Electric Dreams

 Dreams of Spiritual Travel

part 2

Taylor Esta Kingsley 

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Kingsley, Taylor Esta (1995 October 23). Dreamjourneys: Dreams of Spiritual Travel. Electric Dreams 2(13). Retrieved July 31, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www/dreamgate.com/electric-dreams  

(An excerpt from Electric Dreams vol 2 #13, Part I)

"Some say that gleams of a remoter world
Visit the soul in sleep."
- Shelley, Mont Blanc.

I am currently researching and studying dreams of special spiritual significance, which I call dreamjourneys. This research will be published in article and book form. Consider this column a "sneak preview" - and an essential part of this research process. I'm an avid DJ'er (dreamjourneyer), as well as LDer (lucid dreamer), for over 25 years.

In addition to being a dreamjourneyer and researcher, I am a shaman. I work as a spiritual catalyst, counselor and teacher, and have guided individuals and groups in ritual, chant, meditation, and sacred drumming for spiritual trance-formation for many years. I am also coauthor of "Passion Play!," the world's first tantric sensual board game for lovers, and a published poet and journalist.

My own shamanic initiation began with a dream, which I will share with you at some point. I invite you to share your comments and questions inspired by this column, as well as your personal dreamjourneys. You are also cordially welcome to provide suggestions on what you'd like to see addressed in this column. You can e-mail me at: jimbarc@sirius.com. If you e-mail me a dream, let me know if I may use it in my other published work on dreams. I cannot compensate you in any way, but I promise to credit you if you so desire.

Part II:

Dream #4
A man dreams of being in a cave. The cave is dark and cool, but feels safe. In the cave appears a bear. The bear says, "I am with you always. I am here to guide you. This is your safe place of wisdom. Come here whenever you wish to find me. I am always with you and within you." The man wakes.

Psychoanalytic-symbolic dream analysis would say the cave represents his subconscious. The bear is a father figure (or perhaps, mother figure) that represents his actual parent. The dreamer would be advised to consider: What part of you is the bear? What do you feel about bears? What do you feel about your mother and father, and how is this like your feelings or experiences with bears? Possibly it would be seen as wish fulfillment that the man's mother or father is always with him. (They are actually both deceased.) Freudian analysis might even add some sexual aspect, like, the cave is a vagina. The bear is a phallic symbol for masculine virility. The bear inside the cave is intercourse, which is integral to the man's internal balance and harmony. He needs to resolve his issues with his parents to improve his sex life. Oedipal issues would be raised.

Spiritual analysis would be much simpler:
The bear is a totem for the dreamer. The message was literal. When he goes in his mind back to that cave, he can contact Bear again for guidance. He should heed those messages.

Clearly, there is a world of difference between these interpretations. The world of spirit. Some Jungian therapists would also recognize this, even though they would still see the bear as an archetype of part of the man himself. It doesn't really matter whether you think of it as inner or outer, the important thing is to validate the validity of the message and the messenger as real and significant. To apply symbols to this dream obviously obfuscates its beautiful, powerful message of first contact from Bear.

Once the dreamer recognized the dream as a spiritual message, and Bear as one of his guides, he honored and increased his connection with Bear and Bear qualities in himself: ferocious strength with loving gentleness. He feels he has his masculine-feminine energies in better balance and points to greater peace and confidence in himself.

OK, now here's a challenge for you. Here comes a dream loaded with religious symbolism, that I invite you to interpret from any perspective you like. I'm providing relevant background on the dreamer to assist. Next column, we'll look at some of your interpretations. Then we'll see what happened in the dreamer's life after this dream, and what she had to say about the dream's meaning. And other mysteries will be revealed, like: Whose picture was on the candle?

