I’m in my house: a special, personal space, and my inner sanctum where I choose the rules of engagement. Messages come to me in this house, delivered by a loud, disembodied voice, and later accompanied by bombs, like the kind dropped from a World War II plane.
I understand that these messages are from the Mysteries that are directing and influencing my spiritual journey. They’re pushing me, sending bombs my way in the form of life challenges, waiting for me to answer them. I refuse to answer, and with every refusal, I enter deeper and deeper into my inner house, to rooms that are secret and special to me.
But still the messages and bombs come. The Mysteries can penetrate this secret, private space within me. And the bombs are getting bigger as I go deeper inward.
After a huge bomb lands on the floor in front of me, I wake up with a jolt and my initial reaction is fear and frustration. Aren’t I listening and responding to the Mysteries constantly? I work my dreams. I pay attention to what’s happening in my life always. I’m willing to heal, change, grow in whatever ways are necessary. Deep spiritual work is as natural and necessary to me as breathing. Am I missing something? And do I really need to just keep getting bombs to do my personal work? Bigger and bigger bombs… egads!
Then it comes to me — I’m not afraid in the dream at all. I’m calm, fully present, even slightly amused. The messages and bombs show up. I observe them, curious, engaged, but choose not to answer the Mysteries’ questions. Then I go to the next level, deeper inside of me, and do the same thing over again with the next message and bomb.Dream Teaching
The message of this dream is pretty direct: big change is here, and that change is driven by challenges that work the deepest layers of the psyche. Bombs are being dropped in my inner sanctum, going deeper and deeper, and getting bigger and bigger. Profound, core healing and transformation are required.
This is a personal message from the Mysteries, and also a collective one. My newsfeed is deluged with “big bombs” daily. There are immense, tumultuous, wrenching events going on in the public sphere on all levels: socially, politically and environmentally. The core of our human society is being exposed and challenged.
This is translating directly into our individual lives. In my community, close friendships and my own life, I’m intimately aware of the huge challenges landing in our laps — bombs are being dropped that demand a fundamental re-evaluation and re-making of things as they are.
Although fear is an understandable initial response, it doesn’t get us anywhere. The necessity for deep change isn’t going away. Ignore the bomb, and another shows up, bigger and deeper. The best, most effective choice is to be like my Dream Self: a badass that welcomes challenge and change, and understands the bigger and deeper the bomb, the more fundamental and profound the healing and transformation.
This isn’t to say that my Dream Self is reckless and loves messing up my life. Bombs aren’t necessarily about negative catalysts for change. Sometimes that can be the case, especially if we resist and deny the impetus for change. But challenges can also be positive, for example: heeding a long-denied passion; healing a deep-rooted family pattern; leaving behind an unhealthy relationship; and stepping into fresh, empowering life circumstances.
The bomb that arrives in our inner sanctum is the specific challenge that we need to heal, grow and transform our lives. No matter whether it’s positive or negative, a response of curiosity and acceptance allows us to heed the promptings of the Mysteries, and of life itself, and to walk a path of profound healing and transformation.Lesson in Pagan Dreaming
This dream offers powerful lessons in dream images and symbolism.
Collective images are sourced from our shared human consciousness, and offer a universal symbolic interpretation. For example, in this dream I’m in my house which typically represents the inner landscape and realm of my soul. This is reinforced in my dream by my sense of sovereignty and ownership of this house. By setting this dream in my house, I know immediately that this is an important dream that will speak to my spiritual pathwork.
Personal images are carefully selected by our Dream Self and psyche to bring specific aspects of our life story and experiences to our attention. These images provide context and further understanding for the collective images and other dream details, and offer clarity and focus for our spiritual pathwork.
Once I’ve identified these images, I empty my mind and see what intuitive leaps and information come to me. I may immediately get what the collective image means, recall a memory or situation that reveals the symbolism and purpose of the personal image, or decide I need to dig deeper. Digging deeper may involve research to learn more about a collective symbol, or open journaling to explore the roots of a personal image.
