“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
– Anaïs Nin
Dreams have always fascinated me.
I remember looking forward to sleeping and dreaming, when I was very young. I got to watch those amazing movies in my mind, you see!
I loved the vivid colours and sensations of my dreams, and was in awe of the fantastic storylines — like nothing I’d experienced anywhere else. And I was the director!
Sleeping, dreaming, waking up used to be effortless and joyful.
It seemed like a continuum, except that the “real” life was noticeably dimmer than my dreams. I’d wonder, awake: is this real? Or is it a dream? That all changed, as I grew older and went to school.
My life changed, my dreams changed.
They weren’t quite as pleasant. I’d see nightmares sometimes, and wasn’t feeling joyful waking up. Reality felt more real — too real for my taste! — and dreams became more distant. Less colourful, less memorable.
A few decades and much spiritual seeking later, I was hardly surprised to find that a great many spiritual traditions — Shamanic, Tibetan Buddhist, Taoist, Yogic – recognize that our “reality” is nothing but a waking dream and prescribe dream practices, primarily for the purpose of awakening, liberating ourselves, and attaining a level of consciousness that transcends physical death.
My explorations of various trance and dream states led me to many different teachings, and I was delighted to discover female keepers of dream wisdom, notably
- Sandra Corcoran, who was initiated into the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge by the late Grandmother Twylah Nitsch — Yehwehnode Two Wolves, She Whose Voice Rides the Wind, a Seneca Elder, and currently maintains an integral coaching practice that includes body-oriented psychotherapy, holistic coaching, dream assessment, shamanic counseling techniques, PSYCH-K, and Thoth tarot guidance, and
- Dr. Catherine Shainberg, who studied an ancient Kabbalistic teaching that “represents the feminine side of the Merkavah — or Mer-Ka-Ba — teachings about the human Light Body” with Madame Colette Aboulker-Muscat, and continued to develop and adapt the techniques for a modern, medical context, creating The School of Images® and Dreambirth® in the process.
The two bodies of knowledge differ in many ways, each holding different treasures.
Today, I’d like to focus on the latter, especially aspects of Dr. Shainberg’s teaching that are particularly relevant to us, women, our bodies, our sexuality and life-giving essence.
Dr. Shainberg sees dreaming as a continuous flow of consciousness through an ever-present dreamscape, filled with images.
What we usually mean by “dreams”, i.e. what we experience when we sleep at night, “are just windows, cutouts in the flow of your dreaming”. Dreamwork helps us to recognize what is needed to restore balance and flow to the human mind-body-spirit system, and to be perpetually aware of — and increasingly more intentional with — our dreaming.
In her book “DreamBirth: Transforming the Journey of Childbirth Through Imagery”, Dr. Shainberg emphasizes how “dreaming is the language your body understands” and sets out detailed practices to help work with a range of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual manifestations, especially relevant to conception, pregnancy and birth.
Is it similar to hypnosis and Hypnobirthing?
Yes, in some ways, except it’s much more comprehensive, distinctly shamanic and transpersonal.
This approach includes partners and past relationships, families and ancestral healing, fertility, surgical procedures and much more besides, ultimately affirming Woman’s power to create life, beauty, harmony not only through motherhood, but in every way.
It all boils down to our dreams.
“Who are we, if not our dreams?”, she asks. “Do we know our destiny because it is written in the stars, or do we create it through our dreaming? Are these two, destiny and dreaming, interconnected? If so, can we change our destiny by responding to and engaging with the rich terrain of our dreaming?”
More food for thought in the interview below.
Dreaming Awake – with dr. Catherine Shainberg from Studio 12 on Vimeo.
So, where are you at with dreaming?
- Have you explored dreams and the dreamtime?
- Do you use your dreaming mind to enhance your well-being in some way?
- Would you explore dream techniques for matters of creation and procreation? To change yourself? Change the world?
The conversation continues inside the School of Soul Alchemy.