Electric Dreams

 Dreams of Spiritual Travel

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  

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

Greetings, dreamers!
Allow me to introduce myself. Consider this a friendly cyber-handshake. My name is Taylor Kingsley, and I'll be your host here at this new column at ED: "DreamJourneys," where we will explore the spiritual nature of dreams, and the nature of spiritual dreams.

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.

Please flag your dreams "ED 10-31Dreams" and your comments "ED 10-31 Comments," for filing ease. Thanks.

Please read this column with an open mind, in the spirit in which it is written: the spirit of spirited discussion about Spirit! Thanks.

First, a definition:

Definition of "DreamJourney"

DREAMJOURNEY: A dream that is more than "just a dream," according to the perception of the dreamjourneyer.
1. Dreamjourneys are dreams of spiritual awakening.

It is my hypothesis that dreamjourneys are valid, real spiritual experiences and are best understood when they are validated as sacred journeys and divine messages. Dreamjourneys are actual spiritual experiences akin to visions and divine messages, which happen to occur while we are in a sleep state.

Dreamjourneys are extraordinary and uncommon, although they occur more often than most of us realize, because we are conditioned to ignore or misinterpret them. Even so, though, the vast majority of dreams are not dreamjourneys. But the power of dreamjourneys to dramatically transform our lives, inner and outer, is so immense, that they warrant study and exploration.

Dreamjourneys change - instantly - the way the dreamer perceives the universe, the self, life.... Many dreamjourneys possess the potential for even greater life transformation than do psychological dreams when they are acknowledged and understood. Here are some ways real people have been transformed by dreamjourneys:

* Becoming psychic and/or a shaman. DJs of initiation.
* Newly (or differently) believing in God (Spirit,
Creator), deities
beyond the self.
* Physical and emotional healing.
* Release of deeply embedded psychological blocks.
* New perspective of the soul, death, heaven,spiritual realms of being.
* Tremendously increased creativity.
* More joy, more "in love with life."
* Feelings of empowerment, new confidence, more assertive.
* Overcoming nightmares.
* Knowing that a deceased loved one is really OK,
making peace with that relationship.
* Seeing or understanding one's own future or
* Transcending the boundaries of a childhood religion, or reconnecting with it in a more personally meaningful way.
* Perspective on what's really important in one's life.

and much more.

Of course, many dreams have spiritual meaning without being dreamjourneys. There is a spectrum of "spiritual-meaningfulness" of dream experiences, something like this: (vast majority of dreams)
"flotsam and jetsam" dreams from subconscious, processing data from day

most psychological dreams: e.g. fears, wish fulfillment

creative dreams


The first 3 types have more symbolic aspects, while dreamjourneys are the least symbolic and the most literally revelatory.

This is an overly simplified schematic. The categories blur and blend; many creative dreams are also dreamjourneys, others are more psychological, symbolic dreams, and so on.


Most dreams are psychologically based and symbolic in nature. In analyzing them, the standard psychological model of dream interpretation involving symbolism, archetypes, and amplification can often be useful. The works of Freud, Jung, Fromm, Zeller and others have shed tremendous light on these dreams, and provided many useful tools for their interpretation. Also, they have brought to public awareness the importance of dreams, which is crucial.

But I believe this psychological model of dream interpretation has been taken to an extreme. It denies the existence of spirit.

And it just plain doesn't work when applied to dreamjourneys. This is because dreamjourneys are not products of our own subconscious minds.

They are sacred messages, filtered through and received by our own minds.

What is the source of the messages in dreamjourneys? It is the divine.

Therefore, dreamjourneys are best "interpreted," when they are not interpreted! Their meaning is more clearly revealed when they are recognized and understood from a more literal, revelatory framework, rather than a symbolic one. Looking for symbols often only obfuscates the divine messages.

Perhaps you have had the experience of having a dream that, when analyzed from this symbolic framework, did not make sense. Or a dream that you knew needed no "interpretation." Attempts to interpret a dreamjourney using the symbolic approach yield results ranging from nonsense to something that just "doesn't ring true," and trivialize the great import of the dreamjourney experience.

A Word (well, several) About Mind and Spirit
The error comes in assuming all dreams are mental (only) creations.

"In some dreams, a spiritual otherness is undeniable. In others, the presence of spirits is moot because we are trained to avoid seeing or even imagining this. Rather, we learn to psychologize all dream content as being 'of ourselves.'" - David Engle, Divine Dreams.

