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June 2015

Dreaming at the Crossroads of Life

Dreamsharing Heart-Centered Dreamwork June 19, 2015

Dreaming at the Crossroads of Life


Today we have a guest blogger, Susanne van Doorn, Ph.D., a Dutch psychologist and blogger on Mindfunda.


“Women’s dreams mirror the tides that move the fluids of their bodies. Just as the waters of the earth swell and recede, so our dreams change over time” Patricia Garfield, Womens Bodies, Womens Dreams


When Patti asked me to write a blog post to contribute to her Heart-Centered Dreamwork I was thrilled. Patti and I share the same dream of creating a platform to share knowledge about dreams, spirituality, and mythology.

Looking back at my life, I see three crossroads I have passed through. I matured from childhood into womanhood, I choose my partner for life and entered a life stage of companionship and motherhood. And now at this point in my life I say farewell to my fertility and welcome the Crone stage. (In the ancient societies there where three stages of womanhood: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, all manifestations of the triple Goddess.)


Crossroad From Childhood Into Womanhood

My earliest memory of a dream is a nightmarish dream I had about an airplane being stuck in my closet. I was scared about the noise it made and how trapped it must feel in that little closet of mine. We used to live near a military airway. I later on deciphered it to be about the way I had to tune down my energy in the big family I grew up in. I am the youngest one in a family of 7 siblings. We had nine people living in our house. So it was always fun, always busy and there always was the need to tune in or tune down. I think my dream supported my longing to fly out, to spread my wings. I left home relatively early at age 17, doing just that. You can see that a dream that is concerned with showing you new roads on which to travel, often uses symbols of travel. In this dream it is an airplane. The air and the wind flow and chill, but it also supports transportation into new endeavors.

Ralph Metzner talks on Mindfunda’s Youtube channel about the battle between the Aesir sky gods and the Vanir earth gods as the battle between old and new technology. To resolve this battle Odin showed both tribes how to conduct rituals based on mutual respect. The earth tribe in my childhood home was my father. Being the principle of the local high school he was all about rules. Teaching the rules, playing by the rules; do your homework. He liked things that where tangible. I was more “airy”: I saw ghosts, spirits, I could talks to them for hours. I was a dreamy girl. It took me several decades to engage in a ritual based on mutual respect to build a bridge towards my father’s knowledge. A dream paved the way for that. In this dream of mine I foresaw his death. After having this dream I asked him if he wanted to do anything before he was gone; anything he had not gotten around to in his life? He talked with me that night about his life, about how wonderful it had been and about how much he loved my mother. He had enjoyed the company of his children and told me how I always amazed him with my analytic skills and my guts to ask questions other people only thought, but never said out loud.

Crossroad From Womanhood Into Partner And Mother

The next step in my life was finding a partner. It took me a while before I had the inner peace to settle down with someone. When I was in my thirties I began to feel so alone. I missed a companion; someone to share my life with. Somebody with whom I could raise a family. I decided -very unromantically to make this a mission in life. I started dating, I started incubating dreams about my dates and my romantic life and it took me a while to develop the intuition I needed to guide me through this process. Then one night I dreamed: “I am on the train and it is a very sunny day. The window is open and while we are crossing the lake beneath us some water touches my arm. It feels like a caress from love that gives me faith and pleasure in my travel”.

Again, like in the first initiation dream, a form of transportation used as a symbol of transformation. The train of life passing above the waters of love. Where in the first initiation dream from childhood into womanhood the element of air played a big role, in the second dream the element of water has the upper hand. The first dream encourages me to rise above the things I was thought in my elderly home. The second dream encourages me to feel the depths of love. I dreamed this the day before I went on my first date with my future husband, the father of my children.

Crossroad From Partner and Mother Into Crone

 The last dream I want to share with you is a dream I have described in my blog. It is called “Hathor, the Goddess of dreams”, Injecting the uterus of a cow with frozen meatballs doesn’t seem like a very pleasant endeavor, but waking up from the dream I felt really good. I had done something very important. Something that had to be checked, and had to be kept warm.

