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Dream Gates

Dream Gates

shamanism Archives

Back to Basics (1) Why Dreaming Is Important

posted by Robert Moss

A dream is a wake-up call. It takes us beyond what we already know. Dreams are the language of the soul, and they are experiences of the soul. There are “big” dreams and “little” dreams, of course. In big dreams, […]

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The origin and power of the shaman’s drum

posted by Robert Moss

The shaman’s primary tool for journeying is the single-headed frame drum, the type we use in Active Dreaming circles. I am constantly astonished, though no longer surprised, by how quickly this ancient instrument can help even the most rational, cognicentric […]

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Jung’s underworld journey

posted by Robert Moss

Let’s be candid: Jung’s Red Book is not for the faint-hearted. Yes, there are passages of incandescent beauty, perhaps beyond any other of his writings. There are also vertiginous falls into places of rank terror and screaming madness. In my […]

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“Nothing happens until it is dreamed”

posted by Robert Moss

The memory of a dream is the memory of a journey. It may have been a short visit to a neighbor’s place or a date with the lover you will meet three years from now. It may have been a […]

Shamans of the breakfast table

posted by Robert Moss

True shamans are dreamers. They are typically called to their vocation in dreams, and dreaming strong – traveling in lucid dreams to help souls find their way, to diagnose and treat illness, and to scout out the future – is […]

Bringing our lost children out of the glass bubble

posted by Robert Moss

I am out in the woods in the middle of the night, on Cortes Island. I notice other figures, animal and human and hybrid, moving among the trees, taking form then fading back into the shadows. I find three clear and reliable […]

Soul loss and soul recovery: a Q&A

posted by Robert Moss

 What is soul loss? When we suffer trauma or bitter disappointment or violent shock, soul may leave the body, to escape. This produces the phenomenon that psychologists call dissociation and shamans call soul loss. It can be seen as a […]

A short history of soul flight

posted by Robert Moss

In many human cultures the most profound insights into the nature of the divine and the fate of the soul after physical death have been attributed to ecstatic journeys beyond the body in waking dream or vision. In most human […]

Reading and releasing psychic cords

posted by Robert Moss

The essential things to know about life are usually simple – but can be sticky. One thing we need to know, to maintain our health and sanity, and work the true law of attraction, is that there are threads of […]

In Search of the Antlered Goddess of the Ways

posted by Robert Moss

The British visionary artist Chesca Potter says that when she moved to London, she had a vision of an immense goddess figure, dressed in green and gold, over the church of  St Pancras. This is the oldest church,  in the […]

The shaman as poet of consciousness

posted by Robert Moss

Poets, it’s said, are shamans of words. True shamans are poets of consciousness. Journeying into a deeper reality with the aid of sung and spoken poetry, they bring back energy and healing through poetic acts, shapeshifting physical systems. When we […]

Causing a bear: a belated response to Tolkien

posted by Robert Moss

I once dreamed I met C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien in the New York Public Library. Tolkien told me, “You must study Scandinavian mythology.” Years later, when I was writing my Dreamer’s Book of the Dead, Lewis appeared in a kind of […]

Shamans as dreamers

posted by Robert Moss

What is a shaman? First and last, the shaman is a dreamer. Shamans typically receive their calling in dreams and are initiated and trained in the Dreamtime. The heart of their practice is the intentional dream journey. They may incubate […]

Shared dreaming as home entertainment

posted by Robert Moss

You’re separated from your sweetheart and you’d like to have some good private time together. Can you do that? Absolutely. As in the old song, “you can reach [him or her] with your mind.” The next question is: Your place […]

Aboriginal Dreaming into the Dreamtime

posted by Robert Moss

Aboriginal Australians believe that we dream our way into this world, and dream our way out of it. “We talk to the spirit-child before a baby is born,” naturopath and traditional healer Burnham Burnham explained it to me. If the […]

Shamanic lucid dreaming

posted by Robert Moss

Until recently, I was not an enthusiast for the term “lucid dreaming”, because it came to be associated with silly notions of “controlling” or “manipulating” dreams. Through dreaming, we have access to a source that is infinitely wiser and deeper […]