With my bomb dream, the images and symbolic meanings came to me right away. Without question, the bomb is the central symbol in the dream. This is a collective image that conjures up instant, massive destruction. Given that the bombs are landing in my house, it’s clear that this dream is about profound, core healing and transformation on a personal level, as discussed above.
But what parts of my life are these bombs connected to, and where do I need to focus my spiritual pathwork?
In my dream, the type of bomb is very specific: an old style from World War II. Again, I don’t need to do any digging to understand the personal symbolism in this image.
My parents were children in World War II, and lived in a city in England that was bombed regularly. My mother tells stories of running for the bomb shelter with my aunt and grandmother when the sirens went off. My father was separated from his family and sent to live with strangers in the countryside. My grandfather was in the Merchant Navy and survived his ships being blown up four times.
Recently I’ve started thinking about the generational stories that underlie the dysfunctional patterns that run in my family. I’ve been dealing with some “big bombs” around these patterns that are motivating me to heal and grow in core, fundamental ways. And this dream points me to my parents’ and grandparents’ experiences in World War II as the aspect of my family story that I need to explore in my spiritual pathwork at this time.
This dream is the beginning of a longer journey in search of the family and generational stories that will guide my healing and transformation in the months to come. I share it with you as an invitation to embrace your deep dreams with curiosity and acceptance, even when big bombs of healing and transformation show up in your dream landscape and outer life.
Within these dreams, you’ll find the very things you need, woven into the collective and personal images, to guide and deepen your spiritual pathwork, and bring profound, fundamental change to your life.Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Artwork by Eleonor Piteira (eleonorpiteira.squarespace.com)
Bono from U2 is my lover. He brings me on stage at a concert and delights in my beauty which reaches outward from my luminescent center and shines through my skin. He kisses me, deeply, passionately, activating his own inner, shining beauty. Then he performs a song called: Being With My Soul’s Deepest Love. I lay my hands on his back and send our joined energies out into the audience. As the last note slips into silence, Bono shuts off all of the lights, blanketing the stadium in an inky backdrop for the dazzling brilliance of the combined shining of each and every member of the audience.
This is a dream I had many years ago that I loved so much, it was the basis of my first Path of She blog post. It’s teaching is simple: you are infinitely beautiful and infinitely worthy, beyond your wildest imagination.
I return to this dream teaching over and over again in my writing and my personal journey of soul. The dream came back to me recently in my efforts to come to grips with the deluge of fear and negativity that has become the norm of the daily news cycle. I ask myself constantly: how can I and others become a positive force in the face of the destructive and reprehensible aspects of our human nature that seem to dominant our shared society.
And I return always to the same themes of our innate beauty, love and goodness as powers that can change the world for the better.
In this dream, the shining beauty of one person is infectious. I light up Bono and Bono lights up the whole stadium. This isn’t because we are the stars of this show, shining brighter than everyone else, but because we offer an invitation, by shining our beauty outward, that draws forth the shining beauty of everyone else.
Right now human society needs all of us to be this invitation to others. To do this, we must fall in love with ourselves, embrace our star-bright beauty and shine it outward into a hungry and waiting world. When you shine, you invite others to shine, and they invite others in turn. In this way, we can light up the whole world.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a stage or a voice like Bono’s. You can start with the simple and the everyday. Choose the things that give you joy. Give time and effort to the things you’re good at. Share these good things with others. Make gratitude your first response to whatever life brings your way. Shower others with kindness. Appreciate and receive the beauty of others.
When faced with the worst side of our humanity, offer up your best in response. Love to combat hate. Inclusion to resist discrimination. Peace to soothe conflict. Beauty as an offering to horror. Generosity as a remedy to greed. Compassion to embrace suffering. Dispel fear with hope, with laughter, with creativity, with love, with every beauty tool you can imagine and lay your hands on.
