Dreams are a stairway to what’s beyond our ordinary awareness. That’s true of daytime dreams—aspirations that become more achievable as we help each other make our wishes come alive. But here I mean dream dreams, you know, ones the dictionary defines as a “series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.”
Some of us more easily recall dreams than others. Apparently this has to do with reactivity in certain regions of the brain, although experts insist we can train ourselves to more effectively remember dreams.
No matter the facts, I like to talk about dreams. I’m fascinated by cultures where dreams are discussed and used as a way of tapping into a stream of wisdom that’s forgotten in so-called advanced societies.
And I love to get together with friends for dreamwork sessions where we share and investigate our dreams, something we do far too infrequently but always find illuminating.
If I had better follow-through for this passion I’d be one of those people who keep illustrated dream journals where the guidance found in dreams is recognized. Alas, I’m not. I only write down dreams when they linger in my head long after I’ve woken, in a not-remotely-arty Word doc. Though I started this particular doc back in 2000, I’ve recorded only a few dreams each year. Most of the time they ramble along in weirdly disjointed anti-logic, as dreams tend to do. But several feel like teachings. Here’s one from August 2007 that stays with me.
A dark-haired child in medieval dress, somewhere between five and eight years old and with a wise aspect, was my guide in this brief dream.
She showed me a number of different paintings. They rose up before me from nowhere with complete darkness around them. Most were icons or close-ups of religious paintings, all with halos around people’s heads.
I thought to myself that the halos seemed like auras, trying to notice which were painted with solid lines and which were more diffuse. The moment I tried to apply logic the pictures stopped.
The child explained. She used words that were simple, beautiful, and had the resonance of the ages behind them. I cannot recall most of what she said, as it was well beyond my understanding, but I’ve retained the following meaning.
The accepted beliefs and worldview of an era form a sort of perimeter around each person. This is the way of people. Those who have been called mystics and saints are people who perceive what’s beyond these boundaries. This perception, this apprehension of something greater, causes the perimeter itself to glow. The breaching of what’s closed is powerful energy.
I wish I could express it better. In the dream I could feel what pulsed at the juncture of small human reality and larger Truth as a kind of electricity or creative force. It emitted light. The energy was generative and alive with possibility. I was awed to glimpse it, even as dream material.
The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach. Carl Jung
Resources for those of you fascinated by the dream wisdom accessible to us all.
Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing by Robert Wolff
anything by Carl Jung, such as The Essential Jung
anything by pioneer of Active Dreaming, Robert Moss
The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis
The Mind at Night: The New Science of How and Why We Dream by Andrea Rock
The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant (sci-fi world where reality is shaped by dreams)
2 thoughts on “Dreaming of Halos”
Lovely, as usual.
I thought you’d be interested in knowing that Patrick Bateson and Paul Martin, in their book Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation talk about dreaming as a form of play.
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I got an email relevant to this post, with permission to share by the author. Here’s a portion of that email. More resources!
Name: Christine Madar
Comment: Hi Laura,
For 26 years the School of Metaphysics has sponsored a national service event called the National Dream Hotline®. It is always the last weekend of April. I have been part of this event for 20 years. Since SOM is a non-profit school and our event is free of charge we usually get a lot of support from the media. People love to talk about their dreams and we dedicate 54 hours straight to answering questions about dreams during this marathon weekend. Believe me people love to call! The years that the media is swept up in some kind of drama are the years that they have often opted to “pass” on announcing our service event. I have found that to be such a conundrum! When something like the OKC bombing, Columbine or VA tech thing happens it seems like people’s dream lives are even more active. And it isn’t always bad dreams, sometimes events like this trigger soulful dreams. It is always interesting pitching a concept like that to a frenzied producer who is focused on the reactive impact of crime and destruction.
I appreciate your perspective and I agree with the vision your dream conveys! Here’s a little video invite we created for our NDH® this year. Enjoy! This service event always brings hope to all the people who call.
Short video invite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1hZ9gx5AM0