Background: The dream took place in August 1994. The woman having the dream has been actively increasing the spiritual focus in her life for about 5 years, studying, teaching and practicing. She was raised Jewish, does not practice Judaism at the time of the dream, but has an eclectic, growing spiritual life focused on Goddess worship, also including shamanic, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American and animist traditions. Four years earlier, she had had a related dreamjourney in which her "soul was lost, in another place, a creepy version of my bedroom as a child. I couldn't get back. I started praying like crazy, to everyone I could think of. When I said 'Jesus,' I saw Jesus appear at the foot of my childhood bed, smiling, holding out his hands. I jumped toward him, into him, and I woke up back in my bed in Florida, where my body was." She credits Jesus with bringing her back to her body, to this plane, but is not a Christian per se. "Hecate," referred to in the dream, was a Greek goddess of the underworld, the goddess of witches, crossroads, the moon, and night. She is not generally considered an evil figure by modern Goddess scholars and worshippers, but is more of a powerful Crone.

Dreams #5 & #6

The night before I had this dream, I lit a white candle I had purchased months ago at a ritual supply store. I didn't pay attention to the figure on the picture around the candle, not consciously, and I don't know why I lit that particular one that night, finally. I don't usually light any candle at all. But I did.

When the dream starts, I'm in an elevator. There are a lot of people in the elevator with me, including a friend of mine, Jane, who moved to San Diego six months ago. I keep pushing "8" because I know we're supposed to get off at the eighth floor. But the elevator won't stop. It's going down. It keeps going faster and faster, now we're falling, shooting downward. The indicator shows that we've even gone below the basement, just farther down, down. I'm scared. I'm pushing the stop button, pulling a lever, nothing works.

Suddenly the elevator opens between floors. I can see a brick wall in front of us, then the elevator falls a little more down and there's an opening.

But it's filled with demons! People with skull heads, dripping with blood, and they're flying into the elevator! Attacking me and Jane. I'm trying to defend her, but it's not working. Suddenly an evil woman appears. She reminds me of Hecate, but it's like an evil anti-Hecate. She has a big nose. She's cackling at me, she's laughing and saying weird things like "My nose knows! Ahahaha!" I'm afraid, then I try to pull off her nose. It comes off and blood shoots off, but she just laughs and another nose grows back.

Now the demons are coming at me again. I feel cornered in the elevator, so I decide to run past them into the dark void beyond. I'm running and they're chasing me. I'm out of breath and feel like they're gonna get me. I come to a chamber. In the chamber is the anti-Hecate! There is some kind of satanic ritual going on, she's being worshipped. I feel totally powerless.

I can't escape. They notice me and she says, suddenly nice, trying to be inviting, "Why don't you join us? We can give you whatever you want! Power! Money!" and so on. She makes me promises. I keep shouting "No! No!" and putting my arms in front of myself to keep her away from me. She keeps coming closer and making these promises. I start to run again. I wake up.

But when I wake up, I'm not in my bedroom in California. I'm in that creepy room again - the creepy childhood bed! I feel totally afraid. I say to myself, "OK, this is just a dream. I can will myself to wake up. WAKE UP!!!" But I'm still there! I can feel really negative energies around me, tho' I don't see them. I know I'm lost. My soul is lost. I'm terrified, and don't know what to do. Just then, I start to see a white light glowing in the room. I dive into the white light!

Whew! That saved me. I finally woke up where I was supposed to be, in my "real" bed in California, in my body. When I opened my eyes, I was looking straight into the candle, which was still burning next to my bed. I knew I had just been somewhere else, that I had almost died, really. I was shaken, but so relieved to be back. I realized this was no ordinary dream.

I felt healing light all around me, shimmering, could actually see it, the whole room was glowing with good power. I knew what I had to do, even though I was afraid. I prayed and gathered my guides around me. I said over and over "Circle of Power Surrounds Me."

When I felt I was strong enough, I went back into the dream! Very lucidly, although I don't remember too many details about this part. I went back to the ritual chamber and confronted the anti-Hecate and her demons. I told them something like this: "Nothing you can ever say or do will EVER get me to join your side. I use my power for good, only. Now go away! Or I will destroy you." I was growing larger and larger, glowing. I just know that I won. I woke up again, feeling totally empowered and victorious, blissful, safe and grateful to whoever/whatever was helping me. I fell back into normal sleep.