Brenda Ferrimani (, dreamer and artist wrote me this about my dream: (I) Couldn’t help making a connection to Patricia Garfield and her book “Creative Dreaming”, and her horned/branching woman. You know the ovaries almost look like horns growing out of the uterus. So I get the physical connection with “frozen eggs” and perhaps the message, that my body is no longer producing eggs naturally but Hathor the horned Goddess assures me that I will still be a creative force in the world. I also thought of the “meat balls” as cow testicles. That I was placing something very potent inside the belly of the cow, if this were my dream. Kind of feels like a willing sacrifice happening so that the pregnancy can take place. In a way the bull has given his life to make the cow pregnant. Interesting how the “balls” are not only fertile but nutritious for human consumption. Maybe the dream comes to tell me about my future creative life, how I may be instrumental in bringing soul nourishment to others.

I was so thrilled that Brenda made the connection with the horned Goddess. The Horned Goddess is an ancient archetype, based on the full moon. The antlers of the Horned Goddess rise up in the sky to select the right energy and information for intuitive knowledge. This dream is linked to a dream of mine where I was in the bathtub and there where antlers growing out of my belly.

I hope I inspired you all to look at your dreams from this “crossroads” perspective. Take into account your life cycle and the initiation rites that are buried, but still vital for us in our current society.

You can follow Susanne’s blog at, making the fundamentals of psychology, mythology and spirituality easy to use in your personal life.















Inspirational Dreamers

Inspirational Dreamers June 17, 2015

Inspirational Dreamers

When you dream, you are not alone. Other inspirational dreamers hold out their hand to steady you along the way. Dreaming, we tap into the collective unconscious, and many layers of our dream’s meanings can be attributed to the group energy of our family, our community, our culture and society, and our world. So why then, do people think they are alone when they dream with the story going on in their head? Today, I’m going to show you how you can connect with other dreamers, be inspired by them, and how you can become an inspiring dreamer for others! Tall order, I know but very doable. PLUS… This is the first in a series on inspirational dreamers. It is my hope that you will see your dreams in their own exploration and know that you, too, can inspire others!

As you might imagine, I have a lot of books on the topic of dreams and I’ve been keenly studying dreams for about 25 years and I have never come across an author on the subject of dreams, that wasn’t first fascinated by his or her own dreams! So many dreamers think they are alone, until they share a dream with another person. When we share a dream, we find themes in common (teeth falling out dreams, chase dreams, naked in public dreams, unable to call for help dreams and so many more shared themes) and we begin to connect heart-to-heart with other dreamers. The moment you share a dream with another caring and respectful dreamer, not only do you find yourself relaxing in the knowledge that you are normal, but the one you share the dream with has an opportunity to offer you valuable insights that you might not see for yourself. In this way, one dream at a time, we create connections between dreamers-even if they never met before- that enable us to see the light and the humanity in each other. All that from sharing your dream!

I was first inspired by Jeremy Taylor’s book, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, when I first came across it in 1997. It is still in print and republished and updated as The Wisdom of Your Dreams. As I read through it, I knew I would be running dream groups, despite the knot in my stomach. (That always happens and is my signal that the Universe is about to take me kicking and screaming down the next path!) But it was all good and 18 years later, I’m still running dream groups….thanks to Jeremy Taylor!

Jeremy Taylor

Jeremy Taylor



Reverend Dr. Jeremy Taylor, D.Min., S.Th.D. (hon.) is Co-founder and Past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), Founder-Director of the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work (MIPD), Founding Faculty at the Chaplaincy Institute for Interfaith and Arts Ministries (ChI), Member of the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM)

Do you remember any childhood dreams? If so, what’s the earliest?

One of the earliest dreams I remember – perhaps I was five years old? – was of  seeing an elaborate toy castle filled with exquisitely detailed Walt Disney character “action figures.” I was so excited, (and as it turned out, it was a dream that changed my life!) I woke up, filled with curiosity and boundless enthusiasm, and dashed off to tell it to my grandmother, whom at that time I actually believed knew everything… She listened to me tell the dream, smiled kindly, and said, “Oh, honey! It’s a dream – it doesn’t mean anything…!”

…and I was SO SHOCKED! I didn’t know what it meant – but I knew it meant SOMETHING! it was at that moment, that “the dominoes fell,” and I realized, consciously for the first time: “… If she’s wrong about THIS, what else may she be wrong about…?!”