Most of all, believe in the best of yourself and our humanity. Believe that each us has a shining fragment of the Cosmos in our core that’s our special gift to share with the world. Believe that we can choose and live from the very best of our human nature. Believe that you matter, that you can make a difference in the small and big ways you live your life and engage your greater community. Believe that your shining is infectious and can send a ripple outward that will draw out the shining of others. Believe that when we shine together, we’re an unbeatable counterforce to the fear, destruction and negativity that plague our human society and Earth home. Believe these things and then act on them.
Every act you do, every choice you make, every thought and vibe that goes outward into the listening Universe can be your offering of beauty to this world and your invitation to others to shine by your side.Lesson in Pagan Dreaming
Dreams can change our life and this world. The Mysteries and our soul offer us powerful teachings through dream stories and images that can cut straight through our mental barriers, and plant seeds that continue to grow and blossom in us for years.
We feel the power of these dreams upon waking. We return to them again and again, or they show up years later, seemingly out of the blue, once more inspiring us with their perfect, powerful message.
In recent months, big dreams that I had many years ago are coming back to me. And I’m seeing how the seeds they planted long ago have directed and shaped my life’s journey. Some were a foreshadowing of this time of great turmoil and change. Each is a treasure — an affirmation and guiding force that show me that the Mysteries and our souls have a strong hand in our destiny and that their deep intention is to help us heal and grow into our very best, beautiful selves.
This is such a dream. I offer it as an invitation for you to join me, and so many others, in sharing our soul’s deepest love, our best, shining beauty, with a world that is hungry and waiting for our combined, dazzling brilliance.Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Artwork: Jimmy Lawlor (jimmylawlor.com)
There are three characters in this dream. The first one is me. I see myself in an empty, white space. A document appears before me that is “the Truth.” This Truth is immensely powerful; it rules everything in my life, both my inner world and relationship with myself, and my interface with others and my outer environment.
The second character is the Editor. I can’t see this character, but they make changes to the Truth document. In bright yellow, the Editor highlights the distortions and lies that have been inserted into the Truth document. There’s only one Truth; it can’t be changed or replaced. But it can be messed with
In their actions, the Editor makes visible the third character: a shadow force I will name the Oppressor. The Oppressor wants to control and manipulate my existence. They can only do this by slipping lies and distortions into the Truth that directs my life.Dream Teaching
I’ve long understood the message in this dream. There’s no escaping the fact that our human lives are ruled by what we hold as true and real: the Truth document in the dream. This Truth holds our contract of how to live our life. It can limit or expand us, imprison or set us free. And the choice is ours.
But we’ve forgotten that we’re the masters of our own Truth, and that we ultimately choose what to believe in, and hold as real and true.
Whoever controls our Truth, controls us. Oppressors throughout history have understood this, and used their many powers to impose their version of the truth to control society and the lives of others. Nowadays we’re bombarded with constant outer noise, coming at us from the media, school, work, social groups, our family and the people who share our lives. And we distort our own Truth to help us cope with our painful, wounding life experiences.
This dream cuts to the chase of what it looks like to claim your Truth and your freedom to live on your own terms. Wake up. Make an ally of the Editor and their yellow highlighter. Pay close attention to the truths and beliefs that direct your life. Which feel good and true to you? Which serve your best interests and most beautiful human instincts? Which arise from love and make you feel cherished and empowered? And which do not.
Whatever feels untrue, unloving and disempowering to you, banish it from your Truth, and take away its power to control you. You get to choose the Truth you live by. This power belongs to you, and always has. Claim it. Revel in it. Be ruthless in your pursuit of Truth. This is the way you set yourself free, and live from your best, most beautiful Self outward.Lesson in Pagan Dreaming
Dreams arise from the realm of Truth. When we slip into sleep, we enter a different reality, deep, ancient, wide, wild, that doesn’t care about our modern human world and concerns. It isn’t touched by the lies and distortions that mess up our waking understanding of Truth.
