Because of this personal background, I often talk about dream work, which is what I label the spiritual work, visioning, and remembering of our dreams. I often recommend dream work to my clients who are working with me for my Moon Cycle Coaching services, in Tarot readings or in my mentoring circles. In my readings, a number of Tarot cards have come to represent dream work to me--the Two of Swords, the Four of Swords, and Nine of Swords. Swords naturally represent dreams, because they often associate with perception rather than reality. In the Major Arcana, the High Priestess and the Moon (even the Star) can recommend using dreams as insight. In fact, some Readers see the two pillars in the background of the Moon as the gateway to the dream realm. Any card with nighttime can be seen as opening the door to dream work. While lucid dreaming may seem impossible to you, dream work can be as simple as remembering your dreams and journaling about them.
Like all psychic work, the symbolic language of dream work is individual as each person. You begin developing your symbols and meanings as you begin going more in-depth. There are of course some universal symbols and mythology we all can tap into when we begin interpreting our dreams. This is so similar to my feelings about crystals and Tarot--using a reference book is a great place to start, but eventually, you begin to learn your own language for dream interpretation. Journaling is important in this way, because you can refer back to the dream symbols, and begin to make notes. Remember your psychic language--the symbols you use in psychic readings, oracle card interpretation, and Tarot interpretation--are going to be the same in your dreams. And vice versa. So, when you journal for Tarot, daily reflections, oracle cards and dreams and make connections in your day to day life, you master the symbols your guides, angels and truly your Higher Self speak in. This is your psychic language. You learned it. You speak it. You understand it. So, trust yourself.
A few years ago, I have created a medicine bundle for the year with the intentions--Release, Purify, and Path of Service. I asked my guides for signs of what I need to release or what shadow work I must do. My dreams in the next few days were what I would call, "Anxiety Dreams." You know, those dreams of showing up at school in only your underwear, or trying to get to work in time, but being delayed every moment. I wrote them all down, and began really explicating them. What were these anxieties? Oh, right. This is how Spirit is answering my question. These ARE the things I need to release. They ARE my shadow work. As I reflected on them, wrote about them, I really discovered these deep-seated fears were flying under the radar. So, while at times we have very detailed dreams with our angels and guides, the majority of our dreams are about regular life. Don't expect to see your guide in front of you with a sign, "YOU MUST RELEASE GUILT!" Allow your psychic and symbolic language to be Spirit's voice.
Remembering your dreams requires diligence and dedication, but no special tools. Dream cycles happen every 90 minutes, and you might have read that waking yourself every 90 minutes is the way to go. You certainly can choose to do this, though I know if I did that, I would be a wreck the next day. Honestly, during phases of getting more fully in-depth with dream work (and when I was younger with more stamina and less need for sleep), I have set a gradual alarm every hour and half after my initial three hour early sleep. And it does work to hone your skills as a lucid dreamer. If you decide to do this, try a gradual alarm. There is one for iPhone that gently brings you out of deep sleep with gradual bells. Gradual is the key here, because a shocking alarm can sometimes be the enemy of dream recall.
The most important aspect of dream recall remains getting enough sleep. Self-care in all aspects of psychic work stands alone as your single most important ally--enough sleep, water, movement, clean food, and regular meditation. No matter what happens in the day, I maintain a nighttime routine of face washing, water drinking, prayer, and meditation. Also screen time is a no-no at least an hour before you sleep. Do not neglect yourself when you are trying to do spiritual work. Actually, you'll want to step it up. Also it is best to abstain from alcohol or drugs. You do not have deep, lasting, restorative sleep when you have alcohol in your system.
So, how to begin this process? Dream work requires simply a notebook and pen, or audio recorder. I love the latter if you are in a place where you won't wake anyone with your possibly incoherent dream talking. If you are going to fumble with it in the morning or be confused by it, don't use it. The scrabbling may throw off your dream recall. Use something easy for you to handle in a half-awake stage. Most people use a notebook. I keep a dedicated clean spiral notebook for my dream work. My friend Rachel designed a cool handmade spiral book for me, and I loved using that as a dream notebook. But alas, I filled that baby in a year.
I begin my work in prayer, as in all my spiritual work, and simply pray for my angels, guides, ancestors to help me fully awaken with the detailed memory of my dreams. I also think it is wonderful to meditate before sleeping, to clear your mind of clutter from your day. There are some wonderful guided meditations that ease you into sleep. I have used the Delta Sleep System. And again, iPhone, Android, iPod and other gadgets must have biaural tones for sleep enhancement.
In my notebook I write the date, and my intention before going to sleep. "Angels and Guides, help me gain insight into my relationship through my dreams," I may write. Or perhaps, "I easily recall my dreams with detail and insight." An affirmation for dream recall. If you have had trouble with dream recall in the past, you may want to pray, "Dear Angels, please work with me in my sleep. Remove any blockages that I have to recalling my dreams."
Again, you can train yourself to wake up, or simply allow your body to ebb and flow in and out of consciousness in the night. When you do wake, stay still. Try to stay in the same position, and ask yourself what you dreamed. Tell yourself the story of your dream. Not shifting quickly, or turning on the light quickly, helps your recall. It is imperative that you write down all your dreams, even just images that you recall. Or even if they seem stupid or unrelated to any depth. You might be right, but just right it down. It is often the catalyst to remember the deeper work. If you think it is boring or a mundane dream, begin writing it anyway. You might find how important those discoveries are. Try desperately not to edit yourself. Get every symbol, image, name, words, phrase down. The more you do this, the more you will remember, and the easier it becomes. It is also helpful to sometimes write in the present tense rather than the past tense. So, rather than saying, " I walked into my childhood home." Say "I walk into my childhood home." Like you are telling a story. That sometimes make it easier to go back into the dream. But you also don't have to write it as a story. Sometimes it is just a symbol, number, picture, animal, friend, place. I often dream of the same places that I do not know in my waking life--a broken down city, an inside mall-like society, a series of roads twisting around a building. After you've detailed these places, you might name them, so you can shorthand your recall in the future.
I try not to turn on a light before writing. Some people, and I think this is a fabulous idea that I have (caveat) never used, is to use a gentle light to wake up in the morning, vs. an alarm. So it is like a gradual light un-dimmer, mimicking the sun rise. That would be ideal for waking, I would think. I sleep with a nightlight (mostly for my children), but it gives me enough ambient light to write in the middle of the night if something comes up for me. If you trust yourself to write without light, do it. I often cannot read my handwriting without light, mindfulness, and careful concentration, so I need all the help that I can get! But that is something I do religiously, write down my dreams after every dream. In the middle of the night. In the morning. Humans have a light sleep between dream cycles. This is often when we wake up in the middle of the night from a noise, or have to go to the bathroom. I would recommend writing down all night if you are serious about dream recall and engaging in dream work.
Tools for DreamWork