My life has never been the same, since that dream, especially because of what happened next...

So whatdya think? What did all this mean?

Differences Between Dreamjourneys and Lucid Dreams
One of the most common questions dreamers ask me is "What's the difference between a dreamjourney and a lucid dream? Aren't they just the same?" There are similarities, but they are not the same.

You may have noticed that in the above six dreamjourneys, only the second dream in the last series (in which the dreamer chooses to return to the dream) was lucid. The others were not.

Myself, in an average month, I have about 6 lucid dreams (LDs) and 7 or 8 dreamjourneys (DJs). Some dreams fall into both categories. As you know, a lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is conscious and aware that s/he is dreaming. Dr. Stephen LaBerge has pioneered the field of lucid dreams in our culture, scientifically proving their existence and bringing them to the public awareness, as well as helping thousands have more lucidity in their dreams. Dr. KeithHearne also deserves mention for his lucid dream research, as do others.

Lucidity is a very useful skill, and I wholeheartedly support this work and recommend Dr. LaBerge's books to anyone wishing to understand and develop lucid dreams. I am very glad his work has gained popular acceptance and helped thousands in their lives, from healing to creative problem solving to overcoming nightmares.

The recognition and understanding of dreamjourneys is not the same as that of lucid dreams, although they are related. Dreamjourneys are yet another piece of the puzzle toward understanding our dreams and gaining wisdom therein which we can apply in our waking lives.

As the concept of dreamjourneys and spiritual dreams in general is not yet commonly accepted or valued in our culture, but lucid dreaming is a popular interest, I believe it would be helpful to explain the differences and similarities between these types of dreams.

Similarities Between LDs and DJs
1. FEEL REAL. Both lucid dreams and dreamjourneys feel more "real" to the dreamer.
2. TRANSFORMATIONAL. Both LDs and DJs have great power to transform the dreamer's waking life, empower him/her, help eliminate blocks preventing success, increase creativity, receive solutions to problems, and overcome nightmares.
3. EXPERIENCES BEYOND WAKING LIFE. In lucid dreams as well as dreamjourneys, the dreamer can experience things s/he could never experience in waking life, e.g. flying, walking through walls, talking to the deceased, becoming an animal or another person, breathing under water,
and so on. Dreamjourneys do change scenes, and characters can still blend together and shift, as in lucid and other dreams.
4. MOST DREAMSIGNS STILL USEFUL TO GAIN LUCIDITY. Most dreamsigns presented in LaBerge's "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" still apply in a dreamjourney, and can help the dreamer gain lucidity within a dreamjourney:

* FEELINGS: You may feel such intense bliss and wisdom, such a connection with everything in the universe, such as you have never felt when awake.
* ACTIONS: You may be able to do things normally impossible in the physical waking world, such as fly, leave your body, breathe under water, speak a foreign language. Or another dream character may do something "impossible." A common example of this is animals, trees, rocks that talk, or change form.
* FORM: You may appear as another race, age, gender, species. You may see angels, deities or other spiritual beings you do not see when awake. You may be in a different time or place.

Differences Between LDs and Djs

In all lucid dreams, the dreamer is aware s/he is dreaming.

This is only sometimes true in dreamjourneys. Thus, some dreamjourneys are also lucid dreams.

2. A DREAM VS. "MORE" (or other) THAN A DREAM.
After a lucid dream (that is lucid, but not a dreamjourney), the dreamer feels like it was an exceptional, powerful and realistic experience, but it still feels like a dream, albeit a remarkable one.

Whereas after waking from a dreamjourney, the dreamer KNOWS it was MORE than a dream, no matter what anyone says (until or unless they are persuaded to treat the experience as if it were a regular dream). It contains dream elements, and manifests in dream form, but the dreamer feels there was something else involved, beyond their usual dream experience.

The lucid dream can reveal important personal messages relevant to the dreamer's life.

The dreamjourney reveals truths and messages not only about the dreamer and his/her life, but about the spiritual world, the meaning of life, the nature of reality, and other metaphysical revelations.

In lucid dreams, the dreamer can often change the environment and the actions of other characters in the dream.