Dreaming in Bali

posted by Robert Moss

I had the pleasure of conversing with my friend Jane Carleton about her rich experiences of living in Bali, sharing dreams with Balinese people, and teaching Active Dreaming workshops there. Jane is a certified teacher of Active Dreaming, a gemologist, […]

The parable of the tiger and the goat

posted by Robert Moss

True spiritual evolution progresses through a closer and closer alignment with the Higher Self. A quantum leap is achieved through fusion between the focus personality and the Higher Self. The larger person now communicates with a Higher Self on a higher level […]

Dreaming is good medicine

posted by Robert Moss

Most human cultures before the modern era have valued dreams as a source of healing. It was widely understood, for starters, that dreams can diagnose what’s going on inside the body. One of the ways to understand dreams is that […]

Soul Loss and after: a short Q&A

posted by Robert Moss

Why does the soul have a hard time staying in the body?  We suffer pain or abuse, grief or shame, and part of us finds the world so cruel that we want to go away. Soul loss is also caused […]

Happy birthday to the dream shaman of Switzerland

posted by Robert Moss

Happy Birthday to Carl Jung, who reminded us that psychology should be about soul, and that dreams are the easiest and best ways to understand what the soul wants in a life. In my book Dreaming the Soul Back Home, […]

Reclaiming our animal spirits

posted by Robert Moss

Indigenous and ancestral shamans know that we are all connected to the world of the animal powers, and that by recognizing and nurturing our relation with animal spirits, we find and follow the natural path of our energies. Yet many […]

Soul in the multiverse: you can travel across time to play mentor to a younger self

posted by Robert Moss

I suffered major soul loss as a young boy in Australia. I died for the first time within this life, aged three, during a brutal winter in Tasmania, when I succumbed to pneumonia in both lungs and lost vital signs […]

Seeking the innermost dream

posted by Robert Moss

I’m intrigued by nights in which we slip from one dream into another, as if moving from an outer to an inner courtyard. Sometimes the shift is marked by the experience of falling asleep and waking up inside the dream […]

Active Dreaming on Coast to Coast

posted by Robert Moss

I had a grand time overnight, talking to George Noory on Coast to Coast AM for three hours about how we can use the core techniques of Active Dreaming to empower and heal our lives. Active Dreaming is a way […]

Bringing the lost child down from the Soul Tree

posted by Robert Moss

I started a recent workshop, as I often do, by inviting the participants to imagine themselves, in standing meditation, putting down roots into the earth, like a tree. As the meditation deepened, they found themselves rising between earth and sky, […]

A marvelous day for a moonwalk

posted by Robert Moss

A young woman in my Chicago workshop last Saturday shared a dream of that morning in which the Moon appeared and came closer and closer until she could walk on it. She met a wise and good-humored guide who showed […]

Dream archaeology with gods and goddesses of Lithuania

posted by Robert Moss

Marija Gimbutas declared with urgent clarity in The Civilization of the Goddess:  “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 […]

Drink from your bowl of sky

posted by Robert Moss

Everyone has their own bowl of sky. I woke with this beautiful and mysterious line echoing in my mind. At first, I could remember nothing more from the dream that had delivered it. But as I lay in bed in […]

A cat’s eye on the 12 lights

posted by Robert Moss

There has been tremendous interest in the work my advanced groups have been doing with the 12 lights as a possible new model of imaginal and energetic healing, so I am going to post occasional reports on what we have […]

12 lights on the Achilles tendon

posted by Robert Moss

In work with advanced students in my recent shamanic dreaming retreats, we have continued our exploration of the “12 lights in the body” and their possible role in imaginal and energetic healing. My friend Carol, who has taken part in […]

The gods drink at the heart like a deer in a river

posted by Robert Moss

I come again, like a deer (or a big cat) to the water, to some lovely lines in Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Martin Prechtel‘s remarkable account of his apprenticeship and practice as a shaman of a Mayan tradition. He is […]