Sometimes this dream reality offers up a precious revelation, like this dream, that simply, powerfully reveals what it means to be human, and gifts us with a lesson to guide our deepest healing and transformation.
The empowered response to a dream like this is to simply say yes to its invitation and challenge, even if you don’t understand how to go about making these personal changes. Don’t worry, with your yes, your dreams will continue to guide and deepen your spiritual work of claiming your Truth. Because this type of dream is not only a revelation, but also a promise of more gifts and lessons to come.
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Artwork by Georg Janny
Dreaming has been diminished in our modern Western society, relegated to a flat, limited version of its true, vast potential. We have been taught that dreaming is an activity reserved for the dark of night and the oblivion of sleep. Sometimes we remember snippets of our dreams, but even these we barely pay attention to in the rush of our demanding lives.
Half of our humanity — the part that connects us to our soul and the spiritual mysteries that underlie everyday reality — is lost in this truncated conception of dreaming.
Yet dreaming is what it is, no matter how we conceive or engage it. What is lost can be refound. It is as simple, and as difficult, as replacing one way of understanding dreaming with another.
You dream at night where the laws of physical reality slip away and open you to the unbound adventures of the realm of spirit.
You dream when you meditate, work magic or engage in other practices that shift you into an altered state of consciousness.
You dream when you go about the business of your daily life, drawing events and situations to you, especially those that are unusual, significant or emotionally charged.
This wider, wilder conception of dreaming invites you to broaden your awareness to include the workings of your soul and the spiritual mysteries that infuse and inform your life.
Dreaming is literally second nature. We have a physical body for engaging the material world and a dreambody for the wide, wild world of dreaming.
In our sleep-time dreams, where our mind and the laws of physical reality are turned off, our dreambody reigns supreme. In our daytime dreams, our dreambody is a guiding presence that helps us engage the soul-based energies and spiritual mysteries that direct our outer life.
These powerful dreaming capacities reside within us all, but for many they have atrophied through lack of attention and use.
At the beginning of my spiritual journey, I didn’t remember my sleep-time dreams nor understand the importance of dreaming in my waking life. Now my dreambody connection is as natural and ever present to me as breathing. How did I make this profound shift? First, and most essential, I fell in love with my dreambody.
Here is an exercise for reaching out to your dreambody with the intention of starting or deepening your relationship.
1. Set aside time to connect with your dreambody.
Your dreambody is most present and accessible in those initial moments between sleeping and waking when the tendrils of your dream still hover in your conscious awareness. So set your alarm a bit earlier to give yourself time to be with your dream energy and images before you need to get out of bed to start your day.
2. Work with your dream upon waking.
When you wake up, don’t let your thinking mind kick into gear. Stay with the movements and sensations of your breath, and open to the images and energy of your dream.
Imagine breathing the dream into your body and letting it fill and infuse you.
Say yes to the dream, yes to its guidance.
Don’t worry about intellectually understanding or analyzing the dream. Your intention is to connect and commune with your dreambody and its gifts of dream images and energy. Understanding will come.
If you don’t wake up with dream images, still stay soft and open in the hazy, delicious space between waking and dreaming, and know that your dreambody is present in this space. Keep practicing this exercise and dreams will come.
3. Record your dream.
When you get out of bed, write down a few key images and insights from your dream, and your emotional responses. Note any themes or issues that are present in the dream that speak to your healing and personal growth.
If you have time, record the whole dream because often it’s the subtle, background aspects of a dream that hold the treasures of insights and inspiration.
4. Bring your awareness of your dream into the rest of your day.
Whatever you were dreaming when you woke this morning is also present as you go about your daily activities. Remember that there is no separation between sleeping and waking; it is all one dream.
Pay close attention to the events and situations of your waking life, and see if they reflect and further inform the images, energies and insights that came to you from your dream.