I still remember it as the moment that I decided consciously, “… Wow! I’m going to have to take full responsibility for what I believe and what I know myself… I really can’t rely on the adults around me to tell me what’s true – no matter how smart and kind they are, or how much I love them, or how much they love me…” It was a profoundly shocking realization…

It was perhaps a little early in life to come to such a conclusion, but now, in my 70s, I still rely on my own conscience, and my own direct experience and evolving awareness – rather than other people’s beliefs and opinions – as the only reliable touchstone for what is true in my life.

When did you first get interested in understanding your dreams? How did that unfold for you?

As the above story suggests, I have been deeply interested in the multiple meanings and implications of my own and other people’s dreams for as long as I can remember. That interest has only deepened and grown over the decades. It is an interest that is stimulated, and to some extent satisfied, every time I remember and contemplate my own dreams, and also when I hear, see, read dream accounts and come in contact with “dream inspired” art and other expressions from other people. In fact, “projective archetypal dream work” became and remains the center of my professional, spiritual, and personal/creative life.

What role have dreams played for you in your life?

Deepening and extending my understanding and appreciation of, and my ability to give some sort of expression to my dreams in the waking world, as well as helping others to do the same, has become the main organizing principle of my life.

I have written several books about dreams and dreaming from this evolving perspective, (all of which are available online, in bricks & mortar bookstores, and through my website,

I am one of the original four founders of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, (IASD), along with Strephon Williams, Gayle Delaney, and Patricia Garfield. You can find out more about this exemplary organization at I also operate a professional training and certification program for dream workers, the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work, (MIPD). I also work one-to-one, and in larger gatherings, with dreamers all over the world – all of which which may also be perused in more detail and arranged through my website,

If you could give one piece of advice to those who are just starting to listen to their dreams would it be?

The single most important piece of practical advice to keep in mind about remembering and looking at dreams, (particularly your own dreams!), is that they always carry MULTIPLE meanings and implications – (no matter how obvious any one meaning or implication may appear to be upon first encounter). Everything in our dreams, (and I now believe in our waking lives as well!), always has multiple, often confusing, (sometimes even seemingly contradictory), meanings and implications.

The hardest thing for anyone to do is to see his/her own dreams clearly with “fresh eyes.” The original dreamer is the only one who can say with any certainty what his or her dreams may actually mean, but in solitude, without the ideas and projections of other people, each of us will remain uniquely and selectively blind to the deeper meanings and multiple gifts of our own dreams. This unique and selective blindness is particularly difficult to overcome with regard to our, (seemingly unquestionable!) emotions in the dream world. Ultimately, there is no more reason to take the emotions we experience in dreams exclusively literally then there is to take any other element of the dream literally.

That may not sound like more than “one piece of advice” but all of these points mentioned above are profoundly interrelated consequences of the one great truth about dreams: ALL DREAMS – EVEN THE WORST, SWEAT-POPPING, GUT-WRENCHING NIGHTMARES –  COME IN THE SERVICE OF HEALTH AND WHOLENESS, AND SPEAK A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF METAPHOR AND SYMBOL.

Another way of saying the same thing is that “the Magic Mirror (of dreams) never lies!”


4 Simple and Brilliant Ways You Can Become an Inspirational Dreamer Too!


Jeremy Taylors stories are both inspirational and similar to yours, right? Ok, maybe you haven’t written a book about your dreams, but he has the same dream stories just as we all do. Dreaming is a experience we all share. Here are some ways you can inspire others. I’d love to hear about some ways you have inspired others so please post!