Your departure gate for adventures beyond the body

posted by Robert Moss

Your departure gate for lucid dreaming and adventures beyond the body is open to you any time you are ready to fly. It is the twilight zone of hypnagogia, the half-dream state on the cusp between waking and sleep and […]

Loving the 12 lights

posted by Robert Moss

People love the healing story of the twelve lights that Bonnie Horrigan shared on my radio show this week, and which I wrote about in my previous article here. I have received lots of email and Facebook messages from people […]

How many of your 12 lights are on?

posted by Robert Moss

“I want to tell you my personal experience of dream healing,” Bonnie Horrigan said when she joined me for a conversation on my Way of the Dreamer radio show today. “I was in hospital with a serious liver condition. It […]

Dreaming as soulcraft and survival tool in Iroquois tradition

posted by Robert Moss

“The Iroquois have, properly speaking, only a single Divinity – the dream. To it they render their submission, and follow all its orders with the utmost exactness.” –          Father Jacques  Frémin, S.J., 1669-70 Long before the first Europeans arrived in […]

Where is the rest of you?

posted by Robert Moss

Most of us are operating from only a part of our selves. To become more whole, and generate more vital energy for whatever we are doing, we want to draw on more of our selves, including personality aspects we may […]

What we can offer Hawk

posted by Robert Moss

One of the readers of yesterday’s blog essay on “Messages from Hawk” asked a provocative question:  “Seems we could learn much from Hawk. What do we have to offer Hawk?” I am going to respond here rather fully, from my […]

Hunting power

posted by Robert Moss

You say you are hunting your power But your power is hunting you. I’ll go up to the mountain, you say. I’ll fast and live on seaweed I’ll hang myself on a meat-hook Under the hot sun. I’ll give up […]

Dreaming as a survival tool in Iroquois tradition

posted by Robert Moss

“The Iroquois have, properly speaking, only a single Divinity – the dream. To it they render their submission, and follow all its orders with the utmost exactness.” –          Father Jacques Frémin, S.J., 1669-70 Long before the first Europeans arrived, the […]

Literature begins in dreams of the Goddess

posted by Robert Moss

The raw sexuality of her call to her lover is wild and shocking.  He plunges into her like a wild bull. When they couple, he is the green life of all growing things and she is the Queen of Heaven. He […]

Make it up as you go along

posted by Robert Moss

  At one of my week-long retreats at the Esalen Institute in California, I invited the group to journey, with the aid of shamanic drumming, to bring back a power song. I explained that in shamanic terms, a power song […]

Open secrets of the Dreamtime

posted by Robert Moss

Here are the open secrets of the Dreamtime. These insights, shared by many dreaming traditions and indigenous peoples, challenge the ruling paradigms of a culture that confuses the real with thephysical. They free us from the delusion that dreams are by-products of brain […]

The need for dream archaeology

posted by Robert Moss

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 […]

Paleopsych 101

posted by Robert Moss

At a benefit dinner, the wife of a bank president asked me, “What exactly is it that you do?” I told her, “I’m a paleolithic psychologist.” She nodded respectfully, possibly associating me with the clinical psychiatrist seated above the salt. […]

The dream shaman’s road to soul recovery

posted by Robert Moss

Shamans understand that soul loss is the root of much illness and confusion in our lives. It may be caused by pain or trauma or heartbreak, by wrenching life choices, or by wimping out on our best and bravest dreams. It […]

What makes me dive in headfirst

posted by Robert Moss

Among the Inuit, the strongest shamans are also the most gifted poets. One of the reasons their spirit helpers flock around them is that they are charmed and exhilarated by the angakok’s poetic improvisations. The Inuit say that we need […]

Make Death your ally

posted by Robert Moss

Milton demonized Death, suggesting that his other name is Satan. In our own times, we often make  a true devil out of Death, by pretending that he does not exist. (Remember Baudelaire? “The Devil’s greatest art is to make us […]

The dream people and the birth of a novel

posted by Robert Moss

Because of a hawk and a white oak and my need to get away from big cities, in 1986 I purchased a farm in rolling horse country in the upper Hudson Valley of New York. I had no idea how […]

