girl in a class I once led for a school district. She described, in vivid detail, traveling through seven dreams, nested inside each other, and returning the same way. “Inception” manages only four.

The depiction of projections in “Inception” makes a bow to Jungian psychology. Viewers may wonder whether it is a satisfactory description of all the phenomena depicted. Cobb’s dead wife, for example, seems to be a transpersonal figure, not merely a projection.

The “militarized subconscious” of Robert Fischer, the man targeted for mind manipulation, may be fiction, but it is certainly possible – and sometimes essential – to set up psychic defense against intrusion and to call in “psychic cops”. This is another core element in my teaching and practice of Active Dreaming, and is discussed in detail in Dreamgates.

As for the key plot element in “Inception” – the effort to embed a script in someone’s mind – I wish I could dismiss this as fantasy. However, many groups throughout history have attempted mind control in this way. There is a notorious example from the ancient world. In the romance of Alexander, by pseudo-Callisthenes, an Egyptian sorcerer-king succeeds in entering and manipulating the dreaming minds of the mother of Alexander the Great and then her husband, King Philip of Macedonia.

I can readily imagine spending a long and entertaining evening discussing the pedigree and realism of the oneiric elements in “Inception.” This would be more fun than the movie itself, which became – for me – claustrophobic and tediously repetitive. The movie is unrelieved by even the tiniest spark of humor, unless an insider’s joke counts as such. (The recall signal that pulls the dream travelers back is a recording of Edith Piaf’s Je ne regrette rien as heard in the movie “La vie en rose”, starring Marion Cotillard, who plays the dead wife here.)

In the absence of humor, the thudding earnestness of “Inception” would only work if it developed much more narrative drive and the sense that something really important is at stake. But I was never made to care about why the dream gang was sent to infiltrate the mind of the heir to a business fortune.

No complaints about the acting and cinematography in “Inception”. But the great talent engaged here is confined by a lackluster
script. By the end, I was nostalgic for the verve and color and wild humor of Terry Gilliam’s version of the dreamworld in “Brazil”.

Meanwhile, I am waiting for someone in Hollywood to wake up to the fact that the real arts of Active Dreaming are not only more entertaining than this, but can be used to make things better in the world.

related articles: Shared Dreaming before and after “Inception”
Shared Dreaming as Home Entertainment
How shared dreaming saved George’s job

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