  • Share a dream– This is top on my list! The simple act of sharing a dream, connects you to others, gives you ideas and inspiration about your dream and your life and lets you know that you are perfectly normal, no matter how weird your dream images or storyline are.
  • Honour your dream– Do something in your waking world to keep the message of your dream alive and well. It is so easy to forget a dream and its details and it’s just as easy to watch your insights evaporate into thin air. When we honour a dream- Putting post-it notes with the dream’s message on your computer’s monitor, doodling the images in the dream, writing a poem (+ millions of other creative possibilities) keeps the dream’s insights within reach of your conscious mind. And when it is in your awareness, that is the point of change. Transformation becomes doable.
  • Call someone who just appeared in your dream- and say “Hey, I just dreamt about you!” Not only does it teach the listener that you value your dreams (and they can too) but it also says “I care”. Heart-Centered Dreamwork starts with a caring heart. Most likely that person appeared in your dream as a symbol or a projection of an aspect of yourself, so you don’t have to get too worked up imagining the dream is a precognitive message for them, just go with the synchronicity and have fun comparing notes. You never know but that person might have been dreaming about you too!
  • Share what you learn. By now, you’ve probably read a lot of blogs on dreams, maybe even several books. Talk about what you’ve learned with your friends, as you continue to share dreams. You might even want to lead a dream group for your friends or advertise a new dream group in the community. Before you know it friends and colleagues will be telling you their dreams and you will be known as an inspirational dreamer!

Not sure where to start? The International Association for the Study of Dreams is it! The only organization of its kind, IASD welcomes dreamers of all levels, whether novice “lay” dreamer or experienced professional in the field and everything in between. Their annual conferences are magical, educational and inspirational. Check them out at


Dream Dictionaries: Love Them or Leave Them?

Dreamwork Hacks June 10, 2015

Dream Dictionaries

Do you love your dream dictionary? Do you keep a dream journal? When I speak to groups about their dreams, the #1 question I get asked is,”What does it mean when you dream about…?” I guarantee that if you are thinking about your dreams, at some time you have wondered, “what the heck does that mean?” People are naturally curious about their dreams and in this age of instant information and Google, people imagine there is a quick answer to their questions about the symbols in their dreams as well. I don’t judge, but hey, I do have some strong opinions on the subject of dream dictionaries! In a moment, I’ll show you how your dream journal will help you never buy another dream dictionary again and I’ll give you a dream journal format to get you started on your journal. Yes, I love you that much!

The problem is that without a dream group, or the time and discipline to work with one’s own dreams, dreamers often turn to dream dictionaries. So let’s take a moment to look at that resource. Dream dictionaries have been in existence for as long as we have written history and probably longer. And even today, many dreamers will tell me, “my grandmother says that when you dream about [blank] it means [blank]”. Ancient dreamers were probably no different. The Chester Beatty Papyrus is believed to date from 1279-1213 B.C.E. in Egypt, although different scholars will suggest varying dates. Suffice it to say that it’s old! In this papyrus we find a list of dreams, judgment as to whether it is “good” or “bad”, followed by its interpretation. For example, “If a man sees himself in a dream with his bed catching fire, bad; it means driving away his wife”. [“Oh great dream interpreter, they asked, “Should I worry or not?”] The Chester Beatty Papyrus is only a fragment, but from the 2nd century Greek dream interpreter, Artemidorus, we have in existence all five of his books called “The Interpretation of Dreams” ( Artemidorus takes a very rational approach to the meaning of dreams, and some of his ideas seem to be reflected in many theories that are still with us today, including the notion that the meaning of any given symbol will vary according to the circumstances of the dreamer. Nevertheless, he too, tells his readers that, “this” means “that”. Thousands of years later, many of his definitions of symbols are still reproduced today in what might be referred to as “dime-store” dream dictionaries, although nothing costs a dime anymore!

Dream Dictionaries


So, short of joining a dream group, which is the most rewarding way to work with dreams but not always available, how can you use the resources that are commonly available without giving over your dreamer’s right to find your own meaning? The best dream dictionary, which calls itself a “New Kind of Dream Dictionary”, is Gayle Delaney’s book In Your Dreams. Published in 1997, it is still available and in print. (In Your Dreams) What makes Gayle’s book so useful is her format. She takes common dream themes like flying, being chased, naked in public and many more, then proceeds to help the dreamer write their own definition, finding meaning that is personal to them. She does this by citing common variations on the dream, what other dream experts have said, gives an example of a dream in that category, and shows you how to get at the meaning that is meaningful for you in her section called “What Do You Say?”