Mountain lion lifts me to the place of heart

posted by Robert Moss

As we learn to share and celebrate our dreams, we find that dreaming brings us, and our communities, back to the place of the heart. When I was teaching inCalifornia, I found myself in a dream that made this very […]

Go back inside your dreams

posted by Robert Moss

When I started living in ruralNew York, I dreamed repeatedly of a huge standing bear. Though the bear never menaced me, it made me uneasy because it was several times my size. I realized that I needed to face the […]

Invoking the healing power of the Deer

posted by Robert Moss

This weekend, I am up on a mountain in the New York Adirondacks where I have been leading gatherings of active dreamers, spring and fall, for the past fifteen years. This is a place where the Deer energy is strong, […]

Healing ghost sickness in Vietnam

posted by Robert Moss

Where do you go if you are bothered by angry ghosts? Traditionally, in a country like Vietnam where animism is strong, you would go to a diviner or medium to get a correct diagnosis of who is causing your problem, […]

Angry ghosts of Vietnam

posted by Robert Moss

At night, Sam shakes so violently in the bed that his girlfriend is thrown out. He screams in a language not his own, “Give it back, give it back, give it back, motherfucker, or I’ll eat your mother’s soul.” He […]

Iroquois dreaming: for survival, soul, and good luck

posted by Robert Moss

Long before the first Europeans arrived, the Six Nations of the Longhouse, or Iroquois, taught their children that dreams are the single most important source of both practical and spiritual guidance. The first business of the day in an Iroquois […]

Dreaming with Hawk, and the Mohawk

posted by Robert Moss

When I moved in the mid-1980s to a farm in upstate New York, in order to get away from the clutter of big cities, I was called to learn a new language. It started with a red-tailed hawk who turned […]

The Egyptian art of dream travel

posted by Robert Moss

The ancient Egyptians understood that in dreams, our eyes are opened. Their word for dream, rswt, is etymologically connected to the root meaning “to be awake”. It was written with a symbol representing an open eye. The Egyptians believed that […]

Take the plunge into the sea of dreams

posted by Robert Moss

Among the Inuit, the strongest shamans are also the most gifted poets. One of the reasons spirit helpers flock around an angakok is that they are charmed and exhilarated by the shaman’s poetic improvisations. Inuit shamans have a language of […]

Seeing with Hawk & other dream drawings

posted by Robert Moss

Drawing from dreams is a fabulous way to get their energy moving. Giving spontaneous expression to our visions in this way brings out the child and the artist inside us. It also provides a fun record of our inner life, […]

Following the red horses to a Death Goddess

posted by Robert Moss

Red horses are racing above mountain tops. They are flying over the hills, immense and powerful. Plumes of steam rise from their nostrils. From the steam, men fall to the ground; they appear to be tiny stick figures in proportion […]

What is Active Dreaming?

posted by Robert Moss

Active Dreaming? The phrase is a provocation, designed to shake us free from the assumption that dreaming is a passive activity. I am grateful for the gift of spontaneous sleep dreams, the ones we don’t ask for and often don’t […]

Singing the soul back home

posted by Robert Moss

Soul loss, says shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman, is a survival mechanism. When the pain of life gets too much, we let part of ourselves slip away. If you are about to have a head-on collision, she likes to say, the […]

Community soul healing: bringing our lost children out of the glass bubble

posted by Robert Moss

I am out in the woods in the middle of the night, in the midst of leading a workshop on Cortes Island in British Columbia. I notice other figures, animal and human and hybrid, moving among the trees, taking form then fading […]

We must choose every day how we use power

posted by Robert Moss

When I was presenting at a Mind, Body, Spirit Festival in Sydney some years ago, an imposing Aboriginal healer named Burnum Burnum, his great beard lapping over a blue frock coat, grabbed me as we were leaving the platform together. […]

When soul recovery is mainstream medicine

posted by Robert Moss

Ruby Modesto’s first personal experience of soul recovery came when she was ten years old. She went so far and so deep in a dream odyssey that she could not find her way back to her body. As she tells […]