This is not true in dreamjourneys that are not lucid.

There is somewhat more consistency to the environment in a dreamjourney than in a lucid dream. For example, in "Exploring the World ofLucid Dreaming," Dr. LaBerge states that in a lucid dream, the dreamer may look at a printed word on a page, look away, and when s/he looks back atthe page, the words are different, or gibberish or hieroglyphics.

Similarly, when one looks at the time (in a lucid dream) on a digital watch, it may say "4:52" and a second later say "10:23." These are examples of "dreamsigns" or inconsistencies in the dreamworld that are ways to recognize that one is dreaming in order to achieve lucidity.

In dreamjourneys, as in all dreams, the scenes may switch rapidly or be unrealistic. But in most dreamjourneys, there is more consistency within that scene. For example, if you see a particular mark on the wall of the cave you are in, and you look away to look at the snake who is talking to you, and you look back at the wall of the cave, you will probably still see that mark. Perhaps this is because a lucid dream is still an experience that is in the regular dreamworld, created by the unconscious mind, while true dreamjourneys are actually visits to another reality that does not necessarily depend upon the dreamer's mind to keep the details consistent.

At least, that is my theory, but I welcome your explanations...
* Thus, it is necessary in dreamjourneys to look for other dreamsigns to achieve lucidity, as there is more consistency in the environment and specific details.

Lucid dreams that are not also dreamjourneys lend themselves well to symbolic dream interpretation.

Dreamjourneys are best analyzed from a revelatory perspective, and understood rather than interpreted. They are more literal experiences, akin to mystical visions.

Lucid dreams that are not also dreamjourneys generally contain a time rate of passage that is close to that of waking reality.

Dreamjourneys, like other transcendent spiritual experiences, often transcend the regular rate of time passage. Thus, in a dreamjourney you can feel like time is standing still and you are experiencing eternity. Or you can experience many lifetimes in mere seconds. The spiritual realms are not limited by time any more than they are limited by space.

When the dreamer awakens from a LD that was not also a DJ, s/he is struck by how vivid and real the LD felt, but the sense of "waking up" is close to that of other dreams. There is a change in state, a barrier or veil that is pushed through to wake up.

Awakening from a DJ feels "Like I was already awake and just opened my eyes."

Each column, we will analyze one or more dreams from this new perspective, comparing, contrasting and combining it with other styles of dream analysis, to discern meaningful messages and find universaliies to the human dream experience.

Other topics to be covered:
* Detailed analysis of specific, real dreamjourneys of all types
* How to use spiritual techniques to increase your ability to DJ
* How to recognize and validate your dreamjourneys
* Techniques for understanding dreamjourneys
* Similarities and differences between DJs and awake visions
* Carlos Castenada and other shamanic perspectives on dreamjourneys
* Dreamjourneys and the creative process
* Your suggestions
* Your dreamjourneys!

NEXT COLUMN: DreamJourneys Throughout the World

Many cultures have recognized the spiritual significance of dreams, and have understood that dreams are always journeys to an alternate reality of sorts. In the dreamstate, we are closer to the spirit world. Next column (space permitting), we'll look at the spiritual dreams of many cultures, possibly including the Senoi, Iroquois, Mohave, Hopi, Ojibwa, Indian Upanishadics, ancient Greeks, Siberian shamans, Islamic world, pagans and more.

Sweet Dreams! And dream on...

By using the word "just," I do not intend to trivialize the importance of other dreams. I use this word because this expression is almost universally the way people describe dreamjourneys, in their own

The psychological perspective tells us everything is within our own minds, that the entire universe exists within our perception of it, in the mind. Many spiritual perspectives look without, rather than within, and see that there are deities, energies, or forces, and planes of existence, beyond the mind and beyond the self, that are accessible by others and not just existing in the individual mind. Perhaps both of these perspectives differ only in semantics. Or perhaps they are truly different, yet both true. The worlds of the mind and spirit do not know mutual exclusivities.