Because the truth is, if you dream about anything, from animals to food and everything in between, and you LOVE said symbol or object but I HATE them, the symbol and dream will have two different meanings for each of us. Dream dictionaries, part-truth, part-ancient beliefs, part-nonsense, suck us in and offer us quick answers in a time-shortage kind of world. Don’t get sucked in! Those definitions may have NOTHING to do with you or your life or your psyche! Here’s a wee little example for the symbol “back” from an on-line dictionary. It says in part,”…Traditionally, seeing a back in your dream forewarns that you should not lend money to anyone. In particular, lending money to friends will cause a rift in your relationship.” This is not something I would think of for that symbol. Would you? I might think of “back support”, going “back”, retreating, reviewing, doing over, needing a chiropractor for a misaligned back…You get the picture.

This is where your dream journal comes in. Without a record of your dreams, you have no way of seeing the bigger picture and any patterns that emerge. For example, I dream about hotels from time to time. Because I’ve been recording my dreams since 1980, I can go back and find any references to the symbol of “hotels”. When I do that, I begin to see their differences (big hotel, small motel, or luxury spa) and their commonalities. For me, they are aspects of my Self, but what they all have in common is that they are temporary shelter and places (or phases) that I pass through; places that give me temporary shelter. Voila, I have my first entry for my very own Patti’s Personal Dream Dictionary. If I wasn’t sure what they have in common, I would go fishing for my associations, asking myself, “What is a hotel? Why would a person use or stay in one?” until my associations become clear. You can do this too. To help you get started in organizing your dream journal, here are some suggestions.

  • Record the date. Don’t assume you will remember when you go through your journal at a later date.
  • Add the time, if you catch it. This is especially useful with precognitive dreams and in catching your dreaming patterns.
  • Day Notes. Write a few lines about your date before going to bed, including anything that had an emotional charge for you. Not only will this help you sleep as you empty your mind of the day’s events, but it will also give you a context to understand what was going on for you at the time of the dream.
  • Record or write down the dream, whether a full-blown narrative or a one word fragment. You may only remember colours or feelings. Write them down too.
  • Give the dream a title or number. Thinking of a title is a fun exercise that really helps you zero in on what has the most meaning for you. If you are the organized type, giving the dream a number is useful for tracking similar themes or recurring words or story lines. You can simply say “See dream # 37”!

It’s that simple and easy. For those who want to really jump in and record even more detail you can add the following:

  • Record all of the above, plus add any emotions in the dream and upon awakening.
  • Add any associations to the people, places and events in the dream.
  • Note any recurring themes. (“Another late for class dream!”)
  • Note any information about the locales. (“I’m back in my childhood home…..”) Add any drawings or doodles. Sometimes odd objects and events appear for which there are no words. Draw it. There are a lot of creative ways of working with your dreams that can start with a simple doodle.

Dream journals can be created online, in an app, in a simple doc in your Word or Pages program, in a beautiful journal or in a simple notebook. The best app will feature an ability to email the recorded dream to your inbox;  a useful feature. Some dreamers keep “vlogs” or other video journals or audio files on their phone. My only suggestion besides to do whatever is easiest first thing upon waking, is to make sure your online journal has a search function. It makes it easier to create your own dictionary of your dream world. For those recording dreams by hand- a very satisfying and creative exercise in itself- then after writing out the dream, simply go back and circle, underline or highlight symbols and objects, as well as any setting or action, that you will want to come back to for your dictionary.  If you are one who cannot get started on understanding your dream without looking its symbols up, then instead of an irrelevant and often ridiculous dictionary why not use an encyclopedia of symbols instead? These encyclopedia cover cultural, religious and historical connections to symbols (most have great illustrations) and will prime the pump of your own associations without giving you nonsense to work with. A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot is a classic, as is An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J. C. Cooper. I also love Denise Linn’s The Secret Language of Signs. You can also look up the list in my section called “Dream Library” and if you don’t see the symbol you want, write me and I’ll add it! Now that’s service!  In any case, wherever you look for help with a symbol, only accept the meanings  that resonate for you, give you an “aha” moment or a felt shift in your body and energy. You will know when it’s a good fit.

WHAT'S YOUR VOTE?Dream dictionaries? I vote “Leave them!” What’s your vote?