More Dreams

I started a third book on dreams, but it didn’t really stick – though I did complete a project anyway. I drew and animated this as an approximation of the image on the carpet in my dream. Someone asked me to slow it down a bit so they could use it as a meditation aid, which I love! Since this image reminds me a bit of a passionflower, I’ve also been drinking passionflower tea, which looks like it might be helpful for some health issues I deal with (as well as apparently having traditional associations with dreaming).

My copy of Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism and Neoplatonism came in the mail a couple of days ago, so I dropped the the third dream book and switched over…not to worry, though, because author Robert Place makes it clear that he regards tarot as a kind of dreamwork, too (a perspective that I tend to share). This book is a really great read with beautiful pictures, and happens to include the most comprehensive overview of the Western magical tradition that I’ve ever read.

For example, did you know that in the early 500s, Roman emperor Justinian closed down the Neoplatonist academy in Athens and most of the philosophers there moved to Persia (and may have founded a giant cross-cultural library, just in time for the Islamic Golden Age)? I didn’t, but I’m glad I do now!

Still working through this one, so I’m not sure what my final project will be. In the meantime, though, I also read Vijnananath’s new booklet Stoking the Witchfire: Yoga Cultivation for Sorcerors, which I also recommend if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s a quick read, and an easy meditation practice to get started with.

The Kabbalah of Light

After I finished In the Company of Friends, I had some trouble settling on my next book. A couple of days later I drew a tarot card–The Star–for inspiration. My impulse was to choose something fun and intuitively appealing, so I looked for The Kabbalah of Light which has been languishing on my maybe pile for a while. I noticed there was a star on the spine of the book, so that seemed like a pretty clear confirmation.

It was a fun read, as expected! It was more of a surprise that it was also almost entirely about dreaming.  What I’m taking away from this one is the method, which I started using almost immediately (along with a little stone bear I’ve had for a while, which seemed like it would make a good dream talisman after last week’s project).


Here’s how it works:

1. Write down a dream every morning. If you can’t remember, write down how you feel when you wake up, and if you keep this up you should start to remember your dreams pretty quickly. Write in as much detail as you can, including your feelings.

2. Notice the themes and patterns of the dream, for example: numbers, relationships, feelings, things that remind you of other things, and any particularly striking details. For the most part, elements that remind you of your daily activities will not be central to the power of the dream.

3. Look for an unresolved situation in the dream, for example, a problem to be solved or something you would have liked to explore further (by opening a door, for example). Spend a few breaths relaxing with your eyes closed, then imagine resolving that situation.

That’s basically it! There are a lot more specific exercises in the book, but this is the central one, and working with it for less than a week has already been pretty impactful for me.

In one memorable dream, I went into a shop selling carpets for zendos, vaguely considering that I might buy one in the future. The merchant showed me that there were tiny holes in some of the previously used carpets and told me that this was good, because it represented the way that a lineage could be passed on by people with human flaws and still contain a vibrant pattern. I was most attracted to the carpet on the floor of the display room, which had a magically shifting mandala pattern that reminded me of the earth with purplish mountains around a glowing golden core, or possibly some kind of flower. As I resolved the dream I went back to choose this one, and I’ve since imagined myself in a room containing this carpet often.

There has also been a pretty intense uptick in synchronicity that I attribute to work with this dream and others. First, this book describes the subconscious as the glittering serpent Leviathan, which reminded me of the imaginal silver snake I’ve been tracking.
Second, it occurred to me that the flower was a bit like the passionflower, which I’ve been wanting to try as an herbal tea. When I looked up its qualities, I learned that it could be helpful for some health issues I deal with, as well as for shedding energetic patterns from the past and for dream work. Third, there’s actually a bit in the book describing stars as a symbol of intuition (you almost an’t make this stuff up).

Just this morning, I looked up this card from the Anima Mundi Tarot in order to include an image here, and noticed the ibis for the first time. A few weeks ago there were a couple of other things on my mind: Seshet, an Egyptian goddess of writing, libraries, measurement and pattern, and the recurring image of a red thread connecting the many different interests I’ve been trying to weave together. When I went to look for an image of Seshet, I found this one (by Rhonda Libbey), which I had to buy immediately for obvious reasons. Anyway, the star is a frequent symbol of Seshet, and as a consort/feminine form of Thoth she’s also pretty closely linked to the ibis, as shown here, so it was nice to see her again.

Bottom line, I guess, is that I’m feeling pretty good about how this imaginal work is going, and looking forward to keeping it up while adding some passionflower tea.

Imaginal Book Club

A group I’m part of has been doing an imaginal exercise for which we were asked to focus on a specific relationship in our lives. I read constantly (mostly about metaphor, psychology, philosophy and religion) and get a lot out of it but also feel in many ways like my reading life is weirdly cut off from the rest of my life–so I chose to take a deeper look at my relationship with books.

Describing imaginal processes is always a bit odd, so I mostly just want to say that this one has been pretty powerful. When I first went fishing for images there was some kind of silver energy snake that was maybe also a dragon or the alchemical spirit of mercury, and after a while there was a general flavor of the Arthurian cycle as that dragon energy started to become more present in my everyday life and synchronicities started adding up.

The second time I went looking for specific images I also saw some popup books, which were two powerful things for me: a symbol of the way in which information can get kind of condensed into a linear sequence and then reconstituted back into the world (I think about this a lot, actually), and a reminder that I enjoy book-related arts. I left this session with an intention to create something myself (a written response, a piece of art, a ritual or even just a conversation) for every book I read.

A couple of days later I finished the book In the Company of Friends, which is about Sufi dreamwork. I’ve been having interesting dreams, including one in which a bear chased me into a house and got stuck inside while I escaped out the window, so that image was on my mind when it was time for my first post-book project.