The world of dreams opened up unexpectedly to me soon after my husband died in 1997. In retrospect, I suspect that all the new experiences I had been having prior to his death, as well as the stress of the situation, affected my nervous system in a way that initiated a different way of mental functioning than was my usual modus operandi. This was essentially a rational/logical left brained way of processing inner and outer events.
In the months leading up to his death, we had been meditating together, or at least trying to, as a means of ameliorating the effects of his non treatable pancreatic cancer. I’d also been doing other explorations with him which were beyond our usual areas of interest as he grappled with the possibility of finding a cure, or at least of getting some relief from the physical and mental/emotional symptoms. We attended a five day retreat where we were introduced to many different healing modalities, including different forms of psychological therapies and spiritual approaches.
It was a world which had operated somewhat in the background of our lives over many years but which we never had reason to take as seriously as we were now being compelled to do. One of the organisations we became involved with was the Cancer Care Centre and they had several different groups going, with guest speakers on a wide variety of topics, as well as volunteer healers of different stripes. I had Reiki for the first time ever and was also introduced to hypnotherapy. These sessions were quite novel and very beneficial and were an oasis of relief in the turbulence of our lives at the time. They also added to what was beginning to feel like a complete reorganisation of my entire worldview.
I remember being very intrigued and impressed by a woman presenting on dreams in one of the talks but as I rarely remembered my dreams and had more than enough to cope with at the time, it never occurred to me that taking dreams seriously was potentially beneficial. The dream maker, whoever or whatever that is, had other ideas however and I have often wondered if that talk primed me for entry into the dreamworld. I recall very clearly being at the talk and also being very attentive and interested but have absolutely no memory of the content.
It was about four months after that event and almost immediately after Roger’s death, that I began remembering very clear and often precognitive dreams. Early on I had a dream The Dream That Got My Attention which addressed a problem I had encountered in my waking life the previous day and which also offered a solution, although in my ignorance of the function of dreams I couldn’t see it as such. It was revealed later when I sought a solution to the problem from a third party.
Another even more significant dream experience How It’s Done followed closely on that dream and though I didn’t fully appreciate its significance at the time, it was pivotal in piquing my interest in dreams. As everyone who takes dreams seriously eventually learns, once you do so, it opens up the inner world to a guidance system that is uniquely tailored to the individual dreamer and when that happens, one’s perception of the world changes irrevocably and ultimately for the better.
In spite of having dream experiences in the early stages that I couldn’t ignore, I still had neither the time nor the inclination to seriously pursue a study of dreams. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to try, such was the foreign nature of the endeavour, except that sometimes, somehow, a path opens up with signposts that aren’t even recognised as such, until you find yourself somewhere you never expected or consciously intended to go. Such was my journey with dreams and there were two major signposts akin to those ‘Exit’ signs on freeways that lead you off the main highway. The first was deciding to have hypnotherapy and choosing a therapist who ‘just happened’ to have an interest in the work of Carl Jung. This implies, almost by default, an interest in dreams and so I had my first taste of actively working with my dreams in hypnosis. This opened up the dream life even more but the real opening came when, at a time of deep personal crisis and turmoil, I lucked onto the website of Jane Teresa Anderson which had a private, subscription based dream forum.
This was in 2002 and was at a time when such things were just beginning to gain momentum. Jane Teresa Anderson’s forum closed after a few years and she has gone onto bigger and better things in the world of dreams but her forum and the wonderful team of investigative dreamers were truly life saving at the time. In fact, that dream forum has led to this blog, as one of my dream buddies from that time, Belinda, has set this up for me, a feat which I would never have been able to accomplish on my own. The idea for doing a website came about during a conversation in which we discussed a dream Blessing by a Shrink I’d had but I didn’t actually connect the dots until several days later. Such is the nature of dreams, it’s not always possible to understand them at the time they occur but when given due attention reveal themselves in an ever unfolding process.
After Jane Teresa’s forum folded, the ‘dream team’ pressed on alone with our own forum but that too folded after a year or so. It’s difficult to recreate an environment which had it’s own time, purpose and magic but I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that our dream forum days were truly transformational. I had by this time been soundly bitten by the dream bug and soon found myself doing a course in dreamwork offered by Diane Bellchambers at Cosmic Pages in Adelaide. With the completion of the course came admission to her monthly dream group which I attended for 3 years. It was a very different experience than participating on the internet forum and gave me many more ways of looking at and working with dreams. Since then I have done several groups of varying lengths and with different teachers and guides with their own particular styles and orientations. I have also subscribed to a podcast for several years run by the American psychology professor featured in my Blessing by a Shrink dream who has an abiding interest in dreams himself and whose podcast shrinkrapradio.com is an invaluable resource on dreams.
My hope for this blog is to share not only my enthusiasm for dreams as a life guidance, healing and problem solving system but to also share some interesting dreams I’ve had over the years and what I’ve gleaned from them. One of the most enjoyable and beneficial ways of working with dreams is in group dreamwork and though this is neither a forum, nor in any way a professional or academic endeavour, I hope that sharing my own dream experiences will inspire, inform and help support what is an ever increasing interest in the inner workings of the mind as accessed through dreams. To me dreams are the bridge between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind, the inner and outer worlds and as such offer an effective way of negotiating life’s difficulties and integrating the best of both worlds.
Dreams reveal much about one’s inner life and if this is done for mere self indulgence it is a pointless exercise. My experience has been that dreams are powerful agents for healing and transformation and when they are shared, that potentiality is compounded. Revealing the inner workings of one’s mind is not something to be done lightly or irreverently and all I ask of anyone reading this blog is to accept what I share in the same spirit of respect with which it is offered. Dreams to me serve similar functions for the psyche (mental, emotional, spiritual body) as the digestive and immune systems do for the physical body, that is healing, maintenance and growth. I have no agenda other than that the sharing of my experience may help others in their own healing and transformational work.
There are many ways of understanding and working with dreams but even after almost 17 years of working with my own and doing workshops, dream groups and study, while I have gained much clarity and insight, they are still a journey into the unknown. That is why I titled this blog Dream Mysteries.
My heartfelt thanks to my dream buddy, Belinda, from the original forum for providing the encouragement and web expertise for this blog. I would never have attempted it myself.