Of course, the mind is involved in any dream, to process the images, at the very least. But I believe dreamjourneys originate outside ourselves, in the realm of Spirit. If you think of God as also being (only) part of yourself, then the source is your own "higher" Godself. I don't think there has to be a right or wrong about whether God or Spirit is within or without, neither or both. They can all be true. The distinction I am making here is rather that of recognizing a part of self or reality that is beyond the mind (whether it is internal or external). It doesn't matter what word(s) you use to describe the spiritual aspects of reality: you can call it God, Goddess, Spirit, a separate reality, and so on. I use the terms "Spirit" and "God/dess" herein to encompass all spiritual traditions.

I think one of the reasons for the psychological pain people feel is not psychological, it is spiritual: being cut off and shut off from their own connection with the sacred. With spiritual healing and awakening, it is truly amazing how many psychological problems and pains disappear. I'm not advocating a mind-less state of blissful blindness to the physical and mental. But our culture is prejudiced toward the supremacy of the rational-scientific-psychological MIND approach to understanding anything and everything. This invalidates and represses the most direct means of understanding of all - direct experience of Spirit!

As a result, few people in our culture have mystical experiences in their waking lives that they are aware of and validate. I know that miracles and divine messages actually abound and surround each of us, each day, but we are conditioned to refute and refuse them. Children are born with a stronger, purer connection to Spirit, but we tell them over and over "There's no such thing as: ghosts, imaginary friends, animals that talk," and so on, until we as adults can no longer perceive Spirit!

Reason for DreamJourneys

How does this relate to dreamjourneys? The reason dreamjourneys are so important is that, for this very reason, because our conscious mind-sets (set minds, myself included!) refuse or at best doubt Spiritual messages, Spirit can reach us easier when we are in an altered, less "mental" state. Thus: dreamjourneys! Then our internal tapes of "I must have imagined it" and "It's a coincidence" are off, or at least turned down.

That is the purpose and function of dreamjourneys: to open our minds, hearts and spirits to Spirit, so we reconnect with and receive our own personal gift messages from Spirit.

Because all dreams are perceived in the mind, even dreamjourneys, however, many times the clear, literal divine message may be covered over or made murky by the mind, and even overlaid with a symbolic psychological filter.

That is why a balance between the psychological and spiritual approaches is ideal for fully understanding all of our dream experiences.

The more tools we have, the better!

Some types of dreamjourneys include:

A. Visits to another reality.
These include past-, future-, and other's- life dreams, visits to heaven, hell, other planets, dimensions, parallel universes, and any other planes of existence, by whatever name we call them. Of the types, these are the most truly like "journeys."

B. Out-of-body dreams.

C. Message dreams.

1) Contact with ancestors or the deceased.
2) Divine messages from deities or spirit guides, including God, Goddess, Jesus, angels, animal totems
3) Demons and other contact with "evil" spirits.
4) General messages about dreamer's life.

D. Spiritual challenges/Initiations.
These often manifest as dreams in which your soul is lost, you lose control, you visit the underworld, you face monsters or demons you have to face and conquer, you die and are reborn, and so on. Many shamanic initiations appear as dreams of this nature.

If I've left out some types of dreamjourneys that you've had, please let me know!

Here are a few examples of actual dreamjourneys. As you read them, think about how the meaning is different (and how it is the same) if you apply symbolic or revelatory interpretive analysis:

Dream #1
I was in the hospital about to get my gallbladder removed. They prepared me for surgery in about one hour. I did not have the time to think about or get used to the idea of having surgery. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot and told me to count backwards from 100. As I got to 98 I started to say, "Me and God will be watching you." I don't know if I really said this out loud. I fell asleep.

The next thing I can remember is being on top of the large cabinet in the operating room, looking down at myself on the operating table. The doctors were working over me. This didn't seem too strange since I have astral projected many times in my 40 years.

What was different is that this time there was another being sitting with me. He/She was fantastic to see! One minute, He would have a long white beard, then the next, She would be beautiful. The colors in the face and clothing kept changing from one brilliant color to another, and the energy was exploding from him/her.

I was not at all startled when I saw this being. It was more like seeing a old friend, as if I have known this being for centuries. We talked for a long time and laughed a lot. That's one thing I remember the most is the being's sense of humor. We did not talk with our mouths but just thought what was to be said. He/She asked if I was worried about my operation. I said, "No, everything will be fine." Then He asked if I wanted to see my future. And I looked and saw myself standing in front of a house. He asked how my life was going. I thought about work, kids, my husband, etc. Then I realized, clear as crystal, that my husband was where the problems were! I said "I wish he would leave."

After all this I asked his/her name. The being said it's been known by many names and started listing them. The only one I can remember is Michael.

Then He/She asked if I wanted to go with him/her. I said, "I can't. I have children to care for."

The next thing I know, I was waking up in the recovery room. The doctors told me the operation went well as I felt it would.

Two weeks later my husband left me. Thank God. My life has been so much better ever since, in every way.

I have always felt that this being was my guardian angel.

