Sometimes I tell people that I do dreamwork for a living, and mostly they cock their heads at me and don’t say much of anything. It’s unexpected. Some folks get excited and intrigued - my people! - but mostly I get two kinds of questions. “What does that mean?” and “Why dreams?”
I want to talk about that “why?” question. I’ve written a bit about the other one - what dreamwork means, and what that looks like. You can even download a lovely little pdf I made about beginning to work with dreams. The “why” question is trickier to answer, but for me I think it comes down to this:
Because there is more to you than your daily, outward self. There is more to all of us.
Dreams are a bridge, connecting us to what else is going on inside - particularly things our waking selves have a hard time looking at, deep feelings, hidden stress, secret strengths, and important parts of our histories and futures.
Especially in our dominant American culture, our daily waking self’s perspective tends to harden around us like an armored shell. Dreams crack that shell open and reveal how much more we are - and how much more we are capable of. Dreamwork is a practice of remembering and honoring that richness within each of us. Dreamwork brings our daily waking selves into deeper relationship with the rest of us, and with the infinite web of relationships that is Gaia and Her dreaming world.
Dreams offer a chance to be in dialogue with what’s wild and Other about us. We are visited by powerful animals, beautiful strangers, familiar terrors and we sit with them, we host them, we listen to the messages they bring. We learn, and we change, and the dreams change along with us.
Dreamwork grows an important skill that we can bring into waking life too - especially those of us who inhabit certain kinds of privilege: sitting and listening to what feels Other, containing the intense feelings that arise in us, and trusting that a perspective so different from our own is true and deeply valuable for us to hear. It’s as important to be able to do this within yourself as it is with your intimate and community partners, and as we go about the business of renewing our relationship with the more-than-human world.
Dreams are also where we have great adventures and find the spark of inspiration - we travel to new places, and we drink deeply from where the underground currents bubble up in flowing springs. We receive important messages from the world that is so much bigger than us.
I invite you to begin, or to deepen your practice of attending your dreams and working with them lovingly. Over time, with this practice, we come into a sense of ourselves as empowered, of our experiences as full of meaning, and of the world as alive and full of magic.
I will be teaching a dreamwork course in the Spring that will be a deeper, 12-week exploration of this practice. Dreamwork for Survivors will weave this practice while bearing in mind the needs of survivors and the ways that this work can uniquely support healing and reconnecting to yourself and your world.
Please check it out! Follow the link for more in-depth information and to sign up for updates as we get closer to March.
There are so many ways to engage your dreams. If joining a dream circle isn’t calling you, I encourage you to begin in a smaller way. Even just the act of making a dream journal can be a powerful start of such a practice.
I love that I get to live in this work, and that part of my work is helping others find access to their own version of it. And I look forward to sharing more of my work with you as we move toward the Spring and launch the Dreamwork for Survivors course.
This blog was originally posted over at Califia Collective, with whom I'll be teaching the upcoming course. If you haven't checked out their amazing and inspiring blend of community healing, justice, herbalism, and queerdo magic, you're in for a treat!
~ Sweet dreams ~
Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.