My own spiritual experiences, including dreamjourneys, have "proven" to me, beyond any proof science or mental (of the mind) activity could ever do, the actual existence of spiritual forces, good, evil, neutral, that are both contained within and simultaneously beyond my self. When you have directly experienced Spirit, God/dess, heaven, hell, angels (or your own equivalent), and receive divine messages every day, you know - at the soul's level of knowing - that there is more than the mind creating these things. I do not think, though, that it is necessarily true for everyone that the spiritual world has to be beyond their own self. I recognize that for many spiritual people, all these things are parts of their self, and they see Spirit or God/dess as their Higher Self, their God Self, etc. I don't argue with this perspective. Psychology and spirituality are intricately, intimately interwoven, not opposites. I do think, though, that it is a Cartesian denial of Spirit to say that everything is "mind" (and self) only. If all the great sacred experiences every human being has ever had are just a part of their own mind, then what is meant by the word "mind" must be truly expansive and must therefore include what I call "soul" and "Spirit." Jung recognized that there is a universality to human transcendent experience, which he called the collective unconscious.

Perhaps this is exactly the same as what I call Spirit, or what many of us call God, which manifests in different forms. But whichever camp you lie in, I believe dreamjourneys can be a powerful transformational vehicle on your own personal path to Spirit.

The question arises: Is it true that the place visited in a dreamjourney exists separate from the dreamer, and can be visited by others? In other words, can the existence of the spiritual world(s) be proven in the physical world? I will discuss later the work of Carlos Castenada, myself, and other shamans of various cultures that do point to the separate, real existence of spiritual worlds. I have experienced them myself, and know that many millions of other people have, too. But can this be proven to the nonbeliever, or to a skeptic who wants tangible proof of the intangible? No, probably not. No scholarly, literary or artistic work about religion or spirituality to date has conclusively proves the existence of the soul and the spiritual nature of reality. I do not purport to be able to do this in this single work.

Many will read this and dispute it on the basis that it is not scientifically confirmed. This is an age-old conundrum. I myself seriously doubt that the existence of Spirit or spiritual realities can ever be
"proven" scientifically; the very nature of spiritual reality is beyond our physical reality. (This may sound like circular logic, but it is true, by definition.) But there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence. I have collected many examples of dreamjourneyers who have never met having visited very similar places in dreamjourneys. Also, there are thousands of documented cases of similar dreams and visions of heaven, God, white light, bliss, characterizing near-death experiences (NDEs), whether as waking visions or dreamjourneys. But this still doesn't prove to the skeptic that this place, or even a deity, exists. It is possible, after all, that these people simply share a common internal concept of heaven, God, the afterlife, etc., rather than that this is universally a heavenly, accessible place for everyone.

But far more convincing even than the accumulated centuries of anecdotal evidence is direct experiential evidence. Even more than "seeing is believing," experiencing is believing, and understanding. I know what I know, at the level of the soul, through direct experience. I hope to reach some of you who will read this, to help you recognize your own sacred dreamjourneys, to broaden the understanding of your dreams to honor the spiritual, as well as the psychological, perspectives. If you experience it for yourself, you know. As David Engle put it in Divine Dreams: "No rationalizing discourse from a mere human could surpass the effect of even a five-second visit from an angel who looks more beautiful and beams forth more wisdom than any sight you have even imagined." I recognize that not everyone is ready, willing, able or even interested in this spiritual approach. But some people are, and this perspective has been thus far a tiny voice in dream study in this country. In ancient times, the focus was almost exclusively on the precognitive, revelatory aspect of dreams, to an extreme. Now, the pendulum has swung the other way! If my work can be even a tiny part of the spiritual awakening of some, and enhance understanding of the dream experience, it will be worth this work. And, at the very least, we will enjoy some stimulating discourse on spiritual dreams. But prove the existence of God, the soul, the afterlife, alternate realities?

Probably not to the satisfaction of many... and that's perfectly all right. It's supremely difficult to squeeze stuff of the spirit into these tiny boxes we call "words"!

Reprinted with permission from:
Issue #2 - contact Repsi at SK@aol.com