How to talk to the Creator

posted by Robert Moss

Yesterday I wrote about Ruby Modesto, a shaman of the Desert Cahuilla in southern California whose calling and guidance came to her through dreams. Listening to her voice, as mediated by anthropologist Guy Modesto, is to be in the presence […]

13 levels of shamanic dreaming

posted by Robert Moss

Ruby Modesto grew up on the Martinez reservation in southern California. Her dreams called her to become a pul, or shaman, introducing her to the eagle that became her ally, giving her wings for flight. She did not need the […]

A singing shaman called by Owl, and dreams

posted by Robert Moss

One of the classic accounts of how shamans are called to their practice by dreams comes from Isaac Tens,  a Gitskan halaait (shaman) in the Pacific Northwest. The French Canadian scholar Marius Barbeau  recorded his narrative and his songs at […]

Everyone who dreams is a little bit shaman

posted by Robert Moss

It’s a saying of the Kagwahiv, an Amazonian dreaming people: “Everyone who dreams is a little bit shaman.” Or, in an alternate translation: “Everyone who dreams has a little bit of the shaman in them.” I remember vividly when I […]

Catch a plane, or a crane

posted by Robert Moss

Oakland airport The Taoist immortal “will have a garment of feathers, will ride on a beam of light or saddle a star…His bones will shine like jade, his face will glow, a halo will surround his head, all his body […]

More brushes with the fox

posted by Robert Moss

Synchronicity can be a kiss from the universe, or a secret handshake, or a slap in the face. It can also tickle like a fox’s whiskers, or its brush. In California this week, I am feeling the play of fox […]

Becoming the eagle

posted by Robert Moss

A woman dreamer finds herself in a different body, traveling with her clan beside a river in a primal landscape untouched by the ax. She knows the lives and relations of these native people intimately, and feels the coming of […]

Dreaming with the animal spirits

posted by Robert Moss

When shamans go dreaming, characteristically they operate under the protection and guidance of Animal Guardians. Forging a close relationship with one or more “power animals” is central to developing the arts of shamanic dream travel and tracking. It is invaluable […]

In the room of golden serpents

posted by Robert Moss

She shows me the story of her life, in a room richly decorated with golden serpents. I am fascinated by the fine definition of their scales. Some project from the walls like water spouts, others are coiled, some interwined, each […]

Place of the Lion

posted by Robert Moss

You are at a zoo on a Sunday afternoon. People are wandering about, snacking and chatting as they inspect the animals and birds. As you approach the big cat enclosures, you are uneasy because you know that big cats don’t […]

Soul healing through the portal of an “old” dream

posted by Robert Moss

“I don’t know what I’m doing here,” Eva declared early in my recent Soul Recovery workshop in France. “I’m not a dreamer. I haven’t remembered any dreams since I was seven years old.” I suggested, gently, that this situation was […]

Soul recovery and licorice sticks: making deals with our younger selves

posted by Robert Moss

She was there, before I thought of her, a beautiful little girl with flame-red hair. She looked very like her adult self, except that in the adult the flame had dulled, and a great loose rampart of flesh had been […]

Dream roads from soul loss to soul recovery

posted by Robert Moss

Soul loss, as shamans know, is at the root of many of our existential complaints – of chronic fatigue and depression, of addictions and autoimmune problems, of creative blockage and even “bad luck”. If we are missing vital soul energy, […]

Soul loss: the shaman’s diagnosis of our existential complaints

posted by Robert Moss

The greatest contribution of the ancient shamans to our medicine and healing today is the understanding that in the course of any life we are liable to suffer soul loss – the loss of parts of our vital energy and […]

Making poetry from dreams

posted by Robert Moss

Poetry sometimes comes dancing out of dreams, in fully-formed words. My life was changed in 1987, during a visit to Maya country, when I woke with these mysterious, cadenced lines echoing in my mind and (it seemed) in the room: […]

A dream is what makes me dive in headfirst

posted by Robert Moss

Shamans use poetry, sung or spoken, to achieve ends that go deeper than our consensual world. They create poetic songs of power to invoke spiritual help; to journey into nonordinary reality; to open and maintain a space between the worlds […]

