8 - Dream Spaces
8/1 – Resolving Dreams
Anne, a fellow therapist and a good friend, dreamed of starving kittens repeatedly over a period of years. The dreams were frightening and depressing and always proceeded along the same lines:
She would be quite happy in some landscape or other, and then would come across a litter of near starved kittens of about 3-4 weeks old. They were skin and bones and obviously unloved and abandoned. After each dream she'd wake up scared and full of dread.
Dream books hardly mention kittens specifically and a cat is held to be some symbol of the female. That, as usual, didn't help a bit. She thought about it, wrote herself letters, discussed it with anyone who would listen, and still got no further in understanding the meaning of these dreams or what to do in order to stop having to have them.
As time went by, these dreams became more frequent and the kittens were in a ever more desperate condition. Now, when she discovered the nest, there were some dead already, and some even maggot riddled. She was getting desperate and very worried.
Finally she took up my suggestion to create a basic sanctuary structure complete with guides and help built in. She designed a dream space - in her case something not unlike the holodeck on the Enterprise D in which the main points of the dream could be re-created.
Standing outside the holodeck, she gave the instruction, "Re-create kitten dreams" and the door opened and she stepped inside.
We were both shocked at what she found. Cages upon cages upon cages stacked
up the walls of a large, large warehouse type affair, with a dead or dying kittens in each. There were so many of them! Thousands upon thousands in that huge space - whatever was going on here, it was major.
Now, what to do? Anne expressed a real sense of urgency - some were still alive and they needed immediate attention. So, as I often do when faced with overwhelm in such situations, I suggested we call in whatever reinforcements would make themselves available.
A big crowd of people arrived right away - healers of all kinds, allopathic and holistic, real ones, imaginary ones and dead ones, a veritable army of astral healers. They began organising something like a conveyor belt process by which cage after cage was opened, the kitten extracted, put to one side if already dead and treated immediately if still alive. There was a feeling of working around the clock, although in real terms little time had passed, of course, and finally, the situation was under control.
The exhausted team of healers heaved a sigh of relief and just stood about, chatting amongst themselves when, at the back of the hall, a glowing circle of bright light appeared. Out of the light came adult cats of all shapes and sizes, and each one gently picked up one of the injured kittens and then returned into the light. Then, that light source closed and another, less bright and more like ultraviolet light appeared. From it came ghost cats who went to the dead kittens lying in a row. On approach of the ghost cat, a small kitten shape detached itself from the body, and was lovingly carried away to the other light whilst the body simply dissolved away.
Anne was crying and shaking after it was all over; I was marvelling again at this piece of interesting conscious/unconscious communication - her unconscious had repeatedly presented a major concern; we'd consciously entered into the process by deciding to bring in the healers, and Anne's unconscious had responded by finishing the story and bringing it to an amazing and very wonderful conclusion.
I asked her to go home and to make a note in her diary of this day and to put in a corresponding date six month from there, to check back and to see what kind of changes had happened in her life, as I was as puzzled and intrigued by the whole affair as she was.
Firstly, she has never dreamed about kittens since - it's been about a year now. We can presume that whatever the issue was, it really had been thoroughly resolved. The most noticeable differences she found was firstly an intense increase in creativity of all kind - she hasn't stopped painting since and her paintings "before" and "after" are very different; the "after" kind being much more vibrant, powerful and saleable.
She's completely redecorated her entire house and her income has doubled from very unlikely sources, such as all of a sudden finding an American publisher for a series of self-help books she wrote ten years ago. Is that because of the kittens? You know what I'm going to say by now - I've no idea! She's a happier person, that much I know, and when she goes to bed at night, she smiles in anticipation of what she's going to dream about.
8/2 – Placing The Dream
Having a dream space to recreate and address dreams is a really neat thing. As all sanctuary features, the more often you use it, the more real it becomes and the easier it is to do. A dream space could take the form of an amphitheatre, a movie house, a theatre, a stage, a film studio set, a clearing somewhere, or even a special room in your house or subterranean structure.
Sometimes, dreams take place in a very specific landscape, time of day, placement, if you will.
In these cases, it is of the essence for the structure and fabric of the dream to remain cohesive and the message or action that needs to be taken to be correct that the entire dream is fully re-created and in this case, you end up with a new mindscape in sanctuary that is an addition to your usual sanctuary spaces, an enlargement that might well need to be put into context of the rest of your inner world by means of direction or connection – where is it? How do you get from sanctuary to that space?
This is a most profound activity to be undertaking, namely to connect the dream space with your sanctuary realms and to understand just what happens when you do. Apart from your own attention, what else will travel from one to the other? What happens to the ecology of both? What needs to be done, learned, changed, accepted, understood to have the dream space become a full and active part of the landscapes, or the universe in which both they and your sanctuary exist?
Whether you wish to undertake this connection with some of your dream spaces depends often on the content and feel of the dream – if it is very frightening or seems threatening, you might prefer to leave that world encapsulated for a while longer. And this brings us to the topic of ...
8/3 – Frightening Dreams
If dreams are just too scary to recreate in a dream space at all, even in the encapsulated safe version, you can disassociate from them by watching them as a movie or video with some helpers around you; one gentleman dealt with a nasty recurring nightmare about zombies and vampires by using an editing suite such as you would find in a film production company, and replaced himself with a current screen action hero who could be trusted to deal with the problems quite easily.
A young child had the brilliant idea of turning a recurrent nightmare into a cartoon - this translated it away enough from the original experience to take the emotional charge out of it and made it easier for him to find solutions.
Another person created a repeated dream-world in a bubble in space and visited it as though they were a ghost or an angel there – non-material in nature, being able to observe and move about but without being noticed themselves or in any kind of physical danger.
We have mentioned this before, but I’d like to repeat that if you have any dream “nasties”, be they landscapes, creatures, people or whatever, be as kind to them as you can find in your heart to be. If you can't find any kindness whatever, keep them in some kind of safe and supporting holding area for them. This is an interim solution to allow the problem to be contained whilst you gather further resources or just think about what you will eventually do to set them free.
8/4 – Beautiful Dreams
Nice or even amazing dreams are, incidentally, perfectly placed to suggest additions that make you feel better to your sanctuary.
Lillian dreamed of meeting a man who just sat beside her and she experienced a sense of complete relaxation and peace, not having to speak to him or do anything at all, and that it was “alright for him to be there” – a sensation and experience she had never had in real life before with any person, man or woman, or not so that she could remember. This experience gave her a baseline of what she wanted in her guides and companions and showed her a quality of relationship and way of being that became centrally important in her further dealings, first in sanctuary, and then in real life.
Following a dream which involved a pair of white swans majestically gliding across a beautiful lake and which left her feeling intensely relaxed, joyful and light, Joanna added this feature to her sanctuary, and reports that she has the same good feelings every time she visits there.
On the subject of chirpy birds, Rob had a dream featuring a giant albatross by which he was particularly enchanted and so he adopted the albatross and even created an ocean for him to fish in, and, when it occurred to him later on, a female for company. They went on to breed successfully, and, last I heard, there were many of these amazing birds to be seen, soaring above a dramatic seascape.