Look for unusual, significant or emotionally charged situations. Think of these things as offerings from your dreambody that can further your understanding of the soul-based energies and spiritual mysteries that are directing your outer life at this time.
Set aside time to journal these events and situations, noting the details of what happened, the insights and emotional reactions that come to you, and the links to your dream.
5. Be changed by the dream.
Your dreams are not random. Your dreambody wants you to learn, heal and grow. The dream that came to you in this exercise, both from your sleep-time and the events of your day, is a gift from your dreambody.
Take in the images, energies and insights that have come to you from this dream. Let them change you, and commit to continue to follow where they lead.
But don’t take my word for it. The dreaming is unfolding at this very moment, just waiting for you to wake up within the dream that is your life.
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Photo Credit: Andalucía Andaluía
What does it look like to live from a place of freedom, rather than fear? How do we make this shift when fear has us in its grip? These are big questions that are best answered through life experiences rather than words or theory. So the Mysteries conspired to give me these experiences, using their foolproof formula for engaging me: my sleeping and waking dreams.
Flying is a powerful metaphor for freedom. For three days in a row, I had intense dreams about flying. I don’t remember the details, and I don’t need to. Three is the magic number and the Mysteries had my attention: they were gifting me with one of their life-changing lessons, this one about flying.
At this particular time, I was flying a lot, commuting by floatplane from my island home to my City client on a weekly basis. The morning after the third dream, I found myself as the lone passenger seated in the cockpit beside my favorite pilot, a big-hearted man with a quirky sense of humor. Out of nowhere, he slid the control wheel to my side of the cockpit and said casually, “here, fly the plane.”
I was petrified. Operating mechanical vehicles isn’t one of my strengths. I’ve forced myself, out of necessity, to master the basics of driving a car, but flying a little tin can of a floatplane above a stunning, but lethal, expanse of ocean and islands, was way, way out of my comfort zone. My grip on the wheel gave fresh meaning to the expression white-knuckling it.
In response to my ramrod-stiff body language, my pilot friend simply said, “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”
And I got, in the flash of that terrifying moment, that this was a waking dream of the most powerful kind. The Mysteries were speaking to me directly through my pilot friend, teaching me how to fly in my life from a place of freedom, not fear.
What a difficult lesson this is. Freedom is what we hunger for most, and yet seems most elusive. We’ve been conditioned to associate freedom with having more than enough money and things, which only further feeds the rigid fear and control-based state of mind that’s the antithesis of freedom.
There’s more to my waking-dream story. Within a week of my flying lesson, I was again commuting home by float plane, alone with another pilot, but this time in a winter storm of epic proportions. There was zero visibility and the plane was being tossed about in the wild winds, like a child’s toy in the hands of rough-playing giants. Though my first response should’ve been oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-die fear, it wasn’t; I knew I was still dreaming awake with the Mysteries, and that I was being put to the test on their lesson on flying, freedom and fear.
So I emptied myself of all thoughts and reactions; I entered my body, deeply, fully, and let it move and rock, soft and open, with the violent turbulence of the plane. I saw, very clearly, that this was a potential death moment, and that my fear would gain me nothing. Death didn’t care if it took me rigid and terrified, or supple and open; it was indifferent whether I was in a state of fear or freedom. But my soul did. My life did. And the Mysteries did.
It was my choice, in this moment, and in every moment for the rest of my life, whether to fly from a place of fear or freedom. I chose freedom. Then the pilot said to me, “do you trust me?” And I said, “yes.” And he turned the plane around, taking us back and safely landing at our point of departure.
Believe it or not, I got in a float plane the very next day and the exact same thing happened, and I made the exact same choices. Test and re-test taken. Test and re-test passed.
In those times when a rocky moment has you in its grip, and fear suffocates your freedom, remember these words from God, Goddess, Spirit, Love, Self, or however you name the Mysteries that guide you: “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”
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Artwork by Athina Saloniti (deviantart.com/chrysalis)