Poets of consciousness

posted by Robert Moss

Poets, it’s said, are shamans of words. True shamans are poets of consciousness. Journeying into a deeper reality with the aid of sung and spoken poetry, they bring back energy and healing through poetic acts, shapeshifting physical systems. When we […]

Releasing and farming the Inner Winds

posted by Robert Moss

It’s never been said better than in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do […]

Earth guardians, calling back moon and sun

posted by Robert Moss

The night of a lunar eclipse – when the wolf eats the moon – is a time of extreme psychic dangers, for my blood ancestors in Europe and for the ancestors of the land where I live.  On a mountain […]

The First Santa – Epilogue

posted by Robert Moss

Dear James: Whoever gives in a spirit of love and joy on this special night has Santa inside him, or her.When Mommy and Daddy were stuffing your stocking, Santa was there with them. Now, I know that when you’ve seen […]

The First Santa III – Bear Brother

posted by Robert Moss

When the ice broke up, monsters appeared in the inlets where the Reindeer People went to fish. The monsters reared from the waters with the heads of leering dragons, then disgorged terrible iron-clad men bent on killing and plunder. The […]

The First Santa II – Drum Rider

posted by Robert Moss

I don’t know how much you know about drums. The dreamer’s drum was not the kind of drum you see at a concert, or in a marching band, or in a toy shop. It was the kind of drum you […]

The First Santa I – Making a Reindeer Shaman

posted by Robert Moss

Long ago and far away, where the sun shines all night on Midsummer’s Eve and never shows its face at Midwinter, a boy they called Dreamer lived with his family among the Reindeer People. They were a simple folk who […]

The First Santa – Introduction

posted by Robert Moss

In this holiday season, I received this cri de coeur from the mother of a young boy named James: James found out that his parents stuff his stockings each year instead of Santa Claus. He is crestfallen. I asked him […]

Mr. Fox was just here

posted by Robert Moss

I am receiving such an interesting stream of stories of encounters with the fox in dreams, in the natural world and in folklore, movies and literature that I see I shall need to write more on this theme. For now, […]

The dream that is a song that is a road

posted by Robert Moss

The Temiar people of the Malaysian rainforest live very close to their land. Their stilt houses are walled with bamboo poles, laid horizontally so there are gaps between them. There are also gaps between the bamboo slats of the floors. Earth and […]

Dreaming like an Egyptian

posted by Robert Moss

The ancient Egyptians understood that in dreams, our eyes are opened. Their word for dream, rswt, is etymologically connected to the root meaning “to be awake”. It was written with a symbol representing an open eye. The Egyptians believed that the […]

Previous Posts

In the dream kitchen
In my night dreams, the place of creation is often a kitchen. I don’t do a lot of cooking, but I love the image of the kitchen — where we are fed and nourished and we mix things together and cook things up — as the creative center. I especially like to think of the creative process as being

posted 4:55:30am Mar. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Seven Open Secrets of Imagination
The greatest crisis in our lives is a crisis of imagination. We get stuck and set ourselves up for failure because we buy into a limited or self-defeating version of reality, and refuse to see our situation differently. The answer lies within us, in the power of imagination. We are ruled by image

posted 11:34:19am Mar. 07, 2015 | read full post »

As Lady Sarashina crossed a bridge of dreams
From a thousand years ago, in a slim autobiographical novel gusting with moonlight and desire, we have a dozen dreams of an anonymous Japanese woman wh

posted 10:40:02am Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

The first Valentine, from the captive prince
Why the day of Saint Valentine is associated with romantic love is a mystery. A couple of sainted Valentines, both martyred, are known to the early church but what little is known of them has nothing to do with romance. They are so obscure that the feast of St.Valentine was removed from the General

posted 2:17:39am Feb. 14, 2015 | read full post »

The best way to understand a dream
The best way to grasp the meaning of a dream, and to determine what action the dream requires, is to go back inside the dream and recover more of the story. We should never confuse a dream report - what we remember and can say about a dream - with the full experience of the dream itself. Even a very

posted 10:59:39am Jan. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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