Of course some people tell me this was only a dream but it was so different than a dream. Dreams are confusing and disjointed. This was like I was wide awake and felt very real. And it changed my life. For the better, definitely.

Dream #2
I dreamed the first time my future husband told me he loved me. At the time of the dream, we were still just friends.

The scene was exact, although the positions we were in were actually mirror images of what later happened. He was wearing a yellow shirt, with a white wall behind him. He looked at me, he took my hand, and he said softly, "I love you." A few weeks later, that exact scene happened, down to the shirt and wall, the works.

Dream #3
I thought this was real when it was occurring. I thought I was awake. I have a small dog, a poodle mix.

I was sort of in-between the sleep and awake worlds, lightly sleeping, when a dog came over to me and lay down above my head, on the pillow, behind and above me. The dog asked me in telepathic words, "OK if I'm here with you?"

I answered, lovingly, "Of course!," thinking I was talking to my dog. It didn't occur to me that this must be a dream because dogs don't talk, so this was not a lucid dream, although I have a lot of them. Next, I reached my hand above my head to stroke my dog, and when I touched him, I realized it wasn't my dog at all! It was Wolf!

Wolf is one of my totems. I smiled, thanked Wolf for being with me and protecting me. It was very, very real, as real as waking life. I can remember exactly what his fur felt like. He was really with me, I know it.

I opened my eyes, "woke up," (although it felt like I was already awake, not like awakening from a regular dream, or even other false awakenings), and looked over my head. I saw, just for a second, a shimmering shape of a wolf, then it was gone from my sight. But I knew he was still there.

I looked around for my dog, and sure enough, he wasn't even nearby. He was fast asleep in another part of the room. I felt so blessed and protected, and I could still feel the loving wolf energy around me. I'm a schoolteacher, and Wolf often comes to me when I'm teaching to help me teach, or when I need protection. This dream strengthened this contact and has had a tangible effect in my waking life.

All three of these dreams involved an experience, a journey and/or a receiving of knowledge, that was beyond the physical reality. All three had significant impact on the dreamer.

It's clear to me that al l three dreams makes a heck of a lot more sense from the revelatory perspective. Oh, we could muck about probably endlessly looking at wish fulfillments (the teacher likes dogs and wants a wolf to protect her, the woman wanted him to say "I love you"), self-fulfilling prophecies (the woman in the hospital made sure her husband left her). If we were analyzing these dreams just after the dreamers had them, we could no doubt prove with the latest psychological jargon that any thought these dreamers had that they were receiving some higher truth or divine contact was hallucination, wish fulfillment, poor contact with reality, and so on. Or we could see the angel and the totem as parts of the dreamer's self, and look at archetypes.

Of course, we reading and writing this column have the benefit of 20-20 (?) hindsight and can see, perhaps, even more clearly, especially the precognitive aspects of these dreams.

But wouldn't it be great to be able to recognize and understand Djs like these right away, without needing the hindsight? One veteran Djer writes: "They are like markers in my personal life, so I know at what point I am in my life, and what is to come." He's been studying his dreamjourneys for decades and can now distinguish pretty well between a "regular" dream and a spiritual dream, precognitive and otherwise.

Remember Occam's Razor? It's the scientific principle that says the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.

My corollary is: Sometimes an angel is really an angel! A message, a message! A totem, a totem!

You may be thinking: But I don't have dreams like that. My dreams are all symbolic and psychological.

I say: You probably have had spiritual dreams. You just didn't recognize them (or remember them).

The goals of this project are:
To help dreamers 1) recognize, 2) validate, 3) understand, 4) receive/manifest, and 5) apply to their lives the wisdom from their own dreamjourneys.

I wish to clarify something at this point. As I am presenting a new theory (well, new to some, anyway), with new definitions and hypotheses, it is important to initially focus on the extremes, the differences between what I call regular, psychological, symbolic-type dreams and sacred, spiritual, revelatory dreamjourneys. But, actually, some dreams are a combination of the two types, and for these a combination approach to interpretation is ideal. For the purpose of simplicity and clarity, I will
present mostly dreams that more clearly fall on one end of the continuum or the other, to help us develop our tools for understanding spiritual dreams. But I certainly recognize that in most dreams the differences are not so polarized; there is a great deal of overlap. And, as I have already stated, psychologically based dream interpretation is valid and very beneficial for most people in understanding most of their dreams. This work does not replace or invalidate all the work of the great dream researchers who have come before me. But it does complement it, and provide us with further "in-sight."

We need a new model for dream analysis, one that applies the symbolic, psychological approach when needed, and the revelatory, spiritual approach, as needed, and can balance and combine the two for the best results that are meaningful and useful to the dreamer.

Let's look at another example.

(more to come)