There have been volumes written on dreams from a psychological, mythological, indigenous and/or cultural perspective. At their most basic, I feel dreams are sacred tools we give our self for greater self-awareness and self-expression. They are ordinary in the sense that we all have them; but they become extraordinary when we become informed by their metaphorical gifts.
The gifted psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, felt that psychology was similar to physics in that we are primarily dealing with energy, both its measure of intensity and its greater than or less than quantities. Dreams too, have both energetic intensity and a quantity of information. Dream analysis was a big part of Jung’s psychological tool bag. He related that the ‘feeling’ of the dream is what carried the dream’s energy, and that the alchemy of the dream process, is the psyche developing its relationship of the ego, to the unconscious.
From my indigenous mentors, I have likewise been taught that dreams provide a form of communication between the unconscious and the conscious. The vital function of one’s dream-state is to uncover the messages of the Greater Self, without the confines or entrapment’s our conscious awareness has the propensity to limit us to, empowering us with the strength and purpose of our inner knowing.
My primary mentor, the late Grandmother Twylah Hurd Nitsch of the Seneca Wolf Clan, held that dreams are both sacred and informative and that they offer each of us a more empowered life experience. The energy, symbology, and/or the emotional content of the dream, even our nightmares she said, is the information our Greater Self is always trying to impart to our waking self, to resolve or solve issues. She felt Great Mystery (Swen-i-o, the Seneca word), offered the gift of the dreamtime to every creation as a gift of peace.
Gram Twy counseled that there were many categories of dreams (which will be discussed in a future blog), and that we should learn all we could about this boundless gift, which was given by Great Spirit as an important link to our inner and outer world. She explained that in her lineage, the Seneca—who are part of the original Five Nations Peace League—that dream sharing amongst the People was an important beginning to each day. It afford the family, and the extended family, a time to nurture, guide, teach and understand each other.
The People in most traditions I have worked in, believe the dreamworld is your home. That your Spirit came from the dream world before you had a corporeal body, and will return the dreamworld, the un-manifest, once you die. The dream’s goal therefore is to enlighten consciousness, which is why in many traditions it is called “the little death.”
In an effort to teach others, not just about the dream time, but cycles that keep one attuned to their Earthwalk, she and her mother, Blue Flower, constructed a series of charts
to be used as teaching tools based on the teachings entrusted to Twylah by her grandfather, a well-known Medicine man, named Moses Shongo. The charts are used to illuminate completeness. One of these charts was the Cycles of Truth, and another was the Dream Chart; both were laid out in the form of the Medicine Wheel, which she called wisdom wheels of teaching.
The Cycles of Truth is based on the universal principles of truth that becomes the adventure that we each have to participate in when we come into physicality. It honors the cycles of life and the cycles of Nature, and is essentially used as a spiritual tool to align with the Mystery. To walk the wheel is to view life from various perspectives and she taught that it provides us with a doorway through which we can access the lessons Creation offers. You can apply these concepts to waking life scenarios and/or to enrich the messages of your dream journeys.
On the Cycles of Truth, each placement (think of a clock) holds a specific color, number, month, form and function. On the Dream Chart each quadrant refers to a different stage of clarity for your dream’s symbology—both the feelings and attributes, or the questions it asks you to explore for a more meaningful connection to its counsel. When used in combination these two charts become a powerful psychological tool to bridge the greater unconscious Self with the waking manifest self.
Gram suggested that when we learn to control the gift of the dream , “We will realize we have choices in our outer life for a more empowered and conscientious Earthwalk.” Thus our dream’s gifts are our soul’s way of making our deepest desires known, so we can remember the promises to ourselves, and act to fulfill them.